Inexpensive Buzzer Systems

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Inexpensive Buzzer Systems

Postby mps4a » Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:50 pm

I played in and ran high school and college tournaments, and I'm now teaching elementary school and trying to write a grant to start a math league for D.C.'s elementary students. I know lots of buzzer systems, but I don't really know much about the comparative costs of them. I'd like to get eight buzzer systems, but obviously, eight judges would be a bit much.

Are there any decent buzzer systems that cost less than $200? Any help would be really great. You can post here or email me. Thanks so much.
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Postby Yellow-throated Honeyeater » Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:46 pm

I've never used one, but I'm told that these are decent:
http://www.andersonbuzzersystems.com/
They are in your price range.
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Postby sweaver » Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:28 pm

I will vouch for Anderson's. They have good, low-cost systems, with simple handpads. Also good customer service in case something breaks.
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Postby ASimPerson » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:29 pm

If you're going to do those, I'd go for the Judge-style handpads over the tube button ones. Back in the day in Alabama, most systems used the latter type of button and they broke all the time.

These days, I generally recommend Judges, mostly because they are very durable and are their own case. (If you want an anecdote, when I got to GT we were still using systems that were at least 20 years old. We finally had to replace them last year.)
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Postby EagleFan » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:36 pm

Oh, no...

I've never played on Judges, but I've heard stories.
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Postby BuzzerZen » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:42 pm

The Judge may be durable, but it really is insanely irritating to use, IMHO. The buttons are designed to be foot pedals and the fact that they're all on one long cord limits how you can arrange everything. I don't really know about what's inexpensive, but there are a few Laws of Buzzer Systems to consider:

(1) Every buzzer system gradually decays; it's just a matter of how long it takes for something to malfunction.
(2) Someone at a tournament will complain about your buzzer system, no matter how much you like it.
(3) Strobe light buzzers are terrible and will make you forget your answer if you stare at them.
(4) All other things being equal, buy the system whose buzz you like the most. The Anderson buzzers, which I've used at tournaments, make that awesome diddly-iddly-oo sound.
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Postby quizbowllee » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:03 pm

I bought the Anderson Buzzers. They lasted exactly one week.

I will say, though, that (assuming you know how a switch works and how to solder wires) they are the easiest system to self-repair.
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Postby jrbarry » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:12 pm

Brookwood now has 5 Anderson systems. The one I have had for 6 years has been repaired ONCE and it cost $5 to repair it. One is new and the other three have never needed any repairs. They are the most dependable systems I have ever owned, bar none. ACE owns 10 of them and all 10 have been great. Of course any buzzer system can be preserved as players treat the buzzers with respect and don't try to twirl them or bang down on them.

I cannot imagine why anyone pays a fortune to buy buzzers when you can get an Anderson's for less than $200.
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Postby Matthew D » Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:45 pm

Personally, I have 2 of the judge systems and my bunch like them more that the hand-held type
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Postby jrbarry » Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:10 pm

We do not have any hand-held buzzer systems. My personal philosophy is that the more attachments a buzzer system has, the more problems it will have in terms of repair.
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Postby quizbowllee » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:14 pm

jrbarry wrote:Brookwood now has 5 Anderson systems. The one I have had for 6 years has been repaired ONCE and it cost $5 to repair it. One is new and the other three have never needed any repairs. They are the most dependable systems I have ever owned, bar none. ACE owns 10 of them and all 10 have been great. Of course any buzzer system can be preserved as players treat the buzzers with respect and don't try to twirl them or bang down on them.

I cannot imagine why anyone pays a fortune to buy buzzers when you can get an Anderson's for less than $200.


WOW! Maybe I just got a dud. I'll give them another try. Of course, my twerps... err... I mean students, are notorious for bending the cords, dropping the buzzers, etc.
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Postby sabine01 » Sun Jun 25, 2006 8:26 pm

EagleFan wrote:Oh, no...

I've never played on Judges, but I've heard stories.


Pretty hardy, but not totally indestructible. I've personally broken a pedal (and I'm not exactly violent).

GW's old judge system doesn't lock out anymore either... (Not from the same incident).

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Postby mhanna » Sun Jul 02, 2006 3:11 am

We paid over $700 for our Zee-Craft showtime system for 16 players. We sent it back for repair once, but we can only play 8=maybe. The wiring is extremely delicate. The twisting of the wires through use, bulbs going out and clips constantly breaking make the unit more of a nuisance than fun to use. The Anderson unit has been sturdy and durable. I think that we have about $200 in it. JR probably owns stock in the company, but he turned us on to a good thing.

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Postby mps4a » Sun Jul 02, 2006 1:34 pm

It seems like Anderson is the system to go with in terms of expense. I played with the judge in college, and I like them, but in terms of cost, transportation, and ease of use (my competitors will be 9 or 10 years old), I don't think I'll go with them for this. Thanks very much for all the help.
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Postby rchschem » Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:58 pm

Still love the Novel Electronic Designs kits (buzzersystems.com). RCHS owns three and they work great. After three years of banging away the wiring on some of the handlhelds got hinky and we had to send back several for repair. That can be a little pricey, but as long as the kiddies aren't mashing the buttons against tabletops or winding the cords around the handsets, they're pretty resilient.

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Postby Zip Zap Rap Pants » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:38 pm

Another thing about the judge is a couple times in my quizbowl experience on really close buzzer races the little yellow light in the middle would activate or lights on both sides would come on, basically making the tossup an indistinguishable tie. This happened in the Cav Open III final, and the tossup that was subsequently thrown out and replaced probably won the game for MLW A. The judge pedals are kind of awkward on the system, but I've seen individual pedal buzzers used on the Officiator and those seem to work pretty well; it's the thick cable attaching the pedals that I have a problem with. By the way, has anybody ever actually used their feet on the judge system?
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Postby Matthew D » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:53 pm

The light in the middle was more than likely activated by the moderator... I can't tell you the number of times in practice I have accidently hit that timer button. As for the double light up, I have had this happen only 2 time, once in a match. But on other systems I have had this happen also..
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Postby First Chairman » Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:56 pm

Pictures of the Anderson system? Anyone have pictures?
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Postby jbarnes112358 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:32 pm

E.T. Chuck wrote:Pictures of the Anderson system? Anyone have pictures?


ReinsteinD had this link to pictures:

http://www.andersonbuzzersystems.com/
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Postby NotBhan » Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:41 pm

E.T. Chuck wrote:Pictures of the Anderson system? Anyone have pictures?


The link to the Anderson site near the top of this thread shows Anderson buzzers. Seems like a good deal if they aren't complete pieces of garbage -- I've only used them a few times, and they worked OK in my limited experience.

More importantly, to the guy who started this thread, Anderson seems like the way to go if you need to get 8 or 9 buzzer systems for a total of under $2K. If the process is centralized, you (mps4a) could probably order an extra set and save it for parts -- even if you're buying the carrying cases, that would still only be just over $1,600 total. You should probably tell the schools to be careful not to lose the small central box in the set, since it's easy to misplace.
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Postby Matt Weiner » Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:02 pm

The SVBZ buzzers http://www.svbz.com/catalog.html have made some appearances at recent college events and seem to work fine, though I can't speak to their long-term durability since they just popped up in the past year.
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