Night Hawk VLI Series 9″ LED Lights
Where it all started…
Written by: David Auterson | Lead engineer Bushranger Night Hawk Lights
We are extremely proud to deliver an all new, Australian designed and engineered LED Driving Light which is sure to shake things up in the Aussie 4×4 aftermarket scene. The new Bushranger Night Hawk VLI Series 9″ Light boasts market leading performance, a truly unique design, and Next-Gen features, not to mention the durability, reliability and affordability built into every one of our 4×4 accessories, now you can own one of the best LED driving lights available today.
Where did it all begin?
The new Bushranger Night Hawk 9” VLI (Variable Light Intensity) Series LED Driving Lights were born from a desire to provide a more refined and purpose-built solution for automotive forward-facing auxiliary driving lights than what is currently available on the market. Look around and you will see an abundance of driving lights ranging from Halogen to HID and more recently LED…… most, if not all, following the same design philosophy that originates from traditional, round shaped spotlights. Even with the introduction of modern, LED based light technology, the round shaped driving light tradition has continued. If we delve deeper into the design aspects of current LED driving lights, we see a common trend of safe lighting design, based around philosophies developed for continuous duty cycle work lights rather than high performance vehicle lighting.
We looked at this and thought, why can’t we do it better. Why can’t a driving light have a modern aesthetic to match the modern vehicle. Why can’t we produce a brighter light that can monitor and control its output to suit the application. Why can’t the light be easier to integrate into the vehicle and smart enough to adapt to the user’s needs. We brainstormed, we researched, we conceptualised and then we realised……We can.
The ground up design
“Starting from scratch”, “back to the drawing board” and “wipe the slate clean” are all phrases we recited during the development of the new light. We literally started from the ground up, creating and developing solutions to the problems we had identified in the beginning. We concluded very early on that to achieve our goals, we could not use a modified, “off the shelf” solution. This had to be our own, we had to own it. There was no way to accomplish our desires without putting 100% into the design. So, we did.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) this meant a large commitment of resource to learning the ins and outs of LED luminaire design, a task not for the faint hearted, but we tackled this head on. That meant a thorough knowledge and understanding needed to be gained of the most important parts of a driving light, the Light Emitting Diode, and the Reflector design. We researched, we consulted, we selected and we designed. We trained on the latest lighting design software to enable us to model and optimise our own, unique LED and reflector combo to best suit our Australian conditions. We designed the body (or heatsink) of the light to work perfectly with our advanced electronics design, which takes full advantage of the environmental conditions through the use of some very ‘cool’ cooling ducts. We designed a strong and simple mounting solution, a provision for customising the look of the light, a system for changing between spot and flood beam patterns and a wiring system that simplifies the installation and allows control of the light output like never before. The result is something we are very proud of and is a testament to the large number of hours that have been put into this project.
What are the carryover features from our existing, proven range of LED lights?
Bushranger Night Hawk lights have been a proven performer for many years and we have not let the knowledge and effort put into these go to waste on the new 9” LED design. As such, we have carried over the same high quality, rugged and durable characteristics found in the previous lights to serve as a foundation for the new lights.
We have continued to use the highest quality, Genuine LED chips sourced directly from Osram. Using genuine chips from one of the largest manufacturers of LED’s in the world ensures that our lights use only the latest and most reliable technology, resulting in the highest performance and durability. The Night Hawk 9” Driving light incorporates 37 of these high intensity OSRAM LED’s in a 5700K white colour temperature to produce one of the brightest 9” driving lights available on the market.
We have also carried over our strong and tough design criteria, using a high quality, pressure diecast aluminium housing/heatsink design with strong 4mm steel mounting bracket, secured tightly to the body using 4 x M8 stainless steel bolts. Incorporated into the design of the mount are rubber isolating pads which help to dampen out the vibrations associated with the rugged Australian environment. A durable, long life, UV stable AkzoNobel polyester powder coat is selected to protect the components and a newly introduced hard coated polycarbonate lens ensures that dirt and debris build up does not result in a heavily scratched lens, keeping your light performing optimally long into the future.
Dust and water ingress protection is paramount to a long-lasting LED light, and we continue to offer a submersible and completely waterproof and dustproof design, which meets stringent Ingress Protection standards. The IP67 rating means that the light can be submerged in up to 1m depth of water for up to 30 minutes, which is more than adequate for an automotive driving light. The IP69K rating means that the sealing design and construction of the light is capable of withstanding close range, high pressure and high temperature spray downs, a scenario often experienced when cleaning your vehicle after that muddy weekend away.
Our tradition of stating real facts and figures is maintained for our new 9” driving light, with the real performance data gathered through the scientific channels of a NATA accredited light testing laboratory. Unlike the majority of LED light specifications that are found sprawled all over the internet, our specifications are not made up to deceive customers into buying cheap, untested lights which are ‘equivalent’ to the big-name manufacturers. We select the best components; our designs are properly engineered and the real results speak for themselves. Our lumens specification comes from the actual intensity of light being measured by accredited laboratory equipment, it is not a raw or theoretical value suggested by the LED manufacturer. Our lux values are measured by highly technical laboratory equipment and conservatively calculated to produce realistic values and beam patterns, and our field testing experience helps to back up the laboratory results. We do not take other competitors lux diagrams and change the numbers to suit our lights, as is commonly seen in the industry.
What are the unique features that we incorporate into the light and why did we do this?
So, what are the new and exciting features that we have been able to incorporate into our new 9” driving light?
Let’s start with the most obvious, the looks. We wanted a modern looking light that moved away from the traditional round lights which flood the market. What we have developed is a 10-sided, edgy design which not only integrates better with the modern vehicle, but uniquely incorporates the innovative cooling ducts; a feature that not only improves the overall aesthetic but also plays a major role in the function of the LED’s.
The basic principle behind the cooling ducts is to more efficiently utilise the air moving over the front of the vehicle to cool the LED light. Traditional LED driving lights rely on a more passive interaction between the rear of the light (the primary heatsink area) and the cooling air that flows over and around the light. The Bushranger Night Hawk 9” Driving Light design aggressively forces the cool air from the front of the light to the rear, leading to an increase in its ability to dissipate the heat from the LED’s. This has allowed us to run the LED’s much harder, and hence brighter, without the LED’s operating outside of the manufacturers recommended temperature range. The end result is a significantly brighter light that’s still as reliable as ever, a win-win. Furthermore, the Active Temperature Control System, or as we refer to it “The Smarts”, continually monitors the LED’s operating temperature and adjusts the output accordingly, meaning that the light is always operating at its peak for all different conditions.
If you thought the smart electronics were already doing enough, we pushed them even further by developing the first dedicated auxiliary light wiring system to incorporate relay free switching and brightness control functionality. What does this mean? Simpler wiring, easier installation, more user control and greater reliability over the traditional plug and play wiring loom. The commonly used automotive 12V relay is removed entirely and replaced with modern transistor switching, which is built into the light and the control module. Each light is powered directly from the battery, rather than through a relay, meaning there are no power restrictions for the wiring system, which is a common limitation with traditional relay-based wiring looms. Up to 4 x Bushranger Night Hawk VLI Series LED lights can be controlled by 1 wiring system and any combination of models/sizes can be used.
The brightness control function allows the user to adjust the brightness of all lights on the system with 7 different light intensity settings giving complete control to match the driving conditions. In certain conditions, vision can be greatly enhanced by reducing the intensity of light projected, for example, dense bush tracks, hilly terrain or even some highway driving where an excess of light can lead to intense reflections and eye strain…. now you can dial these high intensity lights back to a more comfortable level. Use a second wiring system as a work/camping / reverse light setup and control the intensity of the lit area. You have complete control like never before.
Moving on to the beam pattern, we have always had a desire to have flexibility built into our lights, and we particularly wanted to offer a driving light that was not limited to a single beam pattern. So, we decided to design a clear protective cover that could also double as a diffuser, meaning that the standard spot beam light could be converted into a flood beam light by simply changing a cover. With the increase in light intensity brought on by our new innovative electronics, we were able to achieve the performance we wanted from a clip-on, fluted flood beam cover and we are very excited to offer this cover as a standard item, included with every light. It gives you the ability to change beam patterns quickly and easily to suit your driving conditions, making the purchase of our new driving lights even more adaptable to different setups and requirements.
Another area we have also concentrated on is versatile fitment to many different vehicles. Driving lights are generally very easy to fit and are most often mounted onto bull bars and nudge bars on the front of vehicles, however, one of the limitations often seen when fitting 9” sized lights is the physical height including the mounting bracket. The Night Hawk 9” VLI Series LED Driving Lights are physically shorter than many 9” lights on the market, which allows for better integration with popular tube mounted light bars along the top of the bullbar and better compatibility with nudge bars. Weight is also kept to a minimum, adding only an additional 3.1kg per light to the vehicles kerb mass, which is also lighter than most 9” lights on the market.
The new Bushranger 9” LED Driving lights are backed up by a 5 year warranty, which covers any manufacturing faults or defects, and our 40+ year history of supplying quality engineered 4×4 products to the Australian market provides peace of mind that you are engaging with a trusted, bricks and mortar Australian business.
Learn more at www.bushranger.com.au/nighthawk
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