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Emergency lighting and Sirens For discussion of emergency lighting and sirens as they are associated with Professional Cars. Posting in this forum is limited to PCS Members and / or Site Supporters. We encourage all website users to become members of the Professional Car Society and / or become Site Supporter.

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  #41  
Old 02-19-2014, 04:08 PM
Skip Goulet Skip Goulet is offline
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Originally Posted by Kyle Martin View Post
we ran 2 altenators on ours. you could order them at summers. we bought 4 e250 hightops in 76 and they ran 140 amp. alt. they all had intercepters and 4 4way beacons as well as 8 flashers and never had a problem until i took a q2 we had and insalled it . burned up altenators like crazy. in 78 we bought a modulance with van e350 chassis and it came with 2 alt. it ran 1 interceptor and a q2 and we never had any problems and it had 6 a ways 8 sealed beam flashers as well as loding and ditch lites and 2 sealed beamd on cowl. probaly my favorite ambulance i ever drove. it rode like a logwagon but you could see it and hear it a mile away. when we bought wheeled coaches in 79 all 3 had 2 alt. and they all had q2s and a lightbars and when 10-97 at the hospital you could actually turn your unit off and it would start everytime. god i miss those days.ive got pictures of these units and i will post them after im allowd and i figure out this new scanner i just bought. also just found 62 and 63 chevy station wagon amb. photos and 73 pont consort? swb we bought new in 73. it would fly 455. ramling... see ya
The Longview FD bought a Pontiac Wagon in 1966 and took it to Gordon K. Allen to have the emergency equipment installed. GKA installed five Dietz 211 beacons on the roof, with the center rear beacon mounted on an elevated stanchion. And they had mounted three Qs, all side-by-side between the front two beacons. The late Travis Hagen who was one of GKA's longtime salesmen and who lived in Lubbock was in on the equipping of this ambulance. He said that he and the Longview fire chief took every single Q that GKA had in stock and went outside the city to test them all out. Seems that the chief wanted different pitches on each of the three sirens and it took some time to get them the way the chief wanted them. All of this was powered by twin batteries and twin high-output Leece-Neville alternators. In 1973 the car ended up in Clovis, NM at Gold Star Ambulance shy two of the Qs. I got to go on a run or two in that wagon and it was nice. G.C. went bankrupt not long after the last time I was there and I was never able to find out where that car, a '69 Consort and a '69 low top Suburban went.
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  #42  
Old 02-19-2014, 04:09 PM
Skip Goulet Skip Goulet is offline
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Yes, I do. Did you happen to read the description in the original post?
Yes...I saw that. Just missed it the first time around for some reason. Thanks.
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  #43  
Old 02-19-2014, 04:20 PM
Skip Goulet Skip Goulet is offline
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The factory alternator's 145-amp rating was achieved at sea level and at 70 degrees. At normal engine operating temperature on a warm day, it would be putting out less than 110 amps at highway speed.

Your current warning light load alone is around 114 amps. Turn on the A/C and use the siren, and you can expect problems - especially at idle or parade speed.
That reasonably explains what happened to the nice '65 Consort ambulance I bought from AID Ambulance in Lubbock in '76. AID had run it as a 3rd out ambulance and first call car and only ran a VisiBar with a CP25 speaker and a Director.

When I got the car I mounted twin 175s on the front corners with a Dietz 211-WW behind the center-mounted Q, and I had twin DoRay lollipops between the Q and front beacons. It also had an Interceptor with an MM24 speaker mounted underhood.

The Sunday afternoon on which the Consort made its "maiden voyage" we had back to back runs from a motorcycle race just south of Idalou, TX, which put both runs to Lubbock's then-Methodist Hospital at 25 miles one-way. On both runs the Q quit completely within a mile from the hospital. Methodist had a new glassed-in ER, and on the second run I could see in the glass that the beacons were on but barely turning. The car went to a friend's starter/alternator shop the next day. He discovered that someone had put a stock 35-amp alternator on the car at some point, so he went back with a 65-amp alternator, and we never had problems thereafter. While I'm sure they were available at the time, I had never seen the big high-output alternators back then: not until we bought a '72 high top Superior Caddie ambulance in 1980 that came with twin batteries and a 150-amp alternator. That certainly made me feel like one of those "now you tell me" days!
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:28 PM
Skip Goulet Skip Goulet is offline
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You've all seen my little Stude Ambulet, with two small flashers and a WL siren-light on it. That's how it came from the Studebaker dealer (I think the dealer added the flashers, they don't seem to be factory). It also had factory fog lights.

But the owner of Nashwauk Ambulance, Frank "Bingo" Blair, liked flashy things. He added a few things to the car as he "didn't feel like it attracted enough attention". (Note to Bingo: you had the only ambulance in town, it attracted plenty of attention just by being there.) Anyway, he replaced the flashers with Trippe rotating beacons - the ball-shaped gizmos over the windsheild. And he added a Q2B siren to the right fender. And a small bar with a single red, sealed beam flasher on the front bumper. And a spotlight. The WL siren-light remained on the roof. And never upgraded the alternator on the little station wagon. Overloaded? You betcha! All this on a 6v system, too!

The guys who drove it said they could definately note the electrical draw (and continuing problems) from all this, so they seldom used the Q siren.

(He also added lots of chrome trim, rear-view mirrors, and much bigger tires.)

Yes, that's Bingo in the picture. You didn't argue with him. He was the town cop, too.
That reminds me of the '55 Ford Sedan-delivery ambulance operated by Chapel of the Roses Funeral Home in Odessa for many years. The Ford came stock with a 6-volt battery, but someone replaced it at some point with an 8-volt Jeep battery. On top was a 12-volt Q with a mechanical brake (only one I've ever seen) and a pair of Federal FS3 single-faced red lights. And there was a red 6-volt PropelloRay mounted on the front center of the hood. The warning lights were readily visibile, but with that 12-volt Q only getting 8-volts, it would get to about 3/4 speed and taper off. It was easy enough to roll it over just to get through an intersection, but they couldn't stand down on it to seriously move traffic. When I worked for Rix F.H. from '63 to '66 I used to tease some of Chapel's guys that I knew that sooner or later they would get hit. And sure enough they did on a Wednesday afternoon in November of '63 about two weeks before JFK's assassination. At Rix we were on city rotation and got the call for an MVA. About a block from the scene we could see the old Ford sitting in the intersection, and Paul Rix looked at me and said, "Well hell, looks like they beat us." Then he saw the dented fender. Neither of Chapel's guys were hurt, so we transported their patient the remaining six blocks to Medical Center.
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  #45  
Old 06-08-2014, 09:03 PM
Dan Brintlinger Dan Brintlinger is offline
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Default '55 in Jackson, TN

On vacation in the '50s, going to Florida, we drove past the Smith Funeral Home in Jackson, TN. They had a '55 Superior parked there, with more lights than I can remember! At least 2 beacons, a roto=ray, front bumper flashers, fender flashers/moving lights, tunnel lights, a Federal Q, side flashers, and rear flashers. It also had those fire extinguishers that slid down into the rear fenders on each side.

But photos? No, we forgot to take photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:14 PM
Skip Goulet Skip Goulet is offline
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On vacation in the '50s, going to Florida, we drove past the Smith Funeral Home in Jackson, TN. They had a '55 Superior parked there, with more lights than I can remember! At least 2 beacons, a roto=ray, front bumper flashers, fender flashers/moving lights, tunnel lights, a Federal Q, side flashers, and rear flashers. It also had those fire extinguishers that slid down into the rear fenders on each side.

But photos? No, we forgot to take photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With all that "electric" they needed those extinguishers. That reminds me of the'57 Plymouth wagon that Thomas Funeral Home here in Midland ran. It had a roof-mounted Q that had an old red truck stop light mounted in the center of the grille where the Federal "F" should've been. Next to the Q were four red 6" Unity lights and red 17 beacon behind the Q. And to top it off, there was a red Mars FL light on the right fender. For quite some time that was the most spectacularly lit ambulance in West Texas. But the downside was that the car only had a standard electrical system: a 12-volt battery and standard generator. After every run they made, they had to put it on the battery charger.

One Sunday afternoon in 1959 Midland's big Airshow was underway at Midland International. Thomas had their new 1960 Ford sedan-delivery ambulance: first ambulance with twin red beacons, Q and cowl lights, on standby, while Ellis Funeral Home had their '58 Chrysler wagon sitting next to Thomas. Both ambulances were suddenly pulled away to a head-on collision at the airport entrance on what was then US Hwy 80. Thomas rolled their Plymouth from town, while Ellis ran their '59 Ford wagon and their '57 Caddy combo. About 3/4 of a mile from the airport at that time was a slightly steep hill that had to be negotiated (that stretch of highway was rebuilt and leveled many years ago), and when the Thomas Plymouth started up the hill totally lit, it overtaxed the electrical system, setting fire under the dash. And Thomas didn't have a fire extinguisher onboard! Ellis' combo didn't transport from the MVA, and they had an extinguisher, which they used to extinguish the fire. From that point on until Thomas shut down for a short time, the Plymouth ran with only half of its light setup.
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