1. #1
    trevor
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    Post 540 belay device

    has any ony used this device??
    if so tell us about it , I have heard it dose wear nad becomes loose???

  2. #2
    RWK
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    Limited experience to date - check out the Rope Rescue section of the SARBC (www.sarbc.org) website.

    Appears to be another good tool.

  3. #3
    tydon
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    I like the KISS method of rescue work...of corse I also Love tried and true methods of belay.

    mechanical belay devices can be just as dangerous as the simple methods tried and true, such as the munter hitch.
    ever been stranded on rope when a belay device has failed? or doesn't work as it is supposed to because you forgot to rig it properly?
    Yes I know that it is TRAINING that makes all the difference, but a simple munter hitch is effective and it does not required expensive equipment to use, $25 or less for an extra large carrabiner....

    stay safe in practice and on the job

    Gerald

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    We just purchased 2 of the 540's.
    I think they are a great item but do not think I would ues it as a unmanned device as is said it could be.
    George Phillips FF318
    Hickory Flat Volunteer Fire Dept.
    Cherokee County
    Company 3

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    The bcctr (british Columbia council for technical rescue) does testing on rescue equipment. The 540 passed the rescue belay test as did the tandem prussik belay. Most teams I know that are using the 540 still maintain a supply of tandem prussiks to use in case of device jamming. If you're going to have the tandem prussiks anyway and budget is a concern, you might just stick to tandem prussiks. There is some great discussion on the rope rescue forum on search and rescue B.C's web page. www.sarbc.org

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    rope-tek is absolutely right. the 540 is the only mechanical belay device out there that is approved for rescue use, at least that i am aware of. we also did some drop testing of our own and found, just as bcctr did, that the 540 performed comparably to the tandem prussik belay. however, grabbing devices such as the gibbs ascender failed the same test miserably, stripping the sheath off of the kernmantle rope under the shock load. although the 540 performed well, my personal preference still lies with the tandem prussik system.

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    Default 540

    We ordered the 540s and had very limited success, they work wonderful for veritcle applications, but when layed sideways jammed constantly due to rope overlap. This became annoying, and increased tension on the rescuers. The most effective in both cost and practicality still is the prusik belay. Also we are now looking at the Petzel ID with a G rating as a belay, ascend and rapel device.

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    We had them on the rescues and to be honest, I don't care for them. The prussiks worked best without all the jamming that seemed common with the 540's (even when rigged correctly).
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 12-10-2006 at 08:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog69
    We ordered the 540s and had very limited success, they work wonderful for veritcle applications, but when layed sideways jammed constantly due to rope overlap. This became annoying, and increased tension on the rescuers. The most effective in both cost and practicality still is the prusik belay. Also we are now looking at the Petzel ID with a G rating as a belay, ascend and rapel device.
    There is a bit of a trick to the horizontal work too.

    If you clip a beaner 12-24 inches behind the 540 (i.e. somewhere along the anchor strap), and direct the free end of the rope through that beaner, it will reduce the sag and slack that can result in the binding.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

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    Did I see someone write a Munter Hitch is just as effective!?! The munter hitch has to be the most dangerous belay for resuce sized loads. If you are still using the munter as a rescue belay package you seriously need to update your training and get the BCCTR study.

    As for the 540...I kind of like the device although my preference would have to be tandem prusiks. Yes is jams on occasion, but I have found this be more out of operator error and unfamiliarity with the device.

    I teach a push, pull method when using the 540. That is you push rope into the device and you pull it out the other side. Horizontally can be difficult but a carabiner across the working and standing ends works well too. The trick is to keep the rope running in and out of the device straight.

    I have taught ropes many ropes courses using the same 540 and it is not loose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog69
    We ordered the 540s and had very limited success, they work wonderful for veritcle applications, but when layed sideways jammed constantly due to rope overlap. This became annoying, and increased tension on the rescuers. The most effective in both cost and practicality still is the prusik belay. Also we are now looking at the Petzel ID with a G rating as a belay, ascend and rapel device.
    The Petzl ID is a great device for mainline applications but is a huge pain in the *** to use as a belay device. If you are frustrated by the 540, you will really be annoyed by the ID. Another trick with the 540 is to place a brake rack with two or three bars ahead of the 540. This lets the rack take care of rope weight over the edge and allows the belay operator to only concentrate on the rope slack between the 540 and the rack.

    Also the manufacturer's operating technique where you push rope in one side and pull out the other tends to be a problem. I teach people to grab the rope exiting the device and pull against the load(as opposed to against the device). Let the rope slip through this gripped hand while keeping your hand about 4 inches away from the device. With your other hand on the input side of the device, push rope into the device. You should be trying to stay a little bit ahead of the spped of the rope exiting the device. A little slack rope in the device can help minimise lock-ups. Once you play around with this technique, you will be able to operate much faster with less lock-ups. I have performed drop tests while operating in this manner and the device still performs very well.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

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    Talking Just my opinion

    I have used the 540 device quite a bit and found that although it may have passed the bc testing (which is some of the best ever done...sure makes you sit back and say..Umm?) with approval, tandem triple wrap prussiks are still the simplest and easiest to use. I have experienced that frequent unwanted "catches" with the 540 are common and my biggest gripe is that the centrifical cam it depends on for operation is hidden from sight, meaning it cannot be inspected for possible defect before, during, or after use. If we are in a situtation where we have personnel with limited experience belaying, we bring it out and use it in our systems because even with its frequent "catches" it is basicly idiot proof. And I will definitely try the tip on putting a 'biner on the sag side to see if that improves its operation any. I just wonder how much that would change the dynamics of the intended rigging of it? Would love to hear any thoughts on that!
    As for the Petzel ID, I trained with it at a couple of Tower Rescue classes and found it to be a pretty good piece of equipment. As with any mechanical aid, training on it is the key to smooth and safe perfomance. Love the discussions on here...don't always agree, but they sure make you think!! Which is kinda differant for a firefighter...LOL
    Ya'll stay safe now!
    Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living! - Mother Jones

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    We've used the 540 since just after they came on the market. They do have unwanted catches now and then if the belay person doesn't keep up on the slack. The catches are much easier to release on the 540 than when the tandem prussiks catch though. We still have the prussiks but mostly use the 540's with good results. I don't teach the Münter for anything other than bailout anymore.

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    Cool Experience and load release hitches

    We solve the tandem triple wrap prussiks hanging up two ways: #1 make sure the belayer is an experienced rescuer who knows what they are doing, and #2 always include a radium load releasing hitch between the anchor point and the belay set up. Seldom have a problem.
    Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living! - Mother Jones

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    Default 540

    we carry and use the 540 as well as tandem prussik belays with a LRH, my preference is the TPB due to the fact that it seems to hang up less, however there is less technical knowledge involved with using the 540, most firefighters can be taught to use the 540, it takes little more rope savvy to rig a LRH, we did find the 540 to not be effective in inclement weather it performs poorly on wet rope, also found the 540 to be a pain to operate during a lead climb the slack was hard to manage...

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    Quote Originally Posted by trevor View Post
    I have heard it dose wear nad becomes loose???
    There was an early recall by Traverse Rescue because of the retaining ring on the push-pin coming loose. I've also heard that the cord and cord protector that ties the front and back plates together can become sloppy and make re-assembly more difficult. And, of course, if the aluminum spool wears, its braking action will be reduced.

    Quote Originally Posted by tydon View Post
    I like the KISS method of rescue work...mechanical belay devices can be just as dangerous as the simple methods
    Many of you have noted problems with training and use of the 540, and say that you either prefer tandem prusiks or keep them around "just in case". Someone else pointed out that the internal camming mechanism cannot be inspected.

    These are some of the problems with mechanical "fail-safe" or "fool-proof" devices. They are not inspectable, can fail under certain conditions (wet, icy, dirty), are problematic in use (managing slack, inadvertent lock-ups), and can wear out (they are also expensive).

    Quote Originally Posted by buckethead101 View Post
    the 540 is the only mechanical belay device out there that is approved for rescue use
    The Petzl I'D is also now rated NFPA "G" as a rescue belay/lowering device and works as a self-ratcheting raising pulley. But, like the Traverse 540, two different sizes are necessary if using both 7/16" and 1/2" ropes, whereas a prusik will fit any size rescue rope from 7/16" to 5/8".

    CMC also offers the MPD, made by Rock Exotica, another all-purpose rescue device (at $495), which is an NFPA "G" rescue belay, a variable friction lowering device, a self-ratcheting raising pulley which meets the BCCTR belay competency tests.

    But, given my own experience and the comments of many of you, I have to say that simple equipment and techniques are almost always preferable to complex mechanical devices.

    Beyond the various (and unknown) failure modes of (non-inspectable) mechanical devices, there is also a complacency tendency generated by equipment that is considered to be "fail-proof".

    KISS: keep it simple and safe.

    - Robert
    aVERT - a Vertical Emergency Response Training
    To Avert Disaster in the Vertical Environment

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatthe2 View Post
    The munter hitch has to be the most dangerous belay for resuce sized loads. If you are still using the munter as a rescue belay package you seriously need to update your training and get the BCCTR study.
    While the munter hitch may not have passed the BCCTR "worst case" static drop test, it offers far more friction (700-800 lbs) than the commonly-used rescue-8 (240-270 lbs).

    In my opinion, the rescue-8 is the least appropriate belay device for a rescue load, while the munter hitch has many appropriate applications.

    The rescue community has come to accept the BCCTR testing system as the "holy grail", but it tests only static drops and doesn't necessarily model the kind of real-life failures that we might experience.

    For an interesting look at dynamic belay behavior, check out engineer and vertical rescue instructor Alan Sheehan's article in Technical Rescue:
    http://www.t-rescue.com/articles/bel...iour/index.pdf

    - Robert
    aVERT - a Vertical Emergency Response Training
    To Avert Disaster in the Vertical Environment

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    I state the inadequacy of the munter based on the fact that most fire rescue personnel will use it hung in a vertical fashion with no additional bend in the rope. If my memory recall is working (I am still sleep deprived from the holiday) the BCCTR note for the munter was that a 90 degree bend should be in the rope after the hitch to add friction.

    I agree that the munter has its applications, but on a rescue sized load it is not the best choice.

    Furthermore, I will echo Riversong's statement using the fig-8 as a belay. I am not a fan if using any descender as a belay. No matter how the belay is rigged my goal is to manufacture a belay that relies on NO human action to engage it. Thus, tandem prusiks are my choice. Why spend $400 when I can build a system for $0.35 a foot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatthe2 View Post
    I agree that the munter has its applications, but on a rescue sized load it is not the best choice.
    Just to tweak the discussion a bit more... it's not even so much the "size" or weight of the load as the force at the belay that must be resisted.

    I've used a munter hitch for multiple (leap-frog) belays of a litter team on a steep but walkable snowfield, or a steep mountain trail (and that was litter, patient, and six litter bearers), since the belay will never experience the full weight of the load.

    my goal is to manufacture a belay that relies on NO human action to engage it. Thus, tandem prusiks are my choice.
    I suppose the "ideal" rescue system would be one that is completely un-manned. But, since we still have to rely on human intervention, even with tandem prusik belays (to choose the proper cordage, to tie the double overhand bend in the cord, to tie the prusik hitches and dress and set them properly, and to tend the belay), my goal is a high level of competency among rescue personnel.

    Any equipment will be problematic if used without the proper knowhow, which includes a thorough understanding of WHY we do what we do and the ability to improvise for the particular situation.

    - Robert
    aVERT - a Vertical Emergency Response Training
    To Avert Disaster in the Vertical Environment

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    But, given my own experience and the comments of many of you, I have to say that simple equipment and techniques are almost always preferable to complex mechanical devices.
    Straight to the point!
    I always prefer simple things that always work over sophisticated staff that usually work, not to mention that when you really need them, they tend to be on the currently-not-working state...
    http://www.mycliffbuddies.com/

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