Light or Strobe?

Light or Strobe?

  • Light
  • Strobe
0 voters

Which do you like better, fire alarms with lights such as the SImplex 2903 light plate, or strobes like most modern fire alarms. I prefer strobes because they are more modern, but I still love old fashioned style lights like the Simplex 2903.

I’d say strobes, and for me, especially the pre-ADA white strobes. Like on the previous MA/SS. Or the 7002T.

Strobes, simply because they’re no where near as bright as incandesent lights are, and strobes need to be bright in order to attract attention. You’d really have to look for a flashing light, and a steady light would be pretty hard to spot…

I agree with weatherdan. I like strobes, they’re cool. Lights are ok but I don’t think they’re right for alarm applications.


Well, I’m not quite saying they’re not for alarm applications, because they can be, but they’re just no where nearas efficient as strobes are.

For instance take the Simplex 4903-9001, the incandescant version of the 4903-9101. The light output w/ that is only .5cd, while the strobe version is 4.75cd - the strobe is nearly 10x as powerful than the incandescant. And to think, that strobe is not even ADA…

Strobes. Nuff said.

Strobes, but there’s something pretty scary about walking through darkened hallways with EM horns on Incan light plates (Incan = Incandescent), esp. the V33

You can say that again!

I’ll have to go with lights on this one.

I enjoy seeing the old incandescent red lights, or the “new age” as on the Edwards Genesis models.


We have both over here. The 9838s, 9219s, 892, ASWB & Classic Spectra have strobes. The SAE+2DCD have lamp plates.

I’ve never seen anything incandescant in person, just strobes.

My ES had Simplex 2903 light plates with 9806s set to continuous, so I have had a big experience with lights. My MS has strobe alarms. The HS in my town sadly has no lights or strobes on any of the alarms that I have seen (probably not ADA complient).

What about that bowling alley that you mentioned that used to have the 2901-9833 horns on 2903 light plates until System Sensor came and installed SpectrAlerts on the 2903s where the -9833s once where?

But with the exception of the elementary school I went to for kindergarten and a summer day program in 2000 (which had incandescent signals: Simplex 4051 horns on 4050-80 light plates), all other public schools I went to had no visual notification, just horns. My grades 1-6 elementary school had Fire-Lite 450 horns, my junior high school had Federal Signal explosion-proof horns, and my high school had Simplex 4040 horns.

But things changed in college. Their goal currently is to try to make the school as up-to-date and disability-friendly as possible. So far they have put braille number signs next to the doors in the buildings, are repairing the elevators, replacing the handle-flushers on the urinals and toilets in the restrooms with automatic flushers, doors to the restrooms and certain entrances/exits that open automatically with the push of a button, and more. This also includes upgrading the fire alarms. Originally all buildings had horns with incandescent lights. But by the end of this summer, every building will probably just have horn/strobes. What they’re doing is in most of the buildings, they completely remove the old alarms (either Standard horn/lights or Simplex 4051/4050-80 horn/lights) and replace them with new VA4 electronic horn/strobes made by SpaceAge Electronics as part of Faraday systems. The exception is the Student Center building, where in most cases, they simply remove the original light from the Standard retrofit plate and replace it with a Faraday MTL strobe (the ADA version that looks like a Wheelock LSM strobe), thus retaining the original horn. A few other areas had the horns and lights taken out, and they put red tape where the light once was and installed a U-HNH-MCS horn/strobe where the horn grille once was (the cafeteria and student lounge have red U-HNH-MCSs, but the kitchen has a white one). Even pull stations are a concern, the buildings that had the Standard pulls had them mounted really high up, so they are being replaced with non-addressable Faraday Chevron pulls on ADA adapters so wheelchair-bound people can reach them.

But some public schools that had horn/lights still have the horn/lights up to this day, and the city hall still has them (SAE 2DCD horns on V33 retrofit plates), so does one of the courthouses (Simplex 4050 or 4051 horns on 4050-80 retrofit plates). I seem to recall when Boston used to have many horn/lights, mainly SAE V33s, and the buildings with Simplex systems had 4050-80s. But they are disappearing fast now, the buildings with V33s typically get replaced with new Wheelock or Honeywell signals, and the ones that had 4050-80s usually get replaced with newer Simplex systems, mainly with 4903 horizontal signals.

Whoops, forgot all about that. :roll: Still doesn’t change my mind though, as it was the sound that got my attention, not the flashing light. BTW, this is EXACTLY how I remember it sounding:

That 9833… it almost sounds motor driven, because I can sort of hear it winding up and down.