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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  Random Tracks: posts that don't fit elsewhere
| | |-+  BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
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Author Topic: BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure  (Read 9131 times)

Posts: 4

BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
« on: 03/05/17, 06:34 AM »

Figured some people might be curious to see this.

Went to replace my DTS tracker batteries this morning (purchased December 2011, never been dropped on a hard surface to my knowledge). The plastic stud that the battery cover screws into cracked off (it's never been torqued beyond finger tight). I thought no big deal, I'll just open it up and super glue it back on (and probably buy a new one, but at least it would have saved today's skiing plans).

So I went to unscrew the two screws holding it together. Neither screw was under any load torque and spun easily with no resistance. One un-threaded, the other just spun in place. In both cases, the plastic stud which the screws go into had cracked off the chassis. Who knows when this happened, but it's safe to say I've been using it for a long time with both cover screws doing absolutely nothing.

Then I snapped the cover off, and one of the cover snaps had broken off, and one of the rubber gasket retainers had also broken off (may have happened during disassembly, but still a very weak plastic feature).

In my books, there's just no excuse here. This happens when low quality plastic is used which becomes brittle with time, combined with poorly engineered plastic features that don't have the strength to last the years. This is not a part where failure is acceptable.


Posts: 32

Re: BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
« Reply #1 on: 03/05/17, 10:10 AM »

That's unfortunate, but reading the instruction manual shows you that:

"Limited Warranty
The manufacturer, Backcountry Access, Inc., expressly warrants the workmanship
and components of the Tracker DTS for five years after the date of retail

These are sensitive electronics and complex products that require regular inspection and replacement. They simply don't last forever, nor should they.

Posts: 269

Re: BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
« Reply #2 on: 03/06/17, 12:08 PM »

If you're not satisfied with your BCA products then I encourage you to either explore whether they have changed their design goals with newer products or buy from a different brand.  The strongest message we as consumers can make is to spend our money with the companies that give us good service.

FWIW, I've spent a fair amount of money with BCA in the last couple of years and have been mostly happy with the products I've bought.

Free your heel, free your mind.
Fix your heel, fix your problem.
- Pred, 2013

Posts: 75

Re: BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
« Reply #3 on: 03/06/17, 08:54 PM »

Thanks for the PSA. I have got an old tracker that I will take a good look at.

FWIW, I have had great cusomer service with BCA. I'm sure they would want to know about the failure. I have never had any problems with mine, but those pics don't inspire confidence.

Posts: 4

Re: BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
« Reply #4 on: 03/06/17, 09:06 PM »

I'm not complaining about being out of warranty or anything, just wanted to raise attention to this issue. Had one screw post broke, or if it simply stopped working, I wouldn't have even bothered posting and would have been fine with it. Manufacturing defects happen.

Unfortunately this is a situation where all screw posts broke over the devices expected minimum life which I believe shows either an engineering deficit or a major QC issue in the factory or one of their suppliers. That's why I don't consider this failure to be acceptable. Random failures are fine and inevitable with any consumer device (sadly, it's just not practical to build a consumer avalanche beacon to military standards). Systematic failures of this nature on the other hand are unacceptable.

I do wonder if newer BCA models have a better case construction.

Posts: 1392

Re: BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
« Reply #5 on: 03/07/17, 05:26 PM »

My tracker DTS battery compartment screw stud/boss also sheared off. This  happened also out of warranty.   Fixed it with a through screw and nut after drilling the case. Unit functions as normal And still seals well. I inspect mine often ,test and always  replace my batteries at 85% .
I do understand that modern practice is to replace when out of warranty with newer improved models. I may soon do just that.

Tracker DTS are still sold on the market today at popular outlets with at least one outlet selling them at $199.00
Edit   I Might even consider buying another DTS

"I bought my rope at Walmart ,my gloves at costco but paid dearly for my dynafits"
Apparant Moderator of what sucks
Andrew Carey

Posts: 1418

Re: BCA Tracker Major Plastic Failure
« Reply #6 on: 03/07/17, 05:55 PM »

After I had two (2) Ortovox fail during one S&R practice, I decided to replace my transceivers on a regular basis (keeping the old ones for practice).  I also think 5 years is a good time to replace; I have refused to sell a beacon older than 5 years to someone who wanted to use it as there personal daily driver.   I haven't had the plastic go bad, but the electronics have; we put these things thru the ringer, especially when the recommended practice was under out layers against the chess.  Any drop or impact -- oh well, you pays your money and takes your chances.

... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
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