Thread: Microbolometer or not
02-21-2000, 09:59 AM #1morrissFirehouse.com Guest
Microbolometer or not
Here's what I think I know regarding whether microbolometer technology is better than the Raytheon. Please comment.
1. Image quality is better with microbolometer technology.
2. Microbolometers are more susceptible to temperature issues.
3. Microbolometers currently cost more.
02-21-2000, 11:10 AM #2JAPFPEFirehouse.com Guest
Here's what I've learned after some rather extensive research in currently available hand-held cameras:
1. Image quality is limited by display type at this time. The two currently available microbolometer cameras in a handheld platform have LCD displays which are not as clear as CRT displays. CRT displays are "crisper"....no doubt about it. One very good quote I picked up in this forum is "You're not making Hollywood movies...". I believe I can credit TIMan for the quote.
2. There are more expensive "basic" (w/o transmitter or temp sensor options) PST/BST cameras versus the two currently available microbolometer handheld units.
3. Temperature sensitivity is probably similar to the display point made above. At least one BST/PST camera uses an internal fan to keep its unit cool while the microbolometer camera have no moving parts. I would think that any difference in the temperature sensitivity on the imagers is easily offset by simply changing the insulating characteristics of the camera casing and/or internal cooling mechanisms.
Hamilton Fire Deparment
02-21-2000, 02:13 PM #3IRallthewayFirehouse.com Guest
I have done several side by side test with BST and microbolometer TICs and here are my comments.
1) Image quality is far superior to the BST sensors. Microbolometers don't produce a black halo or a smear type affect. If they weren't superior then all the mfg of BST cameras wouldn't be coming out with a microbolometer cameras.
2) Some microbolometer cameras can with stand greater temperatures than a BST cameras. I have personally seen a microbolomter camera operate without a thermal shut down where as the BST shut several minutes earlier in a class A burn.
3) As far as the cost of a microbolometer cameras. When we were testing all the cameras, the microbolometer cameras were priced in the same area as the BST. Some of the BST cameras were more expensive. Remember, when you compare prices you must look at all the standard equipment, features, warranty, and training that is included for that price. For example, some cameras come with more batteries etc.
As for the quote" your not making a Hollywood movie" your right, but if you can get a better performing product for the same price why not buy the new technology?
02-21-2000, 06:07 PM #4jerseyfireFirehouse.com Guest
Through my research I’ve found that one of the big differences between BST and Microbolometer is the ability to upgrade software. I’m not sure what the capabilities of the new units being released by companies with BST cameras already in service will be. But one of the currently available Microbolometer cameras has several software options with more upgrades on the way.
From what I understand, this is not and will not be possible on BST units.
Captain, Metuchen F.D.
President, Jersey Fire & Rescue
02-21-2000, 08:09 PM #5JAPFPEFirehouse.com Guest
Absolutely the truth that one New York based camera manufacturer is marketing cameras with the feature that it is upgradable. This is true in that the camera owner could load new SOFTWARE if a future upgrade is available. This would still make it a microbolometer based camera though.
Who knows what the future holds as far as imager technology. We may all be sitting back bashing the microbolometer technology five years like we do with the early technology now.
Hamilton Fire Department
02-22-2000, 12:18 AM #6TIManFirehouse.com Guest
One of my favorite subjects, BST vs Microbolometer, I say that because I have spent the last 6 months comparing these technologies under some very careful scrutiny in the lab and in the field. First let me say right up front I do not believe you can say one is better than the other. Just like the thermal imagers they go into, they each have pros and cons. Here are a few I would point out :
Proven Over Time - there have been BST units in use in the Fire Service for years now, and they work very well. They have shown they can stand up to the abuse the Fire Service dishes out, especially the “Heat”. Microbolometers have not been in use in the Fire Service that long, and with fewer units in service, I would say they have some more time to go before the jury is in on how well their performance really is. Both technologies will fail under high thermal loads, but the bottom line is the microbolometer is more sensitive to temperature shifts than the BST. Of course how well they have performed is also largely influenced by the design of the thermal imager they are operating in. Poor design and insulation and any detector technology will fail.
Production and Cost - Raytheon has developed a 150 million dollar plant which can crank out BST units. With the introduction of Raytheon units in Cadillac cars production numbers will continue to rise. To date no microbolometer manufacturer can match this scale or quantity of production. Until they can BST technology will be cheaper and more readily available. Of course Lockheed Martin, FLIR, or Indigo may catch them in the coming years. Who knows Raytheon may even come to the front with their own Microbolometer production.
Artifact – BST technology can produce artifacts (black or light spots) when directly viewing a fire. There are a number of features that can control this, but no question a microbolometer will provide a clearer crisper picture especially when directly viewing a fire. Of course how much time do you really spend looking directly at a free burning fire ?
Size – The current BST units are based on a 320 x 240 array, where the newer Microbolometer units are based on a 160 x 120 array. This means the newer Microbolometer based units could be half the size of the current BST based units, of course these new Microbolometer units will not make it to the streets in quantity for most likely another year.
Continuously Moving Part – Some people argue that the “chopper” in a BST unit is a weak link because it is a continuously moving part. In theory that may be true, but with over 600 units in the field (Bullard numbers), less than 1% percent have ever been returned because of a “chopper” failure. Microbolometers have a shutter or flag, the equivalent of a BST “chopper”, which periodically “fires”. Even though this part does not continuously move it is still susceptible to damage just like a BST chopper.
Size – As mentioned above, newer microbolometer based units will be smaller and lighter in the future. Don’t hold your breath, it could be well over a year before these units make it to the street in significant numbers.
Picture Quality – As mentioned above a Microbolometer can produce a clearer crisper image, especially when viewing a fire. This is definitely an advantage, but do not forget picture quality should only be one of the factors in deciding which unit to buy. As mentioned earlier you need a picture to navigate and identify by, not to make Hollywood quality movies by.
Temperature Display – Microbolometers can provide a temperature measurement “through the lens”. This can be a valuable feature as long as the user is aware of the limitations in the accuracy of the read out.
Temperature Sensitivity – Microbolometers must have a very stable temperature environment to operate in, needless to say the conditions firefighters operate in pushes the limits of these parameters. With proper protection a Microbolometer will handle the heat, without it will shut down very quickly.
Price – The list price on the street for a Microbolometer may be comparable to the price of a BST unit, but the reality is Manufacturers are paying more for microbolometers, so I doubt you will really be able to get a Microbolometer for the same price as a BST unit.
These issues are by no means all that exist, but it hits some of the highlights.
Couple of other comments :
I love the rational that Microbolometers must be better than BST because more manufacturers are coming out with Microbolometer based units. Anybody ever think they may be coming out with them just because they are trying to get into the market or trying to sell you a new product. Ever seen or purchased any other products that were “new and improved” or “the latest in technology” ? If Microbolometers are so much better than BST why didn’t GM put them in the new Cadillac Night Vision System ?
Software Upgrades – no doubt this is a positive Microbolometer feature, but many of the free upgrades will only be fixes to problems the engineers did not debug out during the development stages. These upgrades will also be limited in scope, you can’t improve the sensitivity of a unit significantly with just software, that would require a new lens assembly.
There are at least 3 or 4 new detector technologies that are out there in various prototype stages. Of course until they have proven themselves in at least a year of fire service operations, I will hold my seal of approval. Also please don’t chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, evaluate all of the options available, keep the future in mind, but put a unit in service as soon as possible. Too many people have had a save in the first 30 days of service that would have been a fatality if they would have waited for the technology of the future.
Keep the information honest and flowing,
Good Luck, Be Safe,
02-22-2000, 09:36 PM #7FireOpticFirehouse.com Guest
Steady big fella...
Re-read the name of this topic.
Maybe we should get MORISS to rename it "Microbolometer why not".
There is more than one good way to do a job, and TICs and their basic technologies are no exception. My user name, "FireOptic" makes no qualms about who I am or what I represent. We are the designers of and manufacturers of the original microbolometer based TIC on the market, the FireOptic. We have been developing microbolometer based TICs for the fire service for over 2 ½ years and the FireOptic has been around for the last 18 months. Do you think I’m an advocate for microbolometers in the fire service?
Rather than expound upon the advantages of microbolometers and the shortcomings of other technologies, let me focus your attention on some of the inaccuracies that have been stated in some of the previous posts in this topic.
First: Temperature "sensitivity".
It seems that there is some confusion about temperature sensitivity, temperature stability and environmental temperature limits. All Raytheon BST (Scott, FRC, ISG, ISI & Bullard) and microbolometer (FireOptic, FireFLIR) TICs have a device inside that stabilizes the temperature of the imaging sensor to a very accurate limit. To say that "the microbolometer is more sensitive to temperature shifts than the BST" is a misapplication of terminology and is being interpreted to the benefit of one TIC technology over another. The small temperature changes which will affect the image quality displayed is so small, regardless of the TIC, that for all intents and purposes, the level of control and accuracy needed is the same.
The reality of TICs on the market today is that the functional temperature limits of the TIC electronics is the real limiting factor of operational limits and some TICs can and do shut off when they get too hot to "save themselves". I can’t imagine having a TIC arbitrarily shut off to protect itself, simply because it got too hot. When the TIC gets that hot, it has to be for a good reason, and only the user should decide when the camera should shut off. Obviously, if the camera exceeds it’s safe operating limits, and ultimately fails, that is a different case than the camera shutting off simply to preserve itself. For that extreme situation, it makes sense to purchase the camera that has the highest internal operational temperature limits. Reread the last sentence. Be sure the TIC vendor you are dealing with tells you what the internal temperature limits are. Don’t listen to what the external temperature was for how long, because those test conditions are just that… test conditions. Very seldom will test conditions mirror the real world. In the absence of standard testing specifications, the only way to level the playing field is to be aware of internal TIC temperature limits. There are some very real differences when this limit is considered. Do your homework and be wary of wild claims of extremely high temperatures (hundreds of degrees) for any duration (minutes). Certainly any TIC can "sprint" into a high temperature environment for some duration, but do not accept a finite set of external time/temperature conditions as gospel. Understand what your options are when your TIC overheats from extreme temperature exposure. The FireOptic has repeatedly sailed through burns where the competition comes out in pieces or failed from overtemp conditions (including melted cases).
Second: Microbolometers rely on moving parts to make an image.
It is true that some, and I do mean some microbolometer cameras require a shutter to periodically "fire" to maintain a good image. This "firing" action causes the image to freeze momentarily while this re-calibration process in occurring. A periodic re-calibration is required because of the image anomalies caused by changes in temperature of the lens and other structural parts of the TIC. The image defects which are being dealt with are basically "glare" and will cause the image to look less than ideal, particularly around the edges, and if left unchecked, can cause the image produced to reduce to a small circular spot in the center of the screen, rendering the TIC nearly useless. There is another way to deal with this however, and it is the system found in the FireOptic. The FireOptic utilizes a patented "Image Clear" technology which significantly reduces the requirement for periodic re-calibration as found in all other TICs. Granted, there is a shutter in the FireOptic, but if it ever fails (and none ever have due in part to it’s .0001% duty cycle) the image produced is still completely useable and much clearer than even a BST camera which has overheated and can no longer eliminate it’s "glare" through the action of the chopper wheel. In fact, some users of the FireOptic report never having used the Image Clear feature on their camera.
Third: Software upgrades cannot enhance the function of the camera.
The camera everyone is dancing around mentioning here is ICC’s FireOptic. The original and significant intent of our design was to provide future upgrades as newer and more powerful algorithms were developed. What does this mean? Well, the first software upgrade we are offering gives the TIC the ability to view thermal contours of a structure or person directly alongside a flame. The firefighter can now see a person standing directly in front of, or behind a flame or intense heat structure, without having the camera "white" or "black" out. In the FireOptic, this happens automatically and electronically, and without moving parts. FYI-the way BST cameras adjust their sensitivity for intense scenes is through the use of a mechanical iris behind the lens, similar to the pupil in the human eye. This iris is either manually or electrically actuated, and, by the way, is an absolute functional requirement to use the TIC in anything more than a moderately intense scene.
The latest FireOptic software release (the first of it’s kind) is not fixing any problems "the engineers did not debug out during the development stages". Improving sensitivity is not the only thing you want to do to improve a camera, in fact, most TICs available today are too sensitive and are being run in a reduced sensitivity mode to deal with the effects of oversaturation and the reality of conditions on the fire ground. How many times have you heard about adjusting the manual "throttle" to a lower limit and just leaving it there, because that gives a good picture for most conditions? Any idea what the sensitivity of the TIC is under those conditions? Somewhere between 0.15 and 0.3C, versus the 0.05 or 0.10 performance stated on anyone’s spec sheet (FYI – the lower the number, the more sensitive).
In summary, putting a microbolometer into the fire environment is not a trivial task and takes a lot of knowledge and experience to make it successful. I know of one TIC vendor who has abandoned their efforts to build a microbolometer based TIC due to the magnitude of the task, and two others currently trying to put a microbolometer into this market are experiencing some very significant problems as well, significant enough to delay the market entry of their products in the near future. TIMan is right, beware of any TIC which is new to the market, as many problems will not surface until 6 to 12 months after product entry, particularly if the marketer of the TIC does not understand the key issues when building a TIC from the ground up.
President - ICC
02-23-2000, 02:46 AM #8TIManFirehouse.com Guest
I made no real specific comment about Bullard, ICC, or anyone else. Also, I thought I made it clear up front both units have pros and cons, and I hate this one is better than the other crap. They both will work, they both will fail. If BST is such an outdated piece of crap why are firefighters using it everyday across the country to save lives and reduce property damage? Enterprise FD, AL, just had a save this weekend using a BST unit. As far as the other issues :
Temperature Sensitivity - I can't argue with you, because I am not a TI engineer, but I know of at least 2 TI engineers who would dispute this one with you. We just discussed this specific issue last week. Of course I really don't care about the engineering arguments on paper or in an office,
Take it to the burn building !
If it comes out and is still working after a good fire, then it gets my thumbs up whether it is BST or a Microbolometer. If not, don't give me a piece of crap that will fail when I need it most.
Highest Detector Temp - the idea of the detector with the highest operating temperature being best, is correct, except you can't throw out the external heat testing data because it is not just the detector that goes into the fire, but the whole unit. Take 3 detectors with a high operating temp, place one in cardboard box, one in a woodbox, one in an insulated case and see which one will operate the longest.
No doubt you do not want to start with a detector that has a low operating temperature, but you also don't want to base your decision off of a single number that only comes from the detector's performance.
Also, contrary to popular belief it is not always the detector that fails or shuts down the unit due to high heat exposure. There are a number of other associated electrical components such as the display and power supply system that can and will fail before a detector will.
Software Upgrades - yes this is something you will see with future microbolometer units, yes it is a plus, I don't think anyone said the only thing they were good for was fixing bugs. Is it a deciding factor, not in my book, but you are free to have whatever you would like in your own book. I prefer durability and a functional design.
Over Sensitive - when you are in a part of the structure where the temperature of everything is very close together because the fire is contained to another area, you can't have a unit that is to sensitive.
The Rest Of It - I have posted, and will continue to post, technical material here because I feel it is important for firefighters have more than a "push button" understanding of thermal imaging and its application on the fireground. However you can't buy or use the "best" thermal imager based on numbers and information from a piece of paper or a computer screen. You need to understand the basics of thermal imaging, but you also need to put on your gear take the units into a good burn and find out for yourself what each unit will do and how well it will fit into your day to day activities.
If you bake it, dunk it, drop it, crawl with it, climb with it, etc. and it works for you, regardless of what the MRTD is, what the weight is, or what the shell is made of BUY IT !
I wish these "which one is better" arguments would be replaced or at least equaled with discussions on training and applications. The only reason I get involved at all in the sales game is to try and make sure a load of crap is not dumped on my brother and sister firefighters. I am a firefighter and instructor, not a salesman or corporate mouthpiece. I pass on knowledge on thermal imaging to save lives, not make a buck off of thermal imager sales ! I am a TI Training Specialist not a Sales or Marketing Manger.
Good Luck, Be Safe,
PS : I picked the name “TIman” because I wanted to represent thermal imaging, not just a company or product. Of course I have also never tried to hide my employer or job function.
Also Mr. Clynne I have had a number of questions concerning units being donating to the Worcester FD, Mass. I think your company may have donated one, could you elaborate on this. I think some firefighters have been misinformed that TI companies (possibly yours ?) are donating units to Fire Departments who experience Line of Duty Deaths.
[This message has been edited by TIMan (edited February 23, 2000).]
02-23-2000, 11:34 AM #9LHSFirehouse.com Guest
All Raytheon BST (Scott, FRC, ISG, ISI & Bullard) and microbolometer (FireOptic, FireFLIR)
I think you need to add Bullard to your Microbolometer list
The Bullard MX includes an internal battery charging system, four channel transmitter with external switching capability, and new on-screen displays that include a temperature probe and transmitter channel indicator. Features the same 4-inch screen and strong fluorescent back lighting for the best visibility.
02-23-2000, 11:49 AM #10FireOpticFirehouse.com Guest
Well here we go again.
As much as we in the vendor community would like to think we are impartial and unbiased, lets face it, we are far from it. We are always biased toward our basic product and in particular, technology, and try as we may, this will come through no matter how hard we try. All of us manufacturer/vendor contributors to these forums get paid to do this, no matter what our job is, and the signature on the bottom of our paychecks has an influence over what we say and do.
TIMan, please re-read your first post and understand that as much as you tried to be impartial, well, I would submit that you were anything but. Your BST pros were pro BST. Your BST cons were more like microbolometer (MB) partial truths, opinions and MB cons.
ICC, as the company who has worked the hardest and longest to gain acceptance for not just our MB technology, but ICC the “company”, must clarify the bits and pieces of information that fly around so that the firefighting community at large can be aware of what their choices are when it comes to TIC hardware. While what I have to say might sound like a lot of marketing crap, it is founded firmly in engineering truth. It would be a simple matter for ICC to introduce a BST camera to the market, but we are convinced that MB technology, even with it’s higher costs of manufacturing, is the right technology for the fire service, and hence, my bias toward it. MBs are not the only technology, but the technology we have chosen make available to serve the firefighting community.
The employees and shareholders of ICC take great pride in knowing that the technology we are bringing to the marketplace, which was originally developed for destructive military uses, is now being applied to just the opposite – saving lives and protecting property. Sounds like a lot of bull, but ….
It is in this spirit that we have donated and will continue to donate FireOptic cameras to departments around the country. Some out of the basis of economic hardship, and others from a sense of community brotherhood. We feel that this is our social responsibility and a part of who we are. I wish we could afford to provide TICs free to all firefighters, but, well, we all understand why that is a non-reality of business. We do, however, earmark a portion of our operating expenses toward supporting the firefighting community in many ways which include donating cameras to departments. The costs of manufacturing a FireOptic versus what a fire department can afford does not leave much for a tremendous amount of overt philanthropy, and certainly ICC does not make the gross profit margins other TIC vendors make on the sale of their units due to the higher cost of the basic TIC technology inside the camera.
Further, backing up our commitment to the fire service, the most profound way in which we plan to support the firefighting community is in our area of basic research and development. We are spending more than $2.8 million over the next 24 months on basic research and development for the next generation of TIC technology with the goal of lowering the costs of TICs significantly enough so that all firefighters will have one. But that is someday, and as TIMan suggested, “put a unit in service as soon as possible. Too many people have had a save in the first 30 days of service that would have been a fatality if they would have waited for the technology of the future.”
Do your own homework, run your own comparisons, listen to what the vendors say, but make your own choices. There is more than one good way to do things, and TICs are no exception.
President - ICC
02-23-2000, 12:42 PM #11tonybelairFirehouse.com Guest
Watching you and that FireOptic guy has been both informative and down right humorous, but how long were you going to keep your Microbolometer in the closet?
Tell us about this unit: Is it a debugged BST unit;what the cost; will it be available at the FDIC show; what the delivery schedule?
Talk to me TIMan, I don't want my chief sandbagging me when I tell him what available on the market. Is this the camera NJ getting; if not why?
Again thanks for helping the brotherhood get educated.
Till the next Bell
02-23-2000, 03:54 PM #12jerseyfireFirehouse.com Guest
I guess microbolometers are finally ready for the fire service since Bullard is releasing one. Why waste your time and money if BST is all you’ll ever need. There is defiantly a lot of double talk going on here.
Will this unit also have a $ 10,000.00 discount for quantity sales, poor form!
02-23-2000, 04:04 PM #13IRallthewayFirehouse.com Guest
Well well TIMAN, I thought Bullard would stay away from microbolometer cameras for awhile because they were not proven. I can remember posts from you awhile ago stating that this technology has a long way to go in the fire service. I guess things have changed. What will the cost be and when can I have a demo. Also, I know these won't be the ones for NJ because I'm sure they cost that much if not more to manufacturer.
I'm a little confused on how LHS got a picture and some specs on the Bullard MX when TIMAN has mentioned nothing about such an animal.
[This message has been edited by IRalltheway (edited February 23, 2000).]
02-23-2000, 08:36 PM #14JAPFPEFirehouse.com Guest
Wow....the infamous picture. I think that the current scenario is only beaten out by the US Air Force adamently denying the existence of a stealth fighter jet until Revell put a plastic model on the shelf in every K-mart !!
02-24-2000, 03:49 PM #15TIManFirehouse.com Guest
This is not really Bullard’s new Microbolometer based TI for the Fire Service, it is our toy version you will able to purchase at your local K-mart to go along with your kids toy fire truck and helmet.
Thanks a million Larry,
So much for the spotlights, confetti, and balloons at FDIC !
Now the answer to the 50 million dollar question,
Why haven’t I put any info on the new unit here yet ?
No one asked !
Seriously there are a number of reasons why no mention has been made here, they include the obvious :
We were planing on revealing the unit at FDIC, and did not want to prematurely start a bunch of questions, especially here.
Posting info on the unit here is really just making a sales pitch, I don’t do that, remember.
It is true I have been saying Microbolometers are not ready for the Fire Service, that is because at the time I had not used a microbolometer based unit (Bullard's or anyone else's) that could stand up to the demands of firefighting. I also based my decision on numerous live fire evaluations conducted by departments where the Microbolometer based units failed time and time again, some of those as recent as a few weeks ago. I think many other firefighters agree with me on my decision, because the BST units are seriously outselling the Microbolometer based units. But if you have been really paying attention to my posts you will notice that I said I have been looking very closely at the microbolometer. To be honest I have been working with Bullard microbolometer prototypes in the field for months now. Yeah you guys were right at all of the burns, the unit I was using was definitely different somehow. And to all of you who have kept the silence, thanks, obviously you can talk now because the cat is out of the bag.
As always Bullard will respond to the demands of its customers. However we will not put a product out until we are sure it is ready for service. We have baked, dropped, and dunked this unit. It has been into burn after burn. It has been through every test imaginable in the lab. Guess what, THE THING WORKS. However, until it has bounced around in the cab of a fire truck, been abused in multiple alarm fires, and put through the other challenges of the real world, I will not say with 100 percent certainty that it is the best and only possible thermal imager for the Fire Service. I know the lab, I know the fireground, and I know firefighters, you need all of them to determine how a unit is really going to perform.
Also, as stated earlier we are not stopping production of the current BST unit. Why, because as I have been saying all along, it works ! If it is not broke don’t fix it, or in this case don’t replace it. You will now have a choice, and contrary to what anyone may have tried to tell you, one unit is not better than the other. They both have pros and cons, you figure out which pros are most important to you and which cons you are not willing to accept.
As far as the details of the unit go, see you at FDIC or check the web site following FDIC, I will not use this forum for a sales pitch, plus it is not my job !
As far as New Jersey goes, this is not the unit they will get. Why not ? Basically because the Sate Fire Commission made a decision that the units they are buying should have a solid track record of performance, this unit would not meet the bid spec requirement of having at least 50 units in the field.
I really have not been trying to put anything over on anyone, I honestly had my doubts about Microbolometers being ready for the Fire Service until I looked at all of the data we had collected, talked to other firefighters who had used our new unit, and walked out of multiple burns with the new unit functioning and realized that it was really going to take a licking and keep ticking ! However, as I said in the earlier post, don’t assume just because one type of detector works in one particular unit it will work in all the others. Many other units have Raytheon BST cores but Bullard is the only manufacturer who will dunk, drop, and bake their unit at your request in person and then show you it is still functioning ! I admit that can be taken as sales pitch, but its real intention is to make you think, not just follow.
Good Luck, Be Safe,
[This message has been edited by TIMan (edited February 24, 2000).]
02-24-2000, 07:21 PM #16S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for letting me off the hook TIMAN. I was talking to a guy the other day and he was opening his microbolometer info kit from you guys and telling me about it. He says "hey, Bullard's got a microbolometer version coming out." And I said yeah, "I saw it the other day in McKinney."
Then I started feeling all guilty and everything...
03-14-2000, 01:53 PM #17FLIRFFFirehouse.com Guest
Iknow of several departments in NJ that strictly want a microbolometer camera. If they receive your BST camera, will you honor an even one-for-one exchange for your MX? Theses guys are demanding the better performance of the microbolometer and would not mind the fact that you don't have 50 cameras out there yet!
03-15-2000, 04:27 PM #18TIManFirehouse.com Guest
FYI "TIman" is in Europe for the next week, so this will be my only response for a while.
If there are depts in NJ who will only take a microbolometer based unit then they need to contact the NJ Fire Commission and discuss it. Bullard was given a bid and they won it under those specified conditions, any business outside the original bid specifications is new business. Also as I stated earlier, if it is sales, you are asking the wrong person. I am currently talking to the NJ training facilities on how training will be handled.
Sales is between the NJ Fire Commission, NJ Firefighters, and the Bullard TI Business Group Manager. "TIman" is not in that picture!
Good Luck, Be Safe,
[This message has been edited by TIMan (edited March 15, 2000).]
03-15-2000, 05:49 PM #19Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
FLIRFF - In NJ you get what the state bid or the equivalent cash to buy whatever you desire. BTW... What happened to the helmet mounted imager bid? I understand the State tried to bid one and threw them out?
03-15-2000, 07:24 PM #20IRallthewayFirehouse.com Guest
TIMAN, why are you posting in third person? "TIMan is in Europe this week" and "TIMan is not in that picture"? Just curious, wanted to make sure you haven't lost your mind!
[This message has been edited by IRalltheway (edited March 15, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by IRalltheway (edited March 15, 2000).]
03-16-2000, 10:31 AM #21FLIRFFFirehouse.com Guest
The reason that the helmet mounted systems were thrown out of the NJ Bid was quite obvious. The hands-free systems came in at a higher cost than the Bullard BST camera. If they had also awarded a bid for our camera, the Div of Fire Safety would have had to spend more $ for ours therefore reducing the number of total imagers purchased. Although we were significantly higher than Bullard, we were in line with many of the other vendors' pricing and by far the lowest bidder with microbolometer technology. To give you an analogy of pricing/technology, basically we bid a Pentium III and they bid a Pentium I.
MESSAGE TO NJ DEPARTMENTS - The state will be mailing out "Imager Grant" applications by April 1st. Please fill them out thoroughly because they will be returned to you if not done correctly. REMEMBER, YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE IN NJ! The state chose the lowest bidder of all cameras PERIOD. It may or may not be right for your department. The state will pay your department the amount that they are paying for Bullard’s BST camera to apply towards ANY imager purchase. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to email me. As an active NJ firefighter, Ex-Chief and current Lt. that also works for FLIR, I can provide you with a fair amount of information as the state moves forward.
Lt. K.J. Kiel
03-16-2000, 09:04 PM #22S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
You know, I didn't really read the details of this NJ thing as I'm in Texas and it doesn't apply to me. But, I tip my 1010 to the government officials that made the decision to give the departments options.
To give a department the option of choosing the one from the state bid, or taking the cash equivalent to buy the one that best fits their needs was a great idea.
So all you NJ FD's evaluate them all and get what best suits your needs.
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