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  1. #26
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    I’m a fan of (relatively) easy problem solving in the field, maybe a hangover from years of wildfire work. But it’ll be a while before I’m not skeptical about integrated batteries in beacons.

    Insert some joke or wisecrack about old guys stuck in their ways.

  2. #27
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    Using a fixed battery lets them design around a known commodity and qualify their supplier(s). Lithium has been up in the real cold of space for a long time so it certainly can be done right.

    @JonathanS: Verifying that they did this right (or not) may require some accelerated life testing. I'm guessing renting an environmental chamber for a while might be beyond what the ads will cover. Maybe get in touch with a university engineering program and see if someone needs a capstone project idea?

  3. #28
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    Seems pretty easy to leave it on for 200 hours in a freezer then try to search for an hour?

    Another option is that an electrical engineering prof at the state research university here has previously borrowed avy beacons from me for some of his students' sr yr capstone project, so I might be able to interest him or his colleagues in something more rigorous.
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  4. #29
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    I'm more thinking of the fact that the battery is a permanent part of the unit. There's a good chance that the number of thermal and charge cycles both play a role in how the battery performs over its life. Things physically grow and shrink in addition to the potential chemistry changes. Accelerated lifecycle testing is to torture it to simulate what it's going to act like after a couple seasons (or more). There are definitely ways to do that on the cheap, but it's different from checking the unit for 200 hours in the freezer to verify performance at a given point in its life (which I would probably do before and after).

    I'd expect to find some degradation in battery life but hopefully it starts offering something like 400+4 rather than 200+1.

  5. #30
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    ^ That’s what I was thinking. It’s one thing if your alky batteries fail in the field...

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    ^ That’s what I was thinking. It’s one thing if your alky batteries fail in the field...
    As long as your alkaline fails by dying, rather than corroding.

    As far as battery testing, if you're willing to do a destructive test just opening it up and reading the specs off the battery itself is probably sufficient to see how it compares. Of course that may not work too well if Ortovox wants the beacon back at the end of the testing. I expect at some point it will show up on the FCC website for certification, which will have photos of the internals.

    As far as degradation over time goes, I think it'll be hard to do much testing on that front short of looking up how the specific cells they used perform. Most consumer electronics have their batteries fail on account of charge cycles (~1000 is typically the limit of a lithium ion battery), but I don't see racking up many cycles on an avy beacon. Especially since charging from 95% to 100% only counts as 0.05 cycles as far as the battery is concerned. The next biggest factor is that lithium batteries don't like spending long periods of time sitting at 100%, which is what I think will kill these the fastest. If Ortovox cares about longevity, they'll need to overspec the battery and then say "100%" when it's really only at like 70%. That should be easy to do if they're not cost crunching. The typical 3xAAA setup is only 4500mWh of capacity, whereas a lithium ion battery of similar size should be on the order of 7500mWh. If they use this fact as a way to save size/weight/cost though, I think it's going to have a more limited lifespan.

    Of course, that could all be meaningless, since the crystal oscillator tends to drift over time and is the reason most beacons end up out of spec within 5-10 years anyway. So really just making sure it works when cold is probably sufficient without worrying about whether the battery will still be good when it's time to replace for other reasons.

    Another thing that could be useful to test is charging time. If it only takes a couple minutes to charge up a reasonable amount, that would be significantly better than having to leave it plugged in for hours.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    ^ That’s what I was thinking. It’s one thing if your alky batteries fail in the field...
    Quote Originally Posted by mackmgg View Post
    As long as your alkaline fails by dying, rather than corroding.
    Well, duh.

    The rest of your post didn’t do much to sway me toward integrated rechargeables.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfotex View Post
    It's worked for AED's, seems like it's worth a try for the user that doesn't practice with their beacon.
    Walked in on a fire department looking at a rhythm on an aed of a guy who was pulseless and apneic. I gently suggested they might want to start cpr.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Well, duh.

    The rest of your post didn’t do much to sway me toward integrated rechargeables.
    This is actually why I suggested going right to an environmental chamber if some Uni program has one they can spare for a week or two. It's probably more of a service than a manufacturer deserves, but if they've done this stuff right they should have already done those kinds of tests. The published specs on a battery shouldn't be the only source of data if it's going into a safety critical application like this.

  10. #35
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    Any updates, Jonathan? Thinking about getting one of these as a loaner.

  11. #36
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    I’ve fondled one. The voice is a nice feature and isn’t obtrusive or distracting. Nice display, very intuitive, very nice, solid send-to-search flip-switch.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  12. #37
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    RE: Integrated batteries.

    This isn't a new idea, my 2nd beacon was a Skadi circa 1986/87. The entire patrol was supplied with them with mixed results due to the earpiece cord being a bit fragile and the necessity of putting the beacon on charge EVERY NIGHT.

    Our program was such that there were 2 sets of control teams, the Fucking As and the Killer Bs. We shared beacons and it was a constant PITA of having beacons die on route from lack of a charge. I am not a fan of integrated batteries.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by total_immortal View Post
    I don't want to derail this thread any further, but if you're in a situation with an extended beacon search at the end of 7 day hut trip and you haven't been able to charge your beacon because it's storming, you may wish you could just throw some AAAs in there when your beacon dies.
    Hopefully someone put new batteries in for a trip like this and even after seven days of sending there should be plenty of battery life for a search, I try to make sure other items like my headamp or camera have compatible batteries, but what I really want to know is can you change the voice on the Transceiver because a Samuel L Jackson mode would be awesome, "Fuckin' Muthafuka, Fine search MUTHERFUCKA! "
    “I have a responsibility to not be intimidated and bullied by low life losers who abuse what little power is granted to them as ski patrollers.”

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by I've seen black diamonds! View Post
    Any updates, Jonathan? Thinking about getting one of these as a loaner.
    I've been intentionally holding off on any formal testing since I was hoping to combine that with formal testing of this beacon:
    https://www.blackdiamondequipment.co...econ-lt-becon/
    https://www.blackdiamondequipment.co...vy-safety-set/
    ... that I plan to purchase for myself once it's available directly from BD.

    I am very confident thought that the production model will perform as anticipated from my first-look review of the preproduction sample.
    And I think it would make an especially good choice as a loaner.
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoqpass View Post
    [...] but what I really want to know is can you change the voice on the Transceiver because a Samuel L Jackson mode would be awesome, "Fuckin' Muthafuka, Fine search MUTHERFUCKA! "
    Hah, that would be great if you could change the voice not just among different languages but also among different voices and personality types within the same language!
    (Fond memories of when my brother switched my Garmin car gps over to an upper-class English accent, with a rather disapproving reCALCulating whenever I made a wrong turn.)
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  16. #41
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    Feb 2009
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    I havent read all the comments here, but two nice features I saw in a review... 1) when flipping to search, the "lever" visibly stick up/out and is very obvious to others if the holder did not switch to search (assuming they know what to look for) and 2) it makes an audible sound when turned off (most prob do, but not my BD/Pieps) and actually has a confirmation button-push step to then actually power down.
    Drives me nuts that my BD makes a sound when it turns on, but not off - why?!

  17. #42
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    Nov 2021
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    I'm not sure you are correct on the rechargeable having move capacity.
    Typically aaa size li-ion run up to 750 mah per vs up to 1200 for Alkaline or Li-FES2 disposables. This is why they are still used in many space constrained environments. The lithium disposables also have superior storage life and cold performance. On all cells the lower current delivery required of a beacon will yield much much longer cold performance vs a high drain application like lighting.
    Chemistry IEC name ANSI/NEDA name Nominal voltage (V) Typical capacity (mAh) Typical capacity (Wh) Rechargeable
    Zinc–carbon R03 24D 1.5 540 0.81 No
    Alkaline LR03 24A 1.5 860–1,200[6] 1.3–1.8 Some
    Li-FeS2 FR03 24LF 1.5 1,200 1.8 No
    NiMH 1⁄2 AAA 10.4mm 22.7mm GP35AAAH 1.2 ~350 - 1,000[7] 0.42 - 1.2 Yes
    Li-ion 1⁄3 AAA 10180 3.7 ~100 0.4 Yes
    Li-ion 2⁄3 AAA 10280 3.7 ~200 0.8 Yes
    Li-ion AAA 10440 3.7 ~350 1.3 Yes
    NiCd KR03 24K 1.25 300–500 0.38–0.63 Yes
    NiMH HR03 24H 1.25 600–1,250[8] 0.75–1.6 Yes

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoqpass View Post
    Hopefully someone put new batteries in for a trip like this and even after seven days of sending there should be plenty of battery life for a search, I try to make sure other items like my headamp or camera have compatible batteries, but what I really want to know is can you change the voice on the Transceiver because a Samuel L Jackson mode would be awesome, "Fuckin' Muthafuka, Fine search MUTHERFUCKA! "
    I've always held you in high esteem, snoqpass; this post just raised that bar higher.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISL View Post
    I've always held you in high esteem, snoqpass; this post just raised that bar higher.
    You don't have some undiagnosed head injury do you?
    “I have a responsibility to not be intimidated and bullied by low life losers who abuse what little power is granted to them as ski patrollers.”

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