Buzzer

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Buzzer

Post by QOHS » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:00 am

Our principal gave us a budget of 500 to get a new buzzer system. We currently have a VERY old Zeecraft. We like that it's easy to set up and use, the different colored lights, different tones, etc. Everything we want except it's falling apart. Was going to just purchase a new version of the same thing, but I thought maybe some folks may have other suggestions? I'm pretty new at this, so I don't know much about buzzers other than the one we have. Any help/suggestion would be appreciated!

Thanks!
Rev. Joshua M. Schuman
Quince Orchard High School
Gaithersburg, Maryland

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Re: Buzzer

Post by jonah » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:04 am

You can find a list of buzzer system vendors, along with sample pictures, here. My personal endorsement goes to any of the "standard" systems from BuzzerSystems.com.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:16 am

I will highly endorse the Anderson Officiator system and almost as highly endorse the SVBZ. Both are relatively cheap (well under the budget you say you have to buy a buzzer with) and they hold up better than the QuikPro system. The SVBZ will not have the different sounds and colors, but is dirt cheap and has a good warranty.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:50 am

Frater Taciturnus wrote:I will highly endorse the Anderson Officiator system and almost as highly endorse the SVBZ. Both are relatively cheap (well under the budget you say you have to buy a buzzer with) and they hold up better than the QuikPro system. The SVBZ will not have the different sounds and colors, but is dirt cheap and has a good warranty.
Buy the Anderson (which is great and super reliable), don't buy the SVBZ. SVBZ's are terrible and unreliable and in my opinion should never be allowed to be used at tournaments. You'll be spending $20 every 3 months to ship the thing back to fix it.
Mike Bentley
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:51 am

Frater Taciturnus wrote:The SVBZ will not have the different sounds and colors, but is dirt cheap and has a good warranty.
I can endorse this statement. Ours do seem to go on the fritz occasionally, but the company will fix anything and everything about the system if you just send it their way for absolutely no charge. Usually, they are reliable, and easy to set up and pack up.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Joe Romersa » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:49 pm

Everyone says the Anderson is great and reliable, but we've gotten 2, and both of them have sticky clear buttons. Are we the only team that has this problem?
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:37 pm

Joe Romersa wrote:Everyone says the Anderson is great and reliable, but we've gotten 2, and both of them have sticky clear buttons. Are we the only team that has this problem?
One of the three I own does have this occassionally.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:47 pm

I endorse the Anderson as well. Grayson County has one that is over a decade old and still works fine. It would work even better if we had treated it better over the years.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:22 pm

I don't know if they're still made, but both UBC and SFU had Shelty buzzers and, with the exception of one button on SFU's that pops off if you fiddle with it too much, they're both in good working order (or were the last time I saw them), and the clubs got them more than 6 years ago.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:20 pm

In about the last five games I have been in the room with Mike Sorice playing on an Anderson buzzer system, his buzzer has gotten stuck at least once. It's not to hard to get it unstuck, but it is a bit annoying.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:45 pm

The Zeecraft Challenger we have isn't bad, and is easy to fix, although our coach is an electrician.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by QOHS » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:46 am

Thanks for the input everyone. We were going to get an andersen a while back, but now that our budget is expanded, we didn't know if we could get something a little better. Something with different colors/tones is important. Also we like that the zeecraft we have is so easy to set up. Each buzzer goes right into the main console and that's it. No daisy-chains (pardon the expression) and no extra wires or pieces.
Rev. Joshua M. Schuman
Quince Orchard High School
Gaithersburg, Maryland

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Re: Buzzer

Post by Captain Sinico » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:23 pm

List of ferry operators in Japan wrote:In about the last five games I have been in the room with Mike Sorice playing on an Anderson buzzer system, his buzzer has gotten stuck at least once. It's not to hard to get it unstuck, but it is a bit annoying.
Yeah, that happened to me three or four times. I guess they're not so good if you have players who press the button hard.

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Re: Buzzer

Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:34 pm

QOHS wrote:Thanks for the input everyone. We were going to get an andersen a while back, but now that our budget is expanded, we didn't know if we could get something a little better. Something with different colors/tones is important. Also we like that the zeecraft we have is so easy to set up. Each buzzer goes right into the main console and that's it. No daisy-chains (pardon the expression) and no extra wires or pieces.
I wouldn't characterize the Zeecraft as being especially easy to setup. You need to spend 4 times the time unwraping and plugging in each individual Zeecraft wire compared to a daisy chain system.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by kayli » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:04 pm

The Tournament Master is my favorite. The handles don't have awkward grips for rather large manly hands (which I do not have), and they're pretty idiot proof to use. Also, they use standard telephone connector cords.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:13 pm

The no-longer-extant Quizamatic was the greatest buzzer in the history of buzzers.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:16 pm

grapesmoker wrote:The no-longer-extant Quizamatic was the greatest buzzer in the history of buzzers.
Pictures?

I've played on a buzzer set that fit into a good-sized suitcase, and quacked. The individual buzzers had bases that were made of WOOD. It had to be older than me.

For good buzzers, I'd go with Anderson or the boxcars. Avoid the Quiz Wizard II at all costs.

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Re: Buzzer

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:27 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:The no-longer-extant Quizamatic was the greatest buzzer in the history of buzzers.
Pictures?
There may be some on the Berkeley quizbowl website.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Edward Elric » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:47 pm

dtaylor4 wrote: I've played on a buzzer set that fit into a good-sized suitcase, and quacked. The individual buzzers had bases that were made of WOOD. It had to be older than me.
I too have played on the quacking buzzer set. The one I got used to throughout my high school career was The Tournament Master by Buzzer Systems but my only complaint for that set was that the connector cables tended to break pretty frequently. Quik Pro tended to annoy me with the squeaking sounds but they were fairly easy to use, unlike this old one I once used that required me to slam it because it had the button on the bottom of the block (Not Slammer Systems).
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:18 pm

Springfield Grade Road wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote: I've played on a buzzer set that fit into a good-sized suitcase, and quacked. The individual buzzers had bases that were made of WOOD. It had to be older than me.
I too have played on the quacking buzzer set.
Me too, in like middle school. I vaguely recall my teammates trying really hard not to burst out laughing at it.

Just for the love of God don't get a set with flashing strobe lights. There was one like that at varsity state my sophomore year, and I had a headache the rest of the night after playing on it. Obviously it's hard to tell if it was just correlation, but the next day I made sure to sit out our other round in that room and sit facing away from the players.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by the return of AHAN » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:54 am

List of wrestling-based comic books wrote: Just for the love of God don't get a set with flashing strobe lights.
This I won't take my team to play at Twin Groves (Buffalo Grove, IL) ever again as a direct result of this system, until I have confirmation it has been destroyed. The high-pitched whine that accompanies the strobing effect, well, that just seals it.


EDIT: On another note... Is SVBZ any good? I see their product sells for $250 for a 10-player set-up. That's awfully cheap.
Last edited by the return of AHAN on Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by dtaylor4 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:58 am

Moving Day wrote:
List of wrestling-based comic books wrote: Just for the love of God don't get a set with flashing strobe lights.
This I won't take my team to play at Twin Groves (Buffalo Grove, IL) ever again as a direct result of this system, until I have confirmation it has been destroyed. The high-pitched whine that accompanies the strobing effect, well, that just seals it.
For the love of quizbowl, avoid Quik Pro at all costs.

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Re: Buzzer

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:06 am

Moving Day wrote:
List of wrestling-based comic books wrote: Just for the love of God don't get a set with flashing strobe lights.
This I won't take my team to play at Twin Groves (Buffalo Grove, IL) ever again as a direct result of this system, until I have confirmation it has been destroyed. The high-pitched whine that accompanies the strobing effect, well, that just seals it.
Yes, that very system.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by the return of AHAN » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:11 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
Moving Day wrote:
List of wrestling-based comic books wrote: Just for the love of God don't get a set with flashing strobe lights.
This I won't take my team to play at Twin Groves (Buffalo Grove, IL) ever again as a direct result of this system, until I have confirmation it has been destroyed. The high-pitched whine that accompanies the strobing effect, well, that just seals it.
For the love of quizbowl, avoid Quik Pro at all costs.
I have no issues with their non-strobing version. Zeecraft, OTOH, is very expensive and easily broken or in need of service. I also hate the built-in timer display as, in 13 years of doing this, I've discovered it SLOWS DOWN a match. Students who have no clue on a hard toss-up will buzz with random, silly answers when they can see time is about to run out. Thus causing a further delay as the opposition gets an appropriate amount of time (3 seconds in Illinois) to rebound with an equally silly answer.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:55 am

Get The Judge!
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Re: Buzzer

Post by kayli » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:10 pm

This Name Forever wrote:Get The Judge!
I'm sorry. I just can't stand the sewing machine pedal buzzer thing. Maybe if we used our feet to buzz it would be more viable.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by lchen » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:18 pm

Moving Day wrote: EDIT: On another note... Is SVBZ any good? I see their product sells for $250 for a 10-player set-up. That's awfully cheap.
We have those buzzers. At first they were not very reliable, with a tendency to short out a lot, but then the company took them back and inserted a piece of foam inside each unit to keep the wires from twisting. Since then they haven't malfunctioned. I like these buzzers a lot because they have the light and the buzzer in the same box, which makes them a lot simpler to set up and use. The only possible downside is that they come with unnecessarily long wires, so it helps to have something to wrap them around, otherwise they just get really tangled.

It looks like SVBZ is closed to orders for now, though.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:24 pm

lchen wrote:
Moving Day wrote: EDIT: On another note... Is SVBZ any good? I see their product sells for $250 for a 10-player set-up. That's awfully cheap.
We have those buzzers. At first they were not very reliable, with a tendency to short out a lot, but then the company took them back and inserted a piece of foam inside each unit to keep the wires from twisting. Since then they haven't malfunctioned. I like these buzzers a lot because they have the light and the buzzer in the same box, which makes them a lot simpler to set up and use. The only possible downside is that they come with unnecessarily long wires, so it helps to have something to wrap them around, otherwise they just get really tangled.
The Anderson continues to be cheaper and has the buzzer-light feature that you describe.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:57 pm

I do like the Anderson buzzers and other than them having tiny buttons to push (for both the moderator and teams), they might be the best out there. Their price is probably unbeatable. When we get sick of our SVBZ sets (it's coming soon), we'll eventually invest in these.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:34 pm

Let me just reiterate that you should not ever purchase a Judge or SVBZ.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by the return of AHAN » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:57 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Let me just reiterate that you should not ever purchase a .... SVBZ.
Prompt?
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Re: Buzzer

Post by dxdtdemon » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:50 pm

When I played THUNDER and Trashtastrophe in October, some school (possibly Youngstown State) brought a buzzer system where lights lit up inside a translucent plastic box (I think it was fluorescent purple for one team and fluorescent yellow for the other although there were different lights inside each box for each player) and each player had a typical joystick-like buzzing mechanism that just connected to the box with a not-too-long wire. It was said that this system may cost as little as $150. Has anyone else ever seen this before, and know who makes it?
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Joe Romersa » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:38 pm

quantumfootball wrote:When I played THUNDER and Trashtastrophe in October, some school (possibly Youngstown State) brought a buzzer system where lights lit up inside a translucent plastic box (I think it was fluorescent purple for one team and fluorescent yellow for the other although there were different lights inside each box for each player) and each player had a typical joystick-like buzzing mechanism that just connected to the box with a not-too-long wire. It was said that this system may cost as little as $150. Has anyone else ever seen this before, and know who makes it?
was it this one?
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Re: Buzzer

Post by dxdtdemon » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:51 pm

I thought that each component plugged into the central box, but maybe I'm mistaken. It was just interesting that there was a buzzer that I hadn't seen before.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by limehouse » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:33 pm

We have two Andersons: a handheld and a tabletop. Go for the tabletop. We had some issues with the buttons on the handhelds and replaced more than half of them. But the tabletop has been flawless and like everyone else has said, you can't beat the price.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:34 pm

I've got three different buzzer sets that we use at Hoover. We have a Judge, which has proven to be extremely reliable and which is LOTS of fun to take through airport security, especially if you like those impersonal pat-downs. Since purchasing the unit seven years ago, however, I've only had to have it repaired once, and that was because the weight of the individual buzz-pads stretched the wiring out of the protective mesh after a while. The company was very quick in making repairs, and it ended up costing me more to ship the unit than the actual cost of the refit ran me. It has gotten a little tempermental at start-up in the last year or so, and sometimes requires us to plug, unplug, and replug several times before it clears and is ready to go, but for the money, it's a great little practice system, and I'd particularly recommend it for a middle school team that might abuse expensive equipment.

We also own two of the Quik-Pro systems, and I disagree with people who think it's a lousy system. Yes, the strobe light version is evil, but the standard system is quite reasonably priced, reliable, and has a big advantage--the part that usually goes bad, the cable connectors, can be self-repaired with a standard modular telephone cable crimper ($15 at Home Depot). Now, I have to admit that I'm a little biased on these, because the place that makes the systems is about 40 minutes away from our school, making repair very easy, but both of our systems are over 10 years old now, and I've only had to do a full recondition on them once each, plus one cable replacement. I've also found that, unlike many system designers, the folks at Quik Pro are actually pretty receptive to outside comments and suggestions on how to improve their product. I've suggested that they sell some sort of "cable wheel" system to help with cord management, and they're looking into it. You can also call them and ask if they have any "scratch and dent" units at the moment, which they'll sell you at a serious discount.

After expanding our team significantly over the last few years, we finally jumped in and bought a high-end system as well-- a Novel Electronics Design/BuzzerSystems deluxe model for 20 players/4 teams. I love this system--it has a great warranty, the equipment is comfortable, it is easy to set up, and very durable. It was also the buzzer equivalent of buying a Mercedes, so if you've got a Hyundai budget, stay away. If you've got the cash, though, it's great to be able to have 20 kids at once on buzzers.

Personally, I don't like buzzer systems that have the pushbutton/light box combination, largely because I prefer to have a larger light that the player's hand doesn't obscure when buzzing. That's just me.

Good luck!
Joshua Rutsky
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:28 am

Judges are fine. They're fairly rugged and very easy to set up, take down, and transport. People who get hung up about what kind of switches a system uses are few, far between, and probably should be purposefully antagonized for pleasure.

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Re: Buzzer

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:31 am

You haven't truly played quizbowl until you've played a mock game of quizbowl to convince a skeptical TSA agent that the Judge you're trying to get through airport security is, in fact, a buzzer system and not something rather more nefarious.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Dan-Don » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:30 am

The http://www.quizsystems.com/ buzzers can tie. They also break easily.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Carolus Magnus » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:23 pm

Joshua Rutsky wrote: We also own two of the Quik-Pro systems, and I disagree with people who think it's a lousy system. Yes, the strobe light version is evil, but the standard system is quite reasonably priced, reliable, and has a big advantage--the part that usually goes bad, the cable connectors, can be self-repaired with a standard modular telephone cable crimper ($15 at Home Depot). Both of our systems are over 10 years old now, and I've only had to do a full recondition on them once each, plus one cable replacement. I've also found that, unlike many system designers, the folks at Quik Pro are actually pretty receptive to outside comments and suggestions on how to improve their product. I've suggested that they sell some sort of "cable wheel" system to help with cord management, and they're looking into it. You can also call them and ask if they have any "scratch and dent" units at the moment, which they'll sell you at a serious discount.
I'm going to support this statement, despite the fact that I may seem biased due to playing every one of my VHSL matches with a Quik-Pro. I just feel like the Quik-Pro systems are more responsive, comfortable in the hand, and don't go off randomly when I caress the button with my thumb (bad experience with a Tournament Master system).
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Re: Buzzer

Post by ryandillon » Sun May 02, 2010 2:15 pm

I know this is a little late but one of my favorite buzzers we have is "The Judge". By far the most durable and easy to set up piece of equipment. It's got 4 or 5 pedals (Depending on which one you buy) that have never to my knowledge broken, they're already attached to the system, meaning hardly any take down or set up time, and the lights are big and easy to see.

just a thought.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun May 02, 2010 2:48 pm

ryandillon wrote:I know this is a little late but one of my favorite buzzers we have is "The Judge". By far the most durable and easy to set up piece of equipment. It's got 4 or 5 pedals (Depending on which one you buy) that have never to my knowledge broken, they're already attached to the system, meaning hardly any take down or set up time, and the lights are big and easy to see.

just a thought.
Judges break, just ask the circuit teams that own one.

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Re: Buzzer

Post by Golran » Sun May 02, 2010 6:15 pm

Yeah... one of ours has one paddle that stopped working, and it fell out of the box completely... But the electronics still work as a circuit board on the table, but the LEDs are probably going to tear off each buzzer soon.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Sun May 02, 2010 7:07 pm

I will definitely back the Quik Pro systems. These are the only systems we have at Chipola and the joystick-like buzzing apparatus is nearly indestructible (we have a player with anger issues who slams his buzzer down every time he gets outbuzzed on an answer space he knows at the end). The only problem we have had with these are the wires that run from the signal light to the control box, and because they are individual buzzers, it is easy to isolate and figure out which buzzer is broken, and that simply requires a telephone jack clip and a crimper (our coach takes them wires to a friend who works for the telephone company). Each side has a different buzzer sound and the fact that the indicator light is directly in front of the player avoids those moments where you don't know who buzzed in or the wrong person answers because he thinks he/she buzzed in.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Captain Sinico » Sun May 02, 2010 9:38 pm

Actually, Ryan's right in that the heavy-duty pedal-type switches on the Judge almost never break, including on ours. Other parts of the Judge sometimes do break, of course, and they're a pain to repair/have repaired, though. I still think it's a great system due to portability, easy of setup/use, and comparative ruggedness, but it's not necessarily suited for every use. Really, that's what everything boils down to: you should decide what you want to use your system for and what you want to pay and only given those things can you make an optimal choice.

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Re: Buzzer

Post by realkyhick » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:11 am

Allow me to give some experience from a different type of quizzing: Bible Quiz.

The Judge was reportedly designed for Bible Quiz, and has been around forever. Many people in BQ swear by these systems. Others, myself included, swear at them (or at least as much as our beliefs allow us to swear). Setup is easy, and the foot-pedal pads last forever, which is why that other systems used in Assemblies of God Bible Quiz almost always use these pedals as the default actuators -- The Judge had them first. Most AG quizzers have never used anything else, and would probably have a hard time adjusting to a hand-held pushbutton. More's the pity.

The Judge, however, is ancient technology -- you can still find some in use with discrete transistor technology. They also break easily, and will have ties on rare occasions. I can't recommend them. And yes, we've had the TSA issues as well with those.

In AG Bible Quiz, boxes made my QuizEquipment.com are nearly the de facto standard. We usually call them Kirkman boxes, after the company proprietor. There's a version made especially for our game with built-in timing functions, but they make numerous other systems. They are rugged, reliable, and never result in a tie that I've ever seen. You can get them with pedals or with pushbuttons. The QuizCube system is a good all-around system. Highly recommended.

I've personally used the Anderson systems as well, and liked them a lot.

(Any Quiz Bowl types out there who have also done Bible Quiz? Just curious.)

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Re: Buzzer

Post by Gene Moore » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:28 pm

My vote goes to "Slam-In", by Slammer Systems, http://www.slammersystems.com/.
This will make our fourth season using their WIRELESS system. No wires or connections to break and nothing to trip over. After 20 years of stretching and taping down cords for tournaments, I've never been so happy. We own five of these systems with no problems - ever!

The software is extremely customizable, fits many question and timing formats, and has a variety of alert sounds that can be replaced with any .wav file you'd like. The very small program that resides on your laptop or netbook operates with just several quick keystrokes. It can be operated by an assistant or the moderator himself.

The program keeps score and the bright and attractive scoreboard can be projected throughout the tournament. But the pièce de rèsistance is the "slammer" itself. It is nearly indestructible. The reps. literally invite kids to slam on them (hence the name). For the financially challenged teams there is a cheaper semi-wireless version.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by the return of AHAN » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:32 pm

Gene Moore wrote:My vote goes to "Slam-In", by Slammer Systems, http://www.slammersystems.com/.
As used in one of the rooms at the 2010 IESA Sectional Championship tournament at Barrington Middle School Station Campus. The only real "issue" I saw was when a kid set off his buzzer (EARLY in the TU) when he was placing his hand on it, thinking he he'd push down all the way when he was ready to buzz. :oops:
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Re: Buzzer

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:06 pm

I'm bumping this thread, because we're buying a buzzer system. Right now I'm thinking Anderson (and I guess from one person's put I want the table-top). Convince me otherwise.
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Re: Buzzer

Post by dtaylor4 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:29 pm

nalin wrote:I'm bumping this thread, because we're buying a buzzer system. Right now I'm thinking Anderson (and I guess from one person's put I want the table-top). Convince me otherwise.
Go for the one with the five cords into the team unit which goes into the main unit. Two words: interchangeable parts. If one unit goes bad in the daisy chain, you may have to replace the entire chain. Spare parts for the other are not that expensive.

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