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Powercam vs. TCU
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bigfatrock


Mar 5, 2008, 6:35 AM
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Powercam vs. TCU
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I am starting to build my rack and have a set of C4's from .75-3 right now. I have been told the TCU's and Powercams are better in the smaller range. So what is the main difference in the TCU and the Powercam? Which do you prefer and why?


livinonasandbar


Mar 5, 2008, 7:15 AM
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Re: [bigfatrock] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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The power cam is a 4 cam unit; the TCU is a 3 cam unit. The TCU is narrower, which can offer a better placement in pin scars, some pockets, or other narrower features. But, you give up the extra contact area of the 4th cam. Each has its own use.

If you end up doubling up your small cams, you could get a set of each. Then, you'll be set to take on the world...


theirishman


Mar 5, 2008, 7:19 AM
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Re: [livinonasandbar] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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TCU is lighter and cheaper, whats not to like?


gothcopter


Mar 5, 2008, 7:24 AM
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Re: [bigfatrock] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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Here's some reading to get you started.

Personally, I'd start out with a set of TCUs (0-3). When it's time for doubles, I'd go with a single-stem design, since that gives a little more versatility than Powercams would. Whether the second set is Zeros, the new Metolius Master Cams, or the dread Aliens is up to you.

Really though, your best bet is to find a bunch of different people to climb with who already have small cams. Climb on their stuff for a while and figure out what you like. Then buy that!


bigfatrock


Mar 5, 2008, 8:36 AM
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Re: [gothcopter] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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gothcopter wrote:
Here's some reading to get you started.

Personally, I'd start out with a set of TCUs (0-3). When it's time for doubles, I'd go with a single-stem design, since that gives a little more versatility than Powercams would. Whether the second set is Zeros, the new Metolius Master Cams, or the dread Aliens is up to you.

Really though, your best bet is to find a bunch of different people to climb with who already have small cams. Climb on their stuff for a while and figure out what you like. Then buy that!

Good advise, so far I love the C4's above the .75 range, but haven't placed a lot of smaller gear yet. I will be borrowing a rack for Red Rocks coming up so hopefully I can get to use some of both.

I like the idea of having a narrower cam though. I may end up starting with those of I find I like them.

Oh, and the aliens do scare me. So far I have only used one once as mental protection.


(This post was edited by bigfatrock on Mar 5, 2008, 8:40 AM)


tolman_paul


Mar 5, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Re: [bigfatrock] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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Another disadvantage of the smaller 4 cam units is they can be a b-otch to clean. You'd be suprised how with just a smidgen of movement in a crack how a small 4 cam just won't want to come out. I wouldn't go with a 4 cam unit smaller than a .75


no_email_entered


Mar 5, 2008, 10:59 AM
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Re: [tolman_paul] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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another consideration is that on the tcu 00, 0, and 1, the end welds can get in the way if you have a short slot/pocket your trying to place.


which makes it time to get out the c3s---or OMG!!!!1!1----the aliens.


anykineclimb


Mar 5, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Re: [no_email_entered] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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I use TCUs and love em; well, I primarily use Powercams for that matter.
the new ultralight versions have smaller head swages so they don't seem to get in the way of placements.


Rockjunkie15


Mar 7, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Re: [anykineclimb] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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I have a set of TCU's and would highly recommend them, they are really at home in slightly flaring cracks and mostly in pin scars. I personally only use my #2 and #3 on a regular basis but having the whole set very nice.


caliclimbergrl


Mar 10, 2008, 11:19 PM
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Re: [bigfatrock] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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I am surprised that no one has mentioned what I think is the main advantage of the tcu: it's multidirectional. Which is good for 2 reasons: first, it's a great first piece since it can rotate and still hold so your risk of zippering is greatly reduced, and second, it won't walk. I'm not sure about the math or physics behind it, but try placing a tcu and a powercam (or a BD cam for that matter) in a crack. Then rotate the cam up and down. You'll see that the tcu stays put while any cam that has 4 lobes will walk which means they can move to a place where the crack gets wider so that the placement isn't good anymore. Of course, extended slings usually prevents this from happening, but I've still had it happen and it can be pretty nerve wracking to look down and see that the piece below you has walked and the piece below that is like 20 feet below you!

I have a full set of tcu's for smaller gear and have doubled up with some of the pieces with aliens. When I was building my rack, I was debating between tcu's and aliens and the best advice I got was, "aliens work best ... unless they don't!" At first aliens scared me, but they seemed to have fixed the problem and the bottom line is sometimes aliens just fit in places where nothing else will. When that happens, I'm very glad to have them on my rack! And in general, I usually find it easier to place aliens than any of the metolius cams. Of course that's just personal preference, but because of this reason, the only reason I prefer tcu's is because they are multi-directional. I don't like powercams at all.


(This post was edited by caliclimbergrl on Mar 10, 2008, 11:23 PM)


Partner hosh


Mar 10, 2008, 11:32 PM
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Re: [caliclimbergrl] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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Am I the only person on these boards that likes Zeros? No one ever brings them up. I kinda love them... I'm slowly replacing my Aliens with Zeros... I very much so like the Blue Zero. Much nicer than the green Alien in my opinion.

hosh.


Depr


Mar 12, 2008, 8:59 PM
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Re: [hosh] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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yeah. the Zeroes are great. I've fallen onto both and they seem to be very secure. Have you used the yellow zero at all hosh?


irregularpanda


Mar 12, 2008, 9:05 PM
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Re: [hosh] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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hosh wrote:
Am I the only person on these boards that likes Zeros? No one ever brings them up. I kinda love them... I'm slowly replacing my Aliens with Zeros... I very much so like the Blue Zero. Much nicer than the green Alien in my opinion.

hosh.

That's cool, I'm just of the opposite proclivities. I pull tested my green alien with 2 huge falls. But me I have 2 TCU's: (blue and yellow)
2 aliens: (blue and green)
2 C3's: (red and purple)
Some camalots: (.3 .2 .4 2 .5's)

Originally when I bought my rack I had a BD pro deal, and later on started doing the franken-rack on the smaller end of my rack. I personally don't like the trigger on the power cams, it doesn't fit my fingers well.


jacobbelsher


Mar 12, 2008, 9:21 PM
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Re: [irregularpanda] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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I also tested that green alien for irregularpanda...it worked swimmingly!

In other news. TCU=sweet!
Powercam= ok.
but the questions itself isn't a very sensible one. it's like asking apples vs. oranges


climbingaggie03


Mar 12, 2008, 9:39 PM
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Re: [bigfatrock] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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In my experience, the main difference between a TCU and a Power Cam is that TCU's fit into piton scars like they were made from the same mold. That's the main reason I love my TCUs (I have yellow, orange, and red) The smaller ones are ok, but I prefer the C3's and larger than red, I use FCUs.

For climbing at E-rock, or the wichitas, TCU or FCU doesn't make much difference for the size, but when you start climbing at places that have been hammered out, like yosemite and parts of J-tree that's when you really see a difference between the two.


zeke_sf


Mar 12, 2008, 10:09 PM
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Re: [hosh] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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hosh wrote:
Am I the only person on these boards that likes Zeros? No one ever brings them up. I kinda love them... I'm slowly replacing my Aliens with Zeros... I very much so like the Blue Zero. Much nicer than the green Alien in my opinion.

hosh.

Zeroes are awesome! Not as nice a pull as Aliens, a little more headwidth, but fairly synonymous.


bigfatrock


Mar 13, 2008, 6:09 AM
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Re: [zeke_sf] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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All interesting information. I have climbed with Aliens before, but didn't really trust them, the narrow head scares me a bit not even the guy who had them on his rack really trusts them. But lots of people seem to not have a problem with them. I like how they feel when I place them though, better than the zeros. I guess I may have to take some test falls on them before I feel safe.


jungle_george


Mar 13, 2008, 8:07 AM
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Re: [climbingaggie03] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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I love your TCU's too, John. It cost me a buttload of money to get my own when you decided to move away - you damn ski bum!

Anyways, to the OP (whom I think I also know): I've climbed with C3's, Aliens, Zeros, TCU's, and FCU's. I've never gotten super attached to my zero's, and I'm not really sure why. I know they're good cams - Wild Country doesn't make a bad cam. I've taken a small fall on the red one, Z6, and it held fine. Good luck getting the small ones out if they walk, though.

But I loved TCU's at Yosemite! They fit in pin scars like no other. In Texas and Oklahoma, you can almost always use an FCU instead, as there aren't many pin scars on the moderate free climbs.

On sandstone, I don't really use the TCU's. I saw a tri-cam rip out of a bomber placement in Arkansas sandstone because the sharp point fractured the rock. I imagine a TCU could have the same effect on the single lobe, where an FCU would spread the force out over 2 lobe. But I'm not a physics guru, just a drunk with a climbing problem, so what the hell would I know?

John, let me know when you make it down this way again.


8flood8


Mar 13, 2008, 9:11 AM
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Re: [jungle_george] Powercam vs. TCU [In reply to]
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well my off the couch physics tells me that the single lobe on a TCU won't be fracturing the rock the same way the stinger of a Tri-cam will, why? Because the single lobe is as wide as both of the double lobes put together. Does that make sense? Therefore the contact area on the cam lobe itself is distributing the force across a wider surface area (and less likely to fracture or crush the rock)

I have 2 sets of tcu's, powercams 1, 5-8, 10 and c4's doubles of .75 - 4.5, 6. Oh and one bootied tech friend 2.5.

The new metolius master cams look like they would be a great addition to the smaller end of my rack, but i'm not really feeling the need to buy any yet. I'll wait till more people place them and see what the word on the grapevine is.

The advantage (already stated previously) is that the TCU's are narrower. They aren't as narrow as aliens, but they will still work in very small placements. I too have a large distrust of aliens. I think the TCU's place and are removed easier than the powercams, but i long for the single stem goodness.


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