Halogen rotators, places they still rule....?

Do halogen rotators still have a place

  • Yes, as primary warning or 100% of a setup

    Votes: 7 5.1%
  • Yes, as secondary warning only or limited types of vehicles

    Votes: 60 43.8%
  • No, they are totally outdated

    Votes: 54 39.4%
  • It that like the rtoating strobe led that I bought at the auto parts store?

    Votes: 16 11.7%

  • Total voters
    137

strobenj

Junior Member
theroofable said:
The NJDOT and parkway crews uses mx7000 amber lightbars, along with other halogen, led, and strobe lights on their vehicles, and they are crazy bright in direct sunlight. Im not sure if its because of the dome color, or if they use different bulbs, but the rotators are extremely effective and bright. I am impressed with their setups. Some of our engines have the Excalibur rotators, the clear domes are impressive, the red ones, not as much but still do a great job. As long as the domes are clean, they will look good.
It is actually NJ Turnpike and Parkway that uses Whelen Delta Bars with Halogen Rotators on top not MX7000's. NJ DOT uses Liberty Bars.
 

charliefox

Member
My not-so-humble opinion is that rotators are the best for primary lighting UNLESS the LEDs can be programmed to simulate those motions. It has been my experience that LED's are best used as secondary lighting WHEN SYNCRONIZED. Multiple random blasts of light distracts and confuses drivers, no matter what color. The role of emergency lighting is to attract attention, identify the emergency vehicle, its spped and direction and to request the right-of-way. The more time a driver has to ponder or process these messages slows reaction time and becomes a liability.
 
Like "kadetklapp" said, I too can remember being a kid and knowing all of the lightbars by name and manufacturer. They were all so cool and unique in their own ways. When I became an Officer in 2002 my agency still used All Light Streethawks and first generation MX7000s. I still remember my first traffic stop and hearing the humming of the rotators and clicking of the wig-wags. It was a sound I had heard for years when riding in my fathers patrol car and couldn't wait for it to be me someday.


Today LED certainly has its place. Smaller, less amps, brighter, etc. But that uniqueness is gone. Though there are different brands and names, they all look relatively the same and with the exception of a couple of them I couldnt tell you what is what.


Its awesome to see rotators on the road these days. Its getting more and more rare.
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
vintagebar1 said:
Like "kadetklapp" said, I too can remember being a kid and knowing all of the lightbars by name and manufacturer. They were all so cool and unique in their own ways. When I became an Officer in 2002 my agency still used All Light Streethawks and first generation MX7000s. I still remember my first traffic stop and hearing the humming of the rotators and clicking of the wig-wags. It was a sound I had heard for years when riding in my fathers patrol car and couldn't wait for it to be me someday.

Today LED certainly has its place. Smaller, less amps, brighter, etc. But that uniqueness is gone. Though there are different brands and names, they all look relatively the same and with the exception of a couple of them I couldnt tell you what is what.


Its awesome to see rotators on the road these days. Its getting more and more rare.
While it is harder to tell what's in an LED bar option wise.... the basic shapes and number of variations haven't changed since halogen days. There were a few basic halogen bars.... Tall boxes, short boxes, Vs and ovals... they came in single and dual level. Today LED bars are the same basic shapes, we just can't tell what's in them when they are off. I think it's the inability to tell if the setup if a total fail while it's off that bugs me...
 

Sigma Safety

Senior Member
theolog said:
You might be able to make that argument with the FedSig Vision SLR, not that piece of shit. :p :haha:
We had a couple of those here to test. Super rugged (bounce-off-the-concrete rugged - ask me how I know :-x ), but bright? Not really. Doesn't come anywhere close to a SLR rotator. 4 LEDs per rotator, with a flat reflector, vs 12 with a properly designed reflector - no contest . I believe the Ecco one is Class 2 (at least, they were a few years ago) and the SLR significantly exceeds Class 1. We have a garbage truck around our office that has one of the Ecco lights on it - I suppose at night it's good, but in the sunlight.... naw.


Though the Ecco one is probably 1/2 the price of the SLR, so you gets what you pays for.
 

Phillyrube

Senior Member
I was driving home from work the other night, and they have lane on the highway shutdown for paving. Through the sea of flashes and blinky yellows I see a very distinctive flash. Getting closer, it is a two bulb sealed beam rotator of some sort. Through all the other stuff, I could see that light.


Our agency has a bunch of Vista bars with a halogen rotator in the center. Newer ones have a fast red strobe. I like the rotators better, they can be seen further.
 

WS224

Senior Member
Hoser said:
The flash patterns and coverage on items in the area flat out rule on a halogen or sealed beam light with mirrors. LEDs are great for a Blur or flood of light in an area, but they lack the precision patterns of light dancing, hitting and bouncing off objects.They both have there good/bad points. Just my .02 worth.
That is the exact reason why the FDNY put rotators back in their lightbars. In urban areas where there a lot of buildings, a halogen lightbar will throw light down the street and hit buildings where your entire apparatus maybe out of view from commuters and your siren sounds are being bounced around in all directions. In essence, they can afford you warnign lights around blocked corners.
 

ERIC6913

Premium Member
Phillyrube said:
I was driving home from work the other night, and they have lane on the highway shutdown for paving. Through the sea of flashes and blinky yellows I see a very distinctive flash. Getting closer, it is a two bulb sealed beam rotator of some sort. Through all the other stuff, I could see that light.

Our agency has a bunch of Vista bars with a halogen rotator in the center. Newer ones have a fast red strobe. I like the rotators better, they can be seen further.
this is where "dwell-time" comes into play. speed is not necessarily your best friend. look at the flash patterns the CHP uses for example.
 

KFRDtondout

Junior Member
I myself love old school rotators, I own numerous firebeams and got a dashlaser, I had all led lighting throughtout my pov and just ditched the dual led dash lights and run my firebeam up front an spectir8 and leds to rear and sides with strobes in tails. I cant get use to using all leds when I have the good old halogens still turning. Leds are nice with the low power draw but like previously said I think they can be too bright and horrible when frost sticks to your windows right where the leds are. I dont think ill ever not run my rotator, If it wasnt for driving a lincoln ls id have a mx7000 or my favorite streethawk on a truck/suv. everyone has opinions and good points, so keep em coming.
 

MESDA6

Premium Member
Driving in a neighboring city recently, I was in fairly heavy (for the area) traffic in the middle of the afternoon. I realized that I was seeing white light bouncing off the trees but wasn't sure where it was coming from. About 5 seconds later, the opticom flasher on the traffic signal ahead activated, then I heard a siren. It was at least another 10 seconds before a Fire Engine with a full halogen lightbar came around the corner. The ability of halogen to "throw" light continues to make it my favorite for being seen. I was definitely seeing a rotator and not the Opticom based on the movement.
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
MESDA6 said:
Driving in a neighboring city recently, I was in fairly heavy (for the area) traffic in the middle of the afternoon. I realized that I was seeing white light bouncing off the trees but wasn't sure where it was coming from. About 5 seconds later, the opticom flasher on the traffic signal ahead activated, then I heard a siren. It was at least another 10 seconds before a Fire Engine with a full halogen lightbar came around the corner. The ability of halogen to "throw" light continues to make it my favorite for being seen. I was definitely seeing a rotator and not the Opticom based on the movement.
FDNY embraces this concept on their engines.... there is something to be said for bouncing light off buildings and objects..
 

AggiePhil

Member
Just to play the devil's advocate, is there really a difference between the directionality/reflectivity of light put off by a halogen rotator and light but off by a flashing LED? Is light not light?
 

nerdly_dood

Veteran Member
AggiePhil said:
Just to play the devil's advocate, is there really a difference between the directionality/reflectivity of light put off by a halogen rotator and light but off by a flashing LED? Is light not light?
Moving light is better in an urban area than stationary flashing light. There's tons of stationary flashing lights everywhere in New York - signs on buildings, turn signals... signs on buildings... signs on buildings... Times Square... turn signals... Times Square... But none of them rotate in the way that rotators in a lightbar do. If you ever see a vehicle with rotators or intersection sweeps on it at night next to a building, you know how eye-catching the motion of the lights is when they shine on the building. You don't even need to see the vehicle itself, either - the light shining on the buildings gets to an intersection way before the vehicle itself does, giving an extra few seconds of warning. No other type of warning light does that.

This isn't at all only applicable to New York, either - the effect is the same in the burbs or out in the woods. Any place where the road is surrounded by something as tall as a fire truck is a place where rotators gain an additional visibility advantage over strobes and LEDs.
 

AggiePhil

Member
I see what you mean. It isn't that the light can physically get to places it can't with LEDs. It's that the light is more easily identified as emergency lighting when it reflects off objects. Makes sense.
 

Tony63031

Member
My Chief was considering replacing the custom MX short bars I made for our reserve truck with mini LED bars, but I talked him out of it. One, they work fine. 2) they are far cheaper to fix than LEDs and 3) LED bars are expensive. That is money better spent on equipment and so forth. I am putting LEDs on the rear and sides of the truck, but their is no reason to replace the mini MX's on the roof.
 

Tony63031

Member
vintagebar1 said:
Like "kadetklapp" said, I too can remember being a kid and knowing all of the lightbars by name and manufacturer. They were all so cool and unique in their own ways. When I became an Officer in 2002 my agency still used All Light Streethawks and first generation MX7000s. I still remember my first traffic stop and hearing the humming of the rotators and clicking of the wig-wags. It was a sound I had heard for years when riding in my fathers patrol car and couldn't wait for it to be me someday.

Today LED certainly has its place. Smaller, less amps, brighter, etc. But that uniqueness is gone. Though there are different brands and names, they all look relatively the same and with the exception of a couple of them I couldnt tell you what is what.


Its awesome to see rotators on the road these days. Its getting more and more rare.
My truck has an MX bar on it. Everyone at the fire house was like " WHY DON'T YOU GO LED AND JOIN THE 21ST CENTURY? " . I have LED grille lights, but why spend a grand or more for an LED bar when my MX red and blue bar does the same job for less money? Yes, LED bars use less power, but rotator bars have an unmatched beauty about them. Only thing in the bar that will be LED will be the flashers and that is it. I find my MX moves traffic better and it has character and beauty of design!
 

unityrv26

Member
Take an all-light streethawk with halogen rotators with a center oscillating clear halogen light......replace the secondary lighting with LED's. That would be my perfect light.
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
Tony63031 said:
My truck has an MX bar on it. Everyone at the fire house was like " WHY DON'T YOU GO LED AND JOIN THE 21ST CENTURY? " . I have LED grille lights, but why spend a grand or more for an LED bar when my MX red and blue bar does the same job for less money? Yes, LED bars use less power, but rotator bars have an unmatched beauty about them. Only thing in the bar that will be LED will be the flashers and that is it. I find my MX moves traffic better and it has character and beauty of design!
There is not always a reason to replace a halogen bar that works. You guys are right.... the money is better spent elsewhere unless the halogen bar is in bad shape or the amp draw is questionably high anyway.


Say what you will about the amp draw (needed shut down to secondary flashers only on scenes), these trucks really moved traffic driving through down town bouncing off the buildings, and onto the corn and crops. My major complaint with these trucks was they only had the minimum 3 lights to the the rear. I digress.... halogen is effective.... those gains need to be weighed against amp draw and wear and tear.


ai57.photobucket.com_albums_g205_elightbars_Dscf2944.jpg


ai57.photobucket.com_albums_g205_elightbars_hanco5.jpg


ai57.photobucket.com_albums_g205_elightbars_hanco3.jpg
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
Compare the rotators to the LEDs on the skylift....... also enjoy the world's number one appliance based band.

 

foxtrot5

Gold Supporter
First of all, that was one of the strangest videos I've seen in a while.


Now in regards to the lights, There were few shots where the LEDs overpowered the rotators. It seemed as if the camera had to be at just the right height and angle relative to the LEDs to show how effective they were. The rotators were bright no matter the angle but I would like to seem them rotate slower.
 

Impala9C1

Established Member
I started with a Jetsonic then Jetstream. Fine bars. Had a few different generations of Code 3 LED bars on the roof. They should have an auto hi/low sensor setting for the newer and brighter bars. Driving by a few SUVs with amber mini LED bars in the dark morning made the people next to them invisible until my car was 3 seconds away from hitting one if he stepped more closer to the narrow path of traffic they created. I was cruising at maybe 10mph mostly because I knew someone must be around there. I still like the high profile look on the taller lenses of rotatory bars. Even when they are off it still makes your presence known behind 2 vehicles.
 

LineSpotter

Junior Member
One of the most effective set-ups Ive ever seen was just last year when my wife an I flew up to WI for our annual trip to Oshkosh (Airventure). On the way back from dinner with friends we came across an accident where the local town had their Quint blocking traffic.

They had a set of 3 of the Federal Sentry Halogen beacons on either side of the cab (staggered like the old Vectors) with two being red 360 rotators and the center one clear oscillating. On either side of the cab down at rear window height they had two more of the Sentry oscillators in red, then two amber ones at the back corners sweeping rearwards.

They may be goofy looking beacons but they kicked the crap out of everything else on scene including modern full LED set-ups. Ive even seen some videos with NYFD and CFD using the older Federal 100's as primary lighting (reserve rigs?) I believe those use the same reflector as the Sentry.

218576
 
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tsquale

Site Minion
Platinum Supporter
That is possible now with their Navigator series in 45" and 53". Here is a photo from their website showing the mirror with it

218579
 

CHIEFOPS

Senior Member
The Navigator's rotators are really secondary lights, it's predominately a fixed flasher bar. What I'm talking about is a Vision SLR in a straight bar
 

Sparx_MacGyver

Registered Member
Now that would be something. Almost a modern take on a classic of theirs. If I could afford to do so, and could make them work, I'd teased the wife about buying some of the SLR's and stuffing them into a Hawk housing. :D
 

NPS Ranger

Veteran Member
They had a set of 3 of the Federal Sentry Halogen beacons on either side of the cab (staggered like the old Vectors) with two being red 360 rotators and the center one clear oscillating. On either side of the cab down at rear window height they had two more of the Sentry oscillators in red, then two amber ones at the back corners sweeping rearwards.

They may be goofy looking beacons but they kicked the crap out of everything else on scene including modern full LED set-ups. Ive even seen some videos with NYFD and CFD using the older Federal 100's as primary lighting (reserve rigs?) I believe those use the same reflector as the Sentry.
Only someone who has driven a patrol car with a rotating beacon in fog or heavy snow, can appreciate how it locates and identifies the vehicle for other drivers. The flashes can also reflect into an intersection even when your vehicle in the side street is still hidden by buildings. Fixed LED bars are brighter in a direct line of vision, but rotators still have some advantages. Typical FDNY setup with rotator at the outer ends of the LED bar:

 

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