Liberty lightbar passive/ballast

QUEENSEMT

Member
I'm not sure if this has been discussed yet. But I'm looking into buying a ballast liberty lightbar. What exactly are the differences between the two. I know that there are ballast and passive modules. But can you use a passive module in a ballast lightbar? Again I'm sorry if this has been posted before just want to make sure I'm not making any mistakes.
 

911

Forum Guru
you can use it , if you change out all the guts !!! if you are paying more than $150 for a ballast bar, stay away !
 
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QUEENSEMT

Member
\ said:
you can use it ' date=' if you change out all the guts !!! if you are paying more than $150 for a ballast bar, stay away ![/quote']

How come? What's the problem. I've only heard good things.
 

TritonBoulder47

Site Guru
I may be wrong, but I think the Ballasts and Ballast heads are discontinued... Therefor, parts aren't going to be readily available... Also, ballast bars tend to have interference issuse and an audible noise to them...
 

Zapp Brannigan

Gold Supporter
TritonBoulder47 said:
I may be wrong, but I think the Ballasts and Ballast heads are discontinued... Therefor, parts aren't going to be readily available... Also, ballast bars tend to have interference issuse and an audible noise to them...
I believe Whelen discontinued making Ballast bars in 2005 (IIRC).
 

Retired1

Site Veteran
QUEENSEMT said:
I'm not sure if this has been discussed yet. But I'm looking into buying a ballast liberty lightbar. What exactly are the differences between the two. I know that there are ballast and passive modules. But can you use a passive module in a ballast lightbar? Again I'm sorry if this has been posted before just want to make sure I'm not making any mistakes.
It has been discussed at great length in years past. I know, because I asked the same question about 5 years ago and got several excellent responses. I did not find that thread in search, but I will continue looking and post it, if I find it.


Thay said - here is some info I have found over the years:


The ballast Liberty bars were made up through 2004. The passive bars seem to have started in 2005.


A ballast bar is almost worthless in resale. A passive bar retains an excellent resale value.


A ballast bar uses a ballast to drive (power) the LEDs. It converts 12 volts to 24 volts and sends 24 volts to the individual LED modules. The ballast is in a large plastic box under the top cover, adjacent to the I/O board. The ballast LEDs are a 500 series, but are a LIN8 (not a LIN6 as used in a passive Liberty) containing 8 LEDs. The LIN8s will not work with 12 volts being directly applied so they will not work in a passive bar. The ballast bars are noticeably heavier than the passive bars.


The passive bars use LEDs that are powered by 12volts. The modules are 500 series that are also used in many other whelen products. The passive 500s are called LIN6s (they have 6 LEDs, although economy versions have fewer LEDs). The passive liberty bars I/O board contains improved functions and does not use a ballast to drive any portion of it. There is no ballast in a passive bar.


This photo shows the ballast, the I/O board, and the wiring used in a ballast bar that I disassembled yesterday:


ai174.photobucket.com_albums_w120_350v8s10_lights_20for_20sale_DSCF004617.jpg


This photo shows a passive I/O board and related harness:


ai174.photobucket.com_albums_w120_350v8s10_lights_20for_20sale_DSCF02242.jpg


more to come (hopefully)
 
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QUEENSEMT

Member
Zapp Brannigan said:
I believe Whelen discontinued making Ballast bars in 2005 (IIRC).
Are you talking about rf problems? like with vhf/uhf radios? i had two ballast talons and i never had a problem with that
 
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QUEENSEMT

Member
Retired1 said:
It has been discussed at great length in years past> I know, because I asked the same question about 5 years ago and got several excellent responses. I did not find that thread in search, but I will continue looking and post it, if I find it.

Thay said - here is some info I have found over the years:


The ballast Liberty bars were made up through 2004. The passive bars seem to have started in 2005.


A ballast bar is almost worthless in resale. A passive bar retains an excellent resale value.


A ballast bar uses a ballast to drive (power) the LEDs. It converts 12 volts to 24 volts and sends 24 volts to the individual LED modules. The ballast is in a large plastic box under the top cover, adjacent to the I/O board. The ballast LEDs are a 500 series, but are a LIN8 (not a LIN6 as used in a passive Liberty) containing 8 LEDs. The LIN8s will not work with 12 volts being directly applied so they will not work in a passive bar.


The passive bars use LEDs that are powered by 12volts. The modules are 500 series that are also used in many other whelen products. The passive 500s are called LIN6s (they have 6 LEDs, although economy versions have fewer LEDs). The passive liberty bars I/O board contains improved functions and does not use a ballast to drive any portion of it. There is no ballast in a passive bar.


more to come
thank you very much for your response. if i got this bar, are there any terrible down parts of it. ex: not bright, die often, things like that
 

Retired1

Site Veteran
QUEENSEMT said:
thank you very much for your response. if i got this bar, are there any terrible down parts of it. ex: not bright, die often, things like that
I don't know. I have dismantled every ballast bar I have ever had and sold them for parts to people that want to keep their old ones in operation. I have never used one and don't have personal knowledge of their reliability. My only thought is: they are obsolete and parts will become harder and harder to obtain. My personal opinion? You get what you pay for. I would spend the extra money and get a passive bar as they are still current and popular and lend themselves to many options that are not available on a ballast bar.
 
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QUEENSEMT

Member
I don't know. I have dismantled every ballast bar I have ever had and sold them for parts to people that want to keep their old ones in operation. I have never used one and don't have personal knowledge of their reliability. My only thought is: they are obsolete and parts will become harder and harder to obtain. My personal opinion? You get what you pay for. I would spend the extra money and get a passive bar as they are still current and popular and lend themselves to many options that are not available on a ballast bar.
Got it. I think that if I can get it for cheap enough it might be a bar to play around with. Thanks for your response. If anyone has any more info please post here.
 

Retired1

Site Veteran
QUEENSEMT said:
Got it. I think that if I can get it for cheap enough it might be a bar to play around with. Thanks for your response. If anyone has any more info please post here.
Just in case you need them, at the moment, I have 2 red LIN8s and 2 blue LIN8s at $20 each - plus shipping. They are currently in my for sale listing.
 
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spc2315

Senior Member
QUEENSEMT said:
Got it. I think that if I can get it for cheap enough it might be a bar to play around with. Thanks for your response. If anyone has any more info please post here.
Also if your interested in a ballast bar...idk what color you need but my captain has an all blue with 2 amer to rear for $300. Pm if interested
 

C420sailor

Senior Member
Not sure what color you're looking for, but there were a ton of passive blue liberties on ebay a while back for around $350. Fully populated. In 7.5/10 condition except for cut cables. I have one on my vehicle and I love it.


The nice thing about passive is that it's easy to modify. I pulled my halogen takedowns out and plugged in some blue two-wire TIR6s that I got for $20 each.
 

emtanderson51

Forum Guru
So, to answer the question "what's the difference?" Ballast light bars have light heads that are driven at 18v. The ballast was a voltage booster taking the 12v and boosting it to 18. Passive bars route 12v directly to the light heads.
 

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