March 2022 sees the introduction of the new STIHL ADVANCE ProCOM headsets, an innovative headset for forestry professionals and landscapers that combines ear protection with intelligent communication for teams. We’ll delve into detail on the many features of ProCOM headsets here, but for in-depth instructions and guidance on how STIHL ProCOM can be used, see our other blog post here.
The hard-wearing headsets are available either as a headband unit, or as an accessory to fit STIHL ADVANCE X-Climb protective helmets. STIHL ProCOM can also be used with 3M compatible helmets from other manufacturers. The internal components are well insulated and IP 64 rated, meaning the STIHL headsets can be used come rain or shine, and the Lithium-Ion battery can last up to 17 hours on one charge. All the control buttons are large enough to be pressed with gloves on, and are intuitively designed to be used with touch alone, so that all functions can be accessed without taking the headset off.
STIHL ADVANCE ProCOM headsets have a communication range of up to 600 meters depending on the terrain, and can cater for up to 16 headsets. Each ProCOM headset acts as an amplifier and increases the overall range of the system, meaning workers located around the forest or worksite could communicate over much further distances than 600 m. If your team are spread over a wide area, a range alarm tells you in good time if the headset may lose connection to other team members. If required, hand-held radio telephone sets can also be integrated into the network via Bluetooth too.
With a high attenuation value (SNR 31) and active noise suppression, STIHL ADVANCE ProCOM headsets reliably protect against the engine noise of petrol-powered equipment. What’s more, an intelligent audio function means that incoming radio messages are prioritized and heard by the user, so that warning calls from colleagues can be heard clearly over any radio or music playing.
Ambient mode is a fantastic additional feature that allows the microphone to pick up ambient noise and play it through the ear phone speakers. This means potential dangers such as traffic, plant machinery or members of the public can be heard despite the 31 SNR rating. And the best thing? Ambient mode will deactivate automatically as soon as a loud noise (like that of a petrol tool) is detected and switch back to protecting your ears.
The communication modes can be tailored to suit you and your team. For example, if frequent communication is required, microphones can be left unmuted. Alternatively the push to talk (PTT) button is ideal for less frequent communication in noisy areas, and behaves more like a traditional walkie-talkie.
Much like STIHL DYNAMIC BT ear protectors, it’s also possible to pair a smartphone so that users can answer phone calls or listen to music. Alternatively the in-built radio can be used with no smartphone required. The free ADVANCE ProCOM app adds extra functions such as saving your favourite radio stations, adjusting communication channels, and changing the microphone sensitivity to name a few.
STIHL ProCOM Stats
- Up to 17 hours operating time.
- Up to 600m range between two units. A range alarm tells you when the connection could be lost.
- Direct connection possible with up to 16 units
- IP 64 protection rating
- High attenuation level of SNR 31
- Operating temperature -15 to +50°C
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Is ProCOM compatible with helmets made by other manufacturers?
A. Although we recommend ProCOM for use with the ADVANCE X-Climb helmet, ProCom headsets will fit on any helmet compatible with 3M attachments.
Q. Will ProCOM fit on a Protos helmet?
A. Yes, ProCom can fit on Protos helmets using the 3M Peltor attachment arm.
Q. Can these connect with Sena headsets?
A. STIHL do not recommend pairing ProCOM with other headsets that also use Sena technology. Although some Sena products may be compatible depending on the software version (supporting profiles can be found in the user manual), functionality may be severely restricted. ProCOM uses the latest version of Bluetooth Mesh which is not commonplace in the arb market, therefore we are unable to publish a list of which products may be compatible.
Q. How does the active noise reduction feature work?
A. Active noise reduction means that two users can have a clear conversation while each using loud tools, as the background machine noise is partially eliminated. A microphone on each defender records the background noise and partially removes it from the voice message recorded with the mouth mic, meaning the user’s voice is loud and clear above the machine noise.
The user can also adjust the microphone sensitivity to limit external noises being picked up by the mouth microphone alternatively the microphone can be muted and used in PTT mode instead. These features help to prevent loud and continuous chipper or chainsaw noise frustrating colleagues.
Q. How loud are the internal speakers?
A. The internal speakers are limited to a maximum of 82 db for all audio you will hear including music and voice communication. Given the high SNR rating of the ear defenders, you will still be able to hear all audio clearly.
Q. Can walkie-talkies be incorporated into the ProCOM Mesh?
A. No, only ProCOM headsets can be used in the mesh. If you have a DMR or walkie-talkie with Bluetooth speaker capability, ProCOM can be connected and used conveniently as a headset. In this case, the mesh intercom will still be functioning in addition to the DMR connection, but DMR messages will not be heard by other ProCOM users.
Consult the user manual of your DMR to check compatibility with Bluetooth devices. The DMR must be compatible with Bluetooth speakers, not just smartphones.
When ProCOM is connected to compatible Motorola or Kennwood devices, the push-to-talk button can be used for communication. For other brands of walkie talkie, the push-to-talk button on the radio device will need to be used instead.
To find out more visit your nearest STIHL Approved dealer, or ask us a question below. For more detailed information on setting up and using STIHL ADVANCE ProCOM headsets, read our follow-up blog post here.