marți, 11 decembrie 2012

Bazinul carstic 2116 de 1 decembrie

Anul asta de 1 decembrie am reusit in cele din urma sa fac o tura de lucru in bazinul 2116. Zona din jurul Manastirii Tismana pe care o abordasem in tabara de vara a FV-ului din 2010 ramanea cu mari semne de intrebare. Cavitati nelocalizate, descrieri vechi si pesteri fara harta. In ultimul caz se afla si Pestera cu apa de la Manastirea Tismana sau Pestera Tezaurului. Aici a fost ascuns tezaurul tarii mai de mult. Ma rog, nu intru in detalii, ca nu le cunosc si nici nu ma intereseaza. Cel putin, momentan. Cand voi ajunge cu sistematizarea in pragul publicarii va trebui sa ma documentez temeinic despre istoric si legende.
Pana atunci, e doar balast si nu are nici o legatura cu speologia. Problema e ca pe altii i-au cam  interesat treburile astea aducatoare de venit si in cavitate s-au perindat destul de multi cautatori de cai verzi.
Revenind insa la tura, au participat Mihaita, Razvan, Adina, Mihai si Valerica. Am beneficiat si de sprijinul moral al catelusei Baghera. Vineri am reusit sa plecam in jurul orei 7 din mareata metropola. In cinci ore eram in curte la gazda turelor noastre la Topesti, familia Pau. Cum era sarbatoare, oamenii se adunasera astfel ca am incercat sa deranjam cat mai putin. Ne-am luat in primire cele doua camere si am pus sforaitorii laolalta ca sa putem si noi dormi seara.
In 2010 cartasem destul de expeditiv cavitatea explorata pentru prima oara de catre fostul club Niphargus din Bucuresti. Ei s-au oprit la un sifon. Mai departe au mers Serban Sarbu si Cristian Lascu. Insa nu exista o ridicare topo. E ca si cum nu ar exista nimic.
Cum nu eram prea incantat de crochiul meu din 2010, m-am hotarat sa refac cu Mihaita intreaga cartare ca la carte si ca sa incercam si ceva nou, am apelat la dispozitivul DistoX ce este o adevarata bijuterie pentru topografii subterani. DistoX-ul consta intr-un laser metru (Lecia A3) pe care un speolog elvetian a montat o busola si un clinometru digital. Astfel ca in momentul in care vizezi ai direct cele trei valori esentiale unei ridicari topografice: lungimea, azimutul si panta. Din pacate o noua versiune a DistoX-ului nu exista iar modelul Leica A3 - singurul ce a fost supus modificarii - nu se mai fabrica de cativa ani buni. Pe pagina de net a creatorului sculei ni se explica sa avem rabdare caci versiunea in lucru a esuat si se incearca modificarea noului distomat Lecia. Mai trebuie sa mentionez ca DistoX a fost gandit ca un lant complet al cartarii fara hartie si creion. Astfel, prin bluetooth distomatul poate comunica cu un PDA sau smartphone (sau whatever) si transfera datele in timp real rezultand pe ecran direct drumuirea. Cu ajutorul pen-ului se pot desena si peretii astfel ca la iesirea din pestera ai practic harta acesteia nu numai un crochiu. Este foarte bine ca se poate asa ceva ce suna SF pentru multi insa in privinta desenului eu prefer sa il fac clasic, pe hartie. Am mai multa precizie si in plus nu sunt limitat de rezolutia device-ului. In lipsa unui PDA, scriu datele clasic in carnetul de cartare. Nu mai zic ce se intampla in cazul in care apare un scurt sau o problema la gadget...pierzi toate datele. Asa ca e mai sigur cu datele in caiet, care si el ar trebui sa fie din pagini rezistente la apa ca sa nu ai surprize in cazul in care se uda, fapt pentru care in speologie folosim carnete cu pagini speciale rezistente la apa. Eu folosesc Rite in the rain.
Am pornit dupa amiaza spre cavitate avand doua tinte: starea actuala a sifonului din Pestera cu Apa si localizarea Pesterii de la Pastravarie.
La Tismana era in lucru peretele din calcar din drepata, unde se mai afla o pestera - Chilia lui Nicodim. Probabil datorita caderilor de pietre au ales sa torcreteze faleza de calcar. Din pacate se duce si accesul facil la chilie. Se va mai putea intra in ea numai prin rapel.
Remarc ca a fost scoasa conducta fostei captari din prima sala si de asemenea pilonii de sustinere ai acesteia. Lucru foarte bun caci nu mai foloseau la nimic. Mergem direct la sifon si realizez cat de mica este apa caci pe unde calcam cu grija sa nu ma ud acum calc direct pe argila uscata. Seceta face ravagii. Ajunsi la laculetul sifonului ni se dezvaluie bolta acestuia. Era deschis cam 50 cm. Fantastic. Eu raman mut si imi promit sa caut acasa pozele de acum doi ani cu sifonul.
Facem cale intoarsa si mergem dupa descrierea din fisa predata la ISER de catre Niphargus IMGB la Pestera de la Pastravarie. Aceasta cavitate are si o scurta harta pana la primul sifon ce se afla imediat dupa intrare, cam la 50 de metri. Gasim cavitatea fara probleme si o marchez pe GPS. Apoi intram. Si aici a existat captare ce acum nu mai functioneaza. Tevile ruginite precum si sorbul de pompaj sunt deasupra apei. Sifonul insa este in continuare inchis, semn ca e treaba mai serioasa aici.
Cu temele facute, ne intoarcem "acasa" sa ne odihnim si sa planuim ziua de sambata. Povestesc cu Mihai daca ar fi posibil ca ei sa bage si Pestera de la Pastravarie duminica macar sa isi faca o idee. Mihai e de acord cu idea mea insa depinde de cat aer vor mai avea in butelii dupa ce vor intra in sifonul de la Pestera cu Apa.
Mancam bine, glumim si ne bagam la somn bine dispusi. Echipele sunt clare, asa cum trebuie intr-o tura speologica: Mihai si Vali scuba, Adina si Razvan localizare pesteri dimprejurul manastirii, eu si Mihaita cartare si suport pentru prima echipa iar Baghera va sta in masina ca sa nu iasa circ la cartare.
A doua zi Mihai si Vali isi revizuiesc tactica si iau cu ei butelii mici. Imi place foarte mult cum isi calculeaza totul, multi au de invatat. Apoi, dispar dupa sifon. Noi ramanem pe loc cu gandurile la neoprenele de acasa...cine si-ar fi imaginat ca sifoanele sa fie deschise. Razvan si Adina intorsi deja dupa o tura pe Valea Sasa ne spun ca nu au gasit nimic si pornesc in identificarea pesterilor de sub manastire. Eu cu Mihaita incepem "opera de arta" din portalul betonat al cavitatii. Treaba merge binisor.
Interesant va fi planul caci din loc in loc apar interventiile antropice: beton si conducte. Le masuram si le trecem si pe ele in plan.
Sa tot fi trecut vreo 3 ore de cand scufundacii au plecat si ma bucur nespus sa le aud vocile si sa le zaresc luminile. Ne povestesc la cald cum toate sifoanele erau practic deschise. Apare si Razvan cu Adina ce au identificat patru cavitati de sub manastire si le-au dat cu GPS-ul, apoi ies cu Mihai si Vali afara. Mai zabovesc cu Mihaita cateva minute la doua sectiuni si gasim si o galerie laterala care in mod normal nu ai cum sa o vezi. Noroc cu cartarea. Galeria secundara se termina intr-un ochi de apa. Bag camera sub apa sa vad ce nu pot vedea de la suprafata si constat ca e un sifon.
Ma uit la ceas si pun punct cartarii. Strangem echipamentul si iesim si noi afara. Se facuse frig. Colegii ne asteptau si cu totii am inceput sa ne gandim la tuica fiarta de Topesti.
Mancam, povestim si visam cu ochii deschisi cum trecem prin sifoanele altadata inchise. Ce sansa pentru noi dar ce trist pentru locuitorii de acolo...apa se duce.
A doua zi urma sa mergem la Pastravarie pentru ca Mihai si Vali sa verifice si acolo situatia. Exista o cartare din anii'80 a lui Serban Sarbu ce se incheie cu linie intrerupta...
Dimineata Vali nu se simte bine si trebuie sa anulam planul A, trecand la planul B: mergem in Dealul Bile unde nu mai gasim deloc avenul cartat acolo in 2005 si de asemenea pentru a localiza alte doua avene inscrise la cadastru. Incapem toti in camionasul lui Mihai si pornim. Vreme extrem de mohorata. Ceata si un fel de ploaie cu stropi marunti. Nu vedem la mai mult de 20 m. Totusi, ne punem pe cautat.
Scurtam mult din drumul forestier cu ajutorul Pathfinder-ului si ne rasfiram printre arbusti pentru a peria cat mai mult posibil. Eu dau de un drum de care pe care nu tineam minte sa fi mers vreodata cu toate ca mai fusesem aici de cateva ori. Am urmat drumul ce m-a scos langa doua casute aflate intr-o poiana. Un loc special, foarte linistit si deosebit. Astfel de zone se gasesc destul de des pe plaiurile Topestiului, e ca un trademark. Marchez zona ca fiind Conacul lui Mos Simion conform localizarilor vechi si incep sa strig colegii. Ne adunam toti si, avand ca punct de reper conacul, reincepem cautarile.
Gasim cu greu un singur posibil aven.Conform descrierilor din fisele predate la cadastru acum 30  de ani, pare a fi avenul nr.3, cu toate ca descrierea corespunde si avenului nr.1 cartat de noi in iarna lui 2005. In orice caz nu existau cele doua casute in preajma avenului 1 astfel ca inclin sa cred ca am gasit intrarea in avenul nr.3. O marchez pe GPS si pornim in sens invers spre masina. Incepuse ploaia serioasa. Gasim o alta casuta si incepem sa ne intrebam care din cele trei gasite o fi conacul. Se pare ca ultima caci corespunde perfect cu descrierea accesului la avenul nr.3 de aici. Ulterior mi-a confirmat si nea' Pau ca acea ultima casuta era asa numitul Conac al lui Mos Simion.
Nu inteleg deloc unde a disparut avenul nr.1 la care fusesem de trei ori. Efectiv nu il mai gasim.
Ne-am reintors la masina si am plecat spre case. Vom reveni cat mai curand.

marți, 4 decembrie 2012

Ultra Wide - PURE POWER BY PETZL

Is it really like they say on the box ?  Let's find out.
I got my Petzl Ultra Wide together with two accus back in 2011 just before the trip to France where I traversed the undergroud Verneau. That was end of October.

Beside the light and the accus I got also the helmet mounting kit and a brand new helmet to start the Li-Ion era with it. Petzl says that the mounting kit was designed only for their Elios series.
I am using Edelrid Ultralight helmet and the kit provided by Petzl fits perfectly. Also, my colleague mounted his Ultra Wide on Petzl Ecrin Roc with no problem.
Ultra Wide have 4 lighting levels:
- 24 lm on Mode 1
- 84 lm on Mode 2
- 140 lm on Mode 3
- 300 lm on Mode 4
It has also a reserve power mode that activates automatically when the rechargeable batteries are nearly spent, giving low level proximity lighting for a couple of minutes.
It was relesead in 2011 as a improved version of the Ultra for caving. Practically they added a diffuser in front of the LEDs that spread the light to 180 degree. Also, the beam is constant and I can say is the best wide beam I saw in caving lights at that moment.
What else is different form Ultra ? Well, the IP rating: IP 67 vs IP66. There is a mistake somewhere because while on the box and on the Petzl websites it says IP67 in the booklet they wrote IP66. I don't know what to believe. So is it IP66 or IP 67 ?


Doesn't matter to much now that I know it doesn't get any water inside at all. But I don't think that's a mistake we should found at such a sound brand name.
So, now my entire set is more than one year old (13 months to be fair) and it was used in more than 30 caving trips and also burned 50 hours in other outdoor activities. Because I do a caving trip at least twice on a month the accus were charged constantly before each trip. They didn't had time to stay untouched more than 14 days. That mean I recharged the 3 accus that I have 100 times maximum. I have 2 Accu 2 and one Accu 4.
Petzl says the accus are guaranteed 500 cycles:

The problems started this summer when I noticed a big drop on power after using the lamp at it's full power which is rated 300 lumen. In about 20 minutes on this setting, Accu 4 went to lower modes ending in Mode 1 for the rest of the tour. Even went to reserve mode 3 times in a tour that didn't last more that 12 hours. That's a huge drop considering that this big accu pack supposed to last 3 hours on maximum power. And that was true when it was new:
With Accu 2, the whole story became a nightmare. After 10 minutes on maximum power (mode 4) the lamp switched to lower modes reaching reserve mode instantly and even disconnected the charge sometimes, leaving me in the mighty darkness. That happened several times lately and the question what's inside the black box raised. Back home I charged them completely and repeated the test in a much more domestic environment like 22* C and no humidity. Well, the results are quit sad: Petzl Accu 2 last only 10 hours on mode 1 (instead of 25 hours) while Accu 4 managed to keep the light running for 25 hours on minimum setting (instead of 44 hours). If we compare these results with the factory rating we just got a big problem.
The problem is inside the boxes of both accus:

I opened the first Accu 2 to find out what's going on inside. To do that I had to craft a spanner screwdriver from a normal one because they used this rare heads. Of course opening the boxes, I lost the warranty.

Well, inside there's an OEM PCB made by Uniross and two Uniross Li-ion 1865 3,7V 2100Ah batteries. Each battery have a Thermostat made by Dongguan Heng Hao Electric Co., Ltd glued and taped on it. The whole thing looks impressive, that's for sure. But, the problem for Petzl is that they used 2nd league battery for their reference light. Otherwise I can't explain the huge drop on performance for these accus. For 90 € per piece of Accu 2 and 145 € for Accu 4 I expected to get batteries with Sanyo, Samsung or Panasonic cells, not some cheap things.
I had to solve the problem because that's my main caving lamp now and I don't want to switch back to Petzl Duo LED 14. On my second Accu 2 I made a short circuit when I opened it which resulted in a faulty PCB. So, I had to get protected Li-Ion batteries for it to substitute the broken PCB. For the other Accu 2 I went for unprotected Li-Ion because the PCB was intact.
Doing some survey I've reached this and this awesome websites about the real power in the Li-Ion batteries. So, I made my choice: Sanyo 2600mAh unprotected for one box and protected EnerPower 2900 mAh with Panasonic cells for my 2nd Accu 2 box. I got 'em from e-acumulatori shop which helped me also with the next step:
Because I don't have a Li-Ion glue gun I went to a specialized workshop that did the entire thing. Now my accus looks like that:
Accu 2 with Unprotected Li-Ion Sanyo 2600 mAh and the original electronics from Petzl:

Accu 2 with Protected Li-Ion Panasonic 2900 mAh and with the original electronics removed:

The original Petzl charger (made also by Uniross as an OEM for Petzl) is working in the same way while charging these new cells like it did with the original ones: the led is red when the battery is near empty, orange when the charge is half way and green when the charge is complete.

And now we can talk about power:
PURE POWER by SANYO
After the very first full charge of these, this Accu 2 box now last 2h on maximum mode (300 lumens) at the indoor temperature of 23* C !!!
This represents a 50% increase over the original Petzl rating from booklet and box (1h30 minutes).
PURE POWER by PANASONIC
After the very first full charge of these, this Accu 2 box now last 2h15min on maximum mode (300 lumens) at the indoor temperature of 23* C !!!
This represents a 60% increase over the original Petzl rating from booklet and box (1h30 minutes) tested also as true when the lamp was new. Because I fried the original PCB I lost the function of the energy gauge button which was mounted in this accu.
Another big minus for all these accus is the metal used to transfer the electricity from accu to reflector. Oxidation appeared after 6 months and is getting worse with every tour. Interesting is that on plus (anode) there is much more than on minus (cathode):

Very interesting that the corrosion is not covered by warranty, according to booklet. Well, if you put IP 67 on a product you can be sure that the customer will use it as is, that's part of caving and Petzl should know that better than other manufacturers. Unfortunately these days it seems like they pay more attention to marketing than to reliability of their products. I can mention here LedLenser which has gold plated contacts even in the no water resistant lamps.
The interesting thing is that Petzl have an update for 2013 for the Ultra family, both for outdoor and caving. These are Petzl Rush and Petzl Vario:
- Petzl Rush intended to replace Petzl Ultra that was designed for trail running and other outdoor activities.

Petzl Vario intended to replace Petzl Ultra Wide that was designed for caving and other harsh environment.

Already mounted on Elios helmet it will be named Trios II:

Both models will share the same accus as the old models (a good ideea for those who want to upgrade from Ultra/Ultra Wide) but what draw my attention was the ratting of these:
- 2 hours burning time on maximum power - mode 4 with Accu 2 for Ultra Rush which is 700 lm (double the power of the Ultra which is 350 lm);
- 2 hours burning time on maximum power - mode 4 for Ultra Vario which is 450 lumens  (1,5 x the power of Ultra Wide which is 300 lm).
Same accu, more light, longer burning time...hmm, something is wrong. Maybe Petzl finally added some real Li-Ion cells in their boxes. Only time will tell. But I don't think they changed the brand because the charger is the same, so hopefully Uniross got better.

At the end it could appear I am not happy with this caving light. Actually I am. It's a masterpiece in my point of view.

Reasons:
- Perfect balance on the head, much lighter than competitors;
- Superb bright wide beam (compared with Scurion 1300, LedLampe IV, BigLight, Petzl Duo 14) reminds me of the carbide era - great for filming and taking pictures;
- Real waterproof for both reflector and accus;
- The best clipping/unclipping system for changing the accus even in total darkness;
- Photogenic design (it matter to me !).

The front half part of it is a winner.
The second half part of it is a very complex engineered stuff filled with low quality materials. I hope they realized that and that the new versions will have real batteries and Stainless Steel contacts.

Next thing: changing the Accu 4 batteries in a couple of months. Because are 4 batteries, it still deliver some power, unfortunately not much.
Till then, caving...