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. 

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