Pieps DSP Switch Lockout Concept


Post by LouDawson.com blogger | November 5, 2020      

Disclaimer: This post describes a concept, not a product. There is nothing here for sale. This post neither recommends the use of the concept item detailed below, nor do we sell or otherwise provide it. This post covers the details of a 3d printed item, sourced from a CAD file hosted elsewhere. The entirety of this post is opinion.

Written by Louie Dawson III, with editing by Lou Dawson

Clips (white) attached above and below the switch, with the beacon on.

Clips (white) attached above and below the switch, with the beacon switched on, in SEND mode.

After seeing recent concerns regarding the Pieps DSP avalanche beacon (green, with yellow switch), a few friends and I had an idea for a 3d-printed “work around” fix for the possibly troublesome slider switch.

The device we came up with is two simple plastic clips that fasten above and below the slider switch, using the same case slots the sliding switch rides in-on. These clips prevent the switch from sliding up and down and thus switching modes. We went through a few iterations before settling on this design.

The clips don’t interfere with putting the beacon in the harness.

The clips don’t interfere with storing the beacon in the harness. We feel that’s a key feature.

Although our concept is fairly simple, there are a few key features. For one, our clip design is flush with the OEM beacon housing. This is important as it allows the beacon to still fit into the harness holster. Also, we added tie-in attachment points. This allows you to tie a lanyard to the pieces so that they can be strung to the beacon, to prevent loss in the snow.

The lanyard also makes it super easy to remove the clips (especially with gloves on, or in an emergency) — just grab the cord and pull. We also added a little “fingernail divot” to the rear edge, so if the string breaks or comes untied, you can still easily remove the clips (although doing so would require taking your gloves off).

When we tested, the clips appeared to work as intended, but bear in mind this is a proof-of-concept, not a finished solution. They clip on easily, and are secure when attached. That being said, I think it’s still best to take Pieps up on their upgrade option and exchange the DSP for a newer Pieps model.

It is possible these clips will work well or a spare or a practice beacon you don’t want to take the time and money to upgrade. Also, I think they might be an option if you can’t afford the upgrade, or can’t upgrade for some other reason. For myself, I already have a newer BD powder BT beacon that I use. However I do have a Pieps DSP that I keep in my car as a spare beacon, and I might use these clips with that beacon.

Since these are plastic clips that flex, there is a possibility of breaking them, especially if they are cold. However, beacons should be carried where they are warmed by body heat, so the clips theoretically shouldn’t get exceptionally cold with normal use. Still, care should be taken when attaching them to the beacon, and they should be tested at home for their resistance to breakage, perhaps after cold soaking in a refrigerator.

To obtain a pair of these clips for testing and evaluation, you can download the 3d printing files from Thingiverse here for free, and print them yourself if you or a friend have a 3d printer. If you don’t have a printer, or don’t want to deal with the DIY aspect of it, you can order them from a 3d printing service for reasonable cost. For example, both parts from Shapeways.com printed in a nylon plastic would cost about $15.00.

A few notes if you decide to make some clips: We printed our test clips in PLA plastic, which seems to work well. An ABS or nylon material would also probably work well, and perhaps be stronger. It is important to print them in the correct orientation for maximum strength (see photos below). We printed ours in white, but a bright, snow contrast color would be better, and ideally the two different clips should be two different colors. The lanyard hole should fit a 4mm diameter cord. I used a piece of fly fishing line, which is strong while still being skinny and not twisty. Of course, if the clips do break or become lost, you’ve still got a functioning beacon and there’s always the duct tape solution.

Jordan Trickett, Kyle Stanton, and I worked on this conceptual design. There’s a few similar ideas that I’ve now seen, that others have come up with. We didn’t see any of these before we came up with our independent version, in fact, my dad and I spoke about it some time ago. It’s a simple concept, so it’s not surprising a few people had the same idea. I wanted to make that clear so it doesn’t seem like we’re stealing someone else’s idea. Selfishly, I think ours is the best, since it fits easily in the harness and has a lanyard attachment.

ear view showing the clip tie-in points. Note that this is a slightly different version than the I uploaded to thingiverse. I uploaded the most recent design, which has holRes for larger diameter cord, and a little fingernail indent for removal without the cord.

ear view showing the clip tie-in points. Note that this is a slightly different version than the I uploaded to thingiverse. I uploaded the most recent design, which has holes for larger diameter cord, and a fingernail indent for removal without the cord.

When the beacon is off, one clip can stay clipped. This is nice since it prevents the beacon being accidentally switched into search mode when switching it on. That’s a minor concern, but a little side benefit. The one issue I have with our design is that the other clip is just dangling when the beacon is off. It’d be nice if you could store it in the gap above the switch, but that’s easier said than done. Maybe that’ll be version 2?

When the beacon is switched off, one clip can stay clipped. This is nice since it prevents the beacon being accidentally switched into search mode when switching it on. That’s a minor concern, but a little side benefit. The one issue I have with our design is that the other clip is just dangling when the beacon is off. It’d be nice if you could store it in the gap above the switch, but that’s easier said than done. Maybe that’ll be version 2.456789?

Beacon in search mode. The lower clip (which is the most important of the two) doesn’t need to come off to switch to search mode. This means that the clip shouldn’t ever be taken off during a day in the backcountry, which is a good safety feature.

Beacon in search mode. The lower clip (which is the most important of the two) doesn’t need to come off to switch to search mode. This means that the clip shouldn’t ever be taken off during a day in the backcountry, which is a good safety feature.

The clip “snaps” right into the groove for the slider switch. It’s almost like it’s made for it!

The clip “snaps” right into the groove for the slider switch. It’s almost like it’s made for it!

One of the clips on its own. If you’re going to print these, make sure you do it in this orientation for maximum strength.

One of the clips on its own. If you’re printing these, make sure you do it in this orientation for maximum strength.

Disclaimer: loudawson.com is neither recommending, endorsing nor providing this item. It is a concept. We offer this blog post as nothing more than proof-of-concept. It’s your decision to download the free public domain 3d printing file created by a third party, and use at your own risk.



Comments

4 Responses to “Pieps DSP Switch Lockout Concept”

  1. Parker Wrozek November 5th, 2020 10:16 am

    Pretty cool solution. If you have to go through these lengths to feel safe though…probably just go pick up a BCA Tracker 3/S (or whatever beacon you prefer).

  2. Louis Dawson November 5th, 2020 10:20 am

    I agree it’s probably better to get a new beacon (either the BD/pieps upgrade or another brand). However there’s I think there’s some out there who can’t afford that, or want this solution for another reason (spare beacon, etc).

  3. Lou Dawson 2 November 5th, 2020 10:24 am

    Whatever the beacon, torture test the switch, it’s surprising how easily some of them can click out of your desired mode. I have no remaining patience with this, and am running out of duct tape.

  4. Parker Wrozek November 5th, 2020 12:06 pm

    Totally agree. Thanks for sharing the creative fix!

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