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Safety notice: small toggles may break, posing fall hazard

[Edit: this post has been misunderstood by some. To clarify, this is not a recall. There is no need to replace, modify, or purchase any parts. We are simply advising affected customers to use the parts we provided in a more reliable way than earlier instructed.]

Most Tensa4 stands sold between December 2018 and April 2019 feature small toggle and loop assemblies to connect the poles. The small toggles, pictured below, should no longer be used as originally directed, because they may break.

Do not use these as originally directed.

Instead, users should secure the connections using the provided carabiners on the end of the loop, like this, making sure the ball is outside, and the carabiner inside the stand.

Correct use of the push pin, formerly “small toggle.”

While these small toggles pass our strength testing when undamaged, they have proven too easily damaged, sometimes invisibly, in rough handling, accidents, or extremes of normal use, and they may then break under load. For example, looping the hammock suspension around the toggle can deform it, leaving it weaker. Pulling on the attached line while the pin is halfway inside the hole: same thing. We have received enough reports of this happening (about one quarter of one percent) to expect more cases without corrective action. We have received no reports of injury.

We will replace any broken small toggles, now called push pins, noting that you should continue using only as a push pin to thread the lines through the holes in the ends of the poles, not to secure the connections as a toggle. Use carabiners or similarly sturdy toggles for that.

We have begun the process of revising all print and video documentation to reflect this change, and of notifying affected customers directly by email. [Edit: the revised documentation, versions 1.0 and 1.1, are now live on our Support page.]

This notice does not affect the currently shipping large toggles, which pass through larger (12mm) holes in the ends of the poles. It is nonetheless good practice to attach the carabiners to the ends of the loops as directed above, facing the opposite inside connection in the stand, because it prevents the carabiners from bending as can sometimes occur with other attachment styles.

These large toggles are not affected.

We thank you for understanding. We cannot prevent all equipment failure or falls, but we will always take reasonable care to minimize the incidence.

— Todd & Cheryl

3 thoughts on “Safety notice: small toggles may break, posing fall hazard

  1. Sending out replacements then? Seems like you should.,

    1. Greg, we are replacing any broken toggles under warranty, and changing documentation to prevent recurrence of the problem, which has so far affected only about one quarter of one percent of the toggles shipped. The documentation change (now being re-drawn) is the same for current product, as a better way to use the carabiners we provide, irrespective of toggle style. Current product has larger toggles that are not compatible with the smaller holes in the previous production. While the larger toggles do happen to be stronger, retrofitting would not clearly improve reliability versus using the smaller according to the new instructions, as frankly the larger holes required by the larger toggles may slightly diminish the service life of the lines (which all users should inspect each time they set up).

      Understandably, a few have assumed that we designed the larger toggles as a remedy to the issue with the small, and are displeased we’re not freely promoting them as solution to a problem we seem long to have known about. We’re probably naive not to have anticipated this misperception. The truth is we came up with the larger toggles before we’d ever shipped the small (December 2018), to overcome a manufacturing failure (botched improvement attempt) in the current production that we undo laboriously, tube by tube, before shipping. Reports of the small toggles breaking, meanwhile, have risen above the noise level only in the last few weeks of fine weather. We’re being transparent, but the complexity and long timelines of the whole process can make for false impressions!

  2. Thanks for the transparency. I think the solution posted is the better assembly method by far.

    My wife has the newer system, but I seem to prefer to my cotter pin wrapped with electrical tape push pin that came before the newer system 😀

    It’s exciting to see the iterations and improvements you’ve made over the years.

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