1. #1
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    Default Apparatus Side Mounted Tank Level Lights

    I see these more and more on new trucks these days and I like the idea. We have top mount pumps on my volunteer department and having these lights on the side would save us from having to climb up and down to check the tank level, plus you can see them from far away.

    I have seen these done in two ways. First is like the new Fort Worth trucks. 4 seperate light heads stacked, each representing 1/4 of a tank. The other way is in a strip light, like this:



    Obviously the strip light would be cheaper and easier to mount/wire. So has anyone added these after delivery? Pros? Cons?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    I see these more and more on new trucks these days and I like the idea. We have top mount pumps on my volunteer department and having these lights on the side would save us from having to climb up and down to check the tank level.....?
    So would side mount pumps!
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    It really depends on how far away you want the lights visible, and the amount of space you have on the side of the truck. Our department runs the individual light modules in both LED and incandescent. One feature of modules is that you can also customize to colors. To use the KISS method, the NFPA hydrant color coding works well: Red, Orange, Green, and Blue.

    When discussing new trucks, one thing that always comes up is that the firefighters really like the large tank gauges.

    One options is to use individual light like the Whelen Super-LED 400 or700 series lights.

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    What is wrong with the tank gauge that is on the pump panel?

    Lights are nice but I can see where it may tend to be over kill with all the other light winking, blinking and nodding!

    I am from the old school. No gauges except for three! Compound, Master and Tachometer.

    As apparatus was replaced more gauges appeared and water tank gauges were added.

    I guess if a city/county or department wants it, most anything can be hung on the apparatus. Just something else to use power and that can go wrong.


    How about this apparatus and its tank lights??


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    We used an FRC Tankvision gauge on our new top mount. It has a raised 180 degree viewing window. I can see it without having to climb up on the panel. Might be a good choice for top mounts when you dont have an extra $400 x3 for side and rear additional gauges. Its also very bright.

    http://www.fireresearch.com/product.php?id=wla200

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    So would side mount pumps!
    The benifits far outweigh the little things like this when it comes to top mount versus side mount, in our opinion anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    What is wrong with the tank gauge that is on the pump panel?

    Lights are nice but I can see where it may tend to be over kill with all the other light winking, blinking and nodding!

    I am from the old school. No gauges except for three! Compound, Master and Tachometer.

    As apparatus was replaced more gauges appeared and water tank gauges were added.

    I guess if a city/county or department wants it, most anything can be hung on the apparatus. Just something else to use power and that can go wrong.


    How about this apparatus and its tank lights??


    `
    First, I like that setup. Problem being, Whelen 500 series light heads, depending on the style of light and flange, can cost almost 100 a peice. The entire strip light is only 170 bucks.

    As far as the gauges go, what would you propose we do if we want to pump different lines at different pressures? Gate one back and hope for the best?

    And it sounds like you dont even like the idea of tank level lights. Do you just pump until cavitation or...? Serious questions.

    And the power usage thing...LEDs use almost no power at all. No an issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by GFPD2005 View Post
    We used an FRC Tankvision gauge on our new top mount. It has a raised 180 degree viewing window. I can see it without having to climb up on the panel. Might be a good choice for top mounts when you dont have an extra $400 x3 for side and rear additional gauges. Its also very bright.

    http://www.fireresearch.com/product.php?id=wla200
    I don't think those would work in the way I am wanting them to on these particular trucks, but thanks for the idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Command6 View Post
    One feature of modules is that you can also customize to colors. To use the KISS method, the NFPA hydrant color coding works well: Red, Orange, Green, and Blue.

    C6
    I wish I knew this before, as I thought reversing the blue and green to be the same as the NFPA hydrants made sense too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    The benifits far outweigh the little things like this when it comes to top mount versus side mount, in our opinion anyway.



    First, I like that setup. Problem being, Whelen 500 series light heads, depending on the style of light and flange, can cost almost 100 a peice. The entire strip light is only 170 bucks.

    As far as the gauges go, what would you propose we do if we want to pump different lines at different pressures? Gate one back and hope for the best?

    And it sounds like you dont even like the idea of tank level lights. Do you just pump until cavitation or...? Serious questions.

    And the power usage thing...LEDs use almost no power at all. No an issue.


    I don't think those would work in the way I am wanting them to on these particular trucks, but thanks for the idea.

    I read what the Capt said and I got what he was saying. He seems to have operated engines years back, which had only 3 gauges. Yes it can be hard when you have 3 or 4 discharges and lines off of each, trying to deliver the correct operating pressures to each. It is a lot of good operating and guess work.

    As far as the light, I like the one that are on the truck which he posted. It may not be for you or others who are LED followers, but if that department, which wasn't his, want to spend the dollars for that then so be it.

    I too like the placement of the pump panel near the side running board or which is called midship, over the top mount. Being up in an area where we get snow and ice, the top mount may get a member hurt by slipping or falling with the bad weather. In fact I like the way American LaFrance once had the pump panel and controls, which was on the right side of the ride.

    I have been to various shows and have seen every type of light that could be installed on apparatus, indicating everything from water levels, doors be ajar, to ladders not lock at the rear.

    As one apparatus salesperson once said, If you want it, and have the money, we can make it and install it for you!

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    To be honest we have has so much trouble with the hard water we have over here that the lights are next to useless, our brush truck has had 3 sender units replaced, all our truck have clear site tubes with orange fishing floats on them, always reliable, as you can actually see the water not being there, and as the officer I have no issue seeing it from some distance as the floats stick out quite well. Requires a scrub out every few months, thats about it.

    I am all for technology but sometimes the simple way works best.

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    The outside mounted tank lights have been showing up around here in the last few years, and with good reason.

    Lack of staffing sometimes makes it impossible for the engineer to always be at the pump panel.

    I know of one dept that has 3 on an engine. An engineer, officer, and firefighter. The supply hose is laid from a hydrant and after the officer and firefighter are on the hoseline flowing water the engineer goes back to connect to and open the hydrant. Could be half a block away, nice for everyone to be able to see the tank level.

    Or when the engineer is helping set up a porta-tank to feed the engine?

    Can't always be at the pump panel every second in the first minutes of a fire before a water supply is established.
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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    Last edited by FIREMECH1; 10-22-2010 at 02:45 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnee View Post
    I too like the placement of the pump panel near the side running board or which is called midship, over the top mount. Being up in an area where we get snow and ice, the top mount may get a member hurt by slipping or falling with the bad weather. In fact I like the way American LaFrance once had the pump panel and controls, which was on the right side of the ride.
    Living in a county that gets 140-200" of snow a year, your reasoning would believe that nobody would run top mount pumps due to the slips, etc. In fact, it is totally the opposite. Nearly half of the departments in Erie County have top mount pumpers, and I have never heard of somebody slipping or falling of of the apparatus. I agree with GTRider, in our eyes, the benefits far outweigh the risks associated with top mount pumps. Our new top mount is scheduled to be delivered in January.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    As well, I wired the 3 lights to turn off when the park brake was released, and on when set.
    I have seen many new trucks with these lights on them, and for whatever reason, they're on ALL the time. I asked why they don't wire them in with the parking brake as you did, and never really got a straight answer. Driving at night with those things on doesn't seem like the best idea to me.

    That being said, I do like them. Whether it's against the rules or not, there are times when the pump operator is away from the panel. Having an extra indication as to how much water you have seems like a good idea to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim1118 View Post
    I have seen many new trucks with these lights on them, and for whatever reason, they're on ALL the time. I asked why they don't wire them in with the parking brake as you did, and never really got a straight answer. Driving at night with those things on doesn't seem like the best idea to me.
    The Whelen PSTank lights that we are getting are wired to turn on with the pump interlock. Apparently, they tend to blind the driver's mirrors when driving down the road it they are on. Sutphen made that a standard thing if you want the tank lights.

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    Thanks for the input guys. I think we may be adding a set to see how we like them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoaddoggAK View Post
    The Whelen PSTank lights that we are getting are wired to turn on with the pump interlock.
    That's the way they are wired around here. They only operate when the pump is engaged.

    C6

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    We have the Whelen lights mounted on the side of the cab. They are activated when the parking brake is applied. The only thing I don't like about them is that it sometimes hard to see when you hit a quarter tank because the orange is hard to see in bright light.

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    Our new rig has the tank lights on the cab behind the crew cab doors. We chose 500 Whelen LED's because the PSTank version was hard to differentiate during the day time because the lights all kind of blend together.

    The cab mounted tank lights are only operable when the rig is in pump. The standard tank level is operable anytime the battery is on. We also had the manufacturer add a "Water Tank Low" indication on the LCD message panel above the steering wheel (dash board) for anytime the tank isn't showing FULL. (Pierce Impel)
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    we used the Whelen PSTANK gauges ............some people ask us about them .....but 2 things are for sure..............1 you can see them 2 very handy to see how much water ya got left !
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    Quick Question...I've seen two different set ups for these. Let's say it's Green (full), Blue (3/4), yellow (2/4), orange (1/4), and Red (empty). Now, for some i've seen where it's full ALL the lights are on, and in some other only the Green one would be on. Or if it's half full, Red, orange, and yellow ones would be on...or just the yellow. Which do you use and why?

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    Ours is like this :
    When full ALL lights are on
    Green-full
    Blue- 3/4 tank-green light out
    Amber-1/2 tank-blue light out
    Red-1/4 tank only light on and as it runs out the red flashes.............there is also a more detailed gage on the pump panel for the operator.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    So would side mount pumps!
    Amen.
    Top mounts never made any sense to me. Add 3' to the wheelbase and increase the chances of falls, all in one swoop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by txgp17 View Post
    Amen.
    Top mounts never made any sense to me. Add 3' to the wheelbase and increase the chances of falls, all in one swoop.
    That's nice.

    However, this isn't a top mount versus side mount debate. Those of us who like them and continue to buy them like them. Others don't. They can keep buying side mounts.

    For the record, these lights have thier place on either pump configuration.
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