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CCH Alien Recall Cams?
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Mar 18, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rogue
I think I may have come across 3 of them that someone sold me.

Rock Climbing Photo: aliens
aliens



The trigger bars read 0805, 0805 and 0405... I assume meaning April and August of 2005.

No dimples on any of them.

Now that Fixe owns the Alien cam.. can you still send these in to be tested or replaced?
dahigdon
From phoenix, Az
Joined Jan 5, 2015
199 points
Mar 18, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Drinking with Moses
Have you tried contacting Fixe? Alan Doak
From boulder, co
Joined Oct 1, 2007
131 points
Mar 18, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rogue
I just emailed them... I'll wait to hear back. My guess is that they won't touch them and I wouldn't blame them.

Just thought I'd see if anyone here had any experience with a similar situation.
dahigdon
From phoenix, Az
Joined Jan 5, 2015
199 points
Administrator
Mar 19, 2016
dave higdon wrote:
Now that Fixe owns the Alien cam.. can you still send these in to be tested or replaced?

I dont think Fixe owns anything. The patent on the Alien ran dry a long time ago. I dont think Fixe and the old CCH are affiliated in any way. Two completely separate companies producing two different (but similar) products. This is kind of like how DMM and Wild Country make "Camalots", but they are not affiliated with BD in any way.


I wouldent get your hopes up as you're really e-mailing the wrong company. The right company went out of business a long time ago and so support for CCH Aliens no longer exists.
20 kN
From Hawaii
Joined Feb 2, 2009
1,219 points
Mar 19, 2016
I would bet those cams are fine. If you are real concerned I would be happy to extensively test them though. C.Williams
From the Climber Cave
Joined Jul 31, 2013
1,029 points
Mar 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rogue
thanks for the info 20kn..i dont expect ti hear back from fixe.

does anyone know what the dimple was there for on the recalled units?
dahigdon
From phoenix, Az
Joined Jan 5, 2015
199 points
Mar 19, 2016
Probably those are fine just as people have said, and obviously tons of whippers have been taken on CCH Aliens. But during "Alien-gate" I never got the sense that CCH really understood or respected people's concerns about quality issues that really did happen, and I never got the sense that they'd really developed (or could afford to develop) a real quality control system such as the other manufacturers use.

So I'd always be wondering, and I wouldn't climb on those.
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Mar 19, 2016
Wild country makes friends. Dmm makes dragons. Bd makes Camelots. Cch made aliens, they legally sold their operation to fixe to produce aliens. Totem makes a cam similar to aliens and have no affiliation.

I think 20kn was drunk when he posted, he usually gets this stuff right.

So yeah, fixe does make aliens as and might be your best bet. I don't think they'd touch them though.

Find a cord with a known breaking strength and use your car to pull test them to 1/3 of rated . The soldering issue had cams failing at body weight. No need to destroy them to test them.
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Mar 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Middle
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:
Cch made aliens, they legally sold their operation to fixe to produce aliens.


Do you have a source on that? I understood that CCH (Dave's widow) licensed the technical package to Fixe Fader. Maybe you're right but I don't remember it that way. Further, if Fixe purchased CCH there would be some liability for the old cams and I really don't think there is.
Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Joined Jul 23, 2010
180 points
Mar 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rogue
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:
I think 20kn was drunk when he posted, he usually gets this stuff right.


^^^ This is funny stuff

Seems like i'm probably on my own with these cams.. I'm most curious about what the dimple/punch mark was used to indicate on the recalled cams...

A buddy of mine has a makeshift pull test fixture at his place. I'm thinking I may just bring the cams and some tequila up to his house one night for a high tech lab test.
dahigdon
From phoenix, Az
Joined Jan 5, 2015
199 points
Mar 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rogue
Ray Pinpillage wrote:
Do you have a source on that? I understood that CCH (Dave's widow) licensed the technical package to Fixe Fader. Maybe you're right but I don't remember it that way. Further, if Fixe purchased CCH there would be some liability for the old cams and I really don't think there is.


I certainly would not expect FIXE to offer any support for them.. I was more so interested in pull testing them.
dahigdon
From phoenix, Az
Joined Jan 5, 2015
199 points
Mar 19, 2016
Ray Pinpillage wrote:
Do you have a source on that? I understood that CCH (Dave's widow) licensed the technical package to Fixe Fader. Maybe you're right but I don't remember it that way. Further, if Fixe purchased CCH there would be some liability for the old cams and I really don't think there is.


You misinterpreted me. CCH is gone, never to return. Fixe bought the right to call their cams Aliens.
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Mar 19, 2016
Ray Pinpillage wrote:
Do you have a source on that? I understood that CCH (Dave's widow) licensed the technical package to Fixe Fader. Maybe you're right but I don't remember it that way. Further, if Fixe purchased CCH there would be some liability for the old cams and I really don't think there is.


IANAL but I used to work with a few. They were very clear that companies acquire THE ASSETS of another firm. The implication being that they don't take on the pre-existing liabilities.

+1 for doing some impromptu pull testing of these.
Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
2,628 points
Mar 19, 2016
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:
The soldering issue had cams failing at body weight. No need to destroy them to test them.

Someone (I believe his name was Aric Datesman, maybe I'm wrong) did some destructive testing of various units at the time that this was all being discussed and found that there was actually really wide variability in the CCH units, with some nearly fine but some failing at as little as 50 percent of their rated strength.

I believe that the small number of BD units he tested failed at about 125 percent of their rated strength.
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Mar 19, 2016
Optimistic wrote:
Someone (I believe his name was Aric Datesman, maybe I'm wrong) did some destructive testing of various units at the time that this was all being discussed and found that there was actually really wide variability in the CCH units, with some nearly fine but some failing at as little as 50 percent of their rated strength. I believe that the small number of BD units he tested failed at about 125 percent of their rated strength.


You got the name right and everything else wrong.

Aric did find a wide range of breaking but unless they were dimpled, never below 8 or 9 kn and frankly, that's more than enough for my uses. Where people freaked out was because the breaking strengths were pretty variable, that you couldn't statistically rule out one being exceptionally weak. It was never the source of the failures though. The softer metal on their lobes meant they pulled out of his jig prematurely too, that made it hard to get a real test on the strength of the soldering.

Aric found that the U-stem camalots failed at way below their rating too, and BD were a bunch of jackasses to him when he brought that to their attention.
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Mar 19, 2016
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:
You got the name right and everything else wrong. Aric did find a wide range of breaking but unless they were dimpled, never below 8 or 9 kn and frankly, that's more than enough for my uses. Where people freaked out was because the breaking strengths were pretty variable, that you couldn't statistically rule out one being exceptionally weak. It was never the source of the failures though. The softer metal on their lobes meant they pulled out of his jig prematurely too, that made it hard to get a real test on the strength of the soldering. Aric found that the U-stem camalots failed at way below their rating too, and BD were a bunch of jackasses to him when he brought that to their attention.


I find it interesting that you think that what you said is significantly different in some way from what I said.

Could you buy a new U-stem camalot at the time of Aric's testing? I don't think BD was completely happy with the u-stem design either. That's why they stopped manufacturing it. CCH meanwhile was not adapting to new information, and paid the price for it.
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Mar 19, 2016
Optimistic wrote:
CCH meanwhile was not adapting to new information, and paid the price for it.


Umm, you do realize Dave died from illness, not his cams, don't you?

Had he survived, the company would still exist in some (probably smaller) capacity.
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Mar 19, 2016
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:
Umm, you do realize Dave died from illness, not his cams, don't you? Had he survived, the company would still exist in some (probably smaller) capacity.

I do know that, and it's terrible. But the company continued after that. They supposedly pull tested all my cams and sent them back with no apology or description of how they were tested. The only clue I had was a tiny little "tested" stamp.

I stand by my original assertion, which is that there is a lot of evidence out there that CCH did not have adequate quality controls in place, and that Aric's data, while not at all exhaustive, supports that.

Don't get me wrong, I love Aliens and have 2 on my rack...made by Totem who hopefully are on top of things.
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Mar 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rogue
i still cannot figure out why the dimple was there? dahigdon
From phoenix, Az
Joined Jan 5, 2015
199 points
Mar 19, 2016
dave higdon wrote:
i still cannot figure out why the dimple was there?

Sorry man I know we're blowing off your key question... I do know that an unbelievable number of posts were made about this issue both here and on rc. Com over the years, maybe Google search on that? Also you might be able to PM Aric on here, although he's probably heartily sick of this issue by now.
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Mar 19, 2016
I seem to remember that the dimple was a manufacturing mark left by a 3rd party company who soldered the heads into the cable wrong. highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Mar 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rogue
that would somewhat explain it.. its just odd to me that the failures have been associated with a marking of sorts.

Legitimate info is actually really difficult to find on this subject. Im not sure why...

i would love to see some statistics or facts about what really happened and what category these particular units are likely to fall under.
dahigdon
From phoenix, Az
Joined Jan 5, 2015
199 points
Mar 19, 2016
dave higdon wrote:
that would somewhat explain it.. its just odd to me that the failures have been associated with a marking of sorts.

Most items have some sort of manufacturing date or lot code # so as to facilitate recalls, problem resolution, etc. It's extremely common across all industries. Sometimes it really is just a mark.

dave higdon wrote:
Legitimate info is actually really difficult to find on this subject. Im not sure why... i would love to see some statistics or facts about what really happened and what category these particular units are likely to fall under.


Starting points:

mountainproject.com/v/10585446...

mountainproject.com/v/alien-fa...

climbing.com/news/cch-alien-re...

supertopo.com/climbers-forum/3...

rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum...
Marc801
From Sandy, Utah
Joined Feb 25, 2014
64 points
Mar 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Russ
Aliens failed with a dimple, without a dimple, and even when marked "tested" by CCH. They failed within the recall date range, and outside of the date range on both ends.

Nutshell: Any of them could fail.
Russ Walling
From www.FishProducts.com
Joined Oct 5, 2004
3,664 points
Mar 19, 2016
So my "expertise" is that I own about 20 CCH aliens between my wife and I and I still think they're awesome. Because of this, I payed extra close attention to this because the recall adversely would affect my rack size. I also have an excellent memory for mundane details.

What happened was that CCH was getting overwhelmed by their own popularity and couldn't keep up with REI order among others. In an effort to streamline the process, the steelheads were soldered out of the factory.

I'm not a metalurgist but my understanding is that when soldering you really need a weep-hole to push extra solder (come to think of it, I think it's actually braze, and I don't know if that is an interchangeable term with solder) out and ensure complete coverage. CCH managed to avoid this by having a guy (named John, had an amazing story about drunkedly puking on a girl he was going down on) who was uniquely talented put them together. Once outsourced, the process was not reliable in the hands of others.

To compound things, Dave didn't believe for a minute that it was his fault. He was a crusty old cam maker whose cams didn't fail. Guys like that don't tend to take the public's side. It made them look really bad.

As for Aric, like I said upthread, he proved a mathematical possibility that Aliens would fail. It didn't really affect the end user in any practical terms though. He also proved the lobes were something softer than 6061 as claimed, but that might be a good thing. These were unrelated QC issues, not part of dimplegate.

Does that help?
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Mar 19, 2016
Russ Walling wrote:
Aliens failed with a dimple, without a dimple, and even when marked "tested" by CCH. They failed within the recall date range, and outside of the date range on both ends. Nutshell: Any of them could fail.



I agree with this with the qualifier "when new"

The generation of older CCH Aliens out there still getting used and whipped on are wonderful pieces.

It means I'm happy. It also means you've got to be a little nervous if you buy a bunch of never used older CCH cams.
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points


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