January 2009

Truck Scale Intercom System

At IntercomsOnline.com we quite a few get requests for an intercom system that works on a truck scale. Customers want a system truck drivers can use to communicate with the people in the truck scale office.

There are several problems with this application that many installations share. One is that when a truck pulls up on the scale, they can stop in various places so where do you put the intercom? Another is that different size trucks use the scale so what height do you put the intercom? We do have a dual height pole and if you can put two intercoms on it, that will accommodate most truck heights.

There are usually a lot of obstructions such as concrete or even railroad tracks in between the office and the scale so it may not be possible, or cost effective, to run wire between the intercoms. Most installations therefore require a wireless system, but if you can run wires we have a system for that too.

Another problem is that when a driver in an 18-wheeler pulls up, their mirrors will keep them from getting too close to an intercom so their arms won’t be long enough to press a button to activate the intercom.  This is where a handsfree intercom that doesn’t require button presses works well. We have a Simultaneous Talk and Receive Wireless Gate Intercom System that can use a motion or vehicle sensor to put the intercom in transmit mode so the trucker does not have to press a button. Its full duplex speakerphone capability has background noise immunity so when noisy trucks pull up to it, clear voice communication can still take place.

If you can run wires, one system that works fairly well is the system shown when you click this link. If you combine it with some sort of an alert device to let you know a truck has pulled up, you can activate the remote unit to start talking to the driver. The driver does not have to press a button to talk back.

If you can get away with one way communication then you could install the Wireless PA System shown in the picture below. The wireless PA system lets you broadcast voice messages over a loudspeaker to the driver.

You could combine the wireless PA with a Wireless Call Box to give you two way communication. The driver could get out of the truck and press the button on the call box to talk to you. If you have AC power where the callbox is installed, then you can put the call box in intercom mode so you can call out to the driver. Otherwise you would have to wait until the driver presses the button on the callbox so it wakes up from its battery-saver mode.

If you have the budget there is a truck scale intercom solution. The wired solution is cheaper to purchase up front if you have the wire installed. While a wireless solution is more costly, if you factor in the cost of installing wire, it can be much cheaper.

Below is a picture of wireless PA system and its components.

Wireless PA system

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Waterproof Two Way Radio

A waterproof two way radio is usually one that meets mil-spec standards. Buying a product that meets mil-spec standards means you are buying a quality product that is built to withstand tougher use.

In an effort to achieve standardization objectives for purchases of products used by the military waterproof two way radioand other government organizations, the U.S. Department of Defense created standards that these products must meet. You will see these standards called military standard, “MIL-STD”, or “MIL-SPEC.” These standards ensure products meet certain requirements, commonality, reliability, compatibility, and similar defense-related objectives.

The Department of Defense also has standards for two-way radios and radios that meet this standard must meet levels for such criteria as vibration, rain (water), salt air, sand/dust, shock (dropping), humidity, temperature as well as other factors.

You may also see radios with an “IP” designation. IP stands for Ingress Protection and it is an international standard that specifies the sealing effectiveness of the enclosure of a product. It is a two digit code that tell you how effective the enclosure is to penetration from fingers, dust, and water.

For instance, for a radio that meets IP 55, the first 5 means it is protected from the amount of dust that would interfere with its operation. The second 5 means that it is protected from water that shoots from a nozzle.

So when you look for a waterproof two way radio you really want to look for one that meets mil-spec or IP 55 standards.

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