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WeCan sync?

Solvarex

Banned
Think I already know the answer but maybe someone here has tried this...


Is there any way to sync a WeCan light bar with external lamps? Without needing Cantrol that is (assuming it can do that).
 
Solvarex said:
Think I already know the answer but maybe someone here has tried this...

Is there any way to sync a WeCan light bar with external lamps? Without needing Cantrol that is (assuming it can do that).

Cantrol is the only way. Unless you want to hack up the wiring and tap into some lamp feeds and run the feeds back to whatever lamps you want to synch.
 

Jman423

Site Owner
Administrator
got_ygurt said:
...Unless you want to hack up the wiring and tap into some lamp feeds and run the feeds back to whatever lamps you want to synch.

That is the logical idea here, but the concern then becomes the added amp draw on the solid-state circuits that each head, or channel runs off of. I've considered using an LC I/O board to do something like this, but I am not sure what the capabilities are for each channel.
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
Well one of the benefits of a WeCan bar is the reduced amount of associated wiring so that would defeat the purpose unfortunately. I can live with what I've got, just thought it would be nice to have a complete sync setup.


Watch, in 10 years we'll be selling Cantrol systems in the classifieds for 200 bucks. :)
 
Jman423 said:
That is the logical idea here, but the concern then becomes the added amp draw on the solid-state circuits that each head, or channel runs off of. I've considered using an LC I/O board to do something like this, but I am not sure what the capabilities are for each channel.

Yeah from what I've been told the liberty and freedom I/O boards are identical... so if you had a liberty in theory you should be able to run at least one additional LIN-6 off of each channel. My thoughts are you could then use a TD harness and run the wires out the opposite side of the liberty as your main power feeds... means you'd have to drill two holes in your roof though ;)
 

shues

Lifetime VIP Donor
got_ygurt said:
Yeah from what I've been told the liberty and freedom I/O boards are identical... so if you had a liberty in theory you should be able to run at least one additional LIN-6 off of each channel.

In my experience, they sure seem to be identical. You make a good point about being able to double up.
 

factorone33

Member
Solvarex said:
Think I already know the answer but maybe someone here has tried this...

Is there any way to sync a WeCan light bar with external lamps? Without needing Cantrol that is (assuming it can do that).

Simple. Get a second WeCan I/O board, run the comm wires from the second I/O board to the same box as what's being used for the lightbar, and use the I/O board as a glorified flasher for whatever else you're using in conjunction with the lightbar. No tapping wiring inside the lightbar and running it back outside to other lamps required, and the connections can be made inside the cab instead.


I can draw a schematic if necessary. It's an expensive alternative (WeCan I/O boards run about 600 bucks from Whelen by themselves), but it's doable. One WeCan controller can handle several I/O boards at a time, and you can mess around with different combinations of heads for various patterns and applications.
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
factorone33 said:
Simple. Get a second WeCan I/O board, run the comm wires from the second I/O board to the same box as what's being used for the lightbar, and use the I/O board as a glorified flasher for whatever else you're using in conjunction with the lightbar. No tapping wiring inside the lightbar and running it back outside to other lamps required, and the connections can be made inside the cab instead.

I can draw a schematic if necessary. It's an expensive alternative (WeCan I/O boards run about 600 bucks from Whelen by themselves), but it's doable. One WeCan controller can handle several I/O boards at a time, and you can mess around with different combinations of heads for various patterns and applications.
Interesting idea! I'll have to check eBay and such for a used one.
 

Carlos SpicyWeiner

Platinum Donor
but can two wecan boards be synced together?!
 
factorone33 said:
Simple. Get a second WeCan I/O board, run the comm wires from the second I/O board to the same box as what's being used for the lightbar, and use the I/O board as a glorified flasher for whatever else you're using in conjunction with the lightbar. No tapping wiring inside the lightbar and running it back outside to other lamps required, and the connections can be made inside the cab instead.

I can draw a schematic if necessary. It's an expensive alternative (WeCan I/O boards run about 600 bucks from Whelen by themselves), but it's doable. One WeCan controller can handle several I/O boards at a time, and you can mess around with different combinations of heads for various patterns and applications.

This is an interesting idea... have you actually tested it? As the wecan boards would not actually be talking to each other wouldn't they eventually get out of synch though?
 

factorone33

Member
got_ygurt said:
This is an interesting idea... have you actually tested it? As the wecan boards would not actually be talking to each other wouldn't they eventually get out of synch though?

The WeCan I/O boards take their directions from the WeCan controller, so if one controller is telling two boards to do the same things, they'll be synced (the controller is what accepts the program from the computer, not the I/O boards). Since WeCan is a direct derivative of the older Whelen Serial Control system (which is a bi-directional digital pulse control system), the WeCan controller and I/O board are constantly "talking" back and forth in regards to what lightheads are doing what pattern/function, and being that electrical pulses travel at the speed of light (i.e. instantaneously), two I/O boards will realistically receive the same signals at exactly the same times. Assuming that the solid-state components on both boards operate at the same clock speeds and latencies, they'll execute the same commands/instructions simultaneously, and thus would be "synced".


Long story short, we've tried it several times and have had great success demonstrating it with two bars operating on the same controller (we proposed to a fire apparatus OEM once about using the concept in conjunction with several bars on a tower ladder as a means of syncing several mini-bars together so as to create an easier application for smaller bars and lights without sacrificing synchronized functionality).


If necessary, I'll try to get a setup this next week in the shop and do a video if I can track down a video camera (or a smart phone) and upload it for your reference.
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
Thanks for the detailed explanation! I'm one of those types that is bothered when I don't know the how and why of the ins and outs of something technical. Very interesting that the WeCan controller is actually doing all of the work. The I/O board in the bar is pretty complicated, what functions does it serve exactly?
 

factorone33

Member
Solvarex said:
Thanks for the detailed explanation! I'm one of those types that is bothered when I don't know the how and why of the ins and outs of something technical. Very interesting that the WeCan controller is actually doing all of the work. The I/O board in the bar is pretty complicated, what functions does it serve exactly?

I don't have an exact working knowledge of the functionality of everything in question, but as far as my understanding goes, the board in the bar takes the programming instructions from the box and them directs each lighthead (or pair of them) to do what the program dictates. This is why you can take two WeCan controller boxes, program them entirely different from each other, and then control the same bar with either one, without having to reprogram (i.e. run the bar with Box A first, swap the boxes and run it with Box B second, without a programming step).


You could also theoretically use two (or three, or four, etc.) boxes on the same bar (or bars...) to create multiple "profile settings" for one bar by turning on and off one box at a time, and just running the comm wires from the bar to each box. You could use a two-switch setup to turn Box A on and run the patterns/settings on it, or turn on Box B and do the patterns/settings on it, while turning the opposing box off and isolating it (using diodes or relays) on the comm wires to prevent back-feeding and communication errors.


Note that you can probably also run two WeCan I/O boards off of the CenCom Sapphire using the same techniques mentioned in my previous posts.


I should also point out that the concepts I've been discussing here have been employed by Whelen for quite some time in the now-defunct Serial Control platform; you could control a siren amplifier, a lightbar, a flasher, and a relay box using the same communication circuit, and the programming could handle instructions for everything on that platform without having to worry about current limits or signal fade (it's all ran in parallel anyway).


The big question is, could you theoretically hack the WeCan firmware/software to do the same things with it that you could do with SC (as WeCan is a direct derivative of SC).


Food for thought.
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
Well hacking is definitely out of my field of expertise but someone good with electronics might be able to figure it out. I'd be more interested in creating custom flash patterns. I'd like to flash those takedowns of mine but for only a few milliseconds, much like a xenon strobe. They're far too bright for any significant on-time. Some people are under the impression that WeCan already has this feature but no, it only lets you fully customize you bar using Whelen's existing flash patterns.


And even WeCan has its limitations. For instance if I want to use the DUO function of my bar by alternating one color with the other, I have to use a section called BAR PATTERNS which scrolls through predetermined flash patterns (or all of them) depending on the lightheads I choose to be active. I can't select my inboards to alternate red then amber and have the outboards do something different; soon as I try programming a second color with the regular patterns it overwrites the previous color.


I also can't flash my takedowns with anything except regular flash patterns. If I try to get them up on BAR PATTERNS they seem to get ignored. I could try programming them in as a lighthead rather than takedowns to fool the program but that would eliminate my takedown activation wire!


It's confusing and unintuitive and I'm sure the bar is capable of it, but Whelen's programming software is just the shits. And if you think WeCan is hard try programming an HHS2200!
 

OTFD122

Member
Solvarex said:
I also can't flash my takedowns with anything except regular flash patterns. If I try to get them up on BAR PATTERNS they seem to get ignored. I could try programming them in as a lighthead rather than takedowns to fool the program but that would eliminate my takedown activation wire!

That was a complaint of mine when I first got the bar too. I had a friend make a pigtail to wire the TDs into the unused center LED harnesses to "trick" the bar into thinking the TDs were actually other lightheads - now I can use the bar patterns and include the TDs in the pattern.
 

Doug

Veteran Member
Solvarex said:
And even WeCan has its limitations. For instance if I want to use the DUO function of my bar by alternating one color with the other, I have to use a section called BAR PATTERNS which scrolls through predetermined flash patterns (or all of them) depending on the lightheads I choose to be active. I can't select my inboards to alternate red then amber and have the outboards do something different; soon as I try programming a second color with the regular patterns it overwrites the previous color.

I've been playing with the Sapphire software, and it seems to allow me to do DUO heads (although all I have is the software, no bar or anything. Yeah, I'm a squirrel!)
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
I tried toying with reconfiguring my bar in WeCan last night so the takedowns were put in as white LIN6. Turned on the bar and only the passenger side worked! Soon as I put them back to TDs both sides came on. Ugh.
 

factorone33

Member
Solvarex said:
I tried toying with reconfiguring my bar in WeCan last night so the takedowns were put in as white LIN6. Turned on the bar and only the passenger side worked! Soon as I put them back to TDs both sides came on. Ugh.

That's exactly what you have to do sometimes to fool WeCan from a programming standpoint.


Now, if you're using the CenCom Sapphire software to program the bar, build it in WeCad and import the .bxr file from there, and then you can program every head on the bar to do whatever you want, when you want (you can even flash Duo and Trio heads simultaneously).


Whelen is supposed to be releasing a new version of WeCan here in the next couple of months, so keep an eye out for that. It should have a ton more functionality built in (I've seen screenshots, but don't know anything else beyond what I've glanced at).
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
So you're suggesting downloading the Cencom Sapphire software and using it to ONLY program the bar correct? Ignore everything else in it? Glad to hear about the updated software, maybe an HHS2200 update is in the works too so programming it isn't a pain in the ass!
 

factorone33

Member
Solvarex said:
So you're suggesting downloading the Cencom Sapphire software and using it to ONLY program the bar correct? Ignore everything else in it? Glad to hear about the updated software, maybe an HHS2200 update is in the works too so programming it isn't a pain in the ass!

Correct. Just get a second I/O board, hook your cab/exterior lights to the outlets on it, and you're set. You could even setup a secondary T/A on the rear of the vehicle if you wanted.


Now, here's good news: Whelen is creating a new WeCan controller in conjunction with the software that controls not only a lightbar, but a set number of outlets as well. I've seen one in person, and it looks like the solution to this exact problem. I haven't seen software yet, nor have I had time to dink around with the new controller, but it's likely to do everything we're talking about here, and maybe a little more (we'll see). In the mean time, what we've got here is what you need.
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
Perfect, I'll just wait for that new WeCan controller. In the meantime I'll check out the Sapphire software and see what it can do. Thanks!
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
I tried the Sapphire software and the new WeCan6 for the Legacy and my god, anyone else think we went from bad to worse?
 

factorone33

Member
Solvarex said:
I tried the Sapphire software and the new WeCan6 for the Legacy and my god, anyone else think we went from bad to worse?

Their software certainly has trended toward the technical side of things, especially since the advent of CanTrol (we're still finding more and more ways to utilize the features on that as we go along, which is a whole new thread by itself).


I've looked at it, and it looks just like the stuff in CanTrol, CanTrol WC, and CenCom Sapphire, so at least they're keeping the whole suite of software consistent across the entire platform (unlike the last batch, which had variations in just about everything). This new batch is the result of a new team of software engineers they brought on after CanTrol was introduced (and subsequently revised about 20 times), and it seems to work a lot more efficiently, and interfaces better with the firmware/solid-state side of things.


I'm anxious to see what it will be like for the new WeCan controller, as the WeCan 6 out now is just for the Legacy.


It beats the hell out of Code 3 and Federal's programmables, that I can say with confidence.
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
factorone33 said:
It beats the hell out of Code 3 and Federal's programmables, that I can say with confidence.
That's not saying much...


I know it says WeCan 6 is for the Legacy only but I'm going to try sending a program to my Liberty with it and see what happens. Sometimes "for so-and-so ONLY" really means "just tested with so-and-so only".
 

factorone33

Member
Solvarex said:
That's not saying much...

I know it says WeCan 6 is for the Legacy only but I'm going to try sending a program to my Liberty with it and see what happens. Sometimes "for so-and-so ONLY" really means "just tested with so-and-so only".

You can try, but I'm not certain it'll work. From what I've gathered, Whelen has put out a new firmware for WeCan for the new generation of stuff set to come out for it. At the very least, if it works, you can just "fool" it into dumping a program on the board and improvising with the Liberty board.
 

Solvarex

Banned
Thread Starter
I just tested a WeCan 6 program on my Liberty and it worked 100%. I need to program more functions and modes but it seems to be working fine so far.


One thing I don't like is you need to re-make your bar in WeCad first, export the configuration, then import it to WeCan 6 in order to program it. Why?? WeCan 5 lets you configure your bar right in the program, what's wrong with that?


Also I don't know if it's just me but I haven't figured out how to make individual DUO heads alternate colors with regular flash patterns. There is a slew of individual patterns that seem to be specifically for DUO but they don't sync with the other patterns like SignalAlert. They just do their own thing depending on what Whelen programmed "DUO upper pattern 1" to do. Lame.


I was able to get my takedowns to flash in zig-zag mode though which flashes them only briefly, which I like. They're way too bright to be done in any other pattern.
 

factorone33

Member
Solvarex said:
I just tested a WeCan 6 program on my Liberty and it worked 100%. I need to program more functions and modes but it seems to be working fine so far.

One thing I don't like is you need to re-make your bar in WeCad first, export the configuration, then import it to WeCan 6 in order to program it. Why?? WeCan 5 lets you configure your bar right in the program, what's wrong with that?


Also I don't know if it's just me but I haven't figured out how to make individual DUO heads alternate colors with regular flash patterns. There is a slew of individual patterns that seem to be specifically for DUO but they don't sync with the other patterns like SignalAlert. They just do their own thing depending on what Whelen programmed "DUO upper pattern 1" to do. Lame.


I was able to get my takedowns to flash in zig-zag mode though which flashes them only briefly, which I like. They're way too bright to be done in any other pattern.

Whelen is migrating most of their software to a new platform that is independent of the .Net 3.5 platform to something more streamlined and better suited for GUI applications (something like that). Basically it works a crap-ton better than their older versions of software. The newer WeCan platform requires this, and requires a file that lays out the bar for the software for programming (it's essentially "mapping" the bar for the software the same way it's mapped out for the firmware in the WeCan box; every lighthead has a physical "address" that is used to identify it, and then at that point, the program takes over and you go from there).


To make individual Duo heads alternate colors, put them on the same pattern, and put one color on Phase 1, and the other on Phase 2 (or whichever is the opposing phase if you're messing around with custom phasing).


Zig-zag blasts are highly underrated, and should be used more often in my opinion. :D
 

Tango7

Registered Member
Dunno how I missed this thread when I started mine, but...
 

Da-Sarge

Registered Member
Has anyone figured out for sure of you can run 2 wecan i/o boards off of a sappire? I personally got a wecan duo liberty and a solo wecan liberty i/o board that I'm wondering if the wecan port can run them both say programming the solo as an inner edge or something?
 

NoLimitSquads

Registered Member
Whelen says that you can only run two Wecan devices off of one controller(sapphire, carbide, cantrol, hhs4200). I’ve never hooked up more than two, but in other groups that Im in, they say you can run three devices. Ive only run two inner edges, never two lightbars. If you start a program in command, and it lets you program two lightbars, then yes, its definitely doable. And there are definitely ways to fool Wecan, as I know that people are running expansion modules off of sapphires and hhs by programming them as inner edges. So Im sure that its possible, it just might take some playing around.
 

Nolines

Silver Donor
There has to be a way, look at all the fire engines running so many lights and multiple bars esp if your an aerial, ladder, platform...
 

Da-Sarge

Registered Member
There has to be a way, look at all the fire engines running so many lights and multiple bars esp if your an aerial, ladder, platform...
I think they use LC bars for those trucks but you would think that you could have more then one bar look at euro setups and some van setups often got dual bars
 

Nolines

Silver Donor
I think they use LC bars for those trucks but you would think that you could have more then one bar look at euro setups and some van setups often got dual bars
Actually the aerial across the street from me has 4 small bars 4 of those whelen led half rotator looking lights and multiple other lights around it, and all synced.. not sure of their setup I'll ask next time they aren't running calls ( formerly busiest station in the southern us )
 

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