1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Strobe vs. LED flash patterns (SoundOff)

Discussion in 'Strobe Lighting' started by Maine_Train, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    I know LEDs can have more "dwell time" vs. the rapid discharge of strobe tubes. Other than that, how much do Single, Double, Quad, Quint, Warp, etc. match up between the two technologies? Has anyone compared the two kinds side-by-side? :confused:
     
  2. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    Personally, I think it's pretty hard to compare them since there's so many variables. I have LEDs, strobes, halogen wig-wags and halogen rotators in my light bar. Evey single one of them has their good and bad points. Let me see if I can articulate below. Remember, these are only my opinions.

    Halogen Rotoators: Good: Great "pop" and good distance. Generate lots of heat to melt snow & ice. You can do wonders with mirrors. High speed rotators actually reduce visibility. Bad: High amperage draw, large size, noise.

    Stobes: Good: Great "pop" and decent distance - depending on pattern selection. Low amperage draw, smaller in size. Bad: Don't generate much heat to melt snow & ice, sounds like your camera flash - going off constantly.

    LEDs: Good: Depending on type and pattern selected, they can really get your attention. And, pattern selection is quite easy. Very low amperage draw, silent. Bad: Some patterns I've seen could put you to sleep. Literally no heat generated to melt snow and ice, expensive as hell, but coming down.
     
  3. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    That's a big factor there. I'm kinda weighing some options here, and was considering using a couple of smaller power supplies, maybe with each controlling two pairs of flash heads. (One pair front, one pair rear.)
    With each power supply running a different pattern, I thought it might help reduce the chance of anything becoming too hypnotic as other drivers approach. (Assuming not all the power packs have something like Inter-Cycle or Sweep.)

    It seems like there are a ton of videos on the 'Net showing LED flash patterns, but not so many for (gas discharge) strobes. I know there are some effects you just can't get from the capacitor-fired stuff, but was wondering if a strobe system set on "Quint" would look pretty much like an LED system with that same pattern selected.

    I might just have to get a couple of small ones and do some testing. Maybe I can get some government funding by combining it with a study of how long you can mess with something like that before your eyes get permanently crossed. :dizzy:

    :D

    Thanks.
     
  4. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    One thing I forgot to mention is that with a strobe, although you can vary the pattern, the "on" portion of the flash is pretty much fixed - and very short. With LEDs, not only can you vary the pattern, but you can also vary the length of the "on" time. So, you can get a pretty intense (depending on the brand) light that has some duration to it if you choose. You just can't get that with any other type of lighting.
     
  5. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    LEDs last longer generally.
     
  6. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Yeah, that's what I meant by "dwell time" in my first post. I think I first saw the term umpty years ago in some Federal Signal (probably still Federal Sign & Signal in those days) literature. Like you mentioned about the high-speed rotators, there's a point of diminishing returns for that stuff.
    I think it's why pretty much all strobes now have two or more "pulses" to each flash; trying to get a little more "on" time.

    That's true, too. Higher initial cost, but might outlast the vehicle they're on. ;)
     
  7. SafetyLighting

    SafetyLighting Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    As a general practice I try to use some sort of cycle pattern on all lights I install, except for the headlight flashers. On a strobe system the first flash in a multi-flash pattern is always the brightest. So in a quad flash, the first flash is very bright but the next three flashes are at a reduced intensity. It's a problem that doesn't exist with LEDs.
     
  8. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Or the problems of EMI/RFI, or getting knocked on your butt by handling the wrong part before the caps have all bled off, etc., etc.

    I'll probably be getting some LEDs eventually; it might just be sooner than I had been thinking about.
    There are almost too many choices out there. :rolleyes:
     
  9. SafetyLighting

    SafetyLighting Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    Well, EMI/RFI is still a problem actually, some products more than others.
     
  10. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    leds can virtualy be put anywhere eg. in the grill, and wont melt plastic like tubes do
     
  11. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Just with strobes, though, right? Not from LEDs?

    My strobe minibar is kinda close to the antenna for my VHF two-way. So far, no real problems with that. If the radio is receiving something, there's a little noise on the signal, but it doesn't interfere with reception. Doesn't seem to break the squelch on its own, either.
    I remember back when we'd hear strobes whistling just about every time certain people keyed their transmitter. Even if you didn't catch a unit number, recognize the voice, or see which channel it was on, you had an idea who it was. Not overpowering, but could get annoyin' after awhile. :rolleyes:

    Another good point. I've pretty much decided to tuck a pair of amber Vertexes into the cargo light on my truck some day. :cool:
     
  12. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    Good luck, I have no idea where to run wires for doing cargo light.
     
  13. SafetyLighting

    SafetyLighting Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    Some LED products emit some bad EMI/RFI.
     
  14. Dissociative

    Dissociative 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,066

    your led and strobe is always gooign to look different.

    what you lack with led mostly is the punch of the light.....just have no kick IMO

    if you want to see some patterens i can video a supply running through them...

    cargo strobes are very easy to do and retain the cargo lights if you are good.....done several....

    most leds don't require a "brain" therefor you end up with the trucks different areas doing what that set of leds is programmed to do......most are all self contained flashers and not able to sync a whole truck together with multiple different heads like you can strobes....now you can sync several of the same head like vertex together,,but try to sync a vertex with a tir3 with a slimlighter with a tir6 and you get nowhere....