406 MHz GPS EPIRB //
Model No.: RLB-37
Product No.: 2842, 2844
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ACR Electronics, Inc. // 5757 Ravenswood Road // Fort Lauderdale // FL // 33312-6645
Tel: +1 (954) 981-3333 // Fax: +1 (954) 983-5087 //
CAUTION: Before proceeding to install, test or use your new ACR
Electronics’ product, please read this Product Support Manual in its
If you have questions regarding the contents of the manual, please contact
our Technical Service Department at ACR Electronics, Inc., Telephone +1
(954) 981-3333. Please be ready to provide the technician with the page
number you wish to discuss. If you have a question that is not covered in
the manual, please visit our website and access the Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs) section for further information or call our Technical
Service Department. The website address is If in the
future you lose this manual, you may access and print a replacement on
the ACR website.
NOTE re: Applicable products
This manual supports all configurations of GlobalFix™ PRO/ RLB-37
beacons. In addition to the part numbers listed on the cover page, other
configurations of these products are available, thus you may have
purchased a product configuration with a somewhat different part number.
As long as the first four digits are the same as one of the two part numbers
on the cover, this manual is applicable.
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Table of Contents
STEP ONE - REGISTERING YOUR BEACON ____________________________ 3
STEP TWO - HOW THE BEACON WORKS _____________________________ 6
STEP THREE - INSTALLING THE BEACON_____________________________ 15
STEP FOUR - MAINTAINING THE BEACON ___________________________ 19
APPENDIX B - THE COSPAS-SARSAT SYSTEM __________________________ 27
APPENDIX C - TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS ___________________________ 28
APPENDIX D - WARRANTY, NOTICES _______________________________ 29
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Why is registration important?
As the owner of this 406 MHz beacon, it is mandatory that you register it
with the EPIRB national authority of your country: It is the law. Please
note that all 406 MHz beacons are required to have their registration updated
every two years by the owner.
Your unique ID code
programmed inside each EPIRB is
transmitted to Search and Rescue
(SAR). SAR forces use this code to pull
up your registration to find out valuable
information about who needs help.
All 406 MHz beacons transmit a Unique Identifier Number (UIN) when
activated. This UIN is programmed into the beacon based on the country in
which the beacon is registered, thus authorities are able to determine which
country’s database will have your registration information. SAR forces will
have information as to who you are as the owner of the beacon, the name
and type of vessel that you have, your homeport, and who to contact that
might know of your current situation - but only if your beacon has been
properly registered. Valuable search and rescue resources are wasted every
year responding to false alarms, and registering your beacon helps to resolve
false alarms quickly.
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What country should I register in?
Register your beacon with the EPIRB national authority of the country for
which the beacon was programmed, typically the country where purchased,
regardless of where you do your boating.
The beacon must be reprogrammed if you, as the owner, move or the vessel
sails under the flag of a different country than the one for which the beacon
was previously programmed. To verify the country for which a beacon is
programmed, see the label with the UIN (Unique Identification Number) on
the back of the unit. Units that do not have a country specified on the UIN
label are programmed for the United States.
How do I register?
Registration in the United States
The national authority that accepts registrations in the United States is the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Here are three ways to register:
The fastest and easiest way to register is online at
2. Faxing a registration is also acceptable. Fax the registration form to the
fax number on the top of the registration form.
NOTE: Do not confuse the registration form with the ACR Electronics
warranty card.
3. If online or fax registration is not available, mail the registration form with
the pre-addressed, postage paid envelope to:
SARSAT Beacon Registration NOAA
1315 East West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282
All registration forms will be entered in the 406 MHz beacon registration
database within 48 hours of receipt. The information you provide on the
registration form is used for rescue purposes only.
A confirmation letter, a copy of the actual registration and a proof-ofregistration decal will be mailed to you within two weeks. When you receive
these documents, please check the information carefully with the
existing label on the unit, and then affix the decal to your beacon in the
area marked “BEACON DECAL HERE.” If you do not receive confirmation
back from NOAA in the expected timeframe, call toll free (888) 212-7283 for
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Registration outside of the United States
In countries other than the United States, 406 MHz beacons are registered
with that country’s national authority at the time of purchase. The sales agent
should have assisted you in filling out the forms and sending them to the
country’s national authority. Alternatively, many countries allow online
registration in the International 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database
(IBRD) at
To verify that the unit is properly programmed for your country, view the UIN
label on the back of the unit. In the event that the beacon is not programmed
for your country, the sales agent (if properly equipped) can reprogram the unit
for the correct country.
Do I need a radio license?
In the United States, you may or may not need to obtain or update a radio
station license. Check the FCC’s website at or
call toll-free (888) 225-5322 (CALLFCC) for the latest information.
Outside of the United States, contact your local authority for the
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How your beacon brings help
406 MHz beacons are a type of portable emergency equipment that transmits
a distress signal to search and rescue (SAR) organizations. The purpose of
these beacons is to aid SAR teams in tracking and locating ships or
individuals in jeopardy as rapidly as possible.
The 406 MHz frequency is a worldwide dedicated emergency frequency that
is detected by a special system of satellites called the Cospas-Sarsat system.
This satellite system was established by, and continues to be supported by,
its primary benefactors - the USA, Russia, Canada and France. The CospasSarsat system has saved over 24,800 lives - and counting - since its
inception. See Appendix G or the Cospas-Sarsat website for more
information about the system at
When a 406 MHz beacon is activated, the digital distress message is sent to
Cospas-Sarsat satellites and, in turn, the distress message is relayed to SAR.
The distress message contains important information about the beacon and
its owner. Additional information about the beacon is accessed by SAR from
the beacon registration database. At the same time the 406 MHz signal is
activated, a 121.5 MHz signal is turned on. The 121.5 MHz signal is used by
SAR to home in on the beacon as they approach it.
The 406 MHz signal is detected by multiple satellites and from that
information the location of the beacon can be calculated. This data alone is
sufficient for SAR to find persons or ships in distress in a reasonable
timeframe. However, as a further enhancement, some beacons have a GPS
engine onboard. This feature allows the beacon to acquire current location
coordinates from an internal GPS receiver. The coordinates are added to the
ID of the unit, which is transmitted with the 406 signal. This enables the SAR
authorities to locate the beacon to an accuracy of 110 yards (100 m).
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Anatomy of your beacon
NOTE: When unpacking your beacon, it is recommended that you save the
original packaging for re-use when shipping the beacon for battery
replacement in the future.
// Activation switch with Witness Tab
The activation switch embodies a special, patented method of activating a
beacon. Refer to a subsequent section of this manual for how to activate the
// Internal GPS engine
The internal GPS engine is located where it can most readily get a clear view
of the sky.
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Top View
Internal GPS
Switch Positions
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Category 1 – SeaShelter™3 Bracket
Release Unit
Front cover hook
Category 2 – LowPro™3 Bracket
Water Sensor
Deactivation Magnet
Antenna hook
Front Cover
Release Tabs
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Activating your beacon
WARNING: This transmitter is authorized for use only during
situations of grave and imminent danger. Deliberate misuse may incur a
severe penalty.
Category I beacons are designed to be automatically deployed and activated
in the event of a sinking vessel. The beacon may also be hand held on the
deck of vessels, or floated in water and attached to a raft or life vest with the
lanyard provided.
Category II beacons are designed to be manually deployed from the bracket.
Two conditions must be met for a Category II beacon to automatically
// It must be out of its bracket
// It must be wet
NOTE: Either condition by itself will not automatically activate the beacon.
Category I and II beacons can always be manually activated in or out of their
The beacon and bracket are designed to allow the user to perform periodic
testing while the beacon is in its bracket.
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Category I beacons-Automatic deployment and activation
If the vessel sinks, the HydroFix™ HRU frees the beacon from the bracket,
allowing it to float to the surface. Built-in sensors detect that the beacon is no
longer in its bracket and when continuity is created by water between two of
the top cap screws, an activation circuit is completed.
NOTE: Transmission of the 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz signals will not occur
until 100 seconds after activation.
HRU releases the rod
separating the front and
back cover of bracket at a
depth between 4-13 feet
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Ejector Spring
launches EPIRB
from the bracket
allowing it to
float freely to the
water surface
Category I and II Beacons-Manual Activation Without Deployment
The beacon can be manually activated while still in its bracket by placing the
Activation Switch in the ON position. Activation by this method overrides all
sensors and turns the beacon “ON.”
Push the main switch up
90 degrees, slide toward
antenna and all the way
down to activate.
Witness tab will break once
placed in the “ON” position
Category I and II Beacons-Manual deployment and activation
Both Category I and II beacons can be manually deployed by removing the
beacon from the bracket.
Once removed, the beacon can be activated by placing it in water OR by
lifting the Activation Switch to a vertical position, sliding it toward the antenna
and pushing down to the opposite side of the beacon. Activating the beacon
in this manner breaks off the Activation Witness Tab and allows the switch to
properly seat, showing the “ ▌ “ symbol (ON).
A Category I or II beacon MANUALLY activates with the following sequence:
1.) Remove the beacon from its bracket
2.) Activation method one: Place beacon in water
3.) Activation method two:
// Lift the switch to a vertical position
// Slide the switch toward the antenna
// Push the switch down to the opposite side of the beacon (see
illustration above)
NOTE: Category I and Category II beacons can be activated regardless of
whether they are removed from the bracket
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When activating and deploying your beacon in an emergency, DO
// Hold or clutch the beacon or antenna
// Operate the beacon while hand held, if at all possible
// Turn the beacon off for any reason, including to save power
// Activate the beacon if you have any other means of self rescue
// Operate the beacon inside a life raft or under any other canopy or
// Tether the beacon to the bracket or vessel
When activating and deploying your beacon in an emergency, DO:
// Follow the steps to activate the beacon as described on the beacon or
in this manual
// Give clear view to the sky for best GPS performance
// Take the EPIRB with you if abandoning ship, provided there is time to
get it
// Tether beacon, using the lanyard, to the life raft and let the beacon float
(if in a life raft)
// Keep EPIRB upright for best signal transmission, either by floating it,
resting it or holding it in this position
// Manually activate the beacon if it has not been automatically activated
Turning off the beacon
If your beacon was manually activated and you wish to deactivate, return the
thumb switch to the “OFF” position. If automatically activated and you wish to
deactivate, remove the beacon from the water and dry the unit or place the
beacon back into the release bracket. The beacon normally takes up to 12
seconds to deactivate.
If deactivation should fail, remove the four screws holding the unit together
and unplug the battery to disable the unit. Return the beacon to ACR
Electronics for service.
False alarms
To prevent false alarms, it is important to be aware of how your beacon can
be activated. An ACR 406 MHz EPIRB can be activated by two different
methods. Whether you have a Category I or Category II, these methods are
the same.
// When the beacon is out of its bracket and wet, the unit will start
// When the switch is moved to the “ON” position, in or out of the
bracket, the unit will start transmitting
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Precautions to prevent false alarms
Do not mount or transport the beacon within 4.6ft/1.4m of a magnetic
Do not store the beacon outside of its bracket.
Do not mount the EPIRB backwards in its bracket (lanyard roll must
face in).
Do not clean the beacon with a water hose and brush while out of its
Should there be, for any reason, an inadvertent activation or false alarm, it
must be reported to the nearest search and rescue authorities. The
information that should be reported includes:
// The EPIRB 15-digit Unique Identifier Number (UIN)
// Time and date
// Duration and cause of activation
// Location of beacon at the time of activation
To report false alarms in the United States, contact the US Coast Guard at
1-855-406-USCG (8724).
To report false alarms outside of the USA, contact the national authority
where your beacon is registered.
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Marking battery and Hydrostatic Release Unit expiration dates
NOTE: It is the beacon owner’s responsibility to record the expiration dates
for both the beacon battery and the HydroFix™ hydrostatic release unit. This
information must appear on the product itself.
The left side of the battery housing indicates the battery expiry date. Space is
provided for the beacon owner to mark the date the beacon was placed into
service. The beacon should be serviced 5 years from the installation date but
no later than the battery expiry date.
The ACR HydroFix™ HRU has an expiration date of 2 years from the date
of installation or 4 years from the date manufactured, whichever comes
first. Upon installing your beacon or new HRU, permanently scratch the
new expiration date on the HRU date calendar as seen below.
Date of Installation Example:
Date of installation of New HRU or First
Installation of EPIRB including new HRU:
August 1, 2015.
This unit will need to be replaced in
August of 2017. Mark off “AUG 8” and
“2017” on the HRU date calendar
Mounting location
The selection of a mounting location will vary from vessel to vessel. Beacons
should be protected from outside influences while being readily accessible at
all times in the event of an emergency.
The location selected must be sufficiently rigid to support the weight of the
total installation.
Hazards to avoid when selecting a mounting location:
// Vibration
// Exposure to the elements
// Possibility of impact from hatches, gear, or personnel
// Harmful vapors
// Exhaust
// Harsh chemicals
// Locations that can be obscured by foreign articles on a temporary or
permanent basis.
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CAUTION: Category I brackets must be mounted free from
obstruction to allow the beacon to automatically float free from the vessel
in case of sinking. The SeaShelter3™ can be mounted on a vertical
surface with the beacon antenna pointing skyward or a horizontal surface
with the beacon face up. Avoid mounting locations that subject the
bracket to breaking waves. Avoid structures like dodgers or cabin tops
that could trap the beacon upon deployment.
CAUTION: Category II brackets must be mounted in a protected
location that is easily accessible should it be necessary to abandon ship.
The LowPro3™ can be mounted on a vertical surface with the beacon
antenna pointing skyward or a horizontal surface with the beacon face
up. Avoid mounting locations that subject the bracket to breaking waves.
Avoid mounting locations that do not provide protection from harmful UV
rays of the sun. The bracket must be mounted facing inboard to avoid
being lost overboard due to impacts of breaking waves, personnel or
loose gear.
Visually inspect the area surrounding the mounting bracket installation site
for hidden hazards or obstacles that may have been overlooked during the
location selection. If there is any doubt as to the ready accessibility to the
beacon at all times or if any condition may appear to be questionable,
conduct a complete and thorough investigation before final approval of the
NOTE: When selecting the beacon bracket location, be sure to consider
the requirement for four screw holes to secure the bracket.
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CAUTION: Keep this beacon a safe distance away from all
magnetic sources. Magnet safe distance is 4.6ft or 1.4m, including
the distance from stereo speakers.
Category I bracket
The SeaShelter3™ Category I bracket has five pre-drilled screw holes to use
for securing the bracket to a flat surface. Remove the SeaShelter 3™ lid by
turning the spring loaded knob on the lid 1/4 turn counterclockwise and pull.
The lid will lift away from the top of the base and disengage at the bottom of
the base. The lid is tethered to the base to help prevent loss. Pull the beacon
with steady pressure from the bracket. It is not necessary to remove the
HydroFix™ Hydrostatic Release Unit (HRU) to mount the bracket using four
of the holes. For extreme conditions a fifth hole is available when the
HydroFix is removed and the ejector spring is deployed. The bracket can be
held in place to mark the placement of the screw holes or you can use the
mounting template provided. The use of #10 pan head stainless steel
fasteners (minimum of ½” long) and ½” washers (not included) is
recommended. Make sure that fasteners will not contact any wires or
plumbing before drilling pilot holes.
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Category II bracket
Category II brackets are designed to hold the beacon securely in place. The
beacon must be manually deployed. The bracket can be mounted on a
vertical flat surface with beacon antenna up or on a horizontal flat surface
facing skyward. This location must be easily accessible in order to manually
deploy the beacon or to perform the required maintenance and functionality
tests. Typical locations include near the helm station or just inside the
companionway door.
The LowPro3™ Category II bracket has four pre-drilled screw holes to use for
securing the bracket to a flat surface. Remove the beacon from the bracket.
To do this while holding the assembly, lift the latch to release bracket
pressure from the beacon. The beacon will slide up and out of the bracket.
On either side of the bracket are release tabs. Simultaneously depress each
tab to separate the bracket from the mounting block. The mounting block can
be held in place to mark the placement of the screw holes or you can use the
mounting template provided. The use of #8 pan head stainless steel
fasteners and washers (not included) is recommended. Be sure to confirm
that fasteners will not contact any wires or plumbing before drilling pilot holes.
Mounted to wall
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Safety DOs and DON’Ts
On a routine basis aboard ship, DO NOT:
// Hold or carry the beacon by its antenna
// Mount the beacon in its bracket close to large structures or magnetic
// Tie the lanyard to the EPIRB bracket or any other structure
// Obscure the beacon by placing objects in front of it
On a routine basis aboard ship, DO:
// Mount the beacon in its bracket in an obvious location, so that all can
see it
// Mount the beacon in its bracket with the rolled lanyard facing inward
(facing the bracket)
// Follow the recommended maintenance schedule
// Perform a beacon Self-Test monthly
// Follow up with beacon service if Self-Test fails
Routine beacon maintenance
At least every ninety days, the float free mounting bracket and beacon should
be inspected for deterioration and/or residue buildup that may affect the
function of the beacon or automatic release. Part of the visual check includes
checking the antenna for tightness. Clean the beacon and the mounting
bracket to remove any residue buildups. It is recommended that the beacon
and mounting bracket be wiped with a damp cloth.
Carefully inspect the beacon case for any visible cracks. Cracks may admit
moisture, which could falsely activate the beacon or otherwise cause a
malfunction. Any cracks observed should immediately be referred to ACR
Service for evaluation. Call ACR Electronics Technical Service +1 (954) 9813333.
Battery replacement
Battery replacement is due 5 years from date after the beacon placed into
service, or by expiry date on the beacon whichever is first. During each
inspection, check the time remaining until battery replacement is required.
The battery must also be replaced if the beacon has been activated for any
use other than the Self-Test.
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Always refer battery replacement and any other beacon service to a factory
at Battery replacement includes servicing the beacon
by replacing all o-rings, testing the water seal and the electrical properties
and doing a full functional test on the unit.
NOTE: There are no user serviceable items inside the beacon. Do not open
the beacon except to disable (in case of faulty or accidental activation).
Otherwise, always have the beacon serviced.
WARNING: Battery contains lithium
To avoid possible fire, explosion, leakage or burn hazard, do not open,
recharge, disassemble or heat beacon above +70ºC (+158ºF) or incinerate.
These products contain lithium in the battery. Various beacons may or may
not require special shipping instructions due to the lithium batteries and
changes in shipping regulations. Shipping of hazardous materials requires
special handling and documentation. MSDS sheets, along with
In the case of the RLB-37, the product contains small batteries that are nonhazardous. However, regulations can change. Be advised that it is best to
verify the shipping requirements at the time you are preparing to ship the unit.
Shore based maintenance for SOLAS vessels, (SBM) IMO
MSC/Circ. 1039
The Maritime Safety Committee has approved guidelines for shore-based
maintenance of satellite beacons, for the purpose of establishing
standardized procedures and minimum levels of service for the testing and
maintenance of satellite beacons. The first shore based maintenance on all
ACR EPIRBs is due at the date of the first battery replacement. Visit ACR’s
website at for organizations that perform shore based
Annual testing for SOLAS vessels, IMO MSC/Circ. 1040
SOLAS regulation IV/15.9 dictates annual testing of 406 MHz satellite
EPIRBs. Testing should be carried out using suitable test equipment capable
of performing the relevant measurements. All checks of electrical parameters
should be performed in the self-test mode, if possible. These tests can be
performed by certified ACR Battery Replacement Centers (BRCs). Visit
ACR’s website at for authorized ACR BRCs.
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Changing ownership or contact information
As the owner of the beacon, it is your responsibility to advise the national
authority of any change in the information on the registration form. If you are
transferring the beacon to a new owner, you are required to inform the
national authority. You can do this by using their online database or by letter,
fax or telephone and informing the authority of the name and address of the
new owner.
The new owner of the beacon is required to provide the national authority
with all of the information requested on the registration form. This obligation
transfers to all subsequent owners. Registration forms for the United States
are available from NOAA by calling (888) 212-7283 (212-SAVE) or by visiting
the ACR website at Outside of the United States, the new
owner may contact his local authority for the necessary form(s).
Lost or stolen EPIRBs
If your EPIRB is lost or stolen, do the following immediately:
// Report to your local authorities that the EPIRB has been lost or stolen
// Contact NOAA at (888) 212-7283 (212-SAVE), or your national
authority, with the following information:
o Police department name
o Police department phone number
o Police case number
If your EPIRB were to be activated, the information you provided will be
forwarded to the appropriate search and rescue authorities who will ensure
that your EPIRB gets back to you. If someone attempts to register an EPIRB
reported as stolen, NOAA or your national authority will notify the appropriate
police department. Visit for more detailed
Servicing the SeaShelter3™ and the HydroFix™ HRU
The SeaShelter3™ Category I bracket has two main
pieces, the lid and the base. To open the bracket, turn the
spring loaded knob counterclockwise 1/4 of a turn and
pull. The lid will lift away from the top of the base and
disengage from the detent at the bottom of the base. The
lid is tethered to the base to help prevent loss.
Brackets are a key part of the overall beacon system.
They hold a beacon ready for deployment while preventing
false alarms. Category I brackets also require replacement
of the Hydrostatic Release Unit every two years.
NOTE: Whenever a beacon is returned for service, it
must be accompanied by the bracket.
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To remove the expired HRU
When opening the SeaShelter3™ lid, note that the beacon is installed with the
lanyard face in. Pull the beacon with steady pressure from the bracket. Do
not get beacon wet while out of bracket. The HRU has a keying feature that
locks it to the bracket. If you view the HRU rod as the center of a clock, a
properly installed HRU will rest at the 7 o’clock position, as shown in the
picture above.
WARNING: The HRU holds down an ejection spring. The spring must be
held in place during the removal and installation of the HydroFix™ to prevent
Depress the top of the ejection spring. This will relieve pressure on the HRU
and allow it to be rotated counter clockwise to the 5 o’clock position. The
HRU is now free to be removed. Slowly relieve pressure from the ejection
spring and allow it to deploy.
WARNING: Discard the expired HRU. Failure to replace the entire
assembly may cause the bracket to malfunction.
WARNING: Be sure to use only ACR’s HydroFix™ HRU (ACR P/N 9490)
in the SeaShelter3™. Use of unauthorized replacement parts will void your
warranty and may cause the bracket to malfunction.
Check the date of manufacture on the new HRU. Follow the instructions that
accompany the HydroFix™ for marking the next expiry date and for selecting
the correct rod adapter for the SeaShelter3™.
To install the new HRU
Apply pressure to the ejection spring and hold it flat against the bracket. With
your free hand place the new HRU into the key way in the 5 o’clock position
and rotate clockwise to the 7 o’clock position. Slowly remove pressure from
the ejection spring. The HRU should now be held in the 7 o’clock position
with the pressure on the ejection spring.
Reinstall the beacon with lanyard face in. Beacon should fit snugly in the
bracket with the antenna captured by the bracket. Reinstall the lid by seating
the bottom of the lid to the detent on the base. Close the upper portion of the
lid so the HRU rod lines up with the spring loaded knob. With gentle pressure,
hold the lid while you turn the lock counterclockwise until it stops, then
clockwise until it stops. This should capture the HRU and snap the lid into a
locked position. Confirm that the lid is attached to the bottom of the bracket
and the HRU.
CAUTION: Do not force the lid closed. If the lid does not close easily,
check to see that the beacon is properly installed in the bracket and the
HydroFix™ is properly seated.
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Servicing the LowPro3™
To remove a beacon from the Category II bracket, lift the latch and release
the pressure from the beacon. The beacon will now be able to slide upwards
out of the bracket.
It is not anticipated that the LowPro3
cleaning or, rarely, replacement.
will require servicing other than
Brackets are a key part of the overall beacon system. They hold a beacon
ready for deployment while preventing false alarms.
NOTE: Whenever a beacon is returned for service, it must be accompanied
by the bracket.
10. Self-Testing the beacon
The RLB-37 beacon may be self-tested as is warranted, up to a maximum of
sixty times in the five-year life of the battery, or once per month for the life of
the battery. Self-Tests can be performed randomly. However, ACR
recommends that you perform the Self-Test on a once per month schedule.
Do not exceed sixty (60) Self-Test cycles limit in the five-year life of the
battery, to conserve the battery for emergency use.
The functional Self-Test is initiated by momentarily
lifting the Activation Switch to a vertical position and
holding it in this position for at least one second and at
most four seconds. A beep indicates the initiation of
the Self-Test sequence. Self-Test will check battery
capacity and perform five functional test sequences as
described in Appendix A.
The last green LED followed by a strobe indicates a successful test. If any of
the individual tests fail during Self-Test, there will be two beeps and a red
LED flash at the end of the Self-Test. Self-Test will discontinue at that point.
NOTE: The “beeps” are a very high-pitched tone that some people may not
be able to hear.
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11. Extended GPS test
The beacon may be tested for GPS functionality; however, due to the strain
on the battery, this may only be done once per month (a maximum of 60
times) in the five-year lifetime of the battery. This test is not necessary at any
time in the life of the beacon, but is made available in the event that the
beacon owner wishes to verify internal GPS engine viability.
An extended GPS test may be invoked by holding the switch in test position
for 10 seconds after Self-Test completes. A long beep indicates the start of
the extended GPS test and the internal GPS begins to acquire coordinates
data. Once the data is acquired, another long beep and a green LED can be
observed. See Appendix A for further details on possible LED sequences
seen during the extended GPS test.
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The following chart describes the audio-visual feedback the beacon provides
during self-test.
Extended GPS test (GNSS self-test) indicators.
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Internal GPS position system
The GlobalFix™ PRO is fitted with an internal GPS receiver that will
determine the coordinates (latitude and longitude) of the beacon’s position on
the globe, to be transmitted to the Cospas-Sarsat emergency system.
When the beacon is turned on, the internal GPS is immediately turned on and
it attempts to acquire positional coordinates. GPS coordinates can be
acquired any time that the GPS is on, but only valid data is saved. Once the
beacon acquires valid coordinates, the data is included as part of the next
transmitted 406 MHz digital message.
The internal GPS operates on a schedule during which the beacon is on for a
time, actively acquiring coordinates, and off for a time, in a resting state. The
schedule is designed to conserve battery but, at the same time, assure that
navigational coordinates are regularly updated.
LED indication of GPS fix
When the beacon is activated and valid coordinates are acquired, the data is
included in the digital message of the next 406 MHz transmission. The LED
blinks green when GPS coordinates are sent.
If a time period of 4 hours passes without the internal GPS receiver being
able to update the last good set of navigational coordinates, the message
transmitted by the beacon will revert back to default data. At this point the
green LED will stop blinking and the red LED will flash. The internal GPS will
continue to seek coordinates and when successful the green LED will flash.
This new data will be transmitted in the next message burst and the green
LED will continue to flash.
Y1-03-0242 Rev. J
General overview
EPIRBs transmit to the satellite portion of the Cospas-Sarsat system. Cospas-Sarast
satellites are an international system that utilizes Russian Federation and United States’
low altitude, near-polar orbiting satellites (LEOSAR). These satellites assist in detecting
and locating activated 406 MHz satellite beacons.
Cospas-Sarsat satellites receive distress signals
from EPIRBs transmitting on the frequency of
406 MHz. The Cospas-Sarsat 406 MHz beacon
signal consists of a transmission of nonmodulated carriers followed by a digital message
format that provides identification data. The 406
MHz system uses satellite-borne equipment to
measure and store the Doppler-shifted frequency
along with the beacon’s digital data message and
time of measurement. This information is
transmitted in real time to an earth station called
the Local User Terminal (LUT), which may be
within the view of the satellite, as well as being stored for later transmission to other LUTs.
The LUT processes the Doppler-shifted signal from the LEOSAR and determines the
location of the beacon, then the LUT relays the position of the distress to a Mission Control
Center (MCC) where the distress alert and location information is immediately forwarded to
an appropriate Rescue Coordination Center (RCC). The RCC dispatches Search and
Rescue (SAR) forces.
The addition of the GEOSAR satellite system greatly improves the reaction time for a SAR
event. This satellite system has no Doppler capabilities at 406 MHz, but will relay the
distress alert to any of the LUT stations. When there is GPS data included in the distress
message, SAR authorities instantly know your location to within 110 yards (100 m). This
speeds up the reaction time by not having to wait for one of the LEOSAR satellite to pass
overhead. Because most of the search and rescue forces presently are not equipped to
home in on the 406 MHz Satellite beacons signal, homing must be accomplished at 121.5
Once the 406 MHz signal is relayed through the LEOSAR and/or GEOSAR network, SAR
forces determine who is closest, and then proceed to the beacon using the 121.5 MHz
homing frequency.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
The GPS system is a satellite group that enables a GPS receiver to
determine its exact position to within 30 m (100 ft.) anywhere on
earth. With a minimum of 24 GPS satellites orbiting the earth at an
altitude of approximately 11,000 miles they provide users with
accurate information on position, velocity, and time anywhere in the
world and in all weather conditions. The GlobalFix™ iPRO stores
adds this data to its distress transmission, allowing search and
rescue forces to narrow the search to a very small area, thus
minimizing the resources required, and dramatically increasing
the effectiveness of the overall operation.
Y1-03-0242 Rev. J
Beacon size (without antenna)
17.7 H X 10.67 W X 9.09 D cm (6.97 X 4.2 X 3.58 in)
Beacon weight
581 g (20.49 oz)
Beacon material
High impact UV resistant polymer
ACR-Treuse™ (high visibility yellow)
Tested to 10 min @10 m (33 ft), exceeds RTCM standard
Category I: Automatic hydrostatic release
Category II: Manual
Operational life
48 hours minimum @-20ºC (-4ºF) (Class 2)
Battery type and
replacement interval
5 years from date beacon placed in service, or after use
in an emergency not to exceed battery expiry
Operating temperatures
-20º C to +55º C (-4º F to +131º F) (Class 2)
Storage temperatures
-30º C to +70º C (-22º F to +158º F) (Class 2)
406.037 MHz
Power output
Digital message format
Standard location protocol (for the USA; Beacon can be
reprogrammed at a service center to other coded
formats, and to national location protocol)
121.5 MHz
Power output
25 mW PEP
Modulation type
AM (3K20A3X)
Light color
Output power
1 cd (effective candela)
Flash rate
20-30/ min
360º visibility
 SeaShelter3™ Category I Mounting bracket, ACR P/N
 LowPro3™ Category II Mounting bracket, ACR P/N
 HydroFix™ universal hydrostatic release (HRU) kit,
ACR P/N 9490.1
 COSPAS-SARSAT certificate #189
NOTE: For complete information regarding beacon type approvals and declarations of
conformity, please visit ACR’s website at
Y1-03-0242 Rev. J
Limited Warranty
This product is warranted against factory defects in material and workmanship for a
period of 1 (one) year* from date of purchase or receipt as a gift. During the warranty
period ACR Electronics, Inc. will repair or, at its option, replace the unit at no cost to
you for labor, materials and return transportation from ACR. For further assistance,
please contact our Technical Service Department at ACR Electronics, Inc., 5757
Ravenswood Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312-6645. Email:,
Fax: +1 (954) 983-5087, Telephone: +1 (954) 981- 3333.
This warranty does not apply if the product has been damaged by accident or misuse,
or as a result of service or modification performed by an unauthorized factory. Except
as otherwise expressly stated in the previous paragraph, THE COMPANY MAKES NO
liable for consequential or special damages.
To place the warranty in effect, register online at or return the
attached card within 10 days.
*Five years for the following products: EPIRB, PLB, S-VDR, SSAS.
ACR Electronics diligently works to provide a high quality Product Support Manual,
however, despite best efforts, information is subject to change without notice, and
omissions and inaccuracies are possible. ACR cannot accept liability for manual
contents. To ensure that you have the most recent version of the Product Support
Manual, please visit the ACR website at
©2009 by ACR Electronics, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is
permitted only with permission of ACR Electronics, Inc.
Ongoing product improvements may change product specifications without notice.
Trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Y1-03-0242 Rev. J
Y1-03-0242 Rev. J
IMO Guidelines on Shore-Based Maintenance (SBM) of EPIRBs.
All new EPIRBs manufactured by ACR Electronics, Inc. shall be tested and approved as
required by SOLAS reg.IV/15.9.2 as amended, in accordance with MSC/Circ.1039
“Guidelines for Shore-based maintenance (SBM) of satellite EPIRBs” within 5 years
depending on ;
National Requirements and/or;
SOLAS requirements for Passenger ships (>12 passengers) and
Cargo ships (>300GT) engaged in international voyages or;
The expiration date on the battery label.
The Satellite EPIRBs affected by the above mentioned text and manufactured
by ACR Electronics, Inc. are:
ACR Satellite2 406™ RLB-32 (Cat. I & Cat. II)
ACR RapidFix™ 406 RLB-33 (Cat. I & Cat. II)
ACR GlobalFix™ RLB-35 (Cat. I & Cat. II)
ACR Float Free 406 Memory Capsule RLB-35MC (Cat. I)
ACR GlobalFix™ iPRO RLB-36 (Cat. I & Cat. II)
ACR GlobalFix™ PRO RLB-37 (Cat. I & Cat. II)
ACR Satellite3 406™ RLB-38 (Cat. I & Cat. II)
ACR GlobalFix™ V4 RLB-41 (Cat. I & Cat. II)
Manufacturer Serial Number & Programmed ID:
Y1-03-0242 Rev. J
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