1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Personally, I would look for one with a BST sensor array. They have a higher temperature range and that don't flicker like the microbalometer (SP??). We bought the ISI Surveyer, with accutemp, and truck mount for 11K. Also, I would really question the need for the transmitter. Remember, if your guys can pick it up so can the press.
    Actually, a BST has a lower dynamic range than most modern microbolometers. Most of the VOx and aSi microbolometers sold today have a dynamic range of 1000 F or greater. While the microbolometers do "flicker", this is a momentary freeze of the image that lasts less than 1/2 a second. It occurs every 30-180 seconds, depending on the scene.

    While there are advantages to BST engines, the biggest advantage in microbolometers is their size. Raytheon/L3 has not made the BST package smaller; all of the size reductions have been in microbolometer engines.

    As for the transmitter: while some FDs may not need or want them, I am unaware of any reports of the news media intercepting a transmission.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by SamsonFCDES
    MSA 5200 anybody?
    The MSA 5200 is essentially a 5000 with a different colorization package. There are other small changes, but it is primarily the same engine with new colorization software.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    TH,You might want to check who you're "sparring" with before you go off telling them how cameras work.Don't take this the wrong way,but I'm pretty comfortable that JB has forgotten more about cameras than your sum knowledge.Between Mike Richardson and JB the knowledge imparted by these two gentlemen is largely responsible for a majority of the fire service TI training today.Yes,there are others but these two have spent EXTENSIVE time with most platforms and are intimately familiar with their workings.We regularly keep in touch with both as we continue to develop and refine our Statewide training program here.Along with a Chief from Charlottesville,whose insight has been most valuable.And remember,while published specs are nice,it's in the firefront where it counts.I've NEVER "whited" a camera in all the years I been running them,If you do you need to reconsider your position and tactics:You're in a spot that is or is soon to become untenable. T.C.

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    Put It In The Oven. That's A Smoke And Mirors Job By A Certain Manufacturer, Heard The Same Sales Pitch When We Were Buying Ours. I'm With Rescue 101, Fireman Jb Is Probably One The Best Sources On Tic's In The Country. He Has Never Pushed Bullard On Anybody, He Just States Facts. Instead Of Listening To A Manf. Rep, Product Developer Or Whoever (remember Where They're Paycheck Comes From), Call Safe-ir For A Second Opinion, They Have No Brand Loyalty, They Train You On Your Camera. Just A Thought..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    You might want to check your sources on that dynamic range thing. I've the microbalometers go into white out way before the BST.

    Something else to consider. There is a test where they put the camera in an oven at a certain temperature. They then monitor the camera to see how long it can go before it stips working at that temperature. This is called Temperature Tolerance. I have listed a few here for your convienence.
    My sources are the manufacturers of the engines. What are your sources? No modern thermal imager "whites out." BST engines begin to "artifact" at temperatures around 600 F (Mike R might remember the exact number). The top end microbolometer engines saturate at 1120 F. You do the math however you want, but my math shows the microbolometers have a higher dynamic range.

    Top end temperatures of the engines have nothing to do with the package performance in heat, what you call "temperature tolerance." Because the engines (the IR sensor and electronics package) are heat sensitive, there are limits on how hot it can get inside the TI. Again, top end imagers have a tolerance of about 175 F at the sensor. This is the temperature of the sensor itself, not the environment or scene.

    The list you provided is determined by the manufacturers; there is no independent testing. Some manufacturers might be more honest in their asseessments than others.

    And, for all of the temperatures you listed, it really doesn't matter: the TI will last longer than a firefighter in those temperatures. 500 F for 5 minutes will completely destroy a firehelmet...
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Actually, I get my information from a product manager at one of the major manufacturers. And since he is developing these things I would believe he has far more insight into TICs.

    I was searching for a thread that appeared here not to long ago (within the last year) The thread was addressing the very situation known as white out, or sensor saturation. Every sensor array has a certain dynamic range, which can be influenced by the optics involved. That is why your microbalometer based cameras have that freeze frame in them. The frame freezes when the camera adjusts the optics. The reason for the automatic gain control inside the camera is to give a better picture as well as to achieve better measurements. The sensor has the ability to measure 256 different values of temperature. So to get a good picture in a normal temperature situation the temperature scale is adjusted to be from 0 to 300 degrees F. When you enter a hot area, the camera readjusts itself to get a temperature range of 0 to 1200 degrees F. When this happens the shutter basically closes and has to reaquire an entirely new image.
    Oh, so the product manager at ISI, from whom you bought your TI, tells you his TI is the best? I am shocked! Anyway, the major manufacturers are Bullard, MSA, Scott and ISG. Which product manager told you your information? I'll call him and flog him for giving you partial information.

    ISI's primary product is the BST-based imager. They do finally sell a microbolometer that uses an engine compatible with the top end TIs, but I don't know why they would continue to emphasize the BST.

    White out and saturation are NOT the same thing. The optics do not affect the saturation point of the sensor pixels or the maximum dynamic range of the sensor; they determine speed of energy reaching the FPA and focus. All fire TIs have a FIXED focus and therefore FIXED optics. The temperature ranges you indicate apply only to microbolometers. BSTs do NOT have the same range capabilities.

    Your limited and incorrect arguments demonstrate why TI training is so critical. Sales people go out and spread manure in the market place, confusing well-meaning firemen into buying stuff they don't need, don't really want and don't understand.

    As many have said, SAFE-IR is the primary provider of TI training to fire departments around the world.

    Lastly, it is "microbOlometer."
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    You can get a "second opinion"of how a TI works from Safe IR but you WON'T get any kind of product endorsement.You can't even pry it out of them. And TH,on the outside chance you did not realize it,JB is a factory tech for Bullard.And likw Mike before him has done a banner job of properly representing TI technology.While he IS a Bullard rep,he has NEVER forced their equipment or his knowledge on anyone.If you want factual information on their(or others)products or REAL street smart results,he would be a top shelf pick in my book.Training is the key and when you THINK you know TI's better go back and train some more.During the winter and spring months I'm using this technology almost daily and I STILL haven't scratched the surface.We operate in a simple"if the crew comes off the rig,so does the camera",every day we learn another use for the tool.I've "sparred" with JB on occasion,without exception I wind up with another issue that needs a little reform.But we have a top notch program because of it. T.C.

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    Oh, So You Sell Isi Camera's Part Time..............................

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    To me,the best TIC is the one that you have in hand when you need it.
    Just like with buying a gun,you need to figure out what you'll be using a TIC for and try to think of new ways to use it before you buy one to decide what capabilities you'll want and which model offers those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    You have to be kidding right? Putting it in an oven simulates heat exposure in a fire. As you may or may not know, electronics and transistor circuits breakdown as the temperature rises. At some point they fail.
    HUH? Aren't your "temperature tolerance" tests supposed to simulate exposure to heat? I don't follow at ALL what you are trying to argue.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    For the Raytheon Engines the top operating temperature is 185 F. Raytheon Engines are used in ISG, Bullard, Scott, ISI, Sage and a couple others. It's kind of fun to listen to people evaluate these cameras knowing they all have the same internals.
    It's no longer Raytheon; it's L3. And it depends on which engine. The 85 C applies to....(drumroll)....the microbolometer! Remember that engine you bad-mouthed?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    I'm merely talking about the engineering and science behind how they operate. And trust me, having a camera that will keep working at any particular temperature for a longer period of time is a good thing. And realize this, it is the cumulative total of the heat that the camera sees. Also realize that the camera generates it's own heat. This test is real, scientific and is truly of importance to the firefighter. I want to know that in high heat conditions my camera wonít fail.
    You're not talking about the science or engineering very well, frankly. It depends on the temperature and the duration. Who cares is a TI can survive 2000 F for 45 minutes? Nothing around it can.... And the heat is only cumulative until it stabilizes again...that is, the heat is naturally, electronically or mechanically drawn off. It's not like a cookie, where every time you take a bite you leave less behind.

    Again...I have yet to enter an environment that a well-designed TI cannot survive (and the Top 4 generally have well-designed TIs), but a firefighter can. The test is relevant, but comparing a 15 minute duration with a 17 minute duration is silly...the fireman would only last 7 minutes.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    JB is a factory tech for Bullard.And likw Mike before him has done a banner job of properly representing TI technology.While he IS a Bullard rep,he has NEVER forced their equipment or his knowledge on anyone.
    TC, thanks for the kind words, but there is one error here. I WAS an employee of Bullard. I left a year ago for a career in public safety.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Well I don't just listen to the Manufacturers. I also utilize my electrical engineering experience, knowledge of data acquisition, background in sensors and the manufacturers spec sheets. The sensor grabs an analog signal and converts to a digital signal, this conversion will give you 256 ( 1 byte) different readings. As you know, the optics inside these engines focus a certain number of the infrared photons on the sensing array. The sensing array measures the number of photons that hit the array. By changing the optics I can get more or less photons from a given source to hit the sensor. I can my changing the optics, focus more photons on the individual cell then the cell can measure, this is known as saturation. If the optics are not properly adjusted it is easy to saturate the sensor.
    I'm not going to get TOO in depth here, but let me point out one thing that shows you are off base. Visible light is measured in photons. The longwave infrared detectors used in fire service TIs do not react to light, they react to infrared radiation in the 7-14 micron (sometimes called 8-12) wavelength. The optics affect the quality of the image, but not the saturation point of a pixel.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Letís look at it with real numbers. The output of any individual infrared sensor cell will be a voltage between 0 and 5v, depending on the number of infrared photons hitting the sensor. Realize that as an object gets hotter it emits more infrared photons, this is what we are really measuring. So just for arguments sake I will say that at 0 degrees F I get 10 photons, at 200 degrees F I get 100 photons. 10 Photons will give a voltage of 0 V, 100 Photons will give a voltage of 5v. So if my temperature goes to 400 degrees F, I will see 200 Photons, but my max voltage is 5v, so I will not see the extra photons.

    So as you see, where the camera saturates is a function of the AGC as well as the optics. The differnet sensors will have a larger dynamic range depending on the physics and chemistry of the sensor.
    Your last sentence makes some sense. The rest does not. We are not talking about photons; these are what night vision goggles receive. Optics will not change the voltage; detector design and software affect it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Actually the Raytheon 2000 series sensors have an operating range of -4 to 140 degrees F. However those "temperature tolerance" numbers are very relevant. True, the helmet will met in 5 minutes at 500 F, but what about 300 F, could you work in an atmosphere at that temp for a few minutes?
    The 2500 AS operates, as you note, from 0 C to 65 C. That, again, is the temperature of the detector...not the environment or the scene. And, you are quoting a microbOlometer (note the letter O...). Interestingly enough, the 300 F and 500 F tests can be straightline extrapolated. Yes, I know that for a fact. I was involved in testing and evaluating thermal imagers and various engines. But, as I have said a number of times, the top line TIs will last longer than a firefighter...even at 300 F. NFPA turnout gear standards are designed to give a firefighter 3-5 minutes to evacuate a 400 F environment (yes, that is true...I was on an NFPA Technical Committee). Note the word "evacuate." You can't stay in an environment longer than a well-made TI. Period.

    Trojan, you may use an engineering degree and your supplier's sales pitch to try to argue this stuff, but you are off base. While I know my former employer's sales pitch, I also have met personally with the engineers at L3 who design the detectors and software for the fire service TIs. I have helped them change their software to make it more relevant in fire environments and perform properly for firefighters. I have used all but the newest TIs in live fire environments. But more importantly, I try to point out what is important to REAL firemen in REAL environments.

    "TrojanHorse." Your screen name is appropriate, since you are clearly trying to sell products here without admitting your connection. When I was with Bullard, every posting I made mentioned that fact. I don't hide it and I never have. Do I have preferences? Sure. I am not as perfectly neutral as some of the SAFE-IR guys, but on these boards, I try to stick to the facts and only the facts. I don't make them up because the product manager of an unnamed TI told me that was important.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Jeeeeeeze TrojanHorse, you really are an expert of everything aren't you?
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse

    For the ISI 3500

    200 F 46 min
    300 F 26 min
    500 F 8 min

    The MSA 5000

    200 F >30 min
    300 F >10 min
    500 F >5 min

    MSA 5200

    176 F >30 min
    248 F >20 min
    500 F >8 min

    Bullard T3LT

    300 F 16 min
    500 F 8 min

    Bullard T3xT

    300 F 16 min
    500 F 8 min

    Bullard T3max

    300 F 16 min
    500 F 8 min

    I stop operating at 500 F in about 5 minutes too......wtf good is a camera if the operator is toast?

    I'll skip the science and give you experiance....get a camera that can take a beating....like the battery NOT falling off, get one that is lightwieght,...you carry enough crap as it is...., compact or streamlined, make sure it doesn't get in your way as you move about the fire floor, being able to craw w/ it is a plus, decent picture is a plus, you shouldn't be using a camera as you're "guide" so to speak, quick glances are good enough,.....you still have to be able to get out if you camera fails.....(that a drill I use to do, let the guys go in w/ the camera, then take it away from them inside....9x out of 10, if they used it to move in, they will be disoriented and get lost).....Once the line is in place and charged, the fire goes out rather quickly....and if you are on the fire floor for more than a few minutes...then you can use the camera as a door chock....chances are you know were the fire is.....and you have bigger problems then protons, photons, and microns....

    Personnaly...I like the MSA 5000 because it can do what I mentioned....we I was a vollie, we tested (abused under live fire) just about every TIC ion the market in 2003.....(i think that was the year).....the MSA 5000 fit our needs....Have the reps come out with you...if they are protective and cringe when you put the tic threw the "ringer"....then that's NOT the camera for you....again....the MSA rep....was just as motivated and confident as us with the tests.

    Good Luck....

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    So while I am not at an expert at everything, I am certainly an expert in this area.
    And network management, NIMS, Communications, 10 Codes, FDNY Operations... blah blah blah.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    You are right, I am trying to sell products. Basically, I feel that those TICs that use the BST technology are superior to micro-bOlometers. And just for your info ISI as well as Bullard have TICS with BSTs in them, I have not endorsed any one product. However, the reason the BST is better is that it does not have the freeze frame effect that occurs when a micro-bolometer refocuses itself for a higher temperature range. The BST also produce a better image.
    Under very specific conditions, the BST image may be better than a microbolometer. The shutter freeze, while a small annoyance, has proven to be of little consequence to firefighters when balanced against the small size and lower cost of most microbolometers. For FDs that want temperature measurement, microbolometers have the advantage of taking the reading from the detector, rather than using a separate pyrometer (which a BST must do). This eliminates aiming issues that occur with BST/pyrometer combinations.

    In short, while you may like BST imagers (and I do like one feature that used to be exclusive to BSTs, but is no longer), the fire service has overwhelmingly supported microbolometers as equivalent in performance and value. The BST also, contrary to your earlier statement, does not have a higher dynamic range than modern microbolometers. Thus at temperature extremes, the BST will staturate before the microbolometer.

    And, just so you don't think I am dodging it, I am still checking on the photon thing. While photons may be applicable for SWIR, I have never heard them used in describing the transfer of heat or LWIR (what the fire service TI usees). I am contacting an engineer at L3/Raytheon for further input. If I am wrong, I'll admit it.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    JB,Would this Photon thing be educated,informed,or smoke? Inquiring minds would like to know,Hehe T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    JB,Would this Photon thing be educated,informed,or smoke? Inquiring minds would like to know,Hehe T.C.
    Actually since light behaves like both a wave and a particle it is both, photons are the name given to the particles of light. Those particles happen to travel in a wavelike formation.
    Now I am reaching back into my physics days, but the energy of a photon can correspond to a wavelength of light. Certain molecules absorb IR light and will change slightly. Here Trojan Horse is correct. The sensor is probably composed of an IR absorbing material and when it releases the energy absorbed it puts it out as an electrical signal. In most texts I have read the IR spectrum is measured in wavelength, wave numbers and frequency. Photons make the theory a little easier to grasp.

    Again this is just from memory.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    One guy actually walked into a wall while using it because of the freeze.
    Sounds like a guy who needs more training. Ask him what happens when his camera stops working and he can't find his way out because he's using the camera as his only way of finding his way through a smoke filled environment.

    Remember, scan - then move, scan - then move.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Shawn,Don't try to read so much into the post.Read the "disclaimer" JB puts on the last lines of his posting.I'm just cracking "stones". Yeah Bones,did you catch the phrase '"WALKED" into a wall? You no see your feet,you BETTER NOT BE ON THEM! Camera shutdown is a pretty common happening in our training program. Basics,basics,and more basics.The camera is just a helpful tool.I like testing cameras in the burn house from just smoke to small room fires.I've never needed a camera to find a big fire,although they work well to find sagging floors/ceilings. If you can find Pass alarms in dense cold smoke,you'll probably find anything you want in a heated fire.Scan, move to point,rescan,move.The "freeze"is momentary and obvious,if it happens during your scan wait a nanosecond and rescan.All our students are taught this and are encouraged to swap cameras during training with other "companies"with different brands so they can compare operating charateristics.Plus be familiar should they need to use another brand in a MA situation. Companies found "walking"(yes,we record)are presented obstacles to "persuade"them to change their habits. The cameras we are issued for training are Bullard T3's in various types.They have done a good job surviving the training enviornment and do a good job for what they're asked to do.My personal camera for training is a K-90,I think the picture is a bit better for detail work.But it's also one of the most expensive so not particularly suited for a dept with tight funds.Too many people pick up a camera,use it at training once or twice and think they are camera operators.It takes a LOT of time and experience to be GOOD with a camera. And we're seeing that improper camera use actually puts FF's at RISK. So make sure if you're just getting a camera,get PROPER training to use it.If you already have one make sure the "operators"get annual refreshers.YES,it's that important. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    Shawn,Don't try to read so much into the post.Read the "disclaimer" JB puts on the last lines of his posting.I'm just cracking "stones". Yeah Bones,did you catch the phrase '"WALKED" into a wall? You no see your feet,you BETTER NOT BE ON THEM! Camera shutdown is a pretty common happening in our training program. Basics,basics,and more basics.The camera is just a helpful tool.I like testing cameras in the burn house from just smoke to small room fires.I've never needed a camera to find a big fire,although they work well to find sagging floors/ceilings. If you can find Pass alarms in dense cold smoke,you'll probably find anything you want in a heated fire.Scan, move to point,rescan,move.The "freeze"is momentary and obvious,if it happens during your scan wait a nanosecond and rescan.All our students are taught this and are encouraged to swap cameras during training with other "companies"with different brands so they can compare operating charateristics.Plus be familiar should they need to use another brand in a MA situation. Companies found "walking"(yes,we record)are presented obstacles to "persuade"them to change their habits. The cameras we are issued for training are Bullard T3's in various types.They have done a good job surviving the training enviornment and do a good job for what they're asked to do.My personal camera for training is a K-90,I think the picture is a bit better for detail work.But it's also one of the most expensive so not particularly suited for a dept with tight funds.Too many people pick up a camera,use it at training once or twice and think they are camera operators.It takes a LOT of time and experience to be GOOD with a camera. And we're seeing that improper camera use actually puts FF's at RISK. So make sure if you're just getting a camera,get PROPER training to use it.If you already have one make sure the "operators"get annual refreshers.YES,it's that important. T.C.
    Dammit, I wanted to be able to contribute something useful to a TI thread! And now you stole my thunder! I had a feeling that the substance dripping from your previous post was sarcasm. Thought I would add some useless trivia to the thread for those that didnt get college physics.

    My analytical chemistry experience leads me to believe that the sensor absorbs IR in the 2.5-50 micrometer wavelength range and that the intensity of the IR hitting the sensor would dictate the amount of energy sent to the display. It sometimes helps me to think of an IR source as a lightbulb on a dimmer, increasing the heat output is like turning the dimmer up you get more light. IR is light after all, we just cant feel it.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    JB,Would this Photon thing be educated,informed,or smoke? Inquiring minds would like to know,Hehe T.C.
    I've emailed an L3 engineer, who is also a firefighter. I'll let you know...hopefully within a day or two.

    Right now, I'm guessing somewhere between "informed" and "smoke."
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Funny you should mention physics.Never cared for physics in school or math either.Now I own a towing business.Care to guess what I have to use everyday? Sometimes ya just gotta think things thru and some days it takes longer than others. Scarcasm? Mwah? Surely you jest,hehe T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Actually, the shutter freeze is the one complaint I have heard. One guy actually walked into a wall while using it because of the freeze. But now here is the funny part. He was comparing the ISI to the Bullard. Both of which use micro-bolometers from L3/Raytheon.
    ...
    Yes, I have found that most departments are more concerned with cost and size vs quality and performance. But that is typical of our society in general.
    As others have noted, no one should ever walk into a wall...even when evaluating TIs in a firehouse. Second, was the guy the Flash? Current TIs have a shutter freeze of about 1/3-1/2 of a second. Or enough to take PART of a step. Older ones can have a shutter freeze of 1-1.5 seconds, but even still...that's 2 steps max.

    Again, in high heat, the microbolometers generally perform better and give better imagery because of their higher saturation point. In a firehouse (where lots of purchasing decisions are made, even though few TIs are used there), BST can outperform because they can modulate the signal in a stable environment. This "conference room" evaluation process is also why some TI manufacturers tune their software to perform best with the detector at room temperature, rather than significantly elevated (such as you might have after being in a fire environment for 5 or 6 minutes).
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  25. #50
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    Mar 2001
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    My department has 2 MSA's 1 Evolution4000 and a Evolution 5200. The 4000 is a very nice camera but it's big and bulky compare to the very small and light weight 5200. I've used quite a few TIC and the 5200 is on the top of my list.

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