The low-frequency burble that is thrown from the newer siren systems like the “Rumbler“, “Howler“, and the “Hammer” has pulled me in since the first ride along that I was on with the NYPD. I was able to watch how the newer siren was able to grab more people’s attention and basically command a reaction.
When it came time to replace my individual patrol vehicle, I knew that I wanted a system like this in my ‘new’ patrol car. I wanted something that would ‘punch’ through the environmental noise that pollutes crowded areas and city streets. This led to several hours of online research, talking to sales reps, and listening to the different systems before deciding to go with the Feniex Hammer.
Why the Feniex Hammer?
Before this CVPI (Crown Victoria Police Interceptor) build, my exposure to Feniex Industries has been limited. I have only had first-hand exposure of their LED lighting products; I’ve never worked with any of their sirens, nor their speakers.
I knew that I wanted my build to use the Federal Signal Touchmaster Delta unit that has been sitting on my shelf for long enough (I have a strange attraction to its priority tones) but I also felt that I wanted more. I wanted a low-frequency siren and I also wanted a membrane style controller as well as (possibly) a secondary siren system. This led me to dig around and in the end, I made a decision to go with the Feniex 4200dl, the Hammer and the StormPro siren. The size, communication, and price were the big driving factors for this decision.
Other decent systems on the market run between $450-$500 just for the low-frequency system. Plus you can add in another $300-$700 for the siren/controller. Feniex on the other hand only set me back around $700 for the Hammer, 4200 dl and the StormPro 100w siren (I got ours from UltraBright Lightz).
Functionality was also another key for me. The Hammer is a 1 piece sealed unit (compared to 3 piece units sold by the other manufacturers), the 4200 dl allowed me to have a sleek controller while serving as a nerve center for a majority of my wiring, and the StormPro siren connected directly to the 4200 dl.
The install of the Feniex Hammer was extremely simple. I have installed a couple FedSig Rumblers in the past and it usually required us to remove the entire front clip from the patrol car. The Hammer, on the other hand, was as simple as anchoring the universal mounting bracket (since no one really makes install parts for CVPIs anymore) to the frame in front of the passenger front wheel and running wiring for 4 wires (power, ground, M1 trigger, and M2 trigger) into the cab (M1 & M2 were wired directly into the 4200 dl).
First, if you have the opportunity to hear any of the systems in person, I would highly suggest that over hearing the output over a video file. While a video file (including YouTube videos) will give you an idea of what it sounds like, the ‘meat’ of the audio is at a loss due to compression. Additionally, you will not have the sense of feeling that is also linked to these systems.
The audio output of the Feniex Hammer is enough to move traffic (which is what it is for). If you set the Hammer against the other 3 piece systems on the market, the other systems will be a bit louder (this should be obvious since we are comparing a 1 piece low-frequency sub siren vs. 2 low-frequency sub sirens). Even though the Rumbler and the Howler are a little louder than the Hammer, in real Code 3 runs, the effect is the same. Running Code 3 with a Rumbler, a Howler and the Hammer (separately), will cause the 4-5 cars in front of you to take notice and yield to your code (at least based on our experiences in this local).
I decided to work on this at my own volition. We were not approached or sponsored by any of the above-mentioned companies (or their affiliates) and we spent our own money on this project. At the end of the day, if I had a chance to do things differently, I wouldn’t. The money that we saved from running the Feniex route allowed us to purchase more equipment (like a patrol vehicle anti-theft system) while still serving our purpose. Additionally, with the Feniex Hammer coming in at a price point around $200, I do not understand why more departments (at least) across our area isn’t adding these into their fleet.
Moreover, even if you wanted to run the route of having two low-frequency sirens in play, you could purchase two of the Feniex Hammers for less than the price of the competition and still maximize the level of audio ‘throw’.
Lastly, I will update this post in the future to comment on the longevity of the Hammer system. Six months is nowhere near long enough to push a product in this type of environment; especially when you see patrol cars lasting 8-10 years before being pushed out of service.
Update 1 – 27DEC2019:
Approximately one year into using the Feniex Hammer system and it is still holding up. The only complaint that I have about the system is the interference that I am experiencing in conjunction with my strobes (yes, I am still using a Whelen Strobe system and haven’t converted the 6 strobe heads to LEDs yet). It could very well be some SNAFU on my part but with the Feniex Hammer in ‘on’ or ‘stand by’ mode, you can hear a faint pop every time a strobe triggers. I’ll have to look into this a little more and may have to run the Hammer’s wiring through a grounded shield.