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Beacon rebuild project

Discussion in 'Strobe Lighting' started by Maine_Train, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Just acquired two used Federal/Target Tech Model 100 halogen rotating beacons. The Federal (on the left) is "a little rough around the edges," but works. I should have taken before-and-after photos when I first got it. The dome now looks a lot better than it did before I cleaned it, and I even removed some black film from the reflector using the same Novus #1 cleaner/polish.
    [​IMG]

    My guess is that a former owner added the ring terminal to the ground wire, then realized he had it on the opposite side of the base from where he wanted it. It looks like his solution was to "keyhole" the stock opening for the wires. There was a small chunk of black crumbly stuff in the hole, which I at first thought was the remnant of a half-baked attempt to caulk it. Now I suspect it was melted plastic from where the drilling operation didn't go so well. The ground wire is in the original hole, the red wire is in the new, larger hole. The lighter-colored spot below the red wire is more of the spongy stuff, where the enlarged hole almost spills over onto the bottom of one of the three pillars that hold up the lamp, motor, and reflector.
    [​IMG]

    Something else I think was an afterthougt by a former owner is the female quick-disconnect terminal on the power wire of the Target Tech. Might be able to find a male version of that with a boot on it, so as not to have a potentially "hot" wire grounding out when they're unplugged, but I'll probably just go with SAE connectors for both. ("Flat four" shows up a lot in Google, but it took me awhile to find out the technical term for the two-pin version. Yay, Wikipedia!)
    The Federal has a little heavier power wire, which somebody apparently butt-crimped inside the base, to make the connections to the motor and bulb.

    I think all they'll need is some miscellaneous wire and connectors, grommets around the wire holes, and mounting hardware to go on BackRack 91001/91003 or STK 75234/75235 brackets. Maybe some epoxy for the oversize wire hole and a couple of other dings in the base of the Federal.
    By the time I'm able to order the BackRack and brackets, I'll probably have the beacons and the truck's "TRW" wiring harness ready to snap together.
    I'm going to see if I can mount them with the reflectors 180° apart, to try and make them "wig-wag" like the old Federal Visibars.
     
  2. RBRONKEMA GHTFD

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    I've got one of those same lights on my loader. It works awesome. Throws a ton of light too.
     
  3. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    That's one thing I like about these over strobes, the way they project the light beam. The mini strobe bar will be good once I get that operational, and 42 Quad Flashes per minute, per side works out to 672 FPM for the mini-bar, at less than half of the current draw of one of the rotary beacons. But I still remember the very effective Model 184 on one ambulance I worked in a long time ago. The 184 was the 4-beam "big brother" to the Model 14, which was/is the sealed-beam version of the 100. The red and especially the clear beams from the 184 just seemed to reach out and "nudge" cars to the side of the road.
    The Model 100 brochure says they're 80,000 candelas. Earler tonight, I was trying to figure out candelas, candlepower, and lumens (the measurement for LED flashlights), and I think it comes down to your description: "a ton of light."

    Should be an "attention-gettah." :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  4. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    That's an intersting thought, but don't waste your time. Due to manufacturing tolerances and natural variation in the manufacturing process, each rotator will rotate at a slightly different rate. So, even if you start out with them 180 degrees apart, they won't be in pretty short order. (Just wanted to save you a little work there.)

    As for rotators "throwing more light," yes, good ones. do. (And the ones you picked up are pretty good.) As you also stated though, the current draw to get that effect is what pretty well signed the death warrant for emergency vehicles using lots of rotators.

    My Star Interceptor light bar has rotators, strobes, LEDs and wig wags. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. I still like the effect of the rotators the best though. Of course I run a clear outer dome with amber filters on each rotator - and those filters run a special modification with a slot cut hortizontally across each filter right where the filament is. This gives each "flash" a slight bit of white "pop." I have a number of folks with plows, some Fire Police, volunteer fire fighters and even one Fire Chief around here running these specially modified filters and they all swear by them.
     
  5. SafetyLighting

    SafetyLighting Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    Michigan State Police use the same technique. It's pretty cool.
     
  6. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    Yea, it's even used in some red traffic lights with a strobe bulb backing up the regular light around here. Like you said, it makes quite a difference - for free.

    I ran the idea past the engineers at Star a few years back and they weren't interested since all the focus is on LEDs these days. So, I just build them in my basement shop for those that ask for them.
     
  7. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Yeah, I figured the reflectors might get "out of sync" after awhile, but thought it would be fun to see how long it would last. :D
    I believe the Federal Visibar had a chain drive between the two Model 14s, which kept them in their alternating pattern. If I remember correctly, some other manufacturer eventually made an oblique reference (or not so oblique) in their advertising, about how their bars had independent motors instead of a chain that could break and disable the bar.

    Of course now I can't remember the names of them (and I'm too lazy to look it up), but Unity used to make sealed-beam beacons with solid red or blue domes that had two horizontal clear strips around them. The clear sections were located where the bottom and top of a beam would pass.
    Later on, Mars came up with a series that had vertical strips molded inside the clear plastic domes, into which colored filters could be inserted. The mounting strips created little bursts of white between the other colors.
    Both were good lights, but not exactly the "better mousetrap" that the entire world wanted. I think Unity (better known for their spotlights) became part of Federal, and Mars is now under a different name. I think the only one of their older products (which were pretty big with Chicago F.D. and P.D.) that's still being made is the "888 light."
     
  8. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    Yea, here's what the ones I make look like:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  9. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Neat! :cool:
    One might think a manufacturer would have thought of that by now, or at least been interested in trying it.
     
  10. SafetyLighting

    SafetyLighting Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    You are all gonna think this is hysterical. I looked at that picture and I was thinking how that bar was a very funny shape.

    Took me a minute to realize the picture is of the Side of the light bar LOLOLOL.
     
  11. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    This any better?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    "The original double-decker micro-bar. One halogen rotator, and everything else that will still fit, in one compact package." :D
     
  13. DugHD

    DugHD Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 420

    Do any of the Mainers here know what the Maine state plow trucks are using for the light bar? It appears to be amber strobe type about 12" x 12" square. They mount them up on the dump bodies headboard or on a pole. Thanks, doug
     
  14. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    I think those are the Whelen® Micro Edge strobes up over the driver's door. I believe those are made with two long flash tubes, back-to-back diagonally. Like these?
     
  15. Pirsch

    Pirsch Senior Member
    Messages: 596

    The 1970's Visibar's had the chains until like 1979-82 when they actually were putting Model 184's on instead of Model 14's. Then they just went to regular wiring. Triplite also had bars that had chains also but after I think it was 84 they went to nylon chains then they figured since they were breaking alot they just did like Federal did.

    Nothing like a Visibar with 2 cat eyes between the model 14's and the speaker on those bars! I've actually seen someone put a couple MARS 888's on instead of cat eyes and the bar bent WAY down and kept hitting this guys roof!
     
  16. SafetyLighting

    SafetyLighting Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    Yes much better Too Stroked, thanks, LOL. Good job with the filters.
     
  17. DugHD

    DugHD Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 420

    YEs, those look like them. Thanks
     
  18. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Are "cat eyes" the "can" lights with a sealed beam in each end, sometimes called "Adam 12" lights?

    I guess those Mars lights are heavier than they look!
    Way more metal, and sometimes glass instead of plastic, in those old warning lights.
     
  19. Pirsch

    Pirsch Senior Member
    Messages: 596

    Cat Eyes are about 5" in diameter and about 2" deep with chrome around it. Some of the old fire engines used to have them on the backs.

    The Mars 888's were heavy chrome with glass in the front and cast inside and the motors had alot of weight. The originals were about 10-15 lbs each!

    mars 888.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  20. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Oh, okay; usually double-sided, and probably the largest version of what were often called "lollipop" lights? If it's the ones I'm thinking of, the chrome ring formed kind of a little "visor" at the top. I think Dietz made those, and they may even have had a strobe version at one time. The '65 Mack B pumper that my old town ran for umpty years had those in the back.

    Wow. No wonder they were (are) so expensive
    I can remember only seeing one of the clear, bullet-shaped ones in my travels, but have seen a few of the ones where the lamp housing was mounted above the motor. Those were before white warning lights were common, and before revolving beacons over the windshield on semi-cab apparatus. Sometimes they'd mount one below the center of the windshield on a cab-forward unit.
    Something else I was always impressed by were the Federal Solar-Rays. Usually saw them as a siren light, rather than the stand-alone unit.

    Man, I'm starting to feel ancient here. Booster lines, rubber coats, aluminum Cairns helmets. Bunker pants were only if you got called out at night. All-Service masks were a last resort (what the hell's an SCBA?), or only if the chief told you to use one.
    Yarr, iron men and wooden ladders . . . ;)
    The "good old days"? Well, sometimes. . .