ACR ResQLink PLB Dissassembly- AKA the $10 battery replacement.

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by polar8, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. polar8

    polar8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
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    I've had a Spot GPS for the last year, but sold it once the re-subscribe bill came around. I never used it to send OK messages, and only carried it for emergencies. A PLB made much more sense for me. So I bought this little guy, and it came in the mail today.

    The first thing I did after taking it out of the box was to place it in a protective pouch and store it safely for my next trip. WRONG! Since the moment I ordered it I was intrigued by the $150 battery replacement cost. It reminded me of some of the Apple products I've owned, where the battery replacement cost is easily 10X the price of the battery itself. Well, this turned out to be the same case.

    Two simple philips-head screws later, the battery was revealed. It's an extremely basic 9v LiMnO2 battery pack. You can either buy the pack pre-built or buy the individual cells (they're made by Panasonic) and solder one up yourself for even cheaper.

    I look forward to replacing my battery pack for cheap when the time comes!


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    #1
  2. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Nelson area, Kootenai, BC, Canada
    That sure looks a lot like the battery pack in a cordless phone. Google whatever numbers are on that pack and see what you find.
    #2
  3. iskess

    iskess n00b

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    Dec 13, 2012
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    Has anyone found the right battery to replace this? I'm suprised how difficult they are to find. How many Mah are these batteries?
    #3
  4. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    I believe that is a 'Multi-Purpose' unit. Marine EPIRB units (which ACR and a few others build) are required gear on several classes of vessel, I will not say that having them is a bad idea, only that it creates 'guaranteed income' from that sales area. Of course, many would only need to buy one so the $150 battery expiration/replacement helps in maintaining a revenue stream. Upon inspection, an 'expired' unit 'does not exist', even if it will pass the built-in self test consequently, you fail and are perhaps escorted back to your dock, not to leave until you have corrected the 'problem'. To avoid this, many mariners routinely send back their units with a check, on schedule, and insure that the mfg. remains profitable.
    Expiration dates may have helped consumers over the years but probably not nearly so much as they have helped manufacturers in some fields. I had a battery pack built to replace the one in my EPIRB. According to the builder, it was equivalent to the original (I have no way to verify that) and he said that it was good for about twice the length of life that the original was 'allowed' before expiration. Perhaps the original mfg. was being 'conservative' for safety's sake but half the life and (more than) twice the price seems a bit like gouging to me.

    Bruce
    #4
  5. PLANEJAC

    PLANEJAC n00b

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    I would like to ask the same question that Iskess asked on 12/13/12 - What type of batteries are these (no one has responded to his question)? Has ANYONE determined this? Are they "button batteries packaged together? CR1/2 packaged together, etc.? Someone mentioned "Panasonic" batteries, but gave no 'details'. I assume that there is NOT much information or research into the battery type because nobody's batteries have "EXPIRED" yet on this particular unit - only released for sale to the public (after FCC approval) in July, 2011.

    Also, a question I have is; "If you send the unit to an "Authorized Repair/Replacement" Vendor, and pay the $100 plus replacement charge, does that get you another 5 year warranty? I have not contacted ACR yet to ask this question, but I'll bet that it does NOT! So, why would I want to spend the $100 plus, and shipping, just to get the battery replaced if I can purchase the same 'pack' after market, or build one myself????

    Polar8, did you figure out what exactly is in that 'battery pack'? Can you give us some more details to help in 'Our' search?

    Planejac
    #5
  6. lth357

    lth357 n00b

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    Sep 3, 2013
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    I opened my PLB today (ACR ResQFix). There are 2 stacks of batteries (3 per side). Stamped on the batteries is CR123A equivalent at 3V.

    I had a box of these laying around and decided to give it a shot.

    Tools required: philips head screwdriver #1, electrical tape, 6 * CR123A, 15 minutes of time or less.

    The unit self tested perfectly fine after the DIY battery change.

    I called ACR and the tech kept telling me that I HAD to ship this off for professional service. When pushed he did not have any reason why other than having the seals tested.

    $150 + shipping both ways

    or

    $10 + 15 minutes

    I hope this helps.
    #6
  7. leadingedge

    leadingedge Trailing along...

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    Location:
    Hong Kong
    12 GPS full tests per "battery life" seems easy enough to re-set...logically, I think it is possible to re-set the 12-count GPS self tests if you replace the battery pack or just unplug it & plug it in again.

    Has anyone tried it yet to see if your GPS self tests are re-set back to 12 times?
    #7
  8. skyrider99

    skyrider99 n00b

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    colorado
    I just replaced the six cells in an ACR ResQFix. Although it can be done cheaply, it's not a great solution.

    The factory pack has the cells hooked together with thin metal strips tack welded to the cells. Since most people won't have the fixturing to do this, you're left with soldering, or just hoping pressure is good enough.

    The negative terminal is hard to solder to, you can get it hot enough with a gun, but the metal finish is marginal for making a good joint. Then you worry if you damaged the cell from all the heat. Had to file the solder bumps down to make the pack short enough to fit in the case. Used 3/4" heat-shrink tubing for a neater job.

    So yes $120-150 is a ripoff, but it would be easy to make an unreliable pack. Ideally someone would sell nice packs already made up for a reasonable price, but I wasn't able to find them.
    #8