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Omega Cam Breaking!
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dirtme


Nov 27, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Re: [wanderlustmd] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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I sent the photos and cam to Michael. I'd reserve judgement on the quality of the equipment or my climbing ability until everything has been sorted out.




(This post was edited by dirtme on Nov 27, 2007, 11:47 AM)
Attachments: placement.JPG (80.4 KB)


shrug7


Nov 27, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Re: [dirtme] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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Just for curiosity... was the lobe that broke on the top or bottom of the placement.

And any top shots of this placement you're willing to post now?


wanderlustmd


Nov 27, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Re: [dirtme] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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dirtme wrote:
I sent the photos and cam to Michael. I'd reserve judgement on the quality of the equipment or my climbing ability until everything has been sorted out.

[image]http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_attachment;postatt_id=1646;[/image]

I meant nothing negative in regard to your ability at all. I've used link cams a few times and they seem like a really good idea, but this isn't the first time something like this has happened (as I'm sure you know).

Like you said above, nothing is perfect or 100% reliable, but you can see what I'm saying. When was the last time a camalot busted under load (knock on wood)?

Keep us posted!


dirtme


Nov 27, 2007, 12:10 PM
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Re: [shrug7] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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When I was falling, I didn't have the concentration to notice which cam broke, the top or bottom. Looking at the pictures, I'm fairly certain it was the bottom one. Either way I can't imagine the top one being the one that broke.

"Top shots"? I climbed 2 feet past the cam and was adjusting my stance and I just popped. I didn't have a chance to whip out a camera. :)


shrug7


Nov 27, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Re: [dirtme] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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Thanks Smile

I figured as much but I thought I'd ask anyway.
Glad you are alright.

And please keep us all posted what OP says.


dirtme


Nov 27, 2007, 1:03 PM
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Re: [wanderlustmd] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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I've second guessed my placement and the cam myself. My wife second guessed my second guesses. I wouldn't blame anyone out there to doubt my placement or ability at all.

All in all, I still remain pretty confident that this placement was solid. The lobes were deep. The cam didn't walk. The direction of fall is towards the left side of the crack so the alignment of the cam is fine. The fall wasn't long, about 2 feet past the piece. The cam was about 12 feet up so there was approximately 14-15 feet of rope out. The climber and the belayer both weight about 160. The rope was "relatively" new. I haven't taken any long falls on it. I think it is a 10.2 sterling.

My primary rack consists of camelots and aliens. They are older aliens, previous to 2001, but now my wife is going to make me swap those out for the micro camelots but that's a similiar but different story. Mad

I also agree that camelots can't break this way. The lobes are solid and don't have these areas of weakness where the cams are connected. That was the risk I was willing to take for an extended range. They didn't replace my camelots but they supplement my rack well. I also thought that they would be better in flares because there are more points of contact. In hindsight, I don't know if that's the case since a fully extended cam won't pivot but will instead snap at the weaker points. Or better stated, have a higher probability of snapping.


Partner angry


Nov 27, 2007, 1:25 PM
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Re: [dirtme] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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dirtme wrote:
but now my wife is going to make me swap those out for the micro camelots but that's a similiar but different story.


Too bad, it looks like a perfect purple or orange alien spot to me.


dirtme


Nov 27, 2007, 1:30 PM
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Re: [angry] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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I only use aliens from blue to red. I've never been fond of the larger ones.


Partner cracklover


Nov 27, 2007, 1:46 PM
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Re: [angry] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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angry wrote:
dirtme wrote:
but now my wife is going to make me swap those out for the micro camelots but that's a similiar but different story.


Too bad, it looks like a perfect purple or orange alien spot to me.

To be fair, it looks like a perfect placement for the cam he placed there, too. And as it's a pod, I can see why having a cam that's got that much range could be a plus.

I look forward to finding out what OP has to say when they look at the cam.

GO


stoehnercd


Nov 27, 2007, 2:20 PM
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Re: [ja1484] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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ja1484 wrote:
This is why I hung back on these things for a while. The more moving parts you add...
Amen brother, I wont be buying any for a while. Glad I went with some new Camalots instead.


trenchdigger


Nov 27, 2007, 2:46 PM
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Re: [dirtme] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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dirtme wrote:
I sent the photos and cam to Michael. I'd reserve judgement on the quality of the equipment or my climbing ability until everything has been sorted out.

[image]http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_attachment;postatt_id=1646;[/image]

We all appreciate your proactiveness with this, regardless of which side of the fence we sit on.

I'm not trying to point a finger at you, dirtme, but I still question the placement of this cam. From the photo of the placement, we can see that the cam is placed at an angle about 45 degrees from vertical. Though you're climbing up and left, when you fell, gravity pulled you straight down and likely pulled nearly vertically on the cam as the tension in the rope peaked.

My engineering background <non-scientifically based speculation follows> tells me that although these link cams are just as strong as others when loaded in a lab setting (a "perfect" crack, and loaded inline with the placement) they may not be as durable when it comes to off-axis, torqueing loads such as this case. I own the same red link cam, and to be quite honest, I'm not sure I would have had so mouch faith in it in that placement.

While the rounded pod is an ideal seat for the lobes of a regular cam, I think it may have contributed to the failure here. By preventing the cam head from rotating to take the load of the fall on its main axis, the cam lobes were forced to take a portion of the load parallel to the cam axle. Loading a segmented cam in this way is far from ideal. I'm still confident in OP's unique design, but I think this incident may highlight an inherent weakness in cams with this segmented lobe design.</non-scientifically based speculation complete>

I wonder if O.P. did any testing with link cams in these types of loading orientations. If so, I'm curious about the results. It will definitely be interesting to see what results come of this investigation.


(This post was edited by trenchdigger on Nov 27, 2007, 2:49 PM)


donald949


Nov 27, 2007, 4:04 PM
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Re: [trenchdigger] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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Thats what it looks like to me. With the stem acting like a lever on the head.
Don


dirtme


Nov 27, 2007, 4:27 PM
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Re: [donald949] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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It may be but consider that the initial force of the fall, when it failed, would be to the left of the cam. It was never weighted in the absolute vertical position. I also think that a flexible stem would help eleviate this type of leveraging. Anyway, if the cam pulled out it would make more sense then it breaking.


nivlac


Nov 27, 2007, 5:05 PM
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Re: [trenchdigger] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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trenchdigger wrote:

I wonder if O.P. did any testing with link cams in these types of loading orientations. If so, I'm curious about the results. It will definitely be interesting to see what results come of this investigation.

I'm curious too. While I can't see the pod perfectly, it looks like a solid placement to me, given the orientation and width of the pod relative to what was said about the direction of the climb.

Given the trade-offs we make in placing gear within a presumably limited amount of time with gear we expect (hope?) is solid, I'm not sure what else he could have done.

Trenchdigger, are you implying that he could have placed that cam differently or 'better'? I'm not sure I see how, short of perhaps placing a different size/brand cam in there, and that only looks like good advice with the advantage of hindsight. Of course, I'm not an engineer or mechanically inclined.

My two cents.


michaellane


Nov 27, 2007, 6:10 PM
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Re: Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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Hi, Everyone ...

As Dirtme has stated, he and I have been in contact ... several times, actually ... and although we don't have a lot to go on, yet, we've begun our investigation and done what testing we can in advance of tomorrow, when the cam is due to arrive.

Many of you have posted good questions and we'll do our best to test to as many of them as possible and we'll be forthcoming with the answers as soon as we can. The fact is, though, that there may not be too much to share until the entire process is complete.

I was a climber before I worked for the industry, though, so I understand the need for info.

So, this might answer a couple of questions but it must be understood that this may or may not have any context to the issue Dirtme had last week.

We have tested the assembled links for what we call "over-edge" strength. That is, we set up a perpendicular force on one end of a set of outstretched links with the opposite end anchored, stressed over an obstacle, or edge at the mid-points to test the ultimate strength of the hinge points. For comparison, we also purchased and disassembled competitors' cams (four different brands representing all other major players in cams on the market today) and tested their solid, single-piece lobes in the same manner. Our linkage assemblies fail right in the center of the four other brands: some broke at greater levels of force and some broke at lower levels. We performed multiple tests for each brand. You'll have to trust me that these were brands we all know and trust. Deservedly so, I should add, as none of these failed at levels that would alarm anyone.

It must be recognized that there is no standard nor any required strength rating for lobes or links to meet when tested in this manner. Likewise, there is no standardized testing to determine same. It was done solely to confirm earlier, similar tests performed during our R&D phase and to establish--as best we can--some sort of consensus for similar products.

At this point, there isn't anything to suggest that this is not an isolated event. Obviously, there are a number of factors involved in Dirtme's incident. We'll work as best we can to account for them and to determine the cause of the failure.

Hope this helps for now. More to come.

Regards,

--ML

__________________
Michael Lane
Sales & Marketing Director
Omega Pacific


(This post was edited by michaellane on Nov 27, 2007, 6:12 PM)


moose_droppings


Nov 27, 2007, 6:17 PM
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Re: [michaellane] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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^^^

Thank you for your honest reply.


healyje


Nov 27, 2007, 7:06 PM
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Re: [michaellane] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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I personally don't think anyone can fault Michael or OP with regards to their performance as a company standing behind their product - they have been superlative in every respect. I could be completely wrong, but I don't believe there was a quality issue of any kind with this cam, rather a application issue relative to the limitations of an innovative cam design.

Both OP Link Cam and the Trango Max Cam represent fairly radical attempts to push the envelope and boundaries of cam design. I think both need to be taken as such and both companies are due high credit for pursuing these attempts at cam innovation. Both cams offer unique benefits, but neither is without certain trade-offs and limitations which need to be understood before and during their use.

Nature just has a way of revealing the weakness and limits of all designs - natural and synthetic alike - and innovative cam designs are no exception even in the face of well-designed engineering tests. From my perspective it doesn't take a rocket scientest to realize the fragility of the linkages in question and I've been saying all along we were likely to see some of these types of failures. That doesn't mean that Link cams don't have their uses and utility - they clearly do. What it does mean is they probably have their limits with regard to placements such as this one where there is a great deal of interior surface features and texture and a potential for stem leverage, whole cam rotation, or a combination of both.

Bottom line is I'd use them still, but hey - you clearly need to put some thought into how "clean" the placement is relative to the design limitations. Also in that regard, this isn't a cam I'd be inclined to short-sling in that I wouldn't want the stem riding up and then rotating down hard on those linkages in a fall.

All just my opinion, though I suspect we'll see more of these failures, but I consider them "pilot error" (no offense dirtme) in exceeding the limits of the design than a defect or deficiency on the part of the manufacturer. If you want a sure thing every time then you probably stick with the tried and true rather than sporting with cutting edge of innovation. I'd say use such innovatiive cams to augment your rack if you want, but do know what placements are appropriate to use them in.


scott0708


Nov 27, 2007, 7:53 PM
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Re: [healyje] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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Healyje and Trenchdigger- Thank you very much for your well thought-out and well-written posts.
I had just purchased a new link cam a week before I read about this incident, and it really made me question my decision. I feel better about it now, although I'll be anxiously awaiting OP's findings.

Anyways, both of your posts, concerning how to correctly place the cams, are very helpful. I definitely agree that these cams will take a little extra though in their placement, which is a price you pay for the extra range.
Just looking at the cam and speculating, I would say that perhaps these cams would have a harder time rotating towards the direction of the load, especially when placed in the smaller part of their range. I say this because all the extra cam lobes could catch on irregularities within the crack and inhibit rotation. Anyways, this is just speculation, but it's something I'll think about next time I place a link cam.

-Scott


donald949


Nov 28, 2007, 4:26 PM
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Re: [scott0708] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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Glad dirtme was not injured in this event. Also, thanks for posting up the photos and the story behind the fall. I'm very intested in as much as I'd like to learn what went wrong, so I can avoid injuries myself. As I'm sure everyone else.
Based on how Omega was forth coming on the rivet event, I'm sure they will do so again. I was able to sure my climbing partner how to inspect the rivets on his links.
I keep hearing that a larger link is in the works. I'm holding out for it as belay anchor/Thank God piece.
Don


Partner artm


Nov 29, 2007, 1:04 PM
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Re: [angry] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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angry wrote:
dirtme wrote:
but now my wife is going to make me swap those out for the micro camelots but that's a similiar but different story.


Too bad, it looks like a perfect purple or orange alien spot to me.
I placed an orange alien in that spot.
Truck.
I also meatbombed on it in that spot, fortunately it did not explode.


trenchdigger


Nov 29, 2007, 1:47 PM
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Re: [nivlac] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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nivlac wrote:
Trenchdigger, are you implying that he could have placed that cam differently or 'better'? I'm not sure I see how, short of perhaps placing a different size/brand cam in there, and that only looks like good advice with the advantage of hindsight. Of course, I'm not an engineer or mechanically inclined.

My two cents.

No, I'm saying that type of cam may not be ideal for that type of placement due to the design. I think a solid-lobed cam with a very flexible stem would best protect the climber in that placement.

A few posts above,healyje summarizes my thoughts on this better than I did... I couldn't agree more.


mheyman


Nov 29, 2007, 4:03 PM
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Re: [healyje] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I could be completely wrong, but I don't believe there was a quality issue of any kind with this cam, rather an application issue relative to the limitations of an innovative cam design.

If as you suspect this turns, out to be a design issue, the OP will have to fix it or terminate production. Neither climbers nor OPs insurance will put up with unit failure. Like all their competitors, they can skirt liability with placement failure, but not failure of the gear itself.

I would not even bother to write this, but as you noted a lot of people have been concerned about this from before these units were available. Not surprisingly it sounds as if OP has done at least some testing in this regard.
Note that even if was due to a manufacturing defect, it may still be an engineering or production problem if the unit can not be produced reliably, and the defect can not be detected.

We’ll just have to wait and see, but at least OP is responsive!


healyje


Nov 30, 2007, 1:01 AM
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mheyman wrote:
In reply to:
I could be completely wrong, but I don't believe there was a quality issue of any kind with this cam, rather an application issue relative to the limitations of an innovative cam design.

If as you suspect this turns, out to be a design issue, the OP will have to fix it or terminate production. Neither climbers nor OPs insurance will put up with unit failure. Like all their competitors, they can skirt liability with placement failure, but not failure of the gear itself.

To be honest, I can't really say I agree with this. If we want innovation in climbing then these types of products need to be able to come to market. Whether they succeed or not, and for what reasons, is another matter all together. All products have design limits which should not be exceeded, this one is no different. I'm personally not for dumbing gear down in an attempt to circumvent personal responsibility on the part of climbers.

I will say, however, that back in the day when trad climbing was just climbing and there were no other options, lead climbers got smart fast or quit leading and there were fewer folks lingering in the middle ground than there are today where folks may dabble along for quite awhile going back and forth between bouldering, sport, and trad. My point being folks today often don't build their skills base as fast and sometimes linger in an intermediate state for a long time. That means more folks are likely to end up in situations like this one than in times of olde and you may be right that manufacturers will weigh that in their evaluations and planning.

But the design limitation issue still stands - if you fall onto a biner over an edge it will break and it wouldn't be the manufacturer's fault - it would be your's for misapplying it product. Know your gear.


Partner cracklover


Nov 30, 2007, 8:47 AM
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Plenty of interesting food for thought in this thread, thanks all. And a special thanks to Michael from OP, for his forthright responses. They are very much appreciated.

I'd like to agree with those who are saying that, in principle, it is possible that there may be nothing "fixable" with the cam, even though the same fall on the same placement might cause a significant number of units to break. If there is simply a design limitation, it will be good to become aware of it, and continue to use the cams with that limitation in mind.

One thought I had on the subject: The length of the chain of lobes when the cam is completely extended is not an issue in the ideal fall, because they're completely unweighted. But if the lobes are all extended, and the cam is at an angle such that the stem or the rope or the clipping biner pushes down on the extended lobes, I can see how there could be sufficient leverage to cause damage to those extended lobes. And since the linkage points are the weak links in the chain, you'd expect a crack to happen there.

So I'd posit that a previous fall of the type I've described above *may* have caused a crack at one of the link points. Such a crack would seriously compromise the strength of the piece on subsequent falls in which the cam is placed in a larger crack, where that linkage point is now weighted in a fall.

Perhaps extra vigilance is required to check those linkage points for cracks (real cracks, not mythical micro-fractures) after any falls, especially falls in which the cam is not vertically oriented.

GO


bootlegger


Dec 2, 2007, 5:17 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Omega Cam Breaking! [In reply to]
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Gotta disagree with healyje on this one. A cam coming out of a placement is one thing, and is typically user error. But based on the photo, I would never expect a cam to literally break in that situation. If these cams are subject to breakage in that small a 'non-vertical' orientation, then OP needs to put some serious guidance/restrictions out in their marketing materials.

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