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Old 09-10-2015, 09:39   #1
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Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

I have an ACR EPIRB with a battery expiration of 02/2011 and registration that expired 2 years ago. It has been sitting on the boat and I know it isn't to be relied upon. Any ideas regarding what to do with it? I have was told by one outfit that it didn't make sense to service it as compared to buying a new one, which is what I did before a Gulf crossing earlier this year. When you put it in test mode it beeps and the strobe works.

Any ideas on a good use for it or a group that can take advantage of it? I hate to throw it away.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:44   #2
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

eBay. There are people who want them and will pay for it.

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Old 09-10-2015, 09:52   #3
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

I have an old ACR EPIRB too. I self-replaced the batteries and use as a backup (fancy new EPIRB also planned for this year as primary). Resoldering litium batteries into the factory pack is a pain and hard to get the fit exactly right again, but the pack outputs 9Vs....sooo, I wired 9V batteries in parallel enclosed in the original outter shell of the pack. Now, I have a user serviceable back up EPIRB. Still test xmits just fine.

Be aware however that if you ever return such a user modified unit to an official service center they will destroy it.

And, I agree with the opinion you got, the cost of having an old unit serviced is not worthwhile. For about $200 more you can just buy new unit with not only fresh batteries, but new antenna (mines showing its age), all new seals, and new technology.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:13   #4
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

Scott how much do you want for it I am interested in it.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:45   #5
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

scott-
Despite ACR's dire warnings, the world will not end if you replace the battery. Depending on how that unit was built, it may be assembled with four stainless screws that are easily removed, revealing the battery compartment in the lower half.
DO remove the antenna if that is removable, you don't want to accidentally trigger the unit while working on it, and removing the antenna makes it less likely a signal can get out.
The battery pack is typically three lithium primary cells, each "D" cell sized, with a little plastic connector plugging them into the electronics module. And you usually can spot a battery type/model number on those cells, and then look online for someone that will make up replacement packs (like Bulldog Battery or the NiCad Lady) or just buy new cells if you're comfortable making up your own. Cost, typically $75-100. And you're good for another five years.


There also will be an o-ring typically sealing the two case halves together. ACR says they replace these, but you're not likely to find a replacement easily. A little silicone grease carefully applied, and make sure there's no grit or dirt, and it should last more years without any trouble.


While you're in there, look for any physical damages or decay--ACR have sometimes had issues in the past.


You can also take a wrap of silicone repair tape (self-amalgamating tape) around and over the seal, once the unit is reassembled, if you want a little extra faith in the o-ring holding up.


Now, some folks will say it is foolish to gamble your life on a DIY job to save a hundred bucks or two. Other folks will say, gee, I didn't hire a professional to tie my shoe laces either, they might trip me and kill me!


Explore, don't be afraid.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:57   #6
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

HelloSailor makes a good point about the risk of an inadvertent alarm while servicing. So before you service the unit, go to http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/, register it, and put in the notes that the unit is out-of-service while having its battery changed. This database is the first place they look if the unit is triggered, and a note here should prevent the incident from escalating further. Registration is free.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:14   #7
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

Here is a link to ebay for used Epirb's. If you go to the top and sort by "ending soonest" you will find most are fixed prices and they are ending without anyone buying it. The ones that are open to bid, on this day with this sort, none have a bid on it. epirb | eBay

Why? Those who know what an epirb is never wants to buy it but know that it is the smart thing to do. I bought a new one that I travel with and acts as my primary, and also have a redundant second one that is past its life. I replaced the batteries and just carry it as a secondary option. However, now that I have a Delorme, I don't bring the secondary Epirb with me and have disconnected the battery while in storage.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:22   #8
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

I think part of the problem with selling used EPIRBs on eBay is that the buyer,who may be looking for safety equipment, really has no idea if the damned thing works. The USCG very quietly shelved their program to provide actual testing. There's no one who will locally test one, so you have only the seller's assurance that something they themselves probably never used, works. And EPIRBs are known to leak. And have false test lights.
The only way to know for sure, is to buy one of the newer generation that actually SEND a test transmission through the system, so you know they work. But of course, if it needs batteries...you've got to invest that extra hundred bucks before you can even do that. And get the registration released/transferred. And gamble on whether it is a piece of stolen boat property. And of course have no warranty.
All of which really reduce the field of prospective buyers.


Apple should sell EPIRBs. You know, like the iPhone, when the battery won't charge any more, you either throw it out or pay for professional service, you don't expect something totally outrageous, like changing a battery all by yourself without professional licensed supervision.(G)
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:26   #9
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

Search eBay sold items for epirbs and you will find that they sell regularly. I sold our old one easily there. Why throw it away if you can quickly get good beer money for it?

Replacing the batteries and using as a backup is also a good idea - if one wants to go through the trouble and have two on board.

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Old 09-10-2015, 11:31   #10
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I think part of the problem with selling used EPIRBs on eBay is that the buyer,who may be looking for safety equipment, really has no idea if the damned thing works. The USCG very quietly shelved their program to provide actual testing. There's no one who will locally test one, so you have only the seller's assurance that something they themselves probably never used, works.
Any seller who is representing an out-of-date or non-working epirb as current and working is scum (and breaking ebay's rules, and possibly the law). I don't think this is happening much, as the listings I see are quite clear that they are either out of date or not working. However, it is the buyer's responsibility to ask those questions before buying. If they receive something not as described, they have options to remedy it.

This is not a problem with selling used epirbs on ebay - it is a problem with buying them. The OP would be a seller, not a buyer.

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Old 10-10-2015, 11:00   #11
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

I have a perfectly good McMurdo, with expired batteries. The unit has been inside a dry and protected pilot house since installation in 2003. I have opened and inspected the unit and it is clean and dry. I elected to purchase a new unit so if anyone interested in this unit let me know and I will send details and photos. Includes mounting bracket.
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:25   #12
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

Had the batteries on one of mine replaced by a company that I believe was in Florida. Cost was something less than $300. Just sent it to them and came back a week or so later ready for another 5 years or so. Expensive but cheaper than buying a new one at the time. Haven't priced an Epirb recently so don't know if the price has come down enough to make it uneconomic to have the battery changed. I don't solder well so wouldn't attempt to change the battery on my own.
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Old 10-10-2015, 14:43   #13
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottthardin View Post
I have an ACR EPIRB with a battery expiration of 02/2011 and registration that expired 2 years ago. It has been sitting on the boat and I know it isn't to be relied upon. Any ideas regarding what to do with it? I have was told by one outfit that it didn't make sense to service it as compared to buying a new one, which is what I did before a Gulf crossing earlier this year. When you put it in test mode it beeps and the strobe works.

Any ideas on a good use for it or a group that can take advantage of it? I hate to throw it away.
If it's not to be relied on don't give it away. I take my old flares to the local fire station and they do a double take but accept them and dispose of them properly.
Maybe take it to a police station? In my country they are in charge of search and rescue.
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Old 10-10-2015, 16:05   #14
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

"I don't solder well so wouldn't attempt to change the battery on my own."
Have you ever changed a light bulb? Spark plug? Put air in your car tires or gasoline in the tank?


So you UNPLUG the battery pack in the EPIRB, give the numbers and a cell phone picture of the connector to the NiCad Lady or Bulldog, and for about $100 they'll send you back a new pack, all made up. Just unplug the old one and plug in the new one.


As to not being relied on...sorry, but old 1960's military testing indicated these kind of electronics should last an average of 100 years IN ACTUAL USE so asking ten years out of an EPIRB isn't at all foolhardy.


Same thing with pyros. Properly stored, meaning in a sealed container with no air or moisture entry, they should also last at least a decade. I'm not the only one who has done extensive fourth of july testing and found "no duds" in eight and ten year old flares. The trick is, throw out the cheap plastic bag and hermertically seal them in something like a metal ammo can, with oxygen and moisture absorbent packets in the can. But the package that they are sold in? Is just a cruel fraud.


If the expired flares don't work, you've simply run out of flares, which is where you would be if you hadn't kept the expired ones anyway. If they do work, as they should, they may just save your life. We call that a win-win situation.


Don't let the sales industry push their FUD on you. This is, literally, about as hard and dangerous as changing a light bulb. Maybe even safer since you don't have to climb up on a ladder.(G)
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Old 10-10-2015, 16:08   #15
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Re: Old EPIRB - What to do with it?

There is a website describe how to disable many types of Epirb's.
Means un-plug the battery and re- cycle the same as any electronic device.
I did diasable about 50 different units before re-cycling, in about 90% units batteries can by replaced..sure not recommended ....the rest trashed only, batteries non removable.
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