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  1. #1
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    BD Jet Force airbag

    http://pistehors.com/black-diamond-j...g-23025303.htm
    Not recommended to inflate the airbag in front of your television, though.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    http://pistehors.com/black-diamond-j...g-23025303.htm
    Not recommended to inflate the airbag in front of your television, though.
    great start. Happy to be getting away from explosive charge triggers and canisters.
    Terje was right.

    "We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel

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    Awesome idea for a lot of obvious reasons; however, I don't like lithium ion batteries as they loose charge more quickly in the cold/very cold when compared to regular batteries. They can "freeze up" and body heat can bring them "back to life" but they still lose charge. To me this is a concern in the FFFFREEEZING Canadian Rockies...not so much in the PNW etc...

    When doing snow research, we don't use re-chargable or lithium ion in anything (not even GPS etc...) as your life can depend on your equipment. That said, it does look like they've put a lot of effort into system checks and such, so you can monitor the battery.

    Interested to see how this performs in use and abuse testing by regular people...
    Quote Originally Posted by Socialist View Post
    They have socalized healthcare up in canada. The whole country is 100% full of pot smoking pro-athlete alcoholics.

  5. #5
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    If you're buried in an avalanche the batteries could burst into flame and melt you out.
    But Ellen kicks ass - if she had a beard it would be much more haggard. -Jer

  6. #6
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    It sure would make traveling by air with an airbag a lot easier.

  7. #7
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    Pretty awesome, if they can really get the battery squared away with this I can see it taking over the market.

  8. #8
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    Li ion effectively runs out of energy sooner in the super cold-- but it doesn't really lose that energy, it just can't be accessed until it warms up. That said... if this thing actually holds 4-6 pops per full charge at room temp it is def going to hold 1-3 at balls cold. I have shot my DSLR at -15 to -30 f for extended periods (hours). I get significantly fewer shots.... but more than 1/6 of capacity.

    BD is being super conservative with their ratings and bat capacity surplus.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iscariot View Post
    Awesome idea for a lot of obvious reasons; however, I don't like lithium ion batteries as they loose charge more quickly in the cold/very cold when compared to regular batteries. They can "freeze up" and body heat can bring them "back to life" but they still lose charge. To me this is a concern in the FFFFREEEZING Canadian Rockies...not so much in the PNW etc...

    When doing snow research, we don't use re-chargable or lithium ion in anything (not even GPS etc...) as your life can depend on your equipment. That said, it does look like they've put a lot of effort into system checks and such, so you can monitor the battery.

    Interested to see how this performs in use and abuse testing by regular people...
    I'm curious if you could expand on the source data for this. Obviously in most cases there's no decent way to do a direct comparison since the options for a rechargeable lithium-ion/lithium-polymer/lithium-whatever battery that could replace, say, a pair of AA's in the same device is limited (to put it mildly), but have you done or seen anything done that would give a direct comparison (i.e. taking the device out of the equation)? The reason I ask is that I have heard first hand that satellites have been using lithium batteries for years specifically for their superior performance at low temperatures compared to other technologies. In most all cases the devices that use lithium batteries make use of designed-in features to account for the peculiarities of the batteries and it's very likely that any given device can misinterpret the battery's status by just measuring its voltage without measuring its temp at the same time. If you're seeing a device shutting off based on a voltage which, at room temperature, means the battery is about to be dead (a common protection) because it doesn't know it's safe to keep going that's probably not going to be representative of BD's application.
    Last edited by jono; 11-05-2013 at 12:59 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    this is an internet forum, it is assumed no one actually knows what they're talking about, and nothing anyone says here makes any difference. If you came here seeking an informed opinion on the subject, I'm sorry you were disappointed. If you came here knowing it would all be BS and you just wanted to spout about it being BS, go crawl back under a rock.

  10. #10
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    I do know that when Pieps and BD merged, the Pieps CEO has a background in electrical engineering and the battery/ fan electronics were completely revised to be way more efficient.

    We are printing a Q&A between Black Diamond and the Governing Board of the AAA about the Jet Force; it will be in the December issue of The Avalanche Review. Will paste it in below:

    The Black Diamond Jet Force Airbag; A Q&A between Lynne Wolfe of the AAA/ The Avalanche Review and Nathan Kuder of Black Diamond


    From the editor: Back in the spring of 2013, The Avalanche Review was approached by Black Diamond to be a target audience for their new airbag rollout. I knew that I didn’t have all the questions at hand to satisfy our readership, so I asked the AAA governing board what they wanted to know about this product. We don’t want this to seem overly like a press release or infomercial, but rather an example of how a manufacturer incorporates input and addresses concerns from an educated user-group, and to highlight the value of crowd-sourcing questions.

    Thanks to Nathan Kuder of Black Diamond for his patience in explaining things in simple terms in responding to our questions.


    Introduction from Black Diamond:
    As a general overview, there are two categories of features that we feel JetForce has to offer to the backcountry user:

    EASE OF USE
    • Automatic System Self-Diagnostic: the JetForce system is simple to arm: just press the button on the trigger handle. During start-up, the electrical system performs a ‘good-to-go’ check for confidence that your system is working. You can monitor this status and the battery level with the LEDs embedded in the handle.

    • Rechargeable Electronic System: JetForce is powered by a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. The charging cord is accessible right inside the pack. This rechargeable battery is very similar to the battery in your laptop, so JetForce is airplane travel-friendly.

    • Zero Cost User Practice: Because it’s rechargeable, and because the battery can redeploy the airbag 4+ times on a single charge, it costs nothing—in time or money—to practice as often as needed.

    PERFORMANCE
    • Puncture Recovery: Because JetForce has an unlimited air supply, it can support larger volume airbags, and maintain volume despite punctures and tears. But to help prevent tears in the first place, we worked with Cordura to develop an avalanche-specific, high-tenacity and puncture-resistant material that came directly from automotive airbags.

    • Automatic Deflation: After 3 minutes, JetForce automatically deflates the airbag for fast repacking and easier victim extraction. In the event of a complete burial, this feature could also potentially create a large volume air pocket.

    • Multiple Deployments: Whether you deployed it for practice, in a false alarm or during a slide, it’s easy to repack and re-arm the system without removing anything from the pack. You can have up to four total deployments on a single charge.

    Question from the AAA in Black Bold; answers from Black Diamond in XXX font/ color

    AAA 1) Did Black Diamond feel that there are problems w/ the existing systems. What are those problems? Does evidence exist for/ against compressed gas canisters?

    We never questioned the effectiveness of an airbag during the avalanche, which is exactly what all of the existing data supports, but we did have concern about compromises to the overall usability of existing systems.
    We started by interviewing a lot of professional users of existing systems and it quickly became obvious that travel restrictions, weight, misfires, re-packing/refilling, & single-shot deployments were all compromises of existing airbags. So, we set out to create an airbag system with higher functionality throughout all aspects of its use.

    AAA 2) Discuss the type / ability of a fan to force enough gas (assumed air) to fill an airbag, and what happens if the airbag is punctured?

    Our system fills a 200L airbag in approximately 3.5 seconds and can maintain this volume even with a moderate puncture/tear. See discussion of puncture recovery above.

    AAA 3) Discuss trigger mechanisms- ease under seige, accidental discharge prevention? Thoughts on why current T-handle pull is considered inadequate or inferior.

    We tested all of the existing systems and found that some triggers (especially the T-shape) were only easy to grasp in one orientation and only with gloves (not mittens). We wanted a trigger that was easy to find, could be grasped by either hand, in any orientation, with any type of handwear. After many, many trigger designs we netted out with a simple cylinder with a large stopper on the end. This also suited our desire to stow the trigger safely and securely within the shoulder strap.

    AAA 4) Is the Jet Force lighter weight, especially the canisters? What are balloon materials/size? We’re also curious about the material used for the airbag.

    The current models are on average with the listed weights for existing systems. We feel there is ample opportunity for the JetForce system to get lighter over time, as we learn more about where the opportunities for safe weight savings are.

    One of the greatest benefits of jet-fan inflation is the ability to have unlimited air supply. Because of this, we were less concerned with the need to seal the airbag completely after filling (like cylinder-systems), which meant we could use lighter coatings on our fabric (which translates to higher tear strengths). We worked directly with Cordura to utilize a nylon fiber from automotive airbags, created a custom weave that helped to prevent tearing, and added a silicone coating on the outside to make the bag slippery and more packable. In the end, where we landed is an airbag that is larger, more resistant to punctures & tears, and lighter than existing airbags.


    AAA 5) What is the shape of balloon? Why?

    The JetForce system uses an “inverted U” shape. We felt this shape provides the benefits of both the vertical cylinders and the top pillow shapes.

    AAA 6) Has there been any testing to determine an effective volume of the inflated air bag? Has another company done testing on effective air bag volume? BD's appears to be 30-50L greater than those currently on the market -- why?

    To my knowledge, there has not yet been any published research on an effective volume, although we would certainly encourage it. The use of a 200L airbag with the JetForce system is intended to maximize the effects of inverse segregation, and increase potential impact protection of the victim.


    AAA 7) What type of testing has been done w/ the motor battery system to ensure its reliability in the winter environment. Rechargeability in remote locations?


    All methods of storing energy are affected by temperature and/or pressure. We have done a lot of testing to prove that a fan/motor/battery system can function even better than a cylinder system in the cold and at altitude. This is the reason we’ve implemented a special cold-resistant Lithium Ion battery, originally developed for the military.
    The current recharging utilizes a normal 110/220v wall outlet and any remote charging stations that can support that type of plug will work great. It’s also worth noting that a fully charged battery can provide four deployments and last up to six weeks depending on use. We’re working on making the battery USB-chargeable for alternative energy systems.

    AAA 8) From a ski patrol director: We can't put a price on safety, but when purchasing 20-plus units value is important. The other manufacturers have provided significant discounting from MSRPs for patrols, do they see doing the same? and then of course how much?

    Black Diamond has always sought to supply professionals with the tools they need at the lowest possible cost and JetForce won’t be any different. We’re still working through the last stages of pricing, but the current target for the Halo 28 retail price is $1000 (most pros qualify for wholesale pricing).


    AAA 9) Any static from the fan in regard to carrying explosives in your pack?

    All of the current testing shows there is no addition of static charge from the fan, as it is intentionally separated from the main compartment by multiple layers of fabric and plastic casing; however, at this time, Black Diamond can’t certify this or any of our products for carrying explosives.

  11. #11
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    BD and AAA Q&A continued:

    AAA 10) Discuss the pack, please.

    One of the common themes from the feedback we heard in our early research was a general frustration for some of the existing airbag packs. We’re of the belief that the airbag system has to absolutely be 100% trustworthy; but on any good day, it’s the pack that you interact with almost entirely. We’ve been building winter packs for a long time, so we put a lot of experience and effort into making the whole JetForce family of packs super high-functioning, with nothing superfluous.
    We also worked with PIEPS and POC to create JetForce packs across all three brands that offer a wide array of features and design options.


    AAA 11) How about the overall pack designs, including detach options, overall usability, and size of pack? We often need larger packs for ski patrol.

    Black Diamond overview
    All styles feature:

    • large backpanel access to main cargo pocket;
    • large, front, separate shovel pocket;
    • small organizer pockets
    • stow-away helmet storage
    • Diagonal ski carry
    • ReActiv suspension with SwingArm shoulder straps
    • S/M & M/L torso sizes
    • Available in Fire Red or Black


    Pilot 11- small resort based or heli/cat client pack
    Halo 28- medium volume touring or guide pack
    Saga 40- larger volume guide/patrol/big tour pack with added snowboard carry

    PIEPS overview:


    TourRider 24- medium volume touring or client pack
    TourPro 34- medium volume guide pack with upper & backpanel access to main



    AAA 12) From where is the air pulled in -- vents on the pack? Would there be problems if the vents are (partially or otherwise) blocked by snow?

    There are three main areas that the system uses to pull air into the airbag: lower sidewall intake panel, the entire backpanel, and the airbag pocket itself, for a total surface area of over 3ft2 (0.3m2). We’ve also programmed our system to run almost 3x longer than needed to fill/maintain the airbag volume to provide safety redundancy against blocked/inefficient intakes.

    And finally, a few comments from pro members of the AAA:
    Last year it seemed like maybe 5 to 10 patrols were providing these to employees. That data seems worth tracking.

    Airbags are quickly becoming “Best Practices” within all aspects of the snow safety professional community.

    From Simon Trautman of the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center:

    I spent some time this summer talking to avy center directors specifically about airbags; I will try and give a quick synopsis of what we learned:

    • out of the 14 avalanche centers surveyed: 4 use airbag packs, 4 have 1 or more individuals who use airbags, and 6 do not use them
    • When asked if airbags should be standard safety gear 10 of 14 said yes (although fewer than 10 are willing to require them)

    The following reasons were common when individuals were asked why they do not carry airbags (in no particular order):
    • Weight
    • Price
    • Functionality
    • Questions on practicality in treed terrain


    From Doug Richmond at Bridger Bowl: We had one Bridger patroller with his own. We aren't buying them yet, but I expect we will in the next few years, during which time I'm hoping for the above improvements, especially weight reduction, and maybe a little price reduction.
    Price is secondary to safety. Gear is secondary to wisdom.

  12. #12
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    thanks for all that Lynne

  13. #13
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    x2.................

  14. #14
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    Sounds good, though it's a little odd BD says their packs are 1) within averages for existing systems in terms of weight and 2) lighter than existing systems in the same paragraph.

    A frame carry would be nice too, diagonal on my current BD avalung pack blows.
    Success has many fathers, while failure remains an orphan // Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after - HDT

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jono View Post
    I'm curious if you could expand on the source data for this. Obviously in most cases there's no decent way to do a direct comparison since the options for a rechargeable lithium-ion/lithium-polymer/lithium-whatever battery that could replace, say, a pair of AA's in the same device is limited (to put it mildly), but have you done or seen anything done that would give a direct comparison (i.e. taking the device out of the equation)? The reason I ask is that I have heard first hand that satellites have been using lithium batteries for years specifically for their superior performance at low temperatures compared to other technologies. In most all cases the devices that use lithium batteries make use of designed-in features to account for the peculiarities of the batteries and it's very likely that any given device can misinterpret the battery's status by just measuring its voltage without measuring its temp at the same time. If you're seeing a device shutting off based on a voltage which, at room temperature, means the battery is about to be dead (a common protection) because it doesn't know it's safe to keep going that's probably not going to be representative of BD's application.
    You are right on about Li and Li-ion batteries actually being quite good at cold. They are pretty much the low-temp champs capacity wise (at least they can be). Not to say that they don't lose capacity, but it's better than just about any other battery chemistry. Performance down to -30C, -40C temps should be possible if they design and source the battery system correctly. That should be plenty low...

    Also true that different voltage/current charge and discharge curves make it difficult for devices to switch between different types of batteries. Performance over temp magnifies this problem considerably. I think this is where most of the "lithium is worse" info comes from. If a device is built to run off alkalines, it's best to just stick with them.

    Have to say I'm pretty excited to see the fan systems making it into the prototype phase. Hopefully there is something available in a couple of years that justifies the upgrade for me.

  16. #16
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    I am personally not most concerned about the batteries performing in low temps.
    But a bit, yes.
    In what temps have they done the test of 3.5 secs to full inflation? In lower temps, say
    3-4 days in -20c temps (which can be normal in higher latitudes/altitudes) does the
    inflation speed stay the same or does it dive?


    I have personally been struggling with different kind of batteries in the cold for a long time,
    using batteries for film/still cameras, portable lighting, comms etc.
    They work until they..well..dont work. Obviously camera stuff are much more picky with the current but
    even some simple and mundane things like LED lighting panel perform extremely badly if you have
    batteries that have been in the cold for a while. We had one battery (backup of a backup) that was left in a
    car for 2 days and when put into a use in -15c, well, it went out of juice mighty fast..



    But what concerns me most is that the bag draws the air from the surroundings.

    There was a report from few weeks ago (austria?) where a person with a ABS got involved in a avy.
    Apparently he was hit by it, released the bag, but to to being immersed in snow the ventril valve got
    clogged and didnt manage to pull in any air. But, due to the abs design, the cartridge managed to fill
    up the other bag, person went boyant and lived.

    This is what concerns me.

    With a 3.5second (or 5secs in cold temps?) inflation time you are about give to be under snow and what
    happens then? The intake valves gets clogged = you are fucked.
    How has BD managed to construct them that the powdery snow dont clog them or the fan?
    I am not an engineer but I have hard time fathoming what kind of structure the filters have
    to prevent clogging or not to reducing the incoming airflow to unacceptable levels.

    Not playing devils advocate here.
    I have been using BD products the last 15 years and am more than happy with their quality.
    It is just...well...electronics + batteries + cold...

    The floggings will continue until morale improves.

  17. #17
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    if these prevent avalanches they belong here in this forum
    if they are gear designed to potentially lesson avvy burials
    tech talk
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meathelmet View Post
    But what concerns me most is that the bag draws the air from the surroundings.

    There was a report from few weeks ago (austria?) where a person with a ABS got involved in a avy.
    Apparently he was hit by it, released the bag, but to to being immersed in snow the ventril valve got
    clogged and didnt manage to pull in any air. But, due to the abs design, the cartridge managed to fill
    up the other bag, person went boyant and lived.

    This is what concerns me.
    I saw BD's presentation of the bag at SIA and was rather impressed. This particular concern was addressed by having a pretty big intake area - imagine the avalung pack intake but a fabric mesh instead of metal, and several times larger AND having the back panel being one big intake. Obviously it's still a prototype but I'm pretty optimistic about it. FWIW the guy said that after storing the battery at -40 for a few months, they were still getting 1-2 cycles out of the thing.

    1000 units available sometime next season (dec-jan probably) at ~$1100, full widespread release for Fall 2015. Plenty of time to see how reality shakes out before it's available for the masses.
    "It need not be fun to be fun." - Big Steve

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  19. #19
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    BD claims it can remain inflated with a tear up to 7 inches. Under what pressure or load, I do not know. From what I understand it inflates in the first 3 seconds and then reaches full pressure at 9 seconds. From there the fan cycles on and off from 50 to 100% in different stages to the 3 minute mark. It would seem that the likelihood of it becoming fully inflated increases with multiple inflation stages.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew View Post
    Under what pressure or load, I do not know.
    I'd bet this is with no load on the bag, which is their best case! Also inflate to 150l instead of the regular 200l(?)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
    I'd bet this is with no load on the bag, which is their best case! Also inflate to 150l instead of the regular 200l(?)
    He didn't specify but no load on the bag is a pretty reasonable assumption. Would be interesting to see what the volume would look like under the forces involved in an avalanche, or with multiple smaller tears.

    FWIW, 150L is the standard volume for canister airbags.
    "It need not be fun to be fun." - Big Steve

    throughpolarizedeyes.com

  22. #22
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    ^^ I'm with this guy, no way in hell it's staying inflated with a 7" slice and any kind of pressure even close to resembling an avy. Bottom line is if that bag is compromised in any way and the pressure is great enough it isn't going to do jack shit.

  23. #23
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    You guys are getting pretty hung up on the puncture thing. A canister bag has no chance of refilling once it has been punctured. The BD will have some chance.

    Doesn't matter anyway, it isn't the main selling point of the new system.

  24. #24
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    I agree, kind of a ridiculous statement to make by them.

    But I admit it's a pretty kick ass system. And when it's functioning properly I don't see anything topping it.

  25. #25
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    7" gash = 4.5" hole, worst case. Leaking less than 50 l/s implies a small pressure but easily enough to keep the bag open unloaded. Of course, 50 l/s is the average for the fan pushing some non-zero pressure, too. And what if they manage to keep the gash from opening up fully, or the flapping fabric creates more resistance to flow? Impossible sounds a little over the top, but at least you're over it.

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