Sirius, Skylotec’s descender review

The device

Released in 2019, the Sirius descender from Skylotec was made to be a contender for dominant models like the Petzl I’D.

The first impressions over the device enlighten a compact and strong hardware.

There is no synthetic parts in it, the whole piece is made of metal.

The lever has a safety lock that prevents it to be accidentally activate. To descend is necessary to push the lock prior release the lever.

At the back, we can see info relating descending speed according to lever position, serial number, load ratings. All of them are engraved on the piece.

To open we must push the central button at the front of the model, which unlock the front cover to slide exposing the rope chamber.

It has two attachment points. At the top and the bottom. It is mostly used by the bottom.

about OUR EXPERIENCE

We have been using the Sirius descender for about 5 months now.

The principal set of ropes used with the descender were about 4 months old by the time we started using the device.

All the ropes used in the device were 11mm low stretch.

We performed a variety of works, mostly in the city.

The main task performed was window cleaning. So usually our days with the device had a higher quantity of descents with not much static work.

WORKS DESCRIPTION:

  • Time using the device: 5 months
  • Hours worked on it: approximately 800h
  • Manoeuvres performed: Descent, ascent, rope transfer, rig for rescue, lowering system
  • Highest descent: 165m
  • Ropes used: Industrial low stretch Beal 11mm (main set); other variety of 11mm low stretch rope, older than 1 year (occasionally used).

Manual specifications

We extracted a few specifications from the Sirius’s manual that we tough would be relevant for this review:

  • Dimensions H x W x D: 175 mm x 79 mm x 47 mm Mass: 510 g
  • WORKING LOAD: The minimum rated load is 30 kg; the maximum rated load is 200 kg. 
  • Maximum working load: 250 kg
  • MAXIMUM DESCENT DISTANCE: 190 m (approved for 20 consecutive descents)
  • Tested for use with low stretch ropes (EN 1891 type A) with diameter 10 mm ≤ ø ≤ 12 mm 

Pros and cons about the descender

pros:

  • The material. The Model feels strong and solid, its whole-body built-in metal, there is no synthetic parts. That reduces the wearing caused by the rope, improving the equipment’s life span, especially if you are going to be doing jobs like window cleaning, doing descents all day.
  • The size. Sirius is compact.
  • It does not twist the rope. That effect might not be obvious on short descents, but when doing long ones. The twisting effect will tangle the ropes bellow the technician.
  • Anti-panic function . If you accidentally pull the lever all the way the device will lock itself, preventing an uncontrolled descent.
  • Safety lock on the lever. To activate the lever you first will have to push a button. It is conveniently positioned on the side and does not interfere with the functionality of the device.
  • The device has an auto-returning operating lever. It automatically returns for the original position after use.
  • Well-designed feeding design. The rope channel inside the chamber has a design that prevents the rope to be wrong fed in the device. The chamber allows the rope in from the top (right position), but not to be put first from the bottom (wrong position).

Cons:

  • The anti-panic/auto-locking function is too sensitive. The function should prevent out of control descents. However, the lever often locks itself when activated in controlled descents.

As we can see in the picture extracted from the manual, the lever has a free rotation section, followed by a descent zone and then the panic stop.

What feels like during use, is that the descent zone is too short, making trick to find the right descent speed point . Consequently, you ended up pulling the lever too much, making the anti-panic function block the device and requiring the lever resetting.

That effect is maximize depending on the ropes been use or the height of the works been performed.

Neutral points:

  • Price. The devices price regulates with its main competitors. There is no relevance in this aspect.

Conclusion

The stronger points of the Sirius descender are the full metal construction and its design. that does not twist the rope. Also, it is intuitive, making it easier for the user understanding its use.

In our personal experience, the safety mechanisms limited its performance in some situations. Also, it is important to note that our device was mainly used for window cleaning. So we required a lot of the lever and the descent performance.

If you have another perspective about it, or you can point more features not highlighted in this review. Please, leave a comment or get in touch.

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