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Slim
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PostMon Mar 11, 2013 5:19 pm 
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After 5 years, the battery in my ACR Microfix PLB is coming to its end of life.

Does anyone have experience with getting the battery replaced in this unit ?  From a quick Google search, the cost seems to be pretty high.  Not sure that it's worth it given the outdated technology.

TIA,

~Slim

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Slugman
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PostMon Mar 11, 2013 5:38 pm 
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When I bought my McMurdo Fastfind, and the battery showed an expiration date 6 full hiking seasons in the future (5.5 years total), and saw that the new battery at that time, with R/T shipping, was about 2/3 the price of a new unit, I decided then and there to donate it when the time came (I think I have two more seasons left).

But I see now that the new units are still around 4.5 ounces, only slightly less than mine (5 ounces), so maybe I will re-battery it once. If yours is well over the 5 ounce range, I'd upgrade, for the cost difference. I see the new battery service on Amazon for $149, a new ACR ResQlink is around $279. $130 extra is a good chunk of cash, but that new unit is pretty cool at 4.6 ounces.

If mine is good for two more years, I'm hoping Spot will by then have a unit that allows you to compose, send and receive texts without a smart phone or GPS unit. I know a SPOT is not the same as a PLB, but to me the ability to send a message like "car won't start, send AAA" or "road washed out, going to plan b hike", or "I'm running late, OK, but need extra day, call my boss, don't call 911" is just too valuable.

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mike
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PostMon Mar 11, 2013 6:14 pm 
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ResQlink offers that function with subscription. Expensive per message and very limited due to battery life. But maybe worth it if you only want to send emergency messages.
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PostTue Mar 12, 2013 4:53 am 
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mike wrote:
ResQlink offers that function with subscription. Expensive per message and very limited due to battery life. But maybe worth it if you only want to send emergency messages.

Only preprogrammed short messages as I recall.  And yes, expensive and a drain on the battery potentially compromising what a PLB is really intended for.  Not the best use of the ResQLink IMHO.  Otherwise, The ResQLink is a very nice unit and goes with me on all trips.

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Slugman
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PostTue Mar 12, 2013 9:41 am 
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It's not something I would do often, but I can easily imagine a scenario where I might need help, but not SAR. Like if I get back to the TH and my car is just gone. "Come get me" could save me a 20 mile road walk, and I'd be so late she would call 911. I'd hate to have SAR called at 2 am for a dead car battery or something.

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ďThe jerking motion of a knee does not reflect the operation of a mindĒ  Slugman, January 24th 2020
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Grannyhiker
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PostTue Mar 12, 2013 11:39 am 
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Technology in this area is advancing fast enough that at the end of 5 years, it's probably better to get the newest model rather than buy a new battery and have a heavier, outdated PLB for another 5 years.

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Slim
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PostTue Mar 12, 2013 5:18 pm 
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Grannyhiker wrote:
Technology in this area is advancing fast enough that at the end of 5 years, it's probably better to get the newest model rather than buy a new battery and have a heavier, outdated PLB for another 5 years.

Good point.

Thanks for the feedback all.  And I do like the check-in features that you mentioned Sluggo on some of the new devices.   Another reason to ditch the brick of a PLB that I have now.

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PostThu Mar 14, 2013 4:44 pm 
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My "brick" PLB is coming up on the end of its battery life.  I'm definitely going to upgrade.  The new ones are much lighter and more compact.


I'm going to stick with a PLB over a SPOT though.  A SPOT has to have GPS lock in order for them to get a postion on you whereas a PLB can give a position by doppler shift.  Also a PLB has a stronger signal.  Lastly, PLB's have a homing beacon in them that SPOT's do not.

HJ

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dla
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PostFri Mar 15, 2013 1:00 pm 
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+/- how many miles is the doppler shift accurate?

Remember, nobody knows where you are with a PLB until you are in trouble.

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PostSat Mar 16, 2013 12:25 am 
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dla wrote:
Remember, nobody knows where you are with a PLB until you are in trouble.

While the fact that I can send OK messages freely is the main reason I own a SPOT and not a PLB, hopefully someone knows approximately where you are because you left a route plan with a responsible person. A locator beacon of any sort is not a replacement for that part of the contingency plan.

I do think a big pro of the SPOT is this ability to leave a "breadcrumbs" so even if you are unable to trigger the SOS, SAR will have a specific last known point to start with - a considerable advantage even if one left a detailed route plan at home.

I think PLBs and SPOTs cater to users who most value somewhat different features. They each excel at a different thing, so it's all about knowing what you want out of it.

Curiously, in my three years in SAR, we've had a number of SPOT induced missions and no PLB ones that I can remember. I'm not sure if that reflects the fact that SPOT devices tend to attract a different user group or simply that SPOT is far more widespread than PLBs, or just plain coincidence.

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PostSat Mar 16, 2013 12:22 pm 
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dla wrote:
Remember, nobody knows where you are with a PLB until you are in trouble.

That's the point. Apples and Oranges. ResQlink is an emergency locator with limited communication function. Spot and DeLorme are for communication with limited PLB function. Take your pick based on person requirements.

FWIW I think DeLorme is going in the right direction.
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PostSun Mar 17, 2013 10:22 pm 
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dla wrote:
+/- how many miles is the doppler shift accurate?

One square mile if I remember correctly, but the accuracy improves with each pass -- and there are a lot more COSPAS-SARSAT satellites up there than there are Globalstar satellites.  And don't forget that PLB's have a secondary 126 MHz homing beacon.  If SAR gets your general location, they can then DF your exact position.

dla wrote:
Remember, nobody knows where you are with a PLB until you are in trouble.

Yes, but the same is true with SPOT (unless you pay the extra for the tracking feature).

HJ

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dla
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PostMon Mar 18, 2013 9:06 am 
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Doppler accuracy is 3 miles - not a big deal on the ocean, but a very big deal in mountainous terrain. This is only an issue with older, cheaper PLBs that lack GPS capability. Got that from the Wiki on Distress radiobeacons.

The basic SPOT service allows you to push the OK button as often as you'd like and leave location history.

It is important that people get the basic usage model difference between SPOT and Cospas-Sarsat: The SPOT model relies on lots of messages to establish a history and Cospas-Sarsat relies on one single activation when you need emergency assistance.

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dla
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PostMon Mar 18, 2013 9:09 am 
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Yana wrote:
I think PLBs and SPOTs cater to users who most value somewhat different features. They each excel at a different thing, so it's all about knowing what you want out of it.

Very good point and key to making an informed purchase.

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PostThu Jun 11, 2020 6:09 pm 
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Anyone had any luck with replacing the battery in a PLB in the past 7 years since the last post?

I've got an ACR ResQLink+ with an expired (non activated) battery, but would prefer to not to wait or pay $$ for a mail-in manufacture replacement. Would also prefer not to drop $300 on a new PLB.

Looks like there's some websites that offer replacement battery packs but it's hard to tell how reliable those are.
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