Potential battery problems with Ortovox M2 beacons - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-08-2005   #1
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 464
Potential battery problems with Ortovox M2 beacons

FYI, to all Ortovox M2 beacon owners:



The following message came to us from the US Forest Service National
Avalanche Center via the Mountain Washington Avalanche Center (NH) regarding
battery-size issues for the Orotovox M2 avalanche rescue transceiver. The M2
may shut off after incurring a moderate blow. The problem has to do with
battery dimensions and not the transceiver.

The gist of the following message is that AA batteries vary in size
depending upon brand, and smaller-sized AA batteries can shift about causing
the transceiver to shut off. To prevent a potentially serious consequence M2
users should use "the most robust AA you can find that is wide, long, and
has large terminal ends." For more details, please see the message below.

Dale Atkins
Colorado Avalanche Information Center


> Subject
> AA batteries and Ortovox M2
> shutdown.
> You guys might find this interesting and alarming. Excuse
> this memo if this is already common knowledge, but I have not heard
> anything about this Ortovox M2 problem. Please pass this along through
> your networks so we can get the word about this concern.
> I caught wind that a couple of our local guides were having problems with
> their M2 shutting off when the unit took anything more than a moderate
> knock, such as striking it in your palm. Initially we thought it was the
> same problem the M1's had with to much slop in the battery compartment
> which Ortovox fixed with the M2. They dealt with this issue by increasing
> the size of the battery pressure tabs on the inside of the compartment
> door. 3 of us use M2's so we tried to duplicate the problem. We could
> get
> the batteries to shift, but no where near enough to shut off the unit. I
> was able to get hold of one of the Guide's M2 and sure enough we got the
> unit to shut off. After some trouble shooting it came down to the
> specific
> size of the batteries. After getting 6 or 7 different manufactured AA
> batteries side by side they were all a bit different in size. The largest
> and the smallest was actually quite substantial. The other issue was the
> height of the + (positive) nub on the top of the battery as well as the -
> (negative) contact on the bottom. The best battery for the M2, of the
> ones
> we looked at, was the Duracell Coppertop due to it's large diameter and
> longer length. The negative terminal also protrudes from the bottom while
> many are either flush or indented. The M2 compartment tolerances are so
> tight that batteries 1mm shorter or thinner at times was enough to make a
> difference to shut off the unit. I was able to shut the M2 down with no
> trouble with more than one manufactured battery. The original problem
> battery was an Energizer alkaline and one of the smallest batteries was
> the
> GSA contracted Kodak alkaline AA that many government employees might be
> using.
> I never gave much thought to the size changing from battery to battery,
> but
> in this application the consequence could be substantial. I have some
> additional thoughts about exactly why and how the small batteries fail.
> Folks can call me if they want the long winded version. The short of it
> is
> use the most robust AA you can find that is wide, long, and has large
> terminal ends. Chris
> Christopher P. Joosen
> Lead Snow Ranger/Dispersed Recreation Supervisor
> Director-Mount Washington Avalanche Center
> White Mountain National Forest

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