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  • MSA Airpacks & Batteries

    Has anyone been having trouble with MSA SCBA's eating batteries and
    display errors?
    We put into service 12 new MMR/Firehawk 4500 PR14 packs in March of
    2008 and have been replacing batteries all the time. it seems like it has been getting worse as time goes by. we are a volunteer Dept. have around 70 calls a year (Fire & Extraction) and do a monthly maintaince check on all trucks and equipment and there are @ least 2-3 of our paks with dead batteries. and now some of the displays have error messages on them when they have that the pass does not work. we have been in contact with our salesman on this issue and they have been taking care of the error issues by takeing them in for repair. we are trying to get these paks all replaced now as we almost need a weekly check of them to be sure they will work when needed. just worndering if anyone else has had this kind of issue with MSA packs and what was done about it. I can't complain about our salesman as they are taking care of us on this but the battery issue is a crazy. we even tryed every brand of battery out there and still same out come. any know issues to bring up to MSA about?

  • #2
    Originally posted by rrlyons View Post
    Has anyone been having trouble with MSA SCBA's eating batteries and
    display errors?
    We put into service 12 new MMR/Firehawk 4500 PR14 packs in March of
    2008 and have been replacing batteries all the time. it seems like it has been getting worse as time goes by. we are a volunteer Dept. have around 70 calls a year (Fire & Extraction) and do a monthly maintaince check on all trucks and equipment and there are @ least 2-3 of our paks with dead batteries. and now some of the displays have error messages on them when they have that the pass does not work. we have been in contact with our salesman on this issue and they have been taking care of the error issues by takeing them in for repair. we are trying to get these paks all replaced now as we almost need a weekly check of them to be sure they will work when needed. just worndering if anyone else has had this kind of issue with MSA packs and what was done about it. I can't complain about our salesman as they are taking care of us on this but the battery issue is a crazy. we even tryed every brand of battery out there and still same out come. any know issues to bring up to MSA about?
    That's one thing you should do, a weekly check. Even every other week is better than once a month especially when you know there's an equipment issue that needs to be addressed. An axe, pike pole, even a length of hose can break at a fire, but if an SCBA malfunctions it can be life threatening.

    Ask MSA what brand of battery they recommend.

    The fact you don't have a very large call volume is even more of a reason to check everything more frequently. Some things don't break overnight, it might take some time. Like a battery or SCBA bottle slowly draining down.

    Comment


    • #3
      Never had a problem with our MSA firehawks. We love them in our vol. dept. The only time I have noticed battery issues is if the guys forget to turn the display off when they put the pack away. I have seen it in the heads up display and voice amplifiers on the masks as well but only if they are not turned off before being put away. I agree also that this is something that needs to be looked at more often than once a month.

      Good Luck

      Stay safe

      FD5
      "EVERYONE GOES HOME... ALWAYS"

      "Let no mans ghost come back to say his training let him down."

      Comment


      • #4
        We change our batteries in the ICM's quarterly, never have had a problem between battery exchanges. ICMs do enter "Error 88" often and have to be swapped out and the ICM sent back to MSA for rebuild. If you have your own airpack repair team or in an agreement with a department that does it is a simple 2 minute fix.
        ~Drew
        Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
        USAR TF Rescue Specialist

        Comment


        • #5
          We are doing a weekly check now on the packs. and we have asked and are using the recomended battery in them. we do not have the voice amplifiers just the heads up display. all it would say on the display was ER. when we have this error you are not able to turn off the packs all you can do is take the batterys out of it. we had one pack that we checked had dead batterys
          which were replaced about three days earlier I then replaced them again check everything which worked ok. I then shut the air valve off relieved the pressure and turnd the pack off put it back into the truck. about 2 hours later while still down @ the station a pass alarm started going off which it was from that same pack. it was @ this time turned on some how. so I shut it back down took it out of service while I was carrying to the table it turn back on again. which this pack is into MSA now to be checked
          is this what is happening to the other of our packs and running down the batterys ???????????????
          I was just worndering if anyone else has been having this kind of trouble with these packs.

          Comment


          • #6
            We have 2008 model year Firehawk M7s and have also had the battery life issues (but nothing with the ICM showing errors.)

            MSA has a service bulletin on this. Our vendor changed out part of the electronics but we have had only a slight improvement in battery life.

            We check our SCBA weekly. Write the date on the batteries when you swap them out so you have documentation on how fast the batteries are being run down. We were going through a set of batteries each month. Since they worked on them, it's a little better, but still need new batteries every 2 months or so.

            If you get a solution or more info, please post here and I'll do the same.
            "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." - Vince Lombardi

            Comment


            • #7
              we have not had any troubles .......we change our batteries when we are supposed to do them with the smoke detectors..........when the time changes.
              IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
              Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
              ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
              RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
              LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
              I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
              "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
              http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

              Comment


              • #8
                Msa

                RRlyons,

                Hey Brother. Well, my Vol. Dept also uses MSA. There are an older model. Mfg'ed, about 6-7 years ago. BUT, they were referbed last year and when that happened, they placed new Remote pressue gauges/PASS devices on the packs. They suck. The batteries are going dead all the time. I'm not a fan of the MSA's anyway. And this does not help thier cause any. So, in answer to your question...YES, others are having this issue.

                Stay Safe Brother.
                "FBHF"

                "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
                Ralph Waldo Emerson

                "What do Cops and Firefighters have in common? They BOTH WANT To be FIREFIGHTERS!"

                "I love the Police Officers have firefighters to look up to..."

                Comment


                • #9
                  We have six year old MSA Firehawks. Batteries are a constant issue, but we just figure it's a price of doing business. We have had the best luck with Duracell Procells from the local Batteries Plus. They love us for the amount of batteries we buy, and we buy in case quantity which helps.

                  My biggest beef with the MSA is the absolute POS mounting system for the HUDs. I'll bet I have two dozen broken HUDs that still function fine, but the plastic is broken at the mounting tab. Even the new version that uses two AA batteries instead of the AAA's with the supposedly "better" and beefier mounting area is not immune to breakage.

                  We get a lot of the Error 88s on the packs as well. Amazing how many of our ICMs have had this issue as well.
                  "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    And that gentlemen is why Scott is numero uno.

                    The department I'm now on has MSA's. All of the guys there wish we had Scott, but we make due with what we have.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      my department has been running msn firehawks for as long as i can remember and the only issue we have had as far as battieries is the (like was said above) people dont turn the mask off or dont turn the pass off. also check how they are mounted in the truck it could be as simple as the door hitting the pass device and setting it off

                      hope this helps

                      be good be safe
                      We walk where the devil dances... FIR NA TINE

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have ZERO expirience with these packs, but how exactly would you be able to leave the PASS device on without it going off and letting everyone know?
                        Career Firefighter
                        Volunteer Captain

                        -Professional in Either Role-

                        Originally posted by Rescue101
                        I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          First, let me say that we are Scott users, so I cannot speak specifically to the MSA issue.
                          But doesn't it seem unsettling that we place so much faith in a 9v battery? I remember using the Scott 4.5 when it had nothing electroinc on it. Reliable as a boat anchor. Use it, wash it off with the 1 3/4" line before putting it back on the engine and it was going to be there and was going to work perfectly the next time you wanted it.

                          The addition of the integrated PASS device is probably the most important improvement of the SCBA in my opinion. While this is an electronic device, it has been pretty simple and durable since inception. I'm as guilty as anyone of forgetting to turn on the PASS device when it was an added component. I like the fact that when the cylinder is turned on, so is the PASS.

                          Once we went to the heads up display and whatever other battery powered stuff we have added, the reliability of our SCBA seems to have declined. You can't hose them off with the handline, and if the MMR happens to get the door slammed on it, it's gone. Battery issues seem to be the norm, regardless of how often you use the SCBA or who makes them.

                          I just don't think that relying upon all of these electronic features is a good thing. Electricity and water just don't mix. I would rather trust the remote pressure gauge anyday over a heads up IF the addition of the heads up is going to be the equivalent of putting a pair of silk panties on the old reliable Scott.......

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I don't know for sure the age of our packs. We had battery isues and replaced the ICMs with upgraded ones cost was $300 this took care of alot of the problem. We were also having false alarms on the pass. Also I agree with the HUDS, of course none of this is warranty. Talk to you dealer because at the tiime the ICMs were negotiable.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by len1582 View Post
                              Ask MSA what brand of battery they recommend.
                              While it seems trivial, this can be a bigger issue than what you think. We were having problems with our Scott packs going through batteries like they were candy. We were even using one of the models that they recommended. After talking with one of the guys from Scott, we swapped to another one on their list and haven't had near the problems.

                              I don't know how MSA packs work, but I do know there are several brands of packs where the PASS system doesn't totally shut down. They still use a small amount of energy for the system that detects the air pressure to activate the pass. It will go dormant, but never turns off.

                              Comment

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