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Old 07-08-2014, 09:54   #1
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EPIRB Battery Replacement

I understand that the EPIRB/safety industry is changing rules on the replacement of batteries for our EPIRBS, and fear there is a bit of "goal displacement" going on. Anybody have news or opinions?

I have a SATFIND 406/PRO EPIRB, without hydrostatic release, which I purchased in Canada in 2004. This is a $1000+ unit with automatic diagnostics with the flick of a button. When the battery approached "stale date", I contacted the original retailer and acquired a new battery. Replacement was very easy, I found: The battery is sealed into the bottom of the unit, so that you are in effect replacing the bottom unit, with a new lanyard already wrapped around it. It is a simple electrical connection, an "O" ring that you can regrease (You might get a new ring in the kit, I forget), and you screw the new bottom onto the electronic upper half.

Well, the 5 years is up for the second battery, and the retailer says his supplier wants the EPIRB returned to them for the battery replacement. So, somehow, a technician (I'm tempted to take some cheap shots here) will pick up my EPIRB, connect the new battery, push the diagnostics button, and I'm free to pick it up after paying for the battery and his time. He is supposed to add more value to the operation than a live-aboard, offshore sailor who has had to learn to survive out there.

In my case, the boat and the technician are oceans apart, the battery is needed as soon as I fly back to the boat, and even if the delay was justified, airlines are not fond of these devices on their airplanes (Other than their own, I suppose).

I suspect the result of the industry making this change - which is supposed to be for increased safety - will result in some part-time cruisers eliminating the devices from their inventory; i.e.: goal displacement.

Am I getting angry before I have the facts? Again, any news or views?
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Old 07-08-2014, 15:55   #2
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

EPIRBS should be produced by govts rather than by private industries, and all profits should go towards SAR institutions.

EPIRB battery replacement methods and requirements suck big way.

b.
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Old 07-08-2014, 16:19   #3
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

This issue has come up in the past. For full disclosure, I used to be sponsored by ACR when I raced kayaks.

There are too many ways to screw-up changing a battery to allow the public to change them. Could 30-40% do it right? Probably. But it is the remaining 60-70% that are more likely to need it. Then when they activate the device while treading water and it does not work they will sue the manufacturer. No names mentioned...

FWIW, I will always by ACR even though they no longer sponsor me. After touring their factory, I know they have my back. When it is time to replace my battery, they will get it.

There is no way in hell I want this governmentalized!!!! They f'ed up taxes and Obama care. Do you want to trust your life to them??
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Old 07-08-2014, 16:36   #4
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

I had a problem kind of like that last year. We have a Pains Wessex EPIRB that needed to be sent back to the factory for a new batt. Pinched for time, I built a 9v battery myself, it lasted our cruise, just 9 months. It would no longer self test. I can no longer send it back for a new batt so I am going to buy a new one. The old one was $900 and the batt was like $300. You can buy a new EPIRB these days for much less than $900 and not that much more than the old battery and shipping was going to be.
I had given no thought to airline baggage problems. That would be insane if you could not bring an EPIRB or batteries back to your boat.
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Old 07-08-2014, 18:31   #5
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
EPIRBS should be produced by govts rather than by private industries, and all profits should go towards SAR institutions.

EPIRB battery replacement methods and requirements suck big way.

b.
Sure, I can see 200 odd governments all independently (manufacturing,) stocking and supplying EPIRBs for their citizens.
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Old 07-08-2014, 19:33   #6
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
FWIW, I will always by ACR even though they no longer sponsor me. After touring their factory, I know they have my back. When it is time to replace my battery, they will get it.
I will never buy ACR anything ever again!!!!!

I purchased a new GlobalFix 406 that failed out of the box. To verify that the unit was working I performed the self tests per the manual. These tests included the internal GPS test. The unit failed the tests. I call ACR and was directed to retest two more times. The unit failed the these tests. I was directed to send the unit back for factory repair. Which I did.

Upon return, the tech noted that the electronics board was bad and replaced, reassembled, and tested good. However, it was noted that the battery had not been replaced.

So what's my problem? Will the manual states in section 4.7: "Internal GPS test - Warning: The following test should never be performed more then once during the five-year life of the battery pack! Send the unit to ACR if test needs to be repeated."

When ACR was informed that this unit has had the internal GPS test run at lease 4 times on this battery pack, I was told that I should return the unit for a battery replacement at my expense. An offer I declined.

I later learned that the GlobleFix units were recalled due to faulty antennas. So, one has wonder about ACR engineering and QA standards. I for one have found their customer service lacking big time!
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Old 07-08-2014, 23:36   #7
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

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I will never buy ACR anything ever again!!!!!
Viking I don't know what to say. Having walked the manufacturing process seems odd that they had a DOA. May I suggest contacting the executive offices in Ft Lauderdale? Please PM me if you still have the unit. I will provide another contact.

Unless their culture has changed that much (doubt it) management would not let a f-up like that to go unrectified.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:43   #8
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Viking I don't know what to say. Having walked the manufacturing process seems odd that they had a DOA. May I suggest contacting the executive offices in Ft Lauderdale? Please PM me if you still have the unit. I will provide another contact.

Unless their culture has changed that much (doubt it) management would not let a f-up like that to go unrectified.
Not to worry! And, yes I still have the unit as I could not in good conscience resell it. I found replacement batteries at a much lower price. Three batteries are required - totaling about $35.

http://sepbatteries.com/lo26sx-saft-battery
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:08   #9
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

PM sent


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Old 08-08-2014, 07:18   #10
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

I am completely with the manufacturers on this one. Sorry you won't want to hear this so let's stipulate that everyone on this thread is an expert at changing their batteries.

Let's also stipulate that there are tons of folks who are not experts.

Let's also look at product liability. As a guy schooled on the aviation side where all this stuff is regulated I am for certain things in boating to be done by certified professionals.

Don't blame the manufacturers - blame the guy that rolls his boat, has a sick kid, loses his boat and sues the satphone company. Oh, and you can blame his lawyer, the lawyer on the other side who settles and the court system that will listen to this crap thereby making judgments a complete crap shoot.

OP has a 10 year old EPIRB - If I was betting my company on that thing working, I sure would like to have a look at it. It could have spent 10 years in the bilge for all I know.

We can't have it both ways...
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Old 18-05-2015, 07:50   #11
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

I think we're talking apples and oranges here. The Satfind 406/PRO, with the battery in the lower portion of the unit, is specifically manufactured for battery replacement by the owner, with a bottom that unscrews, an o-ring that is replaced by the owner, a simple battery connector, and a test button. The manufacturer sold the "EP-104 Battery Replacement Kit" with the new bottom of the assembly threaded for connection and with the electrical connector ready to plug in, and a new 0-ring and o-ring lubricant. It may have been the only one of its kind, and it may have been discontinued, but it got rave reviews and no bad feedback that I know of. Yes, other battery systems and installations were not made for users to muck about with. Apples and oranges.

...and I would want one (the replacement battery kit, that is), except that everywhere I ask, I get a response that the EPIRB does not have built in GPS. I thought it did, and was sure I was protected with an EPIRB with GPS! So much for that.
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Old 20-05-2015, 12:49   #12
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

In the 2015 Defender catalogue, page 166, is advertised the NEW Globalfix V4 EPIRB, Categories 1 & 2. The catalogue says the device has user replaceable batteries with 7 year life, and even provides a part number for the batteries. I am betting that these batteries are also non-hazmat, as are all the batteries in the 2015 catalogues.

Interestingly, I could not find this particular EPIRB listed or compared on ACR websites or elsewhere. I wonder why.

I know many of you post that the cost is justified to have a technician do this work, but the costs and availability are a bit different in the Caribbean.
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Old 29-05-2015, 11:31   #13
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

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Originally Posted by Sonosailor View Post
In the 2015 Defender catalogue, page 166, is advertised the NEW Globalfix V4 EPIRB, Categories 1 & 2. The catalogue says the device has user replaceable batteries with 7 year life, and even provides a part number for the batteries. I am betting that these batteries are also non-hazmat, as are all the batteries in the 2015 catalogues.

Interestingly, I could not find this particular EPIRB listed or compared on ACR websites or elsewhere. I wonder why.

I know many of you post that the cost is justified to have a technician do this work, but the costs and availability are a bit different in the Caribbean.
Strange, Defender doesn't list that model online.
And I just ordered the iPro with Manufacturer Replaceable battery a few days ago.
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Old 29-05-2015, 13:51   #14
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

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This issue has come up in the past. For full disclosure, I used to be sponsored by ACR when I raced kayaks.

There are too many ways to screw-up changing a battery to allow the public to change them. Could 30-40% do it right? Probably. But it is the remaining 60-70% that are more likely to need it. Then when they activate the device while treading water and it does not work they will sue the manufacturer. No names mentioned...

FWIW, I will always by ACR even though they no longer sponsor me. After touring their factory, I know they have my back. When it is time to replace my battery, they will get it.

There is no way in hell I want this governmentalized!!!! They f'ed up taxes and Obama care. Do you want to trust your life to them??
If you honestly feel that 60-70% of the population couldn't change the battery, then perhaps it's time to make the process idiot proof. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of radios, etc that are all powered with battery packs that fit only one way with excellent connections.

Swapping out a battery pack isn't rocket science, nor should it be.
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Old 29-05-2015, 14:13   #15
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Re: EPIRB Battery Replacement

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I am completely with the manufacturers on this one. Sorry you won't want to hear this so let's stipulate that everyone on this thread is an expert at changing their batteries.

Let's also stipulate that there are tons of folks who are not experts.

Let's also look at product liability. As a guy schooled on the aviation side where all this stuff is regulated I am for certain things in boating to be done by certified professionals.

Don't blame the manufacturers - blame the guy that rolls his boat, has a sick kid, loses his boat and sues the satphone company. Oh, and you can blame his lawyer, the lawyer on the other side who settles and the court system that will listen to this crap thereby making judgments a complete crap shoot.

OP has a 10 year old EPIRB - If I was betting my company on that thing working, I sure would like to have a look at it. It could have spent 10 years in the bilge for all I know.

We can't have it both ways...
If you built an EPIRB that couldn't handle 10 yrs in a bilge, perhaps attorneys do need to get involved.

We used to design/redesign equipment for the Navy. My boss used to say, "We need to design this stuff to be sailor proof. Tougher than a bowling ball. Lock a sailor in a room with 3 bowling balls, and he'll lose one, break one, and knock the third one up."

Anything less is negligent, since bowling balls aren't that expensive. Using the same material for an EPIRB casing won't add much to the cost.

I'm personally disgusted with the shoddy quality of nearly everything designed in this disposable world. 25 yr old systems keep on chugging, brand new ones break down 1 day after the 90 day warranty.
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