Barryvox PULSE potential design flaw

The off/send button on the new Mammut/Barryvox PULSE tranceiver can be knocked to off, due to a very poorly designed and implemented on/off switch. I’ve just purchased two of the spankin’ new Barryvox PULSE transceivers, and both have the same major design fault! To turn them on the on on/off button is pulled sideways, and is meant to lock into ‘send’ and can then in theory only be turned off by pushing it AND the off button down together and then moving the whole switch to off.

barryvox pulse

However on both my units the device goes into send mode and does it’s self test, the transmit led blinks and it issues 3 beeps to say ‘I’m OK’ before the switch has moved far enough to be locked into the send position, and thus at any time a gentle nudge on the switch turns the device BACK OFF!!! (Tumbling in an avalanche? Reaching into an inside pocket? Falling ? etc.)

Has anyone else bought one of these tranceivers this year and if so does yours have the same fault?

I consider this to be extraordinarily dangerous, surely the device should only indicate it is turned on and transmitting when the button is locked into SEND and will be returning both my newly purchased units as being unfit for use.

I see a scenario where someone is found dead with their transceiver off.... ‘Silly fool’ everyone says, why on earth have a transceiver and not turn it on??? But it was ‘on’ and transmitting as far as the poor dead guy was concerned. It just turned off as he was tumblin’ due to an appallingly designed on/off switch.

Not a pleasant thought!

Posted by on Saturday, 10 March, 2007 at 02:31 AM

Thanks for following this up Colin it is an interesting response. At least people are aware of this issue. Many thanks for all the other comments especially about the icing problem.

Posted by davidof on  Tuesday, 27 March, 2007  at 08:28 PM

I’ve just bought one of these, tried it our for the first time this weekend (in woods - no snow here unfortunately) and very pleased I am with it.

I’ve tried reproducing the fault mode described by Colin and, despite being as careful as possible with positioning the slider, I can’t do it. There is a preliminary flash when the slider is half in position, but I can’t get it to go into its bootup sequence without fully engaging the lock. I don’t know whether this is updated firmware or not, but I don’t see the problem on my unit.

I did find a problem in the practice scenario though. When the first victim is located, if that “victim” then moves about, e.g. while the search is still active for other burials, the multiple-device identification does get confused and starts showing more burials than are actually present. It takes about 30-60 seconds to recover from this and show the correct number of burials. This is probably less of an issue in a real rescue scenario though.

Posted by GrahamN on  Monday, 26 November, 2007  at 12:32 PM

I’ve been testing 2 of my units for about a year now.Although I try to be a thorough and fault-oriented, I have never encountered any problems with the switch. Probably because I haven’t been looking there. Now that I know about the possibly dangerous course of events, I can only say two things -
1 - True, it is possible to inadverently turn off a seemingly working unit. But:
2 - To do that - you have to be pretty deliberate.

Never ever has my unit switched on without locking the switch securely at the same time. If you turn it on the right way - by pushing the protruding switch bar into the casing - it will always securely snap and stay in ON position.

As a bottom line - It is my firm belief that everyone is responsible for his deeds - which includes properly wearing and using his equipment.

Some things my be bombproof. But nothing if foolproof ‘cause fools are so inventive grin

Be safe out there…

Posted by  on  Wednesday, 28 November, 2007  at 12:34 PM

Odd how some people make such a big deal about a potential failure that requires almost deliberate action to achieve, yet just a few stray drops of water that refreeze can render the beacon incapable of searching—I repeat my previous post below:


True, the Send mode is activated on my two Pulse units before the switch is *locked* into Send mode, but locking the switch into Send produces a very solid-feeling and fairly loud-sounding click.  By contrast, sliding the switch into Send yet not allowing it to lock into the Send position requires an almost deliberate and fairly delicate action.  Plus the switch is still visibly protruding from the beacon housing.

Overall, I think a Pulse owner should be aware that the switch should be locked into Send mode with a very clear click, but that’s already very obvious even after turning on the beacon a single time.

By contrast, just a few drops of water onto the sliding switch, which then disappear below the switch and can freeze, will render the beacon incapable of being switched into Search or even Off without a few minutes of rewarming first.  (This actually happened to me in the field because of a partially unzipped jacket during an extended period of light snow.)

So any Pulse owner has to be careful not to allow water to get onto the beacon, and if any water is suspected of being in there, periodically switching the beacon briefly to Search might be a good idea to prevent and/or break up any hidden internal ice formation in the switch.

Posted by Jonathan S. Shefftz on  Wednesday, 28 November, 2007  at 03:48 PM

Colin is a bumbling idiot...Aljaz said it best:

Some things my be bombproof. But nothing is foolproof ‘cause fools are so GD inventive!!

When you’re putting your seatbelt make sure it clicks.  Do the same with your beacon.  Done!

Jonathon is a tool.

When is the last time you had water freeze while inside your jacket while you’re exerting effort in the backcountry that was next to your body?  Horsesh!t.  I don’t believe it ever happened either.  Shefftz is likely a German who has it against the Swiss or likely works for Ortovox and is trying to sully the good name that Mammut enjoys.  Wear the beacon over the first layer of underwear as instructed.  You’ll never have a problem.  I’m sure of it.  Your “few minutes of rewarming”...let me guess, you held it next to your body?  where it should have been all along.  Blew on it?  3 seconds and you’d be fine.  Don’t believe all this crap!  I’ve used this beacon for the last 17 months and never had a single issue with it.

Posted by  on  Thursday, 19 February, 2009  at 07:08 AM
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