1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry Computerized Fire Apparatus

    How many of you out there have apparatus with some form of computerized system on it. We recently took delivery of a Pierce Dash Mid-mount ladder truck with the latest state of the art computer system. I have mixed emotions towards these systems. A benefit of the system is it alerts the operator of engine problems and prevents the turn table or bucket operator from hitting the cab or body with the boom and prevents the aerial from being operated in unsafe angles and work loads. However, the computer system is alerted of these unsafe conditions by numerous electrical sensors and a failure of any one or more sensors can cause major head-aches and delay operations.
    What I'm looking for is some feed back (good or bad) from people that have these computerized trucks.


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have 2 - 2000 Pierce Quints. They are computerized and after about a year have had no problems with them so far. The "Pierce Information Centers" are pretty handy and let you keep up with with the what is going on with the trucks. We also have a 2000 Pierce 100' platform that does have a collision avoidance system so that if you are in danger of hitting something on the truck with the ladder, it will stop and all you have to do is move the ladder away from the problem. On our E-One platform if you go past the limits you have to perform an override operation to get it back within operating limits. We do have to be careful with the Quints because if we wanted to we could rake the emergency lights and ground ladder rack off of the truck!

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well I think if you are buying a new truck today you will have a hard time finding one without some form of computor system on it.

    We have a couple Sparten cabs for our newest pumpers. They have a computor monitoring just about everything from engine temp, and every fluid level in the truck to monitoring open doors and emergency lighting. It has taken some getting use to placing all faith in electronics. And we have had some problems with some boards burning up. When this has happened it has effected our emergency lighting and siren. Basically this computer runs any type of electronic action on the entire truck. All in all we have liked our new trucks.
    Good or bad this is the unavoidable trend I see coming.

  4. #4
    PA Volunteer
    Firehouse.com Guest


    When we bought a Darley about 5 years ago, the pump panel, intakes, tank to pump, and pressure/volume was all computerized. A year and a half later, we had the computer ripped out and all manual controls put in. When the computer won't open the tank to pump ... what do you do? Things being computerized is the way of the future ... hopefully it works.

    Stay Safe

  5. #5
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Regardless of manufacturer, type of apparatus, etc...all these bells & whistles are just more unecessary crap that can, and eventually will, fail. A skilled and attentive operator makes all this other garbage completely superfluous.


    Just like 800 Mhz radio systems, CAD, and other hindrances that don't generally peform the way the sales people say they will, we'll have these things forced down all of our throats eventually. All, of course, sugar-coated with the marketing lines of "increased safety" or "enhanced effectiveness". All, of course, really designed in the interest of increasing the bottom line for the dealers (more failures = more service revenues) and the manufacturers (more "features" = higher prices).

    Long live our 1972 CF Mack!!

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have a new Pierce pumper that has the Class One computerized pressure governor. It works great, and makes life easy for the pump operator. My only concern is, if it were to break, you would have to have to control the engine throttle from in the cab as there is no manual throttle control on the pump panel.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Bob Snyder, I like the way you think, and whole heartedly agree. We also have one of those 1972 Macks, only thing that compares is the 80 Sutphen tower and 83 Sutphen pumper. They may not be the latest and "greatest" but they are very reliable.

    Train like you want to fight.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest



    chech out your throttle in the cab, I'll bet its electroniclly controled also. We have a Pierce with computerized controls and I like them, especially the electronic pressure control system

    Experience is something you dont get until just after you need it!

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2001


    We have 92 engine that was one of our first computerized trucks, What a nightmare! It has had so many electrical problems that we nicknamed it Christine after the Stephen King novel. It has an electric pto switch (get a pneumatic one) it has failed to go into gear at fires, but at least the manual overides have always worked. It's most famous act is this: We have a 800meg radios, you get your dispatch over one channel and are then handed off to a tactical channel. It works pretty well. The only thing is that if you happen to hit the primer, (at the time) try to start the generator or do something else to influence the voltage, the low voltage alarm goes off. When this happens the electronic throttle goes to idle, and the radio failsafes back onto the primary dispatch channel. The effect is that you now have lost the throttle, the pump may have cycled out of pto, and this is the best, you can't tell anyone about it because your on the wrong channel! So the driver has to do what we call "the pumper dance" where he has to run to the cab, Check the pto, and get on the gas pedal to re-establish pump pressure, oh yeah, and try to get back on the right tactical channel. We've even had the truck shut down while driving in traffic. We have computers in the firehouse, all of them have a plate on them that say keep heat and liquids away. So what do we do? we put them on a fire truck, probably the most computer unfriendly place in the world. I really miss the Mack cf600 series!!!

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