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Re: [adatesman] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES
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IsayAutumn


May 21, 2009, 1:01 PM
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Re: [dynosore] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I don't care if the cam sat in the rain 4 years, was run over by a Mack truck, and thrown off a cliff. The braze appears to be bad from the factory, period.

I personally think the history is important, even though it "appears" the braze is bad "from the factory."

To me, there is still some reason for doubt in this whole affair. If you want to burn me at the stake, so be it.


bill413


May 21, 2009, 1:21 PM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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IsayAutumn wrote:
In reply to:
I don't care if the cam sat in the rain 4 years, was run over by a Mack truck, and thrown off a cliff. The braze appears to be bad from the factory, period.

I personally think the history is important, even though it "appears" the braze is bad "from the factory."

To me, there is still some reason for doubt in this whole affair. If you want to burn me at the stake, so be it.
So your theory is that the rain/wind/sun washed the brazing material out of the joint?
Interesting.


IsayAutumn


May 21, 2009, 1:25 PM
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Re: [bill413] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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bill413 wrote:
IsayAutumn wrote:
In reply to:
I don't care if the cam sat in the rain 4 years, was run over by a Mack truck, and thrown off a cliff. The braze appears to be bad from the factory, period.

I personally think the history is important, even though it "appears" the braze is bad "from the factory."

To me, there is still some reason for doubt in this whole affair. If you want to burn me at the stake, so be it.
So your theory is that the rain/wind/sun washed the brazing material out of the joint?
Interesting.

No.


tigerlilly


May 21, 2009, 1:30 PM
Post #129 of 747 (6040 views)
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Re: [IsayAutumn] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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IsayAutumn wrote:
bill413 wrote:
IsayAutumn wrote:
In reply to:
I don't care if the cam sat in the rain 4 years, was run over by a Mack truck, and thrown off a cliff. The braze appears to be bad from the factory, period.

I personally think the history is important, even though it "appears" the braze is bad "from the factory."

To me, there is still some reason for doubt in this whole affair. If you want to burn me at the stake, so be it.
So your theory is that the rain/wind/sun washed the brazing material out of the joint?
Interesting.

No.

Ok, so what is your theory on how the brazing material got out of the joint?


IsayAutumn


May 21, 2009, 1:32 PM
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Re: [tigerlilly] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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tigerlilly wrote:
IsayAutumn wrote:
bill413 wrote:
IsayAutumn wrote:
In reply to:
I don't care if the cam sat in the rain 4 years, was run over by a Mack truck, and thrown off a cliff. The braze appears to be bad from the factory, period.

I personally think the history is important, even though it "appears" the braze is bad "from the factory."

To me, there is still some reason for doubt in this whole affair. If you want to burn me at the stake, so be it.
So your theory is that the rain/wind/sun washed the brazing material out of the joint?
Interesting.

No.

Ok, so what is your theory on how the brazing material got out of the joint?

My theory is that it was a poor factory braze job and should have been caught in QC process.


Rudmin


May 21, 2009, 1:37 PM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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Although it's not the best brazing job, it might have been good enough to stand up to the rated spec up until the outer wires (the ones with the most braze) got tweaked and broken from use, leaving the unbrazed inner wires to take all of the load and rip out.


jrathfon


May 21, 2009, 1:50 PM
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Re: [Rudmin] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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Rudmin wrote:
Although it's not the best brazing job, it might have been good enough to stand up to the rated spec up until the outer wires (the ones with the most braze) got tweaked and broken from use, leaving the unbrazed inner wires to take all of the load and rip out.

I personally would prefer to have the best brazing job done on my cams. I don't like time bomb pieces on my rack.

If all the wires were brazed, as they should have been, the cam would not have failed at 5kN regardless of 3 + odd wires that were "tweaked".


adatesman


May 21, 2009, 1:54 PM
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jrathfon


May 21, 2009, 2:11 PM
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Re: [adatesman] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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adatesman wrote:
jrathfon wrote:
Rudmin wrote:
Although it's not the best brazing job, it might have been good enough to stand up to the rated spec up until the outer wires (the ones with the most braze) got tweaked and broken from use, leaving the unbrazed inner wires to take all of the load and rip out.

I personally would prefer to have the best brazing job done on my cams. I don't like time bomb pieces on my rack.

If all the wires were brazed, as they should have been, the cam would not have failed at 5kN regardless of 3 + odd wires that were "tweaked".

As I just read in another thread.... BING BING BING! We have a winner!

But we are in a land where disposable one use items are in vogue... so maybe the lack of an average quality braze is a good thing? You only get one fall on that cam, then you have to trade it in, sorry...


tigerlilly


May 21, 2009, 2:13 PM
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Re: [Rudmin] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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Rudmin wrote:
Although it's not the best brazing job, it might have been good enough to stand up to the rated spec up until the outer wires (the ones with the most braze) got tweaked and broken from use, leaving the unbrazed inner wires to take all of the load and rip out.

It is not reasonable to expect about 60% of the strands to carry 100% of the load. Even new, this unit probably would have failed well below the rated load.


spikeddem


May 21, 2009, 2:17 PM
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Re: [adatesman] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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I feel like nobody has really pointed it out yet (sorry if I missed the post(s)), but I think it's worth throwing my observation out there.

In the past, the issue seemed a bit more binary, that is to say that the cams were either BOMBER or FAILURE. Put another way, if a cam held 3 kN or more, it was assumed to be good all the way to its breaking strength. As I understand it, the new issue with this red cam is more gradient like. Think about it: this cam would have passed a 4 kN pull-test, but it was obviously still not OK.

If the strength of the cam is positively correlated with the quality of the braze wicking, then the strengths could be all over the board, and it seems it would be very challenging to determine how much should be applied to a cam during a pull-test.

Moreover, a bounce test would hardly do anything at catching the braze wicking issue.

Is my suggestion in line with the evidence according provided by Aric?


(This post was edited by spikeddem on May 21, 2009, 2:48 PM)


adatesman


May 21, 2009, 2:21 PM
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IsayAutumn


May 21, 2009, 2:29 PM
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Re: [adatesman] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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Aric-

I think deleting this person's posts and not allowing him/her to post here is a crock. If this person is from CCH, then he or she should come out and say it. But even so, if you are allowed to use this giant soap box to tell a large swath of the climbing community that a company's products are no good based on an unverified (from CCH's perspective) test of one bootied cam (and that is exactly what you have done), then your detractors should be allowed to post as well. Using the excuse that the thread is highly moderated is a cop out. I don't necessarily disagree with you or your test results, but I think you are crossing the line by not allowing this person to post.

--Isay


roy_hinkley_jr


May 21, 2009, 2:30 PM
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Re: [tigerlilly] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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tigerlilly wrote:
Rudmin wrote:
Although it's not the best brazing job, it might have been good enough to stand up to the rated spec up until the outer wires (the ones with the most braze) got tweaked and broken from use, leaving the unbrazed inner wires to take all of the load and rip out.

It is not reasonable to expect about 60% of the strands to carry 100% of the load. Even new, this unit probably would have failed well below the rated load.

Rudmin is correct, With things that stretch, like rope, a few cut strands won't impact strength too much. But it doesn't work that way with metal. As soon as a couple strands are broken (and there may well have been more than the 3 you saw), it sets up a cascade failure where each strand breaks one at a time instead of working together, this is exacerbated if the angle of pull is off even slightly.

Along with the unknown history (are you certain there is no rust or corrosion inside the cable?), this still sounds like much ado about nothing. Really not surprising at all and would likely happen in a lot of other products besides CCH.


adatesman


May 21, 2009, 2:35 PM
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adatesman


May 21, 2009, 2:39 PM
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roy_hinkley_jr


May 21, 2009, 2:51 PM
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adatesman wrote:
Oh, wait. That broke at almost 15kN. After I cut half of the outer cam lobes off to send for hardness testing. It was rated to 12kN.

Enough with the armchair engineering Roy, you're out of your league..

And exactly how many strands were visibly cut on that one?

Methinks you are the one who doesn't understand a lot of what you're trying to do. Breaking things is fun but you're jumping to a lot of wild conclusions based on tiny sample sizes. The fact is there haven't been ANY failures reported from that production time period despite what is likely 1000s of falls with loads greater than 5 kN. All you're shown is that gear with broken cables are suspect, duh.


notapplicable


May 21, 2009, 2:57 PM
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Re: [roy_hinkley_jr] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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roy_hinkley_jr wrote:
tigerlilly wrote:
Rudmin wrote:
Although it's not the best brazing job, it might have been good enough to stand up to the rated spec up until the outer wires (the ones with the most braze) got tweaked and broken from use, leaving the unbrazed inner wires to take all of the load and rip out.

It is not reasonable to expect about 60% of the strands to carry 100% of the load. Even new, this unit probably would have failed well below the rated load.

Rudmin is correct, With things that stretch, like rope, a few cut strands won't impact strength too much. But it doesn't work that way with metal. As soon as a couple strands are broken (and there may well have been more than the 3 you saw), it sets up a cascade failure where each strand breaks one at a time instead of working together, this is exacerbated if the angle of pull is off even slightly.

Along with the unknown history (are you certain there is no rust or corrosion inside the cable?), this still sounds like much ado about nothing. Really not surprising at all and would likely happen in a lot of other products besides CCH.

All units with an incomplete brazing may not fail well below spec but some most certainly will. Hell, I wouldn't care if the red alien in question had failed at it's rated strength of 15 kn. The issue is that half-assed construction and QC has been a persistent problem in the assembly process and there is no way to determine the number of units effected. The holding strength of an individual unit is inconsequential, the fact that units before and after the recall date are poorly assembled is a major problem.


adatesman


May 21, 2009, 2:59 PM
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afahrlan


May 21, 2009, 3:22 PM
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roy_hinkley_jr wrote:
All you're shown is that gear with broken cables are suspect, duh.

Broken cables could certainly be expected to reduce the unit's strength and I would've been surprised, given the cam's condition, if it tested to its rated strength due to the weakened cable. But the cable is not what failed during the pull test. As you can clearly see in Aric's pictures, the remaining wire was strong enough to hold 5kN until the brazing failed by way of the remaining wire pulling out of the joint. And his cross-section photo clearly shows that the joint was under-filled with braze at the factory.

This is clearly a manufacturing defect, not something that could have happened to the cam during its questionable history. Bottom line: would you fall on a brand-new Alien if you knew that the brazing joint was under-filled in the same way as this test sample? Because the original owner of this cam was in that exact same situation, except they didn't have the benefit of Aric's testing to know that this cam was a time bomb.

Andrew


adatesman


May 21, 2009, 3:32 PM
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healyje


May 21, 2009, 3:38 PM
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Re: [adatesman] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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Maybe we should take stock for a moment given this has been going on for years now. So, here's a list of problems that have gotten by CCH's best QC efforts and shipped to us:

- Misdrilled Axle Holes
- Unswaged Stem Loops
- Size Color Coded Wrong
- Inconsistent Cam Lobe Hardness
- Missing Axle Washers
- Failing Axles
- Quenched Brazes
- Incomplete Brazes
- Bad 'Tensile Tested' Cams

And let's be straight up front - shit happens and things go wrong in manufacturing - it's unavoidable. The name of the game is to not let bad parts get further down the line and not shipping bad finished goods out the door. And there are multiple straightforward QC solutions for each of the problems listed above that would prevent goods exhibiting any of these problems from shipping. Those solutions aren't rocket science and CCH's enduring inability to successfully [and openly] institute these measures over the course of several years means the real problem is cultural and lies at the feet of the owner.

The issues we have been faced with since the beginning of this saga are fourfold. First, for every bad cam we discover and post up about, you can bet your ass there are X number of similarly bad aliens still out there either sitting on a store shelf or hanging on someone's rack waiting to be discovered. Second, we now know that there are variously bad Aliens shipped both prior to and after the recall. Third, in all likelyhood CCH is still incapable of preventing bad goods from shipping perpetuating the problem. The fourth, and most telling, is that CCH and Dave's ability to communicate remain immovably unchanged; it is still steeped in silence, lack of openess, defensiveness, denial, and accusation.

Taken together they paint a grim picture of a situation unlikely to change in any significant way and that an unknown percentage of Aliens shipped by CCH in any given year will be bad in one way or another. It should also be noted that these sad realities exist despite of the best efforts of any number of highly experienced people in and out of the climbing gear industry's best efforts to help CCH out with advice, assistance, and even offers to buy them out. To-date, all such efforts have failed for a variety of reasons.

Many of us appreciate what CCH brought to the table with Aliens and love many aspects of the design. But to those of you who can't simultaneously manage the duality of loving leading on Aliens on one hand and acknowledging the obvious malignancy inherent in their manufacture, I would say it's no different than any other aspect of climbing - we are all responsible for recognizing, acknowledging, evaluating, and taking risks - the name of the game is doing so wisely and with your eyes open.

At this point anyone who is operating in blind denial because 'I love my Aliens' is a fool and incompetent in my book and I wouldn't climb with you. Want to buy or keep climbing on Aliens? Cool - but then it's on you to ensure every one is competently tested by yourself or anyone but CCH whose 'Tensile Tested' test mark has been proven untrustworthy.

The only sure thing thing you can say about Aliens at this point is there are still a lot of time bombs out there and this won't be the last word or thread on bad Aliens on RC.com - this beat will, unfortunately, go on...


the_climber


May 21, 2009, 4:10 PM
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Re: [Johnny_Fang] SAFETY ALERT- MORE ALIEN FAILURES [In reply to]
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Aric, I'll echo the "good job".


Johnny_Fang wrote:
on another note, can someone give me some information about brazing, namely does/can brazing 'flake off' or is it bonded to the material? can working a nut tool or exposure to the elements deteriorate brazing, or does the lack of brazing on these wires indicate without a doubt that they never received brazing? it sounds to me from the posts above that they are pretty well bonded, but i want to make sure.

J_F, brazing bonds the metal. It doesn't just flake off. Done right Brazing is about as good and as stong as it gets. It does not simply flake away. If it isn't there, it wasn't there to begin with. That it has not been done correctly, is only the tip of the iceburg as Healyje points out. There is a pattern of poor QC and a pattern of not accepting or admiting the fact that there IS an issue.

(Metolius, Trango, Camp,... these are other companies which use brazing on climbing protection.)


(This post was edited by the_climber on May 21, 2009, 4:11 PM)

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