Fitting Beacons and Lightbars

Vehicle Twin Rotating Beacon

What are Beacons & Light Bars?

Light bars and beacons are mounted on the top of vehicles to provide a warning or to attract the attention of other motorists and pedestrians on the road. The most common vehicles which have these rotating or flashing lights are emergency vehicles. Police cars, paramedics, ambulances, fire engines, construction vehicles, and tow trucks are all examples of vehicles which display beacon lights or light bars.
Emergency Vehicle Flashing Beacon

The Language of Colour

The colours used in the lamps vary for every profession. The variation in colours aids identification both for motorists and other emergency vehicles. Amber lights are used by tow trucks, construction vehicles, and security personnel. The most easily recognisable are the blue and blue/red lights used by the police, fire and ambulance service. More unusual are the green lights used by volunteer firefighters and the violet lights used by funerary vehicles.
Construction vehicle beacon

Beacon Construction

Xenon flashbulbs, LEDs and halogen bulbs, which are similar to the bulbs used by vehicle headlights, are often used to construct beacons. Beacons which use Xenon or incandescent sources which require the engine to continue running or the battery may run down if they are left on for long periods, much like when headlights are left on. On the other hand, LED lights remain operational due to their low power consumption.
LED Light Bar on Commercial Van


The light bar first came about when a metal bar was mounted on the roof of a vehicle upon which two beacons were fixed. Manufacturers took the idea and made complete light bars which often included components such as fixed beam central lights, rotating beacons and a siren. They are ideal for making the presence of your vehicle completely known.
Single Rotating Beacon on Lease Van

Single Rotating Beacon

The use of single rotating beacons has dropped since the invention of the light bar. However, rotating beacons have been a widely accepted means of attracting attention to a vehicle since they were introduced in 1948. Single beacons are still used on construction vehicles, unmarked cars, and by some police departments either due to tradition or lower cost.
Single beacons often use rotating mirrors, lamps, or strobe lights under a translucent casing. In this way, omnidirectional flash is created. Some omnidirectional beacons are lit with LEDs. Smaller low cost beacons can simply be made of a flashing incandescent bulb.
Sometimes permanent mounting for a single beacon can be impractical, so beacons are also available with a magnetic mount. Vehicles that often use these lights are volunteer firefighters, detectives, and cars using a construction site - as a safety measure.
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