Naming Confusion: The Pieps Pro BT avalanche transceiver is identical to the Black Diamond Guide BT
(Black Diamond has owned Pieps since 2012), with the only exception being the
Pieps Pro has a yellow switch and the Black Diamond Guide has a light
blue switch. This website refers to these as the "Pro/Guide" transceivers.
Summary: The Pro/Guide transceivers replace the Pieps DSP Pro
transceiver. They are more feature-packed versions of the Powder BT/Recon BT
Although these transceivers were released worldwide in November 2018, they will be in limited supply
until March 2019. A full rollout will take place in the Fall of 2019.
I will write a review of these transceivers later, but I expect the Pro/Guide transceivers will be
even better than the Pieps DSP Pro. The preliminary five-star rating is
based on extensive testing of the Pieps DSP Pro and on limited testing of the Pro/Guide.
The transceiver comparison does have a column for the Pro/Guide.
The following are some of the enhancements to both the Pro/Guide BT and
Powder/Recon BT transceivers compared to the
Pieps DSP Sport and Pieps DSP Pro transceivers:
- The new transceivers can connect to the
Pieps app on your phone using Bluetooth (aka "BT"). This outstanding
design makes it much easier to change the configuration settings (i.e., alkaline
or lithium batteries, time before
auto-reverting to transmit, enable/disable
group check, etc). You can also use the Pieps app to update these transceivers, turn multiple "BT" transceivers
into a mobile beacon park, and more.
- The new transceivers have a sliding
Off/Send/Receive switch that is similar to the Pieps Sport and Pieps DSP
Pro, except the sliding "lock" on the new transceiver doesn't feel as
positive (I often have to physically push the lock to the right to fully engage it).
And, at least on the two new units I own, the sliding switches are
- The reception range of the new
transceivers is purportedly improved when the transmitting and receiving antennas are
when in perpendicular alignment.
In my testing, the ranges were similar to previous DSP transceivers
- The harnesses are similar
to the Pieps Sport and Pieps DSP Pro, but they no longer have the clever design that causes a pull on the closure strap to extract the
transceiver. I'm puzzled why they would remove this minor yet helpful feature.
- The transceivers now have a formal "group check" mode (activated by
pressing and holding the Flag button when CH is displayed during startup).
- The transceivers support lithium as well as
alkaline batteries. Lithium batteries last much longer than alkaline batteries
(up to 600 hours transmitting on the Pro/Guide and 300 hours on the
The following are some of the enhancements to the Pro/Guide BT transceivers compared to the Pieps DSP Pro:
- If you enable the "detailed" scan mode in the Pro/Guide (using the
Pieps app), you can select
individual transceivers during a
multiple burial search. With the detailed scan enabled, press the Scan
button once to enter scan mode. At this point, the Pro/Guide will show the
distance and direction to
the transceiver with the strongest signal. You can then press the Mark
button (aka the Flag button) to display the distance and direction to the next transmitter. Although
this feature does require frequent practice to remember which button does
what, it is extremely helpful during a multiple burial
search. Note that you cannot mark a transceiver in this mode—to exit
mode, press and release the Scan button.
- In addition to the group check mode mentioned above, the Pro/Guide also has a "Pro-mode" group check mode (press and hold the Scan
button when CH is displayed during startup). When the Pro-mode is enabled,
tipping the transceiver up or down tests whether the other transceivers are
searching or sending. Personally, I find the Pro-mode group check confusing
and leave it turned off.
- If enabled (using the
Pieps app), the Pro/Guide will vibrate when it
first receives a signal during the signal search and when you
enter Send mode (either after turning the device on or after switching from
Search to Send). This should allow you to look for clues on the avalanche
debris rather than look at the transceiver's display.
- If enabled (using the Pieps app), you can press-and-hold the Scan button to switch to an analog mode. I
like the concept of this feature (a few other transceivers, including the
Barryvox S and
Pulse, can be toggled to analog), but the
analog audio on the Pro/Guide is
unusually statically compared to any other analog avalanche transceiver and, unlike the Barryvox S and Pulse transceivers, the
Pro/Guide transceivers do not display distance or direction when in analog mode. As
implemented, this mode is marginally helpful.