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Strobes or rotators

Discussion in 'Strobe Lighting' started by jdsquire, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. jdsquire

    jdsquire Member
    Messages: 58

    Maybe this boils down to personal preference.....
    Strobes or rotators for Amber lights?
  2. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,372

    Rotators are a thing of the past. Strobes are brighter and look more professional. A lot of guys now days are going with mini light bars which are super bright and you can choose different patterns.
  3. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,398

  4. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Strobe are cool.
    But I still prefer my old school duel rotators.

    A flashy truck doesn't make somone a Pro.
  5. johnnywaz

    johnnywaz Senior Member
    Messages: 206

    I have both but like the old school look of the rotator style. I have to admit ive been looking at the led hella mlb 200 though. I still think the super bright led light bar might get irratating to my eyes at night reflecting off the snow.
  6. mwalsh9152

    mwalsh9152 Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    a super bright LED bar is great for instances when you are backing out on, or working on an entrance of a main road during the day, or at night. However, I agree that it gets irritating on the eyes at night, and I usually scroll through my mini bars patterns until I hit the slow rotator pattern lol
  7. indplstim

    indplstim Senior Member
    Messages: 195

    Just finished installing 4 corner fenix cannon hide-away leds today on my second truck. I really like this setup. No bar on the truck, replaces back up lights in the rear and on the corners up front under an empty lens. They are blindingly bright even in the daytime. I have the split white/amber light heads which allow me to have a all white floodlight effect when I am out in the woods or just need some extra visibility. The dual color effect is also very cool imho.
  8. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Since the OP’s question asked about strobes and rotators, I’ll stick to just those two. (All you guys talking about LED’s apparently missed that part.)

    Rotators have been around for ages and still pack a pretty decent bang for the buck. They not only provide very good warning power, but they generate enough heat to melt snow off of the outer dome. Downsides are a pretty significant current (amperage) draw and a degradation of “pop” as the outside dome oxidizes over time. (This can be prevented or reversed with proper care though.) Rotators are considered “old school” by many folks these days and are therefore priced accordingly – cheap!

    Strobes have also been around for a while, but didn’t reach their peak in popularity until after rotators did. They also provide pretty good warning power, but this is dependent on how big the power supply running them is. (Some are pretty lame.) They don’t generate as much heat as rotators, but will still melt most snow over time. The big advantage over rotators is lower current draw. Interestingly, oxidation of the outer dome doesn’t degrade “pop” as much as it does in rotators.

    As for which is better, I’d say personal preference is the biggest driver here. Personally, I think a rotator gives more warning power than a strobe. Then again, my light bar has four rotators, four (corner) strobes and 14 (front, rear & side) LED’s.
  9. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    I used to not care personally. I have both, the truck I drive I have led strobes, the previous had a 'fast' dual rotator, depends what I'm doing now, I still have the old truck plowing some roads. Honestly it seems like on road the rotators work better, I see more people wait with them. On the flip side the led strobes seem to get more people to stop in lots.

    Also depends on personal preference, and if your worried about draw. I've got a strobes n more mini bar and a traffic adviser, I like them.
  10. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    The problem with strobes is the elicterical noise of the capacitor charging and discharging. I can hear it over the radio in most all vehicles that have them.
  11. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    True strobes yes, I've yet to hear any led strobes.
  12. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Technically, LEDs and strobes are two different things. A strobe uses a power supply to charge a capacitor to fire a strobe tube as the illumination source. You have a ground wire and a 12 volt hot lead to hook up.

    An LED on the other hand is the illumination source and requires no separate / special power supply. One hooks up a ground, a 12 volt hot lead and then sometimes a "synchronization wire." Another "pattern select" wire is used to, well, select the pattern.

    Also generally speaking, strobes have only one flash pattern - from the factory. Most LEDs come with multiple (user selectable) flash patterns.
  13. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    ^^^^^really, what single pattern?

    News to me or I'm not following along, could you explain more?
  14. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Since a strobe is a capacitive discharge light, the factory sets the frequency of the discharges / bursts of light. Sure, with multiple strobe bulbs, one can set them up to fire at different intervals. For instance, the contractor I work for uses Star (strobe) mini bars. The newer ones run a quad flash left, pause, quad flash right, repeat pattern. The older ones had a double flash pattern. But I've never seen a strobe that one can change the repeating pattern on.

    With LEDs, not only can one (easily) change how often each light emitting diode flashes, but one can also change the duration of each flash.

    Any better?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  15. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,398

    Your saying the strobe itself isn't capable of pattern changes like leds.
    Strobes need a power supply to do the work.
  16. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    OK, ur referring to length time of flash.

    If so, same page.

    I run LED and a 90 watt pack, I can change pattern on the fly and split for just front only, rear or both.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  17. Hubjeep

    Hubjeep Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    Those Feinix Cannon's are really nice, I plan to put them in place of my backup light bulbs, they have 3 modes, make white priority and they will work as white backups too like you did. Will probably make the other mode amber hazard, and the third alternating white/amber.

    WALKERS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,138

    Yes I agree with Fenix $139.00 a pair. PLUS they have a mini bar for $389.00 that will blow your retinas out.
    Has 40 flash patterns. Double through switch. One of the patterns is continuous burn in CLEAR lights up perimeter 360.
  19. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Yupper. Sorry for any confusion.
  20. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Yes, and the duration of the flash is pretty well set since strobe is essentially just like a built in flash unit on an old camera. The only way you can change the "pattern" on a strobe is by varying the duration of the pause between flashes. The power supply determines all of that.