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GEAR

I’m not a lighting engineer or designer, but I’ve tested many LED driving lights over the last five years working for Unsealed 4X4. Some lights have been amazing, some have been surprising for the money, and others have been straight up junk. So, when Bushranger approached me to test their new Night Hawk nine-inch VLI LED driving lights, my first question was “what makes these different to any other light on the market”? The look on the face of Bushranger Project Engineer David Auterson quickly told me these aren’t just another set of driving lights. Let’s put it this way, he was very confident in the product he’d created, and after getting to know and use the features built into the Night Hawks, it’s safe to say I’ve now drawn a conclusion too.

After six months of testing, we’ve made our mind up about the latest LED driving lights from Bushranger

BUSHRANGER NIGHT HAWK 9-INCH VLI

LED DRIVING LIGHTS REVIEW

WORDS BY EVAN SPENCE, IMAGES BY SHANE STIFFLE & EVAN SPENCE

SCROLL
DOWN

WHAT’S THE STORY?
These are not a driving light built by an external supplier to a price, these are a completely new product engineered for a purpose. The Bushranger team told us they could have easily gone to an overseas lighting manufacturer and slapped their logo on an existing product, but where’s the fun in that? David decided it was an opportunity to re-invent the wheel so to speak, and look at each component individually. This is why the wiring loom is unique, the shape is unique and the features such as a dimmable switch are unique to this product. And I guarantee you there will be others imitating and incorporating these features into their lights soon. The world we live in.

Also, it’s prime time to mention Bushranger have not paid me to write this piece; they did gift me with one of the first sets of production lights to test. This is because of the previous light testing I’ve done for Unsealed 4X4, and their belief in what we do. This is not a paid or sponsored article, this is a genuine review as all of our product reviews are, where they wanted any negative feedback as well as positive … so let’s get into it.

SMARTER – Easy-fit accessories for endless stowage options

TOUGHER – Maximum durability for cargo safety

STRONGER – Massive 
load capacity, up to 300kg

ADVERTISEMENT

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

FEATURES – THERE ARE A FEW
Dimmer switch: Just like your light dimmer switch at home, this allows you to set the mood … I mean, adjust the light output, to suit your driving conditions.

Wiring loom: There is no relay in the Night Hawk loom, it’s been completely redesigned to be plug-and-play as well. Actually plug-and-play too; it’s a very simple system that works.

Cooling fins: When you are pumping out so much power, heat is unfortunately going to present itself. These cooling passages pass all the way through the lights, and will reduce temperatures while driving.

Clip-on covers: These are available either as spot or flood options, and I’ve found the flood pattern to be a very helpful addition and they live on the lights full-time now.  

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The very first thing I noticed about the Bushranger Night Hawk VLI Series is the shape. This is a round nine-inch LED driving light, on paper, but in fact the shape is absolutely unique. The top of the light is actually flat, making for an appearance like no other driving light on the market, but also creates room to clear the top hoop of a bull bar. What this means, is if you have a bar with a tight top loop, you can actually fit a decent-size light finally. It’s one of those concepts that isn’t just a great idea on paper, but in the real world where it counts. Vehicle fitters across the country will love this feature!

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SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

SORRY TO BE NEGATIVE
So far, the only issue I had with the lights dealt directly with how I first installed them. They did shake ever so slightly on bad corrugations, but after a quick tighten after the lights have settled in this problem reduced significantly. I only used one bolt to secure them to my bull bar. The supplied bracket is rock-solid; the movement was purely around the bolt allowing the large light to pivot. Not the light’s fault. If you drill a few additional holes to take advantage of the multiple mounting hole options available on the mounting bracket, this won’t be an issue. Or it could just be my weak arms not tightening the bracket up enough…

While I really love the dimmer switch function, and it was easy to secure in my case, it could be an issue for some other vehicles finding a place to mount the rather large unit. This is simple to get around if you put some thought into it, and hey … you don’t actually have to use the Bushranger loom if you didn’t want to, even though I’d say you are mad for not using it personally. It’s easy to install once get your head around the fact it doesn’t need a relay, saving you from locating a position to secure said relay.

When you turn the dial on the dimmer, the lights take a second to warm up, like HIDs, but it’s in no way annoying … like HIDs. There are seven settings, and the first few are very effective; you notice a huge increase with each turn of the dial. However they start to run out of headroom towards the end. This really isn’t a problem, and to be expected.


The clip-on covers are easy to use, and damn effective. I don’t normally use spread/flood covers with LED driving lights as they do rob some overall light output, however have left these on more often than not with great results for the type of night driving I do. As you can see from the images, the flood covers provide so much more spread to the sides, and considering how much light the Night Hawks produce, I’m happy to lose a little bit of distance for overall improved illumination.

Current draw is also rather high for an LED driving light, with Bushranger claiming 12.2A being drawn at 14.4V per light. From what I can gather, this is because the LEDs are being pushed harder, which is why they are so damn bright. Basically, I can live with these points ... the positives far outweigh the negatives.

NEED A UTE CANOPY?
REQUEST A QUOTE TODAY!

AMERICAN TRUCK UTE CANOPIES
SLIDE ON CAMPERS
INTEGRATED CANOPIES

SO... ARE THEY ANY GOOD?
I’ll keep this quick. They are freaking bright! Really bright. Having the option to dim the lights has been so handy as well. Think, pulling into camp, doing a night drive with your mates, driving on the highway … all situations where you need light but not allllllllll of the light. I’ll be honest, at first I thought I’d never use the function, because I do in fact want allllllllll the light. But you don’t always need all (I’ll spell it normally now) the light all the time. I find myself using this dimmer often, and I really didn’t expect to do so. I’ve even gotten into the habit of turning them on low and working through the settings. I don’t need to, but it’s cool to know you’ve got additional lumens up your sleeve.

GEEK OUT ON THESE SPECS
Power: 175W
Current Draw: 12.2A @ 14.4V
Voltage Range: 10 – 30VDC
LED Type: 37 x Genuine OSRAM LEDs
Luminous Flux: 10,800 lumens (effective)
Colour Temperature: 5700K
Power Plug: Deutsch DTP
Control Plug: 4-pin custom
Weight: 3.1kg
Max Distance @ 1 lux (pair spot): 1342m

Priced from: $447.50 per light
Wiring loom: $89

SO … WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?

STANDARD LOW BEAM:

Click to
compare

CONCLUSION
I find myself changing driving lights every year or so I can keep up with current technology and provide reviews for Unsealed 4X4. Put it this way, I’m not looking forward to seeing the Night Hawks go, and I’m not in any rush to take them off. If I do decide to replace them, the new set will need to be damn special basically. If you are chasing an affordable set of LED driving lights that incorporate the latest technology, are dimmable, have a unique look and will physically fit tight spaces thanks to the innovative design, the new VLI Night Hawks from Bushranger certainly fit the brief.

For more information, check out: bushranger.com.au

We spotted this owl while out testing; the Night Hawks easily picked out the night … um, owl

WILL THEY PASS THE WATER TEST?
If you’ve seen any of our previous LED driving light tests, water testing has been a big component and one that has found weak points with a fair few lights on the market. The test involves warming the lights for five minutes, turning them off and submersing them in our Gumtree fish tank (#science). It’s not pretty but it works. And the results?

PASS!
No water entered the lights, and they worked as per normal after water testing

TOP LEFT Lights were warmed up for five mins // TOP RIGHT Lights then submerged for five mins // RIGHT No water had entered, and they worked perfectly after testing

GEAR

BUSHRANGER NIGHT HAWK 9-INCH VLI

LED DRIVING LIGHTS REVIEW

SCROLL DOWN

WORDS BY EVAN SPENCE, IMAGES BY SHANE STIFFLE & EVAN SPENCE

After six months of testing, we’ve made our mind up about the latest LED driving lights from Bushranger

I’m not a lighting engineer or designer, but I’ve tested many LED driving lights over the last five years working for Unsealed 4X4. Some lights have been amazing, some have been surprising for the money, and others have been straight up junk. So, when Bushranger approached me to test their new Night Hawk nine-inch VLI LED driving lights, my first question was “what makes these different to any other light on the market”? The look on the face of Bushranger Project Engineer David Auterson quickly told me these aren’t just another set of driving lights. Let’s put it this way, he was very confident in the product he’d created, and after getting to know and use the features built into the Night Hawks, it’s safe to say I’ve now drawn a conclusion too.

WHAT’S THE STORY?
These are not a driving light built by an external supplier to a price, these are a completely new product engineered for a purpose. The Bushranger team told us they could have easily gone to an overseas lighting manufacturer and slapped their logo on an existing product, but where’s the fun in that? David decided it was an opportunity to re-invent the wheel so to speak, and look at each component individually. This is why the wiring loom is unique, the shape is unique and the features such as a dimmable switch are unique to this product. And I guarantee you there will be others imitating and incorporating these features into their lights soon. The world we live in.

Also, it’s prime time to mention Bushranger have not paid me to write this piece; they did gift me with one of the first sets of production lights to test. This is because of the previous light testing I’ve done for Unsealed 4X4, and their belief in what we do. This is not a paid or sponsored article, this is a genuine review as all of our product reviews are, where they wanted any negative feedback as well as positive … so let’s get into it.

SMARTER – Easy-fit accessories for endless stowage options

STRONGER – Massive 
load capacity, up to 300kg

TOUGHER – Maximum durability for cargo safety

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

FEATURES – THERE ARE A FEW
Dimmer switch: Just like your light dimmer switch at home, this allows you to set the mood … I mean, adjust the light output, to suit your driving conditions.

Wiring loom: There is no relay in the Night Hawk loom, it’s been completely redesigned to be plug-and-play as well. Actually plug-and-play too; it’s a very simple system that works.

Cooling fins: When you are pumping out so much power, heat is unfortunately going to present itself. These cooling passages pass all the way through the lights, and will reduce temperatures while driving.

Clip-on covers: These are available either as spot or flood options, and I’ve found the flood pattern to be a very helpful addition and they live on the lights full-time now.  

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The very first thing I noticed about the Bushranger Night Hawk VLI Series is the shape. This is a round nine-inch LED driving light, on paper, but in fact the shape is absolutely unique. The top of the light is actually flat, making for an appearance like no other driving light on the market, but also creates room to clear the top hoop of a bull bar. What this means, is if you have a bar with a tight top loop, you can actually fit a decent-size light finally. It’s one of those concepts that isn’t just a great idea on paper, but in the real world where it counts. Vehicle fitters across the country will love this feature!

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

SORRY TO BE NEGATIVE
So far, the only issue I had with the lights dealt directly with how I first installed them. They did shake ever so slightly on bad corrugations, but after a quick tighten after the lights have settled in this problem reduced significantly. I only used one bolt to secure them to my bull bar. The supplied bracket is rock-solid; the movement was purely around the bolt allowing the large light to pivot. Not the light’s fault. If you drill a few additional holes to take advantage of the multiple mounting hole options available on the mounting bracket, this won’t be an issue. Or it could just be my weak arms not tightening the bracket up enough…

While I really love the dimmer switch function, and it was easy to secure in my case, it could be an issue for some other vehicles finding a place to mount the rather large unit. This is simple to get around if you put some thought into it, and hey … you don’t actually have to use the Bushranger loom if you didn’t want to, even though I’d say you are mad for not using it personally. It’s easy to install once get your head around the fact it doesn’t need a relay, saving you from locating a position to secure said relay.

When you turn the dial on the dimmer, the lights take a second to warm up, like HIDs, but it’s in no way annoying … like HIDs. There are seven settings, and the first few are very effective; you notice a huge increase with each turn of the dial. However they start to run out of headroom towards the end. This really isn’t a problem, and to be expected.


AMERICAN TRUCK UTE CANOPIES

NEED A UTE CANOPY?
REQUEST A QUOTE TODAY!

SLIDE ON CAMPERS
INTEGRATED CANOPIES

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The clip-on covers are easy to use, and damn effective. I don’t normally use spread/flood covers with LED driving lights as they do rob some overall light output, however have left these on more often than not with great results for the type of night driving I do. As you can see from the images, the flood covers provide so much more spread to the sides, and considering how much light the Night Hawks produce, I’m happy to lose a little bit of distance for overall improved illumination.

Current draw is also rather high for an LED driving light, with Bushranger claiming 12.2A being drawn at 14.4V per light. From what I can gather, this is because the LEDs are being pushed harder, which is why they are so damn bright. Basically, I can live with these points ... the positives far outweigh the negatives.

SO... ARE THEY ANY GOOD?
I’ll keep this quick. They are freaking bright! Really bright. Having the option to dim the lights has been so handy as well. Think, pulling into camp, doing a night drive with your mates, driving on the highway … all situations where you need light but not allllllllll of the light. I’ll be honest, at first I thought I’d never use the function, because I do in fact want allllllllll the light. But you don’t always need all (I’ll spell it normally now) the light all the time. I find myself using this dimmer often, and I really didn’t expect to do so. I’ve even gotten into the habit of turning them on low and working through the settings. I don’t need to, but it’s cool to know you’ve got additional lumens up your sleeve.

GEEK OUT ON THESE SPECS
Power: 175W
Current Draw: 12.2A @ 14.4V
Voltage Range: 10 – 30VDC
LED Type: 37 x Genuine OSRAM LEDs
Luminous Flux: 10,800 lumens (effective)
Colour Temperature: 5700K
Power Plug: Deutsch DTP
Control Plug: 4-pin custom
Weight: 3.1kg
Max Distance @ 1 lux (pair spot): 1342m

Priced from: $447.50 per light
Wiring loom: $89

SO … WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?

STANDARD LOW BEAM:

STANDARD HIGH BEAM:

HIGH BEAM/DRIVING LIGHTS @ 50%:

HIGH BEAM/DRIVING LIGHTS @ 100%:

HIGH BEAM/DRIVING LIGHTS @ 100% WITH FLOOD COVERS:

WILL THEY PASS THE WATER TEST?
If you’ve seen any of our previous LED driving light tests, water testing has been a big component and one that has found weak points with a fair few lights on the market. The test involves warming the lights for five minutes, turning them off and submersing them in our Gumtree fish tank (#science). It’s not pretty but it works. And the results?

TOP LEFT Lights were warmed up for five mins // TOP RIGHT Lights then submerged for five mins // RIGHT No water had entered, and they worked perfectly after testing

PASS!
No water entered the lights, and they worked as per normal after water testing

CONCLUSION
I find myself changing driving lights every year or so I can keep up with current technology and provide reviews for Unsealed 4X4. Put it this way, I’m not looking forward to seeing the Night Hawks go, and I’m not in any rush to take them off. If I do decide to replace them, the new set will need to be damn special basically. If you are chasing an affordable set of LED driving lights that incorporate the latest technology, are dimmable, have a unique look and will physically fit tight spaces thanks to the innovative design, the new VLI Night Hawks from Bushranger certainly fit the brief.

For more information, check out: bushranger.com.au

We spotted this owl while out testing; the Night Hawks easily picked out the night … um, owl