Forum Index » GEAR » My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication


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Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Steripen in the Philippines Jan. & Feb. '12 on 02/24/2012 20:21:19 MST Print View

" if you ever had amoebic dysentery you know it is agony and anything you can do to avoid a repeat you'll do."

A huge +1 Definitely one of Mother Nature's nastier creations.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
My experience on 02/24/2012 20:23:51 MST Print View

I have owned 4 Steripens. The first, the "heavy" Classic , worked great and never let me down. Sold it to getter a lighter one.
Since then I have gone through the Adventurer, the Opti and the Traveller: all failed me. The only reliable part has been that I can count on them failing every other trip, pretty much. I wish I kept the Classic.

Phillip Colelli
(pdcolelli42)

Locale: AT, follow@ www.thruperspective.com
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reliability on 02/24/2012 20:25:20 MST Print View

Also something to consider. Look at the dates on the REI reviews. Earlier versions of the steri pen did have problems. They have since been updated to solve some of the problems over the years. Also, not saying that the average person that writes those reviews is dumb or anything... but alot of poor reviews IMHO are written by people who either don't understand the product or the way it's supposed to work.

Now, I have had a problem with the o-ring but for all I know I could have just tightened it too much. I asked the representative in an email if there was anything I could do to prevent this from happening again so we'll see what they say. Aside from that my steripen has worked flawlessly and even missing that o-ring it still works flawlessly.

Phillip Colelli
(pdcolelli42)

Locale: AT, follow@ www.thruperspective.com
Re: My experience on 02/24/2012 20:26:33 MST Print View

Kat, I'd be curious to hear about the 3 failures you experienced in as much detail as you're willing to type.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Reviews on 02/24/2012 20:27:32 MST Print View

The one thing I have learned from internet reviews on ANY product is that you will ALWAYS have people that are disappointed for any number of reasons. I could have easily not gone through the process I did, returned the product, and slapped up a negative review online somewhere.

Also remember that some people just are kinda....not smart. What I mean by that is "user error" is something not many people are willing to man up to.

My general rule of thumb is if the product gets ~70% positive reviews, then I'll give it its fair shake. Below that and its just too risky.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Comparing Steripen to Tablets on 02/24/2012 20:32:03 MST Print View

No, not Microput tablets... but Android tablets!

I've been lucky with both -- my Steripen and my Asus Transformer tablet. Both provided me trouble-free service (wifi connection and all) during the 3 months that I was in Asia going from hostel to hostel to hostel. Completely flawless!

And yet, it would be foolhardy to ignore the VOLUMES of complaints generated by others! No foolproof way to know for sure, but I think when it comes to electronics... one has to really test them out multiple times ("rehearsal uses") before starting on any real trips. I believe that when it comes to electronics, most problems crop up early. After that, one can essentially expect a lifetime of trouble-free service -- or until the warranty expires.

Finally, with electronics this day and age, are there really products with next-to-zero complaints? I had to return my #$@* iPad to the Apple store 3 separate times! I think 'schizo reviews' are the norm nowadays.

Edited by ben2world on 02/24/2012 20:40:46 MST.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: My experience on 02/24/2012 20:39:48 MST Print View

Phillip, all of them have acted about the same. First trip they seemed to work fine. I would use them on maybe four or five quarts. I get home, remove the batteries and store them in a good place, dry etc. Another outing, batteries still quite new: push the button once or twice, according to amount of water. Most of the problems have come after the light blinks that it's ready, I put in in the water and either the red light ( depending on model) or sad face comes on. I would dry it and start over. Sometimes after a half dozen tries it would work, sometimes after a dozen, sometimes not at all. Next morning could be fine, or not, about 50% chance. Other times the problem would show the moment I pushed the button. I was careful to keep the probes dry, not get any other part wet, store it correctly, not drop it, buy the recommended batteries etc . It has been a very frustrating experience for me. I never had any problem at all with the Classic, then my search for lighter gear made me sell it to buy something that did not work, again and again and again.



edited to clarify that by "keeping the probes dry", I obviously don't mean when i am using it, but after I use it and put the cap back on, and in between tries when it's failing me.

Edited by Kat_P on 02/24/2012 20:43:43 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Reviews on 02/24/2012 20:44:39 MST Print View

"What I mean by that is "user error" is something not many people are willing to man up to. "

I'll man up. It was definitely user error that caused me to return my first wife.....

Phillip Colelli
(pdcolelli42)

Locale: AT, follow@ www.thruperspective.com
Re: Re: Re: My experience on 02/24/2012 20:50:06 MST Print View

I know exactly what you mean. I read in detail tons of reviews before I got my steripen and most of the bad ones talk about the same problems you had.

I'd also be curious to know when you purchased your adventurer opti. I know that earlier steripens were known to have the exact problem you described. I'm pretty sure that is not an issue anymore, maybe not though.

Also, the taking the batteries out thing. I know on older versions the steripen had way more current draw than it should in the off state. This caused the batteries to drain fast even when not in use. I know that steripen has since updated the circuitry to make it have less of an off-state current draw. The removing of the batteries is no longer necessary.

Now even though IMHO steripen has since corrected the issues you had, I sure don't blame you for not buying another one. I probably wouldn't either.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
One Negative Review on REI on 02/24/2012 20:53:13 MST Print View

One Steripen reviewer listed as a 'Con': "Filtered water doesn't taste good".

Wow.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: One Negative Review on REI on 02/24/2012 20:55:27 MST Print View

Wow, indeed.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: My experience on 02/24/2012 20:56:34 MST Print View

Phillip, I bought the Opti 8 months ago. I bought it on Ebay from a seller that had about 50 of them. It is possible that he got a deal on a bad batch and passed the "deal" onto me. I would love to have one that I can count on, really. The Journey was a present, so I had no recourse. The adventurer I bought on BPL new in the box and it was the first that failed me and I figured it was my problem and not the seller's. I don't even have an alternate method yet, I may just have to bring all three and hope one of them might work ;)

Phillip Colelli
(pdcolelli42)

Locale: AT, follow@ www.thruperspective.com
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My experience on 02/24/2012 21:01:29 MST Print View

WOW! Sorry if you haven't figured this out yet but never buy anything electronic or the like off ebay! They always sell shoddy usually outdated products that most stores wouldn't even sell anymore. That's how they sell it so cheap, they sell the old version that nobody wants anymore. At least that's been my experience with ebay.
EDIT: I've even had this problem with things I bought off amazon. If you get a cheap price, there's usually a reason why. Most of the time I just pay up for the product because I've learned the cheap ones are old or defective. This even applies to stuff like clothing or other gear too. It's probably last years model or something.

I also wouldn't buy anything but the steripen adventurer opti. The reasoning for this is because it is the most recent version (I think) and it has been updated the most. It should be the safest one to go with.

If you did decide you wanted another that would be the advice I would give. That and buy it from REI or some other reputable dealer so that you can return it if necessary.

Edited by pdcolelli42 on 02/24/2012 21:04:33 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: My experience on 02/24/2012 21:04:44 MST Print View

I got Opti about a year ago

Run about 40 pints without problem

When I uses rechargeable batteries they failed very quickly, but then when I switched to non-rechargeables it was okay

Of course, that switch is really difficult to activate, but at least it doesn't come on accidentally

Mike W
(skopeo) - F - M

Locale: British Columbia
Steripen Reliability... on 02/25/2012 01:52:22 MST Print View

@Kat P.

You didn't mention what kind of batteries you were using in your Steripens when they failed. I'd be very interested in knowing.

I originally used rechargable batteries in my Steripen when I first got it and it failed after only a couple of liters. I changed batteries and the same thing happened (failed after a couple of litres). Rather than return it for a refund, I tried top quality, disposable Lithium batteries in my Steripen and it has worked without issue for well over 3 years of use. I think the quality of the battery used can really create an issue for the Steripen.

I often see reports of failures very similar to mine (and yours) but the type of battery in use is never mentioned. I know you are supposed to be able to use rechargable batteries but I think the residual drain from leaving them in the Steripen and cold temps can make them drop their charge to a point that they no longer work.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Steripen Reliability... on 02/25/2012 03:07:41 MST Print View

> You didn't mention what kind of batteries you were using in your Steripens when they failed.
There are cheap rechargable Lithum batteries which simply do not have the current capacity to drive a Steripen. They will fail early. Always.

Using brand-name lithium primaries (ie not rechargable) has always given good results. They are the ones which are not cheap - guess why?

The high current drain while not in use was fixed after the first generation of Adventurers, but removing the batteries between trips is always smart.

Cheers

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Rechargeable batteries on 02/25/2012 06:04:12 MST Print View

The only time I've had the batteries fail in my Steripen was with the ones which shipped with the unit - on their second outing. I did some research and bought a pair of high quality rechargeables from Lighthound. I charge them immediately before each trip (Li-ions last longest when stored with a partial charge) and they've never let me down. I still carry an unused pair of Eveready primaries as backup, and ClO2 tablet in case the unit breaks.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Rechargeable batteries on 02/25/2012 10:05:59 MST Print View

I never used the rechargeable batteries. I bought the expensive brand name ones.
Like other posters pointed out, I most likely bought older, faulty batches.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Battery failure on 02/25/2012 10:18:07 MST Print View

The only failure I had with fairly new batteries was when i must have had a slight oxidation on the battery contacts.
I took the batteries out rubbed the tips with my shirt and they worked fine after that.

These kind of issues do happen. I have had as many problems with other methods of treatment, filters and chemical are no more reliable.

The big advantage with the Steripen is the weight reduction and convenience when compared with the other methods.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Battery failure on 02/25/2012 10:32:00 MST Print View

One thing I like about the Steripen, is I treat only drinking water - 2 or 3 pints of water a day.

The rest of my water I treat by heating it, to make soup, oatmeal, coffee,...