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Newest Offerings from Signal Vehicle Products
Endurance is required for a business to find success in tough economic times. It is what a small company needs to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry. It is what customers want when they choose a vendor for equipment as important as emergency vehicle warning systems. And it is precisely what Signal Vehicle Products® (SVP) brings to the warning product industry.
Signal Vehicle Products’ parent company, STAR Headlight and Lantern Company, has been in business since 1889—120 years. That’s well before the first Model-T rolled off Henry Ford’s production line! Signal Vehicle Products itself dates to 1974 when it began life as Southern Vehicle Products. After establishing itself as a warning industry leader, Signal Vehicle Products became a division of STAR in 2000.
When you’ve been in business as long as the STAR/SVP brand, you see tremendous change. Warning light technology has evolved from incandescent to halogen, and from strobe to light-emitting diode (LED). STAR’s Signal Vehicle Products division has an extensive emergency warning product line that reflects the best of all these types of lighting.
Its LED products are where it sees itself as an industry innovator. It has introduced several legacy LED products since 2000, including the DL15 Starburst™ Series and the STAR Phantom® Lightbar Series. These products are easily recognized market staples and have been very successful.
STAR LASER™ Lightbar
STAR/SVP hasn’t stopped there, however. Taking advantage of its state-of-the-art, ISO 9001-2008 certified production facility located in Avon, NY, it has developed a full line of LED-based products, including the STAR LASER—an all new, modular, low profile, full-sized lightbar.
Prior to the STAR LASER, STAR/SVP’s lightbars were designed to accommodate and work equally well with halogen, strobe or LED lights. This design flexibility had some drawbacks and didn’t fully benefit from the advantages offered by LED-based lights. The STAR LASER has been freshly designed to be capable of competing with any manufacturer’s best offering.
Among the STAR LASER lightbar design team’s goals were that the lightbar be fully modular, easily serviced, and have a long lifecycle. The lightbar’s sculpted contours provide a sleek and modern look that complements sedans and SUVs.
At a mere 2-5/8 inches high, the bar’s low profile offers stealthy appearance and less wind resistance to help meet fleet gas mileage goals. Five lengths are available, from 22 inches up to 58 inches, including a 46-inch bar appropriate for most police vehicles. All STAR LASER bars are 12¼ inches wide, providing for a stable mount and excellent 90-degree warning.
STAR’s engineers have produced an exceptionally strong and rugged lightbar by using aluminum extrusions for both the base frame and top cover. These extrusions are produced in-house, as are the STAR LASER’s optical-grade, UV-stabilized, virgin polycarbonate lenses.
The STAR LASER is completely weatherproof, with its exterior lenses, top cover and each individual light module sealed against dirt and moisture. All fasteners are stainless steel—a smart feature that has been standard in STAR/SVP lightbars for years. Should you need to service the lightbar, its top cover easily removes to allow access to the light modules and wiring.
The heart of the STAR LASER and the key to its modular design is STAR/SVP’s proprietary Laser Cage Technology™, which it contends offers the most advanced integrated component design of any current lightbar product. The Laser Cage Technology (LCT) and simple plug-and-play electronic connections allow each lighthead to interchange with any other, providing for complete customization and easy module replacement.
This ease of replacement capability is unlikely to be needed, however, as each lighthead’s circuitry is protected from vibration with the “ISO-VIBE” design. STAR/SVP’s “ISO-VIBE” uses rubber grommets to “float” each trapezoidal light module in its mounting bracket.
Laser Cage modules are available in M-Tech® LED, Starburst LED, standard (5mm) LED or halogen versions to accommodate any spec or budget need. The M-Tech modules provide impressive off-axis viewing, making them effective front and corner warning choices, while Starburst modules excel at directional warning.
Takedown and alley lights can be either LED or halogen. It is only recently that LEDs have become viable in this application, but now they are generally considered superior for their ability to emit an even flood of light, true-color rendering and lack of glare for video evidence purposes. If you haven’t seen the latest generation of LED takedowns or alley lights, you are really missing out.
The STAR LASER was designed from the start to be an LED lightbar. STAR/SVP had learned a lot about what works in LED lightbars since first offering LED options in older lightbar designs. Each Laser Cage LED module uses advanced heat management technology to maintain a circuit-safe operating temperature range, as excess heat drastically reduces LED output and life.
Independent driver circuits for each lighthead provide fail-safe operation; one lighthead can fail or be removed completely without interrupting the operation of any other module. Flash pattern control is integral to each module as well, with the ability to synchronize lightheads in simultaneous or alternating modes. Front or rear cut-off and low power modes are also available.
Color choices are blue, red, white, amber or green for LED modules. Halogen module filters and exterior lenses and end caps are available in blue, red or amber. STAR/SVP even allows for the end cap’s alley light position to be substituted with a warning light. Numerous flash patterns and combinations, as well as flashing takedown and alley lights, are available and user-configurable.
The STAR LASER includes a standard mounting kit, and 21 different hook kits are available to fit over 90 vehicles. Combine this with the five different length options and you are virtually guaranteed to find a STAR LASER lightbar for your emergency vehicle application.
Fleet managers almost always need a surface-mount lighthead solution to supplement their vehicles’ primary warning system. STAR/SVP’s new DLXT/DLST Series Thinline perimeter LED warning lights are an economical, flexible, U.S.-made answer to your needs.
While there is no shortage of competing products, the DLXT/DLST lights really stand out in that they are only ½-inch thick, ideal for surface mounting, recess mounting (fits standard 6-inch oval lighthead cut-outs using optional bezel and grommet) or bracket mounting.
In fact, there are now 13 different bezels or brackets for the DLXT/DLST, ranging from single and dual L-brackets in both vertical and horizontal styles; to a license plate bracket; to single, dual and triple bezels. All are produced in-house.
The DLXT is a standard (directional) warning LED light, while the DLST is a wide viewing angle LED light. Both offer S-LINK SYSTEM™ synchronization capability, allowing them to synch with other STAR LED products. All versions are fully encapsulated to protect them from the environment, permitting interior or exterior use. Each unit uses high-intensity PLCC4 LEDs and draws less than 1 amp of current.
The lights operate at 12 to 24 volts DC. Reverse polarity and current limit protection are built in. These little problem solvers are available in several colors, including split combinations. DLXT units are offered in blue, red, amber, green or white. The DLST is designed to function as a work light or back-up light and is currently offered in white only.
DLXT/DLST installation and configuration is very simple and intuitive. Eleven flash patterns (including steady-on) are available; however, when two or more lights are synched, there are 21 patterns available. The DLXT/DLST is an obvious addition to your fleet that will likely replace two or three other lighthead types.
After all, the series was originally conceived for the amber market. That it makes an excellent choice for emergency vehicle supplemental warning is evidence of STAR/SVP’s commitment to solid engineering and superior product concepts.
Just as LEDs have become viable or even superior choices over halogen lighting for takedown and alley light applications, so have they begun to replace strobe lighting in hide-away applications. Hide-away lighting uses a vehicle’s OEM headlight and/or taillight housing to host a warning light. Ideal for undercover or perimeter warning, hide-aways are very popular products in any manufacturer’s line.
Efforts to use LED lights instead of strobes as hide-aways have suffered primarily from the directional nature of the light produced by LEDs. Strobes continued to be the better choice for a majority of installs, offering more flexibility and forgiveness in choosing a mounting location. Not so with LEDs, as mounting location is critical to their effectiveness—LEDs generally can’t effectively fill the host light assembly’s reflector and have to be “aimed.”
STAR/SVP has recently added two new versions of LED hide-aways to its line. In doing so, it has given installers the flexibility needed to fit nearly any application. First is the LDK 302/304 Hide-a-STAR, available with a self-contained, in-line flasher or as a remote unit for use with a separate flasher.
This product replaces STAR/SVP’s previous design and is intended to be oriented facing out of the host light housing, offering wide-angle output without using the host light housing’s reflector. This would make the LDK302/304 an ideal light for use in many of today’s newer headlight housings where it is difficult or impossible to mount a strobe bulb inside one of the reflectors.
STAR/SVP’s second LED hide-away offering is the all-new LDK 312/314 Hide-a-STAR. This is an omni-directional, domed LED unit that works very similarly to a strobe bulb. Capable of effectively projecting light in every direction from its base, the LDK 312/314 offers mounting location flexibility and takes advantage of the host light housing reflector.
It would make an ideal choice for most taillight applications or even as a replacement for some helical strobe bulb units in older warning lightheads. It is also available in self-contained or remote flasher variants, with both offering advantages depending on the installer’s needs.
Both the LDK 302/304 and the LDK 312/314 Hide-a-STARs (the 302/312 is a two-head kit, while the 304/314 is a four-head kit) use a standard 1-inch mounting hole, operate over a voltage range of 12 to 24 volts DC, and use nickel-plated aluminum housing to aid in heat dissipation. Twenty or 25 flash patterns are available depending on flasher configuration, and STAR’s S-LINK feature allows for synchronization with other STAR LED units.
In-line flasher systems are offered with 15- and 30-foot standard cable lengths, while remote flasher variants are standard with 4- and 8-foot cables. Optional custom cable lengths are also available. All units come standard with white/clear LEDs, but user-changeable colored lenses are offered in blue, red, amber and green.
STAR/SVP’s newest siren offering is the LCS850MG—an updated version of its proven and respected Unistar™ Command Center series. The biggest change from the standard LCS850 is the addition of dual tone output, meaning the unit has two 100-watt siren amplifiers inside its remote amplifier box. This provides fail-safe redundancy (two speakers or amplifiers failing simultaneously is highly unlikely) and also produces very effective and unique warning sound combinations.
With seven siren tone options, air horn, horn-ring transfer, public address (PA) and radio re-broadcast, the LCS850MG offers the features emergency vehicle fleets require. And that’s just the siren part of this complete warning system command center!
The LCS850MG also provides total control over your lighting and accessories. Ten fused, 20-amp outputs and four programmable inputs (AUX, park-kill, gun lock and night/dim mode) allow for fleet-specific flexibility. The entire system is user-configurable with more than 150 options. For example, the gunlock feature can be set to ignition or password enable.
A full-featured traffic director controller is built in as well. Unlike some competitors’ products, this one handles both 6- and 8-wire ground switched traffic directors or logic controlled 2-wire, 3-wire or 4-wire positive or negative switched variants.
The LCS850MG is a remote-type system, allowing the upfitter to mount the electronics and wiring in the trunk or under a seat, and allowing the control head to be mounted in nearly any location convenient to the operator. This is a tremendous help in upfitting newer, smaller, non-traditional police vehicles. The control head can be bezel mounted, surface mounted, or mounted to one of several dash brackets offered by STAR/SVP.
A thin, 25-foot communications cable connects the 14-button controller to the amplifier box. User-selectable label inserts are used to label the buttons, which change color from green to red when a button is active. A progressive three-position slide switch is fully programmable to handle any warning light setup. The noise canceling PA microphone is attached to the control head.
Installation connections are designed to be simple and do not require the amplifier box to be opened. Screw lock Euro connectors make for easy and secure wiring. The power-input block can accept up to two 8-gauge wires. Fuses and option switches are accessible by removing a small cover plate, allowing quick access while deterring unauthorized “tinkering.”
STAR/SVP has ensured that the LCS850MG system is reliable and it shows with a variety of built-in features, like reverse polarity and over/under voltage protection, fused outputs, RFI shielded input and output lines, and speaker circuit protection against shorts. LED diagnostic indicators alert the operator to over/under voltage and speaker shortage problems to ensure timely repairs. The LCS850MG draws zero current in standby mode, so your battery is safe, and operates from 10 to 16 volts DC.
Add it all up and the LCS850MG is a formidable competitor offering a combination of features that are simply not available from other competitors. No matter what brand of lighting system you use or prefer, the Unistar is capable of handling it and should be on your next bid spec. The LCS850MG exceeds the acoustical requirements of SAE J1849 and California Title 13 Class A specifications when used with an SVP driver. I have personally installed nearly every manufacturer’s competing remote siren and find STAR/SVP’s version to be my favorite. I strongly recommend it for your consideration.
D-44 Cyclone™ 100-Watt Speaker
Designed to be a perfect match for STAR/SVP sirens, the new D-44 Cyclone™ 100-watt speaker is a unique product. Inspired by the acoustic tube design of a popular speaker maker, the D-44’s design uses patent-pending Cyclonic Expansion chambers to boost sound output and broaden the frequency range. The rear-facing driver is field replaceable, and the rugged, glass-filled nylon housing resists impact and will not rust.
The D-44 is only 3 inches deep by 6½ inches square, making it compact enough to fit in the tightest locations. There are currently six brackets available to fit nearly any emergency vehicle. Pair the D-44 Cyclone with any of STAR/SVP’s sirens and it exceeds the acoustical requirements of SAE J1849 and California Title 13 Class A specifications.
These new products are a testament to what a company can learn over 120 years of successfully doing business and surviving tremendous industry change.
Matthew Ayers is the owner of Command & Control Installations in Sevierville, TN, and is currently a lieutenant with the Sevierville, TN Police Department. He can be reached at C2installs@charter.net.
Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jan/Feb 2010
Rating : 8.8
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