SELECTING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Do I need to specify cable length when I order the system?
If requested, Firecom intercom systems are shipped with a bulk roll of communication cable. By using modular plugs that you install, the cable can be run as required and trimmed to the proper length, eliminating the need for precut cables.
How many headsets will I need??
This is determined by how many people will be riding in the vehicle on a regular basis, and how many have wired versus wireless headsets. Typically, one headset is installed for each seating position. Some fire departments order additional headsets for use at the pump panel, or at the turntable and ladder tip on an aerial. Wireless headsets typically eliminate the need for job- or location-specific headsets because they have the range to work anywhere.
How are the different styles of headsets used?
Under-helmet headsets have a soft strap that goes over the head, allowing the headset to be worn under a fire helmet or inside the cab. Overhead-style headsets have a rigid headband and are used without a helmet. 500-Series wireless headsets with listen-through technology, and single-ear and slotted-dome wired headsets allow the user to hear ambient noise, such as traffic or voices on the fireground.
What seating positions can transmit on the radio?
With a Firecom system, transmit capability is determined by the headset, not the position. A transmit headset can be plugged in at any position. Intercom-only headsets will not transmit on the radio at any position. Wireless headsets can be positioned anywhere if they have radio-transmit capability through a properly configured base station.
What happens when people are talking on the intercom and the officer needs to talk on the radio?
The intercom allows for simultaneous radio-transmit and intercom communications without the concern of intercom conversation being transmitted over the air.
Can I hook up more than one radio to the intercom?
Yes, up to four (4) radios can be connected to a 5000D Series digital intercom (capacity based on model selected).
Can we hook up our cell phone to the intercom?
Yes, a cell phone can be used with a Firecom intercom system if it has hands-free capability, i.e., a headset jack, or external speaker and microphone. A cell phone connects to the intercom through an available AUX port.
Can we hook up our cell phone to the intercom?
Yes, a cell phone can be used with a Firecom FHW507, UHW507 wireless headset or the DW501BT direct-wire headset using Bluetooth™. Consult the user’s manual for pairing instructions.
How many seating positions can I hook up?
Firecom systems can connect up to ten wired and up to 50 wireless radio-transmit positions. Consult the operator’s manual or contact firstname.lastname@example.org (1-800-527-0555) for more information.
Can I add more positions after the system is installed?
Yes. For wired headsets, simply install an additional interior or exterior headset module and run the cable; no additional intercom boxes are required (up to 10 available connections). Wireless headsets may require additional base stations depending on the original system configuration.
Do you have systems for smaller vehicles?
Yes. Firecom offers systems for one or two people. These systems work well in water tenders, brush engines, ambulances, and command vehicles, or any vehicle in which the occupants require hearing protection or enhanced communications.
Can we put a headset at the tip of our aerial or in the bucket of our tower?
Yes. Wireless headsets can be used at the tip of an aerial or in the bucket, and they offer continuous communication during transition up and down the ladder. Check with Firecom for optimal base station positioning in this application. Our exterior module for wired headsets can be installed at the tip of an aerial or in the bucket of a ladder tower. The preferred method to wire the module is through the collector rings at the base of the ladder. Firecom offers a collector-ring interface kit that makes the installation of our system much easier than other systems.
Can I hook up a headset to my portable radio?
Yes. Firecom offers both handheld interfaces (which allow you to use your apparatus headset with a portable radio) and direct-wire headsets (in which headsets are attached directly to the portable radio).
Do you have a connection for my particular mobile radio?
Firecom has interface cables for virtually all radios.
HOW TO INSTALL FIRECOM EQUIPMENT (12 EASY STEPS)
TL/DR? Watch the installation overview video.
- Crimp the RJ connectors on the Firecom six-conductor intercom cable. Firecom intercom cable has a smooth side and a flat side with a rib. The lock tap on the RJ connectors must be on the same side of the cable at both ends, ether smooth or flat. If the RJ connectors are reversed, the headsets and bases will not be able to communicate with each other or over the intercom or radio. Additional intercom cable can be ordered by calling Firecom at 1-800-527-0555 (Part no. 108-0102-00).
- Route the cable. Avoid routing the cable with the coax from the radios. This may cause RF bleed over into the intercom resulting in a sizzling, hissing, or squealing sound in the headsets. If there is no other path to route the cable, make sure the coax is double-shielded as this will reduce the interference.
- Mount the HM-10 modules. For best all-around performance from your HM-10s, avoid mounting them upside down on the head liner. This will ensure maximum contact life.
- Mount the PP-20 modules. Mount the PP-20 in a vertical position. To prevent water build-up, drill a 3/32″ weep hole at the lowest point in the housing.
- Power the intercoms. Use a single-point ground for the intercom and the radios. This will ensure the quietest operation possible. Use a power connection that will supply a minimum of 11.5v DC with proper fuse. Use a Firecom power filter to help eliminate power spikes and dropouts that may result from starting the vehicle or running the siren and equipment.
- Mount the intercoms. Mount Firecom intercoms in an area that will not expose them to water or moisture. If this is not possible, use a plastic or fiberglass Water-resistant enclosure.
- Install the wireless bases. Mount the bases on glass to ensure maximum range and usability. If glass is not available, plastic or fiberglass will work, provided no metal is directly behind the bases. Wire the power hot all the time through the fuse to the bases. Keep bases away from water and moisture by mounting inside a vehicle, not on the exterior.
- Install the wireless headsets. Wire the power hot all the time through the fuse to the headsets. For fastest charge, keep the power switch off while headset is charging.?Use a hanger hook and secure the charge cable with a loop to avoid pulling on the headset.
- Install the wired headsets. Clean the headset plugs with IPA or rubbing alcohol prior to use. This will help reduce static caused by dirt, grease, or deposits during shipping and handling.
- Using wireless headsets. To avoid unlinking the headset from the base, disconnect the charge cable before using the headset. Program the microphone gain on each wireless headset. Keep the microphone about 1/8″ from your mouth for most applications.
- Charging wireless headsets. Use only the 9-volt charger adaptor or vehicle power to charge your Firecom wireless headsets. Anything else may damage your headset.?Charge the headsets overnight before programming and pairing them. This will allow quick and easy programming and pairing. Also check to see if the headset battery is deeply discharged; indicated by the red light not blinking for 30 minutes or more. This means the headset is either too warm or in trickle-charge mode. In either case, charging will resume shortly.
- Adjust the intercoms after installing the equipment. Adjust the TX audio, RX audio and HK after installing the radio. This will set the proper audio levels for transmitting and receiving over the radio and intercom. Verify the setting by performing radio checks without service equipment. See intercom manuals for adjustments or visit Service.
What are the advantages of modular connections?
Modular plugs are easy to install and make it simple to add components. The connectors do not require any soldering and can be installed with a simple crimping tool. Firecom recommends using a ratcheting-type RJ crimping tool. The RJ-12 connectors simply snap into the headset modules and can easily be disconnected if required.
Do we need to hire an installer?
Our systems can be installed easily with simple hand tools and the Firecom crimp tool. Most installations utilize a pre-made interface cable; however some radios, typically older models, must be hard-wired to the intercom, which will likely require the services of a radio technician. To ensure peak performance, final audio level adjustments will also require the skills of a trained radio technician.
Can the system be installed at the factory when our truck is being built?
Yes, we work with all the major apparatus builders. In fact, most builders prefer our products to other intercom systems because of the ease of installation and serviceability.
Do you have a system for our ambulance?
Yes, we can design a system to accommodate the unique requirements of an ambulance, whether you have just one radio or a combination of radios and cell phones. Here’s a sample configuration.
Can our medics talk on one radio in the back while the driver is talking on another up front?
Yes, Firecom systems can be configured to allow multiple radios to transmit at the same time.
What makes the 5000D intercoms different from others on the market?
The Firecom 5000D Series takes apparatus intercom systems to the next level by offering automatic squelch, enhanced noise reduction circuitry, touch pad adjustable volume utilizing membrane switching, and bright LED indicators. The enhanced noise reduction is achieved by utilizing automatically controlled, dynamic range-expanding preamplifiers at each headset, which control the audio input for the intercom and radio. Expanding preamplifiers eliminate excess noise from unused microphones, resulting in better clarity in noisy environments.
What is “automatic squelch”?
Traditional voice-activated (VOX) microphones require manual “squelch” adjustment to function properly. If the squelch is adjusted too low, the microphone will be activated by almost any sound; if it is adjusted too high, it will not pick up any sound at all. Improper squelch adjustment can be frustrating, as the system will not function as intended. Firecom’s exclusive automatic squelch optimally adjusts microphone sensitivity, eliminating the need for manual adjustment. This allows for much better radio and in-cab communications.
Are the microphones voice activated?
Firecom uses an advanced system that utilizes open microphones with noise gates. This system eliminates voice clipping that is typical with voice-activated microphones (VOX).
How do I adjust the volume?
The Firecom 5000D system has touch pad style volume controls mounted on the face of the intercom, along with LED volume indicators. In addition to the system volume, each headset is equipped with individual volume controls.
Can we listen to music on our headsets?
Yes, Firecom intercoms are equipped with an auxiliary input on the 5000D series for cell phones, as well as an auxiliary output that can be connected to a digital recording device.
Why does Firecom mount the radio transmit button on the headset?
Regardless of where you are or what you are doing on the apparatus, the radio-transmit button is always where you can find it, right next to your ear on the headset. There is no need to search for a remote push-to-talk switch or climb back in the cab to talk on the radio.
How do I adjust the size of the headset?
Under-helmet style headsets have an adjustable cloth band with Velcro to adjust for different size heads. Over-the-head headsets have an adjustable headband.
Are the intercom-only positions voice activated?
The most common intercom-only headset requires the user to push a button to talk. We do offer one headset with an on-off switch that opens the microphone for continuous intercom communications. Neither headset will transmit on the radio.
What is the remote head?
The remote head is a “slave” of the intercom faceplate that can be located anywhere inside the vehicle (not rated for exterior mounting). All controls, such as volume and radio selector, on the intercom box are duplicated on the remote head. The remote head is typically mounted flush on the radio console or in the OEM overhead console, reducing dashboard clutter. An optional adjustable mounting bracket is available for mounting the remote head on top of the dashboard or on the ceiling. Outside the apparatus it is often positioned on or near the pump panel.
Where do we mount the intercom box if we are using a remote head?
The main intercom box can be mounted anywhere inside the vehicle, such as behind the officer’s seat in a custom cab, behind the bench seat in a commercial cab, or in the vertical cabinet of an ambulance.
How is the remote head connected to the main intercom box?
The remote head is connected to the main intercom box with a six-conductor phone cable. This is the same type of cable used to connect the wired headset modules and wireless bases to the intercom box.
How many remote heads can be installed?
The 5000D series intercoms have provisions for two remote heads.
Will the modular plugs break off?
The RJ-12 connector is extremely rugged and unlikely to break. A soldered joint is much more likely to fail. Crimped modular plugs are superior to soldered connections for their durability in a high-vibration environment. Once locked in place, they will not break off.
TROUBLESHOOTING FIRECOM EQUIPMENT
TROUBLESHOOTING INTERCOMS: NEW AND OLD INSTALLATIONS
Radio will not key. All Firecom intercoms have the same 9-pin connector (see manuals for pin out). On all MR cables, short the male pins 3-4 on DB-9 to see if the radio will key.
- If the radio will not key, check the programming.
- If the radio keys by shorting pins 3-4 on the DB-9, the problem is between the headsets and the intercom.
- Check the back of the intercom’s female DB-9 connector, pins 3-4, using an ohm meter during push-to-talk. If the relay is closing, the value will be less than 5 ohms.
- Check all RJ connector ports on the back of the intercoms. See if the pins are up or have been bent down all the way. This is usually from improperly crimped RJ connectors (see “Crimping RJ connectors”).
- If the pins are bent down, replace the RJ connector on the cable that was plugged into that port and use a pick to pull up the pins. If the pins will not pull up, the intercom will need servicing.
TROUBLESHOOTING WIRELESS HEADSETS
Charge all Firecom wireless headsets overnight before pairing and programming.
- Contact Firecom if your wireless headset or base blows the inline fuse.
- Keep the microphone about 1/8″ from your mouth during use.
- 500-Series wireless headsets automatically power on after disconnecting the headset charging cable.
View our video on pairing a Firecom headset
Who can repair the intercom?
If there is a problem with the intercom (and not an installation issue), we recommend returning the equipment to Firecom for repair. Our customer service staff will assist you with repair or replacement of your intercom and components. Visit Service for more information
What is the warranty on the Firecom system?
Firecom intercoms and headsets come with a two-year warranty, which is unmatched in the intercom industry. Firecom will honor the warranty on our products regardless of who performed the installation.
What is the noise reduction rating of a Firecom headset?
Firecom’s wired, dual eardome headsets reduce ambient noise by 24 dB, which meets NFPA, OSHA, and Cal/OSHA standards. Firecom 500-Series wireless headsets reduce ambient noise by 20 dB.
What are NFPA’s guidelines for hearing protection?
NFPA 1500 recommends hearing protection for firefighters while riding in or working around fire apparatus with a noise level in excess of 90dBA (approximately the noise level of a hair dryer or lawn mower).