Video: FAQs & Their Answers About Flashing Beacons

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August 24, 2023 at 11:58:16 AM PDT August 24, 2023 at 11:58:16 AM PDTth, August 24, 2023 at 11:58:16 AM PDT

This video answers the most commonly asked questions about Sentinel beacons that our customers ask...

A warning to everyone

Flashing vehicle-mounted beacons and warning lights are one of the most common and important safety products on New Zealand roads and worksites. Used to warn people of hazards or emergencies, they deliver a strong, universally understood message. Danger.

The risks of not having flashing beacons - or using the wrong or incorrectly displayed beacons - should be obvious. However, sadly, avoidable accidents, injuries, and even deaths still occur.

Range decreases risk

TransQuip is a one-stop-shop for anything related to flashing lights for civil construction, transportation, farms, ports, warehouses and other high traffic or high-risk workplaces. From window mount LED lights to magnetic beacons and permanently fixed flashing lights.

These compliant, well-engineered, durable units significantly reduce the risk of injury to staff or the public, and of the damage to equipment and vehicles that results in downtime and insurance liability.

Life and energy-saving LEDs

While halogen beacons bulbs are still stocked, they've largely been superseded by LEDs (Light emitting diodes). LED beacons have significant advantages over traditional halogen beacons. With LEDs, there are no filaments to blow so there's a long, maintenance free life. And they're suitable for car, ute and truck flashing lights, heavy machinery, and other equipment from forklifts to harvesters. An LED beacon also has the advantage over halogen that they draw less current. You can leave the light going without having to idle your vehicle all the time, saving fuel, emissions and the vehicle battery. An LED beacon often provides a clearer, brighter light.

If you want to see these in action check out this video comparing both LED and halogen bulb beacons Here

Self-powered beacons with internal batteries are also available. These are ideal for situations when it is difficult to provide an external power source due to the location of the beacon. For example, they may be used away from vehicles or power, or even on a vehicle in a temporary way where it would be inefficient to wire up a beacon.

Patterns and Colours

The official New Zealand road code sets out how various coloured flashing lights must be used. For full details visit
But basically; emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire engines have red, or red and white flashing lights. Police vehicles use red and blue. Customs officers, fisheries officers, and marine reserve officers are permitted to use blue flashing lights. And, in an emergency, doctors, nurses and midwives can use a green flashing light - though in practice this very seldom happens.
By far the most common colour used in New Zealand by vehicles with flashing lights is amber (sometimes called yellow or orange). This is the colour used by most vehicles with flashing lights - across all industries; on everything from utes to dump trucks.
Oversize vehicles use amber beacons, or amber and magenta (purple), depending on the size of the load.
A variety of flash patterns are available on most beacons so you can choose which pattern you prefer to display.

Click Here to find out more about the colours of flashing lights.

Safe/not safe - how to tell

An LED flashing beacon that stands out for slightly different reasons is the 'safe to approach' light. This shines either green or red, depending on the operating status of the vehicle or machinery.

When the vehicle is operating the light shows red (i.e. not safe to approach) and if the vehicle is not operating, it shines green (safe to approach).

Low profile, higher profile - pros and cons

TransQuip stocks both low profile and higher profile LED beacon lights. The low profile lights are considered to look more streamlined and modern. From a practical perspective, they're also less likely to get hit by something and damaged.

There is, however, an important safety consideration. Visibility.

If you're mounting an LED flashing beacon high on the top of a truck cab, someone standing down on the ground, close to the vehicle, still needs to be able to see the flashing light. In that situation, there's a real benefit in using a higher profile unit as they can add a lot more visibility.

Mounting options

Three main types of mounting; permanent ('fit and forget'), magnetic, and pole mount.

The permanent mount can be wired permanently into the vehicle and is normally controlled by a switch on the dash. It's always in the right spot and always available to be switched on when needed.

A magnetic mount is best where a permanent solution isn't wanted. (E.g. if the vehicle is also used for other purposes, the need is short term, or the light is shared between several vehicles.) A magnet on the LED beacon's base, and a long cord that plugs into a cigarette lighter, means they can be very quickly and easily deployed when required.

The pole-mounted beacon slides onto a pole. Great when you want a beacon that's easy to take on and off but still has the wiring and switch permanently installed in the vehicle. This is great for the likes of tractors which need flashing lights on the road, but not in the paddock.

High quality grille lights are also available with easy fitting instructions and a variety of mounting options.
Your local auto electrician will be able to help if you need LED beacons mounted.

What is 'Transit approved'? And what does SAE Class mean?

SAE Class 1, SAE Class 2, SAE Class 3 and R65 are the standards that relate (amongst other things) to the light output, how bright the light is, and how light is dispersed.

The TransQuip team is often asked whether a flashing light is 'Transit approved'. The NZTA rule is quite general (you can check it out on their site We'd go a step further. We recommend that, if you are working on the road, you should be using a flashing light that meets SAE Class 1 or R65. These are bright enough to be seen from quite a distance whereas SAE Class 2 and 3 lights are a lot dimmer. Stick with the SAE Class 1 or R65 and you are well covered.
There's nothing wrong with the economy LED beacon lights range (Class 2 or Class 3) but they're better being used for off-road situations like inside a warehouse or on a farm. Also, some companies specify you must have the higher standard beacons to be on their work sites.

Find out more about what the different terms & standard means Here.

Avoiding interference

One thing to make especially sure of when buying an LED amber beacon is that it meets the EMC or CISPR15 standard. This means the lights won't interfere with the vehicle's radio or RT causing 'crackling' or even signal 'dropouts'. Even under normal operating conditions this is not acceptable and could be extremely dangerous. For safety reasons, all your equipment must be radio interference-free.


Most LED beacons nowadays are multi-volt: 12 or 24 volts. This means they're appropriate for most vehicles. But be aware that some forklifts and some later model trucks can have very high voltages (up to 80 volts). Always make sure that the LED beacon being fitted can cope with the vehicle's voltage range.

Fast, efficient, expert service

TransQuip's LED beacon light service is fast and efficient. Calls are answered quickly and your selected unit will be delivered promptly. To order, or for expert advice, give us a call. Or browse our extensive product range Here.

Please note: This is not legal advice and while we try to keep abreast of our industries' requirements, things can change.