Sep 5, 2002, 9:59 PM
Post #1 of 60
Attached is a picture which shocked the heck out of me one day while packing. See anything odd? Yeah, check out that connector link. I didn't notice that under canopy, and only saw it when completing the next pack job while stowing the risers. Yikes!
Whoa. Glad you're ok! A couple of things popped in my mind:
1) The next link to the right seems to be loose too. Were these properly installed in the first place? By a rigger?
2) There are no plastic/rubber/silicone covers on the connectors. This will cause premature wear on the slider grommets, which in turn will wear out your lines. I recommend that you have slider bumpers installed.
3) A question to the riggers out there: Could something like this happen with soft-links(provided of course that they are properly installed in the first place)? I understand that the tightness of the nuts on the connector links should be checked periodically. Is there something similar with softlinks, or are they basically maintenance-free?
not rigger but nothing in skydiving is maintenance-free, always check everything remember that it will carry your life all the way down from the heavens, better make it sure that everything (including everything even helmets, jumpsuits etc.) works just fine.
I'm not a rigger either, but the nice thing about soft links is that when and if they fail, they fail completely, up high, during deployment. Rapide links can just bend a little and still hold the lines in. Scary stuff! -Rap
Rapide links should be loc-tited and marked to show if they begin to turn. They should be checked periodically (during the 30- day 3-ring maintenance is a good time) to make sure they are still tight. Links should also have some sort of slider bumpers, cloth or silicone, like someone already mentioned.
Soft links don't require any maintenace, but should also be checked perriodically(again, the 30-day 3-ring maintenance is a great time). If you have switched from links to Slinks, be sure your slider groments doesn have any sharp edges (caused by the slider groments hitting the links w/o bumpers).
Colapsing and pulling your slider down will save wear and tear on your lines, bumpers and links/Slinks. The slider flapping, even if colapsed, beats the groments against your lines/bumpers/links/slinks, causing wear.
You hit all the big points there. I'll elaborate for others.
Loc-tite is a product used by mechanics. It's a fluid that comes in a little tube - you dribble some on your threads, and then screw on the nut, and it "glues" the nut in place so it won't back out. Get the medium strength variety, that won't permanently affix the nut. You do want to be able to remove it some day. You just want to assure that the nut doesn't back itself out from the repeated vibration of opening shock.
Likewise, having tubing over the link helps hold the nut in place so it can't turn. This is another benefit of tubing, in addition to keeping the slider grommet from getting nicked up, and fraying your lines.
You can use something like red nail polish to paint a line on the nut and the adjoining link. That way if the nut does start moving, you know it immediately with a quick visual glance, because the marks will no longer be lined up.
And don't get paranoid and overtighten the link nuts either, as you can strip the threads or crack the nut. They should be tight, but not muscled tight with a great deal of force.
Just buy Slinks and be done with it. If they fail it will be a catastrophic failure and most likely happen on opening and NOT when you hook. Besides...they are only $30 and childishly simple to install.
I'm not a rigger either, but the nice thing about soft links is that when and if they fail, they fail completely, up high, during deployment.
That's true for 90% of the jumpers out there (and it applies to me which is why I have Slinks on my rig).
However, some of those tiny, soft-opening, ultra-performance canopies can put more of a G-load on the lines during radical maneuvers than during opening shock. It would really suck to kick out a snap 90 to 270 turn and have the suspension lines finish working their way through a soft link.
The same rule applies whether it's a Rapide or a Soft Link. "Maintain (and Inspect) Thy Gear". When I give my rig a once-over before the weekend, I inspect my Slinks and the suspension line attachment loops at the link for wear or deformity. If I pack before I go home for the weekend, I check them then.
I would bet that the large portion of equipment failures happen to people who ignore obvious signs of damage and excess wear to their gear.
billvon (D 16479)
Sep 7, 2002, 3:52 PM
Post #13 of 60
>However, some of those tiny, soft-opening, ultra-performance > canopies can put more of a G-load on the lines during radical > maneuvers than during opening shock.
Do you have any evidence of this? Gary Peek did some testing a while back, and he regularly saw 5 G's (up to 7 G's occasionally) during opening of a Sabre 230. This did not include any very hard rouge openings; just normal pro-pack openings of that canopy. Do you have evidence that a radical manuever puts more than, say, 5G's on a canopy?
The Slinks have a higher tensile strengh on drop tests then the rapide links do. You actually have a harder time breaking the Slinks then the metal links on tests. In terms of wearing, the Slinks out last risers from all accounts.
And the cool thing on the Slinks... once installed, after one jump there is no maintence to do other then make sure they are still installed and your buddies haven't swiped them or they have big nicks in them.
(This post was edited by PhreeZone on Sep 7, 2002, 10:44 PM)
And as you point out, you have to check Slinks periodically anyway, just like steel links, so that's not an advantage - it's the same.
There ARE advantages. It's easier to pull the slider down, and you rule out having to replace slider-bumpers. Both - to me, are compelling enought to spend the $10.
Wether s-links are more durable then stainless french links will be debated for eons, I'm sure. I do think it's perfecty fair to say that they're durable enough for someone who does regular gear checks.
There ARE advantages. It's easier to pull the slider down...
I don't consider that a big deal.
and you rule out having to replace slider-bumpers...
Another one that's no big deal. They don't wear out that often. Neither of these reasons is sufficient justification for me to warrant trying out "new" bleeding-edge technology that doesn't have a lot of field usage to shake out all the problems that might be inherent in the design.
Wether s-links are more durable then stainless french links will be debated for eons, I'm sure.
The eons certainly passed quickly. One only has to look at the "Soft Link Failure" thread in the "Incidents" section, to see how chafing between the riser and Slink can wear through. That won't happen to a steel link. Yeah, I know that incident involved a rigger's home-grown soft link, but that doesn't change the fact that friction occurs, fabric on fabric, which will eventually cause a problem. And that will happen a lot sooner than with a steel link.
Everyone is, of course, free to make their own choices. But through discussions like these, people are made aware of the pros and cons of each. That way, they can choose wisely, and be wary of the potential weaknesses in each.
PhreeZone (D License)
Sep 9, 2002, 10:55 AM
Post #21 of 60
>Neither of these reasons is sufficient justification for me to warrant trying out "new" bleeding-edge technology that doesn't have a lot of field usage to shake out all the problems that might be inherent in the design.
I'd hardly call 10+ years of using softlinks as bleeding edge technology. PdF had a Softlink for sale years before PD did.I'm yet to heat of a failure of that style softlink. The Failed link had a design that allowed the risers to be at full width and not the compressed that it required for metal or PD slinks. It was a poor design, but it still lasted for 4 years that I know of and a couple hundred jumps.
>They don't wear out that often. (Slider bumpers)
I seem to notice them lasing about 100 jumps. Thats 3 times a year for me. Each time I'm increasing the odds of a link failure by having to adjust the links and possibly under tightening or over tighting the link.
No thanks. I'll take stainless steel over fibers, for long-lasting durability and strength. You may solve one problem with the conversion, but you create a few others.
It would be interseting to compare jumps/failure rates for links vs. soft links. I would bet on the soft links having a lower failure rate. I make my own and end up cutting them off to replace the line set on the canopy, they out-last the lines.
if you are paranoid about abrasion put a bumper on...
My DZO was just telling me that George at Precision was a bit skeptical about Slinks too when they first came out. So, he loaded up a riser and Slink to 1000Lbs and attempted to "saw" through a Slink with several differen't types of lines. He could make a bit of abrasion but after a lot of trying he never actually got through. I don't think abrasion is really going to be a problem. An inspection once per weekend and replacing when you reline the canopy should keep you safe. But...as always...that's just my .02C
An inspection once per weekend and replacing when you reline the canopy should keep you safe.
Which is more than you have to do with a properly installed steel link. Thus, by using a soft link, you are increasing the need for inspections and maintenance - things which are often easily overlooked...