Top Best Car Beacon Lights On The Market – Reviews & QP Ratings03.02.2020
Let’s start to have a brief look at some of the best Beacon Lights reviews! If you are looking for a way to increase the performance of your car or truck’s lights while improving exterior styling, look no further. We’ve got a reviews of headlights and taillights that will leave your car and truck with the signature look you’ve always wanted. Regardless of the requirements – we offer reviews of excellent car beacon lights for trucks, construction and agricultural machinery, ambulances and technical assistance, vehicles for utilities and airports.
LAMPHUS NanoFlare NFMB40 12" 40W LED Mini Light Bar [SAE Class 1] [72 Flash Patterns] [12ft Cord]
- ALL-WEATHER VISIBILITY- Sporting 40 high-intensity LEDs for a maximum output of 40 watts, this SAE Class 1 rated LED emergency light bar delivers 360° emergency lighting coverage during the day or nighttime, ensuring your safety on or off the road; weatherproof design for year-round functionality.
- 63 UNIQUE FLASH PATTERNS- Select from 63 distinctive flash patterns, including Single Burst, Double Flash, and California Steady; includes Steady Burn function & memorizes the last flash pattern used.
- MAXIMUM DURABILITY- Employs a professional-grade construction with a removable polycarbonate cover for easy maintenance; a heavy-duty cigarette lighter adapter with a 12ft power cord is also included for superior longevity.
- MULTIPLE MOUNTING OPTIONS- Single and double brackets with magnets are included for a multitude of rooftop mounting options; accessories for permanent mounting are also included.
- SYNC UP MULTIPLE UNITS- If you need additional emergency lights for your application, simply splice the wires from another unit and sync them both on the same flash pattern; syncs up with other LAMPHUS® NanoFlare™ strobe lights.
Perfect visual warning device for law enforcement, emergency & public safety professionals
Equipped with 40 high-intensity LEDs capable of projecting blazingly bright 360° illumination in 63 patterns, this emergency LED strobe lightbar promises superior all-day visibility in a sleek and discreet package, making it an ideal emergency visibility lighting solution for police officers, EMTs, construction workers and more.
Armed with all the features you need
Our LED hazard magnetic strobe bar is plug-and-play simple thanks to the unit's 12ft straight cord and cigarette lighter plug. Securely mount the LED emergency mini light bar on your vehicle's rooftop with the included mounting brackets. When it comes time to replace an LED, simply remove the durable polycarbonate cover. And for greater utility, you can even sync up this light with other select LAMPHUS® emergency lights.
Quality of a higher caliber
This mini LED roof strobe is built to last thanks to a ruggedized construction and weatherproof design. Optimize your visibility on-the-job with this long-lasting LED hazard mini lightbar.
- 40 high-intensity LEDs with 63 flash patterns (with Steady Burn) & memory recall
- Sync up multiple units or with other LAMPHUS® NanoFlare™ strobe lights
- Removable weatherproof polycarbonate cover for easy maintenance
- Includes magnetic & permanent mounting accessories
- 12ft straight cord with heavy-duty cigarette lighter plug (plug & play operation)
- 1 x Mini LED Light Bar
- 1 x U-Shaped Bracket Set & Mounting Accessories Pack
- 1 x 4pc 25lb Magnets with Securing Nuts
- 1 x 4pc Protective Pads with Permanent Mounting Accessories
- 1 x Instructions Guide
Linkitom LED Strobe Flashing Light Bar -Double Side Amber 30 LED High Intensity Emergency Hazard Warning Lighting Bar
- SUPER BRIGHT: 30 Hi-intensity LED chips with high visibility in daylight, midnight, raining or fog days. Improve the driver security and avoid accidents.
- EASY INSTALLATION: comes with 4 Heavy Duty strong magnets (Test go up to 80mph but not fall off). Just need attach the strong magnets on any metal exterior of cars and plug the switch plug.
- FLASH PATTERNS: 7 different flash patterns with a independent switch to cycle through modes. Memorizes last pattern used (recall last pattern)
- PANEL DIMENSIONS: 14.5" (W) x 6.5" (D) x 3" (H) / Cable length: 16 FT straight cable with on/off power and independent control switch, plug and play / Up to 50,000hours lifespan expectancy.
- Compatible with all those vehicles equipped with a 12 volt power socket. Great for emergency vehicles, postal service, construction vehicle, safety warning etc.
Compatible with: Universal compatibility for vehicles equipped with 12 volt DC power socket.
Additional Features: 30 LED High Intensity Strobe Lights. 7 different selectable strobe patterns with a push of a button. Easy on/off power and independent control patterns switch button. Long lasting LED lights, over 50,000 hours life. Redesigned LED with optical lense to allow brighter lights that can be seen at greater distance. Easy to install: Mounted with 4 heavy duty magnets, attach to any metal top. Perfect for police officers, firefighters, utility workers, first responders, and anyone who needs to increase the visibility on their vehicles.
Dimensions: Metrics: 14.5" (W) x 6.5" (D) x 3" (H)
Modes: Mode 1: Strobes between front left panels and rear right panels, then strobes between right left panels and rear front panels, finally strobe all. Mode 2: Strobes slowly 3 times between front left panels and rear right panels, then strobes fast 3 times between front left panels and rear right panels. Mode 3: Strobes slowly between front left panels and rear right panels, then Strobes fast between front left panels and rear right panels, finally Blinking All panels 4 times. Mode 4: Blinking All panels. Mode 5: flashes between the front&rear panel block and left&right panel a few times, then flashing counter clockwise. Mode 6: flashes fast between the left Panel and the right Panel, then All panels Flash constantly. Mode 7: Turns on all the LEDs
12" 36-Watt Amber LED Mini Light Bar w/ 17 Modes, IP66 Waterproof and Magnetic Mount - Amber Warning Strobe Light Bar
- SUPER BRIGHT VISIBILITY - Be seen day or night with the dazzling 36 watts of power from this 12-inch light bar. Your safety is protected by 36 high-intensity LEDs working together to provide maximum visibility.
- PLUG-AND-PLAY CONVENIENCE - Nothing could be easier to use. Just insert the adapter plug into a standard 12V DC cigarette lighter and place the LED Mini Light Bar on your roof. Harnessing the combined strength of 14 magnets, two pods make mounting convenient, fast, and secure. 10 feet of power cord included.
- 17 UNIQUE FLASH PATTERNS - Select from 17 distinctive flash patterns, including Single Flash, Double Flash, Quad flash, Clockwise Rotation, Counterclockwise Rotation, and multiple combination modes. Memory Recall Function lets you use your most recent flash pattern with the click of a switch.
- IP66 WATERPROOF RATING - Made for exterior mounting, this LED Mini Light Bar will work when you need it, no matter how bad the weather. This unusually high IP rating was granted when tests revealed that the LED mini light bar suffered no harmful damage from exposure to dust and powerful water jets.
- BEST BRIGHTNESS FOR THE BUCKS - Whether you're a volunteer fireman on a budget or a cash-strapped police department, you will not find a more economical and brighter visibility lighting solution. Perfect for EMTs, construction workers, and traffic crews.
36 watts of powerful visibility in all weather
Designed for the most challenging conditions, the 12-inch light bar provides a superior strobe warning light solution. Even in the pouring rain, the professional grade construction and IP66 waterproof rating of this LED mini bar enables safe exterior mounting.
Hard to break, easy to use
This LED mini bar keeps it simple. To operate, connect the heavy-duty adapter plug into the cigarette lighter (12V DC). You may be in a difficult situation, but the two pods with their 14 magnets makes a secure mount the least of your problems. Then all you have to do is select from 17 built-in flash modes or use your favorite by clicking the Memory Recall Function switch.
Economical, bright strobe warning light
Get the brightest light for the fewest bucks. You don’t have to spend big to make sure that your LED mini light bar is safely seen by other divers on the road.
- 36 powerful watts
- Plug-and-Play Convenience
- 17 flash patterns
- IP66 waterproof toughness
- Brightest visibility lighting solution for the price
- 1 x DT MOTO 12" 36W LED Mini Light Bar w/Magnets Attached
- Instruction Manual
Emergency Strobe LED Beacon Light [12 Watt] [14 Modes] [Powerful Magnet] [Dust Cover] [13ft Cord]
- BE SEEN - High Intensity LED with 12W of power with 360 degrees of coverage, you can expect everyone in your surroundings to be alerted.
- MULTI-FUNCTION - Packed with 14 selectable flash patterns, last mode memory recall, and self-contained without any external flasher.
- PORTABLE MAGNET MOUNT - Comes with a removable powerful magnet & 13ft of power cord, take this unit on the go and mount it on any vehicle, or simply remove magnet and mount it permanently.
- EASY MAINTENANCE - Removable smooth polycarbonate dome can be easily wiped & cleaned without any dust being caught.
- READY FOR HEAVY DUTY - High quality cigarette lighter plug controller with on/off & momentary switch, constructed with high quality durable plastic & long lasting LEDs, this beacon is ready to take on any heavy duty workloads.
The High Intensity Low Dome LED Beacon consist twelve 1 watt LED diodes offering a very bright light output. With the capability of being magnet mounted or permanent mounted, this emergency vehicle strobe warning light is one of the most convenient ways to achieve 360 degrees of warning. Having 14 selectable flash patterns and available in split colors variation, this High Intensity LED Beacon is perfect for your vehicular visual warning needs.
Interchangeable/Compatible with: All automobiles and devices equipped with a 12 or 24 Volt DC power source.
- High intensity LED with low polycarbonate dome.
- Self-contained LED; no external flasher required.
- Provides 360 degrees of coverage.
- 14 selectable flash pattern.
- Last pattern memory recall.
- Weatherproof ready for exterior mounting.
- Dust cover allows for easy maintenance.
- Can be mounted magnetically or permanently.
- 13 feet straight power cord.
- Can be mounted magnetically or permanently.
- Available in split color variation.
- 1 x 12W LED Beacon w/ Cigarette Lighter Adapter
- 1 x Black Rubber Protective Pad
- 1 x Colored Lens
- 1 x Dust Cover
- Owner's Manual
- Dimension: 5-13/16" Diameter x 5” Height (14.73cm x 12.7cm)
- Input Current @ 12V/24V: 100mA - 6.6A/50mA - 330mA
1 Year Warranty
Xprite Amber 240 LED Roof Top Mini Bar, Truck Car Vehicle Law Enforcement Emergency Hazard Beacon
- FEATURE: This LED is great for emergency vehicles, postal service, construction vehicle, safety warning etc. Housing is made of durable ABS materials and crystal clear for max brightness. 240 PCS Hi-intensity LED chips with high visibility deliver great vibrant colors. Waterproof IP67.
- PATTERNS: Easy on/off power with 2nd switch to change between 7 different strobe / flash pattern，great for undercover or to use when needed.
- EASY INSTALLATION: This strobe light LED is specifically designed to work on all vehicles with a 12V cigarrette plug and magnetized bottom to place on any metal exterior. 2 Magnetic pods with protective rubber feet. Magnets strong enough to go up to 45mph.
- DIMENSIONS: 12" (W) x 6.2" (D) x 2.8" (H) / Cable length: Straight 10 FT / Lifespan: Over 50000 hours.
- PACKAGE INCLUDES: 1x Xprite Amber 240 LED law enforcement emergency hazard warning LED mini bar strobe light with magnetic base.
Compatible with: Universal compatibility for vehicles equipped with 12 - 24 volt DC cigarette adapter.
Additional Features: 240 LED High Intensity Yellow/Amber Strobe Lights. 7 different select-able strobe patterns. Easy patterns change by push one button Long lasting LED lights, over 50,000 hours life. Easy to install: Mounted with magnets, attach to any metal top. Product includes: 1 x Strobe unit.
SPECS: Power wire: 10 ft. Unit: 12" (length) x 3" (height) x 6.25" (depth). Metrics: 300mm (wide) x 50mm (height) x 155mm (depth).
Modes: Mode 1: Alternates between left and right side. Mode 2: Alternates between front and back side. Mode 3: Flashes counter clockwise. Mode 4: Flashes clockwise. Mode 5: Strobes all lights a few times then alternates between left and right. Mode 6: Flashes all LEDs for one time rapidly. Mode 7: Turns on all the LEDs.
LED Beacon Strobe Light, Dinfu 8 Colors Adjustable Emergency Rotating Strobe Light with Magnetic Base
- ★ Multiple Colors and Strobe Mode: Red, Blue, Green,White,Orange,Yellow,Cyan,Purple , you can easily choose the color and mote you want with a remoter.
- ★ Voltage:DC 12V-80V ,Cable length: Straight 13 FT ,Lifespan: Over 50000 hours, Power:25W
- ★Rechargeable, Wireless Design - These wire-free warn lights attach almost any metal surface without needing to be plugged in and last up to 8 hours on a single charge.
- ★ Qaulity: Housing is made of durable ABS materials and crystal clear for max brightness. Easy maintenance,removable smooth polycarbonate dome can be easily wiped & cleaned.
- ★ Install: Portable magnet mount ,comes with a removable powerful magnet & power cord, take this unit on the go and mount it on any vehicle, or simply remove magnet and mount it permanently.
Protect your vehicle and yourself during emergency situations, roadside stops, or inclement weather with an ultra-bright LED warning beacon from Dinfu.
Features: Certification: CE, ROHS, ISO9001, EMARK. Application: SCHOOL BUS, AMBULANCE, FIRE, FIGHTER VEHICLES. Material: PLASTIC. Long life: 50000 HOURS. Power: 25W. Voltage: DC 12V-80V. LED source: SMD 3528. Color temperature: 6000K. Waterproof rate: IP67. Lamp Type: LED LIGHT SOURCE. Leds: 30 PCS. Lens material: PC.
Perfect for use in Fog, Rainy, Snowy MudWind Season Ideal for Emergency Situations. You can leave it on the dash or you can put it on the outside roof, as there is a strong magnet to keep in place. When you open the flashing lights have a warning role, to remind the back to avoid the car, reducing the occurrence of the accident. Mounted with magnets to the top, and plug into a 12v cigarette lighter.And high-power brightness. Designed with a wireless, rechargeable battery and a magnetic bottom that makes it easier to stick on almost any metal surface, this multipurpose warning light is bright, vibrant, and easy-to-see to add protection when you need it most. Weatherproof ready for exterior mounting, dust cover allows for easy maintenance. Easy to use,and is nice to have in case of an emergency.
Warning: The national traffic regulations for the installation of such flashing lights in currently was permitted, but can not be used in the forbidden areas specified by the State or the city. Especially in the fog days, rainy days will be better to use the effect of the warning can play a better role, to avoid the tail.
Xprite 12 Inch LED Mini Strobe Light Bar 15 Flashing Modes Warning Beacon Lights
- FEATURES - Xprite Blaze Series Led warning beacon strobe lights are compact and light weight and great for construction, safety, security, postal service, city and government vehicles, etc.
- HIGH-INTENSITY LED CHIPS - Total of 36 LEDs Modules, which consists of multiple chips bonded together to form a single module for a greatly increased lumen output. Visible in day and night!
- HIGH QUALITY - Made of a durable ABS housing, crystal clear housing for max brightness, scratch resistant PC lens. Waterproof to withstand harsh weather conditions.Up to 50,000 hours life.
- 15 STROBE PATTERNS -Convenient dual switch design. 1 for easy power on/off. 2nd to change between 15 different flashing patterns, last pattern memory recall. Patterns include Rotating, Flashing, Alternating Between Left and Right Side, etc.
- EASY INSTALLATION - This strobe light LED is specifically designed to work on all vehicles with a 12V cigarrette plug and magnetic base to place on any metal exterior. 2 powerful magnetic pods with protective rubber feet.
New Blaze Series Strobe lights are packed with 36 High Intensity LEDs that are equipped with an Enhanced Optical Lens that magnify their brightness and sure to get the attention of anyone passing by.
Features: 36 LED High Intensity Strobe Lights. 15 different select-able strobe patterns. Change patterns with a push of one button. Last Pattern Memory Recall. Long lasting LED lights, over 50,000 hours life. Magnetic Base with Protective Rubber Feet. Easy to install, attaches to any metal rooftop.
Specs: Power wire: 10ft straight cable. Dimensions: 12" (length) x 2.56" (height) x 6.3" (depth). Lifespan: Over 50000 hours. Waterproof Rate: IP66. Number of LEDs: 36. Wattage: 36W. Base: ABS. Cover: PC.
Compatible with: Universal compatibility for all vehicles equipped with 12 volt DC cigarette adapter.
Note: Not intended for highway speeds, place back in vehicle before driving above 45 mph.
Product includes: 1 x 36W Strobe unit.
VKGAT Sync Feature 6LED Car Truck Emergency Beacon Warning Hazard Flash Strobe Light Surface Mount (Amber/White)
- FEATURES: New Generation 6LED Surface Mount Strobe light ,Super Bright Lighting and more Patterns to Improve visibility and performance.Ability to synchronize 2-6 lights.
- PATTERNS: 18 Different Flashing Patterns, Last pattern recall/memory function.Yellow wire touch black wire,get the light pattern you want.
- INSTALLATION: Universal fit all vehicles with DC 12V-24V.Withstand harsh weather conditions, Water-proof rate IP66.
- PACKAGE: Includes 4X Ultra Slim 6-LED Strobe Light + 4X Protection Pad + Mounting Screws + Instruction Manual.
- SERVICE: 18 months warranty,If any questions, please feel free to contact us by email.
Package Includes: 4X Ultra Slim 6-LED Strobe Light + 4X Protection Pad + Mounting Screws + Instruction Manual
Wires: Red -- Positive, Black -- Negative, Yellow -- Change patterns (The yellow wire touch black wire). WHITE and Gray-----Synchronization(the white wire to connect Gray wire,4 lights flash synchronously), if you don't need to sync 4 lights, these two wires do not need to use.
Features: LED quantity: 6LED. Size: 4.33 x 1.06 x 0.39 in. Working voltage: 12-24V. Wattage: 6W. Cable length: 31 inch. Strobe patterns: 18. Lifespan: over 50000 hours.
Service: 18 months warranty
Blazer C43A LED Warning Beacon with Magnetic Base, Amber
- Amber LED magnetic warning beacon
- No wiring necessary, operates on (2) D batteries (not included)
- Features 4 flash patterns: steady on, flash delay, steady flash or revolving
- 21 high output LEDs with automatic On/Off option
- Non-scratch, heavy-duty magnetic base for safety and performance
The Blazer C43A LED magnetic battery-operated warning beacon is an easy-to-use warning light. The battery-powered light allows the user to easily move the light between applications. The 21 high output LEDs makes the beacon perfect for use during the day or night and features an on/off sensor setting that will automatically turn the light on in darkness and off in daylight. Its compact design allows for quick and easy storage. The heavy-duty scratch resistant magnetic base provides a secure mount on any metal surface and stays in place in any weather condition.
Xprite 30 LED Amber/Yellow 15W Emergency Warning Flashing Safety Strobe Beacon Light
- ★ FEATURE: This Warning Beacon Strobe Light Total of 30 High Brightness SMD 5730 LEDs with Low Polycarbonate Dome, More Clearer Vision Can Provides 360 Degrees of Coverage. Lifespan Up to 50,000 Hours.
- ★ PATTERN: 3 Bright Flashes With 1 Second In Between. Durable PC Lens And Better Light Quality. Low Power Consumption And Low Heat. Self-Contained LED, No External Flasher Required.
- ★ HIGH QUALITY: Base is Made of Stronger ABS Plastic Provide Great Insulation. Impact & Shock Resistant. Weatherproof Ready for Exterior Mounting. Removeable Dust Cove Allows for Easy Maintenance. Encapsulated to Protect Against Moisture, Dust and Vibration .
- ★ EASY INSTALLATION: Permanent Mount. Quick Installation. Come with A Screw Mounting Base and Screw-in Assembly Intended for Permanent Mount Set Up.Can Be Conveniently with 13.5IN (350 MM) Length Positive/negative Hard Cable to Attached Any Vehicles and Devices Equiped with A 10-110V Power Source.
- ★ APPLICATION: Great for Emergency Workers, Postal Service, Construction Vehicle, Security Hazard Warning, And Other Emergency Needs. Dimension: Dia. 1.33"(3.38cm) * H: 5.24"(13.31cm) * Bases Dia:3.86''(9.80cm)
Interchangeable/Compatible with: All Automobiles and Devices Equipped with A 10 - 110 Volt DC Power Source, including Forklift Truck Tractor Golf Carts UTV Car Bus etc.
Features: 30 High intensity SMD 5730 LED with low polycarbonate dome. Self-contained LED; no external flasher required. Provides 360 degrees of coverage. Low Power Consumption; Low Heat. Mode: 3 Bright flashes with 1 second in between. Durable PC Lens;Removeable Dust Cove;Impact & Shock Resistant. Weatherproof ready for exterior mounting. Encapsulated to Protect Against Moisture, Dust and Vibration. Dust cover allows for easy maintenance. Screw-in assembly intended for permanent mount set up.
Specifications: Dimension: Dia. 1.33"(3.38 cm) * H: 5.24"(13.31 cm) * Bases Dia:3.86''(9.80 cm). Cable Length: 13.5'' (350 mm).
Product Content: Beacon Warning Light, Dust Cover (Installed).
24 LED Emergency Beacon Warning Rotatin Rooftop Forklift Car Amber Strobe Light
Car beacon lights is one or more visual warning lights fitted to a vehicle for use when the driver wishes to convey to other road users the urgency of their journey, to provide additional warning of a hazard when stationary, or in the case of law enforcement as a means of signalling another driver to stop for interaction with an officer. These lights may be dedicated emergency lights, such as a beacon or a light bar, or may be modified stock lighting, such as a wig-wag or hide-away light, and are additional to any standard lighting on the car such as hazard lights. Often, they are used along with a siren (or occasionally sirens) in order to increase their effectiveness. In many jurisdictions, the use of these lights may afford the user specific legal powers, and may place requirements on other road users to behave differently, such as compelling them to pull to the side of the road and yield right of way so the emergency vehicle may proceed through unimpeded.
Laws regarding and restricting the use of these lights vary widely among jurisdictions, and in some areas non-emergency vehicles (e.g. school buses) and semi-emergency vehicles (e.g. tow trucks) may be permitted to use similar lights. These non-and semi-emergency lights are also discussed here. Research into the usefulness and potential dangers of these lights is also presented. Emergency vehicle lighting is a sub-type of emergency vehicle equipment.
Emergency vehicle lighting is generally used to clear the right of way for emergency vehicles, or to warn approaching motorists of potential hazards, such as a vehicle that is stopped or moving slower than the rate of traffic, or a car that has been pulled over. It may also be used to provide specific directions to motorists, such as a command to pull over. Some vehicles incorporate a small arrow board to direct traffic.
The use of emergency beacons is restricted by law in many jurisdictions only for responding to an emergency, initiating a traffic stop, bona fide training exercises, or when a specific hazard exists in the road. Most private security agencies have special permits that allow them to use beacons in specific areas. It has yet to be determined whether autonomous vehicles will be required to carry lights, or what colors or patterns they might exhibit to warn off aggressive human drivers.
The optical and mechanical characteristics of the car beacon lights used can have a significant effect on the look of the vehicle and how readily it gains attention in emergencies.
Steady burning. The simplest form of lighting is a steadily burning lamp. These may be white lights used on scene to enable emergency workers to see what they are doing, or they may be colored lights that advertise the emergency vehicle’s presence. In the latter case, steadily burning lights are often used alongside rotating or flashing lights rather than on their own, though historically some emergency vehicles only displayed steadily burning lights. For example, California Vehicle Code Section 25252 states: “Every authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with at least one steady burning red warning lamp visible from at least 1,000 feet to the front of the vehicle”
Rotating light. The parts and workings of a rotating light: Top The assembled beacon, including an optional mirror to be used when the beacon is placed in the windshield or rear window. Center The beacon, with the mirror removed. Bottom left and right The green dome of the beacon has been removed to show its rotating reflector, stationary incandescent lamp, and electric motor.
These revolving lights may contain a single, stationary bulb around which a curved mirror is spun (or which is attached to a spinning mirror), or a lamp with a Fresnel lens. This creates rotating beam(s) of light, appearing to flash when viewed. Larger rotating lights may contain modular or sealed-beam lamps which rotate as an assembly (commonly 2 or 4 bulbs, but possibly 1 or 3).
To protect the workings of the beacon, a plastic dome often covers the assembly. These domes usually come in solid colors, but in some cases the front and back halves of the dome are different colors. Other beacons use a clear dome with colored lenses on each lamp; in the latter case, these rotating beacons are sometimes referred to colloquially as ‘gumball machines’ or sometimes ‘cherry tops’ in the case of red lights.
Rotating lights often use a quartz-halogen or conventional incandescent bulb, though some rotating beacons are now made with LEDs rather than bulbs. Rotating lights may be used in lightbars as well as in single beacons. In a modern enclosed lightbar, generally ‘V’- or diamond-shaped mirrors are provided between the lamps to give the effect of multiple flashing lights.
Strobe lights. Some emergency lighting is based on strobe lights similar to those used in flash photography. These xenon flash lamps put out a very brief but very bright flash by discharging a large current through a gas which ionizes the gas. The light produced has a somewhat bluish emission spectrum, which makes red lightbars glow a fuchsia-pink color when lit.
Strobe Lighting did provide intense light which could improve visibility, however the short duration of the individual flash made it necessary to design the electronics to issue multiple consecutive flashes before alternating with the other associated lens pair. This purportedly allowed time for the human eye and mind to key in and observe the source of the light. Since the changeover to L.E.D. lighting units, which could easily allow for longer duration illumination time, they have instead chosen to mimic what is actually a shortcoming of the strobe light, and design the L.E.D. light head to illuminate with multiple short duration flashes. It has been noted that depending on the surrounding lighting conditions and other vehicle lighting, strobe only warning lighting did not allow for the same level of perception of distance from the source that traditional light bar and incandescent flashing lights would provide, especially on dark highways and similar locations.
LED lighting. Police cars sit at the base of the I-35W bridge collapse. The lightbars mounted on the cars are LED-based. The illuminated back-up lamps seen in the two cars in the foreground are being used as emergency lights which operate on a different circuit, rather than burning steadily to indicate that the cars are in reverse gear.
LED-based lighting is becoming very popular in the emergency services for several reasons. Light-emitting diodes are small, completely solid state, very power-efficient, long-lasting (as they have no filaments to burn out) and can be seen very easily even at great distances and in sunlight.
Whether as lightbars or single beacons, LED-based lights typically use a clear, colorless dome because the light color is an intrinsic property of the LEDs themselves. LED-based lightbars can be made very thin, reducing wind resistance by around 8-10 percent, or made very flat and used in novel applications, for example to flip up under a sun visor.
LED lights are often used in a mode similar to conventional strobe lights, however they can be programmed with a wider variety of flash patterns because of their ability to be switched directly by electronics, as opposed to discharging a capacitor through a gas-filled tube.
LED lights produce relatively little heat when in use. In colder inclement climates, this has resulted in LED emergency vehicle warning lights (as well as traffic lights) being obscured by the buildup of frost or snow, raising safety concerns. Solutions are being researched to provide a heat source, as necessary in certain weather conditions, to keep LED lights clear of snow and frost.
Modification of stock lighting. A hide-away strobe light fitted into a headlamp. The strobe light is the coiled glass tube in the bottom of the headlight assembly, near the center of the highlighted region of the picture (click picture to enlarge).
The vehicle’s stock lighting may also be modified to add flashing and strobe effects. This can be done by adding electronics to the existing lighting system (for instance, to create a wig-wag), or by drilling holes in the reflectors of stock lighting and inserting flashing lights in those holes.
Information matrix signs. LED Information matrix sign (black surface) on a police car between the beacon and search lights. Some emergency vehicles use signs made up of a large number of light sources (usually LEDs), which can be programmed to display messages to other road users. This can be used to request other vehicles to pull over, indicate a special instruction, or just to display the name of the operating service (e.g. ‘Police’).
Car beacon lights may be fitted to several places on a vehicle, depending on the degree of conspicuity required. Beacons and lightbars are often mounted on the roof for high visibility, while other lights may be mounted on the body, in the grill, or in the interior of the vehicle.
Roof-mounted single beacon. Since their introduction in 1948, rotating beacons have become widely accepted as a means of attracting attention to one’s vehicle. Although the use of the single beacon in law enforcement has dropped since the introduction of light bars, they are still used by some police departments, because of their lower cost or due to tradition. One agency that continues to employ traditional red rotating beacons on its patrol cars is the Michigan State Police. Beacons are also occasionally used on construction equipment when a full-sized lightbar would be unnecessary or impractical to attach to the vehicle.
While many single beacons use rotating lamps or mirrors, others use strobe lights under a translucent dome to provide an omnidirectional flash. Some smaller and low-cost beacons of the latter type, however, are simply a blinking incandescent bulb. LEDs are also used to light some omnidirectional beacons.
The single beacon is also available with a magnetic mount for situations where permanent mounting is impractical. Examples of such situations would be detectives in unmarked vehicles, volunteer firefighters, or managers at freight yards who use an amber light for safety. These ‘mag-mount’ beacons are often round or teardrop-shaped, and are often referred to as ‘Kojak’ lights after the popular 1970s TV detective who used one.
Lightbar. Close up of an older light bar: this light bar has a clear dome under which two rotating lights can be seen in this view. The rotating light on the right is fitted with an additional red lens, while the left light will give off unfiltered white light. At the extreme left, a siren speaker can be installed behind the grill.
Originally, this referred to a simple metal bar on the roof of the vehicle upon which agencies would mount two rotating beacons, as well as other components such as sirens and stationary ‘lollipop’ lights. Soon the beacon manufacturers began producing off-the-shelf complete ‘lightbars’.
Later, the individual components of the lightbar were integrated into a single contiguous unit, with two elongated domes on either side of a siren enclosure. The extended domes allowed for more rotating beacons, additional mirrors, and fixed-beam lights toward the center to replace the ‘lollipops’.
Lightbars may now contain fixed, rotating, strobe, or LED-based lights in various configurations and offering programmable flash patterns. They may include a second, lower, tier of lamps, such as clear halogen ‘takedown’ lights towards the front to illuminate the vehicle being stopped, clear side-facing ‘alley’ spotlights, additional amber or red towards the rear for scene protection, or directional traffic advisory arrows. The modern trend of locating sirens on or near the front bumper of emergency vehicles has resulted in many lightbar models eliminating the siren housing in lieu of more lighting.
Some lightbar variations are specialized to meet certain desires of the agencies utilizing them, such as those using multiple rotating beacons in a ‘V’ pattern to provide additional illumination to the sides of the vehicle, and those designed to hug the roof of a vehicle to minimize air resistance or present a lower profile for ‘stealth’ purposes.
Body mounted. Some types of light can be mounted on to the outside of the vehicle (usually a permanent install) and these can be used to provide directional lighting in key areas, such as in front for clearing traffic, or to the rear for scene protection. They can also form part of the main lighting arrangement for subtly marked or unmarked vehicles. In this application, the operating service may choose to use lights with clear lenses so as to minimize the possibility of the lights being noticed when not on.
Common places to mount such beacons include on or in the grill of the vehicle and on the front of the rear view mirrors, where they can gain maximum visibility. In the UK many emergency vehicles have lights on the side of the bonnet, which helps to warn oncoming traffic when pulling out of junctions. These lights are often strobe or LED types, as they have the lowest profile for purposes of attachment.
Vehicle integral. Sometimes, the existing lighting on a vehicle is modified to create warning beacons. In the case of wig-wag lighting, this involves adding a device to alternately flash the high-beam headlights, or, in some countries, the rear fog lights. It can also involve drilling out other lights on the vehicle to add ‘hideaway’ or ‘corner strobes’.
Interior mounted. A variety of emergency lights may be used in the interior of a vehicle, generally on the dashboard, visor area, or rear deck. Uses range from discreet or temporary lighting for unmarked vehicles and volunteer responders, to additional rear lighting on fully marked vehicles, to a ‘slick-top’ configuration not unlike a full lightbar set.
Interior lighting is available in a variety of form factors, ranging from flat LED panels under the sun visors, to halogen or strobe lights mounted on the rear deck, to ‘cherry’ or oscillating ‘teardrop’ lights mounted on the dash. These may be permanently mounted and wired into the vehicle’s electrical system, or they may be temporarily mounted and plug into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter. They are often fitted with shields which direct the light through the window, but prevent reflections in to the cab.
The aerodynamic properties of light bars can be important for police applications, as fuel efficiency and drag are concerns in patrol and pursuit. Because of this, some police cars do not have roof mounted lightbars. These ‘slick-top’ cars mount their emergency lights within the cruiser, generally around the periphery of the windshield or into the leading or trailing edge of the roof. Slick-top police cars also lack the silhouette of a lightbar or beacon, making the car harder to identify as a police vehicle from a distance, especially fore and aft. Because of these visual advantages, these vehicles are sometimes referred to as ‘stealth’ vehicles.
A key disadvantage of relying solely on internal lighting is the number of lights required to achieve true 360 degree visibility, with most lights usually concentrated front and rear. This can limit the application of vehicles for instances such as scene protection.