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replacing gear

When do you replace your gear

  • After I can no longer repair it

    Votes: 15 45.5%
  • When it breaks the 1st time

    Votes: 2 6.1%
  • If it starts to look a bit worn

    Votes: 11 33.3%
  • Manufacturers' guidance

    Votes: 4 12.1%
  • On a strict schedule

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • ooh shiney new must have!

    Votes: 1 3.0%

  • Total voters
    33

caving_fox

Active member
After some 25 years or so I've finally replaced both my Stop and my Croll.... They're still working more or less, the Stop was getting somewhat fast but it didn't look that bad. Until you peer at it closely and realise the bottom bobbin was well and truly worn. The Croll was definitely still working fine, comfortable no slippages etc other than - spurred on by looking at the Stop, it turns out the side plate now has quite a pronounced notch worn in it. (old style so not a sharp plate!).

The answer will always be 'it varies', but I'm curious to see how variable people's opinions are. Do you genuinely inspect all your gear after every trip? How much wear is really ok, it was fine last time... surely it will be good for 1 more trip.

Fabric kit obviously needs replacing more frequently but the same principle holds.
 
I follow manufacturer guidance both for my personal kit and, as expected, for the equipment used for taking Scouts caving.

I do a quick visual check before using kit and then a more detailed check on a regular basis.

Petzl has some good visual inspection guides of what significant wear to look out for on their product pages - Petzl- carabiner visual guide.
 

alanw

Active member
Metalwork gets a dunk in an ultrasonic bath every now and then, followed by careful application of a small amounts of PTFE based lube in the appropriate places.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
In terms of replacement, I tend to replace kit before it is too worn. My logic is that leaving 10 trips in a piece of kit doesn't cost me much in terms of lost kit-life, but it means I have spare kit either to lend when I take friends caving, or when I need to leave something somewhere for a project, or when I haven't had time to sort kit from a previous trip.

A more telling question would be, when do I throw kit away, and the answer to that is, when it can no longer be repaired, or used for something. A lot of things can be repurposed, after they are no longer suitable for their original use. The thing you need to be careful of is not inadvertently bringing them back into service for something that they are no longer safe for...
 

alanw

Active member
Metalwork gets a dunk in an ultrasonic bath every now and then
Why is that? Does that help remove stuff that would otherwise cause it to corrode?
It gets rid of the small particles of mud/grit that can otherwise cause wear.

This might be left over from my days in light engineering/scientific instrument manufacturing. We made viscometers for measuring 20W50 motor oil in conditions that simulated big end bearings. Everything component that rotated against another went into a tub of white spirit in the bath of water in the ultrasonic after ever machining operation and before every use.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
After some 25 years or so I've finally replaced both my Stop and my Croll....

You got 25 years from a Croll? They must have been made of sterner stuff then. My last one lasted less than twelve months. Never again - for caving at least. Utter shite. I'm getting around 2-3 years from a Turbo Chest by comparison. Still don't know how you got 25 years though - how come the teeth haven't worn flat?
 

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caving_fox

Active member
You got 25 years from a Croll? They must have been made of sterner stuff then. My last one lasted less than twelve months. Never again - for caving at least. Utter shite. I'm getting around 2-3 years from a Turbo Chest by comparison. Still don't know how you got 25 years though - how come the teeth haven't worn flat?
I've not been out on expedition style deep muddy caving, mostly just UK sport. Teeth are fine.

Heard such bad things about the new petzel, so am trying the CT equivalent which feels more robust in comparison.
 

wellyjen

Well-known member
Can't tick just one box. If it is PPE and a failure will be life threatening, then I'll replace it when it has signs of wear, or the manufacturer's guidance says, which ever is the most conservative. Other things, I'll continue to use, or repair until it has fallen to bits, as any one who has seen my caving kit will attest! New shiny is nice, but doesn't stay shiny for more than one trip.
 
I've just started to replace my kit. Two main reasons: I started with the usual beginner recommended stuff like Stop, Croll, Ascension etc, so I'm now at the point of knowing what works for me, and what could be improved upon. The Stop has been replaced with a Simple, the hand jammer with a Basic, and I've got a CAMP Turbochest ordered (based on a few online reviews but mostly pwhole's constant praise-singing!). I'm forever having to feed the rope through the Croll so I'm hoping those nice, little bobbin-y things on the Turbochest will alleviate that irksome issue.
The second reason is that I now have spare kit.

I clean my gear after every trip. Everything gets dumped in the sink with slightly warm water and a toothbrush. I've seen far too many horror pics of failed gear to ever let mine get to that state unnoticed.
 

Fjell

Well-known member
You got 25 years from a Croll? They must have been made of sterner stuff then. My last one lasted less than twelve months. Never again - for caving at least. Utter shite. I'm getting around 2-3 years from a Turbo Chest by comparison. Still don't know how you got 25 years though - how come the teeth haven't worn flat?
Those little ones are terrible. The older Crolls lasted years-to-decades if you didn’t use very gritty ropes all the time. They had chromed carbon steel cams. The CT jammers seem to be the same. They wore out by the bottom hole slowly getting bigger until you got scared there wasn’t enough metal left.

I have no idea why Petzl changed the cam design, does anyone? I have a feeling they designed down to a very short life that has nothing to do with caving.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
That's amazing - looks pretty good to me! Dare I ask - do you mostly cave in Yorkshire? Or 'The Launderette', as I call it.

I did post photos of my destroyed CT chest ascender up here somewhere too, but you probably won't want to see those ;)
 
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