Thread: MDTs

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    Default MDTs

    We are just starting to install MDTs in our vehicles. What is everyone else using for the laptops? I know most are using toughbooks, but curious if people are using just regular Dell, or HP laptops, and if they are having any problems. Just curious, and trying to get as much info from people who have been using these for awhile. Let me know what you think. THanks.

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    We have had Dells in 14 engines, 2 ladders and 3 rescues since mid 2006. As far as I know, most are still doing fine. They stay in the trucks and run all day without being in the air conditioning.

    We restart them every morning during morning check off. Currently they are running Spillman software with Altell wireless internet cards. Both work decent enough for what they are. Nothing beats a hard copy map book though.
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    Just got the Toughbooks, a little behind i know. I think they are a lil over kill, I think i could use them as a wheel chalk(sp) But they will work good in the dusty and dirty conditions around here.
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    What does MDT stand for?

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    Mobile Data Terminal or also called MDC, Mobile Data Computer. A computer in the vehicle to get pre-plan information, WiFi for internet access, history of an address, CAD information of the call, you can enroute, arrive, available yourself on the computer, etc. There is basically unlimited resources of this computer limited only by the CAD system and the money available.

    Our latest argument for at least one in our heavy rescue is to get internet access for all the vehicle manufacturers websites for hybrid vehicles. We have been promised we will get them.

    We have been waiting for ours for 8 years now.
    Last edited by Dickey; 09-02-2009 at 06:07 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    What does MDT stand for?
    You are supposedly a "computer person" and you don't know what a MDT is?
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    Western:
    Bought an HP laptop in 2001 for use in my OTR tractor doing coast to coast. It failed at the hinge points after about 8 months from the vibration. Drew up a support design that attached to the dash where the CB normally mounts. By running a bungee around the screen and keeping it tight to the support bracket I got about 2 years before the second laptop failed in the same manner (hinges wore out from vibration). Changed tractors and moved the dash support to the arm of the passengers seat (air ride seat) and this lasted about 3 years befor failing also at the hinges.
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    We've been using a unit from Acura Embedded Systems. Touch screen monitor, keyboard and cpu unit. The cpu is a solid state unit, and they were demoing it in a paint shaker in San Diego. They were a little more than a Toughbook, but it appears that it has been worth it so far.

    Our rescue engines both have the Hurst Crash Rescue software that comes with unlimited updates in the year that you have the license. We liked it a lot better than the Holmatro software, it's got nice big cutaway diagrams and gives you all of the pertinent hybrid information.

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    We have Toughbooks that are running FirstLook Pro and Wiser. Also have an MP595 Cell modem/Router/Wireless Access Point for connectivity.

    System works pretty well.. the MDT uses the station wireless when in the bays and switches to the cell modem when on the street. If the MDT is removed from the vehicle the modem is a WAP so it (or anyone else with the key) can still connect.

    The only drawback with the Toughbook that I can see is that it does not automatically dim the screen at night. I know some of the Dells have that feature. we have to manually do it with some keyboard commands. Also, it's hard to use the keyboard when bouncing down the road.

    I'm still on the fence about FirstLook Pro. On paper it can do a lot. Preplans, GIS Mapping with GPS..etc. The key is you need to have, and import the preplans. Also, it's property-based, not address based so you can't search by generic address but use the property map provided by the township. Makes it hard for mutual aid. In a lot of respects Google Maps/Earth..etc could be a simpler, and more readable, solution.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    You are supposedly a "computer person" and you don't know what a MDT is?
    I could figure out what they were, just never heard that acronym before.

    I personally think they are a great idea. Heck, outfit each truck with a GPS and the IC could see where each truck was. Of course this would depend on having good wireless communications in the area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    We have Toughbooks that are running FirstLook Pro and Wiser. Also have an MP595 Cell modem/Router/Wireless Access Point for connectivity.

    System works pretty well.. the MDT uses the station wireless when in the bays and switches to the cell modem when on the street. If the MDT is removed from the vehicle the modem is a WAP so it (or anyone else with the key) can still connect.

    The only drawback with the Toughbook that I can see is that it does not automatically dim the screen at night. I know some of the Dells have that feature. we have to manually do it with some keyboard commands. Also, it's hard to use the keyboard when bouncing down the road.

    I'm still on the fence about FirstLook Pro. On paper it can do a lot. Preplans, GIS Mapping with GPS..etc. The key is you need to have, and import the preplans. Also, it's property-based, not address based so you can't search by generic address but use the property map provided by the township. Makes it hard for mutual aid. In a lot of respects Google Maps/Earth..etc could be a simpler, and more readable, solution.
    Does your state have a GIS repository? I know NYS does so that you can get that info. If not it may be worth writing a contract for services to have someone generate that information.

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    We use Motorola. It is like a desktop, seperate CPU, keyboard and touch screen. I would recommend getting a toughbook. We have a few in the mobile command and they are much more prepared for firemen touching it then this dell I am typing on now.

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    Being able to use webWiser is reason enough for having these computers in the trucks. Invaluable tool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    We've had toughbooks for several years know.

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    We use Tough Books. The computers themselves are great but, the CAD system is still something to be desired. We use air cards, 700 mhz and when in quaters the station wifi. I think the computer gets confused at times and logs itself out.

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