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Old 02-11-2014, 22:57   #1
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Dirty Little Secret

The marine industry Dirty Little Secrete is....the lith-ion battery.

They are solder in, and have a average lifetime of 6 years, some last up to 10years, but the design life is 5 years...so goes lith-ion bat.

So what happens?

The lith-bat is responsible for non-volatile memory. So when the bat goes, so does the boot sector, or the persistent data.

Well then lets just replace the lith-bat.

If it happens with in 5 years, there may or may not be a tech/dealer capable of the repair.

But in many cases, the unit is hermetically sealed, which means that, it is non repairable.

So if you buy from the big 4, expect that 5-7 is the investment period.

Lloyd
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Old 02-11-2014, 23:50   #2
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re: Dirty Little Secret

Well let's just have some real fun then....
The big oil companies are sitting on cold fusion to protect their profits....
Or how about....
Cat food is really dog food made into smaller pieces at double the price.
Let's go all in....
Cat owners are really power boaters that can't admit it!
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Old 02-11-2014, 23:58   #3
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re: Dirty Little Secret

Yep,

Everyone knows that you can replace a watch battery, even on the most cheap of watches.

But buy a 10 k nav. system from the big 4, and by the time the bat is gone so is the company support for your 10k.

Simrad, Raymarine, Fruno..... et all.

Most System failures prior to year 6 are non-supported, but, most could be repaired with a $2.00 lith-bat, if it could only be soldered in.

Lloyd
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Old 03-11-2014, 00:23   #4
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

Hi Rich,

By the way the refer leak on Zanzibar...

Was my first diagnosis.

Good job, on standing behind your product.

It's not many, that do, but certainly, not many that stand behind a DIY.

Even though, Zanzibar had one of the best NW refer guys, do the install.

Rich, I support you and you're company.

Lloyd

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Well let's just have some real fun then....
The big oil companies are sitting on cold fusion to protect their profits....
Or how about....
Cat food is really dog food made into smaller pieces at double the price.
Let's go all in....
Cat owners are really power boaters that can't admit it!
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:05   #5
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

There is an inaccuracy in the OP: the bootloader is stored in non-volatile memory, but non-volatile memory is not powered by the battery - it is volatile memory that is kept alive by the battery. Which is not to say that the loss of the battery isn't a serious issue - many values are stored in a small volatile memory that the battery powers. But usually the loss of the battery results at worst in a factory reset every time the power is turned off. My current computer has a dead Li-ion battery in it: when I shut down, and the main battery is dead or removed, the computer forgets the time and my system preferences (brightness, volume, etc). It is a nuisance, nothing more. So I will be soldering in a new battery shortly - no big deal. And Apple won't sell me the battery because they want to kill off anything older than 5 years - but it is easy to find Li-ion batteries (I already have the replacement).

Most of the modern nav systems are nothing but low-power computers using flash memory for the operating software. To me, the only real problem is if the manufacturer sealed the case closed with adhesive, which would make servicing a pain.

My larger concern with my Furuno NN3D MFD is that the charts are stored on a small 1.8" hard disk (HDD), which of course has a limited lifetime. Furuno charges a lot of money to replace the disk. Thus I am considering buying an SSD and cloning my disk now before it fails. I would put the SSD inside the box, and keep the HDD as a backup. Probably not for most cruisers...

I don't see any evil intent in using Li-ion batteries internally for the clock and parameter RAM - that is the state of the art for computer technology. Not supporting inexpensive replacement when it dies is another thing entirely - that is pure evil (and why I am considering leaving the Mac world after more than a quarter of a century). In short the issue is the support policy, and possibly the design of the case for access, but not the use of Li-ion batteries.

Greg
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:30   #6
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

I have 2 customers of recent, that both were denied repair, because of the lithion-bat . Neither were serviceable by the only 2 NW repair shops, because of the the lithion-bat.

One is a Ray 320 GPS, the Ray 320 bats was dead, as well as the 120. Couldn't feed remote 0183 GPS to the 320.

Second was a a new old stock Simrad CX34 new unopened in the box, wouldn't boot either.

Then a Fruno 1st generation NavNet.

All three were determined dead due to the lithion-bat...non replaceable.

By the only 2 Seattle repair shops, that are listed as Factory Repair, by all three Dealers.

Lloyd



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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
There is an inaccuracy in the OP: the bootloader is stored in non-volatile memory, but non-volatile memory is not powered by the battery - it is volatile memory that is kept alive by the battery. Which is not to say that the loss of the battery isn't a serious issue - many values are stored in a small volatile memory that the battery powers. But usually the loss of the battery results at worst in a factory reset every time the power is turned off. My current computer has a dead Li-ion battery in it: when I shut down, and the main battery is dead or removed, the computer forgets the time and my system preferences (brightness, volume, etc). It is a nuisance, nothing more. So I will be soldering in a new battery shortly - no big deal. And Apple won't sell me the battery because they want to kill off anything older than 5 years - but it is easy to find Li-ion batteries (I already have the replacement).

Most of the modern nav systems are nothing but low-power computers using flash memory for the operating software. To me, the only real problem is if the manufacturer sealed the case closed with adhesive, which would make servicing a pain.

My larger concern with my Furuno NN3D MFD is that the charts are stored on a small 1.8" hard disk (HDD), which of course has a limited lifetime. Furuno charges a lot of money to replace the disk. Thus I am considering buying an SSD and cloning my disk now before it fails. I would put the SSD inside the box, and keep the HDD as a backup. Probably not for most cruisers...

I don't see any evil intent in using Li-ion batteries internally for the clock and parameter RAM - that is the state of the art for computer technology. Not supporting inexpensive replacement when it dies is another thing entirely - that is pure evil (and why I am considering leaving the Mac world after more than a quarter of a century). In short the issue is the support policy, and possibly the design of the case for access, but not the use of Li-ion batteries.

Greg
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:36   #7
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

I would be really PO'd by that.

Now take them to an independent computer repair shop and have them do it. You have nothing to lose. And as you point out, the batteries themselves are dirt cheap.

Actually any decent hobbyist should be able to do the job. Once the new battery is installed do a factory reset and it all should be good. This isn't magic.

But I would be fuming for weeks after that...

Sympathies,

Greg
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:55   #8
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

Yep, I'm pissed,

I have advised both that someone educated in electronics might be able to replace the bats. Based on what I have learned over the last month, of surfing the web.

But I can not hardly take on the responsibility to my insurance co. I/O if the factory reps won't stand behind the repair.

What I have learned from this is: If the manufacture, would have allowed for the replacement, it might have added $10.00 USD to the production costs.

But it would have added a huge liability in respect to the IP rating.

And today, noone wants to support anything past five years.

Lloyd


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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
I would be really PO'd by that.

Now take them to an independent computer repair shop and have them do it. You have nothing to lose. And as you point out, the batteries themselves are dirt cheap.

Actually any decent hobbyist should be able to do the job. Once the new battery is installed do a factory reset and it all should be good. This isn't magic.

But I would be fuming for weeks after that...

Sympathies,

Greg
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Old 03-11-2014, 14:02   #9
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
But I can not hardly take on the responsibility to my insurance co. I/O if the factory reps won't stand behind the repair.
Another thing wrong with the direction our society has taken. Thanks to the lawyers, we need insurance. And the insurers tell us not to do anything that might bring the lawyers down. So we have lost a great deal of freedom. In my youth someone in your position would have offered a best effort attempt, no promises, and both parties accepted the outcome. No longer. Not your fault, just not the way things were, or should be IMHO. BTW I did the bulk of my cruising miles sans insurance (no one insures singlehanders); had insurance been required I couldn't have done that.

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Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
What I have learned from this is: If the manufacture, would have allowed for the replacement, it might have added $10.00 USD to the production costs.

But it would have added a huge liability in respect to the IP rating.

And today, no one wants to support anything past five years.

Lloyd
From an electronic POV the circuit board is repairable as is. It is possible to have spent less than a dollar for a battery holder such that no soldering would be required but that would reduce the reliability.

It is quite possible to achieve the IP ratings without gluing the case together, with the proper use of o-rings (ever seen a mil-spec instrument glued together?). The decision to seal a case such that it can't be reopened without damage saves very little money - I think your $10 is too generous - and requires replacement instead of repairs for warranty problems - not really a win. But given the high cost of servicing it usually makes no economic sense to repair products over 5 years old that can be replaced for a few hundred dollars. That said, I do not consider battery replacement as a repair - it is just regular, anticipated maintenance. And MFDs in the thousands of dollars should indeed be supported for much longer, as the cost of service is (or ought to be) modest in comparison to replacement.

Sadly a series of flawed thought processes often has bad results for us. My Furuno MFD8, as I said before, has a hard disk inside. This has a limited lifetime, as it is an electro-mechanical device that wears out. The replacement cost is perhaps $50 today at retail, but at intro (when servicing was priced) was probably closer to $100 retail. To replace it might take a couple of service hours, billable at over $100 per hour. So Furuno charges $800 for the job, wishing to cover all costs (including overhead) and make a profit. But that is a good start on buying a new MFD with the latest and greatest features, so many customers won't do it. From the manufacturers point of view keeping alive old gear would require them to accept less profit from the service department and would reduce sales and profits from new gear - so they don't. Of course this is wrong-headed. Customers don't expect at purchase to have to replace in 5 years, and are rightly angry when service is either not available or available at silly prices. Apparently customer satisfaction is a thing of the past...

There are other solutions that work for everyone. Just as I was returning to Portland my 15 year old ProMariner battery charger died. While the parts required for repair would likely have been inexpensive (and available - nothing fancy), the overall cost including labor and shipping would have been well over $100 (i.e. a large part of a new one). ProMariner told me that they did not offer service support on the old model, but offered me a low price for a replacement with a current model, direct from the service department. That was a win for both of us. And I'm not forgetting it.

But back to the original issue: of course batteries should be field replaceable!

Greg
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:37   #10
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

I have to admit I'm part of the problem. When I was shopping for an MFD, I never once asked about battery replacement. If we all did that, things would change.

I recognize that we're in a throw-away society. We agonize for months to find the best device we can afford, end up spending WAY more than we really should, justifying in our minds that it'll last for 10 years. Then three years later when it looks obsolete and "quaint" compared to what's on the market now, we start the process all over again.

It's not just batteries. The manufacturers stop making firmware upgrades as soon as the new model comes out. So for the few years we get to use it before it's obsolete, our MFD is full of bugs that nobody got around to fixing. The programmers were all working on next year's model.

Our only consolation is it's even worse in the cell phone market.
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Old 30-10-2015, 01:16   #11
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Simrad CX34

I know this is an oldish thread, but I wonder if anyone knows whether the Simrad CX34 chartplotter can be opened up to replace the internal battery. I assume it's more or less a watch battery soldered in.

I have been trying to find a used CX34 without any luck, so I want to do all I can to try get mine working fully.

Thanks in advance (with fingers crossed)...
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Old 30-10-2015, 11:14   #12
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
I would be really PO'd by that.

Now take them to an independent computer repair shop and have them do it. You have nothing to lose. And as you point out, the batteries themselves are dirt cheap.

Actually any decent hobbyist should be able to do the job. Once the new battery is installed do a factory reset and it all should be good. This isn't magic.

But I would be fuming for weeks after that...

Sympathies,

Greg
You beat me to it. I would have posted exactly the same.
"Certified Repair Stations" Humph !!
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Old 30-10-2015, 11:31   #13
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
Yep, I'm pissed,

I have advised both that someone educated in electronics might be able to replace the bats. Based on what I have learned over the last month, of surfing the web.

But I can not hardly take on the responsibility to my insurance co. I/O if the factory reps won't stand behind the repair.

What I have learned from this is: If the manufacture, would have allowed for the replacement, it might have added $10.00 USD to the production costs.

But it would have added a huge liability in respect to the IP rating.

And today, noone wants to support anything past five years.

Lloyd
If you need to dispose of them in the future.. I will take them off your hands.. I have refurbed a couple of chart plotters.

Actually the ones I refurbed had the backlight circuits blow up long before the lithium battery died. The CCFL drive circuits are put under tremendous stress as the CCFL bulbs age. This usually causes a failure there first.

P.S. I disagree withe $10 statement. Thats not really how mass manufacturing work. They are designed for a given life, period.
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Old 30-10-2015, 11:44   #14
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

Handheld Raymarine Autopilot Remote failed, internal battery died. Ray wanted 350 to fix. Local radio guy (mexico) fixed for US10. Gave him US15 and was very happy. Has worked for 2 years fine. By the way, he put in a battery with a significantly higher capacity.
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Old 30-10-2015, 15:52   #15
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Re: Dirty Little Secret

Thirty years ago when I replaced these batteries, I did it with the power on to the device, so when I pulled out the old battery the memory wouldn't disappear. I wonder if that's necessary now?
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