Gear Pieps DSP problem - Christina Lusti and Nick McNutt story

SkiFiore

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Not sure if others caught this in social media. Christina Lusti posted over a few days the story of Nick McNutts’s serious injury last season. One aspect she highlighted was his transceiver turning off during the incident. His beacon was a Pieps DSP Sport. She and Nick are calling for BD to take this product off the market. Has anyone had this problem of the beacon switching off or to search?



Link to IG post
 

Cheizz

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Yes I have heard of that issue before, I think as early as winter 2017-2018. A few cases in the Austrian ski instructor community, where many ski instructors had been able to get their hands on the DSP Sport for a very nice price. I haven't had the issue myself (I have a Mammut tranceiver), but a friend of mine - one of those ski instructors - has had her DSP Sport replaced because the locking machanism of the slider (that is used to switch between functions) was damaged in a small crash. She had not noticed the slider actually sliding and switching to search during the ski day, but she had noticed it wasn't fixed anymore. So it could have gone worng.
 
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SkiFiore

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When I was deciding between a BD Recon and Mammut Barryvox I tried the Recon in a shop and the mechanism between modes seemed to move too easily. I thought maybe it was a symptom of being a shop sample I guess not. Barryvox has been great and easy to use.
 

tam

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This is actually the reason I chose not to buy the DSP when I was looking to upgrade 3 years ago. It actually has been a known issue for awhile, and potentially even a contributing factor in at least 1 fatality where the victims DSP was found to be in search mode (2017 Hanging Lake). Not sure if it’s been changed, but the DSP default settings don’t have an auto revert function to go back to send mode if no signal or motion is detected.
 

Primoz

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Not sure if that's same thing or not, but if it's same issue as it was several winters ago, when this was quite big, main problem is the way you carry transceiver. Transceiver should be facing your body with screen, and then, based on tests people did, there's zero or pretty much zero chance for it to turn off or turn into search mode. If you have screen facing away from your body, it can happen sometimes that with right pressure switch can hit edge of holder and switch off/switch to search. And from that what I remember, it wasn't just DSP Sport, but also DSP Pro (ice), which makes sense, as it's basically exactly same outside with slightly different internals.
Ever since that came out, I'm double checking my (DSP Pro), but never had any issues yet, but it's also true, I was never caught in avalanche, and I certainly hope I never will.
Hollyshit... I just checked that IG story... that's whole different level then this what was story few years ago. For that one I wrote above, you (actually holder's edge) still needed to press "lock button" for control button to be able to slide to different position... this one just slides by itself... I guess it's time for me to sell my DSP Pro and get something else. Anyone buys well maintained used only for practice one? :ogbiggrin:
 
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Cheizz

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Interesting. So, the Pieps transceivers can be used wrong (they fit in the holster the wrong way around). Mammut has applied a 'poke yoke' here: their transceivers are designed in a way that they only fit in the holsters the right way. See picture below of the older Mammut Barryvox Element and the newer Barryvox.
20201011_103008.jpg


DPS trusts users to read the manual and instructions on how to wear the transceiver (and those instructions need to be there, since you can do it wrong, apparently). That's a dangerous assumption, that users read instructions....

Do transceiver designers take into account that some users don't actually use a holster anymore? Some people just put the transceiver in a pocket somewhere...
 

Slim

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I think we had a thread on it here, a few years back. Not sure if it is 2 separate issues or one and same.
 

Tricia

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Not sure if others caught this in social media. Christina Lusti posted over a few days the story of Nick McNutts’s serious injury last season. One aspect she highlighted was his transceiver turning off during the incident. His beacon was a Pieps DSP Sport. She and Nick are calling for BD to take this product off the market. Has anyone had this problem of the beacon switching off or to search?



Link to IG post
I recall a thread about an issue with one of Pieps products a few years ago but I'm not sure if it was the same model or issue.
Thanks for posting the link to IG.
I just followed her chain of posts about the incident.
Post three was crazy. Made my heart sink.
 

JonathanShefftz

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Unfortunately I don't have one in front of me right now to test.

But first, the little lock tab can crack after extended use:
https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/328404-Pieps-DSP-Pro-broken-switch
Doesn't seem possible though from a single impact if the beacon is worn properly, i.e., facing in toward the body.

Second, if the beacon is worn improperly, facing out, the switch can move inadvertently:



But of course all sorts of other problems can happen with all sorts of other devices if used improperly!


Third, if you press your thumb against the locking tab and use your other hand to move the switch:



... well, right, of course that moves the switch, that's exactly how it's designed to work!
For that to happen in an actual incident, something on the user's body would have to press in sharply enough to depress the locking tab.
And simultaneously, the switch would have to be moved by ... well, in the video, the user simply reaches in under the harness and moves the switch.

I see claims that over time the switch mechanism can loosely up from lots of use. Perhaps that's the little lock tab no longer having enough force?
If so, I would like to see a video attempting to simulate how this can happen with the beacon worn properly, like this:
 

JonathanShefftz

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Whoops, didn't realize earlier that the IG post also has a video.
The lock tab on that particular unit (DSP Pro, but same mechanism as the DSP Sport still sold, although totally different than the current generation) is clearly malfunctioning, although any crack or other defect is not visible (i.e., an especially bad combo).
Although even with the definite malfunction -- i.e., worst-case scenario -- based on the apparent force necessary in the video to slide the switch out of Send into either Search or Off, seems impossible for that to happen with the beacon in a harness, screen facing in toward the user's body. (Worn incorrectly facing out, sure. Worn in a pocket, that also seems possible.)
 

JonathanShefftz

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When I was deciding between a BD Recon and Mammut Barryvox I tried the Recon in a shop and the mechanism between modes seemed to move too easily. I thought maybe it was a symptom of being a shop sample I guess not. Barryvox has been great and easy to use.
The Recon is a totally different switch design than the prior DSP Sport & Pro (which is the subject of the IG post and related claims).
 

Tricia

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Any experience with BCA?
 

SBrown

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Any experience with BCA?
A little different, but when we were in SA a couple summers ago, I was doing a search drill with my daughter. She found the signal first, so I shoved my beacon (Tracker 3) in my pocket in order to start assembling probe and shovel. Pretty soon she got all discombobulated because she started receiving multiple signals -- it turned out that when I put my beacon in my pocket, it switched from search to send. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, I would guess the slider got hung on my pocket zipper and enabled the knob to turn.
 

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A little different, but when we were in SA a couple summers ago, I was doing a search drill with my daughter. She found the signal first, so I shoved my beacon (Tracker 3) in my pocket in order to start assembling probe and shovel. Pretty soon she got all discombobulated because she started receiving multiple signals -- it turned out that when I put my beacon in my pocket, it switched from search to send. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, I would guess the slider got hung on my pocket zipper and enabled the knob to turn.
Well, according to the BCA rep (Clem) their beacons are the easiest to use and most reliable. ;)
 

ZionPow

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I own a BCA Tracker 2 and our patrol issue is also Tracker 2. They are very reliable and easy to use. They lack some of the more advanced features on some newer designs but I believe those features are overkill for what most people need. The limiting factor is not the transceiver but the user and the amount of training and practice by the user. We practice partner rescue (transceiver search) almost daily during the season as well as organized initial search scenarios. I get the opportunity to work with other demo transceivers but I feel more comfortable with the Tracker 2 as I have been using that model for 8 years.

All transceiver designs are a little different and have a few issues. Training and practice can help minimize the issues. For example, the Tracker 2 search button is prone to be switched to transmit if placed in a pocket. We train to keep the transceiver in hand during a search to prevent this from happening.
 

Tricia

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I own a BCA Tracker 2 and our patrol issue is also Tracker 2. They are very reliable and easy to use. They lack some of the more advanced features on some newer designs but I believe those features are overkill for what most people need. The limiting factor is not the transceiver but the user and the amount of training and practice by the user. We practice partner rescue (transceiver search) almost daily during the season as well as organized initial search scenarios. I get the opportunity to work with other demo transceivers but I feel more comfortable with the Tracker 2 as I have been using that model for 8 years.

All transceiver designs are a little different and have a few issues. Training and practice can help minimize the issues. For example, the Tracker 2 search button is prone to be switched to transmit if placed in a pocket. We train to keep the transceiver in hand during a search to prevent this from happening.
There is a lot of information to absorb about the different brands and models.
The one thing I rememer from our clinics is that I had a gut feeling that I'd opt for the BCA Tracker 3 if I delved into the back country more. This is not based on anyting other than sitting through clinics and going through the clinic practice of consumer education and use.
 

mdf

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Any experience with BCA?
Yeah, I wonder too. I've got an old one with a rotary switch that I've been thinking should be replaced just because of age. I haven't handled the newer ones, but I don't like the looks of that button in the pictures.
 

Tricia

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Yeah, I wonder too. I've got an old one with a rotary switch that I've been thinking should be replaced just because of age. I haven't handled the newer ones, but I don't like the looks of that button in the pictures.
In clinics I've handled three different versions of BCA beacons and they seem seamless. That being said, I've only used a beacon once, which I borrowed from Nolo when we skied Bridger, so my practical experience is not something that anyone should rely on.
 

BS Slarver

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@ZionPow is correct on many levels here, The tracker 3 and I the 2 as well will easily go back to TR from SE, there isn't a lock out between the two buttons. The Lockout is only between off and TR and off. One needs to know their equipment and beacon stays out and in hand once search has begun.
Before deciding on Beacon purchases here we decided easiest and most reliable was key for F and F @Tricia mentioned, all of the independent reports and reviews have given the BCA a best value. Now if I made my living in the BC skipping pillow lines I'd have a Mammut barryvox S and so would my companions, it has more range.
 

SBrown

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@ZionPow is correct on many levels here, The tracker 3 and I the 2 as well will easily go back to TR from SE, there isn't a lock out between the two buttons. The Lockout is only between off and TR and off. One needs to know their equipment and beacon stays out and in hand once search has begun.
Before deciding on Beacon purchases here we decided easiest and most reliable was key for F and F @Tricia mentioned, all of the independent reports and reviews have given the BCA a best value. Now if I made my living in the BC skipping pillow lines I'd have a Mammut barryvox S and so would my companions, it has more range.
Interesting to hear this is a known issue; as I remember, @Mattadvproject had not heard of it at the time. So how do you keep beacon in hand when you are probing etc? Is it better just to know about the issue and take care when returning beacon to a safe place before performing the rescue?
 

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