March 5, 2014

A New EPIRB

We didn't want to be like Totem - with their 3 EPIRB fiasco:  Totem's 3 EPIRBs.

Our old ACR beacon had to have it's battery replaced.  At a cost of > $300 for a new battery we thought it wiser to purchase a new one and keep the old one as a spare. In Australia, EPIRBs are particularly cheap because every boat more than 2 miles from shore must carry one - even little aluminum car toppers.  So there are a number of local companies competing and prices for a basic EPIRB are as low as $250 AUD.

         Aside - why keep the old EPIRB?

EPIRB batteries are usually good for 5-6 years before requiring replacement, but the batteries generally have longer real life.  No manufacturer wants their battery dying within the 'best before' date so the batteries are rated pretty conservatively.

From ACR's web site FAQ:
 
"Why must I replace the beacon’s battery at 5 years when it has an 11 year lifetime"
 
"The battery does not have an eleven year "USEFUL" life; it has
an eleven year "SHELF" life. Once you install a battery in a
beacon, current is being drawn when you self test the unit during
the first 5 year of operation. There is also a minute current (in
the micro amp range) being drained from the battery, in the rest
state of beacon. The battery is guaranteed to last 48 hours if
activated in an emergency, any time during the 5 year replacement
life. When the "replacement due date" is past, the activation
period of a beacon will start to decline and cannot be guaranteed
any longer"
Why must I replace the beacon’s battery at 5 years when it has an 11 year lifetime?
The battery does not have an eleven year "USEFUL" life; it has an eleven year "SHELF" life. Once you install a battery in a beacon, current is being drawn when you self test the unit during the first 5 year of operation. There is also a minute current (in the micro amp range) being drained from the battery, in the rest state of beacon. The battery is guaranteed to last 48 hours if activated in an emergency, any time during the 5 year replacement life. When the "replacement due date" is past, the activation period of a beacon will start to decline and cannot be guaranteed any longer
- See more at: http://www.acrartex.com/support/faqs/epirb-faqs/#q-4504
Why must I replace the beacon’s battery at 5 years when it has an 11 year lifetime?
The battery does not have an eleven year "USEFUL" life; it has an eleven year "SHELF" life. Once you install a battery in a beacon, current is being drawn when you self test the unit during the first 5 year of operation. There is also a minute current (in the micro amp range) being drained from the battery, in the rest state of beacon. The battery is guaranteed to last 48 hours if activated in an emergency, any time during the 5 year replacement life. When the "replacement due date" is past, the activation period of a beacon will start to decline and cannot be guaranteed any longer
- See more at: http://www.acrartex.com/support/faqs/epirb-faqs/#q-4504



What kind?  We chose a GPS enabled EPIRB. It was slightly more expensive but gives a much faster alert time and better location (non-GPS EPIRBs take up to 5 hours before a position is confirmed and location of +/- 5 km).  If we have to pull the pin one day, I want help as soon as possible.

 We bought a KTI.  Safety Alert SA1G.  Retail is around $290 (the cost to have it shipped to the factory for recoding and then shipped back to us would have added to the cost significantly) but ours was $379 straight from the factory, including shipping, with the factory coding it with a Canadian country code prefix number.  It has a 10 year battery life and 10 year warranty which puts other manufacturers to shame. (I'm looking at you ACR)



Complications of registering your EPIRB:  Our old ACR has a US beacon code so it was registered with the US database which will accept non-US addresses. We couldn't register it with the Canadian registry. As Totem found you can't just register any old beacon.

We had to specifically request that KTI code our beacon with a Canadian prefix. Even then, the Canadian database doesn't have KTI as an listed supplier - so I had to pick a different make and model.  Then it accepted the registration. Whew!

1 comment:

Behan - s/v Totem said...

Nicely done with scoring a good EPIRB and avoiding the mess we got into! Our EPIRB was sold back in Borneo to Aussies (who *can* register it), saving them big hassle (um, shipping EPIRBs to Borneo?) and putting the $$ back in our pocket. Nice to have a happy ending but what a PITA!