View Full Version : Boxes

-1st September 2003, 18:29
I'm looking for a scoring box but... I dont want it to fall apart like all the others i've seen. In fact one brand new box (manufacturer will remain nameless.. unless ya really want to know) my club purchased brand spanking new gave up after one evenings use..knackered it was.
So any recommendations?

-2nd September 2003, 16:20
My club bought an Eigertek Eclipse a bit under two years ago and we absolutely love it. $350 plus shipping from California (American Fencers www.amfence.com carries it, you can also check out Eigertek's website www.eigertek.com). A bit small, I was at first concerned about visibility issues, but the LED lights are REALLY bright and it's just not an issue.

I've heard really good things about the SG-11 which goes for a similar price. Not sure who, if anyone, in GBR carries it, but Blue Gauntlet (www.blue-gauntlet.com) carries it in the US ($379). I've been on strip with one in a comp or two but haven't extensively used them. Presumably similar quality to the rest of the SG line. My club has 2 older SG-12's that we're had for probably 10 years without problem.

Favero has some nice machines (www.favero.com). Euro220-530 depending on model, but things like the power supply look like they're extra. I've heard that the plastic case is a cause for concern here, but haven't played with them enough to really know.

Haven't ever used the LP boxes so I can't really comment on them. Most of the other boxes that I've used have just been once or twice here or there and mostly machines that are no longer available. Actually I just remembered, back when I was at University (5 years ago), we had a couple of the LP blue battery-capable boxes for the extra, less frequently used strips. I don't really remember any complaints about them, so they must have worked well.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'D like to know what brand failed on you that quickly. What did the vendor who sold it to you say? I'd imagine that they'd be willing to replace/repair it when told how quickly it failed.

-B :)

-2nd September 2003, 21:06
we use SG-11's for all the australian and NSW national and state comps..... very good and reliable box

Barry Paul
-5th September 2003, 16:38
If you can get hold of an old bug eyed box we are offering an exchange for our club battery box for 150 ($240). They have the advantage of loud, buzzer, all round visability and Battery life of over a year. We also have a range of apparatuses including the GS11 all the way to the olympic CSG31 Barry Paul.

-6th September 2003, 18:46
My club just bought a new scoring apparatus (standard battery model) from Leon Paul. It's well made with a proffessional circuit board. Compared to the older models I think the new ones are a thumbs up.

Also, the LP boxes have few wires inside as all of the components are mounted directly on to the board. I'm not sure whether , that's the best design but it means there are less connections that could otherwise break.

I've seen some really bad scoring boxes in the past, (a birds nest of badly terminated wires!) the latest LP battery box is not one of them.

-6th September 2003, 18:57
I am not a fan of either the eigertek or favero boxes.
They are based on a microprocessor which is good, but apart from that I don't like them. They aren't practical!
You need to buy a separate power supply for a start!, reel out the extension lead etc, etc, set it up on a table so you can see it properly. Take a closer look at the design, all mounted on a flat panel so it's nice and cheap to make!

What are you going to do when it goes wrong? at least with an LP model you can always get it repaired easily.

-8th September 2003, 12:00
Actually the Favero hasn't really caused me any problems. Yes the LP club boxes are simplistic in design and easier to get to individual components, but the main advantage I have found with the Favero club boxes over the LP club boxes is that they can be flash updated if there are any rule changes, unlike the LP club boxes (if I'm mistaken please correct me and tell me how).


Barry Paul
-8th September 2003, 12:32
Our club boxes are capable of being updated but they do need to be returned to us to make the changes. Most fencers are happy to fence with the boxes as supplied. Only a few fencers know about most rules changes or can tell the difference.

We do realise for some fencers it is important and we will be making next year a microprocessor driven three weapon club box capable of being updated by changing a chip.

Our records which go back 40 years show that the existing club design has been very stable and with a low failure rate, in the past we have been reluctant to change the design and internal electronics on the principle if it is not broken don't fix it. The problem has also been compounded by the seemingly exponetial rate of changes to regulations. 20 years ago the regulations changed once every five/ten years now it seems to be much more frequent. Barry Paul

-8th September 2003, 18:22
And the buzzer in the favero leaves a little to be desired

-8th September 2003, 18:49
hmm which one to buy? seems like LP ones are o.k.

But that favero flash update thing sounds pretty good huh!
I bet there is a catch???

Maybe, just maybe, there will be an even better one soon.

I'd say in about 12 months time or so! (if I had to guess)

Apparently, there is a pretty good box under development. Actually I've seen it fully working, but don't tell anyone I told you!
Just needs a few finishing touches.

Sorry no more details, just thought I would mention it.

-8th September 2003, 19:13

Capable of being updated by changing a chip?
That sounds good!
shame really, because this new one I heard about ..........

What ever will they come up with next!

Perhaps we should have a chat soon.

-10th September 2003, 09:41

Are you planning in having the box ROM programmable then. If so, why not allow for flashing of an EPROM as apposed to having to replace the ROM altogether. I'm sure most fencers with a computer would be able to do this given the appropiate cable and a helpful installer.


-10th September 2003, 11:17
and if Barry is intersted in my design. I think you'll find it better than any current model!!!!!!
So why not jump ahead of the competition rather than follow two steps behind.

Barry, I'm going to send you a PM.

-10th September 2003, 13:00
Sorry (I've been going off the topic I know)

Back to the original thread club LP boxes vs:


SG11: Looks the biz, one good report.
Favero: some good reports some bad.
Eigertek: one good report but little is known.
LP club model: reliable and a safe bet.

-10th September 2003, 17:27
Originally posted by sparkymark567
I am not a fan of either the eigertek or favero boxes.
They are based on a microprocessor which is good, but apart from that I don't like them. They aren't practical!
You need to buy a separate power supply for a start!, reel out the extension lead etc, etc, set it up on a table so you can see it properly. Take a closer look at the design, all mounted on a flat panel so it's nice and cheap to make!

What are you going to do when it goes wrong? at least with an LP model you can always get it repaired easily.

I'm not sure I understand your complaints about the Eigertek. It came with a power supply. It also comes with a connection to run the machine from a standard 9v battery (which will last a full day of competition). We routinely have just the box sitting on the floor by the wall (or more frequently on the little cardboard box that it came it). The LEDs are BRIGHT, visibility is NOT an issue. We don't use extension lights. While a table wouldn't hurt (we would use one in a competition, but it's not worth it for our practices), it's not required.

When something goes wrong Eigertek (or American Fencer's Supply) are good about getting it fixed (we'd had an issue with the first machine that was sent to us, got it replaced immediately). Rules changes can be accomidated by the exchange of a socketed chip. Just pop out the old one, plug in the new one and you're good to go. Eigertek provides the updated chips free of charge or will do the replacing (again, free) if you send the machine to them.

Lack of other reports about them are due to them being fairly new (a few years), and not particularly widespread (we were the first in our area to buy one, several other clubs having seen ours in competitions locally have followed suit).

-B :)

-10th September 2003, 23:36
It seems that you know more about the eigertek than I do.
I may have got it muddled with either a different apparatus or one of their older models. However, I'm not muddled with the favero I'm definitely talking about the right one as far as that's concerned.

9 volt battery can be used in the eigertek, do you mean one like that for a smoke detector? That sounds like a pretty dumb idea to me. I would like the battery to last a lot longer than a day.

-11th September 2003, 01:37
The only issue I have with the LP boxes is with the switches and plugs being mounted directly onto the PCB. We all know a lot of people turn boxes off with their feet or their sword and it'd be nice if it was easier to fix when switches got broken because of it.

Barry Paul
-11th September 2003, 07:34
One of the problems with designing and manufacturing kit for fencers is that they do treat equipment badly, after loosing a hit or a fight they do show a degree of nervous tension. The controls for turning on and off selection of weapon and hit duration need to be large enough for a fencer with a glove to operate them, but not large enough to be easily broken. One of the most vunerable swithes was the timing switch. We have however just updated this by sinking the switch into the apparatus and the outside cover now supports the knob so that it will be much harder to break off. To get a longer life and some hope that fencers will put the equipment away after fencing without throwing the kit into a cuboard from a distance is the purchase of the padded carring case which takes the apparatus, leads and the spools

As several post indicate it is possible to make a cheaper apparatus, run from smaller batteries with quieter buzzers small high visiability L.E.D. but only in one plane, but our club box was designed for the general U.K. market/clubs. Tough, visability 360 degrees, loud buzzer, standard flash light battery driven with a life of over a year and in many cases much longer.(can be run using a mains adapter) Easily repairable with printed circuit dagrams made available to technicians. Barry Paul M.D. Leon Paul

-11th September 2003, 11:04
The alternative would be to connect them with wires. However, this means you'll have twice as many connections (one at each end of the wire) that could break.

-12th September 2003, 18:19
Originally posted by sparkymark567
9 volt battery can be used in the eigertek, do you mean one like that for a smoke detector? That sounds like a pretty dumb idea to me. I would like the battery to last a lot longer than a day.

Yeah, exactly that kind of battery. We don't use ours this way, we always plus it into the wall, but it's convenient for when we need to do a fencing demonstration out away from a source of power and decide that we'd really rather do it electric than steam. I'd consider it a neat extra bonus feature rather than a true selling point. Getting power to a scoring machine isn't generally a problem, at least in the clubs/competition venues I've been in.

Is the Eigertek the best box in the world? No. But at $350 it might be the best valued box. It's between the price of the LP 2-weapon and 3-weapon club boxes. Either of those would run an additional $100 for the mains adapter. Speaking of which, it occurs to me that our power systems aren't interchangable, are they. I don't know what Eigertek does to provide for European outlets, etc., you'd have to make sure to ask about that before purchasing.

I really don't want to sound like an Eigertek pitchman. My club has one, we like it. We're currently looking into purchasing a new machine and getting a second one is near, if not at, the top of the list. I'm merely a satisfied customer.

I completely agreed with the comment on the Favero buzzer. Two settings, off and earpiercing. Joy. Almost invariably this leads to the buzzers all being turned off which kinda defeats the purpose.

-B :)

-12th September 2003, 20:28
A 9-V batter used to run an Eigertek will last considerably longer than one day. While the one I have at my club is used primarily off of the power supply, it sees a decent amount of use with the battery when taken around to demonstrations, etc. I find I need to replace the battery every 4-5 months with this intermittent use.

I really don't understand what someone would see as being so difficult with plugging a scoring box into the wall-- you're having to run cables out to the reels anyway, and can't be any more of a minor inconvenience than having a battery die mid-bout and spending the money to purchase another one. It's the way the great majority of scoring boxes work in the world, and on average will be more reliable and less maintenance-intensive and less costly than battery power.


-13th September 2003, 20:15
I think it depends on where you intend to use your box. In a large sports hall it's not really practical to use extension leads for every box. LP boxes don't exactly die mid fight, usually they run down over a period of time so you have plenty of chance to change the batteries. Also as Barry pointed out, the lantern batteries in the LP boxes do last for about a year.
So regardless of whether you consider the extension lead as a hassle or not, it's not really an issue with the LP boxes.

As you may be aware, I am almost completely against the use of mains powered boxes. My argument for this also extends to external mains power supplies and is founded upon safety concerns.
Am I talking a complete load of nonsense? No! the FIE recommend that only batteries should be used. In some cases, scoring apparatus are hardly the most well designed product in the world. Some are just cobbled together and shuved in a box. You have no way of knowing how safe your mains box actually is? most are probably o.k, but as a universal rule I'd say that battery is the best bet.

When it comes down to it, LP seem to come out top if you want to use batteries. You can get others which have flash upgrade, LEDs etc; but the LP box remains highly practical for most clubs.

Please correct me if i'm wrong, but I don't think there is any other box that is really designed to be powered by a battery. I know you can get rechargeable boxes etc, but I'm only interested in a box that can be powered by normal batteries.

And the reason why, there is no other battery box:
It's actually quite a big design task to include a battery compartment. It's far easier to design and build a box that is not designed to come apart. (that's what I meant when I said cobbled together).
You should give LP boxes more credit, rather than disliking them just because they don't yet have the flash upgade or LEDs.

-14th September 2003, 01:51
My only issue with the LP boxes is the sockets and switches mounted directly onto the PCB, whilst this does help in some ways by preventing dodgy connections, it causes repair problems when they do eventually get damaged as the PCBs are a fair bit harder to repair than simply resoldering a wire. At best you're looking at bridging the PCB with a piece of wire, at worst a new PCB.

Barry Paul
-15th September 2003, 08:31
American power is 110 Volts which is much safer than the European 220 Volts. So in America the dangers of a fatal electric shock due to a fault is very low.

As for direct mounting input sockets on the main board On the F.I.E. box we have a seperate socket board link to the main board by a ribbon cable. This adds cost and another two conections which can fail. For direct mounting you eliminate extra wires and the over all realibility increases. Damage to the input sockets is usually caused by not using Leon paul three pin sockets and using non standard plugs (Jack type three pin plugs
Barry Paul.