1. #1
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    Thumbs down Station alert hardware suggestions

    I am an engineer/contractor, hired to rewire the alert systems in about seven city fire stations.

    They currently have Zetron 6203 remotes, which are only connected to the county dispatch. City dispatch is handled separately.

    Existing wiring is a mess and undocumented. The city wants to rewire all stations and install control units which will do the usual control of dorm lights, audio annunciators, intercom, etc.

    Alert ramping is required. A touch screen interface would be nice. Must be programmable by city employees. The Zetron can do some of this for county calls.

    I would appreciate suggestions for how to integrate the city and county systems and what brands of controllers to install between the Zetron and the station hardware.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

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    That's awefully broad in scope. What does the city and county use to send the alerts? Two-Tone paging? MOSCAD? DTMF? What do the stations need to have? Lights, bells? sirens? doors open? How many different alerts? Everyone? Engine? Rescue?

    You need to be a little more specific about what you're looking for.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    The city uses two tone alerts via trunking radio network.

    Each station has a single crew on watch at a time.

    The key for me to get started is some recommendations and warnings about existing systems such as Federal, RXC, and others so I can start researching suppliers without making the same mistakes that others have made. After I start narrowing the field, my questions will be more specific and more intelligent.

    I really appreciate the response. Thanks.

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    Two tone paging on a trunked system??
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I'm not sure about the details at that end of the system, but for this discussion, it probably doesn't matter. The place I want to start is with the "black box" or "controller" that will sit between the city radio and the lights, annunciators and other hardware in the house. My first task is to research those devices and select one that will do the job. After that, I will explore the options for controlled devices and for incoming alert signal handling.

    After the "city" portion is complete, we will look at integrating the county alerts (via the Zetron) into the system. For now, the city want to keep them separate. The controller will be selected on the basis that it will be expandable to include input from the Zetron.

    I've been engineering for 40+ years, but this is a new system for me. I don't want to reinvent the wheel and I'm confident that the folks on this website have already been over this ground and I'm hoping to take advantage of that knowledge.

    I'm sure that after I've selected the controller, I'll be back for suggestions on the details.

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    The problem is your looking at this middle component, when generally it is part of another component. And you can't pick what you want without knowing how those alerts are received by the station.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    My research so-far indicates that the controllers (middle piece) offered by most manufactures have a variety of input options and a variety of output options, plus the ability to be expanded and programmed. My goal is to find one that users like and which is flexible enough to meet their specific needs.

    Both the city and county alert systems have the ability to provide a relay closure as the alert triggering event.

    The outputs will be used to control lights, annunciators, doors, gas stoves, etc. The usual stuff.

    We are at the beginning stage of picking the brains of all the chiefs and fire fighters to bring together all their ideas on how they want the system to function. This may turn out to be the hard part. We've come up with a number of items on the wish list, including:

    They want the city to be able to do their own programming, which rules out a couple of products which don't allow that.

    they want to be able to provide various override and timer re-start buttons.

    They want the controller to have the capacity to integrate calls from the county into the alert system sometime in the future.

    It should have a display panel for status reporting, over-riding and other user inputs.

    It must be robust and reliable.

    My job is to select the controller and all the downstream stuff like intercoms, speakers, strobes, gas valves, etc. and to design and supervise the installations at each station.

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