Review by: jcinco, 2004-06-18
This is a great product. I came across the Cam Doctor while trying to find shipping information for CCH. The trigger wire on my red Alien had broken a mere 10 days for my departure to the Needles in the Sierra Nevada. The red alien has always been my money piece, and I desperately wanted to fix it before my trip. While wandering into Neptune's in Boulder to get the CCH address, one of the salesmen showed me the Cam Doctor. The Cam Doctor has enough swages and cable to fix around 10 cams. A $40 investment seemed like a bargain compared to the $25 per pop, and one month waiting time, when you put the job in the hands of the manufacturer.
For most cams, it takes about 45 minutes per repair. The instructions seem a little overwhelming at first, but it all makes sense after a repair or two. Best to start by practicing on larger cams first, which are easier to repair. So far I've fixed 5 cam triggers, consisting of two Kong cams (#3 and #4 camalot sized), an orange Metolius TCU, a #2.5 forged Friend, and the red Alien. After the repair, these cams are all basically as good as new. My orange TCU, which I've always had problems with, now works better than when it was originally purchased!
My only complaint is in the difficulty in fixing Aliens. I preface this by saying that my kit didn't come with the small wires and swages for Aliens, so it is likely that the repairs work better with those components. It seems that the Cam Doctors that are purchased online come with these extra pieces. For my red alien repair, the crimping tool was too large for the process of swaging the wires due to the tightness of the CCH design. The wires, stem, cam lobes are all simply too close together to accomodate the swaging tool. I was able to complete the swage by using the wire cutter, but this might not be optimal in the long run.
In any case, any trad climber who climbs frequently has to eventually deal with broken trigger wires. I've had several cams with broken triggers sitting around for years. If you're willing to devote some time to a little tinkering, then you should give the Cam Doctor a try.
[edit: I recently spoke to the company via email, and they mailed me the swages and small pins for Alien repairs for free. Excellent customer service.]