Wireless lightbar (As seen on ELB FB page)

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
Here it is, the 99% completed prototype of my wireless lightbar.

Lightbar: Whelen Liberty SX (used) 14 head with halogen takedowns and LED alleys

Solar: Coleman 18 Watt 12 Volt panel utilizing a 7 amp charge controller

Battery: Pilot Instaboost 400amp pack w/built in charge controller

Relays: TinyOS TOSR08 8 channel Bluetooth remote control kit

Tablet: iRulu Expro x1 7" 8 gig quad core

Charge jack: First Gear item# 512975

Videos:

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Sparky_911

Member
Gold Supporter
Damn thats awesome. Excellent installation of the parts and wiring. Best patent that right there, lol!

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this but...more details!!!
1. Run time (full tilt boogie til it shuts down) on the 40Wh battery?
2. How long to fully charge from solar/car/shore power?
3. Rough time estimate to retro-install everything on the bar?
4. Tablet/PC/MAC/IOS/Android compatibility for programming/controlling??
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
I haven't gotten around to much testing yet. During the initial build phases I got 2hrs out of a 75% charge with the primary lighting going on low power. Flashing alleys and takedowns were disabled for that one. I got 20 minutes out of a fully charged Li-ion 14V compact drill battery. (First idea was to use drill batteries with a mount on the outside of the bar for easy swaps)

Charge rate on solar is totally unknown at this point.

Charge rate on 110v is a few hours from 25% or less to fully charged.

12v charge rate unknown.

The software is downloaded from the manufacturer of the wireless relay setup. I believe it is compatible with most platforms. iOS and Android for sure as I have utilized it on both.


As far as patents go... I don't know what I could patent. Code 3 has multiple patents that use wording very close to describing this exact thing. And a member here has filed for a patent on a wireless mini led light of similar concept.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
Now that I have it all figured out.. I would think time to retro fit with materials on hand.. Depends.

Setup exactly like this.. An hour or two.

Hardwire with just wireless setup.. 30 minutes.


That's me. For everyone else it would depend on skill level.

Exact setup maybe range from 1-4 hrs

Just the wireless setup would range from 1-2.5 hrs.

Lots of variables but gives you an idea.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
I had this Liberty on hand and one day decided I wanted to build a battery powered full size light. Then I had to figure out how to remotely control it. Lots of research of components ensued and this is what I came up with. I was solo on this one. Bounced a few ideas off of local friends and Jesse (Fluffy) from the forum.

An electrical engineer could make this a lot better. The battery is the weakest link. Not enough run time.

Currently it would be enough for a volly responding to the station.

I think the wireless setup works good, if you hard wired the power and ran the wireless Bluetooth setup it would make installation a breeze.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow

Solar charging. I started this pretty late in the day and ran out of usable light 30 minutes into it. In the 30 minutes it did bring it from 50% up to 75%. (according to the indicator on the pack)

I'm contemplating selling the prototype and all technological documents to JDI for 12 clams, a pet rock and 3 bales of hay.
 

Jarred J.

Archive Expert
Silver Supporter
10,000 mah battery equals 10 amps.

18v solar panel eguals "roughly" 1.5 amps of charging ability... (minus loss in connections and charge controller)

it would take "theoritically" 6 hours and 45 minutes to charge the battery from its lowest usable point to full.

get rid of the booster pack and get a real battery (more battery capacity without all the fancy rubber coating. less heat for battery as well.). get rid of the oversized 18watt panel and get flexible panels that could add up to 25w. would run longer.
 

vonirkinshtine

Site Regular
I recommend this place as a battery source:
http://www.batteryspace.com/

I bought one of their NiCd packs for my bike headlight project and got AMAZING results. I agree with the others, ditch the booster pack and get basic battery packs. Less weight, less volume (you should be able to cram a bunch of them into the same space as you have now).

I love the work you've done! Would be a great way to temporarily mount a full lightbar. I also love the thought of running a lightbar without drilling the big 1" hole in the roof to run the power and control wires.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
Thank you for the compliments everyone! Even if you only run main power cable to the battery, it saves so much time and materials running the other wires into the passenger compartment and to a switch panel. Less drilling, less wiring, etc etc. Makes installation more streamlined.

Like I said before, nothing I am looking to get rich off of, just a project for me. Other people have patents pending and all that jazz, which I looked into at first and figured it's not worth it for me. I just had fun doing it.

Batteries!! I don't know enough about batteries to know what would work as far as capacity and output let alone the special charging requirements of these new poly batteries. I'm pretty much in the dark there... As you can tell from my booster packs!!
 

Nathan R

Administrator
Administrator
YESS!!

Thank you for taking my suggestion and posting it in here!! The FB Group obviously does not work as a Forum does, and the ability to archive and search down the line works here.

Nicely done with the work on the bar!!
 

vonirkinshtine

Site Regular
Batteries!! I don't know enough about batteries to know what would work as far as capacity and output let alone the special charging requirements of these new poly batteries. I'm pretty much in the dark there... As you can tell from my booster packs!!
It all comes down to mAh (miliamp-hours) and then what technology do you want to pay for. The two most basic [cheapest] types of rechargeable batteries are the Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH). With NiMH you'll be less likely to run into issues with battery "memory" (the battery gets a false sense of a "full charge" over time) than with the NiCd.

Other than that, you just need to do some quick math to determine your capacity. Figure each LIN6 module draws about 1 amp each (probably more for LED take-downs/alleys). And that's only for the time that it's illuminated. Since every module doesn't flash simultaneously, it would be safe to guess that out of the 16 modules, at max, 8 would be on at any given moment in time. So that would be an instantaneous draw of 8 amps. To account for losses and "fudge factor" we'll call it 10 amps. If your bar draws 10 amps at any given time, you just need to make a guess at how long you'd need it to run between charges. Let's say 1 hour. To get your battery capacity you'd multiply 10 amps, for 1 hour, and you get a 10 amp-hour battery (or 10,000 mAh). At this point, you can either get a single 10,000 mAh battery, or hook up two 5,000 mAh batteries in series.

Now for solar recharging, that's something I haven't messed with, so I would say "consult the manufacturer". I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find the recharge rate. Even better would be if you could find a solar panel that could deliver more than 10 amps at 12V (greater than 120W) so you could charge while running your lights.

[/engineer]
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
That explains why I can only get a little more than an hour out of the full bar on low power (corners of course are always on high) and an hour out of the rear in high power. I got 1.5 hours out of just the front on high power.

That's with no help from the solar panel. By the maths it doesn't seem the solar panel would assist much while in use.

Why hasn't one of the big 3 mass produced something like this yet? They seem to have the R&D and the tech to make it happen. I did see in another thread that Code 3 did have one, I think it was for AZ DOT?
 

wilsonbr90

Wilson LED
As I stated in the facebook post the most viable battery technology to use would be lithium, but they are rather dangerous with temperatures and being charged/discharged.

Nimh batteries would be a good alternative but you add in weight and discharge volt drop slope. There's a big lumen difference when powering the lights at 13.5v, 12v, and 10.5v.

Then there's the danger factor. We all know that there is no such thing as a planned call. If I don't have the bar mounted then the time it would take me to mount it and fire up the controller is time lost

Also what is a responding persons worst nightmare? Having his lights fail while responding. If during the day your using this and the battery dies you may not notice your lights went out, or the brightness has dropped enough that your light output is diminished.

I'm not knocking the idea, just pointing out the flaws and safety aspects. Would this fit a niche? Absolutely! It's a fantastic idea, but I believe that even for me, who hasn't had a call in over a month, it's not practical. How do I know it's ready when I need it? And if it's not ready, how much time am I going to waste getting it ready.

Some simulations would be beneficial to work out some situations but you can never be prepared for all of them.

Now with the remote control only, not a half bad idea, but here again I think it would be best with a designated tablet that's always on and always ready. If not I need to wait for it to boot up, if the battery isn't dead. Then select the app, hope that the Bluetooth syncs the first time, etc.

It's truly an advancement! But I feel it's more of a flashy toy thats the new thing than a trusted setup that's there to keep you safe. There's too many fail points.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
Agreed. With any technology there must be advancements that bring reliability to the table at some point. Gotta start somewhere. But yes, it's a cool toy =)
 

JazzDad

Just Another Faceless Member
Silver Supporter
Wilson brings up a point. If you are in a MVC, and are faulted (no matter to what degree), will an attorney try to say that your were responding with "experimental" lights, that do not meet the accepted standards?

Flame on, but I've seen stuff like this happen.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
Did any new ideas or suggestions emerge from this? I haven't had much time to work on it lately and am going to start looking into it again seeing it wouldn't sell.

After a long period of inactivity the bluetooth module went into a fault mode. I had to take the whole bar apart to reset it. So, I'll be trying to come up with a way to reset it from the outside of the bar, possibly a momentary switch that interrupts the ground on the bluetooth module.
 

ExtremeLED - Chad

Registered Member
This is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing.

So does the wireless relay module allow you to set a on/off frequency that you can customize?
 

Sparky_911

Member
Gold Supporter
I think maybe Chad was referring to flash rate frequency...best guess anyways.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
The flash rate is controlled by the standard Whelen I/O board. It could be set up to change the flash pattern via wireless.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
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I have added a reset button to the exterior of the bar for the bluetooth relay module. If the module has a hiccup you can hold the reset button for a few seconds and it reboots it.

I also did away with the battery and wired the solar charger to the main power harness so that it will provide a charge to the vehicle battery when the light is not in use.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
You may have seen it in the for sale forum, I have made another "basic" wireless bar. It is a 48" Liberty and features just four corner led's and halogen alley lights. The bar has a normal 12V wire harness and is controlled by a two relay wireless module.

No solar panels, solar charging, or battery packs in this one. Simply removed the LC wiring harness and wired the bluetooth relay module in it's place.
 

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minig0d

Senior Member
Very cool idea! I almost wonder if wireless for the light control part and still hardwiring the vehicle isn't the way to go.... use a digital controller, like what you have, so no individual wires are needed to trigger the various functions but continue to hardwire just 12v.

Everyone knocks it, but Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (and possibly others) have ran the lightbar wires straight down the windshield on the passenger side, to the battery... That was back in the strobe/halogen days. With an all LED bar and none of the control wires due to the wireless connection, that would be a much thinner wire that would barely be noticeable... you could realistically have a complete lightbar installed in less than 10 minutes...
 

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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow

Installation on this truck took literally 5 minutes.

Put bar on roof, attach straps, run cable directly to battery.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow

Scrolling through the functions.

Yes, the bar is on backwards. The body blocks the rear and it's a waste of a TA!

When the body comes off of the truck the bar will get turned around.
 
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Grotonems5

Grotonems5

Super Trooper Meow
I swapped out two of the amber modules in the TA with duo R/A heads, planning on making them brake/turn while maintaining the TA and warning functions. These will also be wireless. Stay tuned for more info and updates on that!
 

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