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BD X4, ongoing real-world review (will update over time)
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By Panda Express
Nov 14, 2013

Mitch Musci wrote:
Not sure if I'm following you. Are you saying BD designed the springs to be especially stiff in the final stages of lobe retraction? It seems that the reason people are having issues with retracting the lobes fully has to do with the tigger cable and its attachment to the lobe, not because of the springs requiring higher forces to retract.


Read the postings before mine where people describe the problem.

People have X4's whose cables are glued to the lobes in such a way that makes camming them difficult, most or all in the range where the cam is overcammed anyways and whose range would not be used in practice.

The ideas in my previous post was consistent with this problem and everything I said applies.


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By Mitch Musci
Nov 14, 2013

Ok I did read the whole thread and you didn't answer my question or clarify your logic in regards to it. Just because it's harder to retract the lobes via the trigger around their max retraction doesn't mean the cam will walk less when placed in that range. True their are many factors that play into a cams ability (or inability) to walk but unless you are suggesting the actual spring tension is much greater around this range of max retraction, I don't think the issue being discussed affects the cam's walking ability.


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By Gunkiemike
Nov 14, 2013

Mitch Musci wrote:
It seems that the reason people are having issues with retracting the lobes fully has to do with the tigger cable and its attachment to the lobe, not because of the springs requiring higher forces to retract.


^ this. At least in my case.

The inability to fully retract the lobes was due to the weird geometry of the apparently-overglued trigger cords. Finger pressure on the lobes EASILY effected additional retraction of the lobes. So I would say that there is not any less tendency to walk. Rather, any incremental compression due to walking - or pushing the unit into the crack - may well result in an extremely difficult removal. Which, not surprisingly, is how the unit came into my possession in the first place: someone stuffed it in at 90% retraction, on what clearly was the unit's first or second placement. I spent a long time dickin' it out using every trick I know.

Then I sold it.


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By Mitch Musci
Nov 14, 2013

Gunkiemike wrote:
Then I sold it.


I came so close to ordering a whole set of them...this thread has me really thinking now. Maybe BD will make changes. In the meantime I have some Fixe aliens and mastercams that work just fine.


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By michaelp
Nov 14, 2013

Mitch Musci wrote:
I came so close to ordering a whole set of them...this thread has me really thinking now.

For what it's worth, it seems to be a case-by-case thing. I have two 0.75s, and one each of 0.5 and 0.4. None of them have the glue-related problems that have been described by others on this thread.

I'd be reluctant to order any online at this point, but, if you really are interested in them, checking them out at a local gear shop (where you can hold the cam in your hand and see if that particular one has the excessive glue issues) might be worthwhile.


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By Patrick Mulligan
Nov 14, 2013
The top of the tufa on Magma

Funny how folks are bitching about stuff in theory, but there aren't many stories of folks being unable to retrieve one. Even Gunkiemike got an overcammed unit out (I've seen other brands of cams left for good or stuck at 90%+ cammed that I've retrieved). Shit, on Frigid Air buttress we retrieved a blue master cam that had this issue that was left by the party in front of us in just a couple of minutes.

On that same climb I had a yellow X4 that my partner had placed and kicked into a crack so that it was both overcammed and so deep that the triggers were inside the crack. The little dimples they put on the trigger accommodate the "hook" from a nut tool very well and with minimal effort I removed the piece. It was a far easier retrieval than a MC or C4. Get out there and use these things. They're great.


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By Panda Express
Nov 14, 2013

Mitch Musci wrote:
Ok I did read the whole thread and you didn't answer my question or clarify your logic in regards to it. Just because it's harder to retract the lobes via the trigger around their max retraction doesn't mean the cam will walk less when placed in that range. True their are many factors that play into a cams ability (or inability) to walk but unless you are suggesting the actual spring tension is much greater around this range of max retraction, I don't think the issue being discussed affects the cam's walking ability.


You are correct, my bad, this doesn't apply to walking. This theory might still apply to someone carelessly overcamming, unless they were really pulling on the triggers the second can still use this "reserve" to remove the cam. I still think this is a good idea if it could be implemented to reduce walking to 100% camming.

On a related topic though, I've stuck cams multiple times and I often resort to a nut tool or the blade of a knife to reach into the crack to manually manipulate the lobes. I've always been able to reach the lobes with my tool. By some combination of "camming" and unslotting with the action of my nut tool, I've had luck in removing cams when I could not remove it using the triggers alone. This often happens with mastercams, C3s.

Another strategy that might be applicable to this glueing problem is slinging the triggers with a runner and tying this into your harness. Then you can pull back your body, applying much greater force than you could with your fingers, onto triggers/cam to try to remove it. In the extreme case you can make a short fall onto this runner. This strategy is situation dependent and would be the final strategy in removing a cam since this is most likely to damage the cam. It can also pop out and nail you in the nuts.


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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Nov 14, 2013
Mt. Agassiz

Patrick Mulligan wrote:
Funny how folks are bitching about stuff in theory, but there aren't many stories of folks being unable to retrieve one. Even Gunkiemike got an overcammed unit out (I've seen other brands of cams left for good or stuck at 90%+ cammed that I've retrieved). Shit, on Frigid Air buttress we retrieved a blue master cam that had this issue that was left by the party in front of us in just a couple of minutes. On that same climb I had a yellow X4 that my partner had placed and kicked into a crack so that it was both overcammed and so deep that the triggers were inside the crack. The little dimples they put on the trigger accommodate the "hook" from a nut tool very well and with minimal effort I removed the piece. It was a far easier retrieval than a MC or C4. Get out there and use these things. They're great.


It's not just theory. I've tested these in the field and, after having done so, I'd reach for a Master Cam or Alien before the X4 every time now. I haven't had one permanently fixed, but I have had to dick around with them more than should be necessary due to the cams' inability to fully retract via the trigger. I should be able to place a cam in its usable (i.e. not overcammed) range with the expectation of being able to remove it. I can't with some of my X4s.

It's a flaw, in theory and in the field. It affects some sizes and for some batches. Seems pretty straightforward.


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By Pete Spri
Nov 14, 2013

I've heard that master cams are getting a re-work. Looking forward to some nice tweaks on those.

I'll wait on the BD until they work out more of the bugs.

Totem basics I am very interested in, but want to see the new Mastercams first.


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By Sam C
Nov 14, 2013
Gunks - Madame G's hanging belay

Spri wrote:
I've heard that master cams are getting a re-work. Looking forward to some nice tweaks on those. I'll wait on the BD until they work out more of the bugs. Totem basics I am very interested in, but want to see the new Mastercams first.



when are the new master cams supposed to come out? i can't find any info online about it.


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By KevinD
From Scottsdale, AZ
Nov 20, 2013

I have had the glue issues with .4 and the .5 (don't have a 0.75), scraped off the excess glue with a screwdriver and now they retract 100%.

Otherwise, they are great cams but nothing groundbreaking compared to aliens or mastercams. The equivalent c4s feel more secure but don't fit into as many placements due to head width.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Nov 20, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Ryan Nevius wrote:
It's not just theory. I've tested these in the field and, after having done so, I'd reach for a Master Cam or Alien before the X4 every time now. I haven't had one permanently fixed, but I have had to dick around with them more than should be necessary due to the cams' inability to fully retract via the trigger. I should be able to place a cam in its usable (i.e. not overcammed) range with the expectation of being able to remove it. I can't with some of my X4s. It's a flaw, in theory and in the field. It affects some sizes and for some batches. Seems pretty straightforward.


Ryan,
You're just referring to the ones with the kevlar (or whatever it is) cords in the top 3 sizes, right? I only have the blue and yellow sizes and I like them. I used to use a yellow C3 alot but it's nice to have a more flexible 4 lobe option with essentially the same head width (only slightly bigger by about a millimeter or so). Anyone had any problems with the bottom 3 sizes? I love mine.


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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Nov 20, 2013
OTL

KevinD wrote:
Otherwise, they are great cams but nothing groundbreaking compared to aliens or mastercams.


Yep - to me, they're exactly what you'd expect from an Alien/Mastercam love child.
Now I have to figure out which set I want to sell out of X4s, C3s and MCs. Need more field/play time with them.


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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Nov 20, 2013
Mt. Agassiz

Jake Jones wrote:
Ryan, You're just referring to the ones with the kevlar (or whatever it is) cords in the top 3 sizes, right? I only have the blue and yellow sizes and I like them. I used to use a yellow C3 alot but it's nice to have a more flexible 4 lobe option with essentially the same head width (only slightly bigger by about a millimeter or so). Anyone had any problems with the bottom 3 sizes? I love mine.


Exactly, I'm referring to the double-axle sizes. This seems to be where others with similar problems are experiencing the issue as well. I haven't heard complaints from those using the smaller few.


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By Bryan Hall
From Bend, Oregon
Nov 21, 2013

I had the .75 X4 for a while and liked it but felt like it was a little stickier than my regular .75 C4. I still loved the flexible stem and ended up ordering a whole set.

It just so happened that I jumped on to this thread right when I got them. It's true, my .4 was horrible and .5 was pretty bad. The .75 had minor glue retraction issues.

The .3 and .2? Great, place them a lot and no worries with the metal cables.

I contacted Black Diamond about an exchange for my X4's and concern about the problem. I hadn't even removed the tags from my .4 and .5 yet. No response after a full week of waiting. Sold all mine with the kevlar cables. Looking to add Totem Basics to my rack instead of X4's as my bendy narrow head cam.


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By Pontoon
Feb 1, 2014

I was thinking about soldering the part where the stem might want to kink. Can anyone confirm whether this is a good or bad idea?


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Feb 1, 2014
tanuki

That sounds like an awesome idea.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Feb 2, 2014
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Why buy an expensive $70 piece of gear if you think it'll need soldering?


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By Pontoon
Feb 2, 2014

Because I still like it better than the alternatives and can get 25% off on Black Diamond cams only. I just really didn't like the feel of the Fixe/CCH Alien in my hand. The Mastercam has a worse expansion range. The only other micro cam I'd consider at this point is the Totem Basic. A downside with them is they have a smaller selection of micro cams.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Feb 2, 2014

Electronics type solder won't work at all. You'd need to get the surrounding metal to 700+F, which isn't going to happen with electronics soldering equipment. The metal plating may or may not be compatible, and even if all this worked, the solder is quite soft and would be useless.

You'll need a torch and some brazing solder - which will promptly melt everything plastic within an inch or two of your target, like the thumb loop, slings, etc.

I'd try a 2 part epoxy, maybe get geeky and look for durometer specs - except that's not actually what I'd do - I'd really just go buy a Totem cam.

I think BD botched this one, so close, yet so far. To make things worse, for some reason they don't seem willing to tweak and continually correct their designs, which I don't get because I think there are people out there who would buy a new rack every year. Probably something to do with the costs of testing, cert, etc...


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Feb 2, 2014

WOW people are still on this "kinking thing"?

ALIENS AND BASICS DO IT AS WELL.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Feb 2, 2014
tanuki

I think that everyone should look into using solder and epoxy to modify and repair climbing gear. Even superglue might work. This is a really good idea.


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By Pontoon
Feb 2, 2014

NC Rock Climber, super glue doesn't stick to metal unless mixed with hydrochloric acid.

Well if a Totem kinks too, then I really don't care. X4 it is.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Feb 2, 2014
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

When you fall on a cam or a wire, they sometimes ummm... what's the word I'm looking for... kink.


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By bearbreeder
Feb 2, 2014

a wire that keeps on kinking ... and re-straightening ... will get progressively weaker and eventually break ...

the BMC has seen at least 4 of the old style wire cams break apart in the last few years ... at least one of which has never been fallen on according to the owner

www.mountainproject.com/v/have-you-checked-your-camming-devi>>>

BMC
BMC


its something that happens particularly with offset brassies

dmm brass offset
dmm brass offset


;)


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