Cheap wireless intercom

matto889

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At my school we want a wireless intercom for the rigging but the 4 grand is really over priced. I thought that using an old set of phones would work and connecting them to the current clear-com. What do you think the easiest way to connect the phone to the clear-com would be?
 

Footer

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DON'T. Of all the dept.'s to put on a thrown together wireless system, do not make it rail. There is a reason you pay that much for wireless, its not overpriced, it just has to be done extremely well.
 

Footer

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Why not? What wouldn't work? I've heard of other people who have done it with great success
Because you should no put your fly rail on a home made wireless unit, period. You NEVER want to lose com with your rail, ever.

Also, the telephone system is a completely different beast then a clearcom system. Talk to the people that you know that did it before. The reason com systems cost so much is the amount of quality that goes into them. You do not want to introduce something into the loop that can blow your entire system.
 

mbenonis

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I tend to agree that for fly rail operators, they should have a wired intercom or "real" intercom system for safety's sake.
 

Chris15

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As there are with wired comms, there are multiple companies who manufacture wireless comms systems. We've already mentioned Clearcom, but other names worth talking about include Telex's Radiocom and HME and I'm sure there are others, those ones spring to mind...

I'm going to partly agree and partly disagree with Footer here. Part of the reason why it's so expensive is because it's duplex and that means discrete transmitters and receivers running on different freqs. But it's stable and reliable and when the show relies on it, those things matter.

Even supposing for a moment that I was willing to consider the prospect of a phone system on flies, what happens if mid show, you get some interference caused by SOMETHING in the building? If you have 2.4GHz phones, the microwaves ovens can affect them. Wireless networks can affect them. These are shared bands and there are a variety of things other building users may unknowingly stuff your comms with...
 

DaveySimps

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I agree with what others have said about the safety issues with running home made wireless. For safety and reliability, it is worth the extra expense. Have you looked into the Eartec units? We demoed some of their Digicom systems a year or so back, and really liked them. They are compatible with Clearcom and are considerable cheaper than the Telex units. We wanted to really test them out and were able to get uniterrupted communication all the way from the rail on stage to the back of our front parking lot. This amazed us all.

~Dave

http://www.eartec.com/Wireless Wired/digicom.html
 

matto889

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Northern Illinois
I agree with what others have said about the safety issues with running home made wireless. For safety and reliability, it is worth the extra expense. Have you looked into the Eartec units? We demoed some of their Digicom systems a year or so back, and really liked them. They are compatible with Clearcom and are considerable cheaper than the Telex units. We wanted to really test them out and were able to get uniterrupted communication all the way from the rail on stage to the back of our front parking lot. This amazed us all.
~Dave
http://www.eartec.com/Wireless Wired/digicom.html
I looked in to these but from what I have heard from people are that they are really crappy. What if the phones operated on the 5.8 ghz instead? I know the school doesn't have wireless N so that won't interfere and the microwaves only effect the 2.4 right?
 

Eboy87

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I'm gonna have to agree with Footer on this one, don't skimp on com with the pin rail. Rigging is the last area I want a miscommunication with. Do it right, or don't do it at all.

I'm probably gonna kick myself for this, as well as be kicked, but at the very least, have you thought about decent radios with the remote speaker/mic you can clip to your collar? The only hesitation I'd have with it is that it's not full duplex.
 

Chris15

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I looked in to these but from what I have heard from people are that they are really crappy. What if the phones operated on the 5.8 ghz instead? I know the school doesn't have wireless N so that won't interfere and the microwaves only effect the 2.4 right?
So it may not be Microwaves or WiFi. These are public bands... You ALWAYS run the risk of interference. And it will happen at just the very WRONG time. There is still no guarantee you wouldn't have another phone etc. on 5G8. Besides down here, that band is only licenced for digital transmission; no analog.

Ian, I'm going to have to raise a potential problem with your concept, and it comes from experience. And now I think about it, it is equally applicable to the phone concept. I worked a gig last year and I was running comms for monitors. Now I had the Motorola earpiece as close to my ear as I could while still being on my shirt. Mid show, I had it turned up rather loud but still could not make out a clear message about the ambient noise level. That and during a quiet spot in the show, it was audible to those on stage and possibly even to the punters, or at least the choir in the stalls to the side. Going back to how critical comms to rigging is, I would find that totally and utterly unacceptable, in fact I would say it's downright dangerous. BUT, add one little thing extra and all was fine. A pair of headphones plugged into the jack on the handpiece. This given that the selection of headsets we had around were all way too tight, particularly when I only wanted one ear on, so that I could hear anything the monitor engineer was actually trying to tell me. But for rigging, I'm still not sure this would be enough. Wired anything is always going to be more reliable than wireless.

Remember that batteries go flat when you least want them to... RF drops out yada yada. The high end systems have ways of dealing with this. But no one really cares if their cordless phone drops out...
 

Eboy87

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Chris, you do bring up some good points with using radio, and I did have some of those concerns myself. I meant it as if you only had two options: homebrew jerry rigged phone, or radios, I'd gladly take the radio. And when I was reading the thread, I got the impression it was more for doing a load-in than running the show, but now that I re-read it, your concerns become much more, what's the right word, critical?
 

sobenson

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Oct 2, 2007
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Greenville, SC
At my school we want a wireless intercom for the rigging but the 4 grand is really over priced. I thought that using an old set of phones would work and connecting them to the current clear-com. What do you think the easiest way to connect the phone to the clear-com would be?
If it is for rigging point on a load in or load out, the small Motorola radios work pretty well. That way you do not need to yell up to the grid. If it is for fly cues during a show, why not use cue lights? That keeps one more person off the coms, but gets your job done correctly.
 

icewolf08

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If it is for rigging point on a load in or load out, the small Motorola radios work pretty well. That way you do not need to yell up to the grid. If it is for fly cues during a show, why not use cue lights? That keeps one more person off the coms, but gets your job done correctly.
I keep a pair of FRS radios on hand for things like not having to yell to people, but mission critical things should never be run on substandard equipment. This is especially true for dangerous things like flys/rigging.

Cue lights are all well and good, but you NEED to have two way communication to ALL missions critical and dangerous systems operators. So, your fly crew may take their cues from cue lights, but the fly captain HAS to be able to talk to the SM if there are issues.

I am curious as to why you can't have wired coms for your fly ops. There are lots of simple solution to keep the cables out of the way, and it costs a lot less money to get a wired beltpack, headset, and enough cable to string to the rail than any wireless system worth using.

Wireless coms are not a replacement for wired, for every wireless set that we use on deck in a show we always have a wired backup. Why? Even an expensive Clear-Com system can have issues, and every now and then they do, and if we didn't have a backup we would be up the creek without a paddle.

Then there is the whole phone idea thing. I think that everyone else has made it pretty clear that you should abandon that idea.