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Transceiver replacement

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I have a first year Mammut Barryvox Pulse, which is now 12 years old. It has performed extremely well but has never been used in a real situation. I have taken care of it and it has had its firmware upgraded as required. It still seems to work fine both in send and receive mode.

Most gear has a lifespan. I understand also that older Ortovox F1s had issues with frequency drift as the beacons aged but I haven't heard anything similar about newer three antenna beacons. Should I think about retiring the unit on grounds of age alone or am I safe to keep using the unit?
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@gorilla, good question - we have original Mammut Barryvoxs. I am now wondering if they are past their best by dates...
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Buy an Arva evo 5
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You probably know about this already:

https://beaconreviews.com
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@gorilla, Replace it with either the new Barryvox or the Barryvox S. I was using the Barryvox Pulse updated to V4 software, and it was the best in terms of accuracy of all the top end models I tested. It did have some issues, mainly susceptibility to electronic interference and very occasionally a screen contrast issue when going from warm to very cold (think Heli or Cat skiing).

I thoroughly tested the Ortovox S1+, Peips Pro, BCA Tracker 3 and Arva Axio. They all of course worked, but I always found the Barryvox Pulse, easiest to use with the most direct path and easily the best fine search if the Intelligent Search was enabled. The only one I wouldn't recommend was the Axio, as it had the tendency to point you in the wrong direction at the limit of its range, whereas the others either showed nothing (until in range) or the correct direction. This 'direction issue' was confirmed by others, and was considered to be part of the search, and that you should just keep moving until the direction stabilizes. I lost confidence in it because of that. I understand that transceivers can lock onto the field lines in the wrong direction (180 degrees), but as soon as you move they indicate you should reverse direction.

I bought the new Barryvox S when it was released, and found in back to back testing that it outperformed the Barryvox Pulse in every way, including the interference and screen contrast. I'm a techie and much prefer the LCD display giving a 360 degree arrow display, rather then the 5 lights of the LED models.
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@gorilla, how about doing a field test and see how it performs?

I found this article which is perhaps is where you heard of "frequency drift"

I could be wrong but I think the article is saying that the 20 year old F1's are still in tolerance but could cost a few metres in range - so perhaps still fit for use just not optimal.

The article suggests they "really ought to be serviced" but not sure where you can get beacons serviced or if that is economically viable.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Found a service page for Ortovox - not sure of cost though.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Interesting report and conclusion
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Layne wrote:
@gorilla, how about doing a field test and see how it performs?

I found this article which is perhaps is where you heard of "frequency drift"

I could be wrong but I think the article is saying that the 20 year old F1's are still in tolerance but could cost a few metres in range - so perhaps still fit for use just not optimal.

The article suggests they "really ought to be serviced" but not sure where you can get beacons serviced or if that is economically viable.


I've re-read what I wrote and it's not very clear there. I don't want to suggest using those F1's as live devices. My observation about getting them serviced was purely that they're not entirely effective as training devices.

Likewise for the BCA, it's a bit long in the tooth for live use. Since someone lost it this winter then it won't be used for training either although I'm not without hope we'll locate it. I returned to the scene a day or two later to find some Swiss colleagues running a winter assessment on the same site which shows we all pick the same terrain but they trashed the area too much to find anything not transmitting.


Over in the US, if you take an F1 for service they'll offer an upgrade. In the UK, try Noble Custom, I think they're the agent for our pro deal at least.

These things won't mix and match well. The ability of the barryvox to find older devices is linked to it superior processing power and ability to solve complex signals.
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gorilla wrote:
I have a first year Mammut Barryvox Pulse, which is now 12 years old. It has performed extremely well but has never been used in a real situation. I have taken care of it and it has had its firmware upgraded as required. It still seems to work fine both in send and receive mode.

Most gear has a lifespan. I understand also that older Ortovox F1s had issues with frequency drift as the beacons aged but I haven't heard anything similar about newer three antenna beacons. Should I think about retiring the unit on grounds of age alone or am I safe to keep using the unit?


sorry, I'm reading backwards. Older F1's had a ceramic oscillator which didn't last long, the failure was more profound at lower temperatures so it was quite serious. The updated oscillator in the F1 Focus should be better and my test showed that was pretty spot on still.

The Pulse uses digital signal generation and clock, it really shouldn't drift without it knowing about. I would have said it's not related to single or triple antenna *but* the extended self-check isn't possible without three antennas.

We sell off devices at three years old. That's purely economic, I can get the purchase price or close to at three years. If it was based on obscelence then I'd probably need to think a bit, maybe 6 years.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
ise wrote:
I've re-read what I wrote and it's not very clear there. I don't want to suggest using those F1's as live devices. My observation about getting them serviced was purely that they're not entirely effective as training devices.

training device = transmit, live device = receive? In other words the F1 was used purely to be found, not as an instrument to do any finding?

And when you are talking about transceivers being "off frequency" you mean their ability to be found?

ise wrote:
These things won't mix and match well. The ability of the barryvox to find older devices is linked to it superior processing power and ability to solve complex signals.

Sorry could you elaborate? Do you mean if the transceiver you are trying to find is different it will impair performance?
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Thanks all for the feedback. I wrote to Mammut for a ruling and will report back on what they say.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Layne wrote:
ise wrote:
I've re-read what I wrote and it's not very clear there. I don't want to suggest using those F1's as live devices. My observation about getting them serviced was purely that they're not entirely effective as training devices.

training device = transmit, live device = receive? In other words the F1 was used purely to be found, not as an instrument to do any finding?

And when you are talking about transceivers being "off frequency" you mean their ability to be found?

ise wrote:
These things won't mix and match well. The ability of the barryvox to find older devices is linked to it superior processing power and ability to solve complex signals.

Sorry could you elaborate? Do you mean if the transceiver you are trying to find is different it will impair performance?


Well I use the F1 and a Mammut in analogue mode just to show how some things can be resolved in search but mostly the F1s are things to be found.

I mean that the processing power, and the algorithm, on the Barryvox can process complex signals which an old tracker or old Mammut couldn't. That's the basic upgrade, faster, more capable processing which does things faster and allows more to be done. I've met the lead designer professionally, Manuel Genswein,and he is super fun and gave me some great info and a cake. My wife did ban me getting my transceiver signed though Very Happy

In terms of off-frequency, the engineering principle is to be conservative in what you send, ie be on frequency, and be liberal in what you accept ie receive greater than the bare minimum tolerance from the standard. (DARPA fans will recognise that)

It's with bearing in mind the physics of all this is fixed, antenna length and the limits of near field application mean next year you're not going to be buying a transceiver with 130m range. Or ever on this frequency.
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I have no idea about Mammut, but at least for Ortovox and Pieps we have service here where you send your device and they check it. If measurements come out good, you are good to use it even if it's 10 years old, if not, you should change it, even if it's 1 year old. These things are a bit too risky to try "testing" yourself if device is transmitting on frequencies that it should or not. So personally I would just send it to service, as I'm sure Mammut has same sort of service as Ortovox or Pieps, and have it checked. I also don't buy "it's 5 years old, you have to change it", as there's no logic behind such generalization, except for companies to sell you new one and get money from you.
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@primoz, yeah, I'm going to check out the checking/servicing potential for our devices. It's not something I had considered much before. On the other hand isn't doing a field test a simple way of verifying. Or perhaps an alternative way.
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Layne wrote:
On the other hand isn't doing a field test a simple way of verifying. Or perhaps an alternative way.

Not really, at least not that you are 100% sure. One of my transceivers is Ortovox 3+, and it was experiencing exactly those issues, why Ortovox had recall last year. But catch is, it was doing this from time to time only. So on good day, all was working fine, and you would never figure it out yourself something is wrong. When it went wrong, it was acting weird on some moments, but then working fine again, so even then it would be hard to figure it out it's not working good. Yet, if you would be under snow, at least I personally, would want device that functions 100% properly. Not 80%, not 90% not even 99% but 100%. And I don't think you can check this with field test yourself and be 100% sure it's all good.
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primoz wrote:
I have no idea about Mammut, but at least for Ortovox and Pieps we have service here where you send your device and they check it. If measurements come out good, you are good to use it even if it's 10 years old, if not, you should change it, even if it's 1 year old. These things are a bit too risky to try "testing" yourself if device is transmitting on frequencies that it should or not. So personally I would just send it to service, as I'm sure Mammut has same sort of service as Ortovox or Pieps, and have it checked. I also don't buy "it's 5 years old, you have to change it", as there's no logic behind such generalization, except for companies to sell you new one and get money from you.


That's not really always a good argument. It would only hold water if the newer device provided no additional features. In practice you don't expect to see a great advance in features simply because the use case is well understood and addressed. But you will see the dividend of faster processing which will result in solutions or faster solutions of complex or marginal signals.

Or, a maintained BCA tracker works exactly as well as it did when new. It's just that it's rather surpassed by newer models. There's little reason to think manufacturers are profiting from rapidly releasing models. In fact rather the reverse. The pulse for example is about a decade old and will be supported officially until 2022. The reality is that the engineering effort is non trivial, the volumes are low and manufacturers need quite a long cycle to recoup their development costs.
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@Ise I agree to certain extend. But when you put aside all those fancy tech specs that manufacturers try to push to you, you realize in real life, there's very very little, if any at all, difference in searching with 5years old transceiver or with brand new model. BCA tracker is sort of exception, as I never really got their idea about this, especially multiple burials etc., but for other, more European companies, there's really not all that much improvement through the years as they would try to show. Sure 45m instead of 40m range can be considered big thing, but all that "higher processing capabilities" don't bring all that much in real life. But then again, I agree there's no way, I would be heading out with old analog transceiver today, even if it would be working perfectly fine.
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