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Old 03-19-2012
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Epirb quandry

I have a ACR GlobalFix RLB-35 epirb that is due to have it's battery pack replaced sometime this summer. The cost of having this done by the agent is $360 plus carriage which will be another $120 assuming I use Fedex or similar. I do understand that the agent will also replace some seals and test it.

I can buy the batteries that make up the pack for $30 plus $6 carriage and am comfortable that I can replace the old with new even if it means some solder work. There is a built in test function so I can check that it works.

I also know that I can by a brand new epirb for around $ 200.

Now if I was heading down into the Southern ocean I might want the latest and greatest in EPIRBS but I am just pootling about the Caribbean and my longest passage that I can foresee doing in the next few years is Cartagena to the San Blas. 3 to 5 days.

My questions are

Has anyone replaced their own epirb batteries. Are there some hidden problems.

Are all the new ones GPS models. Is there a big benefit with the GPS version?

I think if I have to buy a new one I would be happy with a simple manual activation model ideally with DIY battery replacement, so any recomendations?
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Re: Epirb quandry

Got a link for that $200 epirb?
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Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Epirb quandry

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Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
Got a link for that $200 epirb?
Westmarine $214

Anchor Express $199

NB Westmarine do a price match.
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Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Epirb quandry

there are some differences between epirb and plb. One of the biggies is battery life, the other epirbs generally float and have strobes, where PLBs are attached to something in order for them to float.

I have mcmurdo PLB for chesapeake and coastal...should be fine...were I ocean going, may go for the longer battery life of the epirb...
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Re: Epirb quandry

That looks great, but an epirb, even a "personal" one, for $200 just seems too good to be true. Are there real life instances of these things actually working?
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Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Epirb quandry

How about the Spot II, which has loads of features and sells for $149. SPOT SPOT II GPS Satellite Messenger at West Marine

I have the older model, it works great, my friends and family keep constant track of where I'm at and know if there is a problem.

Gary
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Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Epirb quandry

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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
How about the Spot II, which has loads of features and sells for $149. SPOT SPOT II GPS Satellite Messenger at West Marine

I have the older model, it works great, my friends and family keep constant track of where I'm at and know if there is a problem.

Gary
I did not know about these, seems an interesting alternative and I will do a bit more research.

However there is the $99 a year obligatory service contract which makes the annual cost about the same as the ACR.

New ACR $600 one 5 year bat replacement $480 total $1080
New Spot 2 $149 10 years service $990 totla $1139

Is there a way round the service contract?
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Re: Epirb quandry

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Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
That looks great, but an epirb, even a "personal" one, for $200 just seems too good to be true. Are there real life instances of these things actually working?
McMurdo are one of the most respected names in the business. Are you suggesting that they're selling PLBs that don't work?

However, Rescues with McMurdo EPIRBs, PLBs and SARTs
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Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Epirb quandry

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
That looks great, but an epirb, even a "personal" one, for $200 just seems too good to be true. Are there real life instances of these things actually working?
The SPOT models are almost all under $200 as well. The simple fact is that the equipment inside these devices costs about $20, and several companies have realized there is a market for people who don't want to be lost at sea but aren't rich either. Because of these companies, very soon you will see even the high end mountable/self deploying/floating GPIRBS come down significantly in price. I'm guessing a $600 GPIRB will be halved in price in two years.

In the meantime, people use these PLBs all the time. If you are really worried about battery life, just bring spare batteries! A benefit of these PLBs is that they use regular off the shelf batteries, so you can keep plenty of spares on board. That being said, the previous owner of my boat had a SPOT, and he reported monthly battery changes because he has the tracking feature constantly on.

I'm ordering a spot. For $169, you can't go wrong. Yes, there is the obligatory service contract, but for a lot of people it's more affordable to pay a little bit at a time. Also, I guarantee I won't be keeping it ten years. Within a few years something better and probably cheaper will be available, and I'll be upgrading.

Found this, not sure how accurate it is:

"The unit requires three AAA lithium batteries that should last for several years in a stored SPOT 2. ... if left in tracking mode, SPOT 2 will work for about 8 days. In the SOS mode that you would use for a real emergency, it is specified to work for about 6 days."
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Last edited by BreakAwayFL; 03-20-2012 at 12:01 PM. Reason: added quote on battery info
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Re: Epirb quandry

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
McMurdo are one of the most respected names in the business. Are you suggesting that they're selling PLBs that don't work?

However, Rescues with McMurdo EPIRBs, PLBs and SARTs
according to the company selling them, they work great! JK

thanks, I really don't know which brands are good or not. That satisfies me, I think I will get one of those for sure. Almost can't go wrong for $200...
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