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#282928 - 12/07/16 09:42 PM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: EMPnotImplyNuclear]
ChicagoCraig Offline
Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 113
Originally Posted By: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Too late smile look at the picture, that's already a regular user replaceable battery right there smile


It is not a regular replaceable battery. The cells might be commonly available but because the cells are assembled into a pack it is not user replacement. This battery pack cannot be purchased from ACR; therefore it is not user replaceable.

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#282929 - 12/07/16 11:09 PM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: ChicagoCraig]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 982
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: ChicagoCraig
I understand their position on why they want to service their products. In addition to changing the batteries the unit is then tested for water entry and checked to ensure it complies with the Cospas-Sarsat certification the unit was issued when submit for certification.

I think that is the crux of it. A PLB is actually a fairly complex little item, and there is a lot more too it than just replacing batteries. My RescQLink+ has a GPS chip, a 406 MHz transmitter, a 121.5 MHz transmitter, associated antenna(s), and some sort of processor linking GPS and 406 radio. As just one example of what could go wrong, transmitters are subject of frequency wandering which will degrade performance (I had that happen with an older avalanche beacon). Presumably ACR has all the appropriate test jigs to insure that all those components and features are still in spec. Also, as noted, the waterproofing.

Originally Posted By: ChicagoCraig
I would like to state that I do not recommend anyone to do their own battery build to service a PLB.

I agree. For me the cost of sending back for authorized service is well worth the peace of mind knowing that it will work when I need it most.
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#282931 - 12/08/16 12:20 AM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5794
Loc: southern Cal
I'll bet that if you use your PLB just once that $130 service fee will seem like a terrific bargain. I felt that climbing rope prices were awfully high until I was hanging by the rope after a leader fall, very much alive and uninjured....That's the way it is with critical gear, whether it is a PLB, rope, good boots, etc.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#282935 - 12/08/16 04:15 AM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: AKSAR]
ChicagoCraig Offline
Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 113
Originally Posted By: AKSAR

I think that is the crux of it. A PLB is actually a fairly complex little item, and there is a lot more too it than just replacing batteries.


The crux of it is manual labor (not to mention liability if it doesn't work as expected).

Batteries packs are assembled as needed with fresh cells, new gasket, o-ring (for the antenna shaft), it is connected to a computer and status reads performed against various sensors, and then a RF transmission check, and the unit is water tested to a depth of 30 feet. At least this is what I gather from my conversation with ACR.

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#282951 - 12/10/16 09:50 AM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: ChicagoCraig]
EMPnotImplyNuclear Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 304
Originally Posted By: ChicagoCraig
Originally Posted By: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Too late smile look at the picture, that's already a regular user replaceable battery right there smile


It is not a regular replaceable battery. The cells might be commonly available but because the cells are assembled into a pack it is not user replacement. This battery pack cannot be purchased from ACR; therefore it is not user replaceable.

Hi,
thats funny,
the nature of a thing (user replacable)
doesn't change if you haven't found where to buy it
see
$7.87
Saflok- 54240 6V-Lithium-1300mAh-Door-Lock-Battery

the user has to do no soldering
If the connector is the wrong kind of connector,
just twist some wires together
but yeah, its highly advanced complex life saving device
that instantly breaks the second the original battery expires
:P

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#282959 - 12/10/16 09:19 PM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: EMPnotImplyNuclear]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 982
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: EMPnotImplyNuclear
but yeah, its highly advanced complex life saving device
that instantly breaks the second the original battery expires
:P
Sorry, but this is a redacted straw man argument. No one here has suggested that a PLB "instantly breaks the second the original battery expires".

What has been suggested is that ANY electronic device is subject to failure over time. The rate of failure may be extremely low but is still finite. If my car sound system fails, it is at worst an annoyance, and will cost some money to fix. If I break my leg in a remote area and my PLB fails it could cost me my life. No amount of money can fix me being dead.

PLBs are subject to rough use in demanding conditions. They are routinely attached to life jackets and gumby suits. They are carried in very wet conditions, hot dry deserts, and extremely cold conditions. A complete and thorough systems check every 5 years (not just a battery replacement) doesn't seem like a bad idea to me for a device that my life might depend on.

It is your life and your money, and you are free to make your own choices. But you have no excuse to belittle those of us who choose to follow the manufacturers recommendations.


Edited by chaosmagnet (12/11/16 05:46 PM)
Edit Reason: language

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#282960 - 12/10/16 10:04 PM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5794
Loc: southern Cal
A PLB only has to work once to generate a truly awesome ROI. This doesn't mean that everyone must carry one on every picnic; that's a personal choice and one is at perfect liberty to factor cost into the decision.

Just remember - if you punch the button, you have vastly simplified the task for the responding SAR outfit. That is most likely a good thing.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#282961 - 12/10/16 10:33 PM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4457
Loc: SOCAL
I view ACR's check-up and battery replacement as an insurance renewal. Their PLB insurance plan comes with a premium just like all insurance plans.

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#282995 - 12/13/16 06:38 PM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: hikermor]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2122
going with the ARC device - its well though of and has a rebate through the end of the year. Question -- it is ok to share this with family? Can my kids take it on a trip ( and use if necessary) without me?

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#283005 - 12/13/16 11:23 PM Re: Let's Talk PLBs...... [Re: TeacherRO]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 982
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
going with the ARC device - its well though of and has a rebate through the end of the year. Question -- it is ok to share this with family? Can my kids take it on a trip ( and use if necessary) without me?

Yes, you can loan it to anyone. If the device is activated, the RCC will no doubt call you (or whatever phone numbers you put down when you registered the device). This is good, of course, since you may be able to provide additional info helpful to the SAR team, such as how many people were on the trip, their gear etc.

As a side note, awhile back I had the opportunity to chat with one of the watch supervisors from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (where PLB alerts for onshore Alaska are handled). He said that ELTs (from aircraft) and EPIRBs (boats) tend to have a higher rate of accidental false alerts than PLBs. For example a hard landing is sometimes enough to trigger an aircraft ELT. Likewise EPIRBS which are designed to deploy and activate automatically when a boat sinks sometimes do so by accident. So in some cases (where there is reason to suspect it may be a false alert) they will try to make a few quick calls to verify before requesting a full on rescue mission.

On the other hand, PLBs require several deliberate conscious actions to activate. On mine one has to release and deploy the antenna, which allows access to the button, which then must be pushed to activate. Because of this, PLBs tend to have a lower rate of accidental false alerts. For this reason, the RCC is more likely to immediately request a rescue team to launch.
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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