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Old 12-12-2016, 07:04   #1
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Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

In 2001 we purchased a Standard Horizon HX260S hand held VHF to carry in our inflatable and sailing dinghies when "out and about". The radio was relatively inexpensive but waterproof, floatable, and very sturdy and has served us well. Moreover, it seemed like the battery--a rechargable 730mAh pack--rarely ever ran out and only needed a recharge every few months.

Given the foregoing, last week I was distressed to discover that, although predictable after 15+ years, our battery pack would no longer hold a charge. I was more distressed to discover that Standard Horizon no longer makes/has replacement battery packs for the HX260S radio and was told by one of their tech's that I should discard the old unit and replace it with a newer model (at no minor cost). Considering that I have a "back-up" pack that lets one use 6 standard (non-rechargable) AA Batteries that wasn't happening but I really liked the rechargable pack. So, for the sake of the exercise, I used an Exacto knife and very carefully cut the cover off the back of the old rechargable pack, only to discover that rather than some exotic Ni-Cad battery, it merely contained 6 AA rechargable Ni-Cad's taped together in a block.

With that, I took the battery pack to our local Batteries+Bulbs outlet where their tech's made up a replacement pack of 6 NUN 1100-AAF batteries (1100 mAh) for a grand total of $23.00 USD (compared with the $95 wanted by Standard Horizon when the CNB 260 battery packs were available). Reattaching the cover merely required a few dabs of Crazy Glue in the corners of the cover and we're back in business but with a much greater capacity battery pack.

I suspect the same can be done with many of the older model hand held VHF's and perhaps other similar gear powered by rechargable battery packs, rejuvenating the equipment and saving the cost of replacement with equipment that is often times less robust than the older models albeit absent the latest bells'n whistles (which may be extraneous anyway).

FWIW...
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Old 12-12-2016, 08:38   #2
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

Though probably no longer water proof, that was really thrifty of you to get more life out of it. Do you know how well it transmits? Sad how everything's built to be disposable. Of course, the newer ones come with DSC, which are required in the races that I participate in so I repurposed my old one to my son who kayaks on the Potomac.
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Old 12-12-2016, 08:47   #3
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

That is common for almost all battery devices, the 18650 lithium cell is common on larger tools.
The Tesla automobile, I believe it's pack is nothing more than a whole lot of 18650 cells soldered together.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:10   #4
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

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Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
Though probably no longer water proof, that was really thrifty of you to get more life out of it. Do you know how well it transmits? Sad how everything's built to be disposable. Of course, the newer ones come with DSC, which are required in the races that I participate in so I repurposed my old one to my son who kayaks on the Potomac.
Gamayun--

The water-tight integrity of the radio was unaffected by removing the cover on the battery pack itself which is on the interior of the radio when the battery pack is locked in place. The transmission range of the radio is quite good, rather more than one might expect with a hand held VHF (about 12 miles to the nearest SeaTow automated radio check station from our marina). I appreciate that it does not have the DSC function, nor GPS, etc. etc. etc. but it does do what we need and I have no shortage of GPS devices not the least being a Garmin Quatrix watch to be able to relay to a SAR asset if that were ever needed (but hopefully not).

N'any case, I thought it was a good savings.

Cheers!
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:25   #5
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

Plus one regarding Batteries + Bulbs. I had them make a replacement battery pack for my Raymarine Smartcontroller - a grand total of $2.30 USD though I opened the Smartcontroller and took only the battery pack to them. Raymarine's replacement pack was outrageously expensive.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:18   #6
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

Hylyte:

I did the same thing with an EPIRB. Of course the company said it was not possible to do it. I have absolutely no experience in electronics but the old vintage radios etc used the NiCad battery's and were easy enough to replace. I wonder if that will be possible with the new batteries.
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Old 12-12-2016, 18:33   #7
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

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Hylyte:

I did the same thing with an EPIRB. Of course the company said it was not possible to do it. I have absolutely no experience in electronics but the old vintage radios etc used the NiCad battery's and were easy enough to replace. I wonder if that will be possible with the new batteries.
Charlie--

I don't know about the EPIRB. The spec's on the Ni-Cad batteries used in our rebuild list a self-discharge rate of .2C or about 20% per month. With that, and assuming I want to maintain the batteries at no less than 50% of capacity, I'll need to recharge them every 3 months or so. On the EPIRB there is no "recharging" involved so the self discharge rate becomes very important and that is one item I would not care to experiment with. Others here about know far more than I on the subject and might comment, or not. We'll see eh?

In the mean time, take care and keep well. And, keep a sharp eye out for turkeys, foxes and coyotes at Brickyard Cove!

Cheers!
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Old 12-12-2016, 18:59   #8
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

You all should consider Eneloop batteries. They are also NiMH chemistry, but somehow have reduced the self discharge to ~15% per YEAR. I use them in all my rechargeable AA applications, and they work as advertised. A bit pricey, but in such applications as the EPIRB and VHF, they seem worthwhile.

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Old 12-12-2016, 19:33   #9
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
You all should consider Eneloop batteries. They are also NiMH chemistry, but somehow have reduced the self discharge to ~15% per YEAR. I use them in all my rechargeable AA applications, and they work as advertised. A bit pricey, but in such applications as the EPIRB and VHF, they seem worthwhile.

Jim
8xAA + 4xAAA + charger for $29.99 at Costco. That's not too bad.
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Old 13-12-2016, 06:05   #10
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

@ Hylite. The foxes were hidden ar RYC last weekend (could be because of a wedding) but I think I saw a cougar or two. BTW was wondering which house was yours in Brickyard Cove while I stood waiting to pull the J24 out with the hoist.

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Old 13-12-2016, 11:19   #11
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

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@ Hylite. The foxes were hidden ar RYC last weekend (could be because of a wedding) but I think I saw a cougar or two. BTW was wondering which house was yours in Brickyard Cove while I stood waiting to pull the J24 out with the hoist.

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That's HyLyte to you buddy! Third house from the intersection of Sanderling and Pelican. There have been quite a few new (relatively speaking) homes built on Mallard Drive since then (1982) so it may not be visible from the Club any longer. Loved living in Brickyard Cove. We had an old plywood MC Scow that we kept on the dock that I used to sail around to the Club for a cold one after work once in awhile. (Didn't much care for sailing home in the dark, however! Often just paddled.) I do miss the area but not the cold water! We still have our membership in the Club and fly the Burgee when we visit other Clubs here abouts but--as a practical matter--it's unlikely we'll ever move back to California. To many taxes and other demerits to living there. (At this point we know more native Californians living elsewhere than in California! And more New Yorker's living in LA!) I do enjoy a visit to the Club once in awhile and visits from members traveling here. But living there? Naa!

Cheers!

PS: Keep an eye out for Cougers. From what I understand, there are some fierce ones that migrate over from Marin during race week!
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Old 13-12-2016, 11:46   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
You all should consider Eneloop batteries. They are also NiMH chemistry, but somehow have reduced the self discharge to ~15% per YEAR. I use them in all my rechargeable AA applications, and they work as advertised. A bit pricey, but in such applications as the EPIRB and VHF, they seem worthwhile.

Jim
^^^^ What He Said in Spades! ^^^^

I've been using Gen 1 and II Sanyo Enloop's for 6+ years, and my charger of choice (after abysmal longevity of several worthless chargers that went kaput) is the MAHA charger (and its 4 years old). Mine does 8 AA or AAA's and several C's or D's. I think I purchased from Amazon for about $20 and it takes a beatin' and keeps on tickin'

Highly recommend Enloops and MAHA chargers (all the LaCross chargers I purchased went belly up in a few months). I've not purchased regular batteries in 6+ years - and the cost savings is serious!
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Old 13-12-2016, 12:40   #13
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

For a long shelf life for items that are not used regularly like an EPIRB or similar , regular ole Alkaline batteries are tough to beat, the Duracells in my desk here at work claim on the box a ten year life.
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Old 13-12-2016, 12:55   #14
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

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For a long shelf life for items that are not used regularly like an EPIRB or similar , regular ole Alkaline batteries are tough to beat, the Duracells in my desk here at work claim on the box a ten year life.
Probably the worst thing you can do. Duracells start corroding themselves and their surroundings long before their 10 year life is up. We have learned the hard way not to store anything with Duracells in it. The batteries go in a ziploc bag, not in the electronics. Duracells are the worst, but I've had similar experiences with other Alkaline brands. If anyone has had Alkalines that lasted 10 years without ruining things, let me know the brand.
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Old 13-12-2016, 13:28   #15
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Re: Standard Horizon Hand Helf VHF-Minor Successes

FWIW, I had a similar problem with an old SH over a decade ago. SH were quite sympathetic. They did still offer a new pack at an exorbitant price and we commiserated on how that was necessary (after all, supporting packs for 20 years ain't cheap) but not really a good option. They event sent me a 12v cord for free, so at least I could use it off the 12v on the boat. But I also found that Bulldog Battery and the NiCad Lady could rebuild the pack for me (there were no battery chain franchises then, and they tend to be overpriced today) except, I needed the radio "now" for an upcoming race. I owund up putting in 2000mA premium NiMh AA cells, instead of the original rugged standard 600mA NiCd cells it was made with. Yes, the radio takes 4x longer to recharge fully...it also runs 4x longer on the new battery pack. Which is still working nicely. The new radios with LiOn battery packs certainly are sweet, but there's no really good backup or alternate for them, especially when the "backup tray" only is for AAA cells instead of AA. AAA cells just don't have enough power to be useful for much of anything. But the industry seems to love them, they keep people deluded. Ergh, happy.
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