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

I vote tracker too - having upgrated an old ortovox i looked at all the options incl on/off switching, battery life, perfomance etc - Tracker package wins hands down. 

You wouldn’t drive a car if the brakes could perhaps switch themselves off !

thanks for flagging this up - i will be checking my customers even more carefully!

Posted by  on  Monday, 12 March, 2007  at 04:17 PM

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  Tuesday, 13 March, 2007  at 09:09 PM

I can’t really see a situation where this would happen if you pay attention to setting the unit up. On a different note. I’ve used my unit for 1 weeks skiing and have just changed the battery. The incredibly thin bar that holds the locking hook on the compartment cover snapped off when pushing the hook down. A little disappointing really. Anyone else had this happen?

Posted by  on  Tuesday, 20 March, 2007  at 03:22 PM

hmm. Been using the pulse all season and have to say, you need to be fairly dim not to know when it is correctly switched on - definite click…

Posted by john on  Monday, 26 March, 2007  at 08:54 AM

The point is that it tells the user that it is switched on before the click..

Here is what the designer at Barryvox, emailed me on the subject.

What you have seen concerning the behaviour of the switch is correct. The device does already turn on before the switch has locked into the SEND position. It is correct that it would be nicer if the device would only turn on when the mechanical locking mechanism has already closed.
Switches are expensive and the more mechanically perfect they need to be the more complex they become. The small amount of money the end users are paying for the device, unfortunately leads to several limitations. You need to realize as well, that most of the money you pay goes to dealers and distributors and not to the manufacturer. There is a long list of characteristics which could be substantially optimized if the final price of the transceiver could be higher – and many of these optimizations would as well lead to a higher safety in the application of avalanche rescue transceivers.

Posted by  on  Monday, 26 March, 2007  at 05:26 PM
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