Half Round Carabiner?!

Discuss caving lights, packs, helmets, clothing, etc.
For rope and vertical equipment, go to the On Rope! forum.
Cave electronics enthusiasts can also visit the Communications and Electronics Section forum.

Moderator: Moderators

Half Round Carabiner?!

Postby biologyben » Dec 1, 2005 11:15 pm

I just noticed these Petzl Omni's on IMO's webpage. I really disdane screwing together the regular halfrounds, and i'd hate to pay $33-$38 for a carabiner...

any thoughts, yay or nay? Seems like a nifty device tho...
biologyben
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 30, 2005 6:29 pm
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 2, 2005 1:36 am

Hi Biologyben,

I got one a few months ago, and I like it a lot! :grin:

In fact, being the Gear Junkie that I am, I wrote a little review on it for my grotto newsletter. Since I'm also the editor, I just gave myself permission to republish it here on the DB. And no, Hank at Petzl does not pay me to promote their products - yet! :wink:

Enjoy...


Do you use a half-round Maillon Rapide (screw link) to secure your harness? Ever been frustrated with all the time and effort it takes to open and close it? Perhaps you've even got on rope without realizing the screw gate wasn't closed? No more! Petzl have come up with yet another revolutionary design - a half-round carabiner.

You have your choice of two models -the Omni Lock and Omni Tri-Act. The Omni Lock has a screw gate closure, while the Omni Tri-Act is auto-locking. The latter requires 3 separate motions to open - push, twist, and open the gate. Both have a keylock gate design, which helps to avoid snags as you attach and detach your harness and other items.

Both models are rated to 20kN for normal two-way or three-way loading, and 15kN when loaded onto the gate. (The gate is substantially more robust than a regular carabiner gate.) The gate-open rating is 7kN. The Omni Lock weighs 86g (3oz), has a gate opening of 23mm (0.9in), and retails for $33. The Omni Tri-Act weighs slightly more at 92g (3.2oz), has a gate opening of 21mm (0.83in), and retails for $38.

Yes, the Omni is substantially more expensive than a traditional Maillon Rapide - which costs about $7 for galvanized steel, $14 for Zicral (aluminum alloy), and $20 for stainless steel. It's also weaker, but does that really matter when it still holds more than 20 times the average adult cavers weight? I think not.

No, this is not an essential item for every caver. But despite the price, I like the Omni. It's great for those cave trips where you're constantly getting your gear on and off. I chose to buy the Tri-Act version because when I release the gate and it closes, I know it's instantly secure (of course I always physically check it too). It's not about laziness - it's about efficiency.

Image

Image

Image
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby RescueMan » Dec 2, 2005 4:50 pm

I haven't tried the Omni, and I don't expect to shell out that kind of $ for a few seconds of convenience.

Convenience, however, rarely comes without a price.

Petzl, for instance, states that the manual lock version is the one suited for a dirty environment. Spring-loaded self-locking gates often jamb when dirty - they might snap closed but then fail to lock. Combined with a moment's inattention, this could lead to disaster.

So the choice, then is between a half-round maillon and the Omni Lock, which still requires manual unscrewing to open, albeit less and easier no doubt.

As we all know, screw-gate carabiners sometimes unscrew themselves rather easily, making them more problematic and dangerous in dark, tight environments. Maillons require more effort to unscrew and also are less likely to unscrew themselves. If you overtighten a maillon, its easier to release than a jambed screw-lock because of the hex shape of the cylinder.

I've also found that my half-round sometimes gets rather full of gear and I can't imagine being able to swing a carabiner gate inward when the connector is that full. The maillon doesn't have this problem because of the linear opening of the collar.

Just my 2 cents.

And the KISS principle, IMHO, really stands for Keep It Simple & Safe.

- Robert
aVERT
a Vertical Emergency Response Training
to aVERT disaster in the VERTical environment
User avatar
RescueMan
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 7:45 pm
Location: Warren VT
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 2, 2005 5:46 pm

Robert - you make some very valid points.

Yes, they are expensive compared to your average Maillon Rapide. If you can screw up (pardon the pun) or unscrew a Maillon in just a few seconds, you're doing pretty well! It usually takes me about 10 seconds, depending on my fumble fingers. If you're taking your harness on and off repeatedly during a trip, the 'few seconds of convenience' can really add up. Plus the added frustration over time could lead to an attention lapse, and possibly even an accident.

I have long been told that auto-lock gates jam up under muddy conditions - yet it's never happened to me yet. I'm not saying it won't, and I'm sure it all depends on how much mud and grit you drag yourself through. Regular cleaning and maintaining of your vertical gear may also help to prevent problems from developing. I did make the comment about always physically checking the gate after it snaps shut - much like you would do with your Maillon before getting on rope anyway. Yes, if the gate does shut but not lock, it could lead to disaster. But arguably, this is less likely to cause a failure than if your Maillon was left open because you forgot to check it. I've personally seen that happen, but luckily without disastrous consequences.

It's true screw gates can make a habit of undoing themselves, or jamming themselves up tight (often with the help of a nervous novice). But I disagree that a jammed Maillon is easier to fix than a jammed screw-gate carabiner. This is a common misnomer. Yes, you can open a jammed Maillon with a wrench, or another Maillon gate. But you can often open a jammed carabiner without any tools. Frequently all you need do is apply your weight (or even 2 people's weight) to the offending carabiner, and the carabiner will flex slightly allowing you to unscrew it by hand. It does depend on the exact design of the screw-gate, but this will usually work.

The lower photo I posted shows my Omni about as full of gear as it gets. You can see both sides of the harness, the Croll, the middle knot of my double cowstail, and my descender carabiner. I can't imagine needing to put in much more than that, except perhaps a braking carabiner. I haven't found the inward swinging gate to be much of an inconvenience at all, at least compared with the continuous screwing and unscrewing of a regular Maillon.

I respect your opinion on this, and I also subscribe to your KISS principle. The Onmi is now part of my KISS vertical system. Perhaps you should try one out? :grin:
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby steelwool » Dec 7, 2005 12:38 pm

I own a Petzl "Omni" Tri-Act ... The auto locking one. I've had it about 3 months and I have had no major problems with it. Some times I have to help the auto locking mechanism a little to get it to fully lock. It is also very important that you orientate any half round in the correct direction.
User avatar
steelwool
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sep 22, 2005 10:50 pm
Location: Blacksburg, VA
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 7, 2005 4:43 pm

steelwool wrote:I own a Petzl "Omni" Tri-Act ... The auto locking one. I've had it about 3 months and I have had no major problems with it. Some times I have to help the auto locking mechanism a little to get it to fully lock. It is also very important that you orientate any half round in the correct direction.


Steelwool - can you define "the correct direction" please? :question:

I assume you mean with it oriented so the gate doesn't unscrew when you're ascending (since the rope often slides against the gate, just under the chest ascender). If so, then the way I have mine oriented (see my last photo) is not correct. I do it that way because I've found it much easier to unclip the right side of my harness, while leaving items in the Omni still attached to the left side.

This orientation issue is important to understand when using a regular Maillon Rapide, or a screw-gate Omni - but perhaps less critical with the auto-lock Onmi. With the auto-lock, the first unlocking action is to push sideways against a spring - and only then can it be turned. I suppose it could still unlock itself purely by rope rub, but I would think it's very unlikely.

Any thoughts to the contrary? 8)
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby steelwool » Dec 8, 2005 4:08 pm

I assume you mean with it oriented so the gate doesn't unscrew when you're ascending (since the rope often slides against the gate, just under the chest ascender). If so, then the way I have mine oriented (see my last photo) is not correct.


Yea, thats what I mean...

With the auto-lock, the first unlocking action is to push sideways against a spring - and only then can it be turned. I suppose it could still unlock itself purely by rope rub, but I would think it's very unlikely.


Very true! But I much rather have the device wanting close then open while climbing rope. I orientate it opposite to yours. The device probably wont open the way you have it. I also find that it is easier to see that the device is completely closed with normal because you can see the pin that locks it. In your way the pin faces you. Once the device get dirty, the auto lock wont want to close. This makes it important to see the pin. With my orientation I can easy inspect that the device is fully closed.
User avatar
steelwool
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sep 22, 2005 10:50 pm
Location: Blacksburg, VA
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 10, 2005 5:26 pm

steelwool wrote:...I also find that it is easier to see that the device is completely closed with normal because you can see the pin that locks it. In your way the pin faces you. Once the device get dirty, the auto lock wont want to close. This makes it important to see the pin. With my orientation I can easy inspect that the device is fully closed.


An excellent point! 8)

I now see what you mean about the pin. To be honest, I seldom VISUALLY check that my Omni is closed/locked properly - I prefer to just test it physically. Feeling for the gate, I check that the sleeve is securely locked and the Omni won't open. If I'm using a Maillon, I do a similar check to ensure it's threaded closed all the way.

However in difficult circumstances, like when I have numb fingers, I'll also do a visual inspection of the Omni. If you orient it the way I do with the sleeve locking pin hidden against the body, the opening slot in the sleeve is now easily visible in front. This slot, when facing forward and slightly upward, is another good indication that the sleeve has turned and locked.

Petzl doesn't actually mention a preference for orienting the Omni one way or another - so long as the gate always faces down. :wink:
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby Mike W » Dec 13, 2005 3:33 pm

I've used the two types of Omni since they came out, and was initially attracted to the Tri-act ( auto lock ) version. After a couple of months of use mainly in clean wet caves, but occasionally in mud, it stopped auto-locking properly. To cut a long story short, the UK importer found that overnight soaking in hot detergent solution and determined rinsing would improve things. However, it now seems sensitive to the merest dash of mud, so I changed to the screw version. The problem seems to be that the triple action mechanism includes a plastic sleeve, which either becomes roughened, or mud particles become embedded in it. The Petzl Twist-lock mechanism ( used on the Freino braking carabiner ) doesn't have this plastic sleeve and is totally reliable under serious abuse.

However, the screw version is now a firm favourite with me. A few points:-
The alloy Maillon takes 16 full turns to open, the Omni takes 2 and a bit.
If you forget to screw up a Maillon, things can fall off, with the Omni the gate is still closed.
The Omni is bigger than the Maillon, and has more room for gear.
Mike W
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Dec 13, 2005 3:05 pm
Location: Yorkshire
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 13, 2005 3:46 pm

Mike W wrote:I've used the two types of Omni since they came out, and was initially attracted to the Tri-act ( auto lock ) version. After a couple of months of use mainly in clean wet caves, but occasionally in mud, it stopped auto-locking properly. To cut a long story short, the UK importer found that overnight soaking in hot detergent solution and determined rinsing would improve things. However, it now seems sensitive to the merest dash of mud, so I changed to the screw version. The problem seems to be that the triple action mechanism includes a plastic sleeve, which either becomes roughened, or mud particles become embedded in it. The Petzl Twist-lock mechanism ( used on the Freino braking carabiner ) doesn't have this plastic sleeve and is totally reliable under serious abuse.

However, the screw version is now a firm favourite with me. A few points:-
The alloy Maillon takes 16 full turns to open, the Omni takes 2 and a bit.
If you forget to screw up a Maillon, things can fall off, with the Omni the gate is still closed.
The Omni is bigger than the Maillon, and has more room for gear.


Mike - thanks for the information! :grin:

Good to know. I wonder if Petzl will ever consider replacing the plastic sleeve on the Omni Tri-act with the type of mechanism used on the Freino? From what you said it would be nice if they did - and then offered to trade me one for my 'old' Omni! :wink:

Have you had any problems with your Omni Lock unscrewing itself? Do you orient yours the same way steelwool described in his posts?
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby Mike W » Dec 13, 2005 4:34 pm

NZcaver - I would be delighted if Petzl did produce a 'Twist-lock' version of the Omni, but I wouldn't hold your breath !!

I've just checked and, yes, I do rig it as steelwool suggests. I'm afraid it wasn't from a rigorous safety analysis - just that I'm right-handed ! By the way, if the screwgate isn't done up, a red band is visible to warn you. And no, I've never had the gate unscrew itself. ( Just don't ask me if I've ever forgotten to do it up ).
Mike W
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Dec 13, 2005 3:05 pm
Location: Yorkshire
  


Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

cron