Whelen Edge evolution

1968

Registered Member
Original poster
Aug 13, 2021
39
CT
I was curious about the history and technical evolution of the whelen edge lightbar platform. I know that multiple generations existed from it's inception in 1983 thought to 9M and freedom LED lightbars of the 2000s and 2010s. There isn't a whole lot about it technically like there is for Twinsonic and Aerodynic. Also how can I spot the different generations of them, I can tell an older model from the 80s or 90s from a late 90s or 2000s model but not specifically. What revisions were made and how did the technology change in this long lasting and legendary platform?
 
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JohnMarcson

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Ok, here is a rough history;
1980s

1984 -Corner "V" strobes, inboard 7x3 max beams
1984edge.JPG

1985
1985edge1.JPG
1985edge2.JPG

1986
1986edge1.JPG
1986edge2.JPG
1986edge3.JPG
1986edge4.JPG
1986edge5.JPG

1987 "J Tube" corners with 4x3 inboards
1987edge1.JPG
1987edge2.JPG
1987edge3.JPG
1987edge4.JPG
1987edge5.JPG
 
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JohnMarcson

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1990s

1990
1990edge1.JPG
1990edge2.JPG
1990edge3.JPG
1990edge4.JPG
1990edge5.JPG
1990edge6.JPG

1992 Birth of the "combo heads" containing the corns and inboards
1992edge1.JPG
1992edge2.JPG
1992edge3.JPG

1993
1993edge1.JPG
1993edge2.JPG
1993edge3.JPG

1995
1995edge1.JPG
1995edge2.JPG
1995edge3.JPG

1999 Duplex and other variants
1999edge1.JPG
1999edge2.JPG
1999edge3.JPG
1999edge4.JPG
 
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JohnMarcson

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2000s
(Abridged due to Freedom and LEDS)

2001 LEDs are starting to arrive, the Patriot is called Edge LFL, Edge is Ultra series
2001edge1.JPG
2001edge2.JPG
2001edge3.JPG
2001edge4.JPG
2001edge5.JPG

2003, 9M modular bars set up like the Freedom in build style
9m.JPG

2003, a NFPA edge made with all 700 series 5mm LEDs including the corners. The first all LED edge frame based bar.
2003LED.JPG
 

JohnMarcson

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Edge Specific Catalog late 1990s

Duplex , E series (Note you could still get bars with the "combo turbo tubes"). Around 1997/1998 you could get the most versions of the edge at any one time, everything from "E","E duplex", combo tube reflectors, stand alone non-combo tube reflectors. If Whelen had it they would build it. You could get pretty much anything except "J/V" tubes and the 9M. Every other model was fair game.

edge1997c1.JPG
edge1997c2.JPG
edge1997c3.JPG
edge1997c4.JPG
edge1997c5.JPG
edge1997c6.JPG
edge1997c7.JPG
edge1997c8.JPG
edge1997c9.JPG
edge1997c10.JPG
edge1997c11.JPG
edge1997c12.JPG
 
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JohnMarcson

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Fantastic!
To be very general the edge went through a few phases.
1984ish
1-"V" shaped corners with 7x3 linear "mini max" inboards (I'm still looking for one of theses FYI) Single or double flash

1990ish
2- "J" shaped corners with 4x3 in boards - Usually Double flash

1994ish
3- "Turbo tubes" a combo unit housing 1 corner strobe (linear) and 2 twist-lock 4x3-ish sized inboards that could be halogen on strobe. Usually comet flash

1996ish
4- "Turbo tubes" with a linear bulb on the inside and corner and ad a 4x3 sized head in the middle

1997ish
5- "Linear ends" with slide in other options of both linear, halogen and other types
6- "Duplex" "E" series- the corner strobes might be angled or might be front facing with side facing half height strobes with alleys on top (the front was the same way, full or half height halogens and strobes).

1998ish
7- "Ultra" series, wider, the same width as the B-Link bars. All linear generally.

1999/2000ish
8-Edge Patriot- Shorter slimmer edge, quickly retrofitted with 5mm led 500 series inboard lights and the 500 series TIR lights and eventually the 500s we know today. These bars were the "gateway" to LED bars and were not strobe bars for long.

2002/2003ish
8a- "9M" essentially strobe Freedoms. The corners were angled full size linear, everything else was a 400 series strobe or halogen. Theses were very easy to replace with 400 LEDs and Freedom corners.

2004-2012?
Many of the previous bars lingered on, the (9M specifically and the Ultra). LEDs were taking hold and the era of strobe bars was ending.

A few more later catalogs as the lines between the Ultra and 9M blur some duplex options remain in 400 series form. The Patriot is officially part of the edge line.

2002-2007
20029m1.JPG
2002ultra.JPG
2002pat.JPG
20049m.JPG
2004ultra.JPG
2004pat.JPG

The edge (strobe version) is down to one page in the general 2007 catalog and in the fire specific catalog the Freedom is considered a type of Edge. The same year the Patriot drops the term edge from the bar.

2007ultra.JPG
Edgewfreedom.JPG
lateedge.JPG
lfl.JPG


One of the ways Whelen slid into the LED market despite other smaller companies being technically first is the ability to retrofit the edge with LDEs. The Freedom is an edge with 400 series LEDs and the Patriot Simply started switched to 500 series LEDs.
PAT1.JPG
PAT2.JPG
PAT3.JPG

B-Link, The original wide frame all linear strobe bar from 1996
BlinkPD6.JPG
BlinkPD7.JPG
BlinkFDBAR1.JPG
BlinkFDBAR2.JPG
 

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JohnMarcson

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Fantastic!
Here are some "real life pics" of various ages of bars. These are just a few, thanks to the people who posted theses various places.

Early "V" style
1e.jpg
"J" tube style
3e.jpg
2e.jpg
whelen-edge-9000-48-4-strobe-sa-40-pa-speaker_1_8a9442c66456aa8ac1136deb50bc43d7.jpg

Turbo tubes with non -linear inner
5e.jpg
Whelen-edge-9000-lightbar-loaded-8-strobe-partpix-1.jpg

Turbo tube with Linear inners
6e.jpg
i0009-2.jpg
whelen-edge-9000_1_464bc4abea647a47270c799d11261f47.jpg

B-Link
whelen-edge-b-link-10000-strobe-lightbar-w_1_dedff13941237aa89756b1e7d177d91b.jpg

Duplex
7e.jpg

9M / Ultra
8e.jpg

Early use of 5mm leds in and edge "pre freedom"
$(KGrHqR,!qoE-Z(JsHVzBPqbqqthL!~~60_3.jpg
 

firebuff17

Member
Mar 28, 2011
719
CT
Thank you John!
This is great info. My phone/iCloud storage does not like me right now. But that’s another issue.
 

bpollard

Member
Jun 13, 2010
368
USA, SC
Hey John, speaking of the history of the edge, don't leave out the FIERCE debates/arguments - many of them on this board - about Strobe vs Halogen, Edge vs Code 3 MX !!
 

JohnMarcson

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Hey John, speaking of the history of the edge, don't leave out the FIERCE debates/arguments - many of them on this board - about Strobe vs Halogen, Edge vs Code 3 MX !!
I've only got so much space.... and time...
 

1968

Registered Member
Original poster
Aug 13, 2021
39
CT
Hey John, speaking of the history of the edge, don't leave out the FIERCE debates/arguments - many of them on this board - about Strobe vs Halogen, Edge vs Code 3 MX !!
To me the Delta was wonderful. It was the best of both worlds and unfortunately it was not very successful. A few law enforcement agencies in QC used them extensively, I can't name anywhere at the top of my head in the US that used them.
 

JohnMarcson

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To me the Delta was wonderful. It was the best of both worlds and unfortunately it was not very successful. A few law enforcement agencies in QC used them extensively, I can't name anywhere at the top of my head in the US that used them.
I liked the delta a lot. Had it come out in the "heart of halogen" days with Whelen strobe tech supplementing the rotators (the rotators likely being the weak link) it would have beat the MX7000 with added Code 3 strobe tech easily, but the MX rotator may have been better depending on generation. If we are talking "free form plastic" Code 3 MX rotators then the delta wins in both categories. The delta had the unfortunate timing of being the beginning of the sleek modular LED bar phase in warning technology and a bar with "upper and lower" domes wasn't really what was popular. I really would love to get a rotabeam LED version of the delta, but they didn't make very many (again not very sleek or low profile). I have a delta sitting around in case I ever feel like buying 5 LED rotabeams.
 
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JohnMarcson

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If anyone is interested in edge power supplies over the years I try to keep one or two of each type to repair any bars in my collection that may fail or to allow me to buy bars in non-working condition.

edgePs2.jpgedgePs1.jpg
 

Ranger-Services.com

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Feb 7, 2019
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kitn1mcc

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May 24, 2010
2,501
Old lyme ct
I think you can still special order a Delta. i know were there is an empty fire master delta sitting on a shelf.

when they went to the straight tubes they tried a corner you could relamp it was a failure
 
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kadetklapp

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May 21, 2010
1,559
Indiana
Amazing thread. Hat-tip to John.

First Edge I ever saw was in the early episodes of In The Heat of the Night on former LSP Crown Vics. Flashes were barely discernible. Second to that would be the TV movie Knight Rider 2000 and then Robo Cop. Where I lived, no agency could afford such a bar.
 

JohnMarcson

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JohnMarcson

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I think you can still special order a Delta. i know were there is an empty fire master delta sitting on a shelf.

when they went to the straight tubes they tried a corner you could relamp it was a failure

This is true. There was a re-lampable version of the type with inner twist lock bulbs, and a re-lampable version of the type with linear inner strobe. When the corners were seperated it became cheaper to throw out the likely faded reflector with the bulb. I remember trying to re-lamp a corner strobe in a 9000 bar on an ambulance in around 2000 and coming back from the local ambulance builder/remount shop with three bulbs promising to return the ones that didn't fit. There were so many versions of the edge that it was not uncommon to see bars with three different generations of parts inside simply due to replacement of tubes/reflectors. They almost all overlapped (minus the "J tube" and 9M) in 1999, then the 9M came out in 2001/2002 and other models were phased out (parts still availble) and LED components were not far behind.

Re-lampable "attached" center twist lock style:
turbo old.jpg

Re-lampable "attached" linear style:
turbotubenewer5.jpg

No longer re-lampable "split" components (note the halogen bulb is able to be replaced):
tt3.jpg
tt 2.jpg
wdgetube4.jpg
 
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Ranger-Services.com

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Feb 7, 2019
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Texas/Massachusetts
This is true. There was a re-lampable version of the type with inner twist lock bulbs, and a re-lampable version of the type with linear inner strobe. When the corners were seperated it became cheaper to throw out the likely faded reflector with the bulb. I remember trying to re-lamp a corner strobe in a 9000 bar on an ambulance in around 2000 and coming back from the local ambulance builder/remount shop with three bulbs promising to return the ones that didn't fit. There were so many versions of the edge that it was not uncommon to see bars with three different generations of parts inside simply due to replacement of tubes/reflectors. They almost all overlapped (minus the "J tube" and 9M) in 1999, then the 9M came out in 2001/2002 and other models were phased out (parts still availble) and LED components were not far behind.

Re-lampable "attached" center twist lock style:
View attachment 237472

Re-lampable "attached" linear style:
View attachment 237473

No longer re-lampable "split" components (note the halogen bulb is able to be replaced):
View attachment 237475
View attachment 237476
View attachment 237474
They stopped with the re lampable style because places like NOVA started to make the replacements and they did not want people buying from any other source so they redesigned to a new style (or so ive been told by the old timers)
 

JohnMarcson

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They stopped with the re lampable style because places like NOVA started to make the replacements and they did not want people buying from any other source so they redesigned to a new style (or so ive been told by the old timers)
Good point; I had heard that at the time, and I certainly believe there was at least some truth to it as I was buying non-Whelen bulbs for some replacements as were many other local agencies.

I also was told that the cost of the extra plastic was pretty much nominal and replacing the reflector was usually needed by the time the bulbs failed so it wasn't really practical. The bulbs were never cheap and putting a $50 bulb into a dingy reflector was sad. I would also think it was never really practical to sell fragile tubes of four or five different sizes. The dealer that sold me the replacement tube I mentioned before was not very happy about the "50 different little bulbs" he had to stock.

User satisfaction would be improved by reducing both "new tube old reflector issues" and also error in replacement (I broke a new bulb installing it once). I was actually happy to see the reflectors and bulbs being one part (again), especially since the price didn't really change in a significant way. I also liked the expansion of this idea to halogen eventually. I have like a 25% success rate of removing "snap in" bulbs without ruining the reflector (I am far less of a klutz with twist lock). Based on the vintage stuff I get with damaged sockets I think I'm not alone.

The edge really came full circle because the first versions (V and J tubes) were reflector bulb combos, re-lampable versions were the minority in the middle portion of the life of the bar.

All the reasons noted probably hold some weight. By the time of the 9M all the parts were reflector bulb combos as were most, if not all, lightheads Whelen made. By the time LEDs hit I was used to removing entire modules.
 

Ranger-Services.com

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Feb 7, 2019
242
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Good point; I had heard that at the time, and I certainly believe there was at least some truth to it as I was buying non-Whelen bulbs for some replacements as were many other local agencies.

I also was told that the cost of the extra plastic was pretty much nominal and replacing the reflector was usually needed by the time the bulbs failed so it wasn't really practical. The bulbs were never cheap and putting a $50 bulb into a dingy reflector was sad. I would also think it was never really practical to sell fragile tubes of four or five different sizes. The dealer that sold me the replacement tube I mentioned before was not very happy about the "50 different little bulbs" he had to stock.

User satisfaction would be improved by reducing both "new tube old reflector issues" and also error in replacement (I broke a new bulb installing it once). I was actually happy to see the reflectors and bulbs being one part (again), especially since the price didn't really change in a significant way. I also liked the expansion of this idea to halogen eventually. I have like a 25% success rate of removing "snap in" bulbs without ruining the reflector (I am far less of a klutz with twist lock). Based on the vintage stuff I get with damaged sockets I think I'm not alone.

The edge really came full circle because the first versions (V and J tubes) were reflector bulb combos, re-lampable versions were the minority in the middle portion of the life of the bar.

All the reasons noted probably hold some weight. By the time of the 9M all the parts were reflector bulb combos as were most, if not all, lightheads Whelen made. By the time LEDs hit I was used to removing entire modules.
yeah that bin of NOS replacement tubes is on my list of things to list, i keep putting it off
 
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1968

Registered Member
Original poster
Aug 13, 2021
39
CT
At 48:48 you can see a New Britain CT police 1989 Chevrolet Caprice. Can anyone tell what kind of Whelen Edge is on there? Doesn't appear to have ally lights. A lot of CT police cars didn't have ally lights on lightbars at the time.
.
 

JohnMarcson

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At 48:48 you can see a New Britain CT police 1989 Chevrolet Caprice. Can anyone tell what kind of Whelen Edge is on there? Doesn't appear to have ally lights. A lot of CT police cars didn't have ally lights on lightbars at the time.
.
Very hard to tell from the video but I would guess from the age and flash pattern that it is a GEN 1 or GEN 2 edge with cruise lights.
 
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JohnMarcson

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Not a lot of alleys in Connecticut... at least not in my part of Connecticut!
I have noticed that alleys were the exception not the rule on older edges and to a lesser extent takedowns too....especially on the east coast. I l have an edge (GEN 2) that has no alleys or take downs, but it was from a police car somewhere on the east coast. Officers relied on the pillar mount unity spotlight(s) a lot back then. The car in the video only has a driver side spotlight, but a local dept I used to see as a kid had no takedowns or alleys but instead had two pillar mount unity spot lights on each car, the passenger side was "pre-aimed" to the front and tightened down. It was activated with a switch on the console much like the red CA lights in the same location. The driver side spot light was used for the sides and additional front coverage.
 
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JohnMarcson

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the CSP Bars I bought about 250-300 of begs to differ, I have gotten 2-3 CSP bars without alleys same for the liberty barsView attachment 237546View attachment 237547

Those all appear post 1995, when takedowns and alleys were pretty much a LE standard. I was referring more to the time period in the video late 80s early 90s. That is however an impressive pile of edge bars, and I am not easily impressed by piles of lightbars.
 

Ranger-Services.com

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Feb 7, 2019
242
Texas/Massachusetts
Those all appear post 1995, when takedowns and alleys were pretty much a LE standard. I was referring more to the time period in the video late 80s early 90s. That is however an impressive pile of edge bars, and I am not easily impressed by piles of lightbars.
I did have 1 gen1 come through that pile but cant rember if it had alley or not, but i dont think it did
1657023974113.png
 

JohnMarcson

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I did have 1 gen1 come through that pile but cant rember if it had alley or not, but i dont think it did
View attachment 237548

I remember looking for an early edge with alleys and takedowns and having a tough time and taking a while. But then the opposite happened when I was looking to build on a later model bar. It seems when it comes to the combo reflector 9000 era if it is red/blue it has takedowns and alleys 90% of the time. it's interesting how they became "standard" on law enforcement bars.
 

1968

Registered Member
Original poster
Aug 13, 2021
39
CT
I can see a few variants of the CSP Edge. Does anyone here know much about that?
 

JohnMarcson

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May 7, 2010
10,337
Northwest Ohio
I can see a few variants of the CSP Edge. Does anyone here know much about that?
The lens on the Left side of the top bar is on wrong, amber and red reversed. Otherwise I don't see any real changes. The bars internals probably also change slightly as the series change.
 

Ranger-Services.com

Registered Member
Feb 7, 2019
242
Texas/Massachusetts
I can see a few variants of the CSP Edge. Does anyone here know much about that?
dont go by the lenses, they were all stripped for removal of the State Police plaque
as for this model there is 2 variants one with combo corners and one with turbo hal corners
other than that there is old and new style of lighted sign and the rest is about the same, mostly EB6 supplies
 

RS485

Lifetime VIP Donor
Aug 5, 2019
253
Central MA
@Ranger-Services.com -- correct me if I'm wrong but that beautiful stack of CSP lightbars are all "Diagnostix"-series. This predated B-link as Whelen's first effort towards "intelligent" control of the lightbar's functions - i.e. 2-wire propietary serial control of each element of the lightbar's functionality (including TAs - front and rear facing).

I think this laid the groundwork for B-link as well as WeCan as it began to allow users to integrate specific lightbar functionality within a larger strategy of whole-vehicle warning.

The key to this was an intelligent controller board in the lightbar itself -- I have several samples of this board, part #01-0266955-00C. They bear a copyright of 1991!
 
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