Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 26-03-2016, 14:45   #1
Registered User
 
wrwakefield's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Wrangell Island, Alaska
Boat: Nauticat 43
Posts: 861
EPIRB Battery Test Results

I finally got around to documenting the results from last fall when I tested the battery run time of an expired 406 EPIRB.

It was an older unit without built-in GPS, and was 7 years past the original battery expiration date. I had it removed from the life raft when it was repacked, and replaced it with a fresh, more compact PLB.

The results of the battery run time test surprised me; it ran more than twice as long as the minimum run time in the original specs.

Here are the details- including manufacturer recommended EPIRB disposal methods- in case anyone is interested.

Cheers!

Bill
__________________

__________________
SV Denali Rose

Short on opinions; focused on research, facts & experience [yours and ours...]
wrwakefield is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2016, 17:32   #2
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: May 2012
Location: New Orleans
Boat: We have a problem... A serious addiction issue.
Posts: 3,940
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Bill,

Thanks for doing this. My belief is that EPIRBs are probably the single most important thing in saving your life if you ever have to abandon your vessel. As a practical reality there are places in the world where rescue will very likely take three to four days at least. My plan has always been to have enough EPIRBs and PLB's to be able to set them off sequentially. As part of my float plan I also have a list of the order in which I plan to set them off.

Primary EPIRB first, then wait 12 hours, then set off a plb, then 12 hours... Until they are all gone. The delay is to extent the total time of transmission.


I knew that the batteries would far exceed the rated time, but I had no idea it would be by this much.
__________________

__________________
Greg

- If animals weren't meant to be eaten then they wouldn't be made of food.
Stumble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2016, 17:45   #3
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 17,039
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

I think storage temperature has a lot to do with shelf life of batteries, don't let them get hot and they will last a whole lot longer than if you leave them in your hot car often


Sent from my iPad Pro using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
a64pilot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2016, 17:57   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 11,447
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Bill, thanks for that report. It supports my gut feeling that the specs are VERY conservative. Something that I have questioned before: the battery life is purported to be X years, but the required replacement period is X/2... how come?

The only question that comes to mind about your test is wondering if removing the antenna meant that the transmitter did not actually come up to full working power. The SWR seen by the output stage of the xmtr would be very high, and in some circuits, this causes the output to be ramped down. True in my ham rig and in my AIS... no idea about the EPIRB.

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Port Cygnet, Tasmania once again
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2016, 18:47   #5
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 17,039
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

I think battery life is determined as something that has to be guaranteed, as in a poor battery that is poorly treated, worst case, and with a healthy safety factor.
The "scatter factor" often used in determining aircraft parts life limits is 7 to 1 meaning of course part replacement is required at 1/7the average life of the part. I believe it's based on being ultra conservative, as let you be right 10,000 times, but wrong just once and your in court defending it.
I'm surprised that there isn't two packs in an EPIRB with either one being able to meet spec.


Sent from my iPad Pro using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
a64pilot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2016, 19:00   #6
Registered User
 
lucseawalker's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Philippines
Boat: Norman Cross 46
Posts: 227
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Old expired EPIRB batteries last a long time indeed! Since my Mc Murdo one is 12v, I have been using the expired battery to make a simple LED light ... that way, I get to use that stored power before tossing it away in recycling!

I posted a video showing that simple project:

__________________
"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance" Albert Einstein
lucseawalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2016, 21:05   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 1,373
Images: 7
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Assuming they don't broadcast a continuous signal, what is the duty cycle and actual time transmitting of these things?
__________________
RaymondR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2016, 09:40   #8
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

So. When will they come out with an EPIRB that:
rides on the boat electrical system
stays fully charged at all times
runs an automatic diagnostic including battery health
permits user replacement of batteries rejected by the test


Aside from the absurd cost to send one in for service, the time to ship and wait for it to return is an extreme imposition and added expense. AND, so far, every EPIRB I have tried to have serviced was:
still on its first battery
declared to be obsolete
OR battery obsolete.


I regard this equipment as critical. I also think that contrived obstacles to its maintenance in order to maximize cash flow to the makers (same as life rafts) is close to criminal theft. I really don't like having a gun to my head while someone probes my wallet.
__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2016, 10:13   #9
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 17,039
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

The model for EPIRBS is for you to buy new every 5 yrs or so, not to service the one you have.
I tried to have the batteries replaced in a PLB I used to carry when ferrying aircraft over water and battery replacement was about the same as a new one, new one was smaller and supposedly better, so you can imagine I didn't have the batteries replaced.
I've been considering another PLB, but think I'll buy another EPIRB instead in another year when my current one batteries are mid life


Sent from my iPad Pro using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
a64pilot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2016, 14:24   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 1,373
Images: 7
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
So. When will they come out with an EPIRB that:
rides on the boat electrical system
stays fully charged at all times
runs an automatic diagnostic including battery health
permits user replacement of batteries rejected by the test


Aside from the absurd cost to send one in for service, the time to ship and wait for it to return is an extreme imposition and added expense. AND, so far, every EPIRB I have tried to have serviced was:
still on its first battery
declared to be obsolete
OR battery obsolete.


I regard this equipment as critical. I also think that contrived obstacles to its maintenance in order to maximize cash flow to the makers (same as life rafts) is close to criminal theft. I really don't like having a gun to my head while someone probes my wallet.
I do not know how, or whether, registration is handled in other countries but in Australia you must register the usage details with a government agency and reregister at intervals. So, one not only has to go to the expense of replacing the EPIRB you must also do the administration for registration and provide yourself with documentation that you have done so.

Between the manufacturers and the bureaucrats the whole thing is getting out of hand.
__________________
RaymondR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2016, 14:38   #11
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
I do not know how, or whether, registration is handled in other countries but in Australia you must register the usage details with a government agency and reregister at intervals. So, one not only has to go to the expense of replacing the EPIRB you must also do the administration for registration and provide yourself with documentation that you have done so.

Between the manufacturers and the bureaucrats the whole thing is getting out of hand.
We register here too. Cost is zero. Just imagine that when the EPIRB runs an auto system & battery test it also updates the registration. What a concept. The only thing you would ever have to do is change marginal batteries or failed devices. No humans involved and no questionable, too-old, EPIRBS. I don't throw out the car when the tires are worn. We manage massively more complex systems - THE BOAT - than one of these things.

I will buy PLBs when I find one whose batteries I can change.
__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2016, 15:43   #12
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 17,039
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

I really, really want registration, I think it's very important.
First thing done when a 406 aircraft ELT goes off is they call the person on the registration. ELT and EPIRB are essentially the same thing, just airplane ones are mounted in the airplane and won't float, are set off by shock or manually, other than that, they same.
I've been called twice, both times they were in the avionics shop and somehow they set them off, but didn't launch anything from the RCC and no taxpayer money wasted.


Sent from my iPad Pro using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
a64pilot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2016, 19:39   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Australia
Boat: Swanson
Posts: 55
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Australian Coast Guard is collection point for expired EPIRB, at least in QLD.
Before they are disposed, EPIRBs must be disabled, I was involved in disconnecting internal batteries. Sure they many different types and brands, some good some superior
Perhaps one interesting finding, same models are easy to replace the batteries, after expiring date, same epoxied in than whole unit is disposable item.
__________________
Tikka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2016, 19:55   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 1,373
Images: 7
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
We register here too. Cost is zero. Just imagine that when the EPIRB runs an auto system & battery test it also updates the registration. What a concept. The only thing you would ever have to do is change marginal batteries or failed devices. No humans involved and no questionable, too-old, EPIRBS. I don't throw out the car when the tires are worn. We manage massively more complex systems - THE BOAT - than one of these things.

I will buy PLBs when I find one whose batteries I can change.
Or, the holder you mount in the boat was standardised so that all EPIRBS fit a single holder and it contained an RFID device so that when you mounted the EPIRB it set itself up to broadcast the boats ID until changed by storing another mount.

If the EPIRB went in for battery change and testing it would be mounted in the workshops holder so that if the EPIRB accidentally broadcast during testing the authorities would know immediately that it was in a workshop.

Register the holder to the boat one time in the boats lifetime and automatically reset each new or re-batteried EPIRB automatically. Works for me.
__________________
RaymondR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-03-2016, 11:08   #15
Registered User
 
wrwakefield's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Wrangell Island, Alaska
Boat: Nauticat 43
Posts: 861
Re: EPIRB Battery Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Bill,

Thanks for doing this. My belief is that EPIRBs are probably the single most important thing in saving your life if you ever have to abandon your vessel. As a practical reality there are places in the world where rescue will very likely take three to four days at least. My plan has always been to have enough EPIRBs and PLB's to be able to set them off sequentially. As part of my float plan I also have a list of the order in which I plan to set them off.

Primary EPIRB first, then wait 12 hours, then set off a plb, then 12 hours... Until they are all gone. The delay is to extent the total time of transmission.


I knew that the batteries would far exceed the rated time, but I had no idea it would be by this much.
Hi Greg,

I concur re: the critical importance of emergency beacons.

Our Beacon activation strategy is similar.

Hopefully the test results of this one out-dated device is not an outlier...

I will be adding some additional info to my original blog post as prompted by discussions in this thread...

Stay tuned, and thanks.

Cheers!

Bill
__________________

__________________
SV Denali Rose

Short on opinions; focused on research, facts & experience [yours and ours...]
wrwakefield is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery, epirb

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!! ka4wja Marine Electronics 66 01-07-2016 22:32
Vesper AIS SP-160 "relay/splitter" test results, lab/real world ka4wja Marine Electronics 25 23-01-2016 11:12
EPIRB recall (GME EPIRB's manuf from 2005-2008 Recaledl) ka4wja Marine Electronics 3 23-07-2014 15:52
My Battery Load Test Results - Advice, Please ? Poozer Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 8 21-07-2011 05:48
Self Test on EPIRB..? CSY Man Health, Safety & Related Gear 0 07-05-2008 17:03



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:17.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.