PLB replacement or refurbishment

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PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 08 Jun, 2020 7:58 pm

Just realised my Ocean Signal PLB1 is now 7 years old ie. Needing either a battery replacement or the unit replaced. How time flies!

What are people doing at this time point? Going through the hassles of getting an official replacement or just replace? I note KTI's SA2GN is a tiny bit larger but has a 10 years certified battery life. Any other options one should consider? Not considering any of the satellite 2-way communicators as I can't justify the subscription cost.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby johnw » Mon 08 Jun, 2020 10:24 pm

As much as I hate waste, about 3 years ago I went through the same exercise and ended up buying a KTI SA2GN.
From memory it didn't make economic sense to replace the battery on my old PLB due to reaching its (hypothetical) end of life.
The replacement process was also unwieldy, and the new battery life would have been less than 10 years.
If you decide on the new KTI option shop around, but I bought mine online from Arnolds Boat Shop. At the time they were the cheapest but had sold out.
After a short wait I was able to get a very fresh unit that actually had a documented 11 year battery life.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 12:37 am

Thanks John. I’m leaning the same direction but thought of checking on the communal knowledge first.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 10:25 am

Had a KTI SA2GN for a couple of years before I changed to 2way sat msging.

Great unit, I particularly liked it includes useful accessories free including compact hard impact case.

Battery life as mentioned is outstanding.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby michael_p » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 10:37 am

GPSGuided wrote:Ocean Signal PLB1 is now 7 years old

This will be me next year.

Has anyone done a battery replacement on an Ocean Signal PLB1. Reason I ask is I just want to get an idea of how much the battery replacement is likely to cost.

johnw wrote:KTI SA2GN.

They look like a good unit. Wow, now has NFC capabilities.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby ChrisJHC » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 10:45 am

Assuming you are looking for a new one, definitely spend the time on the internet finding the best price but don’t ignore the local suppliers.

I ended up getting a great deal (within $5 of the best online price) from a boat shop near me.

You might also find they’re willing to price match - particularly as their business has been pretty dead for the last 2-3 months.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 11:09 am

Thanks again for the recommendations and shopping advice. Yes, there are certainly some differentials in the price tag of this KTI unit out there. Looked to be cheaper than the PLB1 too. Whilst I liked size of the PLB1, the flotation casing made it 'fat'. The KTI SA2GN unit although a tiny bit larger and approx 30g heavier, the dimension looked better along with the kit. 10 years certified battery life makes it more worthwhile.

Add: Just checked my AMSA beacon registration and to my surprise, whilst my first registration was 7 years ago in early May, it listed the battery expiry date till Oct 2020 while the registration is valid to May 2021. Does this mean I can still use this PLB1 till next year, running beyond the battery expiry date? Guess the battery check routine should verify.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 11:26 am

if you stuff up a battery replacement, you will compromise the waterproof integrity of the PLB...
newer units last for around 10 years and the prices are lower than ever.
GME dont replace the batteries of their units at all for this reason... they issue a discount to buy another GME unit...
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 11:29 am

GPSGuided wrote:Thanks again for the recommendations and shopping advice. Yes, there are certainly some differentials in the price tag of this KTI unit out there. Looked to be cheaper than the PLB1 too. Whilst I liked size of the PLB1, the flotation casing made it 'fat'. The KTI SA2GN unit although a tiny bit larger and approx 30g heavier, the dimension looked better along with the kit. 10 years certified battery life makes it more worthwhile.

Add: Just checked my AMSA beacon registration and to my surprise, whilst my first registration was 7 years ago in early May, it listed the battery expiry date till Oct 2020 while the registration is valid to May 2021. Does this mean I can still use this PLB1 till next year, running beyond the battery expiry date? Guess the battery check routine should verify.



in theory yes
you should have a self test option on teh unit to tell you what the battery health is like.
the expiry date is the date it cant be guaranteed to work past. it doesnt mean it wont work, a self testing battery will tell you how its going....
to be on the safe side don't use it past expiry, since your life may be at risk one day
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 11:36 am

documentation here on testing your model of PLB

warns against using the GPS test too often as it drains the battery a reasoable amount

http://oceansignal.com/wordpress/wp-con ... -Web-1.pdf
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 12:24 pm

Thanks Wayne. Long time no chat!

Aware of the battery self-test routine and have no interest in DIY battery replacement. Yes, all experiences are pointing toward a new unit. 10 years is more than fair.

This actually leads to another question. What do people do with the old unit? Decoration on the bookshelf? Given there are stories of beacons going off in garbage dumps as well as others that led to wasted SAR efforts, proper disposal should probably involve destruction of the unit and then eWaste collection.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 12:38 pm

if you arent able to access the battery easily yourself and disconnected it , they need to be professionally decommissioned to avoid false alarms.. as mentioned its not uncommon for them to go off in rubbish dumps and they have to go after them till they find the beacon when they go off.

https://beacons.amsa.gov.au/maintenance/disposal.asp
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 12:40 pm

instructions for the battery removal from the ocean signal PLB are

5.4 Disposal
Care should be taken when disposing of your PLB when it is no longer required. It is
recommended to remove the battery from the PLB by removing the case lid. The case
screws are covered by the top label. Dispose of the battery in accordance with local waste
regulations. Please note that the PLB1 is not user serviceable and removing the lid will
invalidate the warranty.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 12:45 pm

then theres the whole discussion around two way comms devices like Garmin Inreaches vs PLB"s but thats been covered in other threads already
inreaches are rechargeable but i couldnt tell you how many years you would get out of them but theres the added functionality you get with them, at least you will actually use it... but theres subscripton costs for it to work.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 1:20 pm

I have long liked some of those InReach products but I don't do enough outdoor to justify their subscription, maybe one day. I also prefer the dedicated functionality of a critical life saving device on principle ground. Thanks for the disposal information.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby ofuros » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 3:20 pm

I enquired this time last year about the price of a battery replacement for my Plb1...$160 includes full test & return postage.

Thats $23 a year until the beacon batteries need replacing again 7years time.

But if your in the mood for a change...
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby michael_p » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 3:24 pm

ofuros wrote:I enquired this time last year about the price of a battery replacement for my Plb1...$160 includes full test & return postage.

Thank you. I thought it might be around that mark.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 09 Jun, 2020 5:44 pm

ofuros wrote:I enquired this time last year about the price of a battery replacement for my Plb1...$160 includes full test & return postage.
Thats $23 a year until the beacon batteries need replacing again 7years time.
But if your in the mood for a change...

Thanks for this piece of info on battery replacement! This 'mood for a change' will equate to around $100. At $160, I may have to rethink my decision. Will find out where their service centre is.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby north-north-west » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 8:27 am

There really should be a way to have the materials in these things recycled.
Come to think of it, I'm only two years from needing a replacement for the replacement. At nearly 65, would it be worth getting something with a ten-year battery life? Suppose I could always pass it on to someone else when the legs finally wear out.
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PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 8:57 am

Why so pessimistic? Of course you’ll still be out there in the coming 10 years, even if just with some constraints. Many walk following knee/hip replacement too.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby north-north-west » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 12:52 pm

"Pessimist" is just a passive-aggressive name for realists.
I'm aiming at doing a Jack Thwaites: "climb Fedders and die". Preferably up there as then I wouldn't have to climb back down.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby ChrisJHC » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 1:45 pm

I also take my PLB when I’m on a long motorcycle trip or sailing offshore so it’s not only “knee-dependent”!
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby north-north-west » Wed 10 Jun, 2020 3:09 pm

Oh yeah, it's the first thing I pack when organising a kayak outing.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby rucksack » Sat 13 Jun, 2020 5:28 pm

wayno wrote:if you stuff up a battery replacement, you will compromise the waterproof integrity of the PLB...
newer units last for around 10 years and the prices are lower than ever.
GME dont replace the batteries of their units at all for this reason... they issue a discount to buy another GME unit...


Wayno, GME in Sydney refurbished my GME MT410G PLB two months ago (April 2020) and the process was exactly as that outlined on their website: https://www.gme.net.au/beacon-informati ... URBISHMENT.

The process was very simple and my PLB was apparently one of a batch of PLBs that they refurbished in April. Their website states that they will refurbish GME PLBs in both Australia and New Zealand and quotes the cost for doing so in each country.

Just saying. I use both a GME MT410G and a KTI Safety Alert SAG2, both manufactured in Australia (Sydney & Melbourne respectively). The former can definitely be refurbished with a new battery and retested by the maker. The KTI Safety Alert SAG2 Instruction Manual also states that the battery in the KTI unit can be replaced and the unit similarly refurbished. Unless I am mistaken, GME say that they will only refurbish their PLB units once as they feel that the internals become too dated to repeat the process.

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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby keithy » Wed 17 Jun, 2020 6:03 pm

GPSg - I am in the same boat with my PLB soon. I have the ACR Resqlink+ floating model.

You might recall I have taken the battery out of one of those before, and it was 3 x CR123A batteries in a pack. There was an expiry date printed on the wrapping of the battery pack. Interestingly though, from recollection since I can't find the photos, when I stripped the wrapping around the batteries the expiry date on the actually CR123A batteries was an additional 2 or 3 years longer.

I have a few Panasonic CR123A batteries, and they all have a 10 year shelf life with expiry printed on the cells. Perhaps ACR builds in a safety buffer (6 year battery life on the Resqlink+).

Anyway, for a few reasons this time around I will likely go with the KTI. I'll give them a go since its made in Aust and is cheaper than my ACR (paid around $340 for it), and I have grown to dislike the ACR Resqlink+'s antenna latch that kept unlatching in my pack. Additionally looking at the newer model ACR Resqlink, they state that their battery life and warranty is now reduced to 5 years.

A mate picked up the KTI a couple of years ago on sale at around $250, so if I can pick it up for around there, it will only be around $60-70 more than the battery replacement cost and shipping for my PLB.
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 17 Jun, 2020 11:32 pm

Keithy, the cheapest I found on the KTI unit on a simple Google search was around $265, so not too different to the $250 mark. Yes, I found out that Ocean Signal for PLB1 is based in Melbourne, there'll be a one way postage to have it refurbished. Still, given the fact that I never actually got to activate it in 7 years and hopefully none in the next 7-10 years, a saving of $90-100 is a saving. Temptation to try something new... Ouch!
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Re: PLB replacement or refurbishment

Postby Nuts » Thu 18 Jun, 2020 11:27 am

ofuros wrote:I enquired this time last year about the price of a battery replacement for my Plb1...$160 includes full test & return postage..


Interesting ( viewtopic.php?f=21&t=31259 ).
The batteries were marked as expiring 2024 (so around 10yrs). I suspect they have a fudge factor for the power used in tests.
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