TAPCO launches lightweight self-contained solar cabinet at ATSSA Annual meeting


One of the USA’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of traffic and parking control products, Traffic and Parking Control Co. Inc. (TAPCO), has launched a new solar-generated power supply at the American Traffic Safety Services Association’s (ATSSA) 2019 Annual Convention and Traffic Expo, which has been taking place in Tampa, Florida, this week.  

TAPCO’s innovative new 13W, self-contained solar cabinet is suitable for powering a range of roadside intelligent warning systems and traffic-calming devices. The unit scales one-third of the weight of traditional cabinets and features a universal mounting bracket and intuitive wiring, making it fast and easy for one person to install.

The Wisconsin-based company says its compact size and contoured black finish also allows the new solar-powered cabinet to blend inconspicuously with its environment.

The use of lightweight, compact components contained in one housing achieves an aesthetically pleasing appearance that blends in with much modern urban design.

Traditional cabinets with batteries can weigh more than 30 lb (13.6kg). TAPCO was able to eliminate two-thirds of that weight by using nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which weigh a small fraction of traditional lead-acid batteries.

Further weight reduction was achieved by employing a durable polycarbonate housing instead of aluminum.

APCO notes that its innovative use of materials, technology and components also translates to cost savings.

With this budget-friendly option that requires half the labor of more complex products, communities can get more for their project dollars and improve traffic safety at more locations.

Programming the unit is also fast and easy, using TAPCO’s backlit, intuitive controller with a joystick interface.

Despite its small size and weight, the 13W cabinet provides a robust menu of features such as:

  • Multiple possible battery configurations that provide 6V up to 28 amp-hours to deliver autonomy of up to 30 days;
  • The housing of solar panel, batteries and controller in one unit;
  • Fits all pole types with TAPCO’s universal mounting bracket;
  • Operability with three different kinds of TAPCO’s intelligent warning system (IWS) devices – BlinkerBeacon, RRFB-XL2, and BlinkerSign;
  • Operating temperature range -40˚F to 122˚F (-40˚C to 50˚C);
  • Support of both active and passive activation methods.

“A frequent pain point for public works technicians is the weight and size of current solar cabinets,” said Jon Zick, director of engineering and marketing at TAPCO.

“Carrying a big, 30 lb metal box up a pole and attaching it is an awkward and even dangerous two-person job. In contrast, one person can easily lift our new, self-contained cabinet up to the pole top and fasten it quickly using our universal mounting bracket.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.