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  #1  
Old 07-23-2013, 11:53 PM
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Question firefighter lights? whats the difference?

Well, I'm a volunteer firefighter. Well, almost, my classes are almost done. But it's that time where my curiosity is here about the blue volunteer lights.

I do a lot of LED strip and basic LED stuff, so my question is:

Whats the difference between led strip type stuff and public safety lights?
Are there controllers for them? Certain types of harnesses? What's compatible with what?

I saw a set of lights( not sure what) that were sitting on a table at my fire station today, there was like 6 wires out of the back of it.

Whats that all for? The stuff i know of only has a positive and negative.

so any other information you have about the public safety type lights would be fantastic.

Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:10 AM
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It really depends on how elaborate you want to get. If you're going to install an entire lighting system, i.e. strobes, wig-wag, light bar, then you definitely want to get a controllable unit that works on a relay. If you're just going for a simple suction cup stick 'em up, then you could either plug them in to your 12V outlet, or wire it up with a simple toggle switch going to a hot wire and ground. Also depends on your budget. I'll be honest, it mostly depends on your budget. That stuff isn't cheap, to do it right. You also have to look in to higher insurance costs. If your insurance co. discovers that you run code in your POV, it's gonna get pricey, too.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:21 AM
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haha thank you. i know about the simple 12v cigarette lighter stuff. I guess my main question was yes, the very expensive and entire lighting systems.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:04 PM
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The very expensive and entire lighting systems require a controller with relays to work properly.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:09 PM
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many of the newer public safety grade systems can be complicated. most have a larger power wire that goes to constant power at the battery and then a controller that either switches in/out low current voltage to turn on different relays in the light OR they run over a network cable and actually send a digital signal to an internal controller.

One thing i can tell you is to make sure you know the laws in YOUR state and run only the lights you are allowed. Down here only LEO can run blue, FD has to run red and never blue. i know a few VFD folks that have wasted a lot of money on lights only to get a big ticket the first time the ran them!

You can look at galls.com for a bunch of different lights. they dont have the best quality in the world, but many folks buy from them to save money. My work does public safety comms/outfits vehicles(we do not sell the lights/sirens only the comm gear) and our local guys bring stuff from galls and other vendors all the time. the big thing is order what you need and install it like the instructions say, keeping in mind the manual usually lists options you may not have so you don't need those connected. but since you are not talking about a rooftop light bar i would think it is a matter of picking your pattern and using that set of wires. that is what many of the multiwire lights are, you connect ground and then pick the pattern by using different wires to positive. of course this varies depending on the lights!

if you only want to turn on all the lights at once you really just need a single SPST toggle and a relay rated to carry your load. for a bunch of LED lights you may not even need the relay.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:12 AM
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Do yourself a favor and checkout the website elightbars.org

These guys are the authority on emergency lighting and installs in vehicles.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:28 PM
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Systems go from very simple to very elaborate but two things come first.

First, get your blue light card. Until your Chief issues you one systems don't matter. Second, find out and understand both your state laws as well as the accepted usage by your station. As a Probie go with whichever is the more conservative to start.

Lastly, remember being a volunteer firefighter or EMT isn't about getting to run courtesy lights.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highlandchef View Post
Systems go from very simple to very elaborate but two things come first.

First, get your blue light card. Until your Chief issues you one systems don't matter. Second, find out and understand both your state laws as well as the accepted usage by your station. As a Probie go with whichever is the more conservative to start.

Lastly, remember being a volunteer firefighter or EMT isn't about getting to run courtesy lights.
Excellent advice. Remember, also, when you are running code, you do not have the right of way automatically. The other drivers have to yield it to you before you can take it. And running code, also, does not allow you to break any traffic laws, i.e. no speeding over the speed limit, no unsafe passing, no crossing double yellow lines, etc.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Quote: Originally Posted by highlandchef
Systems go from very simple to very elaborate but two things come first.

First, get your blue light card. Until your Chief issues you one systems don't matter. Second, find out and understand both your state laws as well as the accepted usage by your station. As a Probie go with whichever is the more conservative to start.

Lastly, remember being a volunteer firefighter or EMT isn't about getting to run courtesy lights.

Excellent advice. Remember, also, when you are running code, you do not have the right of way automatically. The other drivers have to yield it to you before you can take it. And running code, also, does not allow you to break any traffic laws, i.e. no speeding over the speed limit, no unsafe passing, no crossing double yellow lines, etc.
^^I also meant to quote both of you, but im not exactly sure how quoting works and ^thats^ as best as i can get!

Haha thank you both very much. I do indeed have a little while before i can actually get lights. And yes, i would have full permission and all of that good stuff already done before i even buy lights, let alone install and use them.

I know about all those rules too(i think some are pretty dumb though, lets be honest, im potentially going to a house fire, or accident, to possibly help with saving lives. that could eventually be YOUR house, or YOUR kids that i need to get to in a hurry to help. but thats definitely a topic for another day..)

And YES. being a firefighter is absolutey positively not about lights at AT ALL. We could not even be allowed to have lights and i would be alright with it, I'm a firefighter to help save peoples lives and put people out of harms way. but hey, I already love aftermarket lighting stuff as it is, and if i have the opportunity to put some cool blue lights on my truck, im definitily going to! (im not saying that in a cocky way or anything like that, just like anyone else who loves cool lights!)
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:57 AM
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Keep that attitude, drummer. Be safe out there!
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