ACR iPro, a GPS EPIRB with a screen

ACR_iPro_cPanbo

The GlobalFix iPro GPS EPIRB that ACR introduced at MAATS has at least two valuable innovations, the most obvious one being that one-inch digital display. While the EPIRB doesn’t need the screen to operate, it can provide reassuring and useful info. When you self test the unit, the screen will show the results and even suggest servicing if needed. If you actually activate the unit, as was being simulated here, the screen will give your GPS coordinates—handy if, say, you’re also calling in the distress situation via sat phone—and advise you on correct deployment. That’s what was happening in this shot. The iPro supposedly has an improved GPS receiver, but it wasn’t happy inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. So the scroll across its screen read something like: “GPS…WEAK…IMPROVE…SKY…VIEW.” Nice! 

Now the iPro’s screen won’t get you rescued faster, but its external GPS input might. The unit has a neat waterproof optical interface which marries to a NMEA 0183 cable that you’d wire to some fixed GPS source on your vessel. The cable even has a little LED that will go green if it sees valid location strings going by. The idea, of course, (as with some models of the AquaFix PLB) is that the iPro will thus be able to send a correct position the instant you activate it, instead of having to wait for its internal GPS to cold start or the SARSAT satellites to calculate a Doppler fix. The iPro also has a newly designed LED strobe that looked good, and the whole package is significantly smaller than its GlobalFix predecessors, which it will purportedly replace…without an appreciable price bump. All nice! But that won’t happen for a while, and right now the following verbiage applies:

This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.

As for Vegas, well, it’s easy to identify with this little dude checking out the world’s largest chocolate fountain:



Boy_at_Bellagio_chocolate_fountain_cPanbo

 

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

2 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Head’s up, an iPro recall:
    {It only concerns about 400 units, but their manual switch “needs reworking”. It would be good to paste this press release on cruising forums and the like}.
    ACR Announces Limited Recall of GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB
    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL DECEMBER 4, 2008
    ACR Electronics, Inc. is notifying dealers, distributors and customers that a small percentage of GlobalFix iPRO EPIRBs may not activate manually and is voluntarily issuing a limited recall notice.
    Through its ongoing quality assurance processes, ACR had discovered that some of the witness seal tabs used in the manual activation of the
    GlobalFix iPRO required the application of excessive force to put the switch into its correct position. The water activation feature works separately and is not affected by the manual switch. According to ACR, the manual switch assembly will require re-working on a very limited range of GlobalFix iPRO units shipped to market. No other ACR EPIRB units are affected.
    This condition, according to ACR Electronics, could exist in a maximum of 400 units built within serial number range of 1,000 to 1,699. The 400 units could be either the P/N #2846 Category I (automatic deploy) or P/N #2848 Category II (manual deploy) model. ( iPROs with serial numbers outside of this limited recall range are not affected by this notice). The company has
    asked anyone owning a GlobalFix iPRO falling within the suspect serial number range contact ACR¹s Customer Service Department immediately at
    +1-954-862-2110 or e-mail [email protected].

  2. rob says:

    I have one of these. Nice unit, but I cannot get the GPS interface to function. I connect the optical coupler to NMEA GPS signal(which works perfectly feeding my ICOM VHF and my ICOM SSB).
    I see the LED blinking, like its hearing something. I connect the coupler to the unit, then run self test.
    The EPRIB continually says NO GPS when it is going thru self test.
    Anyone have any ideas?
    Thanks
    Rob

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