Weak Lighting

TangoDown

Member
May 22, 2010
96
Montana
In my department, the old sheriff cared not for any sort of effective warning packages on his cruisers. Therefore, they stuck with a lot of cheap Able2 products (the array of several 5mm standard brightness LEDs punched through a piece of plastic and mounted to the grill guard). They also didn't believe in lightbars for some reason, and so all of our vehicles had dash lights that weren't matched up to the windshield. It was a horror to drive code.


Now we have new administration, all of whom are fantastic to work for. Working on a limited budget they have been able to procure some really good stuff for our department. Emergency lighting, however, has not been one of them.


The only thing that has stuck, unfortunately, is the mentality behind warning power. My county is one of the largest in the state but has very few LEOs. Frequently I am either the only one working at the time, and so the drive to a hot call can last for an hour or more while running code. During the night-time, this gets extra scary as we tend to have plenty of deer that like to meet the front of your cruiser at 120mph.


To put it plainly, the warning package on my cruiser sucks. It's a 2009 Chevy Impala with the following:


(2) Whelen Lin3's on Go-Rhino Push Bumper


(1) Whelen Dual Avenger (R/B) suction mounted to the windshield


(4) Whelen Lin3's flange mounted in back window


Factory W/W on Tail and Headlights


4x60 HAW Whelen Strobe Package


Carson SC-409 Commander Siren w/ (1) Speaker


The forward warning power is horrible. The Avenger is suction mounted to the passenger side, and so if I'm following behind a vehicle during the day trying to get it stopped or go around it, people frequently do not see me. The suction cups fly off at random times, normally when cornering at high speeds or flipping on a speeder.


I've brought the matter to the attention of our administration but right now we are too strapped for budget to do anything about it. At this point I'm about to break down and buy up a ton of TIR-3s, mount them all over my car and make the thing look like a UFO. Ideally, a lightbar would be best for my vehicle but I lack the funds to purchase one on my own.


What do you all recommend I do in order to improve my 360 warning power? One of these times I am going to get clocked driving code somewhere because a semi-truck did not see me at night.
 

ohi007

Member
May 21, 2010
386
Canton, oh
i would try to get your hands on some kind of a light bar. even if it is a halogen mini bar, it would help. i am sure someone on this board can give you a good deal on something. if your dash light doesnt have a flash shield on it, again, somebody on here might have one to fit if you can provide the make and model number. i would also move it to the center of the window, either above or below the rear view mirror (rvm) to make it more effective. also 2 sided sticky tape from your local "shack" tends to hold dash lights up rather nice.


couple tir/lin 3,4,6 lights in the side windows on the rear doors couldnt hurt either.
 

RolnCode3

Member
May 21, 2010
322
Sacramento, CA
First stop - headliner bracket for the Avenger. Get that thing mounted properly. Simple and cheap. Then look towards your other options. Even if you mount a lightbar you could still keep the Avenger mounted.
 

TangoDown

Member
May 22, 2010
96
Montana
ohi007 said:
i would try to get your hands on some kind of a light bar. even if it is a halogen mini bar, it would help. i am sure someone on this board can give you a good deal on something. if your dash light doesnt have a flash shield on it, again, somebody on here might have one to fit if you can provide the make and model number. i would also move it to the center of the window, either above or below the rear view mirror (rvm) to make it more effective. also 2 sided sticky tape from your local "shack" tends to hold dash lights up rather nice.

couple tir/lin 3,4,6 lights in the side windows on the rear doors couldnt hurt either.

Thanks Steve. The Avenger does have a flash shroud but it does not mate up to the windshield. The suction cups do not hold worth a darn, and there is easily a 2" gap between the edge of the shroud and the windshield. Flashback is really, really, really bad. I will have to try some sticky tape or something to that effect.


What is the difference between TIR/LIN lights anyway? I noticed they both cost about the same. I can see the difference in the optics... but what are your opinions as an end-user?
 

TangoDown

Member
May 22, 2010
96
Montana
RolnCode3 said:
First stop - headliner bracket for the Avenger. Get that thing mounted properly. Simple and cheap. Then look towards your other options. Even if you mount a lightbar you could still keep the Avenger mounted.

Any place you would recommend to find a headliner bracket??
 

CenTexPSE

Member
May 21, 2010
789
Covington, TX
MX7000's are also very affordable, and provide lots of warning. That would get you buy for a little while.
 

Newberry13

Member
May 21, 2010
613
SC, USA
I would mount the lin3s on the side of the push bumper with a set of TIR6s on the front. Then, buy a headliner mount for the avenger and center mount it. Replace the 4/60 PS with a 6/90 and put another set of HAWs in the brake lights. Set the HAWs in the brake lights and backup lights to a "X" flash. Take the LIN3s in the back and mount a set on a rear LP bracket and the other set mounted out of the side window. Then get a set of dual avengers for the rear deck. I think that should cover you pretty good.
 

RolnCode3

Member
May 21, 2010
322
Sacramento, CA
TangoDown said:
Any place you would recommend to find a headliner bracket??
http://www.sirennet.com/whavn2.html


If it's the dual Avenger that's the page. $10 plus shipping. You'll see there's two options, one is the headliner bracket, the other is the visor mounting bracket, although I don't know how that works. Lots of people here could help you get one I'm sure.
 

NPS Ranger

Member
May 21, 2010
1,990
Penn's Woods
TangoDown said:
the drive to a hot call can last for an hour or more while running code. During the night-time, this gets extra scary as we tend to have plenty of deer that like to meet the front of your cruiser at 120mph.

To put it plainly, the warning package on my cruiser sucks. It's a 2009 Chevy Impala with the following:

You're a better man than I am. Deer generally don't care if you have a dim dashlight or a Liberty on top, if you're driving 120 MPH for an hour in the dark through deer country, what you need is an armored vehicle or a large life insurance policy.
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
Really, what are your warning needs? HLFs that I think you already have are arguably the first thing anyone will see, fresh suction cups can be had at a hardware store, and there is always velcro. If YOU see the semi, that's 99% of avoiding the accident right there.


It's as rural as my state gets where I'm at - once you get off the main highways there really isn't much to warn against. Spending big bucks on lighting is really a waste. If you put more on because you like more lights, that's cool, but it isn't going to get you there significantly faster.


I'd certainly avoid a bar - a magnetic mini won't stay put on really bad roads, and any bar is going to knock down top end and mileage to some degree.


As for people not yielding to you, you could fire plasma jets and lasers at them, some people just won't get it.
 

911

New Member
May 22, 2010
3,834
New York City
i would ask around for a free lightbar, you never know, i have given out many free surplus lightbars to people who needed it and couldnt afford it........ if i had one right now i would give it to you........


i would add a lightbar, move the avenger to the center of the rear deck, take 2 of the rear lin 3 and mount them on the grill guard so you have 4 there, and take the other 2 and mount them on a license plate bracket in the rear......
 
S

sargeek

Visit you Dealers - They might be willing to set up your vehicle as a demo unit. I like the idea of a slick top unit, but a used MX would be an improvement. Also, if don't rule out old school lighting. A set of PAR36 Halogens on the push bar and rear deck make for effective warning. (Not vary glamerous, but effective)
 

cbpdogboy

Member
May 23, 2010
1,285
Detroit, MI
This is the most cost effective solution for you...if the funds are available...


You would get a fully populated 14 head Liberty with alleys and takedowns for $800.00, if still available...


http://www.lightbars.net/


Take your 6 lin3's ( 1 on each side of push bumper for intersection/4 forward facing on the push bumper set to flash both red at one time and both blue for a larger warning foot print)


Put your dual talon on the rear deck centered for now until you can get another 1...


Headlight/Taillight Flasher along w/4 corner haws should make you plenty visible...


So...$800.00 would completely change your vehicle to a safe, effective vehicle...
 

TangoDown

Member
May 22, 2010
96
Montana
CBP - Good thoughts, and thank you for the link.


Unfortunately right now, funds are a little strapped at the moment (I think we've all been there.) Our department is experiencing growing pains, like I said - the previous sheriff did not agree with keeping a "modern department." Up until we got the new sheriff about 8 years ago, we were still dispatching off card-files. The armory was a mess - I ended up having to purchase my own M4 rifle and duty sidearm. I fully plan on itemizing my tax return next year, as I should have plenty of deductions between moving costs and work-related expenses that I will hopefully not owe any money, at least.


You've all given me some great suggestions. I have two amber TIR-6s from a new lightbar I installed for an old friend. He didn't want the ambers, so I purchased a red/blue and swapped them out. I will probably post them for sale, since they do no good sitting in a box in my closet. Maybe with the money I get from that, I could afford to buy a couple of additional LIN-3s to mount to the front.


An $800 lightbar would be phenomenal. This car is a work in progress. When I first got it back from the installer, I went through and discovered he had not fused or labeled anything. I spent about a weeks worth of my time and over $100 of my own money to go through the car with a fine tooth comb, just to fix the dangerous short-cuts he took.


Slicktops are great if they are done right. Mine is a perfect example of a shady installer who saw an opportunity to make a quick buck and screw the taxpayers. Now it has become a liability more than anything! Thank you all for your input and advice. Everything is being taken to heart quite seriously. If you hear of anybody who has a need for some TIR-6s, or has some cheap gear for sale, please PM me! Thanks.
 

Zach C.

Member
May 22, 2010
476
Southeast, USA
You are about like us. All of our (county sheriff) cars are CVPI and the only warning they have is edge bars thats it. Except for two new chargers we got and are slowly upgrading the rest but it will take time. We have a HUGE county and times there is only one deputy and he might have a response time of 1+ hours.
 

JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
11,043
Northwest Ohio
My thoughts...


1- At 120mph nobody sees or hears you coming. Slow down.


2-High beam flashers are very effective.


3-Secure what you have.


4-Deer don't know to pull over At 120mph if there is a deer, you are going to hit it.


5-Cheap high intensity halogen flashers in the rear work great.


6-Toss a $50 MX7000 on the roof? LP6000.... 9000 series whelen edge...


7-Slow down
 

MATT3045

Member
May 23, 2010
269
Akron Ohio area
JohnMarcson said:
My thoughts...

1- At 120mph nobody sees or hears you coming. Slow down.


2-High beam flashers are very effective.


3-Secure what you have.


4-Deer don't know to pull over At 120mph if there is a deer, you are going to hit it.


5-Cheap high intensity halogen flashers in the rear work great.


6-Toss a $50 MX7000 on the roof? LP6000.... 9000 series whelen edge...


7-Slow down

+100


You doing 120mph is only putting you and others in more danger. One of my neighboring police and fire departments just had a man get hit by a car doing 110+. Needless to say he did not survive nor did the driver of the stolen car because the guys mangled body ripped through the car and took him out. A deer is going to do pretty much the same thing as a human body at that speed, is anything really worth the cost of your life or somebody elses? Yes there are times to step it up a little, but 120mph in what I am taking to be a pretty rural area is a lot fast. I will bet money there are a lot of blind spots and hidden driveways. Just be careful.
 

VolEms

Member
May 24, 2010
2,112
NY, USA
I feel your pain. I think its sad that a Sheriff can let his deuputies respond without even a headlight flasher. I have a tomar 970 LED bar Red Blue very bright asking $1500 mabey I can give you a better deal. pm me . Its brand new
 

partss11

Member
May 24, 2010
62
Arizona
If you are looking to keep it slick top, you're on the right track with the Avenger and LIN3's. State PD in my area uses slick top CVPI's with 2 Dual Avengers to the front (1 on the passenger headliner, one on the lower center dash), Lin6 mirror beams, 2 TIR3's in grille, HLF, and 4 corner strobe package. To the rear is a TLF, basic traffic adviser, and 2 more avengers to both sides of the rear headliner. Personally I think this setup is ideal, and is really attention getting.


I agree with others on this board that the HLF is your biggest asset. The slow(er) flashing white light will travel farther than anything else, and will draw the most attention. Also, if you have those amber light heads, you might want to save them and use them for rear warning, it's nice to break up the color scheme with a little amber.
 

TangoDown

Member
May 22, 2010
96
Montana
Good thoughts, partss11. Since this is a police package Impala, it does have the factory wigwag flasher for the headlight and taillights. If I could find another Avenger to trade for my TIR-6s, I might be in business.
 

Sigma Safety

Member
May 21, 2010
766
western Canada
JohnMarcson said:
My thoughts...

1- At 120mph nobody sees or hears you coming. Slow down.


2-High beam flashers are very effective.


3-Secure what you have.


4-Deer don't know to pull over At 120mph if there is a deer, you are going to hit it.


5-Cheap high intensity halogen flashers in the rear work great.


6-Toss a $50 MX7000 on the roof? LP6000.... 9000 series whelen edge...


7-Slow down

120mph in a slick top? I don't need to be the 3rd..or 4th..person to comment on the safety of that.


Slicktop cars are ALWAYS a compromise on safety. A lightbar on the roof is ALWAYS the best warning on a police car. Anything else pales by comparison. This is especially true in urban/intersection situations. It's always interesting when we talk to fleet customers - they say they want super bright and "safety is the first priority". So, we suggest a good lightbar for them and they say "umm...we'll go slick top". When we ask why, they say "we don't like to be spotted from a mile away" [when the bar is off]. In motorcycling, we call that "vanity over sanity".


Pick your priorities and equip the vehicle accordingly.


Talk to your administrators about SAE J2498 Class 1. It's an international standard for public safety vehicles. You're not meeting that standard now. You should. But, it'll take a lightbar to do it.


Talk to the major manufacturers' reps in your area. Get them to give you a major discount on a "trial car" - a full package deal at extra discounts.
 

Mike L.

Member
May 21, 2010
261
Everett, WA
Your existing warning setup sounds fine. I don't see what the big deal is with 10 million lights on patrol cars. Really even the Able 2 Gen 1 LEDs you mentioned are decent. Washington State Patrol uses unmarked 2009 Impalas for their aggressive driving unit and they have a set up similar to your current set up. The only difference is instead of a Dual Avenger they use the inner edge up front (the TIR version) and they have a D8 traffic director in rear. LINs are very effective for front warning and I see plenty of unmarked CVPI's using just a dual Talon and wig wags for front warning. If WSP and countless agencies including Seattle and Everett PD's trust these set ups in major urban areas with 100's of thousands of cars, then a rural setting like yours shouldn't present any problems.


Honestly, Every emergency vehicle I have ever seen run code only 1 thing grabs my attention first and that is the headlight wigwags. Even if its a mile away I will notice the wigwags then the colored blinkies as it gets closer. The impalas have an awesome headlight wig wag to boot. The only thing I could see you might be lacking safety wise is some takedowns. SoundOff makes some white LED lights that are designed to be used as TDs or Alleys and they are insanely bright. You could get a pair of these and figure out a way to mount them to the headliner and youd be golden.
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
"Safety" is relative. Given traffic volume and terrain, one amber deck flasher and a pair of grille lights may be all you need, or if you are working the Vegas Strip you may need more. Lights are like body armor, they don't guarantee anything and no matter what you will always have some level of vulnerability.


You can't buy and bolt on safety.


As for takedowns, I wouldn't spend money on extra vehicle lights unless I already had a really hot flashlight, with a really hot back-up flashlight, and a really hot back up back up flashlight. I went years sticking a pistol-grip handheld bazillion candlepower spotlight out of the passenger window and rolling the window up to clamp it in place, It worked fine.
 

Mike L.

Member
May 21, 2010
261
Everett, WA
Stendec said:
"Safety" is relative. Given traffic volume and terrain, one amber deck flasher and a pair of grille lights may be all you need, or if you are working the Vegas Strip you may need more. Lights are like body armor, they don't guarantee anything and no matter what you will always have some level of vulnerability.

You can't buy and bolt on safety.


As for takedowns, I wouldn't spend money on extra vehicle lights unless I already had a really hot flashlight, with a really hot back-up flashlight, and a really hot back up back up flashlight. I went years sticking a pistol-grip handheld bazillion candlepower spotlight out of the passenger window and rolling the window up to clamp it in place, It worked fine.


Never heard of that trick, will have to remember that one. Takedowns do have their place though. While I personally don't find them useful for a traffic stop due to the angle of the patrol car, they are useful for suspicious vehicles or suspicious people. I used to love lighting up the kids partying in the park at night with my takedowns and spotlights. Made it real easy to see them drop their dope - especially when they are to blind to see me walk up. But you are right takedowns aren't a necesity.
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
Don't get me wrong, I love takedowns, and alleys - I just don't have the budget for super-thin LED bars, and given the choice between a fast, fuel-efficient clean roof or a Streethawk / completely flat, blunt strobe bar, I'll go topless, so to speak.
 

theroofable

Member
May 23, 2010
1,379
New Jersey
I had the same problem with my avenger sticking to the windshield. To fix it, use alcohol wipes on the suction cups, then on the windshield, and then stick it on without letting it dry. That should keep it stuck on there long enough until you get some sort of bracket for it. It worked for me so why not give it a try :cool:
 

TCO

Member
May 21, 2010
808
Malvern,Pa
small strips of the 3m moulding tape will also hold it in place of the suction cups till you can get a proper bracket for it,i hae used it in the past and it held fairly well in the sun/heat. only problem is that it can be a pita t o remove it from the glass
 

TangoDown

Member
May 22, 2010
96
Montana
Great little story that illustrates my current setup. I was traveling out to one of our upscale subdivisions to serve papers. As I'm driving down the only access road, which is a paved and very, very curvy road - a woman blasts past me. I clocked her on my RADAR at 55mph, and the road is marked every mile with 35 mph signs. I flipped on her and activated my lights.


I follow her for about 1.5 miles with my lights, and still nothing. She speeds up a little as I catch up to her, and I keep seeing her hands waving me back - as if she was shooing me off. I activate my siren at this point, and the car speeds up. At this point, we're doing 65 mph on a very twisty road. She is crossing the center lane divider, nearly squealing her tires around the corners, and showing no signs of yielding. Finally after 2.5 miles of following her with siren and lights, I call in to my dispatch that I am in an active pursuit.


I have the other deputy start heading my way, and our local trooper starts rolling code to my location. As I'm calling out the pursuit, the woman shows no sign of speeding up past 65 mph or slowing down much past that either. Finally, after traveling for another 2 miles with my sirens and lights, we come to a straight stretch in the road. At this point I accelerate rapidly to come alongside the vehicle. At this point, the woman looks over and sees my car. I pointed to the side of the road and she slams on her brakes, pulling over and stopping the vehicle.


I contacted the driver, who was very shaken up and scared. As I approach the car, I notice a small boy bouncing around in the back-seat, unrestrained. Turns out the woman did not see or hear me. She was talking on her cell phone, of all things. Apparently a small cell-phone is enough to overpower the siren speaker in my car.


Also, she did not see any of my lights. I literally had to pull up next to her so she could see "Sheriff" on the side of my vehicle, at which time she figured out I was pulling her over. My lighting is pitiful. If I was not able to safely pull alongside her vehicle, I would not have even attempted to do so, which means I probably would have been pursuing her for quite some time.


Interesting night, last night. That made up my mind, I'm gonna have to dig into my own pocket and figure out how to better equip my lighting package on my car.
 

pdk9

Member
May 26, 2010
3,834
New York & Florida
Including what u already have and some additions I was thinking of:


FRONT:


Go-Rhino Push Bumper with 2 whelen lin6 or axixtech xtreme 6 or 9 facing forward


Factory HLF


SIDES:


2 Whelen Lin3's on the sides of Go-Rhino Push Bumper


2 Lin3's behind the b-post on the headliner


REAR:


2 Lin3's on rear LP bracket


I personally don't find the HAWs effective on the 09 impala headlight housings, so i personally'd just have the 4 HAWs to the rear alternating bet. brake and reverse lights


If you want to keep this a slicktop, i'd go with a SOS pinnacle interior light bar up front and 2 Dual Avengers on the rear deck. On the other hand, if you can get some sort of lightbar (mx7000, excalibur, edge, etc.), then i'd put the dual avenger u have on the dash (instead of suction cups, use the current bracket w/ a drill to mount the light more securely than suction cups)
 

NPS Ranger

Member
May 21, 2010
1,990
Penn's Woods
If you have factory HLF's plus other stuff as originally posted, and she ignored you for 6 miles, my guess is more flashies won't solve your problem. Invest in a 200 watt siren &/or a Rumbler, or an airhorn. And learn to live with the fact that some people are morons. More lights may just give you a false sense of security as you blaze by at that 120 MPH you mentioned.


No disrespect intended, I sympathize with your frustration. Ever try to do a traffic stop in a marked pickup with an amber beacon and no siren? :lol:
 

RL1

Member
May 20, 2010
1,650
Ga
Had a dude run the other day until he got stuck behind 2 semi's. He said 'I didn't see you', my Cpl looked back at my car and laughed. It was only about 6 miles, but the way he was driving (speed and his weaving), it was pretty clear he knew I was back there. It was the first time I was told to light my vehicle lighting in a report ;) .


07 Impala


FS HLF, OEM TLF


Whelen 4 strobe pack (2 in head lights, 2 in tails)


2 Whelen TIR 3's on front of PB


Dual Viper LED on dash


6 head TIR 3 stick on rear deck


Whelen Patriot lightbar on top, 4 end strobes, inboard LEDs
 

JaBradt85

Member
May 23, 2010
193
Albany, NY
NPS Ranger said:
If you have factory HLF's plus other stuff as originally posted, and she ignored you for 6 miles, my guess is more flashies won't solve your problem. Invest in a 200 watt siren &/or a Rumbler, or an airhorn. And learn to live with the fact that some people are morons. More lights may just give you a false sense of security as you blaze by at that 120 MPH you mentioned.
This whole post is the truth.
 

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