Gardner TLB Bite Alarms

Sun 04 March 12


I had been putting off writing about the buzzers that I personally use for a while now due to other buzzers coming into the UKMA offices taking precedence over the others, but when it transpired that Gardner Tackle were now offering a black version of their TLB alarms, no time was wasted in ordering a set for myself (yes these were paid for – as were my stainless ones!).

TLB Silver & Black

The Gardner TLB alarm is no newcomer to the marketplace, but is rarely seen on the bank (I haven’t seen any other anglers using them on the many places I fish). This is a massive shame as the anglers that totally bypass it in the shops are missing out on something that is actually quite special.

The Gardner TLB alarms are the smallest SELF CONTAINED buzzer on the market – by self contained I mean contains everything needed to be used straight from the box without additional sounder box’s required.

I would assume that anglers take one look at the TLB alarm, notice that it is missing all the “gimmicks” (which is what I call them but may be what other anglers require) that some other alarms have, and move on to the next one.
Why should the angler choose the TLB over other alarms on the market?

TLB Black

The technical specifications

Fully compatible with the V1 and V2 ATTx wireless Remote Systems (2.5mm jack size).
Heavy gauge polished stainless steel face plate and roller cover.
Lightweight free running roller will operate with light bobbins.
All electronic components are sealed within a separate compartment to the battery and output socket.
Sensor wheel is housed within a Stainless cover to protect it and to compliment the overall design. Alternatively there is a Matt Black version available.
FULLY Waterproof (see demo video on Gardner Tackle website that shows the alarm immersed in a fish tank and operating still!). The TLB is one of very buzzer that we know of that has this degree of waterproofing. Sure to work fine in heavy rain, it should still work even if you drop it in the lake accidentally!
Individually Hand Made in England. Each buzzer is tested before despatch.
Full service back up; we can repair even the oldest TLB’s at a minimal cost.
Sealed On/Off Switch to prolong battery life.
High powered speaker unit and 10 second LED latch time. Speaker output is 93dB at 10 cm.
Supplied in a padded Protective Pouch.
Uses 1 × 23A 12V Mini Battery (supplied).

All units are fully guaranteed for 2 years. After that time repairs will be charged for at a minimal cost (usually about 15). Warranty is invalid if sealed compartments have been tampered with or damaged. (Be careful not to rupture the internal seals when changing the battery).

As you can see from the above list, the specifications of the alarm have been developed to offer the minimum chance of something going wrong.
Let’s take a look at the actual alarm in more detail.

The first thing that anglers notice about the TLB is the small size of it and the unique look. There is no mistaking the TLB for any other alarm currently on the market. The “diamond” shape is instantly recognisable. The front of the alarm has a metal plate which is what determines which colour the angler purchases. The rest of the alarm is black (other than the roller cover which is colour coded to the plate).

The LED is situated just above and to the left of the roller and is bright enough to be visible in all light conditions. The LED has a 10 second latch time, but this starts when the roller has stopped moving. Whilst the roller is moving, the LED pulses in time with the beep from the speaker.

The speaker itself is reasonably powerful and the small opening at the front channels the sound well. The tone of the alarm is quite high and sounds louder than it actually is compared to a low tone. Even without a sounder box, the alarm will wake the heaviest of sleepers as long as they are not 5m or more away from the alarms. The alarm can be heard (during tests on the bank where the rods were supervised at all times) easily at 50m range, even with bushes blocking line of sight. If the angler wishes to mute the speaker (or lower the volume for day usage) for use with a sounder box or remote system such as the ATT V2, then the speaker hole accepts a cut off piece of roll-up cigarette filter perfectly (although this should be removed between uses) or one of the speaker bungs that have been designed for other simple roller buzzers.

On the lower left hand side of the alarm, a 2.5mm jack plug socket is fitted that will take any 2.5mm sounder box lead or remote set. For use with the ATT V2 dongles, Gardner also manufacture a 120 degree angle adaptor so the dongle sits vertical rather than stick out at an angle from the alarm. The 120 degree adaptors are around £10 for a set of 3.
The ears on the alarm are large enough so that rods are not pulled off the alarm on a fast take, but when fishing locked up, the use of one of the specific snag bars that are available by other manufacturers to stop the rod being pulled off the alarm.

The alarm takes it’s power from a 12v 23amp battery that are available from any good tackle shop, and I have a set of TLB’s here that are still on the original supplied battery from 3 years ago even after regular use and lots of takes! The power to the alarm is triggered by a finger switch that turns the alarm either on or off. When changing the battery it is a simple case of undoing 4 screws on the reverse and lifting the cover plate off. When doing this, care must be taken not to damage the gasket that is between the alarm and the plate as it is this that gives the battery compartment it’s waterproof capability.

The thread to connect to the bank stick or buzzer bar is of a solid metal construction that is literally rigid inside the alarm (we have not taken one apart to see how it is affixed so not to void the warranty!).

The alarms as a standard are supplied with a drawstring pouch that is of a hard wearing material and can be used with the buzzers on sticks or buzzer bars. I tuck my indicators into the pouch as well to save time on the bank when setting up and have not damaged any indicators yet by doing this.

TLB on the Bank

Final Thoughts

I have used the TLB alarms exclusively for the past 3 years (the black ones for the past 8 months or so) and other than myself not switching an alarm on (ooops!!!), barring one alarm, they have not let me down. They make a noise when the roller is moved, light up as well and do the job that 99% of anglers require from an alarm.

The isolated case where an alarm did fail on me was during some of the heaviest rain that the UK had seen for decades, and the gasket on the battery compartment had been damaged in manufacture. A quick phone call to Gardner and the alarm was returned to the factory & back to my house fixed within 4 working days, accompanied by a full breakdown of the problem by the makers of the alarms. That is impressive back up service if I have ever heard of any!

All in all I can see no reason other than pure tartiness, to change from the TLB’s as they do everything that I want from an alarm and they are made in England.

If you are in the market for an alarm and don’t want to spend the same price on a set of 3 as you would on a decent used car, then take a long hard look at the TLB’s as when I have pointed out al the above to anglers on the bank they have been impressed.


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