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EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: dwkayaks (IP Logged)
Date: March 6, 2013 12:15AM
Category:

Ahoy All , Has anyone changed out old batteries in their EPIRB and replaced them with new ones ?

Recently, I opened up my ACR 406 EPIRB to check the battery expiration date , and found the exp date to be, 1 / 2007 .

The battery consisted of 3 ea "D" cells of Lithium / Sulfur Dioxide , wired together and enclosed with a shrink tube . Each cell rated 3 v .

Upon removing the batt pak I noticed a sticky grease like stuff, that had been applied to the outside of the plastic foam packing around the battery pak , What's this goo I don't know ! The original batts weren't leaking .

I had a new 3 ea cell lithium batt pak made up at a local battery shop for USD $ 142.00 .

Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: IDUNA (IP Logged)
Date: March 6, 2013 03:48PM
Category:

If your EPIRB is 5 years or older it is out of certification and should be re-certified. Besides replacing the battery the unit is tested. Documents are give to the owner and also set to NOAA. A large % of cost is for testing the unit.

The cost for re-certifying the unit is nothing, if the little "island" you are on starts sinking.

Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: dwkayaks (IP Logged)
Date: March 6, 2013 10:51PM
Category:

AH HA ! So that is why NOAA refuses to update my changes online , like maybe they haven't got a "re-cert" notification from ACR .

Thanks Rod , what I don't know could fill ,,,,,,, Heaps !

I really don't think there are any reliable search and rescue units out here anyway , especially between Singapore and Japan , my next stop .

At home sequester budget cuts prevent returning the unit, and the waiting time, out and back and cost of shipping.

So what is the test mode on the unit for anyway , just a batt and strobe check ?


Re: [BCC Forum Post] dwkayaks: Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: IDUNA (IP Logged)
Date: March 6, 2013 11:10PM
Category:

United Radio in Baltimore re-certified out unit about 6-7 years ago. They
tested the unit to ensure it was broadcasting and checked the frequency, as
well as replaced the batteries. Just because the self-test light comes on
when you test the unit, does not mean the unit is broadcasting or
broadcasting on the correct frequency. United Radio sent the paperwork to
NOAA and provided copies of all the test performed. i had several pages of
test results.

Contact a steamship agency in Singapore. They will know where to take the
unit to have it re-certified. I image there are radio services that repair
the electronic on ships and tugs. One of them probably is authorized to
re-certify the unit. You could also contact a tugboat company and ask
them. Hope that helps.

Cheers,

Rod

On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 5:51 PM, BCC Forums <bccforums@samlmorse.com> wrote:


Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: svshaula (IP Logged)
Date: March 7, 2013 04:34AM
Category:

We had our EPIRB re-battery and recertification done in Australia, through the outfit that checked out our life raft. Seems like it took 2 or 3 weeks--it had to be sent to Melbourne.

The AMVER system that directs commercial ships to vessels in distress should not be affected be minor budget cuts here in the US.
Dan Shaula



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 03/08/13 08:29PM by svshaula.

Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: Bil (IP Logged)
Date: March 7, 2013 05:02AM
Category:

Douglas: Hi!

1. Yes, I've had the batteries changed on Zygote's EPIRB (and it's about due for its second battery change - or purchase of a new unit). I took the unit to the local service agent and confirm Rod's advice that, although it's possible for a user to change the batteries, we need our EPIRB units to be certified by agencies of our flag-state.

I'd guess that the 'sticky grease' you found was silicone grease or a similar substance to waterproof the electrical connections and electronic components.

It's the traditional zinc/carbon type batts that are most leak-prone. That's partly to do with the cheapness of construction (ie made to a price; some brands have cases that are less leak-prone than others) and partly to do with the chemistry and their tendency to expand with age.

Using an EPIRB service agent is not cheap. Buying a new EPIRB is a little more expensive (and it gives you the benefit of newer tech, including integrated GPS receivers that are very fast at making a fix) in most economies. I'll soon be doing the math to work out whether I ought change batteries or change EPIRBs.

Using your favorite search engine for a search on "ACR EPIRB" Service Singapore should return a half dozen businesses who'll do the job for you at competitive prices (in that regard, you're lucky. In Aus, there's little competition to change batteries, test, and re-certify an EPIRB ). And new EPIRBs are only as far away as Sim Lim Square or your local chandlery.

2. A working, certified, and registered EPIRB gets attention anywhere, even in the seas between Singapore and Japan.

It's true that China, Philippines, and Japan have not clearly delineated their areas of Search & Rescue responsibility.

And that Taiwan (aka Republic of China on Taiwan) is not given international status and so is not included on IMO and USCG lists. But it's there and has its own Coast Guard Administration which covers waters around Taiwan.

Malaysia, by contrast, has stated clearly the boundaries to its SAR area. Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency is active along the coasts of Sarawak and Sabah, and around Labuan. The recent incursion of the "Royal Sulu Army" into the E coast of Sabah might have raised the alert level of the MMEA and Malaysian Navy.

Note there are non-entry zones around many of the oil production platforms in the S China Sea.

You could download and print the relevant pages of:
[www.uscg.mil]

That document will give you details, including telephone numbers if you prefer to rely on satellite telephony.

3. A quick browse of the relevant squares of [www.marinetraffic.com] will show you how much commercial shipping traffic can be expected on your route. Pick a square and zoom in.

Check back at a different time of day - you'll note that commercial vessels time their voyages to arrive at Singapore in daylight by preference. Same for many other ports. Not always, of course.

That's almost real-time AIS data that is shown.

You can click on an individual vessel and check name, speed, flag state, destination port etc.

You'll note that some chunks of Philippine waters and a quite large chunk of the S China Sea is not covered by the AIS report - that's because of the lack of land stations collecting the AIS data and streaming it onto the Net, not the lack of shipping traffic.

And of course the area has even more smaller scale fishing vessels, some of which do not broadcast AIS (but that number is declining each year, because governments love inexpensive ways to control or oversee vessels flying their flag).

You can bet that most of the cargo ships are listening to VHF and some to SSB. At least some of them are prepared to chat by VHF. And they are mostly all prepared to help in distress situations.

In addition, the USN has its own presence - usually less well announced of course.

And at the very worst case, I would guess that USCG Guam or even USCG Point Reyes would be prepared to talk to you by SSB - and then to find a cargo ship willing to render assistance if you were prepared to declare Mayday.

The bottom line is that Lyle C. Hess designed a fine craft and Sam L. Morse built a strong boat that will get you home. The rest is just embroidery and fancy edging - but sometimes the embroidery is jolly useful and a real confidence boost.

I'm sure Calliste will get you and Lang to your destination safely.

Cheers

Bil

BCC 116 Zygote,
Scarborough Marina, Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 03/07/13 06:00AM by Bil.

Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: Bil (IP Logged)
Date: March 7, 2013 05:55AM
Category:

Douglas: Hi!

>So what is the test mode on the unit for anyway , just a batt and strobe check ?

I think you've got it! It's a bit like an idiot light on an automobile dashboard: says something about the current status, but nothing underlying trends or what might happen in 2 hours.

As cruisers, we are a tiny part of a complex international (IMO) and national (flag state and port state) SAR setup. So we need to carry EPIRBs (it's a requirement in Aus), have them certified by service agents, and register them with our flag state agency (eg USCG for Calliste). Same goes for aviation users - commercial flights, general aviation, and recreational aviation.

Other people outside the marine and aviation SAR complexes buy EPIRBs, eg hikers, mountain climbers, car and truck drivers in the Australian outback. Those users don't have to register their EPIRBs - they just rely on the national SAR system to look after them.

So my guess (it's just a guess) is that test mode is for those other (ie the non-marine and non-aviation) users, to tell them if the battery of a 7 year old unregistered EPIRB is live or dead.

For us, we're trapped (willingly, in my case) in a bureaucratic system that requires me to confirm contact phone numbers and boat appearance etc every 2 years, put an adhesive label on the EPIRB, and get the battery serviced, MMSI checked, and broadcast transmission checked every 5 years.

Cheers

Bil

BCC 116 Zygote,
Scarborough Marina, Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia

Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: dwkayaks (IP Logged)
Date: March 8, 2013 05:16AM
Category:

Thank You Bil for the excellent and informative reply on this forum . You know this South East Asia , area way better than most, and of course way better than me !

Your advice has been "Golden" to me in the past, especially that of getting boat insurance for these waters,,,, Our sailing friends Terry and Anna , of S/V Si Hai , also were rammed by a Malaysian fishing boat, recently, at the entrance to a river near Mersing while they were anchored out at night , with extensive damage and it almost sunk their boat ,,, Ouch ,,,

Ever since L & L's lecture on liferafts way back in 1998 , stating the statistic that 50% of all , have some major failure upon inspection , I have decided to build in reserve of neglect on my boat instead of relying on electronic gear to save me , but now that I am not sailing solo anymore , a new dimention of concern , haunts me .

Sailing in Singapore waters requires an AIS , which Lang had to purchase before we could return from Tioman Is .,last year,,,, but a glimmer of a thought scared me , in that what if our local Bad Boys would use AIS information to target boats intruding in their terratorial claimed waters ?

Maybe you remember when I ran with a "Black Out Ship" in the Riau Strait from Lingga Is .

Both you and Rod , have excellent points, that are of concern to me , and that is why I query on our forum , and A Big Yes , on Lyle's safety margin for our boats , he has never let me down , even in my worst disasters !

Cheers



Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: dwkayaks (IP Logged)
Date: March 12, 2013 12:42AM
Category:

Ahoy Bil , what would you think would happen , if I did have to set off my un-certified EPIRB ?

Since COSPAS - SARSAT seems reluctant to update my emergency contact information , online , would they respond at all or just log an EPIRB contact in the area and forget it ? What really is their responsibility on receiving an EPIRB signal ?

Bil says : "
2. A working, certified, and registered EPIRB gets attention anywhere, even in the seas between Singapore and Japan."


If my boat or crew are not in extreem emergency, but I was being "detained" by the bad boys while on passage at sea , I always thought it might be a good idea to set off the EPIRB during a high seas boarding condition like this , to establish a "Last Known Contact " position .

I always liked that Aussie deterent of having molotov cocktails ready to deploy into un-wanted , and intimiating foreign vessel approaches , but what type of fragil glass containers, can be used ?


Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: svshaula (IP Logged)
Date: March 12, 2013 02:24AM
Category:

Hi Doug,
You might find this blog from our friends Neil and Ley on Crystal Blues interesting. You may have already read this, and probably know Neil and Ley as they've been in your part of the world for some years. Niel is a professional electronics whizz.

svcrystalblues.blogspot.com Check out the comment by Behan Gifford (sv Totem). They ended up with 3 EPIRBs due to registration problems with Aussie made units!

In brief, Crystal Blues' EPIRB (with gps) needed a new battery, which would cost about US$750 in Singapore. They could get a brand new McMurdo 406 with EPIRB for $20 less!? Then they discovered an Australian company called Kinetic Technology is selling a 406 GPS EPIRB for US$412! It comes with a ten yr battery, works without being in the ocean, and the gps updates the EPIRB's position, which apparently is not the case with all other brands.

Lastly, Neil says that Kinetic Technology will "custom encode the unit to suit your national safety authority requirements, upon reciept of vessel reg. papers and your MMSI number". When we needed to replace our EPIRB battery in Aus, we bought an Aussie-made EPIRB for less than the cost of the battery job on our old unit, but then the manufacturer told us it was too difficult to register it with a non-Aussie country. We returned it and went ahead with the re-battery/certification of our old EPIRB.

Hope this helps.
Dan Shaula




Edited 2 times. Last edit at 03/13/13 04:34AM by svshaula.

Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: Bil (IP Logged)
Date: March 12, 2013 08:46AM
Category:


> Ahoy Bil , what would you think would happen , if
> I did have to set off my un-certified EPIRB ?

If it was a virgin EPIRB not registered with the USCG or NOAA, then it would be up to the authorities of whatever jurisdiction you are in at that time. If, for example, you were in Philippine waters, then the Phil Navy might have a boat nearby and might investigate.

If it's your current EPIRB that was previously registered with USCG/NOAA, then my guess is that the EPIRB transmission would be logged by the USCG and they would seek to contact whomever you nominated as your stateside emergency contact to find out what you and your EPIRB might be doing. And if they were satisfied, the USCG would try at least once to contact the SAR agency, in whose jurisdiction you were, to make sure that someone was investigating the EPIRB transmission.

If you were able to register that EPIRB, or buy a new EPIRB and register it with the US authorities, I'm fairly confident that the US authorities would keep an eye on the situation, regardless of what waters you are in at the time, along the lines I've just described. Of course, some of the response relies on you having a stateside emergency contact who can respond to a phone call and tell USCG that Calliste has such-and-such a voyage plan etc and that you were in last contact on so-an-so a date.

> Since COSPAS - SARSAT seems reluctant to update my
> emergency contact information , online , would
> they respond at all or just log an EPIRB contact
> in the area and forget it ? What really is their
> responsibility on receiving an EPIRB signal ?

COSPAS-SARSAT can only pass info to the SAR authorities of the jurisdiction you're in at the time. So if they don't have any extra info about the description of the boat and voyage plan, and if no one (eg the USCG) is pushing for a report, you're at the mercy of that jurisdiction.

When I've spoken to the SAR authorities in Australia, they've told me that they get a surprisingly large number of EPIRB alerts, most of which are groundless (eg someone has fooled around with the test button, a child or a drunk has triggered the EPIRB, or a recreational runabout has a flat starter battery). The Aus SAR people start with telephone and cell phone calls, which solves a goodly number of the EPIRB alerts. Aus and the US are rich enough to investigate and log almost every EPIRB alert. Other jurisdictions (eg Philippines) are not that rich, so less gets done unless some one (eg the USCG) is looking out for their nationals.


> If my boat or crew are not in extreem emergency,
> but I was being "detained" by the bad boys while
> on passage at sea , I always thought it might be a
> good idea to set off the EPIRB during a high seas
> boarding condition like this , to establish a
> "Last Known Contact " position .

Hmm ... understood. Last I talked to a USCG officer, they suggested you should be abandoning ship when you trigger your EPIRB.


> I always liked that Aussie deterent of having
> molotov cocktails ready to deploy into un-wanted ,
> and intimiating foreign vessel approaches , but
> what type of fragil glass containers, can be used
> ?

I'll answer that by email to you.

Cheers

Bil

BCC 116 Zygote,
Scarborough Marina, Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia

Re: EPIRB Battery Change
Posted by: dwkayaks (IP Logged)
Date: March 13, 2013 12:53AM
Category:

Thank You Bil , all the right info . Lang says that if Cospas - Sarsat didn't make an effort to sort out an EPIRB signal , even if it was out of cert , there would be a large "Who Hah" in the sailing magazines and Press in general .

The cocktail info is v appreciated .

Thank You too , Dan , yes, we met Neil and Ley , firstly in Sebana Cove , My , then more recently in Phuket . I read Neil's EPIRB info on that website , much good info there .

Currently , I plan to Fax a copy of my updated emergency contact persons and numbers , to NOAA/NESDIS , as I did when I purchased the ACR EPIRB .
Maybe I will even send a hard copy by registered mail to them , since I am not able to update them online anymore .

Many Thanks to everyone ,,,, Douglas , Singapore



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