Dealing with a shortage of outlets when setting up cars

John Hearne

Member
May 27, 2010
346
Pontotoc County, MS
I'm trying to figure out how you deal with the (in my mind) limited number of outlets on most controllers. It seems like you loose the ability to control the lights with any precision because there simply aren't enough. For instance, a Cencom has 12 outlets. I quickly fill them with:*


1-Low Power


2-Alley Light


3-Alley Light


4-Takedowns


5-Gunlocks


6-TA Function


7-TA Function


8-TA Function


9-White lights (headlight flasher, flashing TD + Alley, different flash pattern on bar)


10-Front Lights


11-Rear Lights


The desired setup on the Pursuit Switch is:


1: Front Lights


2: Rear lights


3: Front + Rear lights + white lights (when not in Park)


I'd like to have a "DUI Mode" which would be all the rear + front steady burns + mirror beams.


I could put the mirror beams and steady burns on the last circuit but that would be it.


Originally, we wanted to have the passenger side spotlight on the Cencom and possibly a brake light kill (so the Cencom would chirp when activated)


At this point, I'm left with putting the alley lights on the same switch or moving some functions of the Cencom. Some of our cars have the passenger side spotlight rigged with a toggle switch on the dash. I was thinking the brake light cutout might have to be a momentary on the dash as well.


What is everyone else doing?


* These aren't the outlet assignment, just a way to count
 

Pimp

Member
May 16, 2010
1,872
Louisiana
Why do you need 3 TA function buttons? All the setups I've ever used had left and right and both pressed made center out.
 

cybercop

Member
May 31, 2010
302
USA, TX/South
I know this is off topic, but looking at ur setup on ur pursuit switch and the DUI mode that you would like, think about wiring all ur back lights and mirror lights to slide 1?


My vehicle is setup with slide 1 as all rear, slide 2 turns on front lights with corner strobes, slide 3 is everything going including automatic siren and wig-wags.


I keep my takedowns on a seperate switch.
 

John Hearne

Member
May 27, 2010
346
Pontotoc County, MS
In case it's needed, this is the proposed configuration:


Sound Off Pinnacle Lightbar


Sound Off Rear Deck Traffic Advisor


2 Whelen M4 front facing on push bumper


2 Whelen Linz6 on side of push bumper (one per side)


2 Whelen Linz6 on corners of air dam


Whelen Mirror Beams (excessive, I know but this isn't all my idea)


Headlight Flasher


Taillight Flasher


Front mode should be front of light bar and lights on push bumper and air dam


Rear mode should be rear of light bar and traffic advisor in warning mode


White lights should be flashing TD, flashing alleys, headlight flash, activate in-car camera, high flash rate


Since I made my post, I found that Sound Off makes a traffic advisor controller (http://soundoffsignal.com/warnamber/switches/sw_DAS.htm). It would free up two outlets but might create problems when we try to cram everything into the console (Jotto Desk Contour, the short one)
 

RL1

Member
May 20, 2010
1,650
Ga
I think I've seen CENCOM's before that had the TA functions all on one button. Push for left, push again for right, again for center out, and another for off. Also, why have front and rear as separate on the slide switch when you also have buttons for them?
 

philter74

Member
May 27, 2010
72
Nyack, NY
The outlets that are being described are the relay outputs, not the switches. The TA will be on one button, but it takes three outputs to control it.
 

VolEms

Member
May 24, 2010
2,112
NY, USA
This is how I setup a Cencom Gold. It has everything including the Howler lower right corner and mom siren is Mechanical the only thing I wanted seperate was the Grover 1510 Air Horn. I think it has enough outputs on it. Im doing a HHSS2200 now. I need to program it and set it up.


ai950.photobucket.com_albums_ad345_VolEms_car778.jpg
 

John Hearne

Member
May 27, 2010
346
Pontotoc County, MS
After more thought and research, I think I have this figured out. If I add Whelen's Traffic Advisor Controller for the Dominator TA - TADCTL1 - I can control the left/right/center out function of the advisor with it and save the outlets on the Cencom. This is what I've come up with:


athecurmudgeon.freeservers.com_cencom_outlets.JPG


athecurmudgeon.freeservers.com_cencom_pursuit_switch_setup.JPG


athecurmudgeon.freeservers.com_cencom_switches.JPG


I'm not sure about including the spotlight on the setup as I'm not sure all future cars will have a passenger side spotlight. If it's not used, I suspect I'll use it to run the remaining front leds in cruise mode during the dui mode.


Does anybody have any thoughts?
 

mcpd2025

Member
May 20, 2010
1,557
Maryland, USA
Why would you want any lights on to the front during a DUI stop? I turn all front facing emergency lights off during a DUI stop, except for spotlight and possibly take downs. If it were me, I would have all primary lights on the pursuit switch and not taking up any outlets. Then, I would place some high mounted secondary lights on seperate outlets for when you need some identification lights on for long periods of time, such as shutting down a road or something. Not sure why you need a remote outlet to turn on the spotlight.... all the spotlights I have seen have a switch on the handle. Seems it would make sense to control a traffic advisor with a dedicated controller. That would open up several outlets for you.
 

John Hearne

Member
May 27, 2010
346
Pontotoc County, MS
mcpd2025 said:
Why would you want any lights on to the front during a DUI stop? ... Not sure why you need a remote outlet to turn on the spotlight....

Most of our stops are on a two-lane road. We tend to offset our vehicles into the travel lane so running nothing to the front isn't always our best option. I've had pretty good luck with just two steady burns to the front and my mirrorbeams on a sedate pattern. For HGN, have the suspect face away from the patrol car and the mirror beams are sedate enough to not interfere with WAT or OLS. The idea is that you have a just rear mode if you want it but also have the option for minimal lights to the front if you need it.


The spotlight output is for the passenger's side spotlight, so you're not reaching across the car to activate it while you're coming to rest. It's already preaimed and you just hit the switch.
 

dieselbear09

Member
Jul 19, 2010
26
Florida
Why would you put the gun lock release on the control head? The ones we have are mounted to the bottom of the console box hidden so no one can just come in and release it.
 
Jul 14, 2010
1,639
S.W. Ohio USA
Off topic, but on my last take home car before I retired, I had the gun lock wired in to an old, 4 pin Motorola 2 way microphone. Key the mic, and it released the shotgun. There was so much radio equipment in the console no one would have ever figured out how to release the gun without knowing the secret. Just looked like another radio mic hanging on the dash. Hidden in plain sight.
 

Andy L.

Member
Jun 16, 2010
282
Michigan
John,


I've run into the same problem with the CenCom just not having enough outlets. I have pretty much the same list for outlet needs as you plus I use the cruise lights in my Liberty all the time.


I ended up compromising and putting rear lighting on SS1 along with two front steady burn heads in the lightbar and a pair of TIR6 in the grille. This setup works great for SFST's, but I really miss having the ability to cut off all front lighting. The TIR6s are recessed enough and low enough that they don't interfere with testing.


Having the passenger spotlight on a console/dash mounted switch is a must! It is much safer for the driver to activate plus gives the bad guys the illusion that there are two officers in the car. I often find people looking for the second officer when I use the passenger spot light....may sound stupid to some, but it works.


I ended up adding a Havis switch panel with seven rockers to allow for more control over my lighting. I would still rather just use the CenCom.


I've thought about talking with Sean Barr about some sort of module that would use only one CC outlet and allow for both alley lights to be controlled by using a CC switch set to momentary. It would only free up one outlet, but its a start. I've also thought of having SS3 activate a relay that would send power to all the white lights while moving and then switch to the DUI mode when parked but haven't figured out how to do an override mode to keep front lighting going when needed.


The CC just needs about four more outputs......
 

mcpd2025

Member
May 20, 2010
1,557
Maryland, USA
John Hearne said:
Most of our stops are on a two-lane road. We tend to offset our vehicles into the travel lane so running nothing to the front isn't always our best option. I've had pretty good luck with just two steady burns to the front and my mirrorbeams on a sedate pattern. For HGN, have the suspect face away from the patrol car and the mirror beams are sedate enough to not interfere with WAT or OLS. The idea is that you have a just rear mode if you want it but also have the option for minimal lights to the front if you need it.


The spotlight output is for the passenger's side spotlight, so you're not reaching across the car to activate it while you're coming to rest. It's already preaimed and you just hit the switch.

Well there you go, makes perfect sense! I've never run into a situation like that, nor do we have passenger side spots.
 

EVModules

Member
May 16, 2010
864
Deer Park, WA
Probably a late post but,...


There's many options to "squeeze" extra functions into the Cencom.


Split level - Some outlets serve two functions depending on the state of others. For instance, one button can be both TD & HLF and is controlled by a park kill module. With the output activated in drive, the HLF is flashing, once the vehicle is in park, it turns off the HLF and turns on TD. There's various ways to approach it so you get the concept / idea.


Put it on a Park Kill Module - Most of my installations have park kill modules which controls the HLF, pre-emptions, and some levels of strobes / led's.


LRCO module - I can manufacture dedicated Left, Right, Center-out modules using only one button for certain traffic advisors. Other variants are possible. I never did an install where there's more than one button involved for directional lighting on Cencom / Smart Sirens period.


Limit lighting to the slide switch - A very popular option (at least where I build my vehicles) is to simply keep things simple, keep the warning lights restricted to the slide switch. Coupled with a park kill module, you get 4 levels of lighting all from the slide switch.


Shotgun button - I generally utilize a two-button shotgun timer setup, first button (out of sight) provides timed power to the second button (plain sight, usually next to shotgun) in order to release the shotgun. Exception is the built in security on Smart Sirens.
 

John Hearne

Member
May 27, 2010
346
Pontotoc County, MS
Guys,


Thanks for all the input, it makes me think and that's what I need.


My immediate response to this quandary is to wonder "what about the traffic advisor module." It's got eight outlets, you'd think that Whelen would give you the option control the individual outlets from the various switches. I'm sure they'd be low voltage outputs but with modern bars, that's all you need. Any Whelen hackers out there?


To solve my particular problem, I think I'm going to put the passenger side spotlight on the same switch as the takedowns. As the spotlight has its own switch and it typically used with the takedowns, an officer could either enable or disable the spotlight function by using the factory switch. I'd really like to control the cruise lights and possible run them in the DUI mode as well.


thanks,


John
 

rwo978

Member
May 21, 2010
5,196
ND, USA
mouth said:
what are cruise lights and why do you use or need them?


Solid color lights at a low output for identification.
 

John Hearne

Member
May 27, 2010
346
Pontotoc County, MS
mouth said:
what are cruise lights and why do you use or need them?
Cruise lights illuminate the LEDs at typically 30% of their output. They're primarily used to make the vehicle more visible when not in emergency mode. The issue for us is that flashing lights interfere with field sobriety tests. I was thinking that if the entire front of the bar was lit up in cruise lights, they wouldn't interfere with SFSTs but would offer some ID.
 

RL1

Member
May 20, 2010
1,650
Ga
I would love to have cruise lights on my car. It makes the car seen, lets drivers know to look for an officer, and doesn't distract/blind/ draw attention from others like full lights.
 

AggiePhil

Member
Jul 17, 2010
146
Southwest
Last I heard, NHTSA now claims that forward flashing lights do not need to be turned off as previously thought. Apparently some new research has been done that has thrown that out as a statistically validated contributing factor to inducing HGN. That having been said, I still turn mine off. Old habits die hard.
 

RL1

Member
May 20, 2010
1,650
Ga
AggiePhil said:
Last I heard, NHTSA now claims that forward flashing lights do not need to be turned off as previously thought. Apparently some new research has been done that has thrown that out as a statistically validated contributing factor to inducing HGN. That having been said, I still turn mine off. Old habits die hard.

I took SFST in April and were told to turn off the front lights just to be safe. If we are doing the tests, we always try to get another unit there with us before we get the driver out, so I wouldn't be bothered if I turned off my back lights, too.
 

mouth

New Member
Jul 14, 2010
5
USA Maine
another plus if you had your whole front bar on solid is that the colors will blend an make a very nice almost white light to light the area, and it makes the dash cams come in much better, think of it in the same way you light up a stage, you don't use just white lights but you use red, blue, and yellow and the three colors blend to make a more natural light.
 

philter74

Member
May 27, 2010
72
Nyack, NY
The TA module outputs can only be used for a "dumb" traffic advisor. If you do have the module installed, is there any way you can rewire your TA to bypass the internal flasher and just let the CenCom control it? I only ask this because I'm not familiar with the Sound Off TA, I have done it several times with other manufacturers models.
 

John Hearne

Member
May 27, 2010
346
Pontotoc County, MS
philter74 said:
The TA module outputs can only be used for a "dumb" traffic advisor. If you do have the module installed, is there any way you can rewire your TA to bypass the internal flasher and just let the CenCom control it? I only ask this because I'm not familiar with the Sound Off TA, I have done it several times with other manufacturers models.
I understand that by default the TA module can only be used for older TA's. I just suspect that it would be easy to tweak the firmware to allow use of the outlets.


As far as the SoundOff advisor, it's like all the current three-wire TA's. One wire for right, one for left, one for warning, right and left together for center out.


The issue with the Cencom is a lack of outlets to control everything in the car.
 

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