Monday, September 17, 2012

Pulse Firmware version 3.2 Review

PULSE 3.2 Firmware Review

In late Fall of 2011 Mammut had an early launch of Pulse firmware 3.2, originally planned for the 2012-2013 season. Keep in mind, the 3.2 firmware upgrade is intended to improve a beacon we are already proud of--there are no problems with 3.0. If you are unable to get your beacon upgraded for any reason, there is no reason to be alarmed. However, 3.2 does offer some slick improvements. Now, for the 2012-13 season, you may be wondering if you need or want the upgrade, so let's review the details of 3.2 Firmware.

Overview of improvements Pulse Barryvox version 3.2

Firmware 3.2 has some very sleek upgrades and it speaks to the Pulses ability to be continually upgraded.  3.2 is an improvement, not a correction--older Pulse firmware is still rock solid.

Features include:
Directional Tones- a nice feature aimed at users who keep the Pulse in digital-only mode. As you turn the beacon the digital tones will change to a triple “chirp” to alert you once you are oriented in the direction you should be moving in. This is also incorporated into the Mammut Element Barryvox's firmware so be sure to check it out. The intention here is to allow the user to be better able to scan the snow for signs of a victim, rather than 100% reliant on watching the beacon. (Note:  To turn on directional tones, in the user settings either select “Directional Tones, ON” when in basic user profile, or in advanced user profile select “Tones, DIRECTION.”)

Rescue Send- another very cool upgrade, this time aimed at professional users. If you are in search mode and you switch straight to send, you may elect to go into “Rescue Send.” This way, you can be in a mode which is not sending or receiving (if you are in a large organized rescue this is useful so that you do not have to turn a beacon completely off in order to avoid disrupting a search). If the motion detector does not sense motion for 4 minutes, it automatically reverts to Send. (Note:  Upon switching from search to send the initial 5-second countdown is a check to make sure you switched to send intentionally--if you switched accidentally you may revert to search without losing any of the stored data from a search in progress.  If you wish to enter the Rescue-Send mode, push any button within 5 seconds AFTER the beacon has started sending--you will know you are sending when “send” appears on the main screen display, and a rising 3-note tone sounds.  Screen and Tone prompts will let you know when the rescue-send feature is activated.

3.2 also allows users to opt for the “Airport” instead of the Cross in Fine Search mode. This is a big change in terms of how to teach beginners--no grid searching! Just go to the first lowest number and begin probing in a spiral. Beginners waste too much time with poor grid searches. Remember, the “Airport” or“landing strip is a metaphor which must be understood--the analogy is that as a plane approaches the landing strip it descends and slows down, until it lands, similar to a beacon search where a rescuer must slow down and lower the beacon towards the snow as they approach the burial location. "Touchdown" is where the lowest distance reading is found, and then immediately begin probing in a spiral. This method of teaching pinpointing can speed up beacon searches for many beginners.

Lithium Batteries--the v3.2 Pulse can now use lithium batteries. They are considerably lighter and last much longer. They also eliminate the possibility of corrosion, which we see frequently. (Remember if ANY corrosion is ever seen at the battery terminals the unit MUST be sent in for new terminal contacts.) (Note: The beacon will automatically recognize which battery-type, and will display this setting on the LCD screen upon startup.  It is critical that only NEW lithium batteries be used in order for the battery-life indicator to function properly.)

Where and how to get your beacon updated
In order to get your firmware updated, you must bring or send it to an upgrade location.  You can search for an upgrade location near you by clicking the link below:  (remember to click on "Pulse Barryvox Firmware Update" in the lower left)

Beacon Firmware Upgrade Location Search

Or, you can contact Mammut directly and have them perform the update and run a routine diagnostic test (recommended every 36 months) on your beacon.  Please call first and get a Return Authorization number, which allows us to identify and track the status of your beacon.  Mammut Customer Service can be reached by calling: 

(800) 451-5127
There is a nominal fee for these services. 

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    How to tell Old Snowpulse cartridges apart from new Mammut ones

    In the Summer of 2011 Mammut purchased the Swiss airbag manufacturer Snowpulse.  Snowpulse is still it's own brand with a separate line of airbags from Mammut, even though we use and share some of the same technology.  Last winter Snowpulse issued a recall for all of the air cartridges used in their airbag packs during the production years of 2008 through 2011.  The US Consumer Protection Safety Commission and Health Canada jointly issued an official release of this same recall on August 30th, 2012. 

    Snowpulse Airbag Cartridge recall
    We have recieved numerous calls from Mammut customers wondering if their airbag cartridges are affected by this recall--NO Mammut products are affected by this recall.  The RAS Removeable Airbag System used by both Mammut and Snowpulse uses the new "version 2.0" inflation system utilising a different cartridge, which is not affected by this recall.  The older "Version 1.0 Inflation System" is the one that is recalled.  Information to aid in identifying whether a Snowpusle cartridge is Version 1.0 (recalled) or Version 2.0 (not recalled) can be found below.

    How to tell Inflation system 1.0 cartridges from Inflation system 2.0 cartridges Inflation system 1.0: A pin inside a threaded fitting on the side of the cartridge is pulled during triggering to release air:      
    - This system was only available from the 2008 through 2011 seasons  
    - All cartridges (both the North American 207 bar and European 300 bar) have a dial pressure gauge that shows whether they are full or not=>
         - Gauges with an (A) on them: The pressure gauge has already been replaced
         - Gauges without (A): The pressure gauge must be replaced. Contact Snowpulse.

    Below are two photos of Snowpulse Version 1.0 Cartridges that are recalled.  Note the threaded fitting on the side of the cartridge with the pin in it, opposite the refill nipple.  This fitting is what the trigger mechanism screws onto.  The yellow caps are to protect the threads when not in use and will not be present if the cartridge is installed on a pack.  If you have a Snowpulse cartridge with these identifying features, and it does not have an "A" on the gauge, it should be replaced under the recall.


    Inflation system 2.0: A brass-colored burst disc visible on top of the cartridge is perforated to release the air when triggered.
    - This system was available beginning in the Fall of 2011 for the Winter 11-12 season and is now used by both Mammut and Snowpulse
    - All North American 207 bar cartridges have a dial pressure gauge (manometer). Some 300 bar cartridges have a gauge. Some pressure gauges have a (B) on them. All inflation-system 2.0 cartridges are OK to use.

    Below are 2 images of a Mammut or Snowpulse Version 2.0 cartridge.  This is NOT recalled.  This cartridge may or may not have a dial gauge.  The threaded top of the cartridge screws directly to the trigger mechanism.  It may have a metal protective cover when not in use.  On the top of the cartridge the brass-colored burst-disc is clearly visible. 

    Airbag retailers or filling stations may want to print out this color poster to let customers know of the recall:

    For questions or to arrange a replacement for a recalled cartridge, contact:

    In the US:
    Mammut Sports Group
    135 Northside Dr.
    Shelburne, VT 05482
    (800) 451-5127

    In Canada:
    Mountain Sports Distribution
    #101-806 9th St. N
    Golden, BC V0A 1H2
    (250) 344-5060

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Mammut avy blog beta version for ISSW

    The 2012 ISSW conference opens September 16th.  We hope conference participants can take a test-run in Mammut's snow safety blog to give us feedback on the layout, the content and the general idea.  Our hope is that this blog can provide a better way for us to communicate noteworthy news about our products, as well as an interesting place for anyone interested in snow safety to come and hang out for a while. the intention is for this to be a community resource for both the professional and the enthusiast.  Welcome, and let us know what you think!