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Onthejob

Mirage Reserve Pin Problem

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Anyone else recently have any problems with an inferior pin on their Mirage reserve handle? On repack, my rigger found that the steel cable has pushed thru the side of the pin (see pics). The rig was manuf in 8/2012, and with our season in the NE had less than 3yrs service (~700 jumps). No reserve rides, and the handles been pulled for about 7 repacks. Mirage says that since it's been in service since 2012, it's time to replace the handle... Just wondering if this is an anomaly, or if anyone else has experienced it.

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3 year service life on a metal reserve ripcord? Not hardly. Your photos are almost too close but it is a pin intended to have the cable run through it to the next pin on a multi pin ripcord. Many one pin ripcords are made with these pins. After swaging the cable it cut and ground smooth. Again the photo isn't clear but it looks like some of the pin was ground away to expose the side of some of the cable and some strands have come untwisted. You could grind it smooth again but I'd question the integrity of the pin. The strength of the swage can be tested.

The advantage of not using a terminal pin is that you can see if the cable is slipping.

A new ripcord is probably in order but I'd expect Mirage to replace it as defective. The ripcord, unless allowed to corrode or physically damaged, ought to last the life of several rigs.

Alternative explination is that the shaft near the pin wasn't swaged well and wasn't gripping the cable allowing it to unravel. Hard to tell from photos. Still means defective RC that Mirage should replace.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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Now the rest of the ground off area looks OK, without any movement. So I'm wondering if it was just a few strands of the cable, closest to the pin, that weren't ground down fully, being somewhat hidden within the channel that finishes in that 'elbow' of the pin.

Then something caught the strands and pulled them up and away from the pin so they stick out. No movement of the cable overall; no structural probem; just strands getting bent into an undesired area.

Just a guess though; I don't have any pins near me to help me look at the details of their construction.

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Yes to what pchapman said.
I have seen that problem a few times before, but yours is yours is the worst.
How long are the loose strands protruding?
The question is whether wire strands slid within the cable ?????

Sometimes your local rigger can grind (wheel) the loose strands until they are flush. The key is not grinding too deep into the cylinder of the pin.
Then apply a drop of nail polish to prevent the loose ends from lifting again.

In the long run, you are still going to need to replace that ripcord, but keep the old (frayed) ripcord as a spare.

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The question I think I would probably ask is if Mirage are going to replace for free - ie. send us your old ripcord back and we'll send you a replacement or if they want to charge 95 + shipping on a new part.

One is good customer service, the other not so good.

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Made me go look at mine. Looks like they put some kind of solder in there to bind all those loose ends together and to smooth out the external surface after grinding, which would eliminate this problem. This would be a Jump Shack pin.

[inline RipcordPinend1sm.jpg]

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I think many of the newer pins from JumpShack are roll swaged so they're not going to have the ground off part. I believe some older ones were brazed. I bought one of their temp pins because I liked it better than the wire ones and it shows the roll swaging which I think is trick.

I think with removing or snapping off a few offending strands there is a tiny chance it could weaken the strength of the swage by providing enough space for the other strands to slip inside the compression area. Again, tiny chance but not worth the risk.

I'd take the issue up with Mirage directly to see if they can warranty it. In my experience most manufacturers will take great care of items like this.

-Michael

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Thanks all for the input. I too would expect, as a few others have mentioned, that *GOOD* customer service would warranty the handle....however, the replies my rigger got when he contacted Mirage were,

"It’s time to replace this handle. It’s been out there since 2012." and when asked if Mirage was going to warranty it,

"There are multiple full inspections before accessory parts or complete harnesses leave the facility. Any beginning signs of resulting in this wear would have been noticed.
There will be a standard charge for the replacement of this handle."

So I guess that means the useful life of a reserve handle/pin is well under 4 years of actual use, <700 jumps, and 6 repacks before you should expect to have to replace it....seems to me there are A LOT of reserve handles out there that should be replaced!

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I suggest you take it up with them directly. Email with photos perhaps? I stopped by the factory about a week ago and had an excellent reception even though I presented many challenging questions about their new MARD system. I would be surprised if you get blown off. Most companies go far above and beyond to keep even difficult customers happy.

-Michael

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Everyone's opinion is different. My general opinion of Mirage has definately not been great customer service. Slow responses when parts are ordered, Nothing in stock for handles. Wrong parts being sent despite being provided with serial number, main risers sent without rsl ring and then not wanting to replace them.

In my personal opinion, a warranty repair would be good customer service.

Have the customer send the old part sent back and you can re-use the handle. Do I think the customer has abused the handle to pull the strands out - no !!!. Do I think there is a problem with manufacturer/materials that allowed this to happen - yes !!!.

But its up to Mirage to determine that and obviously the 95 bucks plus shipping means more to them that a customer feeling they got a faulty part which they then got screwed on having to replace.

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skytribe

Everyone's opinion is different. My general opinion of Mirage has definately not been great customer service. Slow responses when parts are ordered, Nothing in stock for handles. Wrong parts being sent despite being provided with serial number, main risers sent without rsl ring and then not wanting to replace them.



That fits with my recent experience. I phoned to order an RSL for a customer, provided them with all the information they needed (serial number etc). They said they'd email me a payment link that day, and have the RSL in the mail the next day. Every couple weeks I'd get an email asking a question that I had already answered (hey, what's the serial number? hey, do the main risers have an RSL ring? etc). Email queries would take a week or two to get a response - then they'd say something like "we'll ship it today" (but then they wouldn't). It took 2 months before they actually shipped it.
"It's amazing what you can learn while you're not talking." - Skydivesg

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Maybe someone should share a link to this thread with them.

Potential customers are on notice, it would benefit them to end this thread with feedback of a good resolution.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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Good luck. I was just about to order a brand new mirage when i found out just how horrible their customer service is... My wife ordered risers custom made and was told 2-3 weeks. 3 days later she went into mirage and changed one of the colors of the risers. They said they were already cut and there would be a $30 restock charge,... ok no problem. We paid in cash then and there. 5 weeks later after checking in several times, they call and inform me they are out of the original color we ordered and it would take another couple weeks to get it in. I told them it was changed many weeks ago and they said yep they had the new requested color in. Still took another 2 weeks after this... See the problem here? i was charged a restock fee for something that was never cut in the first place and admittedly by them. I had already paid in full and they wouldnt even consider refunding the restock fee when i explained what happend. Excuses are all i ever got back.

Then i wanted to buy a stock container they had that needed a harness resize.

They wanted to charge me full list price plus a harness resize fee and it ended up being more than a brand new custom rig. I tried offering cash upfront.... $3400ish.... they wouldnt budge. So i bought something else.

I will never buy anything from them ever again. probably why they cant pay their employees and are teetering on going under....
I was that kid jumping out if his tree house with a bed sheet. My dad wouldn't let me use the ladder to try the roof...

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Ok, while we're piling on the unfortunates at Mirage, here's my Mirage customer service anecdote:

(Admittedly, this was 5-8 yrs back)

A local jumper needed new handles and a freebag, and ordered from Mirage over the phone. When she got the order, she got a freebag, no pilot chute.

Technically those are separate components but when a jumper needs a replacement freebag, a gear company should probably double check whether the jumper would like a reserve pilot chute too...

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They got the photos of the pin from my rigger same time as I did when he questioned it being a defective handle. That in turn prompted a couple follow-up emails w/ the aforementioned comments that the handle's "been out there since 2012" and that I'd have to foot the bill.

I didn't intend this to be a "bash Mirage" thread; I've got 2 rigs that I love and had no issues with, right up to this point. Just wanted to see if anyone else had had similar pin issues, and get some input.

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Let me be more clear. My wife still has a mirage container and they are one of the nicest and cleanest looking rigs out there. They have an awesome product, and every manufacturer has had issues with something at one point. However, their customer service still sucks ass.
I was that kid jumping out if his tree house with a bed sheet. My dad wouldn't let me use the ladder to try the roof...

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I could be incorrect on this but...it is my understanding that no manufacturer other than Jump Shack makes their own ripcords. Yes it is on a Mirage rig, but I don't think it is a "Mirage" ripcord. Same on *every other rig but
jump shack. I think Capewell mfg's most others. And they make great ripcords. If this one is defective then they or Mirage should promptly replace it.
(Not to be "captain obvious" but not on UPT products with an RSL or Skyhook because they don't use a single pin ripcord)

Not that it makes the ripcord OK or anything, but if it was OK when inspected, then the cable end popped out, then it's not on Mirage, and yes they should replace it.
So, if they do replace it then the beginning of this thread is a "single occurrence" event.

My experience with Mirage has been great. I have ordered parts, etc and gotten them promptly. They have a great product.

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The saga continues... Mirage rep agrees 3yrs is not the normal lifespan of a ripcord, and strands can sometimes show through, but "Someone has taken a tool and dug at this ripcord..." So now, I or my rigger intentionally dug cable strands out of the pin?? Seriously?? Maybe they appear pulled out a bit because they were stuck in the thumb of the rigger when he closed the pack job...
Why on earth anyone would think that at the beginning of a season a customer would intentionally damage a reserve handle is beyond me. What, I wanted to take my rig out of service for an indefinite period while I waited to get a new, (custom I might add) handle, and hope that I didn't get the type of runaround that I am and have to pay for it?
Or, my rigger dug the strands out to force me to get a new reserve handle, so he can do another pack job? C'mon, gimme a break. But now, in the same breath as accusing me of intentionally causing the damage, they're willing to halve the cost of the handle with me... They've also clarified the "It's been out there since 2012" comment, as meaning "it's been in the field and repacked 6-7 times"...No kidding? Not quite sure what that means, guess that I've had lots of time to sabotage my rig to replace a dirty handle (though it's not even that!)
Funny that I showed those pics to another manufacturer (who wished to remain nameless) who took one look and *called* me directly to say that it was in no way right that it happened, that were it one of their handles, a new one would have been in the mail the same day along with a bunch of swag as an apology. AND, they went so far as to apologize for the poor customer service of their competitor! Was this just capitalizing on an opportunity to try to win a new customer, maybe... but they were very genuine in my opinion.
Ok, I'm done venting for now...just find it aggravating>:(. I suppose I'm stuck waiting for God knows how long, paying half the cost for a new handle(though that'll probably change after they see this). However, I'm not going to pass that cost on to the next owner of either of the Mirage G4's that will likely be on the market come the end of the Northeast season....

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Onthejob

Was this just capitalizing on an opportunity to try to win a new customer, maybe... but they were very genuine in my opinion.



Probably both. Skydiving is small enough that there's an actual person trying to be nice behind each company, and at the same time, your reputation is the make or break of your business, so it pays off to go to extra lengths to be nice. Case in point: I ordered a Vortex because of the recall. And with the sport being small, if you travel enough (as most gear manufacturers do), you will likely know both the customer and the competitor personally.

Which makes Mirage's behaviour strange, the last thing you want is people talking on the web about how not only did your ripcord fail in 3 years, but you also tried everything to show that you don't care.
"Skydivers are highly emotional people. They get all excited about their magical black box full of mysterious life saving forces."

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That's very disappointing. Maybe Mirage can take notice and work to improve the experience their clients have.

Parachute Labs (plabsinc.com) runs a metal shop that makes a lot of assemblies like this. From what I've seen they're doing roll swaging that is a bit different but they probably have more insight.

-Michael

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That's crazy. Makes me wonder how many others are floating around out there with the same problem. If after only 3 yrs something like this happens you would think they'd be a little more concerned about it than trying to place blame back on you or the rigger for "digging it out with a tool".

So as of right now this post has had 2943 views, as there are multiple views let give it a lowball and say that roughly 1000-1500 people have seen this thread. Of those lets say 1/2 are going to say "well I'd go ahead and buy a Mirage anyways" the other 1/2 have definitely taken notice and now have just completely ruled out buying a Mirage.

So that's 500 less customers +/-250.

Those are all potential customers that have taken notice that Mirage hasn't remedied a problem with the most basic of customer service. That's pretty sad especially when I'm almost sure that they or one of their reps has probably been one of the 2943 views.

I'll stick with my 22yr old container for now which I will probably need to replace soon.....that probably won't be a Mirage though. I'll have to look at my 22yr old pin and see if its in better shape than your 3yr old pin :)

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Mirage’s response has not been accurately relayed. The answer we provided is shown below.

————
Hello Mike,

No, 3 years is certainly not the normal lifespan of a ripcord.  Someone has taken a tool and dug at this ripcord.  For this reason we cannot determine if it was a manufacturing defect or not.

All ripcords are inspected multiple times by us, as well as by the ripcord manufacturer before they deliver, specifically for poking strands at this location.  When our inspection finds one, it is usually only felt with a snag cloth or a fingernail; it is not usually very visible to the eye. Very rarely, the tip of a strand can work through in the field, but not to the level shown without assistance.  Just as opening a cell phone voids the warranty, taking a tool to dig at a ripcord does as well.  In an effort to assist this customer we will provide a new ripcord to the customer for 50% off.

————

Dpreguy is correct that this is a Parachute Labs ripcord. We use them because they provide very high quality. In the 3 years since this rig has been in the field it would have been re-packed 6-7 times. It is extremely unlikely that it passed Parachute Lab’s inspection, our multiple inspections, and was repeatedly repacked in the condition shown. To obtain a second opinion, two members of our Quality Control department went over to Parachute Labs (also located in DeLand, FL) for their assessment of this ripcord. They also concluded that someone has taken a tool to it.

We have attempted to communicate with the customer and offer to help remedy the situation, but we have been rebuffed.

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So you really believe that a perfectly good ripcord - someone unknown just decided for no real reason to start digging at the ripcord. That seems a little far fetched.

I'm not doubting it had been poked at when a problem was identified but rather than replacing it no question. You want to make this a chargeable part.

I guess that's the difference between great customer service and so so.

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