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Question on Strobe Lights

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Crumm, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I will make this a short as possible but still give the needed information. I haul freight up to the north slope. Up there we encounter what we call "blows". I am sure many of you know what I am talking about but for those that don't it is when the wind blows 30-100+ mph and moves so much snow that visibility is zero. It is a real pain to get in and out of there sometimes. I have spent 12 hours to go 40 miles before. It is stop and go actually driving by feel. When you feel the front end fall off the road (at 1mph) you back up a few feet (or have the guy behind you pull you out) and try turning the other way. After several hours of this your air cleaner will become so plugged with snow that the engine will hardly run. Beating the snow out of a air-cleaner or changing one out is a lot of fun in a 80mph wind when the temp is -30. Keeping the hood on the truck is even more fun when you open it up.

    After several hours of straining to see the way you actually start feeling dizzy and sick. They have a name for the sickness but I forget what it is. It is from moving so slowly but the snow (which is all you can see) is moving by very rapidly. Me and another fella were talking the other day about trying a strobe light in these conditions. The strobe lights you see at a disco (I know that is 70's talk) make things look like they are sitting still when they are actually moving. We were thinking that a strobe would make the snow appear to stop moving and possibly help visibility. Any input would be appreciated including a link to the brightest white or blue fast strobe that I can find for a reasonable price. I want something that I can just clamp on the bumper or possibly with a magnet so it can be removed when not in use. I think this may be worth a shot. The best thing we have found so far is HID lights but they still don't show the way through the real bad stuff.
  2. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    Blows. Yes I know that sensation you get from driving slow and fast snow. Weird. I think the strobe would be better over the rotator because the rotator going in the same direction as the wind would give the effect of making the snow seem to go faster where the strobe is a straight shot of light. I use a single magnetic roof strobe.

    PS: Been to Alaska and loved it (summer of course)
    beautiful,can't wait to go back.
  3. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    Are you transporting freight with your ford or something bigger?? What about a hide-away set of strobes in the headlights?? Could you put in 2 clear tubes in each headlight with a 90 watt power supply, have them alternate on a quad flash pattern, that way 1 would be flashing in each headlight at all times?? I have a set with 1 clear tube in each headlight & I think it makes it easier to drive in heavy snow with them. It is like you are driving in a picture that is being taken every half second. In Missouri we don't get any of those conditions that you are talking about, occasionally we do get heavy snow with a 25-35 mile per hour wind, this is when I have noticed the strobe difference. All of this is just my opinion. I hope this helps you. You can find many different hide-away systems out there, start with Nancy at strobesupply.com. She has really fair prices & is a sponsor here!
    BOAST :waving:
  4. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I am driving a Freightliner not the Ford. I will check out strobesupply.com Thanks.
  5. raptorman03

    raptorman03 Senior Member
    Messages: 333

    Check E bay i just got a mini bar off there for a good price too ,so the wife cant yell at me know for spending too much wooo :salute:
  6. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415


    I don't know one strobe from another, so I can't offer anything there. I just wanted to say my hat's off to you for being out in the conditions you describe. I thought I'd been through some brutal storms over the years here, but nothing that would be life threatening. I'd say those 'blows' fall into that category. Be careful out there! :salute:
  7. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I tried to get this one on ebay but I got outbid while I was out of town. I will keep my eye out for another.

    The blows would be life threatening if a guy wasn't prepared. We carry lots of arctic gear and some canned food and water. Once in a while we have to wait one out for a day or two so the food is a must. If the engine totally plugs up the arctic gear comes in handy too. I also have matches, 360 gallons of diesel and 18-24 tires depending on what trailer I have so I can build a fire to stay warm if things get real bad.
  8. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    I cant use strobes in a snow storm. I will get a headache for the reflected light that bounces off of the snow....Rob
  9. james731

    james731 Member
    from ny
    Messages: 71


    with the strobe you bidded on it would have been useless to you without a powersupply. they are around 150 (for 2 strobe heads) to around 400 (6 or 8 heads) depending what you get and where you get it.

    with my experience with strobes (which id say i know more than most) you dont want them for the snow. the light bounces right back off the snow and is actually blinding unless you want to have a seizure while driving stay away. the packs actually have a low power option which we put on fire chiefs cars just for that reason. my truck i have 10 strobes and 12 LED lights so im speaking from experience when i say youll get a headache

    i would say your best bet for a light that is flashing would be a LED light. they are brighter than strobes and dont reflect as bad. look at the whelen talon they have single and dual lights the single is about 150 and the dual is about 220 they mount right to the windshield with suction cups (i have 1 on my f-350 since they came out about a year ago it hasnt fallen off and that truck bounces around) and itll plug into the cigerette lighter. the best part about it if you get tired of the pattern theres like 15 that you can change through. and they come in many different colors red and amber are the cheapest and blue green and white are a little more expensive. you can find them on any website. look at southwestpublicsafety.com or strobesupply.com

    if you have any ques about lights ask im sure i have the answer and if i dont ill find it for you
  10. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415


    Trust me when I say I'm not trying to be a wisea-- in any way, but I can't help but ask. You talked about how the strobes give you a headache, but you describe your truck as being lit up by them like a Christmas tree :confused:
    What's up with that? Why have so many on your truck if they bother you?
    Or did I not read what you wrote right?
  11. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    James, I am looking for a fast flashing light to see where I am going. I was thinking that this would give the 70 mph moving snow the effect that it is not moving. This idea may not work at all it was just an idea. I only want one or two lights not a dozen. Would the led put out enough light to see anything? I am thinking a light about as bright as a low beam headlight would be just right. Anything brighter would be blinding. Do the led's flash fast? A slow flashing light would not help.

    We sometimes paint our low beam sealed headlight's blue with stained glass paint. The blue seems to show the way through the snow better than any other color. It seems like orange is the second best with yellow not far behind. I am thinking that a blue flashing light would be the best but I don't know if a guy can buy them legally since it is the color the police use. Orange would be my second choice.
  12. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    This one? I am wondering if that would be sealed up enough to use outside. I need to hook it to the front bumper down low to the ground. It would not be there all the time. I would just mount it before I head into a blow. I am thinking on the inside of the windshield I would get alot of reflection off of the hood.
  13. Frozen001

    Frozen001 Senior Member
    from Rome NY
    Messages: 908


    I have been reading this Post and although all the product mentioned are good, I do not think they would work for what you are looking to do. In order to to what you are looking for you need some thing to flash rapidly and continuously, not flash pause flash pause......

    The effect of appearing to slow down the snow you have to flash a certain number of times per minute/second. Think of how a timing light works, it flashes the same number of times per minute as the engine rotates per minute. If you want to have the same effect on the snow, I am thinking you might even need a strobe where you can vary the speed of the flashes.

    Have you thought of getting one of the strobes used for light shows, and making a weather tight box to place it in?? There are also strobe lights called stroboscopes which have variable speeds.

    This is a very interesting idea you have and it might work, I will have to think about it some more.
  14. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    The same principle was used in theatre movie projectors. A variable speed flash would work but I think your headlights would screw it up.
  15. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I would turn off the headlights when using the strobe. We often drive through the blows with no lights on at all. There are some nights were any lights make it totally impossible to see. We just drive by moonlight. We usually drive on the wrong side of the road looking at the ditch-line through the side window. It is a little startling when all of the sudden there is a truck going the other way (with no lights) halfway past you in the wrong lane.
  16. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    That is exactly what I am looking for. A light like a timing light that I can temporarily mount on my front bumper with a magnet or a clamp. Regular strobes don't flash continuously?
  17. QMVA

    QMVA Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    Sounds like you know what your looking for but what are you trying to gain from it. Not getting sick or speeding up your movement through the blows.
  18. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    Both. Speed would be good but sometimes moving at all would be an improvement. There are times you just can't go at all because there is zero visibility. Those are the times that you drive by feel but you can't really do that if you are alone. The ditches are deep enough that sometimes you need someone to pull you back a few feet when the front-end falls in.
  19. pbeering

    pbeering Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    The clinical condition you are discussing is vertigo. The strobe solution is unlikely to cure the problem sayeth the otolaryngology docs who specialize in dizzyness.

    There probably is a need to be identified so you don't get run over, and that may best be accomplished with a big sealed beam or LED system.

    Strobes are designed to attract attention. the rest of the warning lights should define the boundaries of the vehicle and allow oncoming traffic to mentally (subconscoiusly) calculate distance from you.

    3M has already figured out the theatre strobe set-up in their Opticom product, used to switch traffic lights to green for emergency vehicles. They are however very proud of the emitter units. Probably more $$ than you would want to spend, particularly for an experiment.

    If you are using HID for headlights not probably much more you can do, save move to the lower 48.......

    Good luck.
  20. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    Yeah thats it... I knew there was a name for it.

    I am just wanting something to see where I am going. We are not really concerned with being seen. When the conditions are like this no one is moving more than a few mph so even if you do crash it hardly bends the bumper. We usually turn on the beacon and load lights just for good measure but thats about it.

    I do have a set of Hella HID lights and they help a quite a bit. I know my wife would agree with the idea of moving to the lower 48.

    This is not sounding like the strobe idea will work the way I was hoping. I guess I better just play sick and stay home when the wind is going to blow.