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Ajax

Used EPIRB- Would you ever?

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I've stumbled upon a ACR Global Fix Pro (RLB-37) that is in mint condition for a low cost because the battery is expired and the fellow sold his boat. These units appear to still be sold new, so they aren't obsolete yet.

I would send the unit to a professional shop to be serviced with a fresh battery, new seals, firmware update, etc.  This company will do it for $270 including shipping:  https://www.survivalatsea.com/product/battery-replacemnt-service-for-acr-electronics-rlb-36globalfix-ipro-rlb-37globalfix-pro-rlb-38satellite-3-epirb/

This would still save me a couple hundred over new.

1. If I'm having a professional shop service the unit, is it still a bad idea to buy a used unit?

2. Does anyone know of another reputable shop that might be less expensive or is $270 a fair price?

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Why did he sell the boat and not include the Epirb? When Sparky went to Maine Maritime we included the Epirb, sat phone, and a nearly new Winslow high end life raft.

LRSE in Tiverton can service those or give advice. Call 'em.

We had a battery changed on one and it tested fine a couple of years later. 

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2 hours ago, Ajax said:

I've stumbled upon a ACR Global Fix Pro (RLB-37) that is in mint condition for a low cost because the battery is expired and the fellow sold his boat. These units appear to still be sold new, so they aren't obsolete yet.

I would send the unit to a professional shop to be serviced with a fresh battery, new seals, firmware update, etc.  This company will do it for $270 including shipping:  https://www.survivalatsea.com/product/battery-replacemnt-service-for-acr-electronics-rlb-36globalfix-ipro-rlb-37globalfix-pro-rlb-38satellite-3-epirb/

This would still save me a couple hundred over new.

1. If I'm having a professional shop service the unit, is it still a bad idea to buy a used unit?

2. Does anyone know of another reputable shop that might be less expensive or is $270 a fair price?

Your on the right track, it's not like they wear out from use.  Our boat included a EPIRB when we bought it and we did the same thing....total overhaul with new batteries.  They also tested and supplied a report showing the unit performs to specification.  Just need to register the EPIRB also.....  $270 appears resonsable, I think ours was more when we had it done in RI.

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Sounds like a good plan to me.  They will test it so all should be good...

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Apologies for a slight hijack, but is NOAA still sending out registration decals for EPIRBs?  I renewed my registration last fall and only got an email confirmation letter - no hard copy or updated decal. Anybody actually receive one in the last year or so?

I supposed it might be some affair such as my State switching from paper licenses to QR codes that you have to have ready to display on your phone when paddling, fishing, or hunting. :wacko: (Haven't yet figured out how to take my phone spearfishing...)  

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2 hours ago, Cruisin Loser said:

Why did he sell the boat and not include the Epirb? When Sparky went to Maine Maritime we included the Epirb, sat phone, and a nearly new Winslow high end life raft.

LRSE in Tiverton can service those or give advice. Call 'em.

We had a battery changed on one and it tested fine a couple of years later. 

I mis-read the ad. He upgraded to a newer EPIRB, not a newer boat.

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14 minutes ago, toddster said:

Apologies for a slight hijack, but is NOAA still sending out registration decals for EPIRBs?  I renewed my registration last fall and only got an email confirmation letter - no hard copy or updated decal. Anybody actually receive one in the last year or so?

Not an EPIRB, but I got a decal a couple of months ago when I renewed the registration on my PLB.

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3 hours ago, Ajax said:

I've stumbled upon a ACR Global Fix Pro (RLB-37) that is in mint condition for a low cost because the battery is expired and the fellow sold his boat. These units appear to still be sold new, so they aren't obsolete yet.

I would send the unit to a professional shop to be serviced with a fresh battery, new seals, firmware update, etc.  This company will do it for $270 including shipping:  https://www.survivalatsea.com/product/battery-replacemnt-service-for-acr-electronics-rlb-36globalfix-ipro-rlb-37globalfix-pro-rlb-38satellite-3-epirb/

This would still save me a couple hundred over new.

1. If I'm having a professional shop service the unit, is it still a bad idea to buy a used unit?

2. Does anyone know of another reputable shop that might be less expensive or is $270 a fair price?

Is your life or that of your crew only worth the $300.00 saving from buying a new one.

Why take the risk.

 

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Couple of issues.

Round here a new EPIRB costs less than $270.

The new ones have inbuilt GPS, the old ones don’t, transmitting exact coordinates is a real lifesaver.

many newer models have a much longer battery life than the old ones.

Here in Oz we use EPIRB a lot, that is most boats carry them, we don’t have the same coastguard network you have so they are the primary go to option in a distress situation.

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When you are in your life raft and you turn it on. What’s your first thought? A) Fuck I hope it works, ’B) hey guys! Awesome adventure and I saved hundreds on this EPIRB, or thank God I bought a new one. 
 

Your choice. Just tell the crew. That’s how a lot of single handlers got started. 

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Some countries buy used Russian submarines. Quit worrying, you'll be fine.

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1 hour ago, 4ktsb said:

Some countries buy used Russian submarines. Quit worrying, you'll be fine.

They’re OK till the front falls off.....:rolleyes:

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4 hours ago, olaf hart said:

Couple of issues.

Round here a new EPIRB costs less than $270.

The new ones have inbuilt GPS, the old ones don’t, transmitting exact coordinates is a real lifesaver.

many newer models have a much longer battery life than the old ones.

Here in Oz we use EPIRB a lot, that is most boats carry them, we don’t have the same coastguard network you have so they are the primary go to option in a distress situation.

The ones I'm seeing are 600.00. Can you share a link?

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Well made and weather tight electronics are good until they go bad. Could be one day old or 20. I would definitely buy a reconditioned/inspected unit to save money. The only wear I have seen is the wiggly antennas can tire of wiggling. If it was installed outside in the sun all the plastic might be suspect. In that case I'd skip it.

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I think it will be fine. People also use re-packed liferafts that have been sitting on deck. EPIRBS from 10 years ago already had GPS.  I'd be happy for an EPIRB I didn't have to throw away every 5-7 years. 

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44 minutes ago, Ajax said:

The ones I'm seeing are 600.00. Can you share a link?

This site doesn’t accept pastes on my iPad, so can’t link

our eBay has GME GPS EPIRB’s for sale around $280, non GPS around $230

thats Aussie dollars, currently 70 cents US..

the last time I priced a battery replacement round here it was $140 including postage.

I suspect you have some sort of market failure going on in the US, GME are an Aussie company, sell good gear, but IIRC EPIRB registration is country specific...

 

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37 minutes ago, Elegua said:

I think it will be fine. People also use re-packed liferafts that have been sitting on deck. EPIRBS from 10 years ago already had GPS.  I'd be happy for an EPIRB I didn't have to throw away every 5-7 years. 

A working EPIRB will let pretty much the world know in less than 30 minutes where you are. A leaking liferaft will, well, leak. I've got a personal EPIRB and a boat EPIRB. Plus a repacked liferaft repacked by a certified by the manufacturer's dealer. Don't want to brag how much I saved 1,000 miles offshore with nothing else. 

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2 minutes ago, Caca Cabeza said:

A working EPIRB will let pretty much the world know in less than 30 minutes where you are. A leaking liferaft will, well, leak. I've got a personal EPIRB and a boat EPIRB. Plus a repacked liferaft repacked by a certified by the manufacturer's dealer. Don't want to brag how much I saved 1,000 miles offshore with nothing else. 

Having a PLB for every lifejacket and an EPIRB for the boat, and maybe another for the raft/ditch bag is pretty standard. The same folks that are packing your raft are replacing the battery. Unlike a raft, you can test an EPIRB.   

"Our technicins(sic) are factory trained and fully authorized to maintain and repair ACR products."  - except that they misspelled, "technician", all seems legit.  

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Because Aussies have to carry an EPIRB if they are 3 (?) miles offshore the locally made ones are cheap, but are country coded to Australia. 

I think ACR will only put in a new battery once. You buy it, its good for 5 years, you get a new battery, and then its good for another 5 years. Then they say it's obsolete and should be replaced. So a used one may only be good for 5 Yeats after battery replacement.

Just another thought. Where are you planning to sail in the next few years? If coastal cruising in the US you are always within VHF range. If you are not sailing offshore I'd skip it.

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5 hours ago, Zonker said:

Because Aussies have to carry an EPIRB if they are 3 (?) miles offshore the locally made ones are cheap, but are country coded to Australia. 

I think ACR will only put in a new battery once. You buy it, its good for 5 years, you get a new battery, and then its good for another 5 years. Then they say it's obsolete and should be replaced. So a used one may only be good for 5 Yeats after battery replacement.

Just another thought. Where are you planning to sail in the next few years? If coastal cruising in the US you are always within VHF range. If you are not sailing offshore I'd skip it.

I figure 10 years out of an EPIRB even if you pay to have it serviced once is a reasonable deal. As you say, technology marches forward and after 10 years, they're obsolete.

The idea is to sail to Maine next year. I wasn't "on the hunt" for an EPIRB but when this one popped up I figured, "Why not?"  Hey, I might sail to Bermuda in the next 5 years. 

For the people defaulting to the usual criticism of "is saving a few bucks worth your crew's life?"  I ask- do you really just chuck your expensive EPIRB in the trash when the battery expires the first time? Your liferaft?  You really wouldn't pay a professional offshore provisioning company to service them at least once?  I could understand these criticisms if I said *I* was going to cheap out and replace the batteries myself. A professional shop can upgrade the firmware, replace the seals and do a professional soldering job on the battery.  This isn't like I picked a Dan buoy out of the trash at the marina and strapped it to the back of my boat. There are differences.

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Go ahead and get it refurbed if you want. I fly plenty of airplanes that have had the batteries in the beacon replaced numerous times. As long as it passes the tests, it stays. We don't throw them out.

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1.  If you already owned the exact same model EPIRB would you trust your life to it if that company refurbished it?

2.  Is the cost difference between purchasing new vs purchasing used + Refurb  large enough that if you do not get the used and refurb you will sail without one?

 

I say if the answer to both of those questions is "Yes" then buy the used one and refurbish it.  If the answer to either of them is no then buy new.

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If the battery can be replaced once and is good for 5 years and you throw the epirb away after 10 yrs then you can get a new one for about $90/year for the next 10 years (600 initial cost plus 300 battery replacement).  Does the cost used plus battery replacement cost divided by 5 come out less than $90? I.e. is the total cost less than $450?

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8 hours ago, Ajax said:

do you really just chuck your expensive EPIRB in the trash when the battery expires the first time?

Somebody I was working with did just that because (in Australia) it was cheaper to buy a new one. Damm thing went off and we had concerned phone calls to company HQ!

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2 hours ago, BOI Guy said:

https://skippersmate.co.nz/kti-safety-alert-sa2g-nz-plb-beacon-armband-marine-pouch/

https://kti.com.au/safety-alert-plb/

10 year battery life, 20 year product life, half price of what most of you seem to be talking about.

made in OZ, seems to be better specs than everything else.

Its what I wear.

That looks awesome.  What does it mean "New Zealand coded?" It says good around New Zealand and worldwide. 

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On 8/12/2020 at 6:31 AM, Ajax said:

I've stumbled upon a ACR Global Fix Pro (RLB-37) that is in mint condition for a low cost because the battery is expired and the fellow sold his boat. These units appear to still be sold new, so they aren't obsolete yet.

I would send the unit to a professional shop to be serviced with a fresh battery, new seals, firmware update, etc.  This company will do it for $270 including shipping:  https://www.survivalatsea.com/product/battery-replacemnt-service-for-acr-electronics-rlb-36globalfix-ipro-rlb-37globalfix-pro-rlb-38satellite-3-epirb/

This would still save me a couple hundred over new.

1. If I'm having a professional shop service the unit, is it still a bad idea to buy a used unit?

2. Does anyone know of another reputable shop that might be less expensive or is $270 a fair price?

I replaced the battery in my ACR GlobalFix Pro recently, that's pretty much the price. They also refresh the various seals and gaskets so it comes back working and tested. I don't think that would be a big deal. Is it the self deploying with the hydrostatic case? Because that release needs replacing, too, if it is. You can buy that yourself and do it though, it takes 5 minutes.

I put an old EPIRB in a marine consignment shop, someone bought it.

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56 minutes ago, Ajax said:

That looks awesome.  What does it mean "New Zealand coded?" It says good around New Zealand and worldwide. 

Certain units are coded for registration in the country they were purchased in.

One reason I replaced my battery in Australia rather than the whole unit (and did NOT buy a new PLB for the ditch bag there since no one there could replace the battery on mine) was that I was told I'd have to register it in Australia, not the U.S. I brought the PLB back to the states with me and had the battery done there instead.

I don't know all the technical/legislative reasons behind this. But that's how it was explained to me.

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My local shop https://www.tamarmarine.com.au/?s=epirb&post_type=product&dgwt_wcas=1

Here, anyone going coastal has to have one both with racing regs and also normal boating regs. With a 10 year battery life, it really is not worth the expense of replacing the batteries over getting a new improved model.

As mentioned further up, no coast guard here besides some volunteer efforts and very limited water police so epirbs are the major way of signalling for help. They are also heavily recommended for bushwalkers.

I would never have a non gps model these days either.

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Country coded means the serial # or unique id # the beacon sends out is automatically sent to the countries i.e. NZ Rescue coordination center. Presumably they can look you up in their database, see who the Epirb is registered to, and call your listed contacts to see if you are really out there sailing or if it's a false alarm.

Some of the EPIRB country databases don't allow non-national addresses or phone numbers.  The US database isn't too fussy and will allow Canadian entries.

Entering  a US phone number will slow things down in a real emergency. You do want a EPIRB coded to your country of residence so your RCC can easily call up the local cops to knock on the door of your emergency contacts to see if you are really in trouble.

It doesn't mean that eventually they won't come looking, but it may mean a delay.

I bought a Aussie EPIRB while I was there, but only GME would sell me one coded to Canada. Had to talk to the factory to find someone who knew what I was talking about, and pay a small fee too.

What not to do:  https://www.sailingtotem.com/2012/09/a-tale-of-three-epirbs.html

I'm not sure about their claim that NOAA only allows automatically activated beacons to be registered though?!?

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1 hour ago, Zonker said:

Country coded means the serial # or unique id # the beacon sends out is automatically sent to the countries i.e. NZ Rescue coordination center. Presumably they can look you up in their database, see who the Epirb is registered to, and call your listed contacts to see if you are really out there sailing or if it's a false alarm.

Some of the EPIRB country databases don't allow non-national addresses or phone numbers.  The US database isn't too fussy and will allow Canadian entries.

Entering  a US phone number will slow things down in a real emergency. You do want a EPIRB coded to your country of residence so your RCC can easily call up the local cops to knock on the door of your emergency contacts to see if you are really in trouble.

It doesn't mean that eventually they won't come looking, but it may mean a delay.

I bought a Aussie EPIRB while I was there, but only GME would sell me one coded to Canada. Had to talk to the factory to find someone who knew what I was talking about, and pay a small fee too.

What not to do:  https://www.sailingtotem.com/2012/09/a-tale-of-three-epirbs.html

I'm not sure about their claim that NOAA only allows automatically activated beacons to be registered though?!?

That doesn't seem right, since you're suppose to register PLBs which are not allowed to be automatically activated, to the best of my knowledge.

I think you are supposed to register any EPIRB, manual or automatic.

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11 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

I replaced the battery in my ACR GlobalFix Pro recently, that's pretty much the price. They also refresh the various seals and gaskets so it comes back working and tested. I don't think that would be a big deal. Is it the self deploying with the hydrostatic case? Because that release needs replacing, too, if it is. You can buy that yourself and do it though, it takes 5 minutes.

I put an old EPIRB in a marine consignment shop, someone bought it.

There was a fatality off Hatteras IIRC that involved a used EPIRB. The authorities contacted the registered original owner, someone answered the phone and said "no distress here" and thus the SAR efforts were delayed significantly.

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4 hours ago, Pipe Dream said:

As mentioned further up, no coast guard here besides some volunteer efforts and very limited water police so epirbs are the major way of signalling for help.

So if you set off the beacon, who shows up?

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On 8/12/2020 at 7:45 AM, olaf hart said:

Couple of issues.

Round here a new EPIRB costs less than $270.

The new ones have inbuilt GPS, the old ones don’t, transmitting exact coordinates is a real lifesaver.

many newer models have a much longer battery life than the old ones.

Here in Oz we use EPIRB a lot, that is most boats carry them, we don’t have the same coastguard network you have so they are the primary go to option in a distress situation.

 

These old ones must be really old.  I bought a McMurdo unit with GPS in 2006.

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Ok, so I shouldn't buy one of these less expensive EPIRBs from NZ because they're country coded and this would delay a response.

Hey, check it out- Rent-a-Beacon:  https://www.boatus.org/epirb/about/

I could rent one for $220/month which would cover a trip to Maine or perhaps Bermuda in the future. Yes, I could own one for a couple hundred more but the nice part about a rental is no maintenance. I just send it back when I'm done and it's BoatUS's problem.

Also, I'm finding better prices on EPIRBs at Defender.com. $400's instead of $600's.  That brings me within $100 of the used unit after refurbishing costs. For $100 extra, I'd rather just buy it new. 

The used unit only makes financial sense if I were going to cheap out and replace the batteries myself, which I am not willing to do.

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

There was a fatality off Hatteras IIRC that involved a used EPIRB. The authorities contacted the registered original owner, someone answered the phone and said "no distress here" and thus the SAR efforts were delayed significantly.

Yep, you need to register the EPIRB with NOAA in the US.....kind of like not changing your address with the USPS if you moved.  We kept the EPIRB that was sold with our boat and went through the re-registration process.  https://beaconregistration.noaa.gov/RGDB/

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2 hours ago, Ajax said:

Ok, so I shouldn't buy one of these less expensive EPIRBs from NZ because they're country coded and this would delay a response.

Hey, check it out- Rent-a-Beacon:  https://www.boatus.org/epirb/about/

I could rent one for $220/month which would cover a trip to Maine or perhaps Bermuda in the future. Yes, I could own one for a couple hundred more but the nice part about a rental is no maintenance. I just send it back when I'm done and it's BoatUS's problem.

Also, I'm finding better prices on EPIRBs at Defender.com. $400's instead of $600's.  That brings me within $100 of the used unit after refurbishing costs. For $100 extra, I'd rather just buy it new. 

The used unit only makes financial sense if I were going to cheap out and replace the batteries myself, which I am not willing to do.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/acr-electronics--resqlink-400-personal-locator-beacon--19496165?recordNum=1

image.thumb.png.40c38e17d8949acadf3dd4b2357cf309.png

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Speaking from the other side - one who has given away an old EPRIB - beware if you do this. I bought a new one, and gave the old one to someone that seemed in need. I admonished him to go to the NOAA website and change the registration which he said he would do. Fast forward 4 years, get a call from the Coast Guard asking if my EPIRB has gone off. Its location reports to be in a dumpster about 50 miles from any water. No, we are not at sea and not in distress. They said this is somewhat common. I'm not sure if the guy I gave it to or some subsequent recipient threw it out without disabling it, but beware of who you give one to. 

As an aside, the battery must have been 3 or 4 years out of date, yet still was able to transmit it's position.

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What are the limitations of a PLB as opposed to the larger EPIRB units?

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2 hours ago, Ajax said:

What are the limitations of a PLB as opposed to the larger EPIRB units?

Smaller battery, no auto-release bracket, 24 vs, 48 hours runtime.

I will be buying a PLB. It will get used hiking and flying besides for boating, so being easy to carry is a plus. Besides for that, you can wear it and use it if you fall off the boat ;)

 

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1 minute ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Smaller battery, no auto-release bracket, 24 vs, 48 hours runtime.

I will be buying a PLB. It will get used hiking and flying besides for boating, so being easy to carry is a plus. Besides for that, you can wear it and use it if you fall off the boat ;)

 

The registration info and process is the same?

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If a certified shop does the work no problem.  Unit will be upgraded, re-registered, tested and good to go.  Have done this with mine and all is good.

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9 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

There was a fatality off Hatteras IIRC that involved a used EPIRB. The authorities contacted the registered original owner, someone answered the phone and said "no distress here" and thus the SAR efforts were delayed significantly.

I de-registered before I put it in the shop.

I learned a lesson early on with this. When I bought the current boat, there was an old, dodgy looking EPIRB with no GPS built in on it and an expired battery. So we pulled the battery out, and tossed the unit in a dumpster.

A while later - a month or so at least, I got a call from the USCG. That old EPIRB had gone off, somehow, and they'd contacted the brother of the guy I bought the boat from. He got my information and gave it to the USCG so they called me.

This was from an EPIRB with no battery, thrown in a dumpster. My theory is there were some capacitors on it that held enough charge to still get one signal out...

That's when I learned about de-registereing.

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When I got rid of an epirb I ensured it wouldn't work with a hammer...  disconnect battery, disconnect antenna, whack the crap out of the circuit boards with hammer.

It was a USA coded unit and not worth re-programming with a Canadian country code, no issues registering it with the US database.

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Same. When told an EPIRB could no longer be re-certified they asked me to disable it by hacking it apart.

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On 8/13/2020 at 4:28 AM, Ajax said:

Ok, so I shouldn't buy one of these less expensive EPIRBs from NZ because they're country coded and this would delay a response.

Hey, check it out- Rent-a-Beacon:  https://www.boatus.org/epirb/about/

I could rent one for $220/month which would cover a trip to Maine or perhaps Bermuda in the future. Yes, I could own one for a couple hundred more but the nice part about a rental is no maintenance. I just send it back when I'm done and it's BoatUS's problem.

Also, I'm finding better prices on EPIRBs at Defender.com. $400's instead of $600's.  That brings me within $100 of the used unit after refurbishing costs. For $100 extra, I'd rather just buy it new. 

The used unit only makes financial sense if I were going to cheap out and replace the batteries myself, which I am not willing to do.

I've used the rent a beacon service. Really good, and a great thing to have when on the outside of Vancouver island - and totally unnecessary on the inside.

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On 8/13/2020 at 10:28 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

I will be buying a PLB. It will get used hiking and flying besides for boating, so being easy to carry is a plus. Besides for that, you can wear it and use it if you fall off the boat

These seem cool but I've heard are engineered to personal electronics standards/margins vs aerospace ones. For that reason I've always figured I wouldn't use except as an add-on to a 'real' epirb.

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53 minutes ago, Breamerly said:

These seem cool but I've heard are engineered to personal electronics standards/margins vs aerospace ones. For that reason I've always figured I wouldn't use except as an add-on to a 'real' epirb.

AOPA right now is lobbying for PLBs to replace installed beacons in airplanes. I have never seen any shred of evidence that the more expensive beacons are superior in getting help. They do have bigger batteries and float-free brackets for boats and crash-triggered switches for airplanes, but the actual process of getting a signal to a satellite works for all of them.

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

AOPA right now is lobbying for PLBs to replace installed beacons in airplanes. I have never seen any shred of evidence that the more expensive beacons are superior in getting help. They do have bigger batteries and float-free brackets for boats and crash-triggered switches for airplanes, but the actual process of getting a signal to a satellite works for all of them.

I mean what does "works" mean - we're clearly talking about a failure in, say, six hundredths of a percent of use cases versus two.

I'd rather have the latter for my life safety devices.

Like you can build clinbing anchors out of galvanized hardware, and the chance of total failure is still very low. But with stainless it's extremely low. It's more better. So we use stainless, yeah?

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This is the first time I ever heard it even suggested that PLBs will fail at a higher rate than an ELT/EPIRB. Where is that info coming from?

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9 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

This is the first time I ever heard it even suggested that PLBs will fail at a higher rate than an ELT/EPIRB. Where is that info coming from?

I was using hypothetical numbers - I don't actually know what the standards are for epirbs vs plbs, just that one was originally an aviation product (typically designed with double/triple redundancy, more stringent QC, and a higher Factor of Safety) while the other was originally a consumer product.

Both are federally regulated, but they have different regulations and technical standards - RTCM 11000.2 vs 11010.3, I guess. Again, I don't know what the difference is between those regs (they don't appear publicly available for free) but clearly there is some difference.

If any of the actually smart people on here can enlighten me, I'd love to know.

Maybe the only difference is the float-free/water-activated part. Or maybe it's the number of seals and how long it withstands the Salt Fog test. Maybe it's the difference between transmitting for 12 hours on 10% battery versus 6.

Without knowing, I lean toward the one made for the sector with the (much) higher standards.

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20 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

AOPA right now is lobbying for PLBs to replace installed beacons in airplanes.

I should add that this is a definite mark in their favor, but since I'm at this point hearing it second-hand (in a forum no less), without any technical explanation to back it up, it still goes under 'Surmise' for me. I'd love to hear more about it though.

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1 minute ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I am a pilot. I will take a PLB any day.

I mean, cool. I'm not arguing with you. Do you happen to know anything about the technical standards to which the two devices are built and/or tested, and how they compare?

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10 minutes ago, Breamerly said:

I mean, cool. I'm not arguing with you. Do you happen to know anything about the technical standards to which the two devices are built and/or tested, and how they compare?

Everything to do with ELTS is about the mounting, G-forces expected to be endured, what can set them off, antenna specs, battery life and so on. Everything about EPIRBS is about battery life, how the brackets work, how deep they have to be to release, how reliable the release mechanisms are, and so on. AFAIK the chipsets that actually do the work are identical.  What you lose with a PLB is about 50% battery life, they are specced for 24 hours vs. 48, and total lack of any automatic activation. If there is no human with the ability to set it off after the crash and/or sinking, then no help is coming. Speaking of which, if you crash into the water, the plane is sinking along with the ELT. It will do fuck-all unless you have a way to set it off before landing, which some planes do and some do not, and it isn't going to help find YOU unless you don't go far after the plane sinks. Likewise if you fall off the boat, the boat and the unactivated EPIRB are sailing off without you.

So in summary there are reasons to have EPIRBS and ELTS and reasons to have PLBs, but I have never heard of even the slightest hint that one of those reasons is the PLB won't work. I can't be arsed to dig through 1001 FCC/DOT/USCG/FAA documents right now, but I am 99.9999% certain you will not find a "PLBS can fail twice as often because only cheap bastards buy them" rule anyplace.

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Another way to think abut it:

Craigslist ad: Used parachute. Mint condition. Used once. Doesn't even need a repack. Best offer.

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2 hours ago, Caca Cabeza said:

Another way to think abut it:

Craigslist ad: Used parachute. Mint condition. Used once. Doesn't even need a repack. Best offer.

With or without staining?

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Having built the electronics for ELTs, EPIRBS, and PLBs I can assure you that they are assembled the same way with the same care (at least by the folks I worked with).  IPC Class 3 assembly standards are IPC class 3 no matter what acronym is applied to the end product.

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3 hours ago, sculpin said:

Having built the electronics for ELTs, EPIRBS, and PLBs I can assure you that they are assembled the same way with the same care (at least by the folks I worked with).  IPC Class 3 assembly standards are IPC class 3 no matter what acronym is applied to the end product.

This! This is what I was looking for!

 

More please.

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7 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

AFAIK the chipsets that actually do the work are identical.  

You are probably correct about the chips. However, with an electronic device in a marine environment ingress protection, corrosion resistance, and self-test ability are as important (if not more) than the reliability of the chipset, which I believe is rarely a failure point in simple electronics. 

 

7 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I have never heard of even the slightest hint that one of those reasons is the PLB won't work.

Anecdata isn't data. And I'm not saying PLB's "don't work". I'm saying they appear to be built according to different standards, and it's opaque exactly how their standards differ. And I'm saying that that makes me hesitant to trust them to the same degree as EPIRBs.

I'm not saying you're wrong - but I'm also not going to believe you (or any of the numerous 'comparisons' out there which offer zero evidence) just on your say-so. I would really like to see at least a little bit more technical detail, be it firsthand like @sculpin provided or from someone who knows the regs/standards in abstract, or can provide a link. You haven't provided any of that detail, though - you've basically just said 'I'm sure it's fine, it's got to be, I've heard it is, and I'm pretty sure it is, AFAIK, it makes sense that it would be.'

So, great. You're as comfortable with a PLB as an EPIRB. I'm not (yet). It's a moot point since I own neither! (although I've rented a few EPIRBs).

If @sculpin or someone else with actual expertise weighs in, I'm more than open to having my mind changed! I'm not anti, just skeptical.

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Advantage for a PLB is you can attach it to your PFD which your wearing.  So you always have it.  On the East Coast I would hope the CG could at least get a plane over me in less then 24 hours.  As someone who sails OPB I have bought 2 over the years.  So far have only used the test button.  FWIW.

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