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    Default thermal imaging cameras

    Our department wants to purchase a thermal imaging camera, but we want some feedback on some designs and brands. Prices would be good too!! It would be a huge help to see what everybody thinks. Thanks!

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    We just recently purchased and put into service a Scott Eagle Imager II. It costs between $15,000 and $21,000, depending on the features you want.

    The reasons we went with this one are:
    It is designed so that it can be pushed on the floor while the searcher is crawling, and the searcher can still see in the screen and what is ahead, it does not have to be held up to be seen. It looks like a nail gun actually.

    It has a temperature reading, so that you can point the center of the camera at an object and see the actual temp., as opposed to only being able to see the different colors. Think of pointing it at a wall, the studs are always darker and the void spaces are lighter, but you can get relative temp. readings.

    Infotherm, anything over 450 degrees shows red.

    It is larger than some of its contemporaries, but we plan on using it for primary search. We are a vol. company that gets 15 to 20 full blown structure fires a year, and almost 1000 fire calls altogether.

    Each company has to look at what their usage would be, one tool does not fit all IMHO
    9/11/01 Never forget Never forgive

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    We Demo'd both the Scott (Eagle I & II) and the 3 Bullard Imagers ( TIx, MX, and the T3) about 2 weeks ago.

    We didn't have anything or anywhere to do live burn testing but we did do some "neat" stuff In House.

    After all was said and done we opted for the TIx.

    One of the things we liked about it was the "Thermal Throttle" feature. Not sure why it's not being offered on the newer TIC's but we liked it.

    We ended up ordering the camera w/ transmitter. The Bullard all-in-one TV/VCR/Receiver unit, the truck Mount Charger and a total of 3 batteries.

    My advice - It's your money so don't let anyone else spend it for you. Get as many TIC's from different MFG's as you can and do a head to head with them. See which ones feel better in your hand. Don't just carry them around - crawl with them. Operate them with your gloves on - do everything you can to simulate real life usage with each one (best if you can do a live burn) then see which one your people like best.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
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    My full time department uses the Bullard and my part time department has the SCOTT Eagle II.

    Having used both on calls I like the SCOTT. Easy to crawl with better picture, transmits well, over all a better unit.

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    My department looked at every camera on the market in the last 3 months. We narrowed it down to the E2V Argus 3 and the MSA Evolution 5000. We ended up choosing the Argus 3 with the BST sensor for around $12,000.

    Look at every camera out there and if you can get them in a burn building. Like N2D said, crawl around with them, operate them with gloves on, if the camera has a visor make sure it will fit against your SCBA facepieces, try changing the battery in the dark or low light, etc.

    I can't tell you what will work best for your department only you can. My best advice is to check them all out and choose which one works best for your department.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    We have the Ti Bullard at the shift commander's station and "Baby Bullards" (the T3) on our other first due engines. I like both units for different applications.

    For searches and attack, I like the T3. It's small, and the instant on is great. 30 sec. (the big Bullard) feels like for freakin' ever when you're trying to do a search and time is running out.

    The big bullard is my choice for overhaul, though. It's easy to "share" the biger screen, and the image pans more smoothly. The same features make it a better choice for exterior work and size-up.

    We've got the transmitter feature on the big Bullard, but only use it for training.

    Others evaluated: Scott, Argus, Cairns.

    When testing to see what's best for you, don't just crawl with it. Drop it. #!@& happens and we've banged ours hard in working fire situations with no problems.
    ullrichk
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    Default Scott Eagle II

    We have the Scott Eagle II, it is great for crawling. Scott introduced a new camera at the FDIC, same idea as the Eagle II just smaller. I don't know what the name of it was but it has most of the same features but was about two pounds lighter.

    As everyone said look at everything and decide what will work best for you department.

    Patrick

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    Originally posted by fflynn17
    The reasons we went with this one are:
    It is designed so that it can be pushed on the floor while the searcher is crawling, and the searcher can still see in the screen and what is ahead, it does not have to be held up to be seen. It looks like a nail gun actually.

    It has a temperature reading, so that you can point the center of the camera at an object and see the actual temp., as opposed to only being able to see the different colors. Think of pointing it at a wall, the studs are always darker and the void spaces are lighter, but you can get relative temp. readings.
    Two safety comments:
    1. FFs using TIs MUST be careful how they use them. It is very easy, once your eyesight is restored, to get caught using only the TI to negotiate your way through a building. The problem is double: (a) if you only use your eyes to get in, you will only be able to use your eyes to get out. If the battery dies or you drop the TI, you are in trouble. (b) TIs do not have peripheral vision. People tend to look forward where they want to go, and forget that they cannot see to the sides, down or up unless they move the TI. It can create extreme tunnel vision.
    2. FFs need to remember that temperature indicators on TIs ARE NOT 100% ACCURATE! Shiny or metallic surfaces generally show up with false cold signals. If you are too close or too far from the object, the accuracy of the reading drops even more. Also, the indicators are estimating SURFACE temps...NOT AIR temps. They will NOT predict flashovers; only good image interpretation practice can do that.

    Stay safe!

    Jonathan Bastian
    Bullard Thermal Imaging Training Manager

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    Originally posted by N2DFire
    My advice - It's your money so don't let anyone else spend it for you. Get as many TIC's from different MFG's as you can and do a head to head with them. See which ones feel better in your hand. Don't just carry them around - crawl with them. Operate them with your gloves on - do everything you can to simulate real life usage with each one (best if you can do a live burn) then see which one your people like best.
    As a real quick addition: make any and every salesperson PROVE whatever he says. There is no NFPA standard for TIs, and while most salespeople are honest, some may stretch the truth. For your own protection, do not accept ANY claim at face value. Make them prove it or call another FD to find out.

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    We just bought a Bullard T1 for the main station with the remote TV/Videotape equipment. Actually we got a deal on a factory refurb/demo unit, and saved about $8000,00. These are the demo units that the salesmen use, then they turn them back in to the factory, which rebuilds them and sells them with full factory warranty.

    At one of our other stations we have a Bullard T3. Frankly I think the T3 might be a little more practical, in that if you are done with it, or need both hands, you can just drop it in your turnout coat pocket. The T1 has to hang on a strap around your neck.

    We have used ours several times for finding "hot spots", especially fluorescent light ballasts. We haven't had a need for them in an actual search and rescue or firefight yet.

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    WT could this get moved to its proper location ?
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    We recently demoed the Bullards (both the baby and the fullsize) and also the MSA 4000 and 5000. Looked at the ISI and the ISG but were not too taken with either. We looked at the Scott Eagle at FDIC but have not had a chance to use it in anger. The Eagle does have some nice features such as a swivel head, but for my money I think we are going to go for the MSA 5000. It has probably the best picture that I could determine and the redout feature that indicates the highest temp is nice. We will be ordering one in about 2-3 months with the full telemitry feature so the chief can sit in his car and see whats happenning.

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    We ordered a MSA 5000 and 3000 LIKE the 3000 but have not recieved the 5000. You might look at the TI Forum good info there.

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    Default Take a Look at This

    We purchased a Scott Thermal Imager 2 years ago. When purchasing our 2nd camera we looked at all of the models available. We are now the owner of an ISG K-90 Talisman TI. I would recommend that every agency at least take a look at this camera. The difference between this and all others is like Night and Day ! The Big 3(Bullard, Scott, MSA) like to bash the camera but when it comes to side by side performance there is no comparison in my eyes. We will be purchasing another K-90 soon for our new Aerial Platform. I could try to explain the differences but you truly need to try it in fire conditions. If anyone has a different opinion that OWNS this model please speak up. I don't particularly want to listen to camera bashers that sell a different model. The Scott TI is not bad, and it works fine but I still say there is no comparison between the two.

    See it here - http://www.isgfire.com/talisman.htm

    Jason Kinley, Lieutenant
    Xenia Fire Division

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    I personally do not care for cameras which display heat in RED.Fireman JB has,as usual given out excellent advice.When you are trying/testing cameras for potential purchase YOU MUST test them under fire conditions even if you must travel to a burn building to do so.I recommend trials in a light to moderate fire condition with heavy smoke.This is the ONLY way you can truly evaluate a product,under working conditions.You are spending 10-26k dollars,only buy after careful consideration and extensive product evaluation.Service and potential loaner programs should enter strongly into your buying decision.Image interpretation is a huge factor in the value and use of your new tool,so make sure you understand what you are looking at and why picture definition and clarity under working conditions is so important.T.C.

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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    I recommend trials in a light to moderate fire condition with heavy smoke.This is the ONLY way you can truly evaluate a product,under working conditions.
    Just curious, Rescue101: why heavy smoke rather than heavy heat? My approach has been that I know TIs work through smoke, let me see what heat does to this particular model or technology. What have you learned by emphasizing smoke? Thanks...JB

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    We "Burn Tested" the Bullards, the Scott Eagle II and the ISG-Talisman side by side and we chose the Scott Eagle II.

    We chose it because it was very maneuverable (we could crawl with it, turn it upside down, take the handle off etc), it had a very good transmission range and the cost was just right.

    The ISG had a better resolution picture but was very expensive (the fully loaded Scott Eagle was comparable to a base ISG) and the transmission features we're overly complicated.
    "When you are safe at home, you wish you were having an adventure-when you're having an adventure, you wish you were safe at home"

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    JB,As usual I have problems painting with words.What I meant to say was a sustained slow to moderate fire.You don't need a TI to see a big fire,but I've found it improves the students ability to interpret images if they are in moderate to heavy smoke with a moderate fire condition.Stratification and fire spread become quite evident,features in the room are highlited,and as we start them with NO camera,then give them the camera;they can see the difference in their ability to "see" the problems at hand.We usually break the groups into fire attack(fire room) and search and rescue (smoke rooms).This allows them to work the full spectrum of camera ops in conditions ranging from cold smoke to live rolling fire.Did I explain it better this time?T.C.

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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    JB,As usual I have problems painting with words.What I meant to say was a sustained slow to moderate fire.You don't need a TI to see a big fire,but I've found it improves the students ability to interpret images if they are in moderate to heavy smoke with a moderate fire condition.Stratification and fire spread become quite evident,features in the room are highlited,and as we start them with NO camera,then give them the camera;they can see the difference in their ability to "see" the problems at hand.We usually break the groups into fire attack(fire room) and search and rescue (smoke rooms).This allows them to work the full spectrum of camera ops in conditions ranging from cold smoke to live rolling fire.Did I explain it better this time?T.C.
    Your explanation is fine, but to me it looks like your emphasis is more on LEARNING than EVALUATING. There is nothing wrong with that, of course! But, my experience has been that great learning environments are not necessarily great evaluation environments. When we evaluate or make suggestions on evaluations, we recommend very high heat for several reasons. It shows how a camera will respond in the real world when exposed to serious heat. Plenty of TIs and technologies look good in a conference room. What happens when they heat up and start to get punished? Dynamic range and software may be geared towards ambient environments. In a really hot fire, can the TI pick out a firefighter in the same room as the fire itself? Is the floor still visible (and any associated dangers therein) when viewing the fire? Are thermal layers visible? My opinion is that if the TI works well in abusive conditions, it will work well in moderate (and honestly more realistic) conditions.

    Maybe we are looking at the wrong things (I hope not!)...what are your thoughts on EVALUATIONS?

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    JB,DUH!You are absolutely correct,I was blurring the lines between EVALUATING and LEARNING.While both are somewhat intertwined,you definately should EVALUATE a camera under a HIGH HEAT/FIRE module.A little sleep would probably help.Hehe T.C.

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    We have two Talisman K90's.

    I have noticed that the rechargable batteries, once fully charged and placed in the camera and on the truck, are only lasting <10 hours. It is a pain trying to rotate them so I started putting the AA adapter packs in. I talked to someone from another department and he said he thought they had battery problems too...
    FTM - PTB

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    We have the Scott Eagle II and we think it is wonderful. Very user friendly. We have the transmitter too which has great range as well. I have seen other departments with other brand transmitters that don't work very well at all. Our batteries will last for a long long time too. I think when we tested it they lasted about 15-20 hours with constant use, minus the transmitting. With transmitting would be a little less but not much.

    I would say to do what JB says and test it in high heat conditions. We tested just about every TI known before we purchased ours. We had a house burn and invited all the manufacturers to come. Not to rip on the others but Scott had the most durable, most easiest clean up, and the lens did not "fog up" or "freeze up" when exposed to high heat. Some others will "freeze up" in those conditions and some will fog up so you have to constantly wipe off the front lens. It is also very durable too. The salesman knocked it off the table once to demonstrate and another time it was dropped out of the crew cab of one of the engines, about a 6-8 foot drop or so, and it was fine.

    We opted for the 4 different display colors too. That is great. The temp. guage is great as long as you know what your looking at and know how to use a TI properly.

    The only drawback I see is that I wish we had a long strap on it so we could sling it over our shoulder if needed like a lantern. That's an internal thing.
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    We have Bullards on our units. I would guess around 20 or so total TIC's. Most of them are the Commander units.

    We use them a lot.

    We just started getting the very compact Bullard T3Max units. I think we only have 3 or 4 of them right now. I have used both and I personally like the smaller units better. Easier one handed operation and much lighter weight.

    I can't compare the image quality or other characteristics with other brands of TIC's, as we have always only used the Bullards. I can tell you that they work very well.




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  24. #24
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    Default scott# 1 here..

    Are ladder co's. run the scott's and they are happy with how they work. They are a little bigger, but they get the J.O.B. done. But i will say that on high heat searchs they are not the best. the room shows all white on the screen, and theres no way to find a body. BEEN THERE DONE THAT. you just have to go back to right hand wall search. But i will say that we love them on hidden fires, behind walls and overhall.....but keep coming with the feed back about other units>>>> id like to hear about the bullard's

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    Quote Originally Posted by fflynn17
    We just recently purchased and put into service a Scott Eagle Imager II. It costs between $15,000 and $21,000, depending on the features you want.

    The reasons we went with this one are:
    It is designed so that it can be pushed on the floor while the searcher is crawling, and the searcher can still see in the screen and what is ahead, it does not have to be held up to be seen. It looks like a nail gun actually.

    It has a temperature reading, so that you can point the center of the camera at an object and see the actual temp., as opposed to only being able to see the different colors. Think of pointing it at a wall, the studs are always darker and the void spaces are lighter, but you can get relative temp. readings.

    Infotherm, anything over 450 degrees shows red.

    It is larger than some of its contemporaries, but we plan on using it for primary search. We are a vol. company that gets 15 to 20 full blown structure fires a year, and almost 1000 fire calls altogether.

    Each company has to look at what their usage would be, one tool does not fit all IMHO
    We have been using the Scott Eagle ImagerII for anout a year now. They work great.
    Ryan
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