PLB - battery life

Submitted: Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 14:06
ThreadID: 135577 Views:2699 Replies:6 FollowUps:9
This Thread has been Archived
It's getting time to replace my PLB. I could get it refurbished for $175 for another 6 years. That's $30 per year.

They all seem to be GPS enabled these days, and around $260 - $300. And of course they all have to comply with transmission times etc.
The main differentiators seem to be size and Battery life.
They range from
6 years - ResQlink
7 Years - GME, Ocean Signal Rescue Me
to 10 years for the KTI SA2G with 10 year battery life and a strobe. Warranty is 20 years too.

As a bonus the KTI seems the smallest and as cheap as others. At $265 it's cheaper per year than getting a replacement battery in mine.....

Has anyone seen a better value proposition PLB?
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: gbc - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 14:13

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 14:13
No. I came to the same conclusion and bought a KTI
AnswerID: 613681

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 14:41

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 14:41
For me, the best value proposition comes down to the one I have the most confidence in, from a personal perspective, taking into account ease of use and portability.

If you have to press the button on a PLB cost will become irrelevant at that point.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
AnswerID: 613683

Reply By: Iza B - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 15:02

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 15:02
Lessons learned from older technology are often incorporated into the latest models. Dollars are not that important to me when it comes to safety equipment. New, and possibly improved, for me because of a little more confidence.

AnswerID: 613684

Reply By: Dean K3 - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 15:07

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 15:07
In the same boat, (pardon pun) biggest let down I have is with gme they will change battery over but then only give it one year life span, so for 1/2 original purchase price plus own freight costs makes it rather un economic to get another gme.

KTI sound good if they will give 10 years battery life, but then begs q what happens after that - another 10 years between battery and warranty expiry has me a tad perplexed and maybe I'm cynical but smell a rat somewhere.

watching with baited breath
AnswerID: 613685

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 15:48

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 15:48
I checked that. They said the product is warrantied for a further 10 years and the new battery lasts 10 years $150.

That sounds ok to me.
FollowupID: 884189

Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 17:26

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 17:26
$150 for a battery change over that last 10 years that's very impressive.

I was looking at pdf user/idiot guide mentioned gps test and plb test as separate procedures.

Would have thought when doing test of plb it would also send out gps signal not that you can test it unless one has tracking equipment
FollowupID: 884190

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 17:59

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 17:59
I bought the KTI PLB, it's small, light, easy to use.
Best price (and it's still this price) I could find was Arnolds Boat Shop for $247.

I tested in once just when received to ensure sat signal came up positive, all good.
Wouldn't do that too often of course as it would use a slight amount of juice.

The one above comes with not only the hardshell case (with aircraft signal mirror). but a further handy protective rubber armband, which can help further to protect if doing marine activities.
AnswerID: 613689

Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 19:07

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 19:07
Going the whole hog and buying a KTI EPIRB rather than a PLB. $247 on ebay
AnswerID: 613692

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 19:59

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 19:59
If it suits you sure !
20 yr shelf on the battery, but still recommends 10 yr replacement ?
EPIRBS really are suited to boating moreso.

Why would you not opt for the PLB ?
It is only the half the size of a small cigarette packet (88mm x 64mm x 31mm), in the case etc, only 140gms.
Vs epirb at 250mm x 88mm dia and bracket no case (dust anyone ?), and 860 gms.

Much easier for PLB to live in the glovebox, and the throw in a backpack for a bushwalk.

Personal choice, but did you consider those comparisons ?
FollowupID: 884197

Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 20:33

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 20:33
Better GPS performance and and can be multiused. Easier to on sell if needed and unit is water tight so I doubt dust will be a problem. And I dont think small size is a bonus when it comes to an emergency beacon unless it is only used for bush walking. This will be a permanent fixture in our Canopy then later we'll buy a sat phone
FollowupID: 884202

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 20:45

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 20:45
Fair enough, the PLB is waterproof too.
Funny that's not mentioned on main Arnolds website, nor KTI site, but it is in the manual in the link . . . KTI PLB website


"Watertight to a depth of 3 metres for 1hr."

The PLB is not intended to use in water (as in the sea / offshore boating), whereas the EPIRB should float antenna up.

When I tested the PLB I was in the Adelaide Hills, under tree cover, it returned a positive test within 10 seconds or so, that is the satellite picked up the test signal and responded.
FollowupID: 884203

Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 21:54

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 21:54
Heavy cloud can be the big problem
FollowupID: 884209

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 22:20

Monday, Sep 11, 2017 at 22:20
Never heard of it being an issue mate.

406 is known to be able to penetrate heavy cloud cover, tree cover, marginal areas such as alongside cliffs.
Maybe the older 121.5 ? (This is still used for homing ops.)
Maybe, not sure, before my time of purchase / need.

You might be looking at some sort of monster epirb with more power, better antenna, whatever, I don't know.

Don't forget, commercial aircraft also monitor PLB / EPIRB, so chances are if you set either off it will get the same response.
The KTI epirb does have the larger battery operating time of 72 hrs min vs KTI plb of 24hrs min, but you will most certainly get a response well within this.

Go with whatever mate, just hope it's never needed in either option.
FollowupID: 884210

Follow Up By: Member - silkwood - Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 07:08

Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 07:08
I have the KTI EPIRB on the boat and carry 2 KTI PLB's (attached to partner & self). On the road we take the PLBs and have a sat phone.

Different uses, different features.
FollowupID: 884285

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 08:14

Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 08:14
IMHO a PLB is much better than a EPIRB when used for 4wding and camping for a number of very practical reasons. I would advise against buying an EPIRB verses a PLB for 4wding.


Obviously the size of a PLB makes sense. But also the shape. An EPIRB is designed to float upright in water, and use the water as a ground plane. If you use an EPIRB on land you don't get that ground plane, and they aren't stable when placed upright, if it tips over it won't work reliably or at all.

Both are at 406Mhz, this has no problem penetrating cloud. They are both 5W. The space station uses a 5w 400 mhz radio for Amateur contact all the time. 5w is tons under any weather conditions, especially as the transmissions are repeated every 5 - 10 mins.

Both have the same accuracy ( 100m with a GPS)

Also a PLB is registered to a person - you can add trip and vehicle details. An EPIRB must be registered to a vessel.

An EPIRB will beacon for a minimum of 48 hours vs 24 for a PLB. but that is really only of importance at sea.

Some EPIRBS won't activate, even manually unless they get wet. You need to watch that. Most newer ones are both though.

All PLB's are waterproof to several meters ( 10 - 15 ) and most float.

Most of all, a PLB can, and should be located somewhere in the vehicle that everyone knows, and is accessible in the event of an accident or rollover from all the passenger seats. This is generally not possible with a full sized EPIRB. I have a HF radio and Sat phone. I also have a PLB pretty much for this reason. It may be too hard to make a HF or Sat phone call after an accident. With the PLB, just grab it, activate it and throw it out the window if possible. You could not do that with an EPIRB, it would land horizontally and not work, and that's if you could even get to it or find it.
FollowupID: 884288

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (9)