Whether you’re a first responder or any other individual who regularly utilizes emergency LED lights in your daily operations, the long-term operational quality of these items is of paramount importance. You can’t afford to have a light bar or emergency siren go out on you during a vital response situation, putting both you and others on the road in danger and also potentially slowing your response time.
At LED Equipped, we’re here to ensure this never happens to you. We offer not only a huge range of emergency vehicle LED light bars and numerous related products, but also the tips and expertise you need to care for your components in robust ways. Here are some important themes to keep in mind as you look to care for and properly maintain your emergency LED lights of any variety.
Choosing the Right LEDs
The first area to consider when it comes to caring for your emergency LEDs actually traces all the way back to when you purchase them to begin with: Ensuring you’ve made the proper choices. There are a huge range of emergency LED lights on the market at present, and not all of these options are capable of withstanding the heavy use emergency responders place upon them. However, our products here at LED Equipped have been designed in-house to be some of the most durable and reliable components out there.
The primary factor determining your light needs will be the type of vehicle you’re outfitting, along with the kinds of emergency response situations you’ll be encountering. LED Equipped products like the 12″ LED light bar and strobe lights are particularly popular among first responders due to their compact size and durability, while still packing a serious punch in terms of overall brightness levels.
While making these choices, it’s also vital to consider the care and maintenance that will be required down the line. LEDs that are too bright or too harsh for your specific application can lead to excessive heat and shortened lifespans, so it’s important to find a happy medium.
Reading Manual, Proper Usage
Another key area to consider when it comes to long-term emergency LED maintenance, and one that’s a constant once you’ve purchased them: Using them properly. It’s all too easy to simply slap your new lights onto your vehicle, but it’s the small steps like these that could make all the difference down the line.
For example, always read and follow manufacturer instructions when installing or using your emergency lighting equipment, as this can go a long way in prolonging their life. Additionally, you should aim to use the equipment only in appropriate settings, keeping them off when not responding to a situation and also avoiding hitting hazards such as curbs with your emergency lights.
Battery Care and Testing
The battery that provides power to your emergency LED lights is another critical component that needs to be maintained for optimal performance. This means routinely testing the battery and keeping it clean and dry, as well as free from corrosion.
First and foremost, this also means understanding the type of battery your LED lights use. Generally, there are two battery types used here:
- Sealed lead acid batteries: These are compact, heavy-duty batteries that can handle vibrations and shocks more effectively than regular battery packs. Sealed lead acid batteries also tend to last longer.
- Nickel cadmium batteries: These batteries offer high power and are resistant to environmental changes, making them a good choice for emergency LED lights.
Our team will be happy to explain which form of battery is used for any of your items.
One of the best ways to protect your battery is by using a low voltage disconnect (LVD) system. This will automatically cut power to the LEDs when their battery reaches a certain charge threshold, which can allow for longer life and much less stress on the LEDs and other components.
In addition, regularly testing your battery is something you should be doing on a periodic basis:
- Monthly test: Switch your LED light to the “Test” mode, then follow the accompanying instructions during the test.
- Quarterly test: Test your battery with a load tester or multimeter. This is done by connecting your positive and negative leads to the corresponding posts on the battery, then pressing the “Load” button until it reads 100 amps or more, while also checking for voltage levels. The higher the voltage level, the better.
- Annual test: Remove your battery from the light and place it in a sealed container filled with distilled water. Measure the voltage level and record it, then wait for 15 minutes. After this, measure the voltage again and subtract the first reading from the second to find the specific gravity of your battery’s electrolyte. This will give you a general idea of the health of your battery.
Be Patient When Operating Dirty Lights
If your emergency LED lights have been sitting for a long time, you may need to take the time to let them charge before using them. This can be due to excessive debris build-up on the light from long periods of storage, which will need to be cleaned off before use.
If your lights are very dirty, you may want to try operating them at a lower power setting until they’re clean. Too much power being put through dirty emergency LED lights can lead to premature failure.
It’s vital to take part in regular, standard cleaning of your emergency LED lights. Not only does this keep them looking their best, it also helps to maintain optimal performance.
The main areas you’ll want to clean are the light lens, light bar, and mounting hardware. Cleaning solutions can be purchased at most hardware stores, or you can make your own using a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water.
When cleaning your light lens, avoid using any type of abrasive materials that could scratch it. Instead, use a soft cloth and be sure to rinse off any cleaning solution residue with clean water. For the light bar and mounting hardware, you can use a brush or sponge to apply the cleaning solution, then wipe it off with a lint-free cloth.
Last but not least, be sure to let the lights completely dry before turning them on or reinstalling them. Attempting to operate lights that are still wet may cause damage.
You might be surprised at how many issues can be prevented just through simple cleaning. You’ll never deal with harmful buildups of dirt, gunk, or moisture, and your emergency LED lights will always look their best.
When not in use, it’s important to store your emergency LED lights in a safe, dry place. This will help to avoid any moisture-related damage and also keep the lights from getting too hot or too cold.
Many people choose to store their emergency LED lights in their vehicles, but if you do this, be sure to take them out of the car every now and then to avoid excessive heat or cold. If you don’t plan on using your emergency lights for an extended period of time, it’s important to disconnect the battery and make sure that there isn’t any corrosion or other damage on the equipment before storing it away.
Avoiding Extremely High Temperatures or Humidity
While LED lights are meant to operate in perfect working order despite various weather conditions or elements, such as everything from a blizzard to a torrential rainstorm, extreme heat or humidity may negatively impact them in some cases. For example, high levels of humidity can cause condensation to form on the lens and light bar, which can lead to short-circuiting and other damage. In the same vein, exposing LED lights to extremely high temperatures can cause them to warp, melt, or even burst.
While utilizing your lights on a regular basis, be sure to take the steps to avoid these extreme conditions. This will help to ensure that your emergency LED lights are always in perfect working order when you need them the most. If you know your duties will be taking you into a particularly humid environment, for instance, be sure to remove your lights from their vehicles and store them in a safe location until you’re ready to use them.
For more on how to properly care for your emergency LED lights, or to learn about any of our LED light bars, visor bars or other products, contact the team at LED Equipped today.