Special Lighting SL – X9 LED/Laser Light – Best for Ditch Lights, Fog Lights or Another Lighting Application?
The X9 is a very interesting light offered by Special Lighting. This 3.5″ in diameter light is not just another 4 LED light that took inspiration from the Baja Designs Squadron series. It incorporates a laser diode with four LEDs to deliver a unique light that offers three different beam patterns; driving, cornering, and spot.
X9 Circuit Board
Find It Online:
- Size: ∅ 4″ (∅ 3.4″ measured)
- Raw Lumens: 20,000 LM
- Light Distance: 1 LUX @ 900M (2953ft)
- Voltage: 12V
- Watt: 32W
Additional Info can be found HERE .
*Please note Special Lighting is a company based in Columbia and the site is in Spanish. Google translate does translate part of the website but not completely. They are based in Columbia and should have locations in Florida soon which will cut down on lead times and judging by their website, they intend on offering retail and wholesale opportunities soon.
What’s in the Box?
- SL-X9 Lights
- Light Brackets
- Install Hardware
- Wiring Adaptors
Special Lighting X9 Light
X9 Front View
X9 Back View
The X9 Light housing is made from cast aluminum and painted semi-gloss black. The overall build quality seems to be pretty good and it does look like it will hold up to the elements.
X9 Wiring Adaptor
The Wiring Adaptors Special Lighting provided have a quick disconnect on one end and two open wires on the other end. Since the wiring harnesses in my vehicle all use Weather Pack connectors, I ended up adding a 2 pin Weather Pack female connector to the Wiring Adaptor just to make things easy. Alternately, the Wiring Adaptors can also be butt spliced to your existing wiring harness.
*I am running the X9s off of the wiring harness from my Baja Designs S1 (see more about wiring the Baja Designs S1 here) for this review.
The bezel and lens assembly is attached to the housing with four countersink screws. The lens on the X9 is pretty similar to the Baja Designs Squadron series Driving Combo lens with diffusers on the bottom two LEDs. However, the X9 does have a unique projector lens built into its reflector cones assembly. The projector lens is meant to be used with the laser in order to create a bright spot light down the road. As of writing this article, I couldn’t find any replacement lens options available online so if you are buying a set of these make your lens choices wisely.
Lens Assembly Components:
- Reflector Cones/Projector Lens
The provided hardware for installing the X9 is interesting. The bracket itself has an anti-rotation feature that holds the bolt in place once it is tightened down. This is a good idea in theory, but for me, who likes to tighten the bolt from the top side of the bracket in order to avoid damaging the hood, this doesn’t work well once the head of the bolt makes contact with the anti-rotation feature. It forces you to use an open-end box wrench to tighten the nut down next to the hood. Additionally, the bracket and the light housing are both pretty smooth so when the two are installed, the light will tend to rotate/tilt down after a while. I would recommend using serrated washers to mount the light to the bracket and nyloc nuts in place of the nut/split washer when installing this bracket.
- M10 Bolt/Washer/Split Washer/Nut
- M6 Screws/Washer/Split Washer
Special Lighting X9 vs. Baja Designs Squadron Sport (2016) vs. Baja Designs S1
SL X9 side by side to the BD Squadron Sport. Most people are familiar with the Squadron Sport as they are one of the popular goto for a ditch light or fog light. Therefore for this review, I tested/set up the X9 against the Squadron and S1 as I would a ditch light.
Light Out Put Comparison
The amount of light being thrown out by these three lights are very comparable to each other, but in my opinion, the Baja Designs lens distributes the light more evenly. I am also very impressed by the S1 keeping up with the X9 and Squadron Sport with just a single LED.
You can see that the X9 casts a very clear bright spot in the center. The spot is too narrow up close so in reality having these as ditch lights will just blind whatever critter is on the side of the trail, therefore I don’t see the X9s as a very good ditch light. However, the laser spot light feature on the SL X9 actually works very well when pointed forward like a spotlight.
First Test: X9 Laser Spot Lights overlapping at approximately 600 feet
Second Test: X9 Laser Spot Lights spaced apart with small gap in between at approximately 600 feet
I tested the X9s with my Baja Designs Squadron SAE Fog lights and SuperNova V4 LED headlights on in order to best represent the light combo I would use on the trial at night. The X9’s spot feature actually worked really well at highlighting the trail/road ahead. Which gives me more confidence at picking up the pace in the dark. I would say between having the spot lights overlapping and having them pointed side by side the latter worked out better for me. The driving and cornering lens also adds some additional lighting to the peripherals as well, however, this does have the negative cost of lighting up the hood of the 4Runner.
After doing a few runs with the X9s they don’t work well as ditch lights as I had originally thought, but instead, I would say they are better used as a forward-facing driving light. Either mounted in the fog light location, behind the grille, or on top of a bumper. The X9 really combines three lights into one. The laser spot light highlights the trail for down the road awareness the four LEDs combined with the driving/cornering lens lighting up whats right in front of the vehicle this X9 combo light really impressed me and has earned a place on my 4Runner.
*Check back for updates on where I end up mounting the X9s.