4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - WORDS SI­MON MUSTEY

AUS­TRALIAN-OWNED com­pany KTI has de­signed and made the world’s small­est per­sonal lo­cat­ing bea­con (PLB) with a 10 year bat­tery re­place­ment in­ter­val: the SA2G PLB.

While the is­sue of bat­tery re­place­ment may seem mi­nor, it’s an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for own­ers of PLBS, as bat­tery re­place­ment can cost in ex­cess of $200.

The KTI’S PLB has been ap­proved for use on COSPAS-SARSAT – the only ded­i­cated search and res­cue satel­lite sys­tem. This means the prod­uct had to un­dergo elab­o­rate and ex­haus­tive tests to very ex­plicit per­for­mance stan­dards.

The KTI SA2G pro­vides GPS po­si­tion up­dates ev­ery five min­utes, whereas some oth­ers only up­date ev­ery 20 min­utes – or not at all. Be­ing able to up­date your po­si­tion is im­por­tant if, for ex­am­ple, you’re in a cur­rent or if the orig­i­nal sig­nal was cor­rupted, which can oc­cur for many rea­sons.

The whip an­tenna has a 360-de­gree swivel for re­li­able satel­lite de­tec­tion. So if you’re trapped up­side-down in a ve­hi­cle rollover, or in the ocean, you can point the KTI’S an­tenna up­wards at all times. It’s also self­buoy­ant, while most ri­vals need some form of floata­tion jacket.

KTI’S PLB uses two bat­ter­ies, each com­pris­ing two lithium cells – any sys­tem with in-built back-ups is a good thing. Each bat­tery has a nom­i­nal ca­pac­ity of nine watt hours once ac­ti­vated, but the de­vice draws less than 0.5-watt per hour – so you should be okay for be­tween 24-48 hours, pro­vided the bat­tery is fully func­tional.

Other key fea­tures of the KTI SA2G PLB in­clude: 66 chan­nels, fast ac­qui­si­tion GPS re­ceiver, zero warm-up satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy, high in­ten­sity photoflash strobe light, ul­tra-com­pact size (88mm x 64mm x 31mm), ul­tra­light weight (140g), wa­ter­proof, and re­sis­tance to im­mer­sion to more than three me­tres.

The SA2G has a 10 year war­ranty.

WHY do we need dif­fer­en­tials? It’s sim­ple: when turn­ing a cor­ner the out­side wheel on an axle fol­lows a larger arc than the in­side wheel, so the dif­fer­en­tial gear­ing al­lows one wheel to travel at a dif­fer­ent speed than the other, while both re­main pow­ered. But dif­fer­en­tial gear­ing also has the dis­ad­van­tage of send­ing the power to the path of least re­sis­tance, just like wa­ter and elec­tric­ity.

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