As well as getting Ti Gitu ready for the summer sailing, I also checked our E.P.I.R.B.s which needed the batteries replacing.
We have two epirbs. A Jotron Tron 1E which is not monitored by satellites any more but its signal will be picked up by aeroplanes so as we have one it seems worth putting new batteries in. The other is an ACR 406 satellite EPIRB.
We asked the local service agents who muttered about them being old and did the sharp intake of breath saying they would see if parts were available etc. etc. Then I checked the price for a service by the manufacturer and I did a sharp intake of breath.
What a rip off!!! First if the epirb is more than a few years old many manufacturers will refuse to service it, which also means that the agents won’t service them either. They say that you should buy a new one. Then the cost of a service is astronomic, which they try to justify by saying how expensive the batteries are and that the unit will be tested.
These units have a self test so what else do they do? Some manufacturers say that they test them in a shielded box to ensure transmission, but I bet the little local agent doesn’t. I couldn’t find the batteries in the UK so I looked on www.aliexpress.com where you can search Chinese companies.
I found the battery for the ACR for £101.00 plus delivery which was £35.00. I ordered it and it arrived from China within a few days. Very impressive service. For the Jotron the batteries couldn’t be found but examining them I found that they are ‘C’ size lithium batteries with a tag attached to each end to enable soldering the wires onto. Two of these cost £35.00 including delivery. So we now have renewed the batteries in both for a sensible price.
These are all lithium batteries which apparently have a very low self discharge rate, quoted as 1% a year. On epirb’s it says that the battery should be changes every 4 or 5 years but with them reputedly only discharging 10% in 10 years I can see why even very old epirb’s still test OK when the test button is pressed.
I will be putting this on my information website which can be found at