"We shed some light on the newest lightbars."
What’s New in Lightbars?
By Stephenie Slahor
The variety of lightbars available on today’s market offers just about any of the options needed for both driver and public safety. Here are the latest products from the lightbar industry’s leaders.
Code 3 – Public Safety Equipment
The new Code3 Model 21 IF lightbar combines a low-profile body style with the company’s Torus LED Independent Flashing lightheads (no central controller board required). This provides more light output and better off-angle lighting than former models.
The new 21 IF is available in a variety of configurations including 3-up and 4-up Directional Torus LED lightheads, and 6-up or 9-up corners. Halogen 35w and LED takedowns and alleys are available, as are LEDs in red, blue amber or white. Vehicles adaptable to the lightbar include Caprice, Charger, Impala, Interceptor Sedan and Interceptor Utility.
The new Defender TC2 offers the intense brightness and off-angle signal the Defender model has always had, but now has such enhancements to its dual color capability as several different TC6 lightheads. These can flash two full, distinctly different color signals; dual color lighthead in a single color only; dual color red / blue lighthead and switch to a takedown function that mixes the two colors to produce a powerful white takedown and scene light; dual color red / amber or blue / amber lighthead, then switch to an all-amber signal for traffic directing; and a red / white or blue / white lighthead in a single red or blue flashing mode, a multi-color mode to flash both colors, or switch to a takedown function to add the white signal to create additional takedown or scene lighting.
The new Defender TC2 produces two full signals out of one lighthead, which avoids compromising signal strength and size. When its red / amber or blue / amber lightheads are used in the rear of the lightbar model, they can instantly change to a full-size amber for traffic direction so red or blue warning colors do not have to be given up to have an amber traffic directing device in the lightbar. Greater color and flash patterns are possible with the model to catch the attention of motorists approaching or in the vicinity.
The “RX2700CC MC” is a multi-color capable lightbar (red / blue, red / white, red / amber, blue / amber) using the latest LED dual color technology to produce intense color 20 percent brighter than standard, according to the manufacturer. Two full signals can emit from one lighthead so there is no compromising of signal strength and size. The red / blue lighthead can be turned into a white takedown light, providing increased takedown lighting at no additional cost, and with no loss of emergency warning light positions.
One-touch setting and changing is offered in the flash patterns, along with an LED dimming feature, corner cruise lights, and flasher / steady burn for takedown and alley lights. The multi-color unit uses 22 LED PriZm lightheads in each corner position, and 22 LED or 16 LED directional PriZm II lightheads in front and rear positions. The single color design features red, blue, white, amber or green LEDs with 12 LED PriZm II lightheads in each corner position, and 12 LED, 8 LED, or 3 LED directional PriZm II lights in front and rear positions.
The “SuperVisor with Torus” is a custom-fit, windshield-mounted, interior lighting system to keep a vehicle undercover until the lighting system is energized. The unit’s housing prevents the lights from reflecting back into the driver’s eyes. Easily installed and requiring no drilling to mount the system in place, the lightheads can be independently wired to emit a variety of flash patterns in red, blue, amber and / or white.
ELSAG North America
ELSAG has partnered with Whelen Engineering to create the fully integrated Light Bar ALPR, which gives another deployment option for the MPH-900®, an advanced and accurate ALPR system.
ELSAG’s Mini ALPR cameras are concealed in Whelen’s Freedom series LED lightbar. The lightbar offers 70 percent lower amp draw over comparable strobe models, and gives heavy-duty, long life operation while protecting the digital ALPR cameras. The system offers a more covert ALPR option to traditional installations in which cameras are mounted in full view on the exterior of the car.
Available in 50-inch and 55-inch lengths, the light bar is available with any LED color combination. The processing unit is usually stored in the vehicle trunk. The cameras can read license plates, comparing each to a hot list on the computer and alerting immediately if there is a match.
The unit captures up to 1,800 reads per minute, night or day, at up to 150 mph vehicle speed. Criminal intelligence data captured includes date and time stamps, GPS coordinates, photo of the license plate, and an overview photo of the vehicle. Such information can aid in witness identification, watch list development, placing a suspect at a scene, terrorist interdiction, and pattern recognition.
The Vision ® SLR lightbar emphasizes safety and light output. Unlike a conventional linear lightbar, its non-linear shape and rotating reflector give 360 degrees of light. The Vision SLR features SpectraLux™ multicolor LED lights, and allows a single light source to change combinations of red, blue, amber or white.
Two of the LEDs project light upward for easy aerial location of the police vehicle. A plug and play connector reduces the need for extensive wiring. Pod replacement is simplified so the lightbar does not need to be removed from the vehicle for most servicing. There is a five-year warranty on LED components.
The Valor™ lightbar is designed for a low profile appearance and is non-linear. It projects 360 degrees of light output and off-axis lighting at the critical intersection points. LED reflector technology is used to maximize light performance. Optional LED alley and takedown lights can be included. Using the SpectraLux™ multicolor LED technology allows changing color combinations in amber, blue, red or white. Plug and play installation and programming, and simple disconnect features keep the unit easy to install and service.
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Rontan North America features “Wide-E-Tech” and Quasar Technology in their lightbars, which use advanced, digital protocols offering various features and options, and producing a unit that uses fewer wires and connectors. Flash patterns, front and rear cut-offs, cruise features and directional capabilities are all standard in the Wide-E-Tech lightbars.
The new Attack Lightbar uses “Quasar Light Technology” and offers bright and intense LED lighting. High-intensity light output offers maximum visibility and emergency warning power. The low profile and compact design has a sealed, waterproof exterior and there is limited wind drag. There are LED takedown and alley lights, and the unit can synchronize with additional Quasar Technology light heads.
The Maximum Super Takedown is the company’s newest lightbar using “Wide-E-Tech” system technology. Extremely bright LEDs offer extra safety and security. When the Super Takedown feature is not active, the lightbar functions normally. The product’s main features are easy programming and installation, and low amperage draw.
The Maximum Extreme Off-Axis lightbar uses Wide-E-Tech technology and offers lightbar corner light heads positioned to allow greater off-axis visibility. Standard features include all LED takedown and alley lights, built-in directional stick capabilities, cruise lights dimming feature, intersection flash pattern capability, front / rear cutoffs and easy programming and installation.
The Winglux Extreme Off-Axis lightbar uses Wide-E-Tech technology and has LED takedown and alley lights, built-in directional stick capabilities, cruise lights, dimming feature, and special intersection flash-pattern capability, front / rear cutoffs and two-wire connection. Its one-piece, translucent polycarbonate dome resists UV damage and is mounted on an extruded aluminum and ABS base to maximize light output.
The company’s Magnum™ LED Lightbar features 6 LED inboard modules for the company’s Fusion Boost™ brightness; 3 LED inboard modules with a new TurboOptic™ to deliver maximum intensity, take down lights in 3, 6 or 9 LED modules, 6 or 12 LED corner modules, and 6 or 12 LED dual color arrow options. The bar also has dimming capability and a cruise mode. The outer lens is replaceable. Also available are rear stop / turn modules.
The standard warning is 21 flash patterns; the LED takedown and alley light have five flash patterns; and the arrow left/center/right has four flash patterns. The arrow warning itself has 9 warning solid arrows, or 17 warning split arrows. Lengths include 23, 35.5, 42, 48, 54, 60.5, and 73 inches. Height is 2.3 inches and depth is 12.3 inches. The unit has a five-year warranty. Options include a rear split arrow available with 6 or 12 LED Dual Color Modules.
Star Headlight and Lantern / SVP
The Star Laser® lightbar has a low profile, modular design featuring sculptured contours. Each module is interchangeable with other modular heads for multiple custom configurations. The company’s “ISO-VIBE” modular head design gives circuitry protection. Fully plug and play, the unit has a fail-safe operation by using independent driver circuits for each head. This allows synchronization of heads in simultaneous or alternating mode and flash patterns.
LED module colors are amber, blue, green, red and white, and the end position of the lightbar can also be a color warning light. The unit is available in lengths from 22 inches to 58 inches and all are 2 5/8 inches tall and 12 ¼ inches wide. A standard mounting kit is included. End-facing modular heads contain two corner positions and one alley light position. Corner positions can be customized to any combination of modular heads. Weatherproof seals and stainless steel fasteners enhance the exterior construction. The company’s units are made in the USA.
For low profile and unmarked vehicles, Tomar offers concealed LEDs for warning light performance. The compact LED lamp assembly is custom mounted in headlight and taillight composite housings, featuring high-intensity LED lamps and waterproof, in-line control modules. Each module is independently controlled and capable of multiple flash patterns. The lights are available in white, red, blue and amber. A five-year warranty applies.
Tomar’s new 970L Scorpion Low-Profile lightbar is similar to the existing 930/950 series, but has a much lower profile that uses the latest in optics and LED components. The unit features extruded aluminum for the housing, cast aluminum end caps, and optical Lexan light modules, and is offered in 3 or 6 LED front and rear warning modules, 6 or 12 LED corner modules, and either halogen or LED takedown and alley lights.
Fully programmable flash patterns are possible. A five-year warranty applies. The 970L Scorpion model is available in 26-, 35-, 44-, 49-, 53-, 58- and 67-inch lengths. The Mini Scorpion version features the same components in a 21-inch configuration.
Brand new from Whelen is the new Legacy™ All-LED lightbar. This is reminiscent of the company’s Edge® model, but with a lower profile. The Legacy was redesigned from its rugged extrusion up, to maximize the performance of LED technology. There are no dead spots or gaps. Instead, there is 360 degrees of light with attention-demanding new flash patterns possible. The Legacy is available in solid and Duo™ color models.
The rugged two-piece, slide-on dome and the sealed single-center divider seal all internal components from weather so performance integrity is assured. Integrated alley and warning light modules, and adjustable takedown and alley lights are available. The unit features plug-and-play performance.
The recently introduced Linear-LED® lightbar features the next generation of ultra-bright and wide-angle Super-LED™ technology in a warning package that has long operation and low current draw. All LFL Liberty and Ultra Freedom lightbars in the series have the same modular construction. Optional halogen takedown and alley lights are available along with optional five- or six-lamp Traffic Advisor ™ lights with ultra-high-intensity Super-LED modules.
The recently introduced Freedom™ II FC Series has extended corner modules plus independent control of upper and lower levels of each split color lighthead. The amp draw is 70 percent lower than comparable strobe models. The lightbars can be configured in any color combination with takedown and LED modules in any position needed for the vehicle. The Scan-Lock™ flash pattern control allows toggling through the multiple flash patterns.
Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at email@example.com.