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Thread: MSA vs Bullard

  1. #1
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    Default MSA vs Bullard

    My department is looking a replacing our junk Cairns Viper. We have looked at Bullard and MSA and are leaning towards MSA. I would like to know what other peoples feedback of their durability is.


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    Forum Member MTKROUSH's Avatar
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    Have used Bullard and currently use MSA. I prefer MSA for no reason other than I just happen to like ours better than the one Bullard that I've had my hands on. Try them both out and see which one you and your department prefer
    To err is human, To forgive divine and at times I am as much of both as you will ever find

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    My department recently decided on a new MSA camera for a few reasons . We looked at the Bullard also and were not impressed. Most of us found one handed operation to be difficult, and for the same price as a bare T4 we bought the MSA 5000 with the accessory video capture. We already had an MSA camera so keeping the user interface the same between both trucks was a plus to us. We have also had good luck with MSA's service. The one and only time we needed to send out our camera for repair, our rep immediately got us a loaner camera from MSA to use while ours was being fixed.

    Our sister department already had a T4 and we were hearing reports of it fequently needing to "reset itself" during operation causing the screen to freeze for a few seconds while this takes place. Prob not a big deal, but it annoyed them enough to tell us about it.
    Last edited by Sleeper6; 01-07-2009 at 01:31 PM.

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    We've got two MSA's and two Bullards...Both are good cameras.

    After recently getting the T4, and using it on a few jobs most of my guys prefer it to the MSA's. They said it was more comfortable to carry, hold, and the veiwing angles were better.(We have the accessory handle on both Bullards.) The only complaint was the refresh rates seem a little slower, but if you take your time when scanning, it doesn't seem to be effected as much.

    Those of us who have had interaction with the local MSA dealer, are happy to be getting away from them now, as we've had nothing but problems with the service. I think it was more of a dealer/service center problem than and MSA service issue. We finally got to the point where we told them we refuse to deal with thier dealer for our area and they then allowed us to work with another dealer. Since then, the repairs seem to have gone ok. That's the other thing...the bullards haven't needed any type of service yet, and both MSA's have been in multiple times for charging and screen issues.

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    My department has an MSA 5000. Nice camera, lightweight, easy to use. The department to the north of mine has a Bullard camera. I've played with it a few times, I find it large, and heavy. I can't imagine searching a structure with that large bullard. On the other hand, I have been in a house with my departments MSA 5000, I was able to clip it to my coat and it wasn't much of a problem there (still kind of strange feeling on my coat).

    As the others have said, call some reps and test out stuff. We have only had one problem with our MSA, the screen recently stopped working. Our sales rep got us a loaner in two days. Ours was fixed at back to us in no time.

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    one old bullard and soon a new aig which i think is betterthan bull or carnes, check it out.

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    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeper6 View Post
    Our sister department already had a T4 and we were hearing reports of it fequently needing to "reset itself" during operation causing the screen to freeze for a few seconds while this takes place. Prob not a big deal, but it annoyed them enough to tell us about it.
    This is not unique to Bullard. EVERY microbolometer, including the MSA 5000 series, has to do this. The video image "freezes" for less than a second, anywhere from .1 to .3 seconds, depending on the make and model of the imager. A T4 will not freeze for "a few seconds;" a few tenths, yes. Your MSA will do the same.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Forum Member 1500chief@sbcglobal.net's Avatar
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    We have two MSAs. One is a 5000 and the other is a 5200. We are very pleased with their performance. We especially like the zoom feature on the 5200. It is great for use in urban SAR. We have a remote transmitter for our 5200 and one of our mutual aid departments has a receiver that will work with our unit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemanjb View Post
    This is not unique to Bullard. EVERY microbolometer, including the MSA 5000 series, has to do this. The video image "freezes" for less than a second, anywhere from .1 to .3 seconds, depending on the make and model of the imager. A T4 will not freeze for "a few seconds;" a few tenths, yes. Your MSA will do the same.
    Both of our MSA cameras do this, but nearly as often as the Bullard unit does. Not sure why, but that's what we have observed.

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    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeper6 View Post
    Both of our MSA cameras do this, but nearly as often as the Bullard unit does. Not sure why, but that's what we have observed.
    It should be more frequent when you first turn it on, then become fairly regular every few minutes. This is true for all microbolometers. If you imager is still doing frequent shutter firings after a few minutes, they may be a problem and it should be evaluated.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Thank you, we tested out a Bullard T4 and a MSA 5200, side by side. We decided on the MSA because of the sensitivity shift point. It is when the sensor shifts to a lower sense to save itself from damage. It is the "freeze" you are talking about.
    MSA shifts at a higher temperature (320 degrees F), about twice that of other TICs.

  12. #12
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredGash View Post
    Thank you, we tested out a Bullard T4 and a MSA 5200, side by side. We decided on the MSA because of the sensitivity shift point. It is when the sensor shifts to a lower sense to save itself from damage. It is the "freeze" you are talking about.
    MSA shifts at a higher temperature (320 degrees F), about twice that of other TICs.
    The gain adjustment (what MSA calls low-sense/high-sense) is more for improved picture quality than protecting the detector. The gain change for almost every imager on the market is in the 300F range. I am not aware of ANY that change at 160F. 160C, yes...not 160F. If your MSA rep told you that MSA was unique in this, he fibbed.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    MembersZone Subscriber chief41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firemanjb View Post
    The gain adjustment (what MSA calls low-sense/high-sense) is more for improved picture quality than protecting the detector. The gain change for almost every imager on the market is in the 300F range. I am not aware of ANY that change at 160F. 160C, yes...not 160F. If your MSA rep told you that MSA was unique in this, he fibbed.
    We tested, the ISI, Scott, and MSA 5200 before buying the MSA. The temperature at which they switched sensitivity was definitly different, I believe both the Scott, and ISI changed @ 210°F while the MSA stayed in the High sensitivity mode up to 320°F

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    I looked at the MSA 5200 and was concerned with the way it colorized at around 320 degrees and again at somewhere around 900. It seems as thought this feature could cause confusion if a scene went from b/w to color and then back to black and white as the temp goes up. As the temp climbs the scene could then colorize again. If I check my egress and see some yellow and then check it again, and its black and white, i would normally assume this is due to a temp drop, however this could easily be due to a temperature rise.

    Colorization should be straigtforward and not attached to the gain shift.

    Hopefully JB will chime in and clear this up if I am off base.

    It also seems as though many comparisons of MSA vs Bullard are not apples to apples comparisons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StealthFF View Post
    I looked at the MSA 5200 and was concerned with the way it colorized at around 320 degrees and again at somewhere around 900. It seems as thought this feature could cause confusion if a scene went from b/w to color and then back to black and white as the temp goes up. As the temp climbs the scene could then colorize again. If I check my egress and see some yellow and then check it again, and its black and white, i would normally assume this is due to a temp drop, however this could easily be due to a temperature rise.

    Colorization should be straigtforward and not attached to the gain shift.

    Hopefully JB will chime in and clear this up if I am off base.

    It also seems as though many comparisons of MSA vs Bullard are not apples to apples comparisons.
    I believe once it reaches the 320°F temp it remains color, but you make an excellent point. I can see where this would be a problem.
    But we had a circumstance a few weeks ago that it worked perfectly, finding a fire hidden in the ceiling of a large commercial structure.
    An electrical short occured in the ceiling above the kitchen it started a 2x4 ceiling stud on fire and actually burnt through it, but was only smoldering due to the fire retardent spray in insulation around it. Any how to make a long story short when we found that the source of the smoke condition was in the ceiling of the building (a 200'x150' building) we began checking the ceilings with the camera, as soon as we moved the camera over the hot spot it showed up red on the camera and really stuck out compared to the black and white background. It only showed 2 very small spots of red, if the camera had been entirely colored i'm not sure the firefighter would have been able to pick out the red spots.
    Not a life safety situation as you speak of, but probably saved a $1M loss.

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    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chief41 View Post
    We tested, the ISI, Scott, and MSA 5200 before buying the MSA. The temperature at which they switched sensitivity was definitly different, I believe both the Scott, and ISI changed @ 210°F while the MSA stayed in the High sensitivity mode up to 320°F
    I admit it has been a while since I played with Scott or ISI, but I don't believe this is true. The Scott brochure for the Eagle 160X indicates a change at 250F. The ISI imager uses the same core as Bullard, so I would imagine they have a 300/320F change as well.

    Still, neither of these is the 160F originally claimed.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  17. #17
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StealthFF View Post
    I looked at the MSA 5200 and was concerned with the way it colorized at around 320 degrees and again at somewhere around 900. It seems as thought this feature could cause confusion if a scene went from b/w to color and then back to black and white as the temp goes up. As the temp climbs the scene could then colorize again. If I check my egress and see some yellow and then check it again, and its black and white, i would normally assume this is due to a temp drop, however this could easily be due to a temperature rise.

    Colorization should be straigtforward and not attached to the gain shift.

    Hopefully JB will chime in and clear this up if I am off base.

    It also seems as though many comparisons of MSA vs Bullard are not apples to apples comparisons.
    This is essentially correct. It is something like this (numbers are for MSA 5800): black and white up to 275, yellow at 275, red at 297. They say at 32% pixel saturation, the 5800 switches gain levels. I'm not clear if this means a pixel is 32% saturated or if it means 32% of the pixels on the detector are saturated. Either way, when it switches, what was red at 297 is now gray. The colors then don't start again until 842 for yellow and 914 for red (all temps in F).

    Personally, I think it is confusing to tell a firefighter, "Hey, if you see red, that might be bad. If it's really hot, red is bad. If it's not too hot, red isn't that bad. Light gray might be hotter than red, unless the imager didn't switch modes. Or yellow could be hotter than red...even red might be hotter than red." I don't like colorization in general...but I really don't like color schemes that change meaning. That's just me.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Take a look at the new Scott 320. Among other significant changes includes color and a 4" screen.
    Last edited by neiowa; 04-10-2009 at 12:03 PM.

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    Lightbulb

    We run with a couple MSA 5000s and a T4 from Bullard. I know generally the Bullard has been preferred- but we have more accessories with the MSAs, including both telemetry and the recording feature. Currently those are of limited use, as we work towards integrating some new technology into our rigs.

    I like the MSAs because they're smaller and as mentioned at least once before their one handed operation is easier (no handle on the bullard). Yes, the 5000s do tend to choke a bit as the "processor" chews on an image- but if we're patient like the one guy says it doesn't even last a whole second.

    I like the review of colorization too- very nicely said!

    I also do like the idea of the 90 degree angle on the new Scotts- though I haven't had a chance to play with one yet in our sandbox.

    If anyone has used it- drop us all a line and let us know!
    Ian "Eno" McLeod

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    Get ahold of local Scott rep for a demo unit. I can't understand why Scott is the only mfg with a camera that is configured for a crawling FF.

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