Nearly every time you see an ambulance, fire brigade or police vehicle, you are possibly looking at a Code 3 product. From sirens and signals to a variety of high-intensity LED work lighting, firefighters and emergency response units put their trust in the Code 3 range to arrive at a scene safely.
Emergency warning devices are becoming increasingly integrated and designed to automatically adjust functionality based on the driver’s actions and behaviour.
When responding to an emergency, professionals need to focus on the road while processing situation updates from dispatch. Manually controlling the lights and siren used to be part of running code, but the Code 3 DNA system drastically reduces the need to flick switches en route. Using the horn, accelerating, turning on high beams, opening doors, braking and other actions can trigger the siren to change tones and the lightbar to change flash patterns, adjust luminosity or change colours. The system can be customized to suit the department’s needs.
Code 3 is recognized around the world for innovation and quality in lighting and sound-based warning products for emergency-service vehicles in the Law Enforcement, Fire, Emergency and Security industries. 100% designed in Australia, Code 3 are proud to introduce the new generation of warning products with the launch of Code 3 DNA.
Code 3 DNA (Distributed Network Architecture) allows products to interact more intelligently to provide unique warning and safety features, simplifying the operation for the user while reducing the complexity of the electrical installation.
Development of the Code 3 DNA network has been a long-term goal for the Code 3 Australian engineering design team, beginning with the introduction of the M5 LED Matrix Display system in 2012. This was later followed by the innovative Pursuit Lightbar in 2016 and more recently this year with the Pursuit Siren and Switch Node. Code 3 have the ability to customize and integrate all aspects of the warning system operation on emergency-service vehicles.
C3-DNA products have been designed with core requirements that reflect the needs of the local market, including multi-voltage operation and class-leading Electro-Magnetic-Compatibility (EMC). C3-DNA products are already approved for use by many fleets in Australia and New Zealand with sensitive radio communication requirements.
A push towards a more integrated installation of emergency-vehicle lights and sirens has led to smarter levels of warning system co-ordination and simplified operation for the end user. Signals from the vehicle can be detected using conventional hard-wired inputs or by connecting directly to CiA447-compliant vehicle CAN modules. Regardless of where the signals come from, they are available to any C3-DNA device installed on the vehicle. This reduces the wiring complexity of the warning system, reducing installation time while also improving reliability.
Code 3 DNA allows all compatible devices on a vehicle to operate as a single, cohesive warning system, without the need for a dedicated ‘master’ control unit commonly required by competing systems. This distributed intelligence allows maximum flexibility for both very simple and very complex installations. A Windows-based ‘toolbox’ program is used to configure all C3-DNA devices in a vehicle. From a single Switch-Node performing battery-management duties, or a Lightbar and JBox with discrete wire inputs, to a multiple lightbar, multiple display, multiple controller situation, a C3-DNA system can be configured to suit.
Working closely with a number of customers during the development phase, numerous common emerging features were identified that could lead to standardizing the operation of emergency-vehicle warning systems. Some of these are outlined below.
Siren + lights integrated operation
When an emergency vehicle encounters heavier traffic with the lights already operating with a standard alternating flash pattern and slower siren ‘wail’ tone, more warning of the presence of the vehicle may be required. To emphasize this call for right-of-way to other road users, the operator can tap the vehicle horn to switch the lights to a higher output ‘Hyperflash’ lightbar pattern and simultaneously change the siren to a fast ‘Yelp’ tone on one channel. Once clear of the traffic, tap the horn again to change to the previous operating state.
As an emergency vehicle approaches and passes through an intersection, the maximum level of warning can be beneficial for a short period of time. The C3-DNA system allows the operator to activate ‘intersection clearing’ mode – for example, by holding the vehicle horn for a short period of time. Once activated, the siren will change the output on one of the speakers to emit a low-frequency tone, designed to penetrate the sound absorbing cabins of modern vehicles to alert their drivers. At the same time, the lightbar will switch to an intersection clearing pattern, with a burst of the highest light output possible, including high-intensity white light. After 8 seconds, the lights and siren automatically return to their previous operating state with no other input required from the user.
To instantly alert other road users to the presence of the emergency vehicle, press and hold the vehicle horn at any time to activate both the siren airhorn tone and a highly visible forward-facing lightbar pattern.
Activated through C3-DNA controllers, pressing the Manual button will temporarily activate a wail tone in addition to a flash pattern on the lightbar, only while sound is emitting.
When the status of the doors, bonnet and boot are available on the network, several functions can be realized. Bright flashing lights directly around the door area can temporarily be turned off to reduce the distraction to the officer as they exit the vehicle. Boot-mounted warning lights can be activated only when the boot is open. Siren volume can be reduced to harmless levels when the bonnet is open for workshop testing.
Several features can be combined into the behaviour of the system as ambient light levels drop and the human eye’s perception of light changes. Warning-light output can dim, white flashing light can be disabled, and flash patterns adapted to provide a safe and effective warning signal while improving visibility of officers to other road users around stationary emergency vehicles at night.
Multiple control options
C3-DNA supports control of system functions from multiple inputs. This can be from more than one controller of the same or different type, or even by a combination of controllers and discrete switches. The underlying logic structure maintains the operational status of the system regardless of where the signal is sourced.
Run-Lock and Battery Management
The C3-DNA Switch Node supports Run-Lock and Battery Management features. Run-Lock will allow the vehicle key to be removed and the vehicle locked without turning off the engine. Security is assured as the system will shut down the engine if the brake pedal is depressed to engage the transmission.
Battery Management features support load shedding and timed shutdown behaviour to be specified for other equipment connected to the system.
The Switch Node is also capable of synchronizing and extending the operation of discrete warning lights, scene and driving lights, headlights and other devices as required.
Backed by the support of a local dedicated team of Code 3 engineers, C3-DNA empowers the customer with the ability to overhaul how they think about emergency-vehicle warning system operation and integration – with benefits in safety, practicality and simplicity of installation. The possibilities are exciting.
For more information, go to Code3esg.com/au