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bent BD Camalot X4
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By Braulio Barahona
From Boulder, Colorado
Aug 2, 2014
Cruising Norway
Hey people,

Any thoughts? Would you throw away this cam?

Basically the wire is bent, from the outside it does not look damaged. I took a fall on it, the cam was place on a horizontal crag facing up, so it was bent as shown in the pictures.

  • close up
bent cam X4
bent cam X4


bent cam X4
bent cam X4

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By J D
Aug 2, 2014
Beautiful day at Way Rambo
Did it hold?

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By Braulio Barahona
From Boulder, Colorado
Aug 2, 2014
Cruising Norway
yes, it did ... :) - it was a very little fall as I was practically not above the piece ...

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By Matt Kuehl
From the desert
Aug 2, 2014
Plumbers Crack
I don't think you need to retire that piece. I would just bend it back.

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By bearbreeder
Aug 3, 2014
Ive pointed out before that the X4s have a longer metal stem head and a bit stiffer wire than some other cams and this could cause kinks at head

There have been instances of other cams where repeated loading and kinking of the wires have snapped the cams

thebmc.co.uk/have-you-checked-...

BMC
BMC


Etc ...

As usual some MPer pooh poohed it

mountainproject.com/v/bd-x4-on...

Read the BMC link, if it looks like the strand of the wires start breaking retire it




;)

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By Mike Caracciolo
From Pompano Beach, Florida
Aug 3, 2014
Edge of time
I've had issues with gear in the past and have always contacted the manufacture. They were always beyond helpful. They would create a return authorization, then inspect the gear in question. To point of safety testing it to failure and sending me a replacement. In my opinion the cam is structurally compromised. It may not fail the next 100 times or it may fail the very next time. Obviously, it is your choice on what to do. But contacting the manufacture would be my first priority. This also gives documented (if through email) proof that they said "nah, go take 50 falls on it, it's fine" or "no retire it and send it to us". I also think the company should know how their gear is doing in the field. Remember the gri gri recall? It was in part due to customers giving feedback. You really should contact BD, this could be an X4 issue or a fluke. Either way you took the time to post on here, how much harder would it be to send them an email?

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Aug 3, 2014
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
bearbreeder wrote:
if it looks like the strand of the wires start breaking retire it


This. If not, straighten it as best you can and climb on.

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By whitewalls
Aug 3, 2014
Mike Caracciolo wrote:
I've had issues with gear in the past and have always contacted the manufacture. They were always beyond helpful. They would create a return authorization, then inspect the gear in question. To point of safety testing it to failure and sending me a replacement. In my opinion the cam is structurally compromised. It may not fail the next 100 times or it may fail the very next time. Obviously, it is your choice on what to do. But contacting the manufacture would be my first priority. This also gives documented (if through email) proof that they said "nah, go take 50 falls on it, it's fine" or "no retire it and send it to us". I also think the company should know how their gear is doing in the field. Remember the gri gri recall? It was in part due to customers giving feedback. You really should contact BD, this could be an X4 issue or a fluke. Either way you took the time to post on here, how much harder would it be to send them an email?


+1 really good advice. Send it back - they'll look at it for you, if it's ok you'll get it back. If it's not, you might get a freebie.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 4, 2014
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
it looks like it is in pretty bad shape. i definitely don't agree with just bending it back. that is just asking for strands to start breaking, and once the first strand breaks it usually goes downhill pretty quickly.

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By Braulio Barahona
From Boulder, Colorado
Aug 13, 2014
Cruising Norway
Thanks everyone for your opinions. I essentially had the same idea as Matt - but also understand that there is the possibility that the wire has been stressed too much. Looking up the information bearbreeder posted I will follow the suggestion of Mike and send it back to BD.

It seems that these cams bend quite easily close to the thumb loop, which for what I gather from the review post should not matter much as long as the angle is small and the wires are not damaged (visual inspection). But, regarding the “easily” bending of the wire close to the stem not much was posted. Let’s see what BD says about this cam.

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By Mike Caracciolo
From Pompano Beach, Florida
Aug 13, 2014
Edge of time
Please let us (or at least me) know what happens. My entire rack is bd. I'd like to be assured I'm climbing on quality gear that is 100% backed by its maker.

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By limpingcrab
From Visalia, CA
Aug 13, 2014
Huge invisible muscles
It's fine.

That's why it's cable and not wire, it's made to bend.

If I retired all of my bent cams I'd be relegated to top roping.

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By wing thing
Aug 13, 2014
Repeated bending and kinking of wire leads to metal fatigue. Is your life worth the $60-$70 required to get a new cam or do you have the equipment available to inspect your cam for microscopic cracks in the metal after bending the cam back to its original shape?

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By Cultivating Mass
Aug 14, 2014
Leading on the only "fair means" rack.
Is anyone's life really worth $60 or $70? I feel like the jump to hyperboledrive has been made.

It amazes me at times that the process of breaking gear and getting new stuff causes so much hand-wringing. Falling on gear and tweaking a few pieces should be s.o.p. for anyone climbing on a regular basis on anything outside of a gym.

I envision a car forum and some newby driver asking if finding a chunk missing from a tire that exposes down to the wire mesh is still safe to make a road trip on.

New tires are part of driving. Thrashed cams make good Hannukah tree ornaments. Condoms are only meant to be reused a handful of times before replacement. Scientology recommends replacing your brain with oatmeal before the Zorgons win the corporate sack race with the Thetans.

Logic and things.

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By bearbreeder
Aug 14, 2014
folks

just send an email to BD and ask them for their opinion

if they say bend it back and climb ... then thats fine

if they say send it to them ... thats fine

if they say retire it ... well that kinda sucks

;)

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By mattm
From TX
Aug 14, 2014
Grande Grotto
Frankly, looking at the kink point it seems pretty obvious the placement was fairly shallow allowing the cable to kink in that spot. Loading the cable further back should not result in that kink

Unless placed more deeply than it appears I'd say what you see is 100% to be expected. Any cam will do something like this to vary degrees (cable flexibility being a major determining factor). Metolius cams would be likely to kink more than say Aliens/basics

Broadly speaking, it's a bit disconcerting how many posts i see questioning if "X" damage is normal quickly followed by the "send it back for testing". Many people seem to a) not get the forces at play in trad falls on gear b) grossly over estimate the stoutness of said gear and c) at the slightest sign of wear immediately abandon all common sense and independent thought and call for manufacturer
Testing. If DMM or BD pay for the shipping and testing of every kinked cable they'd go broke.

Climbers need to engage their brains and self reliance a bit more and make measured And well reasoned choices as to when and why to pull the proverbial emergency brake on "suspect gear".

The above looks like classic damaged while in use, did what it was intended to do, time to buy a new one territory

Stuff breaks from normal use more often than faulty gear. Learning to identify one from the other should be a requisite trad climbing skill. There are far more complicated things in this game to be sure

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By limpingcrab
From Visalia, CA
Aug 15, 2014
Huge invisible muscles
Holy cow. Again, it's fine. Try to place it more in the direction of fall next time. Until then, bend it straight and climb on.

Do some research, invisible breaks and microfractures etc. are a myth.

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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Aug 15, 2014
limpingcrab wrote:
Do some research, invisible breaks and microfractures etc. are a myth.
Actually they are not, and I have seen them occur under a scanning electron microscope. Microfractures are BS, but cracks that are not visible to the eye most certainly exist, especially in aluminum. It's called fatigue. Under standard use, this is not something that concerns us. However, under conditions of repeated cycle loading, aluminum has a tendency to crack from fatigue.

Typically, the crack starts at the portion of the device that is under greatest stress (as measured in PSI). On a micro level, at the section of the device under the greatest amount of stress, the crack typically starts at some form of abnormality in the surface of the device. It is standard for small scratches and dings to exist on a finished product because of the manufacturing process (they don’t exactly polish carabiners with 4000 grit sandpaper), and fatigue cracks typically start in one of the scratches or dings at the location under greatest stress.

Anyway, once the crack starts it continues to propagate under additional load cycles until the product fails. This condition is well-known and well-studied, especially in the aviation industry. I have seen aluminum pulleys and carabiners fail from fatigue when used in slacklining, so under abnormal and extreme conditions cracks that are not visible to the eye can and do occur. Aluminum is especially susceptible to fatigue. In fact, aluminum has no fatigue resistance value (my term), which means ANY load no matter how small can technically induce fatigue. The load only determines how many cycles are required for the material to fail. Steel is also susceptible to fatigue, but to a much less degree than aluminum, and most alloys do have fatigue resistance values (typically 10% of breaking strength) in which any load below the fatigue resistance value will not induce fatigue, regardless of how many cycles the material is subjected to.

Another method of failure, more relevant to the topic at hand, is yielding failure by which material that is stretched past its elastic limit (AKA yield strength) changes in shape permanently (albeit not necessarily visibly).

Fatigue in AL:



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By Gunks Jesse
From Shawangunk Township, NY
Aug 15, 2014
Tetonia
limpingcrab wrote:
Do some research, invisible breaks and microfractures etc. are a myth.


This is absolutely false. It reminds me of a saying we use in the engineering world: "In God we trust. All others bring data."

20kn is absolutely correct. I thought that I'd add the following data from the AISC LRFD manual (used to design bridges and structures):

"Fatigue, as used in this Specification, is defined as the damage that may result in fracture after a sufficient number of fluctuations of stress. Stress range is defined as the magnitude of these fluctuations. In the case of a stress reversal (i.e. bending the wire back) the stress range shall be computed as the numerical sum of maximum repeated tensile and compressive stresses or the sum of maximum shearing stresses of opposite direction at a given point, resulting from differing arrangement of live load."

The number of loading cycles determine loading condition. A stress category is next selected based on the type of attachment method (in this case swaging). The category and condition are matched up to determine the allowable stress range for a particular application.

In the case of the cam, you are considering a complex stress system that entails fatigue, stress due to bending (compression above the centroidal axis and tension below the centroidal axis), a shear stress at the point where the cable exits the swage, and a tensile stress generated from the fall. This is a very complex mathematical formula to calculate the actual loading placed on the cam. I'm not willing to put my license on the line and make wild statements that encourage someone to go out and climb on a potentially compromised piece of mechanical gear.

The simplest answer is send it back to Black Diamond and allow their engineers and technicians to examine it. The understand all of the mechanical engineering that goes into it, as well as the failure modes.

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By limpingcrab
From Visalia, CA
Aug 15, 2014
Huge invisible muscles
Let me rephrase. Materials can of course have stress fractures and problems that are invisible to the naked eye. At the same time I've never heard of any case where this can caused a climbing accident and I know of many cases where dropped gear has been tested and still retains it's strength.

I should add that I'm no materials engineer so I'm pretty much talking out of my ass. I just did a lot of reading and research about this back when I thought buying used gear was a death wish. What I learned just encouraged me to buy used gear with a visual inspection.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Aug 15, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
limpingcrab wrote:
Let me rephrase. Materials can of course have stress fractures and problems that are invisible to the naked eye. At the same time I've never heard of any case where this can caused a climbing accident and I know of many cases where dropped gear has been tested and still retains it's strength. I should add that I'm no materials engineer so I'm pretty much talking out of my ass. I just did a lot of reading and research about this back when I thought buying used gear was a death wish. What I learned just encouraged me to buy used gear with a visual inspection.

And would that cam pass your visual inspection criteria for buying used gear?

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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Aug 15, 2014
I think supporting statements witch SEM pictures should be the standard on MP.
Well done 20kN, well done!

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Aug 15, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
This is some ideas from someone that would have the same questions if I ended up with that cam...

Can't you ask a friend or mentor? How bout a shop that has employees you trust. Writing this makes me appreciate the fact I have both.

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By Maurice Chaunders
Aug 15, 2014
Colombian Crack
Zappatista wrote:
Is anyone's life really worth $60 or $70?


I'll eat a 70 dollar bill and sh1t in your mouth

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By limpingcrab
From Visalia, CA
Aug 15, 2014
Huge invisible muscles
"And would that cam pass your visual inspection criteria for buying used gear?"

Yup, if none of the wires were broken. I've bent cams worse than that just hanging at a belay, it really doesn't look like much to me.

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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
Aug 18, 2014
slim wrote:
dude, seriously? looking at the list of routes you have done it doensn't look like you have fallen on gear a whole lot. sure seems like a lot of folks who probably don't fall on gear too often are super bold....

guideline #1?

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