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    Default VMUX questions...

    Hey folks, want to get some input from those of you who are using/have used the Weldon (Akron Brass) VMUX multiplexing systems. We're evaluating new chassis for the VFD, and a couple of vendors have proposed using the VMUX on their chassis.

    Multiplexing is nothing new to me, however, virtually all of the multiplexing I've been working with is Pierce's proprietary system. At work, we used to purchase MedicMasters (RIP) with the original "orange-screen" VMUX in them. However, as they're getting older and remounted, I'm starting to see how far technology has come in those few short years. It makes me wonder about the service and support for a 2011-era VMUX system and screen when it needs fixing in 2021.

    On a related note, what about Class 1's Es-Key system?

    Thanks guys, looking forward to hearing about the good, bad, and ugly...
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Hey folks, want to get some input from those of you who are using/have used the Weldon (Akron Brass) VMUX multiplexing systems. We're evaluating new chassis for the VFD, and a couple of vendors have proposed using the VMUX on their chassis.

    Multiplexing is nothing new to me, however, virtually all of the multiplexing I've been working with is Pierce's proprietary system. At work, we used to purchase MedicMasters (RIP) with the original "orange-screen" VMUX in them. However, as they're getting older and remounted, I'm starting to see how far technology has come in those few short years. It makes me wonder about the service and support for a 2011-era VMUX system and screen when it needs fixing in 2021.

    On a related note, what about Class 1's Es-Key system?

    Thanks guys, looking forward to hearing about the good, bad, and ugly...
    We have the V-Mux on a 2007 Toyne/Spartan and like it quite well. Also, I have driven a number of other trucks (mostly Spartans) that have it. It does take some getting used to, but once you do, it's not at all bad.

    Ours is the version that has buttons next to each screen display. The newest version, which I along with many others had suggested, has a touch screen. I had the chance to drive one of those for about 800 miles, and I think it is a big improvement.

    What you need to get going on a response is right in front of you, things like headlights (you can have it programmed to default to "on") and response lights (one button). It also gives you a response mode, and an on scene mode where it turns off things like your preemptor and some other lights when you pull the parking brake on. You should pretty much be able to set up everything you need to respond with the touch of one or two buttons before leaving the station.

    What you do have to get used to is switching menu screens to find other stuff. One screen allows you to bring up or turn off emergency lights individually. Another is used to control scene lights, etc., and another for your heat and A/C.

    There's a huge amount of programming options. For example, what comes on when as you turn on the power and ignition switches can be programmed in. Also, it has alot of diagnostic capability.

    What I don't like is having to scroll through the jake brake to find the setting I want, ditto heat and A/C. However, those ones do default to their last setting, so really, you don't even have to do much to them while you're driving. I'm hoping that Weldon will find a way to "pie chart" those functions, so you can go directly to what you want.

    The fault that I found with the touch screen one was that the screen was no bigger than the screen on the push button version. I had hoped that the screen would be much bigger. I was driving the truck that had it through Bloomington, Ill. and I wanted to change the heat setting. My finger slipped on the screen and I wound up turning on the emergency lights, just after a police car had passed me. But that's something you wouldn't normally do while responding. I was driving it over the road.

    The other fault is that the screen is too bright during the night, even when it's on its dimmest of 4 settings. But again, for the distance of most responses, that shouldn't be a major issue.

    All in all, I like it, and would recommend it.

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    I believe if you're using a Pierce, that system is made by Class 1. Not familiar with Class 1; our department uses V-Mux. We looked at both systems before deciding to go with V-Mux.

    I have my doubts about the new touch screens, and wonder if they will hold up to the everyday wear and tear. With our latest purchase, we discussed downgrading to the push-button screens as they've always proven very reliable. However, builder promised that there have been no troubles with touch-screens.

    I don't know if chassis builders offer a choice of multiplexing brands, but then we only use one brand.

    C6

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    We have a V-Mux on our '06 Spartan, we have had several bugs. Right Front Headlight sometimes does not come on, shows the Deck Gun in the raised position, Emergency Response lights would not come on one time and a few other issues.

    Mutliplexing has its good points & bad points, just remember, when your computer at home has issues, you reboot it! When your Fire Apparatus with Multiplexing has issues, do you really have time to reboot it?

    We opted for standard wiring on our 2010 and the guys are glad.

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    I have 11 rigs and 3 more coming with the Weldon V-Mux systems. All in all, they are great to have. All including the new ones have the push button Vista screens.

    As Chief11 has noted, there are limitless options on how it is programmed, as to what you want it to do. You can get with the builder/installer and tell them what you want for options, faults, and defualts.

    On my end, the Weldon system is alot easier to work with compared to the Es-Key system. Both require a laptop to diagnose, repair, update, or delete the running parimeters. However, the user friendliness goes hands down to the Weldon system. When you have a problem with a certian Node, your rig will have the binary file on a CD to reflash it with. Takes maybe 5 minutes to do, compared to the Es-Key system.

    With the Es-Key system, I have heard of issues with proprietary controls with them. Meaning your techs can't just plug and play with them. Pierce is one of them, and the worst. If you don't know, the International multiplexing system was a team effort with Class 1 on the build of it.

    I'll second the vote for the Weldon V-Mux system.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
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    Quote Originally Posted by hfpd352 View Post
    We have a V-Mux on our '06 Spartan, we have had several bugs. Right Front Headlight sometimes does not come on, shows the Deck Gun in the raised position, Emergency Response lights would not come on one time and a few other issues.

    Mutliplexing has its good points & bad points, just remember, when your computer at home has issues, you reboot it! When your Fire Apparatus with Multiplexing has issues, do you really have time to reboot it?

    We opted for standard wiring on our 2010 and the guys are glad.
    I have a really, REALLY hard time believing this. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, and it is because of a Node issue (V-Mux)??? I don't think so!!!

    The nice thing with the V-Mux systems are, EITHER IT WORKS, OR IT DOESN'T. I can hook up a laptop and find what my inputs are, and see what the outputs are. If a headlight isn't working, I can get into that node, and have the option of turning it on, and turning it off. If I turn on the headlights with the laptop, and one doesn't come on, then it is either the bulb or a break in the wiring AFTER the Node.

    You see, there are icons on the laptop to show light bulbs, whether LED, halogen, or standard. If the right low beam headlight icon is " " (quoted) and highlighted, I know that it sees it as an output. I can then trigger it on. If it doesn't come one, then the problem is AFTER the Node. Simple as that, with the whole system of inputs and outputs.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    (The nice thing with the V-Mux systems are, EITHER IT WORKS, OR IT DOESN'T. I can hook up a laptop and find what my inputs are, and see what the outputs are. If a headlight isn't working, I can get into that node, and have the option of turning it on, and turning it off. If I turn on the headlights with the laptop, and one doesn't come on, then it is either the bulb or a break in the wiring AFTER the Node.)


    With the esKey you can do that through the display without having to use a laptop.

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    We went with V-MUX on our 2009 KME and are very happy thus far. As CE11 noted it took a little time to get everyone familiar with the system. After a few calls; they were wishing it was on all of our vehicles. We have the button system with 2 heads (driver and Officer)

    Included in the display are
    All lighting and warning on both sides
    Display for open cab doors, compartment door warnings, deck gun extension, light tower not stowed
    Back up camera and right side camera display on driver's side
    GPS System display on Officer's side (great for extended road trips where the maps in the MDTs don't cover) Our GPS uses a handheld controller, the touch screen makes this much easier/faster.

    The biggest factor for usability is reviewing each screen during the final build process to make sure the content is rright for each screen. What is activated by each button (we added a rear warning light only option, grouped all of the side scene lighting to a single button and have individual side options)

    We decided to keep the heat/AC controls traditional as well as Jake brake, Traction control, etc. The dash looks really empty without all of the light switches

    We looked at Weldon and Class 1 and the committee liked the features and layout of the V-MUX better. Look at both, play with both, see what works for your department

    Mike

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    Firemech, I am serious, the Driver can get in the cab, turn on the Battery Switch, Start the Engine and the right headlight is not on, the guys come back and say the right headlight is burned out, numerous times I have told them to shut everything down and restart, and low and behold the headlight comes on. You can stand in front of the truck and when they turn the battery switch on, the left headlight comes on about 3 seconds ahead of the right headlight, if the right headlight comes on. Same thing happened only one time that i know of where they pushed the E-Master, none of the lights come on, they had to stop, set the brake, shut the truck down and restart it.

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    Thanks for the feedback, folks, I appreciate it. Now I get to pass along some of your "real world" experience to the other folks and the committee and see what kind of conclusion they come to.
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    My only gripe with multiplex.. Sometimes if a module goes bad, you can have a heck of a time figuring out the problem. I have had a couple where only a single input or output fails but otherwise functions fine. It can really make you pull your hair out..
    If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

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    While I'm not Nostradamus, I'll make a prediction:

    In ten years, this will be a non-issue as all apparatus will be multi-plexed.

    C6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Command6 View Post
    While I'm not Nostradamus, I'll make a prediction:

    In ten years, this will be a non-issue as all apparatus will be multi-plexed.

    C6
    Command, this is something we've discussed at length. We don't have any doubts of the reliability of modern multiplexing, the screen itself is the worry that some of us have. When buttons start failing in 10 years, what will be the fix...simply a "plug and play" with a new screen, or will there be a lot of head-scratching from the Weldon folks?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Command, this is something we've discussed at length. We don't have any doubts of the reliability of modern multiplexing, the screen itself is the worry that some of us have. When buttons start failing in 10 years, what will be the fix...simply a "plug and play" with a new screen, or will there be a lot of head-scratching from the Weldon folks?
    Unless you downgrade the system, the V-Mux you order today will have a touch screen. To address the parts availability concern: You'll have to endure those parts availability problems along with the rest of us.

    Such is the cause of much stress in our lives. Phrases that cause high blood pressure and ulcers among fleet managers include:
    • The part has been discontinued.
    • The manufacturer is no longer in business.
    • We no longer provide support for that product.

    C6
    Last edited by Command6; 02-10-2011 at 01:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hfpd352 View Post
    Firemech, I am serious, the Driver can get in the cab, turn on the Battery Switch, Start the Engine and the right headlight is not on, the guys come back and say the right headlight is burned out, numerous times I have told them to shut everything down and restart, and low and behold the headlight comes on. You can stand in front of the truck and when they turn the battery switch on, the left headlight comes on about 3 seconds ahead of the right headlight, if the right headlight comes on. Same thing happened only one time that i know of where they pushed the E-Master, none of the lights come on, they had to stop, set the brake, shut the truck down and restart it.
    If I were you, I would check on your "clean" positive and negative posts/connections for problems. This isn't a V-Mux issue, rather a power or ground issue.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    We also have had interference between the Vista & our Mobile Radio, depending on the how the Vista is positioned (on a Swivel Mount) static just pours out of the radio, Weldon sent a filter to install, but said if that didnt work, he was not sure what else to do. Now you can see why we were not keen on getting Multiplex in the 2010 Engine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hfpd352 View Post
    We also have had interference between the Vista & our Mobile Radio, depending on the how the Vista is positioned (on a Swivel Mount) static just pours out of the radio, Weldon sent a filter to install, but said if that didnt work, he was not sure what else to do. Now you can see why we were not keen on getting Multiplex in the 2010 Engine.
    You said Spartan chassis. Who is the body builder???

    No problems at all with our 2007 VMUX.

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    we have it on our '09 KME also........we have only had one issue with it that was under warranty. Everyone once in a GREAT while we get a blank screeen but it DOES NOT effect the truck.......would I do it again ? Yes .........I would recommed it to others also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hfpd352 View Post
    We also have had interference between the Vista & our Mobile Radio, depending on the how the Vista is positioned (on a Swivel Mount) static just pours out of the radio, Weldon sent a filter to install, but said if that didnt work, he was not sure what else to do. Now you can see why we were not keen on getting Multiplex in the 2010 Engine.
    It's all good. And I can understand why you steered away from the Multiplexing system.

    I've been working on them since we got our first 3 from HME/Toyne in 2003 with the Wheldon system. So yeah, I've got alot of time with the system.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Sort-of-old thread resurrection...

    I had a chance to drive a rig with a touch-screen VMUX for several hours today. Pretty nifty. I was skeptical about it based on some of the comments posted here, but I found after a little familiarization with it, it was pretty intuitive.

    However, am I the only one who found that the screen had a lot of glare on it, making it hard to read even with the screen was in the brightest setting?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    However, am I the only one who found that the screen had a lot of glare on it, making it hard to read even with the screen was in the brightest setting?
    We haven't had an issue with any glare on the screen at all. But it could be due to where it is positioned, and at what angle the screen is. As well, where and how the driver sets his seat.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    We haven't had an issue with any glare on the screen at all. But it could be due to where it is positioned, and at what angle the screen is. As well, where and how the driver sets his seat.

    FM1
    If you're having problems with glare on the screen, try going to one of the dimmer settings. The biggest complaint I have is that even the dimmest setting isn't dim enough at night. Of course, that's when I'm driving a truck over the road. When responding in the local, it's tolerable because we're usually going only a mile or two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    If you're having problems with glare on the screen, try going to one of the dimmer settings. The biggest complaint I have is that even the dimmest setting isn't dim enough at night. Of course, that's when I'm driving a truck over the road. When responding in the local, it's tolerable because we're usually going only a mile or two.
    Sorry bud, but we don't have an issue with glare at all.

    Hey Box, what glare are you referring to???

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    CE11 -

    I noticed the same thing at night, I wished that there was one more dimness setting, but I was able to tolerate it. Not that bad, I suppose.

    FM1 -

    The glare on the screen was noticed by both myself as the driver and the different guys I had riding in the officer's seat. No matter where the sun was in the sky, it tended to make the screen difficult to read. I DID find out that the "default" setting on this particular VMUX was one setting below the full brightness setting. When I turned it to full brightness, I found that the screen was able to overcome the sun glare a little better. However, there were still several times that I found myself having to reposition myself in the seat to use my body to block the sunlight in order to see the screen better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    CE11 -

    I noticed the same thing at night, I wished that there was one more dimness setting, but I was able to tolerate it. Not that bad, I suppose.

    FM1 -

    The glare on the screen was noticed by both myself as the driver and the different guys I had riding in the officer's seat. No matter where the sun was in the sky, it tended to make the screen difficult to read. I DID find out that the "default" setting on this particular VMUX was one setting below the full brightness setting. When I turned it to full brightness, I found that the screen was able to overcome the sun glare a little better. However, there were still several times that I found myself having to reposition myself in the seat to use my body to block the sunlight in order to see the screen better.
    Now that you mention it, I have had a couple of isolated instances where bright sun shining on the screen has made it difficult to read. But as I mentioned it an earlier post, between the station and the scene of a run, changing settings is quite rare. So I can deal with it.

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