Whelen BLINK / B-LINK / Serial thread

PJH

Member
May 23, 2010
501
CO Springs&West PointNY
Back by popular demand and a work in progress...sticky maybe?


Whelen Serial Communications Primer


Here and there, the topic of the Whelen serial controlled products comes up. I am writing this to provide as much information here as possible to make it a little easier to understand what it can do and its limitations.


Introduced in the 1990's was the Whelen “BLINK” product. It is now known as part of the "SC" line, which fits in with Whelens two letter designators (HC, LC, SC, ST, etc). Serial components have model numbers starting with "BL".


Its core market were for large fleet vehicle operations and easy of maintenance of the modules. If a component such as the siren amp failed, all you had to do it disconnect the harness, swap them out and your good go to. Only component that would need to be reprogrammed, if necessary, would be the MPC.


This system consisted of a MPC01 (Multi Purpose Controller), the BL10000 lightbar and the BL627 siren amplifier. This was the core system. What was unique about these products from the standard Whelen offerings is that each operated off of RS485 data stream at 9600bps sent from the MPC01 controller. This controller was programmed from a computer running DOS software and was interfaced thru a special box known as the "Transporter".


One of the advantages to this RS485 data system is that it only requires one data cable (two wires, plus a drain wire) to each component. This eliminates running multiple 12vDC control wires throughout the vehicle. Due to the data nature of the system, you can daisy chain from one unit to another eliminating multiple runs of data cable from the MPC01. Depending on the component, you can have more than one of the same items in the system (two amps, four flashers, etc).


In the typical setup, the wires from the MPC01 will run directly to a BL627 siren amp. This is done as audio from the PA mic is routed to the amp via a 5 wire cable. After that, 2 wires are only needed.


What is nice about computer programming a control box, the MPC01 is able to have specific modes of operations for each component in the system on a per switch basis. For instances, you can program slide switch one to operate the front strobes of the BL10000 in a random pattern and the siren to automatically come on. You then could program slide switch 2 to operate just the front corner strobes, and the rear center strobe only. Many different combinations are possible. Each button can have specific programming that is unique to each other buttons. There is a higherachy to the programming in case you have multiple modules operating with different buttons. Slide switch has the highest priority, followed by the push buttons, with the auxiliary inputs as the 3rd. What this means, if you have push button 1 for front strobes, and slide switch 1 as all bar with strobes on a different pattern, the programming for SS1 will override whatever you have button one programmed for, in terms of the strobe operation. If push button 1 just turned on the takedowns and SS1 turned on as above, the TD's will stay lit. They do not turn off any other function, unless programmed that way.


In addition to custom programming without having to rewire the entire lightbar, each component has built in real time diagnostics. If there is a failure of any component, the MPC will emit a fail tone (if enabled) and flash the LED light on whatever function is running. A manual "all systems: check can also be performed by holding down the last push buttons for 5 seconds. The system will then turn every component on in sequence. SI-Testing of the siren is also available.


Another feature of the MPC01/02/03 is the hands free lightning option. If the unit is in slide switch 3 position, and the siren knob is HF, any press of the MAN button and/or the horn ring will change the siren tone (if setup) and light options (if setup). Commons setups were the first press placed the strobe bars in to single flash mode with the yelp and faster wigwag and taillight flash patterns. To exit out of that mode, all you have to do is move the SS to another position or the siren knob out of HF. So essentially, you can have 4 different modes of operation in the SS3 position and HF mode.


The MPC01 contains the following controls:


-System on/off toggle switch


-Four position slide switch (0,1,2,3)


-Six momentary buttons


-Dedicated air horn button


-Dedicated manual siren button


-7 position siren knob (Radio repeat, PA, Manual, Handsfree, Wail, Yelp, Pier)


-Microphone input


In addition to the above, the MPC supports two external inputs and two external outputs. All of those four are ground inputs or ground outputs to allow non-BLINK to be controlled, or to be controlled by other products.


Currently, the MPC can be programming with Windows based software called "SC Programmer". As of September 2008 the current version is 5.3.3. This software is backwards compatible with all released products.


-----------------------------------------------------------------


Whelen Serial Controlled Components


The following are all known model numbers and descriptions of released products


-----------------------------------------------------------------


MPC01 - Multipurpose Controller. This is the heart of the system


MPC02 - Same as the MPC01, but omits the siren controls and replaces the airhorn and manual buttons with traffic advisor and low power buttons


MPC03 - This is the "Cencom" style head and newest controller. This head does not require the "Transporter" interface box and can be programmed via a USB cable


MPC-NFPA - This is a modified version of the MPC01 which does not have a slide switch. It allows two inputs for "Calling the Right of Way" and "Blocking the Right of Way".


BL627 - Siren amplifier. This siren allows for up to two 100 watt speakers, and has the same tone set as the 295 series sirens. In addition to the 295 tones, you can program (via the MPC01/03/NFPA) "composite tones" for wail, yelp, high low and tri-tone. As of 2008, a newer version allows for dip switch control of siren tones such as Power call tones, and the "Q" sound. Up to two siren amps can be installed in a system and allows for in or out of phase tones and multiple tones (one per amp at a time). The pre "new tones" amps can be spotted with it have a 4 position dip switch. The newer model has an 8 position dipswitch.


BL2150 - Standard headlight flasher, first generation. This puts 12vDC + voltage on the headlight wires.


BL2150A - Current headlight flasher. This works the same way as the standard 2150A's which isolate the lights from the vehicle


*Multiple flash patterns can be used


BL5150 - Standard taillight flasher. This puts 12vDC + voltage on the vehicle wires


BL5150A - Current taillight flasher. This isolates the vehicle and flasher wiring


*Multiple flash patterns can be used


BL74C - 4 outlet, 70 watt comet flash strobe power supply (discontinued in favor of the ISP series)


BL94C - 4 outlet, 90 watt comet flash strobe power supply (discontinued in favor of the ISP series)


BL148C - 8 outlet, 140 watt comet flash strobe power supply (discontinued in favor of the ISP series)


BL188C - 8 outlet, 180 watt comet flash strobe power supply (discontinued in favor of the ISP series)


ISP94 - 4 outlet, 90 watt strobe power supply. Allows BLINK, DOT and conventional operation


ISP188 - 8 outlet, 180 watt strobe power supply. Allows BLINK, DOT and conventional operation


BL405A - Four outlet halogen flasher, supports up to 5 amps per outlet.


BL420A - Four outlet power switch, 20 amps per outlet. Also able to be used as a flasher


*The above can flash at the following rates: 70SF, 140SF, 60DF, steady on


BLTA - This is an 8 lamp traffic advisor. If using a BL10000 lightbar with all rear strobes, you can use the lightbar arrow and this traffic arrow at the same time. This does not work when using an Ultra bar - one or the other in that case.


BLTAREM - This is a traffic advisor controller that you can use any positive switched 8 lamp traffic arrow with


BLTAREM6 - Same as above, but for 6 lights


BLDISTI - Power Distribution Module. If you have a very large installation, you can locate them all in one place, and connect them to one power and data source instead of running multiple power wires to the battery.


BL8140 - This is a high powered relay box. No flashing. This allows control of high (or low) current control of non-serial products. Depending on current needs outputs can range from 40 amps to 10 amps depending on the outlet(s) used.


SMART LINK Series


Whelen offers "prepackaged" systems in six standard configurations.


SMTLNK1 - MPC01, BL627, BL8140


SMTLNK2 - MPC01, BL627, BL8140, BLTAREM


SMTLNK3 - MPC01, BL627, BL8140, BLTAREM6


SMTLNK4 - MPC01, BL627, BL420A


SMTLNK5 - MPC01, BL627, BL420A, BLTAREM


SMTLNK6 - MPC01, BL627, BL420A, BLTAREM6


LIGHTBARS


There have been several lightbars made available that will work with the serial controllers. Perhaps the best and widely known lightbar is the BL10000 bar with its unique appearance. This bar can be instantly recognizable by its black cover on the top of the bar. It has the same basic form factor as the Edge 9000 series however it’s much wider than the Edge 9000, and slightly wider than the Edge Ultra. The BL10000 was available in the following configurations:


102000 - 4 front, 4 rear strobes


102H0 - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, two front, two side halogens


1020H - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, 1 front center, 3 rear halogens


102HH - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, 3 front, 3 rear and 2 side halogens


102I0 - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, 2 front, 2 side immobilizers


102IH - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, 1 front, 3 rear halogens, 2 front, 2 side immobilizers


102HI - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, 1 front, 4 rear immobilizers, 2 front, 2 side halogens


1020I - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, 1 front, 3 rear immobilizers


102II - 4 front, 4 rear strobes, 3 front, 3 rear, 2 side immobilizers


10300 - 5 front, 7 rear strobes


103H0 - 5 front, 7 rear strobes, 2 front, 2 side halogens (popular model)


103I0 - 5 front, 7 rear strobes, 2 front, 2 side immobilizers


1030H - 6 front, 4 rear, 2 side strobes, 1 front, 3 rear halogens


1030I - 6 front, 4 rear, 2 side strobes, 1 front, 3 rear immobilizers


10400 - 7 front, 7 rear and 2 side strobes


So now you’re asking, what is the difference between halogens and immobilizers? Simple...no clue! Both are halogen lights to my knowledge, and are capable of steady burn, single or double flash. Other than that, I really don't know.


The bar is cable of synchronized or "out of phase" strobe patterns and a backlit sign and cruise lights were an option. Integrated into the BL10000 was the ability to do strobe traffic advisor patterns. No matter how many rear strobes you had, it could to left/right/split/in-out. Of course, more strobes you had to the rear the better it looks.


Strobe flash patterns consisted of:


Simultaneous


Alternating


In/Out


Crossing (strobes left/right)


Random


Up to three can be selected per mode which it would rotate thru.


Around 1999/2000, when the newer Edge bars were released, the Edge Ultra for serial communications (Edge Ultra SC) replaced the BL10000. This bar could have just about every option that the normal Ultra bar could have. Same goes with the LFL Patriot SC, LFL Liberty SC, LFL Liberty ST (extended corner liberty) and the Freedom Series. As with the BL10000, if you have fully populated rear strobes, the Ultra bar can support a strobe TA. If you desire a split TA or a full halogen TA, an internal T/A controller will have to be bought and installed (unless order from the factory that way).


------------------------------------------------


Serial communications off shoots


------------------------------------------------


A few off shoots of the SC series have been developed that do not require a MPC controller. These would be the Smart Arrow messengers (which can be interfaced into the same data stream, reducing wiring).


For a time, Whelen made a low cost product based on the serial protocol. These were the "Diagnostic" bars and controllers known as the PSDS-9 units. The controllers look just like the PCC-9 series switch boxes but have a red LED light over each push button. If there is a lightbar component failure, the LED will light up to let the user know that something is wrong. To my knowledge these were only factory and not field programmable. Major customers of these were the Connecticut State Police and the Ohio Highway Patrol.


The current byproduct is the WeCan lightbars. They used the same data wire system from the lightbar to a "universal control point". This control point is programmed via WeCan software, but the bar is then switched using normal means.
 

dbono97

Member
Oct 20, 2010
36
Washington State, USA
Do you have any idea where I can find some of this equipment? I have a 295HFSA6, however, it is just way too big and bulky for the front on the rig. I would rather use a comm based system like the BLINK so I can have the low-profile controller in he front near the driver, and the relay boxes, amps, etc. routed in the back.


Let me know.


Drew (send me an email if possible)


dbono@sound-north.com
 
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wduda152

Member
Jun 5, 2010
90
Binghamton, NY
Hypothetically can you use B-link power supplies out of a B-link bar and put those in a different edge bar? Or separate the power/ground, and grouping of the outlets to fire independently of B-Link equipment?
 

JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
11,043
Northwest Ohio
Here is the whelen literature, it explains it somewhat...


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JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
11,043
Northwest Ohio
merged
 
May 21, 2010
1,290
Minnesota
can an MPC-03 be used to controll a diagnostic bar? (or any other controller then the PCDS-9) The back of the pcds-9 also has a harness for ext relays. any issue/special with hooking them up?


Thanks
 
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fireman846

Member
May 22, 2010
268
indiana, USA
ok i know ppl hate when others bring back old threads but i need help here. i have a mpc03 i got from a member here and im trying to program it. is there a specail way to maybe get it into program mode? like an 01?ive got all i need to do this with but im stuck, any one with experance doing one anything would be great help! kinda urgent too!
 

bigcat

Member
May 20, 2010
641
Hartford County, CT
fireman846 said:
ok i know ppl hate when others bring back old threads but i need help here. i have a mpc03 i got from a member here and im trying to program it. is there a special way to maybe get it into program mode? like an 01? ive got all i need to do this with but im stuck, any one with experance doing one anything would be great help! kinda urgent too!

My software (5.3.3) has options specifically for a MPC03. It says to hook the control head up directly to a computer using a USB cable. What version software do you have? An MPC01 is programmed through the comm wires using a transporter, I'm not sure if you can do that with a MPC03.
 

fireman846

Member
May 22, 2010
268
indiana, USA
hey bigcat there is no place to plug into on the control head except the main harness that goes to the head. i located the diagnostic monitor lights on the brain box (that silver box in the pics) and the network monitor light is flashing the rest are good excpet that one any clue on that?
 

bigcat

Member
May 20, 2010
641
Hartford County, CT
I said one thing, meant another. It's the "brain box" that gets programmed, not the control head. It utilizes the second connection from the right in the pic.


I've never programmed a MPC03 so I can't help with the other issues, sorry.
 

icomfire1

Member
Jun 9, 2010
262
TX
I have a whelen liberty wecan bar..is it possible to use a whelen MPC01 controller with a whelen liberty wecan lightbar? I have one controller that will light up the corners, takedowns and alleys. I bought a liberty without the ECM and a controller so i was wondering if the MPC01 will work so i dont have to hunt for the others. If so where do i get the programming software and cables? Any help would be appreciated. thank you


Guy
 

fireman846

Member
May 22, 2010
268
indiana, USA
i might be wrong but wecan runs on a differant kind of software than the mpc01 software you can contact the bigW and see what they can do for you. but i believe that you need wecan compatable stuff to work with the light bar!
 

whtownejr

Member
Jul 30, 2011
24
Vermont
fireman846 said:
i might be wrong but wecan runs on a differant kind of software than the mpc01 software you can contact the bigW and see what they can do for you. but i believe that you need wecan compatable stuff to work with the light bar!

You can actually, need the B-Link 8 function switching box. Sea Isle City, NJ used them. I am the proud owner of it now, along with numerous other b-link items. I am, however, trying to convert my ballast lfl that came with the package, I bought an sc I/O board for it, I have 11 out of 14 leds already converted to passive (p.s., passive LEDs are BRIGHT AS HELL hooked into a ballast bar). any ideas on the sc i/o board wiring?
 
May 21, 2010
1,290
Minnesota
wduda152 said:
Hypothetically can you use B-link power supplies out of a B-link bar and put those in a different edge bar? Or separate the power/ground, and grouping of the outlets to fire independently of B-Link equipment?

I would love to know the same thing but my guess is no. I just picked up a BL1000 today and am going to strip it for lenses and strobes I need for other Edge bars I have

IMAG0666.jpg

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IMAG0672.jpg
 

JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
11,043
Northwest Ohio
Jennifer Rose Towing said:
I would love to know the same thing but my guess is no. I just picked up a BL1000 today and am going to strip it for lenses and strobes I need for other Edge bars I have


I could use the end caps...
 

PJH

Member
May 23, 2010
501
CO Springs&West PointNY
Not sure why I didn't get the email notifications...but to answer some questions that I don't think got answered...


BL627 - 4 dip switch verison will not do the Q tone. The newer ones will


You cannot reuse the BL10000 power supplies outside of the BLINK system. It gets its control information from the data.


The MPC03 is programmed via USB only, and requires SC Programmer (Windows) software. Current version should still be 5.3.3. It will program the MPC01, MPC02, MPC03, MPC-NFPA.


You can use other products with the system via the BL405, BL420 or the BL8140 outlet relay box. This would enable conventional switching operation (ie, 12vDC+ power).


I haven't seen a way to "by pass" the power supplies. In fact, I tried to piggy back some voltage on the power lines for aux stuff, and that didn't even work from an Ultra SC bar.


John, I never saw the FD BLINK flyer...but those are back from the good old days when department names were not airbrushed out... Usually (and still) you would see Old Saybrook PD, Newington PD, Hartford Fire in many of their lit.
 
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arcop223

New Member
Nov 3, 2010
4
NC
I need some help. I have Whelen 9000 Edge Diagnostic with the MPC01 controler, BL627 siren amp. I understand just link the blue and grey cabels together, I have just one problem, my SC wires are not blue and grey, there red and black (Just for the recored, there not the power cable, those are a separeat red and black cable). Can some one help me guess wich one should be the blue, and wich is the grey.


These are from the NC Highway Patrol fleet. Ther unuseal in that they have 3 front, 3 rear strobes, and a pair of halogen flashers on both sides.
 

PJH

Member
May 23, 2010
501
CO Springs&West PointNY
The diagnostic bars DO NOT work with the MPC series controllers. Only the BL10000, Ultra SC, Patriot SC and Liberty SC bars work with them. You need a PCDS-9 controller box, and depending on where it came from, it may need to be reprogrammed to work with your specifically optioned bar. This can only be done at Whelen for the PCDS boxes.
 

rlsllc

Member
Dec 2, 2011
164
USA/Ohio
There is a guy who just happens to sell NC spec pcds-9 boxes on ebay for $65 shipped with all of the wiring, for the exact bar you described. He may sell just a box for less, I don't know. His name is dcroyale IIRC.
 

arcop223

New Member
Nov 3, 2010
4
NC
PJH said:
The diagnostic bars DO NOT work with the MPC series controllers. Only the BL10000, Ultra SC, Patriot SC and Liberty SC bars work with them. You need a PCDS-9 controller box, and depending on where it came from, it may need to be reprogrammed to work with your specifically optioned bar. This can only be done at Whelen for the PCDS boxes.

Any chance any one has a PDF of this unit(PCDS-9 controller box)?I'm haveing no luck.
 

Mrlunchbox

Member
Jun 12, 2010
1,293
Central, MA
PJH said:
Not sure why I didn't get the email notifications...but to answer some questions that I don't think got answered...

BL627 - 4 dip switch verison will not do the Q tone. The newer ones will


You cannot reuse the BL10000 power supplies outside of the BLINK system. It gets its control information from the data.


The MPC03 is programmed via USB only, and requires SC Programmer (Windows) software. Current version should still be 5.3.3. It will program the MPC01, MPC02, MPC03, MPC-NFPA.


You can use other products with the system via the BL405, BL420 or the BL8140 outlet relay box. This would enable conventional switching operation (ie, 12vDC+ power).


I haven't seen a way to "by pass" the power supplies. In fact, I tried to piggy back some voltage on the power lines for aux stuff, and that didn't even work from an Ultra SC bar.


John, I never saw the FD BLINK flyer...but those are back from the good old days when department names were not airbrushed out... Usually (and still) you would see Old Saybrook PD, Newington PD, Hartford Fire in many of their lit.






So the new BL627's will do a Q tone? I didn't know that. How would that be programmed as the current software doesn't have any option for that tone. Would be nice to have a mechanical sounding siren tone :)
 

Shawn L

Member
May 21, 2010
2,477
Corbett, Oregon
I have a serial controlled liberty that uses the mcpo1, can you shed some light on the aux outputs for the non serial controlled equipment, the whelen install guide is less than descriptive .
 

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