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Mike W
(skopeo) - F - M

Locale: British Columbia
My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 15:46:41 MST Print View

I have to say that although I've been very happy with my Steripen and it has worked flawlessly since I stopped using rechargeable batteries (the rechargeables let me down when the temp dropped), that since UV light is invisible, I am always left wondering if I'm just waving a flashlight in my water.

I take the leap of faith that Ben has alluded to, that the Steripen folks have built in safeguards to prevent this but in Travis's case, how would you know if the UV light was failing if the flashlight lamp was still illuminating your steripen?

Good detective work Travis, it would have been easy to assume all was well as long as it was still glowing.

Edited by skopeo on 02/24/2012 15:48:50 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 16:09:30 MST Print View

>And just what is going to check on that UV sensor? :)

I was thinking a dedicated global satellite network that constantly monitors the unit's monitoring system. :)

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
My Experience on 02/24/2012 16:24:09 MST Print View

The photos that you posted look like a normal fully functioning unit, but a photo can deceive.

I know you have to be in shade to actually see the bulb on a sunny day. The bulb doesn't give off a lot of visible light, it is the invisible UV that does the job.

From all the experience stories that I have found, the system is more reliable than other systems, short of boiling your water.

The fact that you see the faint white/blue light tells you that it is emitting UV and it doesn't take much UV to do the job.

I don't know what the company thought was defective about it? Or maybe they saw something else and decided to play it safe.

I wonder if the light will look any different when you get the new one?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Tested unit on 02/24/2012 16:58:59 MST Print View

>I don't know what the company thought was defective about it? Or maybe they saw something else and decided to play it safe.


Because I had a concern and because Steripen would rather play it safe than risk a lawsuit, they offered to actually test my unit. They used a radiometer to see how much UV was coming out of it, and they found it was only emitting 50% of what they expect.

The unit I had may look perfectly normal, I don't know. But I had a pretty strong hunch to really determine if it was operating at full strength, and whether it was luck, karma, or divine intervention, my hunch was correct.

Considering the quality control steps that Steripen takes, I'm not doubting the technology or their product. I happened to get a lemon, and that's the way it goes sometimes. I don't think people should be afraid that their unit is working properly--most likely it is, but if something doesn't seem right, maybe check it out. That goes for any product.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Testes on 02/24/2012 17:08:09 MST Print View

@Travis, That makes sense.

I suspect that even if it was working at 10% it would still do the job, but you paid for 100% and you should get it from a new unit.

I know people out there that use the 1/2 liter timing when they treat 1 liter without issue.

I have no doubt about how well UV works, but silt can block UV and some larger organisms may need more UV in some cases.

I found I really appreciate the Steripen and many people who have hiked with me now use them.

Chemicals may be lighter, but have many disadvantages that can become annoying after many days on the trail. Filters are either too heavy and/or unreliable.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 17:14:29 MST Print View

I'm hoping you meant "tests" instead of "testes," although it does make a steripen thread more interesting! :)

Phillip Colelli
(pdcolelli42)

Locale: AT, follow@ www.thruperspective.com
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 17:38:34 MST Print View

Well, I just went to check my steripen because of this and I had a couple problems myself. First problem was dead batteries. Ok, so they're a couple months old so I guess that's fine. Next problem, my little o-ring just popped out just like yours! I don't like that because like you I've only had the battery cover off <5 times!

Anyway the picture:
steripen

Looks brighter than yours did... I think. I suppose I need to email customer support about that o-ring though. Or maybe take it to REI.

Edited by pdcolelli42 on 02/24/2012 17:41:48 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
UVing filtered water on 02/24/2012 19:18:50 MST Print View

My Filipino doc said some of their commercially filtered water still had > one micron microorganisms AND viruses, as per their gov't tests. Nice huh?

I also had some Katadyn chlorine dioxide tabs in case the Steripen broke. Belt-and-suspenders, ya know.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 19:20:52 MST Print View

Or, the UV sensor could adjust the exposure time up til the required dose is delivered

But to Ben's comment, if you add a UV sensor, then there's one more component to fail which makes reliability worse

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Reliability on 02/24/2012 19:23:50 MST Print View

I really love the steripen idea. Love it. And I travel a lot in parts of the world where it would be really helpful. But the reliability of it just sketches me out. Too many moving parts.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 19:34:46 MST Print View

"I really love the steripen idea. Love it. And I travel a lot in parts of the world where it would be really helpful. But the reliability of it just sketches me out. Too many moving parts."


Too many moving parts? Where? I count the cap, the battery screw cover, the on/off switch...

I've owned my Steripen Adventurer since 2009, and have used it very regularly (most often daily) on the following trips:

o 2009 - RTW trip, taking in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia and China - 7 months
o 2010 - Burma and Bangladesh - 2 months
o 2011 - Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia - 3 months

My Steripen (paired with my Nalgene hard plastic water bottle) have saved me from buying literally hundreds of bottles of water while on the road! Aside from treating hostel tap water, I've also treated water from the taps of some of the filthiest bus and train station bathrooms! And I have NEVER gotten sick.

No one drinking water from filthy Bangladeshi, Chinese, Russian and Ukrainian taps for months on end escapes unharmed on luck alone. No one.

I have seen the UV LIght and I am a Believer! :)

Edited by ben2world on 02/24/2012 19:40:28 MST.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 19:40:49 MST Print View

Yeah, and that on/off switch is a real doozy of a switch. The REI reviews are way too schizophrenic for me to ever consider it. A filter has a pretty darn close to zero chance of messing up. Doesn't get viruses though, which is why I want to love the steripen. They just don't seem to have the build quality down.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 19:45:16 MST Print View

Well, Ben, if a sum total (thus far) of 12 full months of almost daily usage without mishaps or problems of any kind is still too doozy for you, then I suppose you'll need to continue buying bottled water -- because I fail to see how mechanical filters with a heck of a lot more moving parts and rubber seals could come to a "zero chance of messing up". But then, I bet if you could witness the "manufacturing process and conditions" of some of the bottling plants around the world... you will find that the Steripen has a lot fewer variables to go wrong.

I once saw, with my own eyes, kids filling up empty bottles from a train station spigot blackened with mold -- then expertly popping "sealed" caps back on. I didn't see them actually selling those bottles to anyone... but I'm sure those two scrawny street urchins weren't capping those dozen or so bottles for their own use.

YMMV, of course.

Edited by ben2world on 02/24/2012 19:50:27 MST.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 19:49:22 MST Print View

I don't need a lecture about water quality. I've lived in Egypt, Syria, and Thailand--I know. The build quality just isn't there, and the reviews back it up. This thread is a great example of high-quality customer service, which is awesome. Now if the build quality gets more dependable, I'll buy one in a heartbeat.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 19:56:53 MST Print View

"The build quality just isn't there, and the reviews back it up. "

Where are these reviews of the Opti?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 19:58:55 MST Print View

Not sure where I lectured you about water quality. Feeling touchy today, aren't we?

Steripen's quality or lack thereof is entirely a personal judgment. But the one point I certainly don't share with you is your notion of any mechanical filter being "close to 100% mess free".

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 20:00:48 MST Print View

http://www.rei.com/product/799003/steripen-adventurer-opti-water-purifier


The reviews are totally schizophrenic. If you're backpacking in the US, water filters work. If ain't broke, don't fix it.
If you're abroad, go for it--it's better than those nasty tablets. If it works.


Unreliable at best

Works when it wants to

Don't Waste Money or Take Back-Up

Undependable

Failed second time out

Good Concept, Terrible Design

(I could keep going, but you get it, I won't belabor the point)

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 20:06:27 MST Print View

Mmmm. Thanks Ben. I haven't used mine but will take some form of back up with me. I wanted it for ease of use - quick purified water, rather than wait up to 4 hours with the chems.

Some reviews here @ MEC. Only one was bad. FWIW:

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/HikingCamping/WaterTreatment/WaterPurifiers/PRD~5024-196/steripen-adventurer-opti.jsp

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Backup on 02/24/2012 20:12:05 MST Print View

David:

Re. backup - I'd say the same should go for any critical piece of electronic gadget we bring out to the backcountry.

I've never used Steripen in the backcountry actually -- preferring a "do it all" system that will also clarify water and remove potential bad tastes.

My posts above re. travel use -- tap water usually comes out pretty clear and OK tasting -- just need to treat the microscopic "baddies". And on my travel (hosteling) trips, bottled water would be a ready source of back up -- although knocking on wood, my Steripen has been consistently reliable over 3+ years of regular use. Have fun with yours.

Edited by ben2world on 02/24/2012 20:15:12 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 20:16:31 MST Print View

"The build quality just isn't there, and the reviews back it up"

Not Ben T's review, which I will second. Mine has performed flawlessly, with far less hassle than any filter I have ever owned, for the past 2 seasons.