Vision X Light Cannon LED Install - The X FactorPosted in How To: Electrical on May 5, 2015
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the new standard for off-road lighting. They draw very little amperage, are virtually indestructible, and are small and easy to package. Most LEDs are used in light bars that are mounted on front bumpers, grilles, and roofs of 4x4s. If there is one downside to LED lights, it is that their small reflectors have limited ability to focus the available light and throw it down the trail. This is what motivated us to install HID lights on the front of our Explorer six years ago when we needed additional lighting.
However, as we covered 80 miles of backcountry roads in the dark on a recent trip, we realized that our old HIDs were not cutting it anymore. Cows in the road, deep sand, and other situations caught us off guard and could have had disastrous results. While a typical LED light bar would give us a wider spread of light, we needed something that would provide enough light down the trail to eliminate any surprises.
Vision X had just what we needed with its Cannon LED lights. They combine all the benefits of LED technology with a huge reflector to shine light more than a 1,000 feet down the road. The 4 1⁄2-inch Cannons are incredibly lightweight due to their high-strength hybrid aluminum and polycarbonate construction. The quality is evident throughout the product, from the hardware and electrical connectors to the IP-68 waterproof-rated housing, although we could do without the large glow-in-the-dark X printed on the clear light covers.
Once the lights were hooked up, we were amazed by how much light could be generated by a single LED. We didn’t have to wait for the Cannons to warm up like we did with our previous HID lights. The compact size of the Cannons makes them a great choice for confined spaces, such as the front of a buggy. In our case, we have enough real estate left over to add a more traditional Vision X LED light bar for a flood pattern to complement the big reflectors of the Cannon spotlights, using the latest technology to give us the best of both worlds.
The Vision X 4 1⁄2-inch Cannon LED kit comes with two lights, a complete wiring harness, two additional pigtails if you are not using the included harness (as we did), and even an Allen wrench for adjusting the lights. Vision X also offers the Cannons in 6.7- and 8.7-inch sizes.
A two-pin Deutsch connector is provided with each light and simply snaps together. These high-quality connectors are waterproof and far more rugged and durable than simple spades that plug together and can disconnect when subjected to the vibration that is common when you travel off-road.
The Cannon’s mounting bracket uses a single bolt to attach the light to the vehicle and a second bolt to adjust the light vertically. We snugged up the vertical adjustment bolt and then tightened the bracket to our bumper aiming the lights straight ahead. We appreciated that the bolt head is captured in the mount so only a single socket or wrench is needed.
Vision X includes a toggle switch with the lights, but we wired the Cannons into the existing rocker switches on our dash for simplicity. We recommend mounting the switches where they will be easy to reach when you’re belted in the driver’s seat yet will not get bumped during spirited driving.
Vision X offers a variety of covers and filters in various colors and beam patterns. We chose clear covers to protect the lights from impact and retain the spot beam pattern. The covers cost approximately $20 each, which is far less than an additional set of lights.
Once the lights were installed we headed out to the nearest off-road destination to perform some real-world testing. We were pleasantly surprised by the side spread of the 10-degree spot beams, although an additional set of flood beams would certainly enhance our nighttime adventures.
We found a power line road in the desert to test the range of the Cannons. Stopping at the first pole and with the Cannons turned on, we could easily see the second pole 800 feet away and just barely make out the third at 1,600 feet away. With only our headlights we couldn’t see either one.