Twinsonic lightbar with Unitrol Series 800 controler

Maczuga

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Oct 30, 2023
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POLAND
Hi,
I am new here and I’d like to present my „new old car” that came along with a Unitrol 800 control module paired to a Twinsonic lightbar.
Unfortunately I have some issues, that is only one of the control lights „red” turns on at pos. 2 and 3(green, blue, red, yellow aren’t working at all) Also pos. 1 ‚lights’ are not making the Twinsonic blink (unless the main rotor lights turn on), however pos. 2 and 3 are working just fine, where at 3 the siren starts playing from under the hood. Any idea where I could get a new set of those diodes and why the Twinsonic isn’t blinking at pos. 1 of the switch?

I just opened the light bar and see that there is apparently no extra cable connection to the two „blinker lamps”. The whole Twinsonic seems to be powered by one cable with two wires that are also connected to the same spot at the light bar. Also I guess I’m missing the center speaker?

Are there any service manuals available? Appreciate any help and clues. I’m brand new to this topic.

Thanks,

Artur
 

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These bars a relatively simple, do a search for CTS twinsonic and your bound to be able to figure out wiring. From your pictures, your bar does not have a speaker currently installed. Also your wiring is a mess. Bar should be 12V- to frame, so one spot on that block should be ground. Not sure what all the wiring mess is going.. probably best to start there with a meter.
 
Check this out, may answer your questions about your bar..

 
The 800 switch box is pretty bullet proof. It's just the way the previous owner had it wired up. Position three should turn the siren on with the lights if the selector knob is turned to "Auto". Otherwise turn the knob to manual and the siren won't come on with the lights. It's all in how you want to set it up.

Check out the terminals on the back of the controller. Should be pretty self explanatory. Looks like you have a California Twinsonic Bar on your vehicle. In California, the front red light would be steady red (no flash) and the rear amber flashing. If you need a picture of how the 800 is wired I can try to take a picture of the back of mine. Stampeed's video will probably explain it all in better detail.
 
I will take a look at the back. However I can’t figure out the radio thing on the unitrol. Is it meant as PA system, whenever I have a speaker mounted in the Twinsonic light bar? Also those square push buttons are weird, the left one can be switched to either right or left, the other one springs back- just like a kill switch?
 
The Unitrol 800 is an electronic siren with a light control switch panel (the rocker switches can be used to control the lights). If you have a microphone you can also use it as a PA system. The rotary switch on the left (knob missing) is used to control the siren and PA functions.
 
The switches can be used to activate other small amp lights like alley lights or take down lights. The switch that "springs" back into place is called a momentary switch. It can be used for electric gun releases, to change light modes etc.

The Unitrol is not a radio. As Wailer stated, if you connect a microphone to it and turn the selector switch to PA it with a speaker (either siren speaker or a separate speaker) it will serve as a public address system.
 
Hi,
I am new here and I’d like to present my „new old car” that came along with a Unitrol 800 control module paired to a Twinsonic lightbar.
Unfortunately I have some issues, that is only one of the control lights „red” turns on at pos. 2 and 3(green, blue, red, yellow aren’t working at all) Also pos. 1 ‚lights’ are not making the Twinsonic blink (unless the main rotor lights turn on), however pos. 2 and 3 are working just fine, where at 3 the siren starts playing from under the hood. Any idea where I could get a new set of those diodes and why the Twinsonic isn’t blinking at pos. 1 of the switch?

I just opened the light bar and see that there is apparently no extra cable connection to the two „blinker lamps”. The whole Twinsonic seems to be powered by one cable with two wires that are also connected to the same spot at the light bar. Also I guess I’m missing the center speaker?

Are there any service manuals available? Appreciate any help and clues. I’m brand new to this topic.

Thanks,

Artur

First, Unitrol 800 boxes and 80 series control heads worked the pilot lights thusly:

Bar switch position 1 - Amber
Bar switch position 2 - 3 Red
Amplifier hot - Blue

The green bulb is connected to one of the rocker switches, to note when it is hot, OR it may be wired directly to one of the screws on the back to be used as an indicator for something such as open trunk, shotgun mount locked or unlocked, etc. This would be decided by the user.

The standard bar switch configuration in California was that Pos 1 fired the amber rear warning (on your TwinSonic, this is the fixed bulb with the amber lens, which is controlled by the flasher in IMG 3491). Pos 2 added the steady forward-facing red (this eliminates the funhouse mirror on that side). Pos 3 added the disco lights AND enabled the siren. In Pos 3, if the rotary switch is set to Manual, an external switch (horn ring, foot switch, etc) fires the siren, which will rise in pitch to max and hold there until the switch is released. If the switch is set to Wail, Yelp or Hi-Lo, the siren fires with the appropriate tone.

A basic TwinSonic, such as used on tow trucks, or outside of California, is equipped with two pods (outer) and a single motor to drive them both. The bar is operating or not operating. Additional wires would be added for additional features, such as speaker, Opticom, etc. If those aren't there, just add them.

On your Unitrol, you want to wire the amber to the screw marked 1-2-3, wire the forward steady to 2-3 and the pods/motor to 3.
 
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First, Unitrol 800 boxes and 80 series control heads worked the pilot lights thusly:

Bar switch position 1 - Amber
Bar switch position 2 - 3 Red
Amplifier hot - Blue

The green bulb is connected to one of the rocker switches, to note when it is hot, OR it may be wired directly to one of the screws on the back to be used as an indicator for something such as open trunk, shotgun mount locked or unlocked, etc. This would be decided by the user.

The standard bar switch configuration in California was that Pos 1 fired the amber rear warning (on your TwinSonic, this is the fixed bulb with the amber lens, which is controlled by the flasher in IMG 3491). Pos 2 added the steady forward-facing red (this eliminates the funhouse mirror on that side). Pos 3 added the disco lights AND enabled the siren. In Pos 3, if the rotary switch is set to Manual, an external switch (horn ring, foot switch, etc) fires the siren, which will rise in pitch to max and hold there until the switch is released. If the switch is set to Wail, Yelp or Hi-Lo, the siren fires with the appropriate tone.

A basic TwinSonic, such as used on tow trucks, or outside of California, is equipped with two pods (outer) and a single motor to drive them both. The bar is operating or not operating. Additional wires would be added for additional features, such as speaker, Opticom, etc. If those aren't there, just add them.

On your Unitrol, you want to wire the amber to the screw marked 1-2-3, wire the forward steady to 2-3 and the pods/motor to 3.
Wow, thanks for all your answers. This lightbar/siren topic still seems a bit confusing to be, but I will study your information. I think for the winter time I will take the Twinsonic off and clean it thoroughly and wire new. Do I get this right- I need at least three hot wires to the lightbar to be able operating a) steady red/amber flash, b) disco lights, c) additional center speaker for PA (what kind should I look for)?
If I wanted to wire additional red flash lights (eg. 2 Stratolite Red lights on the package tray) would the Unitrol be suitable or do I need some extra fuses?
Also any idea where I can find a suitable microphone for PA?
Does anyone happend to have a Unitrol 800 manual in pdf?

Thanks a lot,

Artur
 
Pos 2 added the steady forward-facing red (this eliminates the funhouse mirror on that side). Pos 3 added the disco lights
That's funny! Love the descriptions! :D
 
Wow, thanks for all your answers. This lightbar/siren topic still seems a bit confusing to be, but I will study your information. I think for the winter time I will take the Twinsonic off and clean it thoroughly and wire new. Do I get this right- I need at least three hot wires to the lightbar to be able operating a) steady red/amber flash, b) disco lights, c) additional center speaker for PA (what kind should I look for)?
If I wanted to wire additional red flash lights (eg. 2 Stratolite Red lights on the package tray) would the Unitrol be suitable or do I need some extra fuses?
Also any idea where I can find a suitable microphone for PA?
Does anyone happend to have a Unitrol 800 manual in pdf?

Thanks a lot,

Artur
You need a GOOD ground wire.

You need a HOT wire for each set of lights that you want to operate separately of others. If you want everyone on at the same time, you just need one, then internally wire everything to that one wire. The lugs on the back of the Unitrol 800 are labeled. The terminal marked 1 is hot ONLY in Pos 1, and 1-2, 1-2-3 and 2-3 should be easy to figure out.

You need a SEPARATE pair of wires for the speaker. You can just use zip cord for this, there's not a lot of current there.

I don't remember what the specified amperage is for the 800. This is done using a circuit breaker, and it protects the whole system and all loads. I think there's also a fuse that just protects the amplifier, but I'm not sure. I think that I would fuse each separate load -- this will let the others keep working when one goes hooves-up.

The microphones are Shure, with 3-conductor ("stereo") 1/4 plug. You can find these on ebay, both standard and noise-canceling.

I can't help you on the manual question. It's been 25 years since I've had one.
 
Looking at this, I think I didn't make something clear.

The pilot lights on the Unitrol 800 (and 80 series control head) work like this, in standard configuration:

Position 1: Amber
Position 2: Amber and red
Position 3: Red and blue (amber is DARK)
 
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Hey mates,
I've started to figure out how to correctly rewire my lightbar, according to the supposed functions:
Unitrol Slide
1: Flashing amber + Red steady burn
2: Flashing amber + Red steady burn + Rotating dome lights
3: Flashing amber + Red steady burn + Rotating dome lights + Siren
I want to switch the whole Unitrol via a seperate switch mounted on the dash. I understand that the first pilot light for power "green" should light up whenever there's current at the prong #20 (Ignition)- can I how wire prong #22 with #20 to get the green light on? Also, what for is prong #21 "Tap"?
There is a 5 pin connection blok at the lightbar, however one is for grounding but I assume that every part should be grounded to the lightbars base which is grounded by the mounting legs to the roof. I assume that the slider going from 0 to 3 closes at each step one additional circuit until at pos 3 all are connected at once. However, I can't figure out why there's twice a '2-3' circut, at prong #12 and #13 - where's the difference? Also why isn't there a "stand-alone" pos. 2 function, since pos.1(prong #9) and pos.3(prong #14) do exist. Also, where does hide the sire - I understand it's switched on slider pos. 3 but is the prong #14 alone for the siren?
I have at the moment an underhood speaker connected to prong #4 and #6 and the siren works, however if I would like to get an additional speaker for the PA-function mounted seperate at the lightbar - how do I wire it (prongs #1, #2 and #3?).thumbnail_IMG_3415.jpgthumbnail_IMG_3927.jpg

Sending also a pic of the current (as it came) connections. That is, Pos 1 aint working, only pos. 2 switches the whole lightbar and pos 3 adds the underhood siren).

Thanks for helping out!

Artur
 

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Your configuration should work, but under the standard install setup, there is no light for "power on" -- the unit is wired straight to a circuit breaker, then to the battery, so it's always hot. There is no drain unless you set the bar switch to 1, 2 or 3, OR you hit the PTT on the PA microphone.

Since you want to have an external switch, you're going to need a relay to handle the current. And you can, of course, wire it to use the green pilot light. CHECK THE WIRING before you do that. Also, check and see if "Tap" is just a connection to the 12+ lug.

Also under the standard California setup, 1 is rear warning, 2 is rear + steady forward, 3 is rear, steady front and rotating pods, plus amplifier is on -- if the siren is set to Wail or Yelp, it cycles, if set to Manual, you hit the horn ring. The horn ring switch is used to select whether pressing the horn makes GROUND or provides POSITIVE current.

The dual "2-3" lugs are for installer convenience, if you are using an Opticom or other accessory separate from the light bar -- side flashers, for instance. There is no "2" because they didn't figure that anyone would want something to only operate in position 2. I can't think of what would be a "2 only" item. There aren't many "1-2" items, either, but one use was to be able to cut off rear warning for convoy/escort vehicles (so you don't blind the driver following you) while running all of the other lights and siren.

"3" is not for the siren. Standard wiring is 1-2-3 is rear warning, 2-3 is steady front, 3 is the pods. The headlights lug if for (wait for it) the HEADLIGHTS (often a wig-wag for the brights, and these usually included a cut-out circuit to cancel the wig-wags when the headlights were in use at night)

Your SPEAKER lugs are for common, 75 Watt and 100 watt output. They aren't for separate speakers, and you don't want to try running both outputs at the same time. PA goes over whichever speaker you are using for the siren.

The RADIO lugs are for input to the amplifier from the radio. Set the rotary switch to RADIO and use the Volume control to adjust.

The top row of "Switches" lugs depend on how the customer ordered the unit. Check these wires, also. Since you only have two 2-position rockers, many of the housings are just spacers, with no lugs. The Series 800 could be ordered with up to three DUAL (split) 3-position rockers. I remember one agency in SoCal (Covina PD?) that activated their shotgun lock release timer by setting two of the 3-pos dual rockers in a particular configuration, then tap the PTT on the PA mic (which was kept silent with the switches set). I thought that was pretty cool, but when they went to 480H control heads, they had to come up with a new idea because there were was only room for two rocker switches.

Your light bar MAY be grounded by the mounting, but don't count on it. Use the wire terminal.
 
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Alrighty,
theres plenty of info to go with.
ONe last thing I need some explanation about the lugs:
RADIO
1.Audio
2.Audio
3.Control
— I guess those three lugs are for the microphone to connect or not, shouldn't it be a jack style?

SPEAKER
4. COMMON - still a riddle to me what it means
Lugs:

7. Brake lights - what function can there be else than just as braking indicator?
8. Flasher - do I connect a load wire to a flasher that I have somewhere installed?
26. Brake switch - also not clear what use of this is
27. Backup lights
36. Opticom - what is it?
37. That is the green pilot light?
38. Brakes again, what the heck?

Assuming I would have wired up lugs # 7,8,15,26,27 and 28 - how do I operate them actually? The front facing switches are reserved for the 'push' lugs #33, 34 and 35

Thanks again,

Artur
 
Radio: Audio and Audio are tapped into the radio speaker leads. Control supplies 12+ power to the radio's IGNITION lead when you set the knob to RADIO, and turns on the amplifier (so the blue light will come on), rebroadcasting radio audio to the siren speaker. The Radio Audio "screw" is a coarse volume adjustment, to match the level with the PA circuit. The Volume knob is used to crank radio and PA up and down as you need it. You do NOT have a connection for the radio microphone. There is probably a 1/4" 3-conductor ("stereo") jack on the bottom, for a PA microphone.

Speaker: One lead is for use with 75 watt speakers, one is for 100 watt speakers -- you pick the one that matches the speaker rating, and connect the appropriate lead to one of the two connections on the speaker. Common connects to the other lead, whichever speaker type you are using.

One of your rocker switches is set up to go to Dark Car mode. This shuts off the brake lights and backup lights. You have lugs that go to the brake switch and lights, and backup switch and lights. Find those two wires on the car, clip them and connect them to the appropriate lugs. The green pilot light is PROBABLY to indicate when you are in Dark Car.

When you activate the siren in MANUAL, pressing the horn ring makes the tone rise, releasing it makes it fall. Find the horn wire, cut it, and connect the ring side to the Horn Ring lug. BEFORE YOU DO THIS, determine if your horn ring makes POSITIVE or GROUND, and set the switch on the unit to the appropriate setting.

Opticom is a flashing light that makes traffic signals change, in towns which have the system installed. This lug is usually connected to a rocker switch, which may be a momentary switch.

You're going to need to open the box up and trace the wires, because configurations were customized for the end user.
 
Alright, thanks for the many replies. Going to take action on my lightbar/siren control now ;)

By the way, I've found out that the control/pilot lamps are from a company named ELDEMA and go with 14Volts.
There's actually a site that still sales those (unfortunately no red color available)
https://www.westfloridacomponents.c...nel+Incandescent+Lamp+Eldema+BP62-AC1705.html — in case anyone might be looking for some replacements.

Thanks for now and have a merry Christmas!

Artur
 
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Finally cleaned up the lightbar, rewired and test-benched it!

Now it works according to the Unitrol controller as follows:
Pos1: Steady amber burn
Pos2: Flashing amber + steady forward burn
Pos3: Flashing amber + steady forward burn + rotating domes

I also wired a pair of front „behind grill” alternating red lights to pos. 3 as well a rear window shelf red and alternating (together with the main) amber lamp from the lightbar.

Still looking forward to wire the speaker and mic for PA.
In spring I should mount it back to the car and will record it in action

Bye for now,

Artur
 

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Hey guys,

I finally got a shure mic for it. Now, how do I get the PA working?

I have only one TS100 W speaker that is connected to the COMMON(4) and 100W(6) lead - question, does it matter which speaker cable I connect or is there any polarity (don’t want to break anything)

So far, whenever I hit pos. 3 and go for one of the siren options it’s working fine. However, if I connect my mic and switch to „radio” I can hear only slight static hissing and cracking whenever I push the talk button on my mic.

What am I doing wrong?


Also,
i just acquired another Unitrol 800 controller with what seems to be full „options”. It looks quite good however there’s no sound coming at all. I can hear the tick from the switching on amplifier and all control lights are working. On the back plate there are two extra (jack?) connectors- any idea what they are for?
Is there any easy fix for it? What parts would I need to replace?

As always, thank You very much for your help.

Greetings,

Artur
IMG_5405.jpegIMG_5401.jpegIMG_5402.jpegIMG_5404.jpegIMG_5403.jpeg
 
The RADIO setting cuts off the PA. When you switch to RADIO, it provides 12V+ to the red "Radio" lug in the back (which is to be connected to the Ignition lead for the radio), and "listens" to the other two -- these are to be connected to the radio's speaker leads.

The PA is activated by simply keying the PA microphone with the switch in any position OTHER THAN RADIO..

There is no polarity issue with the TS100 speaker. Connect one lead to the 100W lug and the other to COMMON.

The two RCA jacks are probably for input audio from a tape recorder, but I'm not 100% sure -- that was an add-on that I don't remember ever seeing. Dunno what the story is on the lack of sound.
 
Hmm,
I have to be honest, it is a little bit confusing for me. The RADIO function (switched from the main front knob) is for PA only? So if I happen to wail the siren and the switch for the RADIO, it kills the siren and I should be able to speak to the outside world - that's my understanding :)
Now I supply 12v+ to the main lug (22) and have the whole controller permanently juiced up but that doesn't matter since I am going to hook up a main kill switch for the whole lightbar and controller.

Now, whenever I switch to RADIO, the controller supplies 12v+ to the COMMON (3) lug - okay, got that. But why should I wire COMMON (3) to the ignition (20) lead?
Sorry for my incapability, would appreciate if You'd use also the numbering of the lugs ;)

This whole controller operation is still black magic for me.
Hope my questions will suffice for all coming dudes like me in the future who might fear asking stupid questions, lol ;)

Thanks,

Artur
 
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I might add, that I want to put that controller back into the car and run my Twinsonic lightbar from it and siren, so I gotta stuck with the leads 4,5,6, since this is where I hook up my TS100 speaker - right?

If I could only find this damn manual for the 800 controller,... I wouldn't have to bother You here :p
 
Not exactly. The radio rebroadcast function is an artifact from a time before portable radios were ubiquitous. The only radio was in the car. It would be used, for example, when the patrolman was out of the car but needed to hear if a radio call for him came in.
 
I’ve got a Motorola Mocom 70 in that car, not tested if it’s working, however, possibly revivable by a radio expert. Unfortunately someone pulled most cables from the equipment and now I try to undo it with my mostly poor electrician abilities…

Do I get this right- I’d need to rewire the Motorola speaker with the Unitrol, that is connect to the audio leads (1,2)- for amplifying and by turning the switching knob it would override the siren and play instead the broadcast trough the main speaker?

Still can’t get the PA to work, only static and a klicking noises from the PTT switch.

I’ve read here (https://www.airraidsirens.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21615) that the missing siren sound might be related to a bad output transistor. Would it be advisable for me, to switch them between my broken and working Unitrol controller for testing or can I end up breaking both?

Is it possible, that different transistors were used over the years?

Thanks again for helping out.

Appreciate your trouble.
 
Okay, to make sure that this is clear . . .

Most commercial/public safety radios have a lead that connects to the ignition switch, so that the radio automatically comes on when you have the car running -- just like the AM/FM radio. You tap a lead from this wire to the RED lug on the Unitrol marked RADIO. When you turn the switch to RADIO, it will apply power to that lug, to tell the radio to go active. As a general rule, however, officers would leave the car idling, so the radio was already on.

You tap the radio speaker leads, connect them to the other two RADIO lugs. When you set the switch to RADIO, it will send whatever audio comes from the radio to the loudspeaker. It cuts off all siren sounds because they would interfere. You may hear a click from the loudspeaker as you set the switch to RADIO, and it used to be common to also hear generator whine as the car idled.

The reason for this was so that the cop could hear radio traffic while out of the car, such as during a traffic stop. As mentioned in another post above, this has largely been replaced by use of portable radios.

The PA requires NO switching -- when you key the microphone, it automatically fires the amplifier and speaker, and cuts off siren or radio sounds. When you release the key, the system goes back to whatever it was set for.
 
I might add, that I want to put that controller back into the car and run my Twinsonic lightbar from it and siren, so I gotta stuck with the leads 4,5,6, since this is where I hook up my TS100 speaker - right?

NO NO NO!

You hook your TS100 to lug 4 and lug 6. DO NOT EVER try to use lugs 5 and 6 at the same time. Lug 5 is for lower-powered speakers, 6 is for 100W speakers. Lug 4 is common to either low or high ower. Thus, if you had a low power speaker, you would use 4 and 5, with your high power speaker you use 4 and 6.
 
I’ve read here (https://www.airraidsirens.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21615) that the missing siren sound might be related to a bad output transistor. Would it be advisable for me, to switch them between my broken and working Unitrol controller for testing or can I end up breaking both?

The output transistors on Unitol amplifiers are "beta matched" pairs. If you change one, change both.

HOWEVER, if you are getting clicking sounds from the loudspeaker, unless they are very faint, the transistors are firing and probably good.
 
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Do I get this right- I’d need to rewire the Motorola speaker with the Unitrol, that is connect to the audio leads (1,2)- for amplifying and by turning the switching knob it would override the siren and play instead the broadcast trough the main speaker?

Still can’t get the PA to work, only static and a klicking noises from the PTT switch.
Tap the Motorola speaker leads, connect to lugs 1 and 2. Don't CUT the leads. If set to RADIO, the radio audio will be heard over the outside loudspeaker and the Motorola speaker inside the car.

If you're hearing the click when you key the PA mic, you may need to turn the Radio Audio Level Adjust screw. Work it back and forth a few times, it's been sitting for decades, it is exactly the same as a volume knob on an old radio and might be dirty.
 
Okay, a lot clearer to me now - big THANK YOU
For the transistors - I guess the hand writings indicate the „beta match” and are related only to socket Q11 and Q12 (both model SP3099)? Socket Q10 is of a different kind (2N3055). Does all three transistors run the siren sound? I think I have somewhere read that Q10 is related to „missing siren sound”. If so, I could unscrupulously swap them between my Unitrols?

IMG_5423.jpeg
 

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