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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  09:59:38 AM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Whatever you wanna call them. I saw somewhere recently that there are over 50 different optional arrangements for light and door switches.

---

Here's the system we have in CT, which seems the most popular:

Master Switch--On turns on reds, stop arm, and crossing gate when door is open. Off lets you open door without lights coming on.
Manual Switch--Momentary switch to turn on the ambers until the reds turn on. Ambers can also be cancelled by turning off the Master Switch, or by pressing a momentary "Cancel" switch.
Door Switch--Mounted on the door handle, tells the system the door is open to turn on the reds. Can be activated by "cracking" the door--unlatching it without fully opening it.

On buses with automatic doors, the Door Switch may be incorporated into a 3-position switch for the door (Close-Lights On-Open), or there may be a separate momentary switch to activate the reds before opening the door.

There may also be an Interrupt Switch. This is a momentary switch that cancels the stop arm and crossing gate for the rest of the light cycle.

The switches may be all rocker-style, a rocker-style master switch with a paddle-style for the manual, or a Blue Bird push-pull Master with a push-button Manual. I've seen the red lights switch be a floor push-button (like hi beams) on a bus with an air door. I've also seen a combined Master and Manual 3-position rocker switch (Master Off-Master On-Manual).

---

Another layout I've seen was on a Blue Bird spec'd for CA. There was a push-pull Master switch to power the whole system, and then a "WL Select" switch--an oversized red 3-position push-pull (Off-Amber-Red). It seemed to be independent of the door.

Another variation I've seen is on Thomas, with a 3-position rocker switch that goes up for amber and down for red.

---

I've seen on CA Crowns with a 4-way system (reds only) a single on-off rocker switch for the red lights. It has nothing to do with the door, as near as I can tell.

---

Finally, on an 84 Carpenter from CT with just the 4-ways, there was a master-manual switch setup, but the manual was to start the reds before opening the door. They were of course the carpenter toggle switches.

---

Any others?

AW
Active Member

41 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  10:22:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
At my old school system, they do not run bus routes, the buses are only used for field trips (Or so they hope: six elementaries, one middle school, and one highschool = 9 buses total.) On the 3 Thomas Safe-t-Liner ERs that I remember (2 1989, 1 1993), there was simply one on-off switch for the ambers, and another on-off for the reds and stop sign mixed in with the fan switches under the driver's window. They had nothing to do with the door being open or closed.

The intersting way to show how basic this setup was is to say that if you turned on both the amber and red switches, you would indeed have both the amber and red lights going on the outside of the bus. So a driver had to remember to turn the ambers off when switching to the reds.

Perhaps these switches were mis-wired?


Edited by - AW on 04/04/2001 10:26:24 AM
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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  1:15:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I have seen a couple of switch variations that control the function of the crossing gate. These switches only control the crossing gate when the red warning lamps are on. (You can have the crossing gate either on or off at this time.) If the red warning lamps are off, (when the entrance door is open) the crossing gate won't extend outward regardless of whether the crossing gate switch is in the on or off postion.

One type of switch that I have seen is an inverted, "square-shaped" rocker switch that is mounted into the switch panel. It is usually mounted in an empty space near the warning lamp switch(es). This switch is an on/off type switch and only works when the red warning lights are acitivated. (At this time, you can have your crossing gate turn on and extend itself or you can turn it off, so it won't extend itself. Drivers usually turn it off when they are behind other buses, so the crossing arm won't hit the bus in front of them and so students can have enough room to cross in front of that bus.)

Another type of switch that I have seen is a switch that you just push. What that switch does is it resets the crossing gate. This switch is basically the same switch as the manual push switch (for the ambers) seen on Blue Birds. I have only seen this switch on Blue Birds as well. So, what a driver does is if they see that it will be necessary to turn off their crossing gate, they will press this switch before or while the red warning lamps are on, and after they press the switch, the crossing gate will not extend itself. Or, if the red warning lamps are already activated and the crossing gate is already extended, it will disengage itself after the switch is pressed.

The second switch that I just described above is better because it resets and only stops the crossing gate from extending that one time the red warning lights come on. The next time the red warning lights come on, and if the switch isn't pressed, the crossing gate will extend itself again. This switch is better than the first one only because some drivers may forget that they shut off the crossing gate switch and some drivers will forget to turn it back on. With the second switch, the crossing gate will extend itself the next time and you don't have to remember to press the button again to activate the crossing gate. However, if you need to activate the crossing gate when it is deactivated while the red warning lamps are on, I think all you need to do is press the button again and it will reset itself a second time and then the crossing gate will extend itself. But it is nice, because the driver doesn't have to remember to turn the switch on again like they have to with the first switch set up. It is possible that sometimes some drivers forget they turned the crossing gate off, and once they realize this they have to turn it on again. That is why the reset switch is nicer...because it just resets itself and you don't have to worry over whether it's on or not.


Bob
"B. Busguy33"
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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  1:40:03 PM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
One thing to add...these "Interrupt" switches also control the stop sign, which is on the same circuit as the gate.

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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  1:46:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Phil,

Actually, if I am not mistaken, all of the buses that I have seen around here that are equipped with crossing gates and these "interrupt" switches, still have the stop sign extend, even when the crossing gate isn't. I think they may be on a separate system or something. I have seen stop signs extend and not crossing gates on buses that came with crossing gates/switches installed from the factory or even if they were installed later by the school district. So, I think the stop sign and "interrupt" switch may be on a separate circuit myself.

Bob
"B. Busguy33"
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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  2:57:00 PM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Hmm....

Well, I know that federal standards allow for a stop arm cancel switch, and I saw somewhere that the crossing gate is supposed to be on the same circuit as the stop arm. And I've seen buses that have a stop arm cancel switch that drivers use to turn off the crossing gate.

Yet another configuration to add to the variety...

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BusFreak
Top Member

USA
798 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  3:17:31 PM  Show Profile  Send BusFreak an AOL message  Reply with Quote
This is what I have seen:

On busses with just the 4 way warning system, there is a switch under the door arm that is released when the door is opened or cracked. When released, this button turns on the red warning lights. When the door is then closed, the lights turn off. There is also a large red push/pull switch located next to the door arm that, when pulled, opens the stop arm and crossing gate. When pressed, the stop arm and crossing gate close. There are also two red pilot lights located next to the large red push/pull switch that flash with the warning lights.

On busses with the 8 way warning system and manual door, there is a small box located directly above the door arm. On this box, there are two buttons, and two pilot lights. On the far left side of this box is the amber warning light button. On Blue Bird busses, this is a simple spring button. On Thomas Busses however, this is a spring rocker switch. To the right of the amber warning light button is an amber pilot light that flashes with the amber lights. To the right of that is the red pilot light which flashes with the red lights. On the Far right of the box is a button identicle to the amber button that acts as an interrupt button. There is also a button located on the main switch pad that is known as the "manual" button which turns all warning systems off. To activate the amber warning lights, the driver simply presses the amber warning light button. To activate the red warning lights, the driver must first activate the amber if they are not already activated, and then open the door. There is a button under the door arm that releases when the door is open. When released, this button activates the red lights, stop arm, and crossing gate. When the door is then closed, the red lights, stop arm, and crossing gate turn off and/or close.

On busses with an automatic door, there is a similar set up as above, only the switch to turn on the red lights, stop arm, and crossing gate is somehow integraded with the door activator. If the driver has activated the amber lights and then opens the door, the red lights, stop arm, and crossing gate turn on. When the door is then closed, all lights turn off and/or close. Note that even though these busses do not have door arms, the amber button, interrupt button, amber pilot light, and red pilot light are still located to the right of the driver. I think this is a Virginia Thing.

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Ricky
Advanced Member

USA
352 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  4:13:48 PM  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message  Send Ricky a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Most of the 8 light flasher systems used allow the driver/school district/mechanic to decide if the red warning lights will automatically come on when the door is open. (That is, if the master flasher switch is on.) On my bus the light system was like this. My head mechanic didn't like it this way so he re-wired the system so that my red warning lights would not activate if my amber warning lights had not been activated first. I drive a 99 AmTran Conventional and I have a Master Flasher switch that must be on for any of the 8 light system, stop arm, or crossing gate to activate. I also have a "Flasher Light" switch that is momentary and activates the amber warning lights with the door closed or the red lights, stop arm, and crossing gate if the door is open. An option on the type of bus that I drive is an "Override" switch that is tied in with the warning light system. I'm not exactly sure what this switch is for since my bus is not equipped with one.

I have also seen school buses with a Master Warning Lamp switch--rocker style, Warning Light switch--toggle style, Door switch and also the red push/pull switch to activate the stop arm. The stop arm would flash without using the red push/pull switch, but it would not extend. The last school buses that my school district had like that were 1977 model buses. Since then our buses have not been equipped with the red push/pull switch.

Stephen R. Adamson
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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2001 :  5:08:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Ricky,

I have also seen "Override" switches on some of the AmTran RE's a school district near me has, and I think I know what it is for. I think they come with buses that are spec'd for it (in other words it is an optional switch) and what it does, if connected properly, is it "overrides" the crossing arm. I think it is there to activate/deactivate the crossing arm because it is an on/off switch. At least that's what one of the driver's who have one told me what it is for. I think that switch is installed by the factory (if spec'd for it) and it can be used as a substitute on/off switch for the crossing gate.

Phil,

I know exactly which switch you are talking about. I have heard about it and seen it too. It does the same exact function as you described in your most recent post. I also completely agree with you that the switch that I was describing to activate/deactivate the crossing arm is just "another configuration to add to the variety." Basically, what I am trying to say is that I have seen both of these switch type/configurations in use and I know that both types exist. I know for sure that my school district and other local school districts use the type I was describing, while other school districts that I have heard about use the switch type/configuration that you described.

It is surely interesting to see what everyone is coming up with. I had no idea whatsoever that there were so many variations for one of the most important, yet basic, functions that all school buses have in common!!!!

Bob
"B. Busguy33"
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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2001 :  1:08:37 PM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I stand corrected...

In pre-tripping a Blue Bird for my former driver yesterday morning, I discovered that the Interrupt switch is only for the crossing gate, not the stop arm as I had thought. (Aftermarket installation by Laidlaw)

The floor switch for the red lights turns everything on, but you have to hold it down for them to stay on. Kind of like the turn signal switches on transit buses. I thought that they would start the reds until something else happened.

You learn a lot when you're in "the seat." hehehe

Edited by - phil4747 on 04/06/2001 1:09:42 PM
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BusBoy
Top Member

USA
2042 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2001 :  1:34:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit BusBoy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Did anyone know about Thomas's new Noise button? It will cut off all the heaters and fans, stuff on your control panel and even the AM/FM radio! It's really nice if your School has alot of Rail Road Crossings!

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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2001 :  4:08:28 PM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
So that's what that does. Yeah, I saw the noise button on a new saf-t-liner when I was at the plant in High Point for a tour.

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echilton
Active Member

USA
45 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2001 :  4:13:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have manipulated warnng light switches at nine o'clock low,
nine o'clock high, and 10:30 mid-high with my left hand.....
and with my right hand at one o'clock up near the frigging
ceiling. Some are one button stabs, some are two button stabs,
some are independent of the door closure, others the door
closes them all off.

This is lousy human factors. I expect to get into a bus some
day and find one rectal peg for blinkers, high and low beams
(tighten release), forward and reverse, and radio dial tuning
but the warning light switch will be above the damn door hence
the peg will keep slipping out for each stop.

Ed






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thomas86_a
Top Member

USA
4407 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2001 :  3:38:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit thomas86_a's Homepage  Send thomas86_a an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I think I have one of the most basic arrangement for the 8 way system. I drive a 98 Thomas Conventional. I have a one rocker switch that is labeled Amber. I depress this switch to turn on my ambers, then to turn on the reds, and the stop arm I have to open the door. When the door is closed the entire system goes off. With the rocker style switch I have if I turn the Ambers on, and the student is not on the bus, I can just depress it down to turn them off.

This system is ok, but I would like the rocker switch that is up for amber down for red, that way i can turn the reds on before opening the door.



"Thomas Built Buses-The best buses on the Road."
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LoSno1
Senior Member

USA
62 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2001 :  07:42:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit LoSno1's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:

At my old school system, they do not run bus routes, the buses are only used for field trips (Or so they hope: six elementaries, one middle school, and one highschool = 9 buses total.) On the 3 Thomas Safe-t-Liner ERs that I remember (2 1989, 1 1993), there was simply one on-off switch for the ambers, and another on-off for the reds and stop sign mixed in with the fan switches under the driver's window. They had nothing to do with the door being open or closed.

The intersting way to show how basic this setup was is to say that if you turned on both the amber and red switches, you would indeed have both the amber and red lights going on the outside of the bus. So a driver had to remember to turn the ambers off when switching to the reds.

Perhaps these switches were mis-wired?


Edited by - AW on 04/04/2001 10:26:24 AM



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LoSno1
Senior Member

USA
62 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2001 :  07:58:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit LoSno1's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:

At my old school system, they do not run bus routes, the buses are only used for field trips (Or so they hope: six elementaries, one middle school, and one highschool = 9 buses total.) On the 3 Thomas Safe-t-Liner ERs that I remember (2 1989, 1 1993), there was simply one on-off switch for the ambers, and another on-off for the reds and stop sign mixed in with the fan switches under the driver's window. They had nothing to do with the door being open or closed.

The intersting way to show how basic this setup was is to say that if you turned on both the amber and red switches, you would indeed have both the amber and red lights going on the outside of the bus. So a driver had to remember to turn the ambers off when switching to the reds.

Perhaps these switches were mis-wired?


Edited by - AW on 04/04/2001 10:26:24 AM


Perhaps these switches were mis-wired you
are very right. WE have 32 thomas's and if
you look in the electrical compartment of
each of them we don't have any that are the
same. You can use the schematics and everything is there but mounted in different
places. We have 5 1998 thomas safe-t-liners
not all wired the same.

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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2001 :  08:47:17 AM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Well, they may not necessarily have been mis-wired. If you just go with separate switches for amber and red, you save money.

The system of push a button for ambers, open the door for reds requires an electronic circuit board, whereas separate switches for each only requires 2 simple flasher units.

The only thing that strikes me as odd is that there were in fact 2 separate switches, so you could have ambers and reds on at the same time. Usually (at least now--maybe it was different in the past), they combine it into one switch (see first post).

As for the multiple units wired differently, is there anything else about them that was different? Often, dealers will have several buses available, and you can save money by buying one of those instead of spec'ing your own. If these buses are spec'd differently, the wiring could indeed be different. Unless you require a certain configuration, the manufacturer can build the bus whatever way they choose.

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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2001 :  11:13:05 AM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
A while back I had mentioned that my former bus, a TC/2000 FE, has a floor switch for the reds (to override the air door being closed). You have to hold it down for the reds to stay on.

On our AmTran REs, there's a similar switch, but you just have to push it, and the reds turn on until something else happens. It's a silver button mounted on the panel.

So anyway, I just found out that the Blue Bird with the floor switch was taken out of service by the DOT. They didn't like the switch on the floor, although that's not what they failed it for. They have a problem with the driver having to hold it down for the reds to stay on.

So now, Laidlaw has to re-wire the switch panel yet again.

That bus has been out of service for electrical work so many times this year! See my post in Funny Stories about the electrical problem it had back in January.

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