Traffic advisor, arrow, signal master etc info thread

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
There are a few basic type of arrow bars:


Negative Switched- Usually halogen. The lightheads are powered constantly with one or two power wires and each head is grounded by an individual wire. The required controller grounds the lights in sequence to make the patterns.


Positive Switched- Usually halogen. The lightheads are grounded constantly with one or two ground wires and each head is powered by an individual 12v wire. The required controller powers the lights in sequence to make the patterns. Some times this is accomplished with a common/group/housing ground, other times each light has it's own ground.


Self Contained- Usually LED, the controller is included in the bar. Usually these bars have a ground and control wires that in various combos select function and pattern.


Strobe- A bar comprised of strobe heads wired as they normally would be with three wire plugs. The arrow function is 100% controlled by the power supply.


Notes-


Sometimes lightheads are grouped, ie one wire may power or ground two or more lights in the bar. This can be problematic when mixing controllers and arrows from different brands.


Occasionally you may see light heads in a arrow style setup where each individual head has a positive and a ground. These would need the grounds or positives grouped in order to use a standard arrow controller.


How to determine what type of halogen bar you have:


First, if you have a major brand bar, you can often find the installation guide on their website. If not, look at what wires are present. If a large red or white wire is present with 6 or 8 smaller colored wires it is usually a negative switched bar. If the larger wire is black, it is probably a positive switched unit.


I drew up a diagram of a few common setups. It should be noted that you can't always just reverse neg/pos if the control and arrow are mismatched. Not pictured is positive switched paired.... but based on the other ones you can figure out how that would look.

tadraw.jpg
 

OSP959(R)

Member
Thanks for the info John.


I recently tried to wire up some light heads in the back of a MX7000 using a Code 3 Arrowstik Controller P/N 7410. After failing to get it to work, I realized the controller was negative switched and actually grounded the lights to turn them on, instead of sending 12-volts to them. I got it all to work by powering the light heads with 12-volts, and isolating them so they weren't grounded when attached to the lightbar tray. I could have found the proper light heads for this setup here, but I wanted to make something work with what I had.


I would be interested in knowing who makes a controller that is positive switched.
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
OSP959® said:
I would be interested in knowing who makes a controller that is positive switched.
Some older code 3 ones are. I thought I had a federal signal one that was a few years ago, but I can't find any documentation to support that memory.
 
Federal Signal Control Head manuals for reference:


SMC1 - Basic control head slide switch RCL and Warn push button


SMC3 - Basic control head slide switch RCL and Warn push button, adds Aux push button and auxiliary flasher outputs


SMC5 - Enhanced control head slide switch RCL, Warn push button, adds Aux push button for auxiliary flasher outputs, LOW power push button (flashes single light head rather than build to full) and FAST pattern push button (bumps from 60 FPM to 95 FPM in WARN, 35 to 60 in arrow)

fed sig smc1.pdf

fed sig smc3.pdf

fed sig smc5.pdf
 

Attachments

J-fro

Junior Member
Is there any way to tell if the TA is positive or negative?


I have one (a no name unit) that came with a control box and the harness on the light bar side was cut, so I was dealing with bare wires on one side connecting to a nice neat harness plug on the other. Couldn't figure out why the TA wouldn't work. I guess I could open it up I just don't have the tools for that at the moment... I don't think...


On my Vision bar, the signal master refuses to illuminate, even when the control head says that it's flashing. Where should I start with this? Everything is plugged in all the way, grounded nicely, etc. Thank you


My apologies if these questions are in the wrong section... New here and trying to figure out the best place to ask things. Too many places to choose from :bonk:
 

rad123

Member
J-fro said:
Is there any way to tell if the TA is positive or negative?

I have one (a no name unit) that came with a control box and the harness on the light bar side was cut, so I was dealing with bare wires on one side connecting to a nice neat harness plug on the other. Couldn't figure out why the TA wouldn't work. I guess I could open it up I just don't have the tools for that at the moment... I don't think...


On my Vision bar, the signal master refuses to illuminate, even when the control head says that it's flashing. Where should I start with this? Everything is plugged in all the way, grounded nicely, etc. Thank you


My apologies if these questions are in the wrong section... New here and trying to figure out the best place to ask things. Too many places to choose from :bonk:
For your vision lightbar, I would replace the circuit board for the signalmaster that is inside the lightbar.
 

Phoenix_Rising

Resident Ghost
Gold Supporter
ok,so I've never wired an arrow before, and am a bit miffed. Im doing a code 360's, (equal to excalibur code 3 arrow). most lamps,ie takedowns,alleys, are frame gounded. where as with the lamps for the ta, each has its own plug (ground and pos) . the way i understand this, all be connecting all the positives together, and its the ground wires that will be plugging into the controller multiport, correct? any help would be muchly appreciated :coffee:
 

Phoenix_Rising

Resident Ghost
Gold Supporter
for what its worth,i cant go off the bar it came out of's wiring, as it had corrosion/burn damage. hence need for rewire
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
This pattern set was available on whelen arrow controls in a few variations.. pretty well negates the arrow, but it's great for applications were it gets left in center out or flash all the time.

arrow.jpg
 

rwo978

Site Regular
SO Brite Lighting said:
Is the Whelen TACTLD1 positive or negative switched?
neg
 

OSP959(R)

Member

I have a Whelen Edge with a built in T/A in the back, but didn't have a Whelen controller. I had a Code 3 Arrowstik controller, so I wired it up to that.

Since the wire colors don't match, I figured I would share it here for anyone else wanting to do the same:

Traffic Advisor Wire Colors - to - Arrowstik Controller Wire Color

Brown Wire - to - Blue Wire
White Wire - to - Red Power Wire
Green Wire & Yellow Wire - to - Purple Wire
Purple Wire & Blue Wire - to - Orange Wire
Red Wire & Brown Wire - to - Yellow Wire
Gray Wire - to - Brown Wire
 

nypd-hire

Member
Does anyone know if it's possible to run a Whelen TANF85 Linear 8 head LED traffic advisor with an older style TACTRL1A control head? Or do I have to use the TACTLD1


What is the difference between the TACTRL1A and TACTLD?


Thanks very much
 

rwo978

Site Regular
It'll work fine. Currently using one on a TIR6 bar.
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
EL1998P71 said:
The fuse in the back is different, LED has 10amp, Halo has a 20 amp.
That's the easiest way to tell sometimes. As far as features, the LED model uses faster flash patterns. I'm not a fan actually.
 

PJD642

Premium Member
Gold Supporter
How about a Federal SMC3 - that one is negative switched too, correct? And I can use it with LED heads?


This bar I'm building is becoming a PROJECT with all the ideas and features I'm coming up with....


And another 2 questions:


1) Since I'm using all LED heads and not halogen, do I really need a 25 amp fuse as specified, or can I safely drop down to a 15 (max current draw w/ all 7 heads steady-on is about 10 amps), and


2) I'm planning on using the "warn" function for basic rear lightbar flashing (RR___BB) alternating with (__AAA__). Then if I want to I can simply flip the directional switch on the SCM3 to get directional patterns. So to accomplish this, I can simply have position "1" (rear only) on my main controller's pursuit switch activate a relay to allow power to flow to the SCM3's main power line to activate the unit and leave the "Warn" switch depressed on the SCM3 all the time, right? That way I won't have to push a separate switch for the rear of the bar to activate....
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mvance27

Junior Member
what do you guys think of the whelen traffic advisor with flashing ends? im looking for something to mount to a backrack
 

Erik_Pakieser

Junior Member
I've been looking for this all over and haven't had any luck: where can I find a diagram that shows how to connect my Whelen T/A to the switches on my Whelen siren/control box (295HFSA6)? Ideally I'd like to hook it up to the slide switch on the siren controller.


Switch 1 = left


Switch 2 = center


Switch 3 = right


Is this even possible?
 

rwo978

Site Regular
What model TA do you have? If it's a 'dumb' unit requiring a control head to operate, probably not.
 

Erik_Pakieser

Junior Member
It's an older LED model, I would have to look at it to see what the model number is. I think you're right, it is probably a "dumb" one.
 

GaryErrol

Member
I have a Federal Signal 328000-OHP Traffic Advisor and a Whelen TACTL1A Controller. Can someone tell me what wire on the Traffic Advisor goes to what pin on the Controller? I did a search and saw many mentions of this combo but did not see a clear reference to which wire goes which pin.
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter

ERM

Passed Away
GaryErrol said:
I'll take a photo of the wires tomorrow and post it.
Why not just build your own chart? Connect the main wire (usually a heavy gauge) and complete the circuit one at a time. Note which color wire lights up which lighthead and wire accordingly after you've deciphered it.


Tony
 

GaryErrol

Member
That crossed my mind, However thus forum is supposed to be comprised of very knowledged users, so I thought one or more might know the answer and save me the headache.
 

fire1

Senior Member
whelen arrowstick controller (TACTLD1) to federal cuda diagram


whelen pin <> wire color


1 YELLOW


2 GRAY


3 N/C


4 PURPLE


5 N/C


6 ORANGE


7 GREEN


8 BROWN


9 RED
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
GaryErrol said:
That crossed my mind, However thus forum is supposed to be comprised of very knowledged users, so I thought one or more might know the answer and save me the headache.
Just a lttle sarcatic.


I gave you PdFs and for a pic of the wires from the arrowstick.


We aren't mind readers. Pictures do more than just i discription.
 

ERM

Passed Away
GaryErrol said:
That crossed my mind, However thus forum is supposed to be comprised of very knowledged users, so I thought one or more might know the answer and save me the headache.
Where's the fun in that? This is how you learn your product and have to ask fewer and fewer questions. We are here to help, but when something is as simple as connecting two wires, why not do it? It's not as difficult as you're making it out to be.


Tony
 

GaryErrol

Member
It looks like I'm going to have to figure it out myself since fire1 only lists seven wires and mine has nine wires. A couple more questions. Between the two plugs is a socket for a fuse. What amp rating would you recommend? Also, I need to set the dip switches. I think I know what I want but would like to see the various settings in action. Can I power up the controller without the traffic advisor attached?
 

GaryErrol

Member
One more question that I hope someone can answer as I don't know how to play around with this feature. It also appears to be unique to that TACTL1A controller. The instruction sheet reads:


"Remote Flash Control is the new feature on the TACTL1A. This allows for the remote activation of the flash function when the T/A head is off. Turning on the control head overrides the auxiliary control. This is ideal for activation with a slide switch control."


How does this work and what slide switch would I need?
 

Storm4200

Veteran Member
Sounds like If you attach that wire to 12v, a switch, or a position on a slideswitch, it will activate the flash mode.


So if you connected that wire to say mode 3 on a slide switch, it would flash the the TRaffic advisor w/o you having to turn on the control box.
 

Storm4200

Veteran Member
And yes, you can power up the control head without the lights connected. That control box is what generates the patterns. The lights that are attached are "dumb".
 
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JohnMarcson

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
GaryErrol said:
Now the slide switch part makes sense but don't see a need for that function.
If there is an extra override wire and you don't need an extral 12v source powering the arrow, simply cap that wire.
 

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