Buzzer Systems

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quiz4life
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Buzzer Systems

Post by quiz4life »

Hi All,
My school is going to buy, and soon, one or even two new buzzer systems. I would like to hear from players and coaches on what you suggest and do not suggest for systems. This includes questions such as; which brand names, hand-held or table-top, with wires or wireless.
Thanks,
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Post by zwtipp »

Zeecraft is very good. My favorite. Stay far far away from The Judge.

Matt, is there any way we could just dredge up all the old "buzzer system" threads and put them all into a sticky so we don't get millions of threads like this?
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Post by Tegan »

http://www.buzzersystems.com

I have not been a huge fan of Zeecraft, not due to quality (I think the quality is pretty good, though the rat's nest of wiring drives me up the wall sometimes), but when I used them in competition, and my players use them, they tend not to be as comfortable.

Buzzersystems has been a really reliable company for us. My team prefers using their system, and you could probably drop it out a window on to concrete and play a match on it afterwards. When replacement parts are needed, they are relatively inexpensive, and in some cases can be obtained at the local RadioShack. Once every few years you can send it back and for a few bucks they perform a maintenance check on the whole system. In addition, it is relatively easy to expand, if you ever want to practice with more than four people to a side.

In addition, while I am not certain what other companies offer, BuzzerSystems offers a 15 day return policy, and a 5 year warranty on the major parts.
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Post by mf_2 »

I have been playing Quizbowl for one year and we used the Judge. From what I heard it's fairly inexpensive. You don't have to wire anything either because it's hardwired. Sometimes, you have the problem that the wires are a little too short. I guess you get what you pay for. But still it's a nice system. However, I'm not too certain about it's durability, since I only used it the first year we had it ( was a brand new system ). So it might fall to pieces after two years or so, I really don't know.
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Post by David Riley »

I'll second Mr. Egan's comments, and add that their service is always fast. We have nine of their systems and have never had a problem with them.
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Post by quizbowllee »

I've used literally dozens of different systems. My favorite is The Judge. It's very rugged and durable. Also, I like the design of the Quick Pro (http://www.patrickspress.com/buzzers1.htm), however the workmanship on them is terrible. They can and will break fairly soon. If they could improve the wiring on them, they'd be my favorite.

These are really the only two systems that I like. But, I am intrigued by the ones Mr. Egan suggested from buzzersystems.com. My team used some of these sets at the NAQT tournament in Chicago, and they seemed to like them.

Anyway, my opinion is that right now, The Judge is the best.
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Post by First Chairman »

I am also wondering if anyone has ever had experienced with the following buzzer system.

http://buzzers.com/10_player_buzzer_system.htm

Otherwise, I also really like the Logitech system, which can be purchased through the Great Auk (Knowledge Master Open) folks.

Yes, I also really like the Judge because of its portability and durability. The "timer" button is completely useless to me, but it works extremely well.
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Post by prewitt81 »

We have a Zeecraft, but for something quick, easy, inexpensive, and durable, check out Anderson Buzzer Systems:

http://www.andersonbuzzersystems.com/

The basic system (10 players) with a case is $185. We bought one and we really enjoy it.
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Buzzersystems.com

Post by pblessman »

I agree with Tom Egan and David Riley: Buzzersystems.com is the most cost effective supplier of quality systems I know of. Some systems are cheaper, but most I have seen compromise in the areas of quality by being either unreliable or incredibly annoying to use. The final thing that sets apart buzzersystems.com is their service: They are super-friendly, always act incredibly quickly, and have an excellent warranty.
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Post by Ben Dillon »

I've always been fond of Specialty Design Corporation (http://www.specialtydesigncorp.com). More on the expensive side, I think, but I prefer the omnidirectional lights and handheld buttons to the unidirectional (is that a word?) lights and buttons-built-into-boxes.
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Post by dtaylor4 »

I played both, and it doesn't really matter, but I am of the opinion that the Judge needs to be brought back.
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Post by steven-lamp »

We used Quik Pro at LAMP, and they weren't very reliable at all. A lot of the cords stop functioning and the box has issues frequently.
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Post by quizbowllee »

steven-lamp wrote:We used Quik Pro at LAMP, and they weren't very reliable at all. A lot of the cords stop functioning and the box has issues frequently.
Ben Dillon wrote:I've always been fond of Specialty Design Corporation (http://www.specialtydesigncorp.com). More on the expensive side, I think, but I prefer the omnidirectional lights and handheld buttons to the unidirectional (is that a word?) lights and buttons-built-into-boxes.
Yeah - these are the ones I was talking about. The design, in my opinion, is by far the best. The problem lies in the shoddy craftsmanship and thin wiring. The wires break constantly. If they would make this same design, but just put in a little more effort on the production, then this would be, hands down, the best system on the market.
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Post by fluffy4102 »

The Judge is basically the best I've seen. While Zeecraft is dependable, the Judge has a better "feel" to it, but it presents some disadvantages when you consider the wire length.
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Post by insaneindian »

zwtipp wrote:Stay far far away from The Judge
i must be missing something. :eyebrow:
the judge is pretty good. the only problems weve encountered with our two judges is one of the buzzers not working, but i think if we opened up the buzzer, we could fix it easily, cuz i can usually fix it by just moving the wire around.
anyway, i think some kid tripped over the wire one day and it broke, so we sent it in and they fixed it for free i think. before the judge we used those buzzers that have red and blue (hook to the main box via cables like phone wires). they were horrible and broke all the time. i hope i was clear enough.

edit- also, if there are only 1 or 2 teams, or if there arent a lot of members, the judge would probably be better. it has 10 buzzers
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Post by quiz4life »

Many thanks for all those who have posted an answer to my questions about buzzer systems. I will review those systems that were suggested. Please continue to send more posts.

Matt, I agree with an early post, can you make old buzzer system threads available? Maybe a FAQ section could be added to your site. A list of all the websites/suggestions for quiz material, study books, buzzers, etc. This site of your seems to be growing and has become increasingly more valuable to many quiz people.

Now back to my questions which were not answered, hand-held or table-top buzzers? Has anyone used a wireless system? What about Quizco buzzers from ID? That is the system the school presently has.

I have used Zeecraft and find them just fine. We used the Judge twice at NAQT, the team and I found it not a very good system.

Mr. Barry would chime in on this one?
Thanks,
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Post by Trevkeeper »

First of all, I think you asked this question in your initial post, so here's an answer:

Handheld>>>>>>>table top or whatever they are. Hand held is so much easier, I find table top kind of awkward to ring in on.

Anyways, my favorite system are, as Mr. Egan, Mr. Riley, and Mr. Blessman have also said, the BuzzerSystems one. I used them at a lot of tournaments, and they were quite good. Not a lot of wires all over the place (unlike our last one, which was a maze of wires), and they work well (and they are hald held!).
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Post by msuter »

Spotswood has several Qwik Pro sets--a couple of the older style with the hand grip with a push-button on the end and individual dome lights and one with the smaller round lights with the push button on top of the light. The kids like the round ones, which seemed to hold up better than the old dome lights, especially if they get knocked off the desks. The dome lights were about $40 each to replace, mostly due to the plastic covers cracking (inevitably someone would knock one of the new ones onto the floor and crack or break it the first time we used it), and we had quite a problem with the phone-type clips breaking off so that we'd often have to tape the wire into the light base. I believe a full four-cord replacement cord set for the older style was well over $100. They are comfortable to use but don't hold up well with heavy use. One thing that helps is to tape the wires running to the dome lights to the desk or table top.

The round Qwik Pro's are directly wired into the base so there are no clips to break. The biggest problem with the round ones is in kids moving the units around in their hands so that you can't see their lights when they buzz (I know there are numbers on the control box but I prefer to look for the light when I'm reading.)

We also have at least four sets of bar buzzers from the Able 2 Company in Cass, Missouri, I believe. They have two dome lights and two very sturdy handle-bar buzzers wired with heavy cords per bar (you can order red, blue, green and orange lights). Each end bar in a set has a buzzer in it. You would need to order their 3-4 foot extension connectors (which were just a few dollars) to give you more distance between buzzers and especially for the distance between teams. One advantage of these buzzers is that they are quite sturdy and you can daisy chain both the buzzers and the extensions--we've had up to 10 bars (for 20 people) hooked up for practice. One disadvantage is that there's no control box to clear them so you will have to wait 3-5 seconds for the light to go off before someone else can buzz in. The only part of the set we ever had to replace is the special electrical adapter, which cost about $30 then, and I returned two bars for wiring repair once, which cost $95. We often loaned these to classroom teachers for Jeopardy-style quiz review for their classes--this also gave kids not in quiz bowl a little idea of what it is like.

I just checked my records and in 1997-98, the last year we purchased Able buzzers, we bought a set for 10 players with 1 buzzer bar, four other bars, and extension connectors for $374. A couple of years later I bought some extra bars which were $88 each. These are all still working fine and are used almost exclusively for practice.

We don't have the Judge but have used it. I'd say they are the sturdiest buzzers out there, but the cords are often too short to reach from the reader's position to players' desks and the suitcase control has to be positioned for the reader to see the lights, which are rather small. Also, the sewing machine type foot pedal that players have to push (which will hold up to lots of pounding and abuse) is often unmanageable by handicapped players--especially if they have very weak hand strength.
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Post by mf_2 »

About the 'tabletop' or 'handheld' issue: You can use the Judge both ways. Most of us just sat their buzzer on the table and then pushed it whenever they wanted to buzz in ( tabletop ) but a few people, especially Andy ( I think it was him ) liked to hold their buzzers with their hands and then push it ( handheld ).
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Post by Trevkeeper »

You can call that handheld, but it's really awkward. I consider handheld the things that are actually meant to be handheld, the cylindrical ones with a button on top.
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Post by alkrav112 »

I hold with those who favor handheld. Despite its sturdiness, the sheer unwieldiness (I like making up words) of the Judge lowers it on my list of likeable buzzers. My favorites as of yet are the Zeecrafts, while I grew up on Qwik Pro - but I admit, the Qwik Pro are liable to malfunctioning/downright breaking. I hear there's a set called SVBZ (or something to that effect) that are inexpensive, but I've never actually used them, so I'm in no position to comment on them.

Good luck!
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Post by zwtipp »

I hate The Judge. It is unwieldly as someone previously mentioned. It's cord doesn't reach far. THe timer function is never really used. And finally, we once got 5 buzzers to light up at once on a judge system.

I don't really like the quikpro buzzers for a couple of reasons. THey seem to break fairly easily. The handles are pretty small. They're timer is fairly akward to use. Finally, the buzzing sounds are the most annoying sounds in the world.

I prefer zeecraft.

It's easy to setup. Failrly popular, so if you ever havee a problem with a light not working or some other issue with one of the individual pieces, you cna swap out another team's buzzer. You can get a timer that has all the different times you'll need on it. It has a countdown on front so the teams know how much time is left. The lights are easy to replace. Good grips for handheld buzzer. You can get a variety of response boxes so that everyone is pleased. Everyone gets their own cord so there is no issue with having not enough reach from one buzzer to another.

In my four years (and counting) of experience, I've found the zeecraft to be the best system out there.
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Post by Tegan »

When I played at the college level, they had a "Judge". I liked it because you could get very good at pressing down on the pedal just enuogh before setting it off. It probably didn't give an advantage, but I guess we thought it did. As mentioned, the cords were never long enough.

The problem was when we went to tournaments, we were not as well versed at using hte more common pushbuttons. They became a bit awkward, and they really shouldn't have been. My high school players prefer the handheld pushbuttons because that is what they practice on, and that is what they most commonly find at competitions (at least in these parts). I suppose table top models were more common, I would be tempted.

One thing I will say as a coach about the tabletop buzzers: everytime I see one, they look pretty beat up. I think this is because you have a lot of players slamming their hand on them. I can't remember hte last time I saw a set that was in perfect working order (didn't need lightbulbs or box replacement). On the other hand, the frustrated player has been known to slam a handheld pushbutton, though I think that is far less common as players tend to respect the equipment as a whole.
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Post by Thompson »

I am not going to suggest any particular brand name. I am going to tell you one thing and one thing only:

HAND HELD!!!

Seriously. Those idiot desk-sitting things are annoying and not as fast for buzzes (in my personal experience).
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Post by Snoopy17 »

E.T. Chuck wrote:I am also wondering if anyone has ever had experienced with the following buzzer system.

http://buzzers.com/10_player_buzzer_system.htm

Otherwise, I also really like the Logitech system, which can be purchased through the Great Auk (Knowledge Master Open) folks.

Yes, I also really like the Judge because of its portability and durability. The "timer" button is completely useless to me, but it works extremely well.
Virginia Tech's Academic Competition Organization purchased these buzzers over the summer and have thus far took them to UTC's NAQT mirror and used them in practice since the start of the semester. The reasons that, as President of VT-ACO I chose this buzzer system, are as follows: 1. However much I love to play on the Judge I know that in practice I will probably slam it too hard and have to fix it, because I love to slam the Judge. 2. These buzzers were on sale when we purchased them. 3. They are handheld cylinders w/ buttons on top with the cord wired to the base of the cylinder. 4. The buzzers have long cords so that everyone can sit comfortably around the system. 5. The cords hook simply in w/ a phone type cable to the light and clearing system. 6. If something happens to the buzzers a replacement buzzer is relatively cheap, 25 dollars. Drawbacks of the buzzers.com system 1. Light and buzzer are not combined like w/ the Judge. 2. The light is small. Beyond these two shortcomings I cannot think of anything wrong with the system. With more extensive use pros and cons may show themselves but this system is definitely better than the Gordian Knot and Qwik Pro domed lights. Hope that this was helpful to those looking into buzzersystems. Sarah Mahood
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