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Rontan Emergency Lights and Sirens

Written by Matthew Ayers

Right away, you need to know three things about Rontan. First, founded in 1970, Rontan is celebrating 40 years in the emergency vehicle warning business. Second, Rontan runs the world’s busiest emergency vehicle upfit business, averaging 1,200 vehicles per month. Rontan is the number one emergency equipment upfitter, dealer and manufacturer in this hemisphere, with more than 1,500 employees in just its signaling and upfitting division.

Third, Rontan is focused on expanding its presence in the North American market. To that end, Rontan North America has unveiled an extensive line of innovative new products for 2010.

By now you have read about Rontan North America’s products in advertising or seen them in person at the one of the Police Fleet Expos. Rontan’s line of LED lights and supporting products clearly look modern and offer a ton of in-demand features. From lights to sirens, Rontan provides everything your police vehicle needs for emergency warning.

Intelligent Lightbars

In most police vehicle applications, the brunt of the warning duties falls to a traditional roof-mounted lightbar. Lightbars offer a variety of features, are simple to install, are highly visible and are durable. The industry-wide transition to LED technology has revolutionized the way lightbars are designed and manufactured, allowing engineers to increase performance while reducing the profile and weight of the lightbar.

Like most emergency equipment companies, Rontan manufacturers a variety of lightbars. However, its newest lightbar offering, the SaberLux-S®, is its bet for U.S. and Canadian police fleet customers.

The SaberLux-S is a low-profile, linear style bar, available in a variety of lengths including the 45-inch and 54-inch versions needed for most common police vehicles. The SaberLux-S uses modern styling and design to achieve an aerodynamic shape, helping to increase fuel economy and reduce wind noise versus older lightbar styles. Clear or colored top covers are available, while the lower “tubs” or domes containing the warning lights are clear.

This is an ideal arrangement because LEDs project warning colors better through clear lenses, while the colored top covers provide for a traditional look. Domes and covers are molded from UV-resistant polycarbonate and sealed against the elements. They are mounted to a sturdy extruded aluminum base which forms the frame of the lightbar.

If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because a number of manufacturers use a similar design for lightbars—simply because it works. Where the SaberLux-S lightbar changes things up is in its LED modules. Current generation, high intensity LEDs are arrayed in a variety of module styles, including focal, prism or reflective optics, and stacked or side-by-side dual color arrangements. LEDs are available in the standard warning colors of red, blue, white, amber and green.

Due to the variety of lightbar lengths, the number of light modules per bar varies depending on the lighthead style chosen. Modules in the three optic styles are offered with three, four, six, eight, nine, or 12 1-watt LEDs per module. Rontan has focused on providing powerful 360-degree visibility from the new SaberLux-S lightbar. Each module is intelligently placed, and a minimum of three LED lightheads is visible at all viewing angles.

Police vehicles need effective scene lighting, and the SaberLux-S has standard alley and takedown lights. These are available in focal or wide LED versions, or traditional halogen lamps in a not-so-traditional external mount, the Rontan MagFoot-S®. The MagFoot-S halogen takedown and alley lights are located outside the SaberLux-S, on the lightbar’s mounting feet. These lights resemble a flashlight in look and construction, and this design really makes sense.

Bulbs are simple to replace (no need to open up the top of the bar), the lights cool better, and the heat from the 35- or 55-watt bulbs is kept away from the LED modules. All of the takedown or alley light choices also have flashing modes for warning use, with six available patterns to choose from.

For added traffic warning, the rear portion of the SaberLux-S lightbar provides directional stick functions (left, right, center-out and hazard). Even more features are standard, including front and rear cut-offs, LED dimmer function, intersection mode, and one of my favorites: cruise lights.

As a shift commander, I find cruise lights are great for announcing my presence at calls, establishing a command post or rally point, marking Landing Zones, minor nighttime traffic warning, letting neighborhoods and businesses know I’m around, scene lighting, and location marking for medical calls. In short, they are a great tool and very bystander-friendly.

Rontan recognizes there are many ways a lightbar can be used to communicate with motorists; therefore, it offers 34 lighting patterns and four standard pre-configured modes, all of which can be customized as needed. For example, Mode / Position 1 – Alternates corner lightheads only; Mode / Position 2 – Most lightheads activated in flashing mode, flashing takedowns and alleys inactive; Mode / Position 3 – All lightheads active in flashing mode, including flashing takedowns and alleys; Mode / Position 4 – User Defined.

Rontan has done its homework, and these modes are remarkably similar to the warning system configuration modes recommended in the Jan-Feb 2009 issue of Police Fleet Manager Magazine. The above modes provide vehicle operators with intuitive, effective options for warning, enforcement and pursuit use.

Additionally, a “California” steady burn mode is offered, along with four optional flash pattern auxiliary inputs. Another interesting feature of the SaberLux-S lightbar is its two emergency SOS modes, which are used to communicate distress signals. These helpful distress modes can be tied into a radio system’s emergency button, vehicle crash sensor or K-9 heat alarm alert.

If this sounds like a lot of stuff to program, fear not. Rontan has made it easy for you with its exclusive S-series 100 percent digital technology, which uses a two-wire control system and serial connectivity; all programming is through firmware, not hardware. While the lightbar comes pre-programmed and ready to install, fleet managers will appreciate the ability to customize, download, upload and clone flash patterns with Rontan’s DTI40® data transfer interface unit.

If you need to integrate existing controls, Rontan’s ICM 40® controller is compatible with any switching system, serving to translate analog switch inputs to the digital SaberLux-S lightbar. Optionally, any of Rontan’s own intelligent S-Siren units can be used in place of the ICM 40. The remainder of the installation consists of simply mounting the bar to the roof using vehicle-specific brackets and routing the power and ground wires.

Intelligent Sirens

Siren systems come in two basic types—systems that control lights, and systems that don’t. Rontan’s siren product line has grown tremendously this year and now includes the IS3000® series, IS1100® series and the RT100-SD®, all of which are capable of controlling Rontan’s S-Series products, including the SaberLux-S lightbar, and competitors’ products as well. The most impressive of these sirens, the IS3000 Intelligent Siren, is a fully digital, remote-style unit.

With the upcoming police vehicle platform changes from the major automobile manufacturers, aftermarket mounting space is again a concern. One easy solution to mounting space constraints is to use a unified control system for all emergency equipment. A remote-head unit like the ICS3000 allows installers to locate the amplifier/lighting relay center and bulk of wiring somewhere besides the passenger compartment, saving room for other uses.

The ICS3000’s compact amplifier/lighting relay center has an aluminum housing, industry-standard connectors, and externally located fuses for easy troubleshooting and maintenance. The remote head has a liquid-resistant, soft-touch keypad and connects to the amplifier unit using a standard CAT5 cable, not a proprietary cable. The soft-touch keypad features variable backlighting and two user-selectable alert tones to indicate activity.

The ICS3000 remote head provides 21 buttons and a four-position slide switch, all user-configurable. Buttons can be set to control directional sticks, including competitors’ units, as well as to function as on/off, momentary or timed switches. Low-current and/or high-current inputs and outputs are available, allowing for full control of your warning system.

The siren itself functions as a 50/100/200-watt unit and has remote radio and public address functions. Multiple programmable tones are standard, including airhorn and manual tones. In short, the ICS3000 offers every function and feature you could need and is directly comparable to the best offerings of any manufacturer. What sets it apart is Rontan’s advanced digital technology which allows the end-user to completely customize the unit’s functions using a USB interface and provided software. All Rontan S-Series products connect to the system with 2-Wire Technology.

Rontan’s IS1100 Intelligent Siren offers many of the IS3000’s features, in a more compact 100-watt remote-head system. While the IS1100 does not have a slide switch, it still provides 21 user-configurable buttons. Radio rebroadcast, public address system, six siren tones, airhorn, hands-free mode, digital volume control and keypad backlighting are all standard. Four low-current outputs are available to switch relays as needed. And if you don’t need a remote-head siren system, Rontan offers the RT100-SD siren, which is functionally similar to the IS1100, but in a one-piece design.

Unique Supplemental Warning

One of the more interesting new product lines from Rontan is its new micro-LED Quasar Lights®. This family of lightheads uses outside-the-box design to create a unique family of compact lights ideal for supplemental and perimeter warning duties. The Quasar series consists of six different models, each available in the five standard warning colors.

These are very compact lightheads; however, each packs the punch of three or six 3-watt Luxeon® Rebel LEDs. These little marvels have resin-sealed polycarbonate bodies so they are shock and vibration proof as well as completely watertight. Quasar Lights can actually operate completely submerged without issue, making them ideal for watercraft use and tough use on ATVs.

The smallest versions, the QuasarDot® and QuasarDot® Plus, are a bit more than one inch square by one half-inch thick. The QuasarDot includes a small L-bracket, while the Plus version includes a surface-mount bezel in chrome or black. These lights really are tiny, with the lowest profile of any surface-mount LED warning light for serious mounting flexibility and creative warning solutions.

For example, I recently installed a pair of QuasarDots as hideaway substitutes in a 2010 Ford Explorer. I simply mounted them in a one-inch hole drilled in the lower driving/fog lamp assembly. The result was impressive and provided very good intersection warning at 45 degrees.

Other Quasar variants include the QuasarLine® and QuasarLine-D®, the first being a linear arrangement of three LEDs, and the second a dual-stacked style of three over three. Finally, Rontan offers the QuasarDelta®, a triangular arrangement of three LEDs, and the QuasarDelta-D®, which is two side-by-side triangular arrangements, six LEDs total. All of these are available with chrome or black surface-mount bezels and offer multiple flash patterns. The QuasarLine-D and QuasarDelta-D modules are available in dual colors. All Quasar Lights provide for multi-unit synchronization with Rontan’s Q-BUS Technology.

In addition to its Quasar Lights, Rontan offers the DigiLight-S®. This supplemental LED lighthead is particularly suited to directional warning duties such as push bumper, grille and deck light uses. The DigiLight-S is hermetically sealed, self-contained, and measures approximately 3.75 inches by 5.5 inches. The DigiLight-S uses the same S-Series digital technology as Rontan’s lightbars, allowing for simple system integration.

This light is offered in all the standard warning colors and is available with a clear or colored lens. For interior dash light use, Rontan offers a DC plug version with a built-in switch. Whichever version you choose, rest assured that the DigiLight will provide years of maintenance-free service and low amp draw.

Total Warning Solutions

These new products are just the beginning of Rontan’s 2010 product line. The company offers a complete line of LED lighting including six other lightbar styles, such as the unique boomerang-shaped WingLux-S®, and a complete line of interior lightbars, the VisorLight-S® series, available for all sedans and SUVs commonly in police service. For rear interior use, the DeckLight-S® fills the gap for sedans with full warning and directional stick lighting.

The Visor/DeckLight-S units share the same LEDs and S-Series features of the SaberLux-S lightbar. Both also use aluminum frames and housing which include built-in mounting points for cameras and radar antennas—a neat feature that should make upfitters happy, as interior lightbars often limit camera and radar mounting locations.

If you need a stick-style light for interior or exterior mounting, Rontan offers its SquadLight-S® series in 5-, 9-, 13-, 17- 25- and 33-inch models. These lights have one-piece extruded aluminum frames and are sealed against dirt and moisture. All five standard warning colors are available, and the lights use S-Series digital connectivity. SquadLight-S units can perform both warning and directional duties with multiple flash patterns. Put these lights in the grille, on the deck, on the roof or wherever you need. DC plug versions are cataloged as well.

And there’s more: siren speakers, other surface and bracket-mount LED lights, micro lightbars, interior lights, switch packs, etc. Rontan products provide for your total warning needs and meet or exceed SAE and California Title 13 specs. All LED products are warranted for five full years.

Rontan has learned a thing or two in its 40 years of tremendous growth and world-wide expansion. “Intelligent Design–Intelligent Solutions” is not only its corporate motto, but also obvious in the company’s well-conceived, integrated product line. Rontan North America’s offerings are designed specifically for the North American market and are assembled and serviced in its Miami, Fla., facility.

In the near future, all manufacturing of products for this market will transition to the Miami facility. It appears Rontan is poised for continued success as it expands its presence to North American. Check Rontan out—you can expect to be surprised at what you find.
Matthew Ayers is the owner of Command & Control Installations in Sevierville, Tenn., and is currently a lieutenant with the Sevierville Police Department. He can be reached at C2installs@charter.net.

Photos courtesy of Rontan.

Published in Law and Order, Aug 2010

Rating : 9.6


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