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Thread: Boxes - compare and contrast

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    Senior Member miraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud of
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    Default Boxes - compare and contrast

    Since starting the club last year I've spent some of my less busy moments considering the pros and cons of different types of electric boxes.

    I've been using some old (*old*) second hand France Lames boxes, which are pretty good despite their age. The main problem with them is the size and weight, which is made worse by the huge power supplies they require.

    We also have two sets of epee Hitmates - slightly temperamental, but pretty good considering the price point. The main advantage is that they're very small and light, with a neat little case.

    Recently I got my hands on a LP club box. I have always liked these for their simplicity and the carry case that accomodates a full set. There are a few issues, though. I see lots with broken handles. Why are they powered by TWO of the the big heavy 6V batteries? (Mains power supply option is available, of course.) The incandescent bulbs need changing from time to time.

    Speaking from a club point of view, if the Hitmates also had the option to plug in ground wires that would be pretty close to an ideal centre unit. If they can get all the technology into something that size for the same price then why do we need anything bigger?

    Share your thoughts about what you use and what you'd like to see.

  2. #2
    Initiate Paladin2019 is on a distinguished road
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    Putting LED lighting on LP boxes seems like an obvious move.

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    We do this thread fairly regularly and I always recommend the Favero stuff, both boxes and spools.

    We struggled to find anyone who had seen a broken one ever, which is a pretty good endorsement.
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  4. #4
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    Was surprised this year to have a Favero ground lead-to-box connector break (the little silver connector came out of one of the pin sockets). Taking a part and soldering it back in solved the problem but I was really quite shocked to see it. That said the new Favero we got this year is better designed and seems to correct for this.

    I'd say I'm personally a mix between the Favero's and Leon Pauls. The Favero's are functionally identical and cheaper in the 01 and their counting box is much cheaper than the csg Leon Paul sells. In terms of spools the Favero's are more reliable, however the fencer end connector is terrible and when the spool does break its a pain to fix (whereas Leon Paul spools are relatively easy to open up and sort problems).

    The way I see it the Favero's are modern, reliable but a pain to fix. Leon Pauls are functional and basic but a dream to repair (and their boxes are just so compact and easy to stack away!)

    Can't say much about Allstar stuff other than I like their spools (never tried fixing one) and their boxes tbh are mostly priced out like Leon Paul's ones compared to those wonderfully cheap Favero's
    Last edited by ChrisL; -19th February 2013 at 23:19. Reason: clarficiation

  5. #5

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    For scoring boxes....Virtual Scoring Machine. Instantly becomes the best machine in the joint. And when you get to that last second, it shows 1/10ths (FIE take note)

    For floor reels, I find the Faveros the easiest to work on, although I've yet to try working on the spring. Uhlmanns are a pain in the arse (especially if you're replacing the cable), and LP springs have a tendency to explode if you;re not careful.

    The only real downside to the Faveros is the cable guide design...unlike the Uhlmann, you can't tell when the guide's getting sliced & diced by the cable until it's way too late.

  6. #6

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    I think I've pretty much all the boxes mentioned here at some stage in a club.

    The LP boxes were great, I think we had some of the ancient ones (I seem to remember looking inside and seeing components that belonged in a museum - no disrespect to LP they were great boxes). I agree that the handles broke a lot, I ended up attaching a metal drawer handle to one of them. I always wondered about the massive batteries in them but I suppose for longevity (university clubs would generally just chuck them in a cupboard and if they get left on for long periods) they are a good idea.

    Favero boxes were by far the cheapest option - decent boxes, the ones we had the buttons on the font were terrible, they started to crack etc after about six months and the stand on the back was poor as the boxes would fall over at the slightest touch.

    I've also used the Allstar Club box which I think is where club type boxes should be going. Nice and compact, I think it even auto detects the weapon. The stand is a bit flimsy and I think the lighting "strip" could be a bit better designed.

    The Hitmate is a great idea (I dislike their solution for the epee grounding problem but it works most of the time). The size is almost perfect, the pocket transmitter could be a bit smaller but you hit a limitation based on the size of the sockets for the body wire and the size of the battery.

    I'm also lucky enough to train in a Salle that has 4 (and more I think) of the Allstar FIE competition boxes. These are very nice but pretty big (suppose they need to be for short sighted referees ) and the power source is external lead acid but these have actually been placed inside the box and can be charged using the power connection for the box (modification done by one of the Maitres).

    I remember some time ago finding plans for a "modern" fencing box based on a PIC microcontroller which was very very small. I think with SMT or a double sided board you could get it smaller (around the size of a credit card) so again the limitation is the socket size and the power source.

    What I would love to see is a unit about the size of a magazine and maybe a couple of cm thick. The body would be translucent with the lights (LEDs) inside the body. Each side of the unit would then light up based on whatever hit was scored. A remote, maybe a time and score display (I know, the space is filling up quickly but for a club box you could leave these out). You could power the whole thing using an external power block that is rechargeable which would cut down on weight and size again. Also mean you could have several blocks that you could charge on rotation.

    I know it wasn't asked but I love the Fence with fun reels (they are the old style Allstar/Uhlmann reels with the metal housing) as they don;' move about and I think they are a bit easier to maintain the LP ones.
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    Bit off topic but I really liked the overhead "spools" - not so practical for clubs that meet in sports halls but I really prefered fencing on these than on the ground based ones used most of the time.

    Hitmates are great for practice to keep in your bag but are to temperamental for normal use.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SensibleStu View Post

    I dislike their solution for the epee grounding problem but it works most of the time
    The hitmates solution to grounding epee's is black magic I swear and it freaks me out. This combined with their temremental nature means I dont like them too much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by n_freebody View Post
    The hitmates solution to grounding epee's is black magic I swear and it freaks me out.
    The solution is not very complicated (I used it in my end of course project at Uni 20 years ago), but then I had exactly the same issues on reliability on Grounding as occurs now with the Hitmates(either not grounding if bodywires are slightly high resistance or grounding on sweat patches etc when they should not).

    However they are great gadgets if you are on a budget and do not need competition standard reliability.

    We have a couple of the hitmates at R&REC which come out when club is really busy, but I still prefer the use of the normal boxes..
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  10. #10
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    You need to be careful when comparing different apparatus especially with Favero. Their cheapest remote apparatus cost 530 Euro but it is with out power or carrying case when these are added you have a price of £539 +Vat Plus Shipping. The Leon Paul price includes power supply and case with the normal club discount is £535 plus Vat and minimum if any shipping cost.

    All Leon Paul Club boxes for the last 5 years have been supplied with bright low power consumption LED bulbs.

  11. #11

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    Don't mean to be a pedant but for club boxes (which is what I was referring to), they are the cheapest. Box costs 283 (which I think includes a power cable). Cheapest box, the compound box from LP costs about 330 euro with a mains unit costing about 36 euro. Even if you add the cable for Favero, it's 42 euro which still brings it in below the LP compound box.

    IIRC, the LP compound box actually contains a bulb. For club gear that is not always treated with respect, this is really not good enough ihmo. Admittedly, the actual cases for the compound box are much more robust feeling and performing than the Favero. And yes, for the next box up, LP are cheaper.

    Not trying to start a fight, just stating what I was comparing.
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    Senior Member Barry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud ofBarry Paul has much to be proud of Barry Paul's Avatar
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    Sorry I thought we were talking about remote operated apparatuses.

    If we are talking about battery operated apparatus and our club apparatus were always meant to be battery operated and you want to compare with a Favero run on a battery you have to added to Fevero a chargeable battery and a charger the price is now 370 Euro plus P and P. say 15 Euro the total is now £330 plus vat. The Leon Paul equivalent with two batteries a club discount plus £7.5 P and P is 255.6 plus vat. (depend on the exchange rate) [

    Of course if your club only fences epee the price is nearer £224 plus Vat. http://www.fencingforum.com/forum/im...es/redface.png

    All our club boxes for the last 4 years have LED bulbs and the battery life is about 2 years normal use 2 or 3 times a week. http://www.fencingforum.com/forum/im...es/redface.png

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    As per my reference in my last but one post Favero are more expensive than they seem at first and often Leon Paul is cheaper. It is up to the customer to decide on visibility, toughness, easy of use, reliability and all over customer service.

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    Senior Member miraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud ofmiraberis has much to be proud of
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Paul View Post
    All our club boxes for the last 4 years have LED bulbs
    I have just had a look at my new one and see you speak the truth - sorry Barry! In that case I look forward to never having to replace the bulbs. :-)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Paul View Post
    As per my reference in my last but one post Favero are more expensive than they seem at first and often Leon Paul is cheaper. It is up to the customer to decide on visibility, toughness, easy of use, reliability and all over customer service.
    Maybe there was a sale or something a few years ago, because loads of them appeared in the UK?

    I still have problems with the LP battery boxes we use, we still get no lights regularly around a clash of blades/guard, much more than we should see from whipover, which is often frustrating. Anecdotal evidence of course.
    However, proving there's a bug is far too difficult and time consuming though when you have limited time available for training.

    Maybe we'll see a new generation of wireless scoring kit becoming more mainstream in the future? Has to be the direction it's heading in surely?
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  16. #16
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    Don't know how the addition of VAT Barry mentions above compares but here for example is the cost of one Favero reseller in the UK (with battery and charger) for an 01 at £308 which seems pretty comparable. Could be an explanation since as I've mentioned above I think both have merits but I don't think anyone can deny the Favero's "look" more modern, though perhaps they are less rugged especially with the stand design.

    http://www.thefencingshop.co.uk/fave...e/prod_27.html

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    Hi you seem to have omitted the p and p at £45 taking the price to £353. £100 more expensive than the Leon Paul nearest equivalent.I don't deny it not as modern looking as it was designed 30 years ago before led were thought of, but it is very portable and can be seen easily by fencers referees from all sides and from the very ends of the piste.

  18. #18

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    It's certainly better looking than this one https://sites.google.com/site/blackboxfencing/
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    The big kicker for me is not necessarily the box but *spools*. Good grief. 243 GBP per LP spool, 480 GBP a pair for what is effectively a large quantity of copper wire, a high tension spring and some brushes. I realise that most of the cost is in the wire, it's expensive stuff.

    And they weigh a ton (for good reason). Five full sets in my car, and I can hear the back end groaning.

    The sooner we find a low cost wireless replacement for a spool, the better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SensibleStu View Post
    It's certainly better looking than this one https://sites.google.com/site/blackboxfencing/
    It looks very American. Very Detriot, very industrial. I quite like it.

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