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Old 07-07-2006, 15:26   #1
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EPIRB Battery Replacement .. A Rant

I just got a quote for battery replacement on an Alden Class II 406 MHZ epirb for $225. I also need to have it reprogrammed so it can be registered in the US which costs $75.00. With shipping a grand total of $317.

Every 5 years the batteries need replaced? Sounds like I should sell epirb batteries!!

Gotta have an epirb I guess but are some made where the user can replace batteries at a lower cost??
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Old 08-07-2006, 02:14   #2
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cost of battery replacement is an important element of purchase and needs to be researched just as thoroughly as the cost/capability trade-offs.
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:20   #3
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Talbot have you any suggestions for brands with lower ongoing cost?

I would probably switch to a 406 unit with integral GPS if I found one with a lower battery cost.
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:54   #4
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I decided that I would go with a non-gps one and use the money to fund an iridium phone.

GME is my chosen system
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:07   #5
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Thanks to this thread, I see that MY battery is beyond the "expiration" date. However, my registration is current. Now I too have to figure out where to get a new battery and it's cost. ::sigh::
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:07   #6
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A sat phone might be a great alternative although my impression is that costs for airtime are getting more expensive.

I've just been looking for battery replacement costs of epirbs w/GPS. It is not a feature that is readily available. Going to require some phone calls I think.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:16   #7
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Salcom, in Christchurch New Zealand make epirbs which enable you to change the batteries yourself.They use standard C cells.
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Old 08-07-2006, 14:52   #8
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The trouble with the Salcom units on their web site is that their operating
Frequency 121.5MHz and 243MHz. IIRC this is being phased out very soon to 405 MHz
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Old 08-07-2006, 19:12   #9
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AFAIK the EPIRBs use lithium batteries, which typically have a 10-year shelf life. The replacement at 5 years is recommended because at that point, the capacity has been reduced and if you need to use them in cold wx it will be reduced even more so, making the operating life shorter than you might want it to be.

Replacing a battery in anything isn't rocket science "but". Depending on how the case is sealed (gasketed? ultrasound welded?) and whether it needs a new o-ring, or a new case...and then there's finding a replacement battery, I can only guess they're not going to be locally found.<G>

How difficult does it look to open your EPIRB? If the battery section has a cover plate that unscrews to open, it might be worth opening it to see what the battery spec is. This might be user-replaceable with a new battery running you less than $50. Hard to tell without seeing it.

I find it hard to understand that your unit would need to be "reprogrammed" to use it in the US. Since these are meant for global use, and you certainly COULD use it here if you simply were sailing through...What's the problem? Why wouldn't you just re-register it with the US authorities, to let them know your new home port location and contact information??
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Old 08-07-2006, 21:12   #10
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Hellosailor The PO of the boat is a Brit and the boat & epirb were UK registered when we purchased her.

We had the boat documented in the US and all transmitting devices licensed with the appropriate US authority as soon as possible after the sale. When I tried to register the epirb they would not accept the UK id number of the epirb and informed me that I would have to have it reprogrammed with a US number.

I did not know any of this before attempting to register. I assume now that the authorities know the nationality of any distress signal by its id number?? Could this mean that friends and allies get rescued faster than say a North Korean vessel might?
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Old 09-07-2006, 00:05   #11
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jemsea once whispered in the wind
Quote:
I did not know any of this before attempting to register. I assume now that the authorites know the nationality of any distress signal by its id number?? Could this mean that friends and allies get rescued faster than say a North Korean vessel might?
For them, maybe!!

It just depends if you have a EPIRB. What country you bought it in. Like the UK for example.

And when you are in distress, say off the coast of the US. The USCG can tell right away your position. And what country you're from right away, from the id signature.
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:05   #12
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jemsea-
I have no idea about that. From what I'd been told "any" EPIRB message got routed to "all" dispatch centers as soon as it was picked up, without regard to nationality or registration source. But then again, I never asked about that in any detail. (I will look into it later this week if no one else comes up with hard facts before then, I'm curious about this.)

Maybe the authorities are concerned with getting a translator on the rescue craft or the odd sailing rights that Brits have in the US as a result of some of our older treaties. Or they need to make sure that the air drop kit will include kimchee or a proper pot of tea, as appropriate.

Hmmmm.....I know the USCG SAR teams are, very seriously, horribly underfunded. Maybe they need to know whether to have the aircraft painted by Coke or Vegamite?<G> (Heck, if I see a big silver bird with stripe on it when I need onem I know I'll probably drop the name of whoever painted the rest of it for a long time after.<G>)

'scuse me, gotta run call the marketing departments at Coke and Pepsi and see who's willing to bid highest on this before I call the USCG.<G>
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Old 17-07-2006, 15:14   #13
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Jemsea, I thought I could get some information out of the folks who are responsible for this in the US. After a couple of emails back and forth, the closest I came was "Please give us a call at 301-457-5678 ext. 157 so that we can discuss this over the phone" from someone who sounds like they are not a native english speaker, and certainly have poor reading comprehension skills. You're welcome to call them and try better. They seem to say that you must have the EPIRB reprogrammed, but that's not a requirement, and they don't know why they are making the contradictory statement. (Its that reading comprehension problem.)

Apparently if you do not have it reprogrammed, someone will try to call the original owner if it triggers...but a SAR team will still be responding directly to you, wherever it is, unless the original owner tells them otherwise.

Be interested to hear what creative stories they tell you.<G>
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Old 22-07-2006, 13:03   #14
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epirbs

ACR epirbs are a similar scam. It costs more for the battery replacement than a new unit ,which they don't tell you when they sell you one.
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Old 22-07-2006, 13:18   #15
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I had found a marine suppliers webpage which showed the various EPIRB makes, purchase price, battery life and battery replacement cost. Now I cannot find it. Anybody know where it is? I think prices were in UK pounds.
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