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Old 05-27-2008, 08:27 PM   #706
TomW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonasolof
good idea but...change your position in a meaningful way. If you go 100 yards north send an OK and then 100 yards south, that could mean one thing. The opposite another thing. East and west also, brings you four different options.
...and don't forget to pack a compass....
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:49 AM   #707
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HogWild
Looking at the "Voice and Dial-up Data Coverage Map" for GlobalStar phone service, and the SPOT coverage map, I see a difference in Southern Argentina and Southern Chile. How is it that there is "good" phone service there, but not good SPOT service? Do some of the ground stations not support Simplex?
Not all of the ground stations support simplex.

My understanding is that they all will soon.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:34 AM   #708
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Anyone tried a mount like this: http://www.aerostich.com/catalog/US/...t-p-16823.html

?

I was thinking about attaching it to the rear rack on my bike. Seems like it *should* work.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:44 AM   #709
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valmis
Anyone tried a mount like this: http://www.aerostich.com/catalog/US/...t-p-16823.html

?

I was thinking about attaching it to the rear rack on my bike. Seems like it *should* work.
So simple yet probably pretty darn effective.

Heck, if your adding it to a rack on your bike you could probably get away with some sheet metal and an O ring from your local hardware store to fab something like that up.


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Old 05-28-2008, 11:00 AM   #710
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspice
So simple yet probably pretty darn effective.

Heck, if your adding it to a rack on your bike you could probably get away with some sheet metal and an O ring from your local hardware store to fab something like that up.


No, I have thought about it but I have desided to keep it on my person. I keep it in my riding jacket upper right outside pocket. with the thought if for some reason I am knocked off the bike and need to use it, or the bike has taken a tumble down an steep embankment, I can still use it.

marty
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Old 05-29-2008, 07:14 AM   #711
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Unlimited Track Progress?

Spot is offering "Unlimited Track Progress usage is an affordable option to the low-cost SPOT service plan."

I'm not seeing where this is "unlimited," I'd say it has a lot of limitations. Six months in, I'm starting to wonder what I paid the extra $50 for.


Just sent Spot a letter calling them out on this....if they respond in any meaningful way, I'll post it.


yeah yeah, it's in beta.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:07 AM   #712
SpotMaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markgsnw
Spot is offering "Unlimited Track Progress usage is an affordable option to the low-cost SPOT service plan."

I'm not seeing where this is "unlimited," I'd say it has a lot of limitations. Six months in, I'm starting to wonder what I paid the extra $50 for.


Just sent Spot a letter calling them out on this....if they respond in any meaningful way, I'll post it.


yeah yeah, it's in beta.
The extra $50 activates "Track Mode". (The mode where it transmits every 10 minutes for 24 hours.)

If you don't pay the extra $50, you don't get track mode.

"Unlimited" means that there are no restrictions on how many track messages you can send. (E. g. keeping your SPoT in "Track" mode 24/7 for 365 straight days costs you no more than tracking for 2 hours in the whole year.)

What part of this isn't working for you?

What's in "beta"? The shared page? The shared page has nothing to do with the $50 tracking option. That's a totally separate thing.

I'll agree with you that the shared page feature of the SPoT website could use quite a bit of work; and I have nothing to do with that, and have even less influence on that than you guys. When I complain about it, it's "Oh yeah, he's just one of those whiners from Axonn". But, again, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the $50 tracking option.

On your own home page, (as opposed to the "shared" page) you can view up to 30 days of all your points (track and other), and you can download those points in 3 different mapping data formats at any time.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:29 AM   #713
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Got this in my email inbox this morning:



At least this way, you can test how tracking works for you and in your area prior to spending the full amount for it.

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Old 05-29-2008, 11:27 AM   #714
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotMaker
We've done many real-world tests with alkalines vs. lithiums in the SPoT that bear this out.
Hey SpotMaker - I'm curious if you guys have done many (any?) tests with NiMHs? The latest generation NiMH technology (e.g., the Maha Imedions) have high capacity, low self-discharge and seem to work well in colder temps too. They have a fairly similar discharge curve shape as the lithiums too. And of course the big perk is that they're rechargeable.

I've been planning on switching to NiMHs for testing purposes after the LiONs wear out, but these darned things are taking their sweet time wearing out. :)
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:21 PM   #715
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotMaker
Summary (but please read the case for using Lithiums exclusively, below):

Alkalines will power the SPoT in a pinch, as long as the temperature is above 40 degrees F or so and they are VERY, VERY FRESH.

Now, the reasons we say "Lithium only":

First reason: Alkalines put out NOTHING AT ALL in high drain situations below freezing (32 degrees F) and even fresh alkalines behave like they're nearly dead below about 40 to 45 degrees F or so.

So, if you're using Alkalines and you send a check in message in the daytime and it works great, but then need the 911 feature at night, or after going up in altitude and it's gotten cold, you'd be stuck with a non-functioning SPoT right when you need the 911 feature!

The Lithiums, on the other hand, put out enough current to operate the SPoT correctly down to -22 degrees F (-30 degrees C) throughout their entire useful life and down to -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C) when they are fairly fresh.

Second reason: the discharge curve.

Here are some quickie graphs showing what the voltage output looks like on a pair of lithium vs. alkaline batteries throughout their lifetime in high-drain situations (the SPoT transmitting is a very high drain situation).





Note the almost linear decay of the voltage on the alkaline batteries as it discharges, vs. the almost perfectly flat curve for lithiums.

The transmitter in the SPoT must be provided with 3 volts to function properly. The SPoT contains a buck/boost power supply that has an output voltage pegged at 3 volts even if the battery voltage is less. In fact, the power supply in the SPoT will maintain 3 volts as the battery voltage decays all the way down to 1.8 volts.

BUT... The power supply is a charge-pump type. The more it has to boost, the noisier its output becomes. Once the battery output has fallen to 2.3 volts or so, the noise becomes enough to both degrade the throughput of the transmitter (by injecting noise into the signal) and raise the noise floor of the GPS (reducing sensitivity).

Another problem with using alkalines is that the battery low detection within the SPoT is calibrated to find that "knee" on the right-hand edge of the Lithium curve. If you use alkalines, you'll find that after an hour or two of track mode, the power LED will start blinking red to indicate low battery. In fact, (assuming it doesn't get colder than 45 degrees F or so) the alkalines would be able to power the SPoT in track mode for a few more days when this happens, but you'd be "blind" as to when you really need to change the batteries.

With lithiums, you can be confident that if the power LED is blinking green, the SPoT will work 100%, and if it's blinking red, you need to change the batteries as soon as feasible.

With alkalines, you're going to start blinking red very quickly, and experience this foggy, murky, degradation of the SPoT's performance while all the while being "blind" to how bad things are actually getting.

We've done many real-world tests with alkalines vs. lithiums in the SPoT that bear this out.

If you really want to use up that pack of Costco alkalines in the SPoT, I'd recommend you change them every couple of days (assuming you run in track mode most of the day) and never, ever, ever, use anything but lithiums unless you're positive the temperature is not going to drop below the mid to lower 40's F.
Thanks Spotmaker. As a EE major in my past that was an excellent explanation. Much appreciated.
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Old 05-29-2008, 03:12 PM   #716
TomW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS1Bandit
Hey SpotMaker - I'm curious if you guys have done many (any?) tests with NiMHs? The latest generation NiMH technology (e.g., the Maha Imedions) have high capacity, low self-discharge and seem to work well in colder temps too. They have a fairly similar discharge curve shape as the lithiums too. And of course the big perk is that they're rechargeable.

I've been planning on switching to NiMHs for testing purposes after the LiONs wear out, but these darned things are taking their sweet time wearing out. :)
Don't NiMH batteries have a little lower voltage per cell (~1.2V or 2.4V for a pair) than the 3.0V SPoT might want? I'm having a hard time wearing out my first set of Li batteries, so, for my use, the cost of non-rechargable power is pretty small on a daily basis.

Cheers.
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Old 05-29-2008, 05:38 PM   #717
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Just an FYI: I stumbled upon a SPOT group buy on another website. I have no affiliation with any of the parties.

http://forums.delphiforums.com/MCTou...es?msg=31463.1
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:03 PM   #718
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMoney
Just an FYI: I stumbled upon a SPOT group buy on another website. I have no affiliation with any of the parties.

http://forums.delphiforums.com/MCTou...es?msg=31463.1
$15 bucks off... Not exactly the deal of the century. Though if you have the time to wait for it, I guess why not...
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:08 PM   #719
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Tested mine for the first time today. So far I like it, though I was a bit surprised that an o.k. message didn't get through when I hit the button then put the unit into my enduro jacket...

I haven't read all the posts in this thread, but it seems stupid to me to not send an o.k. message at all if it can't pick up gps coordinates. Wouldn't an "i'm o.k. but spot can't locate me" be better than no message at all?

Ultimately it's the 911 service that most important to me, and my understanding is that at least in that mode, it will keep on trying for quite some time to send out a message, as well as sending the message without gps coordinates if it can't read them.
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:26 AM   #720
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The Spot should be kept horisontally when working. Not easy in a jacket.
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