How Toplights Work: by Fred Stock, Co-Owner
TaxiCabElectronics.com, a service of Fred Stock Electronics.
|This is a Toplight... or Roof Sign, Top Dome, Top Hat, Taxi Sign, Roof Cap, Roof Light, Cab Hat, Taxi Hat, Lighted Livery Display, name it! "A toplight by any other name would smell as sweet"... isn't that how Shakespeare put it? Something like that. The taxi cab in your neighborhood has one like it, very likely.|
|There are hundreds of styles and colors for toplights. We handle over fifty varieties of lights, in an array of colors for the basic shell of the light. We generally sell toplights in White, Lemon Yellow, School-Bus Yellow, Light Orange, Dark Orange, Light Apple Green, Dark Green, and even Blue or Red IF they are legal to use in your area. In most places, Blue and Red signs are restricted to emergency vehicles. Police, Fire, Medics, in Canada Blue means Snow Removal equipment, I believe. Be sure to check with your local authorities before ordering Red or Blue toplight shells. No returns on those two special colors!|
|Obviously, toplights from Fred Stock Electronics or TaxiCabElectronics.com, come with many fonts and numerous colors of text as well. We generally have Black, Red, Kelly Green, Dark Green, Orange, American Flag Blue, White on dark shells, Lemon Yellow on dark shells, There are many more colors available, but you have to check with us first before ordering, to be sure we CAN get what you'd like, and how long it might take. We have even done some in gold leaf vinyl, but that can cost a bit more. Call us with your ideas and we'll check with our team of specialists (below?).|
|Toplights mount on your car in two basic ways: Either Screwbase (permanently bolted down) or Magnetic Base, (held on the car by Magnets on the bottom of the toplight. Each implies its own circumstances.||.|
|The screwbase toplights mount directly to the roof of the vehicle, permanently affixed. The wires enter through the roof as well. These holes (two for the screws and one for the wires) are sealed by the use of silicon seal/adhesive, a clear material which waterproofs the opening. It is available at any auto parts store and even some markets. A sheet-metal screw is driven into the roof through a hole in the lightbar, located between the upright bolt (right end) and the rise (just left of the bolt). This not only holds the lightbar, but provides electrical ground for the bulbs.|
|After the lightbar is secured to the roof, the wires are connected and then the cover shell set down over the two upright bolts at the ends of the lightbar. An 11/32-in nut-driver tightens the two nuts.|
|Some toplights we sell are built with metal floors and metal rings around the bottom edge. There is a hole at each end of such lights, through which a screw is inserted to hold the entire light in place. Inside the light are two sockets with #1156 lightbulbs. These can run hotter than the #89 0r #67|
|bulbs used in the other style above, so let them cool down before reaching through the large holes in the floor to replace the lamps. In all cases, be sure to keep any light bulbs away from direct contact with the plastic shell. You can melt a hole through the plastic if you allow them to touch. This very touching situation can be holey! Did I really say that? Some other manufacturers|
|make a free standing lightbar, screwed to the roof of the taxicab by itself, and the shell screwed to the roof with two separate screws after the lightbar is secured. This means two extra holes through the roof, so we don't do it that way. We DO however, make a replacement lightbar for those lights, because users have found they tend to rust out when getting wet in car wash or rain.|
|Toplights are also available with "Magnetic Bases." These require NO screws through the roof and can be removed if, for instance, you live in a "homeowners association" property where no commercial vehicle are allowed to be|
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|Most of our magnetic based toplights are furnished with round 3" magnets, as the Mini lights above. There are also in-line magnets used in a different process of manufacture, which are linear as shown.||
Marker Lights are required in some cities.
See our article "The Wind Speech!"
Many Cities and Districts require marker lights which are on for various circumstances: vacant and available, hired and unavailable, in trouble (Panic Light!) or other states of operation. All of our taximeters offer a control circuit which can operate a relay to turn on or off any toplights or caps. And caps come many ways!
|Obviously, toplights need wires to bring them electricity. And for lights which have multiple circuits, they need several wires. Here in Palm Desert California where we are located, the toplight has had a number of functions, each requiring its own wire. The main sign body is hooked to the ignition circuit so any time the|
key is switched on, the sign is on. Then at the top, the VACANT light must be lighted any time the key
is on, but the meter is NOT hired. When you turn on the meter with the HIRED button, the VACANT
has to go off, and the two amber markers must go ON for the entire ride. One operator, in another
city, uses the same FS1 toplight, and he has the markers connected to his turn lights... so when he goes
to the left, the left marker on the light winks, and right flashes right as well. That takes four seperate
wires, one for sign, one for left light, one for right light, and one for the upper panel. His says TAXI
at the top, and his dispatch telephone number is the main sign text.
Now think about that: It takes four wires and a ground connection through the hold-down screws to
operate that top sign. But with a magnetic sign you get two wires... one is ground, the other is power.
Period. One circuit. So if you buy a magnetic sign, plan on all the light bulbs to be connected together
and no special signalling would be possible.
For permanent wiring, wires need to be connected inside the car and controlled so whichever circuit is required, it is activated, while the others are off. Bringing the wires to the toplight requires drilling the roof and inserting the wires. Sounds monumental, but it's easy. See our article Toplight Install Info ... It does NOT require removing the headliner!
The nutdriver for this style light is 10mm, not 11/32"
Most of our toplights can be made with LED's - light emitting diodes - instead of light bulbs. A new generation of LED's has very bright, evenly distributed light sources, is completely water sealed, has no filaments to break from the physical shock of placing the toplight on the roof. They cost a bit more, but they last over a decade! Never change a light bulb again! You may select LED's when you pick out your light on our site!
We sell a huge number of toplight styles and designs, as we said. You can scroll through the whole
list by going to our two-huge-paged toplight display. You can select colors, text colors, marker colors
and tell us what you want it to say (no charge for that lettering) [and no extra charges for lettering
on the back of the light either!!] It's all right on the page, then simply click the add to cart button to
place the order! It's so simple even a technician like me can do it! You can see almost all of our signs
on the page "select toplights by picture". when you see one you like, click it and you'll get all the
data on size, colors, costs, options and a button to order it. It's just quick as a flask!...'er flash!
PLEASE NOTE: We make the toplights AS THE ORDERS ARE RECEIVED. That's because there
are so many styles, colors, and choices of options. That means we need time enough to do that, and
then time to ship them to you. You MUST allow enough time to accomplish all that, so don't wait till
your vehicle inspection is scheduled to order a toplight. If we happen to have one on the shelf (and
that's very few most of the time) we ship it immediately. But it normally takes ABOUT TEN DAYS
and sometimes a couple of weeks during rush periods to get your order out. WE WILL NOT ALLOW
A RUSH TO REDUCE OUR QUALITY. Give us enough time, and we'll give you a great product! Tnx!
updated 10 5//13