Next time you visit the car accessories dealer of your choice, you may find yourself, Oliver Twist-like, asking for „more“ – not gruel, of course, but light. For there is now a headlamp bulb that can put up to 110 percent more light on the road. Osram has launched the Night Breaker Unlimited in the types H1, H3, H4, H7, H11 and HB/4.
We can almost hear all your skeptical questions ringing in our ears right now. How does that work? The new lamp only has 55 Watts like any other product out there.

Indeed it does. But the electrical power – 55 Watts – and the luminous flux – measured in lumens – are capped by regulations. Not so the luminance of the filament. And this is what Osram’s developers have been tweaking. A point source would achieve the highest performance, but this is technically impossible. However, the smaller the point with the most light in the lamp is, the better. The optical features of the headlamp achieve the most here. And by that I mean that they are best at getting the light to where it is needed: the areas of the road located 50 meters and more from the front of the car. Visibility can extend by up to 35 meters beyond this. Less light is directed to the area right in front of the bumper. But nobody needs light there.

So the claim „up to 110 percent more light“ should actually be supplemented with „to the areas of the road that really count“. Incidentally, the phrase „up to“ has been included here, not to cover for shortfalls in the performance of the lamp, but because it is a simple fact that the features of the headlamp itself can have a massive impact on the performance of the product. The Night Breaker Unlimited performs best in modern reflection headlamps.

With its Night Breaker Unlimited, Osram is pushing halogen lamps closer to the limits of what is technically feasible. Photo credit: Osram

 

In projection systems – also known as lens or DE headlamps – the luminous flux is more important than the luminance. But those pesky restrictions apply to the luminous flux, of course, and even Osram’s most powerful current halogen lamp must bow to these.

Physics is another aspect which limits this high-performance lamp in quite another way. Its service life is shorter than that of a standard lamp, not to mention that of a long-life version. We like to draw an analogy with a blanket here – the blanket representing physics, you understand. Pull the blanket up to under your chin to keep your neck warm and you’ll end up exposing your feet to the cold. In this case, the neck stands for more light while the feet stand for a longer service life. Osram’s engineers have struck a good compromise. With a service life of around 200 hours, the H7 – deemed a particularly critical product – is well positioned among the high-performance lamps.

Developers have also crept closer to the bounds of physical possibility in another domain. The Night Breaker Unlimited offers much whiter light than that which is produced by other halogen lamps. With a color temperature of 3900 Kelvin, the H4, for instance, comes very close to xenon light, whose range begins right there. More blue could only be achieved at the price of a drop in brightness.

All versions of the Night Breaker Unlimited bear the E mark, signifying that they are, of course, approved.

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