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FM 558977

    Info Zone: Types of Visual Warning Beacons Available



Moflash manufactures five different types of Visual Warning beacons.


Rotating Beacons - ‘R’

A parabolic reflector, driven by an electric motor, revolves around a continuously illuminated bulb on the vertical axis of the beacon creating a powerful beam of light travelling through 360 degrees.


These units are available with either a filament or a tungsten halogen bulb.   In general, this type of beacon has a greater degree of light output than other models but this is reduced as the parabolic reflector only illuminates one given point at a time.


Flashing Filament - ‘FF’

Operating through an internal circuit, which simply cycles the bulb On, and Off.   These types of beacons generally give a much lower light output as it takes longer for the bulb to fully illuminate itself.   These units are available with either a filament or tungsten halogen bulb. The light output can be improved by the use of a Dioptric (Fresnal) lens which is placed over the bulb capturing the light emitted, magnifying and directing it to increase the brightness of the visual signal.   In terms of light coverage, this type of beacon is more efficient as it illuminates the whole surface of the beacon constantly through 360 degrees.


Static Filament (Continuous) Beacons ‘SF’

These units are identical to Flashing Filament beacons with the exception that they do not operate through an On, and Off cycle.   When the unit is energised the light source stays permanently ‘On’.  


The main advantage of this type of beacon is that the light can be controlled by a separate source ie a control panel, giving the unit more flexibility. These units are available with either a filament    

or tungsten halogen bulb.


Xenon (Strobe) Beacons - ‘X’

A discharge capacitor operating through a converter circuit ignites xenon gas inside a tube creating a brilliant flash of light.   Xenon gas ignites virtually instantaneously so maximum brightness is obtained

immediately.   This signal can be improved further by the use of a Dioptric (Fresnal) lens as described earlier.   In some Moflash models a ‘Double Flash’ option is also available which extends the signal duration making it more noticeable to the human eye. See X88, X201/200, X401/400 & X501/500.


Xenons have an added advantage of low current consumption combined with long life.   The tube life of a xenon beacon is approximately 5 million flashes. These units are the most efficient available incorporating a 360 degree light output with the brightest and most effective visual signal.


LED Beacons - ‘LED’

A light emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits visible light when an electric current passes through it.   The four major benefits of LED technology incorporated into warning beacons are:


  • Low power requirement
  • High efficiency
  • Very long life
  • Multiple Colour Signal options in a single beacon enclosure.

Moflash offer a range of LED options, from beacons containing 8 off LEDs up to 144 off LEDs in a single enclosure.   They can be set in various modes of operation from Flashing, Static and Rotating. Some beacons have a combined Audible & Visual option. Ethernet compatible and PLC controllable beacons also make up the range along with high ‘Ingress Protection’ enclosures.


Levels of Brightness

Brightness depends upon the type of beacon chosen, the rated power output of the unit ie Watts and Joules, the distance that the signal is observed from and the dome colour of the beacon used.   In general, if the viewing distance is doubled, the light intensity observed is reduced to a quarter and if the distance is quadrupled the light intensity is reduced to a sixteenth.


All Beacons: Lens colours explained

The intensity of the light can be greatly reduced as it passes through the dome of the beacon.   The extent of this reduction is dependent upon:


  • The type of light source used ie conventional filament (Incandescent) bulb, tungsten halogen bulb or a xenon tube.
  • The colour of the beacon lens that is used.

Lens colours available are shown in the below table:



The next table gives an indication of the percentage of light that will pass through the beacon dome for different light sources and dome colours.



Dome colours convey different messages to the observer:



Alternatively, green beacons are used by Doctors and Veterinarians and blue beacons for the Police and Fire departments.



An audible sound is produced when the beacon is illuminated.


This is of particular use in low level noisy environments if the warning light is obscured from direct viewing or as a back-up warning should the bulb fail.



    Info Zone: Types of Audible  Warning Beacons Available




Either Electro Mechanical type where the diaphragm is deflected by a moving magnet which is triggered by a make and break contactor or the Piezo type where the diaphragm is controlled by an electronic circuit.   The Mechanical versions offer medium/high dB output with low frequency sound and are of robust construction.


Piezo versions are relatively low dB and high frequency and are only suitable for local signalling applications.


Electronic Sounders

The Electronic Sounder is a versatile acoustic signal incorporating 8 individual tones.   It incorporates a medium dB output with a distinctive multi-tone frequency option to indicate various processes, a second one can be remotely switched via a third wire.


This type of signal is suitable for fire alarm use and conforms to the current EC regulations.



Airhorns are non-electrical devices that only operate from a compressed air supply.   They offer very high dB output with very low frequency sound making them ideal for very noisy environments.   Moflash offers an industrial and marine range.   Being non-electrical they can be used in hazardous area Category 1 use.



Bells are a cost effective traditional signalling device with a wide range of signalling applications. They offer medium dB output with a unique sound.   Moflash offers two types: solenoid driven for industrial applications where they are under constant daily use, and a motor driven type more suitable for fire alarm applications.



Hooters are powerful motor driven horns producing the unique and never forgotten ‘Klaxon’ sound used the world over. A serated rotor driven against a hardened steel diaphragm stud creates a high dB output with low frequency sound. These types of signals are ideal for indoor and outdoor applications where a rugged and durable sounder is required.

Click to download Moflash’s dB (A) Chart



    Info Zone: Approvals & Conformities


The CE Mark


The Moflash products that show the CE mark, are deemed to comply, where applicable, with the EMC Directive No: 89/366/EEC and additional amendments, regarding Electromagnetic Compatibility which states that:


‘An electrical product must not be susceptible to, or generate certain levels of, electromagnetic   interference liable to interfere with other electronic equipment’,


and the LVD Directive No: 2006/95/EC regarding low voltage electrical material which states that:


‘Electrical equipment within the voltage ranges of 50 to 1000v Ac and 75 to 1500v Dc are   constructed within the principles of good engineering practice and provide adequate levels of   protection against an electric shock’.





  • Convention on International Civil Aviation ICAO Doc 7300/5
  • Annex 14-Aerodromes, Chapter 6, Table 6-3 (Appendix A)
  • Characteristics of obstacle lights, Low-intensity, Type A, red
  • General administrative regulation on the marking of aviation obstructions of 02.09.2004.



Sets out the standards required at UK Licensed aerodromes relating to physical characteristics, assessment and treatment of obstacles, visual aids, rescue and fire fighting.

More information


RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)

The RoHS Directive 2002/95/FC comes into force on 1st July 2006 and restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment within the European market. Although it is also widely referred to as the 'Lead Free Directive', but you should also take note that the following substances listed below are also restricted:



Hazardous Substance

Allowed PPM Level

Cadmium (Cd) 100ppm (0.01%)
Lead (Pb) 1000ppm (0.01%)
Mercury (Hg) 1000ppm (0.01%)
Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI) 1000ppm (0.01%)
Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB's) 1000ppm (0.01%)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Eithers (PBDE's) 1000ppm (0.01%)


From 1st July 2006 any new electronic or electrical equipment sold in the EC must not contain these hazardous substances in excess of the permitted levels indicated above. However, the directive does allow provision for some specific exclusives such as lead in glass and ceramics etc. Equipment used for military and medical purposes, together with monitoring and control instrumentation, are also exempt.


Following the introduction of the RoHS Directive and the forthcoming restriction of lead in soldering materials different process parameter will be required to handle the new generation of solder alloys and board finishes. To assists those performing assembly, rework and repair operations the characteristics of RoHS compliant products have been categorised by JEDEC standards under three headings MSL (Moisture Sensitivity Level), PBT (Peak Body Temperature) and 2nd Level, Interconnect (Terminal Finish/Material).


Moflash conforms to the RoHs Directive.



Moflash products conform to the following WEEE Directive




WEEE Directive Symbol

The WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) Directive aims to encourage a sustainable approach to the manufacture and disposal of classified electronic and electrical products and places certain obligations on producers of these products. The principle behind the legislation is simply to remove some of the responsibilities for disposal costs from the end user to the producer, to facilities improvements in environment performance.


WEEE applies to electrical and electronic equipment that is dependant on electric or electromagnetic fields and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1000 volts for alternating current and 1500 volts for direct current, for equipment falling into the following categories:


  • Large household appliances
  • Small household appliances
  • IT and telecommunications equipment
  • Consumer equipment
  • Light equipment
  • Electrical and electronic tools
  • Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  • Medical devices
  • Monitoring and control equipment
  • Automatic




ATEX Directive

Hazardous Areas to Meet ATEX Approval

Any control equipment used to ensure the safe operation of equipment in a hazardous area falls within the scope of the ATEX Directive (from the French – Atmospheres Explosive).   The ATEX Directive combines two European Directives associated with equipment used in and people who work in potentially explosive atmospheres. It not only considers potentially explosive concentrations of gas, vapors, mists or dusts with air.


Gas, Mists or Vapors

The risk of an explosive atmosphere being formed is obviously a variable factor being dependent upon the conditions in a given environment.   Thus, in order to achieve a consistent level of safety, hazardous areas are classified into three zones.


Zone 0 – An atmosphere where a mixture of air and flammable substances in the form of gas, vapor or mist is present: frequently, continuously or for long periods of time.


Zone 1 – An atmosphere where a mixture of air and flammable substances in the form of gas, vapor or mist is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.


Zone 2 - An atmosphere where a mixture of air and flammable substances in the form of gas, vapor or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur will persist for only a short period.


ATEX  Group II Categories and Applications

Category Design of Safety Design Requirements Application Zone of Use
1 Very high level of safety Two independent means of protection or safe with two separate faults Where explosive atmospheres are present continuously or for lengthy periods Zone 0

Zone 20

2 High level of safety Safe with frequently occurring disturbances or with an operating fault Where explosive atmospheres are likely to occur Zone 1

Zone 21

3 Normal level of safety Safe in normal operation Where explosive atmospheres are likely to occur infrequently and be of short duration Zone 2

Zone 22


Apparatus Groups (Gas Groups)

Apparatus for use in harzardous areas is, where appropriate, grouped in one of four sub-groups namely I, IIA, IIB, IIC. Apparatus Sub-Grouping is normally applied to Flameproof and Intrinsically safe types of protection.   Other types of protection apply equally to all gases subject only to temperature classification.


The following table shows the relationship between the apparatus group and the Representative gas.

Maximum Surface Temperature


A gas/air mixture can ignite when it comes into contact with excessively hot surface.   The surface temperature at which equipment operates is therefore of crucial importance.   The equipment is temperature classified as follows:


Note: The above information is intended as a guide only.   The selection of Hazardous area equipment should only be undertaken by a suitable qualified Engineer and installed according to the relevant standards.



The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC

These directives are designed to harmonise wide range health and safety requirements in machinery design and daily use by indicating a potential hazard by the use of an immediately recognizable audible or visual warning signal.


prEN 842 Safety of Machinery

Visual Warning Signals

Classifies the type of warning light and specifies the characteristics the warning light must achieve to conform to the machine directive.


Warning Signals

Visual warning signals must be at least five times brighter than the area where they are used.


Danger Signals

Clearly visible even in strong light, distinguishable from other lights and Visual warning signals and be understood immediately.


Emergency Signals

These have the highest priority and must be at least ten times brighter than the area that they are to be used in and understood immediately



IEC 73 - Colours of Luminous Indicators & Push Buttons

Establishes the various meanings of coloured luminous indicators and push buttons to conform to the machine directive.


Colour: RED


  • Danger of live or unguarded
  • Moving machinery or essential
  • Equipment in protected zone


Colour: AMBER


  • Temperature of pressure different from normal level


Colour: GREEN


  • Checks complete the machine is about to start


Colour: BLUE


  • Pre-set ready or remote control


Colour: CLEAR


  • Could confirm an earlier message


All Moflash coloured domes are manufactured from ‘UV’ stable polycarbonate plastic that will not tarnish, fade or become brittle over a period of time unlike many domes available that are produced from   Acrylic plastic.




    Info Zone: Installation & Maintenance



Installation and Maintenance of Visual Warning Beacons

When installing a Hazard Warning Beacon, care should be taken to position it in the most effective location to allow for all round light visibility and to maintain the IP (Ingress Protection) rating of the beacon. Therefore the following parameters should be noted:


  • To maintain the IP rating, the beacon should be mounted with the dome above the black moulded base. Never mount the unit with the dome horizontal or below base position.
  • Always fit mounting gasket provided (200/1, 400/1 & 500/1 series models only) and ensure the ‘O’        ring is in place between the dome and base.
  • Fit a suitably IP rated cable gland (not supplied) where appropriate.
  • Regularly clean the beacon dome, as this will improve light output and help dissipate heat build up in the beacon.   Do not clean dome with petroleum based cleaners.
  • Areas of vibration should be avoided.   If this is not possible, then our Anti-Vibration mount must be      used. Reference 50080 (available for 88/125 & 200/1 series models only).
  • Avoid situation Xenon beacons in close proximity to communication aerials or equipment and power lines that may be subject to high voltage transients.
  • DC voltage Xenon beacons should only be run on a smoothed rectified supply.
  • Unlike Incandescent lamps which fail instantly, Xenon tubes deteriorate very slowly. The impending failure of the tube will be indicated by erratic flashing. Once this is recognised the tubes should be replaced immediately.   Failure to do so may result in damage to the electrical circuit.
  • Always disconnect the beacon from the supply before attempting maintenance.   In addition, allow Xenon beacons at least 15 minutes to self-discharge before removing the dome as high voltages will remain on the pcb for this period of time.


Visual Warning Signals

The environment in which the beacon is to be installed will determine the product type and light intensity that is required for any application.


Thus, a beacon designed for Industrial use incorporating a very high light output would not be suitable for local signalling at a control panel.


Alternatively, a low light output beacon would be ineffective for large factory environment.


Generally, Moflash can supply beacons for all types of applications.

Listed below are some of the main market areas.



Warning beacons for use on automobiles (commercial & private) agricultural / off road vehicles and forklift trucks etc. For further information see our Automotive section.


Industrial & Marine

Warning beacons for heavy duty, high light output applications such as foundries, factory shopfloors, large warehouses, docks, ports and general offshore use etc. For further information see our Industrial & Marine section.


Fire & Security

Warning beacons for light duty, low to medium light output to give local indication such as offices, hospitals and schools.   For further information see our Fire & Security section.


Explosion Proof

Warning beacons for use in potentially explosive environments such as oil rigs, refineries and mines etc.   For further information see our Hazardous Areas section.


Environmental Factors determining Selection

  • Safe atmosphere or potentially explosive atmosphere
  • The ambient level of existing light
  • The light output required from the beacon
  • The duration the beacon has to operate
  • The IP rating of the beacon
  • The electrical supply available.




    Info Zone: IP (Ingress Protection) Ratings Explained



IP Ratings

The IP ‘Ingress Protection’ rating system provides a means of classifying the Degrees of protection from dust and water afforded by electrical equipment and enclosures.   The system is recognised in most countries and is set out in BS EN60529 1992 Degrees of Protection.


Click to download our IP Ratings Chart


    Info Zone: dB Chart Explained



dB (Decibels) Chart

The decibel chart in our catalogue shows decibels @1 metre range.


Click to download our dB Chart


    Info Zone: Table of ICONS Explained



Table of Icons

Our Icon Legend chart is a guide explaining the various symbols seen our on our datasheets and in our catalogue for example: FPM, IP, Marine etc.


Click to download our ICON Legend Chart


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