We have a newer engine with an infrared emitter to trip the Opticom systems in our district as well as neighboring jurisdictions we travel through.
Anyone else use this style instead of a conventional strobe? Ours is useless, and doesn't trip lights a neighbor's conventional strobes activate blocks away, and when it does trip it's usually once we're right on top of the intersection.
Are we alone in our frustration with this junk we bought? I'll take a regular strobe any day of the week if I knew we could control intersections like we should be able, and like our neighbors do.
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Thread: Infrared Opticom emitters
06-07-2011, 04:43 AM #1
Infrared Opticom emitters"Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program
06-07-2011, 09:43 AM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 1999
- Swanton Fire Dept. Swanton, Vermont
Think of it as English vs. Spanish vs. French.... different languages. I would think that talking to the DOT to figure out what the traffic lights are expecting and then comparing to what you have would be a good start.
06-07-2011, 10:18 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
The infrared units are much better than the older light wave operated technology, believe it or not. As you probably knowm the strobe light on the emitter does nothing to trigger the signal; it's just a carry over from the past.
Possible problem with your system may include:
1) An improperly "aimed" emitter or receiver.
2) Dirt on the receiver lens.
3) Bad circuit board or other hardware components.
Depending on your approach speed and the stage of the traffic light switching, yes you can run up on one before it changes. DOT requires a minimum of 3 seconds of amber from green to red.
As far as your neighboring dept., as I remember the Opticom folks said they have different RF systems. Yours may not be on the same frequency as other dept.
My experience has been that Opticom is indeed a high maintenance system, both in man hours and cost.
06-07-2011, 12:03 PM #4
Both the "visible" and "invisible" Opticom systems works off of infrared, actually...the ones with the visible light simply carry the signal from two to three times further.Career Fire Captain
Volunteer Chief Officer
Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!
06-07-2011, 05:18 PM #5
We have an IR Opticom, works well.
The neighboring town's receiver might not be programed or synched with yours. There is a flash pattern, not all are the same. Or there might be an obstruction in the line of site of the receiver, or a dirty receiver?
Just incase, the IR Opticom has red flashing LED's on it that flash when the unit is transmitting.
I was probably no help, but hey, 1 more for the post count!~Drew
USAR TF Rescue Specialist
06-08-2011, 12:54 AM #6
All of us are supposed to be on the same Hertz or whatever flash rate to activate. The county has more or less an informal agreement that all fire and fire based ambos can use the system to pass through various jurisdictions. This is particularly good as many of us run through a larger city to respond to other areas or to hospitals.
The IR strobe is indeed transmitting, the little RED LEDs flash. I also know you can see the IR strobe effect if you look at the light through a camera phone. We'll have to check the alignment I suppose. The neighboring city's system works so well that they have control of the light a great distance before they're on it, and often don't need to break for the intersection... Our IR setup never works that well, on our intersection or theirs."Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program
06-08-2011, 11:30 AM #7
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
- Outside Philadelphia
I have had used an IR for 6 years now. For the most part, no problems, and it is mounted behind the grill on a Pickup truck. Just started having a problem with the unit a week ago though, and need to get it looked at.A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.
06-08-2011, 11:40 AM #8
As has been said... The receivers are only looking at the infrared spectrum. The infrared filters on the apparatus emitters simply reduce the range. The ones with no filter have the visible strobe light but a longer range.
You probably have aiming or dirt issues.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
06-08-2011, 03:32 PM #9
06-08-2011, 03:40 PM #10
06-11-2011, 10:39 PM #11
- Join Date
- Nov 1999
We use a combination of emitters......Tomar strobe, 3M conventional, 3M IR, etc in conjunction with an "open" system that is not encoded. We ran into a general problem with a few intersections that was found to be improper alignment of the intersection receivers. Amazing how over time (5+ years) the recievers can be adjusted by the elements and move a 1/4 of an inch and screw up the reception distance of the rigs approaching.Stay low and move it in.
06-12-2011, 01:02 AM #12"Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program
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