Why Are We Different?

Well-designed hardware, coupled with exceptionally perceptive software design, makes fully automated diagnosis and real time error detection a standard.  This ensures firing reliability and prevents unintentional firing from occurring.

Prior to fireTEK

As we all know, human error is generally the primary reason that fireworks displays fail, or worse, human lives are lost. With a typical firing system you have to navigate through a variety of menus to initiate any testing, and by the time you begin a particular test or start to interpret the results, you aren’t always sure which fault has occurred. Because of this uncertainty, testing is frequently (and often unnecessarily) repeated.

Benefit to the end-user

By automating almost all of the processes involved in firing, fireTEK has made it possible to reduce and/or eliminate most potential human errors. During the processes involved—from setup to field-testing to firing—you no longer have to worry about the firing system itself. Advanced tests and settings are automatically made to prevent unintentional firing and to ensure firing when it is supposed to occur.

How we accomplish all of this:

  • When the power is turned on, the module safely conducts an advanced self-test to ensure the safe operation of all critical components.
  • In the background, the firing system automatically tests and alerts the user when any of the following are or are not compliant: if there are critical component problems, or when all igniters used in the script are connected, or if all firing modules are still online. In addition, tests also show if the communication is stable and what the battery levels are, etc.
    No other system we know of runs as many automatic conclusive tests as fireTEK.
  • Our safe and fully automated real time tests require no user intervention. Any errors found are displayed on one screen in an easy to understand, intuitive manner as soon as they occur. Alarms are categorized in one of two ways: “Faults” and “Warnings”. Faults are errors that will most assuredly affect the overall show and require immediate intervention from the firing crew to rectify. Warnings, on the other hand, are specific messages to the operator about small problems that are present, but not critical. Here are two examples: a Warning message telling the user an igniter is connected but not part of the programmed script (something the user may want to fire manually), or a Fault message regarding an unconnected igniter that is part of the script.
  •  fireTEK literally ensures firing capability and we do that by monitoring in real time the firing current that passes through the igniters.
    No other firing system has this capability.
  • We have a comprehensive methodology that clearly states system progress in a natural order when pressing either <Back> or <Next> buttons. For additional protection, firing states are passcode protected. Everything that is required when a particular state is changed is done so automatically. Do you prefer a complicated workflow with nested menus and steps to take which can be easily skipped erroneously, which can result in a display fail?
  • We include a resistance check of the connected igniters.
  • We also have an entire set of software safety features and hardware interlocks (6 per cue) to prevent unintentional or unauthorized firing.
  • You can easily lock out any channel to keep it from firing at any time you want to during the firing sequence without prior need to set them on safety zones.
  • Our firing modules built in PELI cases are fully waterproof – even with the lid open and with no dust caps on the connectors. In addition, we use with military grade connectors so they have a longer life span.
  • We also use high quality (but very affordable) rails connected to the firing modules via a UTP cable so you don’t have to worry about a rail or cable being damaged during a show or when dismantling the system for transportation. Cheaper rails and cables give you the possibility to have a backup which can be easily replaced in the field. Do you prefer expensive rails connected via an expensive cable, a little bit stronger, which are not indestructible?

Use our handheld controller to control your display, or use the firing modules independently in a wireless/wired network without depending on an expensive master controller or other device.

Prior to fireTEK

The vast majority of display companies put on only a small number of big shows each year. Most of their projects are generally small to medium-sized displays, taking place at similar times, but in different locations. With that in mind, most firing systems on the market do not give the user the capability of controlling the firing modules without a master controller. This means a very expensive split that requires the display company to invest in several master controllers. (Something we find illogical and unnecessary).

Benefit to the end-user

With fireTEK we wanted to give our customers the possibility to split the system in whatever way they might require to manage different displays, without the need of a special controller or computer at each firing site.

To improve the overall value to our customer’s, we designed a system with only two different main components to cover all displays types — no matter how big or how small the display might be. For simultaneous multiple displays, the user can configure all firing modules either as Independent, Master or Slave. This way you no longer need an expensive system for your larger displays and less expensive systems for smaller productions.

No other firing system provides this level of flexibility and control.

Here is how this feat was accomplished:

  1. The FTH-48 firing module can be configured as:
    1. Master controlling with or without music up to 99 firing modules wired and/or wireless
    2. Slave connected wired and/or wireless to an FTM-99 controller
    3. Slave connected wired and/or wireless to another FTH-48
    4. Independent (Automatic, Stepper)

 

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  1. The FTH-48 firing module can be operated via:
    1. Wired and/or wireless, controlled by another firing module or via controller
    2. Time code input (SMPTE)
    3. Time trigger (GPS UTC time)
    4. Front panel buttons
    5. Compact 2-button wireless remote
    6. Computer (USB)
    7. Smartphone (Bluetooth)
    8. External trigger
    9. Combination of any of above
  1. The FTM-99 handheld controller can be configured as:
    1. Master to control with or without music up to 99 firing modules wired and/or wireless
    2. Slave used as an AudioBOX controlled by another FTM-99 controller or by an FTH-48 firing module
  1. The operator has the flexibility to easily fire the following modes:
    1. Manual
    2. Sequences
    3. Automatic
    4. all concurrently, with or without music
  1. The 12-channel FT-12 rails give you the ability to prepare the racks off-site and can be easily split for fronts using normal RJ45 splitters.

With quality equipment and software like fireTEK available, why would anyone want to invest in a more expensive system that only provides one controller with no backup if it goes faulty? 

FireTEK has Built-in GPS in all its firing modules, and a handheld controller to correct communication latency and crystal errors. And it can do all of this while firing impressive pyro musicals using internal audio player from handled controller or TimeCode input which is available on all modules.

Prior to fireTEK

Before fireTEK, firing systems had to depend on transmitted Timecodes or messages sent to and from the master controller to synchronize all the field modules. Wired connection offered slightly better accuracy, but wireless communications in the field often resulted in problems due to communication latency or interference from nearby equipment.

At fireTEK, when it comes to our firing system, synchronization is one of our main priorities.

Benefit to the end-user

In today’s signal-filled world, it is increasingly important to achieve the highest degree of accuracy when it comes to synchronized channels—either with or without music. By using PerfectSYNC and fireTEK’s internal GPS, you can achieve better results with both your wired and/or wireless communication.

Here is how this feat is accomplished:

  1. With GPS receivers in each field module, the firing module and handheld controller can see the exact time when commands are exchanged between the networking modules. In this way, they correct for any delay that might occur in either the wireless and/or wired communication signal.
           No other firing system has this capability.
  2. GPS UTC time can also be used to synchronize an unlimited number of firing modules and handheld controllers located in separate locations even with no communication between them. The start time will be set and the GPS clock will do the rest.
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  3.  The handheld controller can be configured with an internal audio player for autonomous and/or easy-to-fire pyromusicals. The soundtrack can be played directly from the controller’s internal memory or from an external USB memory stick attached to the handheld controller.
  4.  Synchronization to music can also be achieved via SMPTE Timecode to allow an external media device to control the pyromusical. Timecode can be fed to the handheld controller or to a firing module set as a Master. In any case, the pyrotechnician will have the capability to stop the display if a problem occurs.
  5. The handheld controller can be set as a “slave” and act as an AudioBOX. The AudioBOX controller can be placed near the PA sound system for Timecode input or for audio output, while the master controller can be moved around to give the operator a better view of the display.