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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the S-Box?

What can the S-Box do?

How does the S-Box help save lives?

Will the S-Box mitigate damage due to an earthquake?

Can the S-Box be used to evaluate structural damage?

Can the S-Box communicate with my computer?

What else can the S-Box be used for?

Where can I learn more about different S-Box applications?

What is the S-Box?

It is:

A seismic early warning device.

A seismic switch.

A seismic gas & water shutoff valve controller.

A seismic data recorder.

A 3D acceleration meter.

A 3D digital level meter.

A real time accelerograph.


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What can the S-Box be used for?

The S-Box has been developed with a wide range of commercial and industrial applications in mind. It can be used to:

    • Act as an early warning system in office buildings, apartment buildings, schools, and hospitals to provide an opportunity for people to evacuate to a safe location before an earthquake hits
    • Shut down equipment, processes, or machinery that could be damaged or cause damage during an earthquake
    • Shut off gas, chemical, and/or water lines to minimize damage from possible ruptured pipes caused by an earthquake
    • Monitor the extent of seismic vibration on a structure
    • Provide a warning when a structure is moved from its original position or receives a significant jolt due to earthquake, ground movement, or being struck by another object.

Some features may be available only on certain models. Contact QMI or your local QMI representative to choose the system that is right for you.


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How does the S-Box help save lives?

The S-Box detects the arrival of fast-moving primary earthquake waves (P waves) and provides early warning before the arrival of slower-moving, more destructive secondary waves (S wave). This warning time may up to 2 minutes depending on the type of earthquake, geological conditions, and the distance from the epicenter. S-Box is developed to deliver whatever early warning may be available to save lives. When the arrival P wave reaches a certain threshold, S-Box will trigger its own siren and activate a set of relay contacts that could be used to trigger a prerecorded public address message or another siren. This warning allows people an opportunity to get to safety.


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Will the S-Box mitigate damage due to an earthquake?

Yes. The S-Box can lessen or eliminate non-structural damage caused by fire, explosions, hazardous materials spills, electrocutions, flooding, gas or chemical leaks, data loss, and other phenomena resulting from an earthquake. Non-structural damage includes damage to the mechanical systems, electrical systems, furniture, machinery, utilities, and lifelines of a building.

The S-Box sensor uses three-axis motion sensing to detect earthquake motion in both the vertical and horizontal planes. The alarm level can be preset at the factory to meet specific customer requirements or it can be user selected from 0.01G to 2.00G using the function menus. The S-Boxs latching and non-latching power relay contacts interface directly to control panels allowing the S-Box to easily control or shutdown critical facilities, equipment, and processes to mitigate the potential damage during earthquake. Typical applications include:

    • elevators and escalators
    • power generation facilities
    • petrochemical and chemical plants
    • semiconductor industries
    • utilities
    • military

S-Box can also be equipped with its own gas shutoff valve and water shutoff valve to prevent fire, flood and gas leak.


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Can the S-Box be used to evaluate structural damage?

Yes. Evaluation of damage caused by an earthquake is critical and can be very difficult. Sometimes it can take months to re-occupy a building. S-Box s internal accelerograph creates a digitized time series of ASCII data that can be transferred to a computer through a serial RS232 port or modem and easily imported to Excel or to other computer programs for analysis. The displacement, velocity, domain frequency, and energy can be quickly computed to aid the engineer in determining the extent of the damage.

This data is stored in non-volatile memory in the S-Box, which can store up to 10 minutes of seismic data.


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Can the S-Box communicate with my computer?

Yes. The S-Box comes equipped with both a serial RS-232 port and an analog telephone modem. Information stored in the S-Box can be retrieved by connecting a serial cable between a notebook computer and the S-Box and using a standard terminal program. Alternatively, the S-Box can be accessed from anywhere in the world by dialing into it's telephone modem from a remote computer. Using the telephone modem provides full access to all functions in the S-Box including the ability to read stored data and change alarm thresholds.

Future versions of the S-Box will have satellite communication capability for worldwide access in locations where telephone access may not be readily available.


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What else can S-Box be used for?

3D accelerograph / acceleration meter / digital level meter

The metering functions built into the S-Box make it a very sophisticated scientific instrument. There are three modes to choose from.

Acceleration meter mode:

The display shows peak acceleration value in each axis. It has a range from 0.01G to 2.00G and resolution 0.01G. It can perfectly measure slow motion.

Digital level meter mode:

The display shows the angle of displacement in each axis from the calibrated position in degrees. It has a range of 0 to 90 and resolution 1. It is perfect for measuring tilt.

Real time accelerograph

3-axis time series accelerogram is output to the RS232 communication port or modem.

All of the metering data is output to the communication port for remote monitoring.

Security monitoring

Real time movement, vibration, and tilt can be remotely monitoring by S-Box. With the user selectable alarm level, S-Box can be easily adapted to any security system to monitor excess movement, vibration, and tilt.

Applications for the S-Box include monitoring bridges, buildings, reservoirs, machinery, foundations, towers, or pipelines.

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Where can I learn more about different S-Box applications?

Click on one of the following links. These links are also found at the top of every page in the S-Box website.

Elevator and Escalator Control Applications Industrial and Commercial Applications Emergency Door Control Applications Gas Pipeline Shutoff

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