1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post mechanical vs. electric sirens

    I need any and all information on both mechanical and elec. sirens. We are specing out a new engine and our considering a Q2B. Our current engine has only an electric siren (federal 300 with 2 100 watt speakers)and it sounds like an ambulance. I need info. on decibal output, sound reach and penetration, also concerned with battery and alternator drain, the numbers of batterys needed for both siren and truck and will it cause any problems with an Allision world transmission (electrical). i now this is a lot but I would like to put a nice report together. THANKS and BE SAFE!

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    As far as I'm concerned, the electric sirens on a fire engine are garbage. They work on an ambulance, but I guess the noise from the bigger engines just drowns them out. I would take a Federal Q2B anyday... It sounds like a fire engine, and combined with enough use of the air horns, it's quite effective in moving traffic. I don't really know that much about the mechanical aspect, but we have them on all of our engines/trucks in the department, and there has never been a problem. Good Luck

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    A combination of them both I personally feel is pretty cool. A old school hi-low w/ a "Q" screaming along w/ it. But if you were asking one or the other? It would w/o a doubt be a Federal "Q"!!!!!

    David DeCant
    Originally Mantua,NJ
    Presently Lindenwold,NJ(I'm not a member of any of this District's dept's.)

  4. #4
    fireman phil
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There is nothing that compares to the traffic clearing ability of a Q2 and a good set of air horns. I would'nt think of specing anything different on a new rig.

    Fireman Phil of the Show Me State

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Sound Output: 128db @ 10'
    Current Draw: 100amp
    Cost: $1500 approx

    PA300 (electronic)
    Sound Output: 120db @ 10' with one 100w speaker
    Current Draw: 10 amps at 100w / 20 amps at 200w
    Cost: $300 for siren, $150-300 for speakers

    Buy both..they each have their merits and you should buy a 200w electronic siren with a single 200w speaker or 2 100w speakers

    The comment stating that electric sirens are garbage (its electronic..not electric also) is kind of amusing to me if you read the information i posted above (which comes from the Federal Signal spec sheet). Maybe if you only have one 100w speaker mounted poorly, but if you mount the speakers properly and have 200w of output, they compare similar in output.

    [This message has been edited by e33 (edited November 25, 1999).]

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The Federal Signal Q2B weighs 48 pounds, draw between 100 and 110 amps, and can be heard a LONG way away. They also cost about 1400$. I recomend you use both. The electric siren comes in handy when you're running "quiet" or Code 2. You can use the electric siren in real short bursts at intersections and it has a real handy PA system. Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Kyle Wickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    both are nice together but, like the old saying, "leather for ever." Get the "Q" and every one knows who it is. Like Boston says, Nothing commands traffic like the "Q"

  8. #8
    J Almon
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The specs on the Q2B vs 100 watts may be misleading. A 3 dB increase is a doubling of power, or a doubling of sound output. Thus a 200 watt electronic would have 123 db rating at 10 foot. The Q is still twice as loud.
    Use both. It is always good to have a spare in case one is burned out. The Q is reported to have a superior doppler effect over an electronic. This is somehting I read years ago, so I don't have the source. I have noticed I can hear which way a Q is heading in a downtown area easier than an electronic, though.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    hi there where i am from(canada) our law states that we must have lights and sirens running in order to run a code 3 response.it is my understanding that because you turn on and off the Q2b when operating it that you would require both.We have a sparton with alison word tan and have not had any problems with the electrical part of it.we do have a problem running the q2b,pa300 going thru the class 1 load manager.it likes to shut down the first item it is suppose to shead.(Rotators).so we run this bypassing the load manager and then turn onto the manager when we arrive on scene.


  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Sorry I won't be able to help with the specifics, but I recommend using both. We usually run electric all the time and approaching interections or heavy traffic we let 'em have it with the Q2B. Nothing and I mean nothing clears traffic like a Q2B. It has been said you can never tell the difference between police and ambulance sirens but you can never mistake a fire truck. Thats the way it should be.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Just a little note, we just recieved about 11 new trucks. All with Federal Q's, and electronic sirens. I have yet to take one out on a call, so I don't know what kind of effect they'll have on traffic. But I suppose I'll be using just the Federal Q.

    [This message has been edited by firemike (edited December 04, 1999).]

  12. #12
    Dwight Conrad
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Before I moved back to the country, I spent seven years in a small city dept. We used both sirens on our trucks. And we could clear traffic for almost two city blocks (at times) with a federal "Q". Also, we didn't have any electrical problems with it.

    I also recommend the selonoid for the "Q" be put inside the cab. We had one freeze one winter and it wouldn't allow the "Q" to "wind down". Otherwise, no problem.

  13. #13
    Rick Bond
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I've used both the electronics and the Q.
    I feel that any Fire Apparatus without a Q is at a disadvantage. I drive an engine now that only has the electronic and getting through tourist traffic in the summer is almost impossible. In the district next to mine they have an engine with a Q and never have the problems that we have with our engine. I also drive a patrol car and wish I could put the Q on it, but dont think the PD would appreciate me impersinateing a FIRE TRUCK just to get through traffic. The Q is alittle more expensive but I think you will find that you get what you pay for and the expense is well worth it.


  14. #14
    Lieutenant Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I beleive the new NFPA specs for fire apparatus require both a mechanical and electronic siren. I caught a detail once for a parade/muster in a neighboring community. Our Engine 1 was brand new at the time, and it had both. We won the award for newest in service, but the judges said that if they had a trophy for LOUDEST fire apparatus, we would have won that, too. My own preference, give a FedQ, loud and wailing! It's the only thing that will catch the attention of the "boom box on wheels crowd"!

    Take care and be safe.... Lt. Gonzo

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    NFPA 1901 1996 version states...

    "9-9 Audible Warning Devices"
    9-9.1 Audible warning equipment in the form of at least one automotive traffic horn and one electric or electronic siren shall be provided,".....

    So they say you can have either or both basically.

    The opinions and views expressed herin are solely mine and not on the behalf of any department or organization I belong to.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You can download the spec sheets on the Q2B at www.federalsignal.com. You need an Adobe reader or similar program to view it.

    Rev. John G. Fleischmann
    Suffolk Co. NY CISM Team

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Dont get me wrong I love the Q, but at an EVOC course I took I found out that they are not as great as I thought.
    The course had a demonstration on electronic vs. mechanical sirens. The demo was a car driving down the road with the windows up and the radio on at a normal level set by the instructor. An Engine was then driven behind the car with all warning devices activated. When the car heard the siren they were to stop, and the Engine would stop also. Well they tried wail, yelp, hi-lo, and the old trusted Q. The Q only had a range of 12 feet from the Engine to the car,wail and yelp were a little better, but the hi-lo siren was the best. I took this class a little over six years ago, but I still love hammering on the old Q2B as we are racing out the door to an alarm.

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