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Old 01-11-2015, 15:33   #1
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EPIRB battery replacement

I have a Mini-B EPIRB that came with an old boat. It is the old non-406 type and is no longer legal. Battery has been dead for 12 years. I bought a Tri-lobe bit and popped it open and it has what seems to be an easily replaceable battery pack inside. The lithium battery pack is less than $20. I do not think I will replace it as the unit is not monitored, although it might be nice to keep as a back-up in the ditch bag.

This has got me wondering about battery replacement on a regular 406 type. The label says not to, and I am sure lots of people will urge caution and expense, but I bet it is easy... Anyone done it themselves?
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Old 01-11-2015, 15:50   #2
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

Don't mean to be rude, but I think it is absolute idiocy to be repowering an emergency beacon that is no longer supported by SAR. Even if it works, it is practically worthless (SAR is not monitoring and responding to those beacons frequency because of too many false alarms). There are so many other cheap viable possibilities -- rental / used / cheap PLB or low end EPIRB . . . all far far better than the proposed approach.

Sorry, I usually keep my opinion to myself but you never know who might read this and think it is a "good idea".

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-M
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Old 01-11-2015, 15:54   #3
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

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Originally Posted by Mambo View Post
Don't mean to be rude, but I think it is absolute idiocy to be repowering an emergency beacon that is no longer supported by SAR. Even if it works, it is practically worthless (SAR is not monitoring and responding to those beacons frequency because of too many false alarms). There are so many other cheap viable possibilities -- rental / used / cheap PLB or low end EPIRB . . . all far far better than the proposed approach.

Sorry, I usually keep my opinion to myself but you never know who might read this and think it is a "good idea".

Best,
-M
yep as he said.
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Old 01-11-2015, 15:57   #4
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

And as for amateur re-powering of even 104's, WHY? To save $100?

You will get lots of opinions on here about how to do it and it's easy and all the rest, but is that all your life is worth? $100?

There's good reason the manufacturers all advise to return the unit to an authorized techo for replacement.
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Old 01-11-2015, 16:07   #5
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

I threw my old one in the trash.


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Old 01-11-2015, 17:04   #6
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

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I threw my old one in the trash.


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I hope you pulled it apart and disabled it first?
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Old 02-11-2015, 07:02   #7
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

No. It was dead and unmonitored frequency. Completely worthless.


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Old 02-11-2015, 08:21   #8
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

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Originally Posted by Mambo View Post
Don't mean to be rude, but I think it is absolute idiocy to be repowering an emergency beacon that is no longer supported by SAR. Even if it works, it is practically worthless (SAR is not monitoring and responding to those beacons frequency because of too many false alarms). There are so many other cheap viable possibilities -- rental / used / cheap PLB or low end EPIRB . . . all far far better than the proposed approach.

Sorry, I usually keep my opinion to myself but you never know who might read this and think it is a "good idea".

Best,
-M
I don't think that the OP was talking about repowering his old EPIRB. He was talking about a 406 Mhz, which is the current monitored frequency.
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Old 02-11-2015, 12:22   #9
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

I was faced with a $300+ bill to change the battery on my old ACR 406 EPIRB instead I bought a new ACR GPS enabled EPIRB for the same price after rebate. It's more compact and of course the internal GPS is a plus.

Rich


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Old 02-11-2015, 13:41   #10
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

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No. It was dead and unmonitored frequency. Completely worthless.


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Your referring no doubt to the 121's. In which case your one of the people likely responsible for all the false alarms that police and search and rescue agencies are called to every year.

And they are able to be monitored by aircraft, which is why you shouldn't just throw them out. At least here in Australia there is quite a huge advertsing campaign to get people to hand these things in, instead of throwing them out like you did. But at the very least, you should pull it apart and disconnect the battery from the electronic card as I did, before putting it in the the bin.
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Old 02-11-2015, 15:55   #11
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

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Originally Posted by CHM View Post
No. It was dead and unmonitored frequency. Completely worthless.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Your referring no doubt to the 121's. In which case your one of the people likely responsible for all the false alarms that police and search and rescue agencies are called to every year.

And they are able to be monitored by aircraft, which is why you shouldn't just throw them out. At least here in Australia there is quite a huge advertsing campaign to get people to hand these things in, instead of throwing them out like you did. But at the very least, you should pull it apart and disconnect the battery from the electronic card as I did, before putting it in the the bin.
RC raises a good point and one that should be expanded on so others can have a better understanding!

How can I put this simply?

121.5 Mhz is NOT A DEAD, UNMONITORED, COMPLETELY WORTHLESS frequency.

Is that simple enough?
Now let me expand.

It may be somewhat useless in a general rescue boating sense and it certainly isn't monitored by satellites but it remains an international aviation emergency frequency. It is monitored by many pilots and Air Traffic Control in many areas.

If you chuck your beacon into the trash and it ends up as landfill somewhere, it may activate and transmit. Guess what, where there is landfill, there are people and where there are people, there are airports and aircraft. The unwanted beacon is now (at the best) causing a nuisance and possibly causing a genuine emergency to be interrupted. It is certainly a waste of SAR resources in investigating the source of the transmission.

I accept that maybe in some areas, SAR folk don't give a royal fig about an isolated 121.5 transmission but I assure you that in other areas, a fully fledged SAR response is activated with a simple 121.5 transmission. If for no other reason than that it is possible (but unlikely) that the source of the transmission may be a 406 beacon that has failed in it's 406 transmitter but is still operational in its 121.5 transmitter.

So what may be useless to you can be a headache for others. Please think before acting on incorrect assumptions.

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Old 02-11-2015, 16:43   #12
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

Yeah I was gonna say I thought 121.5 was still used for aviation?
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Old 02-11-2015, 17:12   #13
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

121.5 is a great freq. It might be better up close than any of the others. It's ping is almost constant and easy to hear by SAR because they always have a vhf radio.
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Old 02-11-2015, 19:09   #14
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

That sounded a bit positive... Maybe I will dig it out of the trash. I just pulled it apart to see what's inside. BTW-the Lithium batteries should be disposed of responsibly, although by now, most 121's should be completely dead, so accidental landfill transmission seems unlikely.

And yes, my original question was about replacing a 406 battery. Anyone done it? A $250 charge for a $20 battery along with scare tactics for a device you hope never to use, is obscene. From one website...

"This is a life saving device and you need to have the tools, hardware and software to perform a battery replacement." Really? Took a tri-lobe bit and 30 seconds to pop mine open. Remove the old battery and plug in a new one. Are the 406's that much harder?

"The chances of surviving a life threatening situation is greatly diminished if proper care and maintenance is not given to a beacon." That's all it takes?- set off the beacon and your troubles will be solved?

"This is a lifesaving device it should be diligently maintained to perform as specified." Some are specified to work for 24 hours, others 48. If the 48 hour model only works for 24 hours, is that adequate?

OK, I'm ready for the next round of personal attacks and negativity...
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Old 02-11-2015, 19:24   #15
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Re: EPIRB battery replacement

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Originally Posted by sanibel sailor View Post
That sounded a bit positive... Maybe I will dig it out of the trash. I just pulled it apart to see what's inside. BTW-the Lithium batteries should be disposed of responsibly, although by now, most 121's should be completely dead, so accidental landfill transmission seems unlikely.

And yes, my original question was about replacing a 406 battery. Anyone done it? A $250 charge for a $20 battery along with scare tactics for a device you hope never to use, is obscene. From one website...

"This is a life saving device and you need to have the tools, hardware and software to perform a battery replacement." Really? Took a tri-lobe bit and 30 seconds to pop mine open. Remove the old battery and plug in a new one. Are the 406's that much harder?

"The chances of surviving a life threatening situation is greatly diminished if proper care and maintenance is not given to a beacon." That's all it takes?- set off the beacon and your troubles will be solved?

"This is a lifesaving device it should be diligently maintained to perform as specified." Some are specified to work for 24 hours, others 48. If the 48 hour model only works for 24 hours, is that adequate?

OK, I'm ready for the next round of personal attacks and negativity...
Here is a recent thread
GME EPIRB battery replacement.

As far as a DIY project, I reckon each should make their own mind up whether one has the expertise to do the job. Simply put, some of us do and others don't.

I have been changing batteries in various beacons for decades (professionally) and it isn't rocket science. Having said that, I know of people who just shouldn't even try…

Unfortunately in Oz, if you change the battery yourself, the beacon is no longer "approved" for carriage. Presumably this is not a requirement in USA but I suspect it is some countries. Big brother .

And don't get me started on insurance aspects
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