Gen 3 Spot and Extreme Tracking. Is it worth the money?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by lacofdfireman, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

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    Currently ride with a Gen 2 spot and love it. I like having the peace of mind knowing my family can no my general vicinity if I am out somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Also the added security of knowing that if something goes wrong and I don't have cell coverage I can call for help through the Spot. Now with the Gen 3 I would have the ability with Extreme tracking to have it update every 2.5 minutes. That could be every mile in some technical areas. But at $149 it's a pricey extra. Especially considering if you ad some of the other features you could be well into the $250 range per year for service only. Do any of you use it and if so what do you think?

    On a side note I was wondering with your current Spot service whom do you put on your contact lists for messages Emergencies? I put my wife, parents and all my kids with cell phones and even a few relatives. When I push the OK button my Message of "Just Checking in. All is well. Call you when I can. Love ya." That message will go to everyone on my Ok Message button. Then on my
    My Help button will send this message to the same people "Broke Down and need Help. Trying to contact you but may be out of cell range."

    Haven't decided what to put on my Custom Message. Or on my SOS information. Any suggestions.

    Just curious who you are sending your messages to and what your messages say. My wife didn't want me to have my kids on the message list cause she didn't want them to be worried. I have sat down and explained to my kids that the only time they call 911 is if I activate my SOS button. If I push help or something else they need to get ahold of a relative or my parents and go from there. I have also let my parents and relatives know I have them in the system and what each type of activation means..
    #1
  2. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

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    Just Updated my "SOS" button to say the following:
    Motorcyclist
    42 Year old Male
    No Medical History
    No Allergies or Medications
    Blood Type O+
    If you are receiving this message I have been involved in an accident or may be lost and cannot get to help. Please send Paramedics and Search and Rescue.
    Career Fireman with Los Angeles County Fire Department. Please Notify the Following family members along with the others on my contact list.
    John Doe 456-665-ssss
    Jane Soe 456*589-ssss
    #2
  3. jackalsour

    jackalsour Dreamer

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    When you hit the SOS button it will send the latest location. Even if SAR only had 10 minutes, that is a very small radius for them compared to "he went out that trail yesterday and never came back" kind of thing. I imagine it would mean the batteries last that much longer as well. For the price I don't think extreme tracking is worth it anyways. Worst case if you're unconscious the device will track your last position anyways. I think the extreme tracking was added for bush pilots and ice pilots etc. For the custom message I put something like "Have a problem but don't need help yet. Might be late." Then I either send a Help msg if required or cancel it with Check-In/OK message. :thumb
    #3
  4. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the info. Been reading for the past 2hrs on Spot tips and tricks. I also found out something I didn't know. If you activate the Help or SOS button then decide you don't need it you can send a cancellation message buy holding down same button for greater than 5 seconds until button turns red. This will send the cancellation message to those that received the Help or SOS activation in the first place. That way you can free up your OK button or Custom message if you have a Cancel last request in that message..
    #4
  5. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

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    As a Career Fireman I can tell you that doing a 10 mile radius search is no easy task. Yes it's better than not knowing at all but 10 miles is still a pretty large area. If you are looking for someone on a motorcycle it's probably not as bad but if you are looking for someone hiking, exploring that's a lot of real estate. Especially by ground. Helicopter is a different animal. They could grid that out and make short work of a 10 mile search but a ground search could take awhile. Long enough to be the difference between life and death.. And I know without a doubt that a lot of the areas we ride wouldn't have a helicopter for hours possibly. But so far I have had great luck with my Gen 2. And not sure I want to pay the extra for the 3 even though I really like some of the newer features. External charging, Bigger buttons that actually click when you push them On the 2 sometimes I feel like I am pushing the button to the other side of the case.
    #5
  6. jackalsour

    jackalsour Dreamer

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    I've done a lot of training and also tracking people as well. With the SPOT, it's not really a 10 mile radius because it has a time stamp and you can extrapolate, follow both gps and physical tracks etc etc. Also when you push the SOS it sends the present location, and again if you were unconscious it would still track to your present location... I don't think it's a lot of real estate for a hike because how far does a hiker hike in 10 minutes in technical terrain? Maybe 1 km max but they also leave footprint/scent/marks along the way etc. As someone who has been on the other end, my biggest concern is everyone mounting these things on their bikes. If you're separated from the bike or wrapped around a tree etc it's no good to you (see it happen often with snowmobiles) I carry a first aid kit in my backpack for the same reason and that's the best prep really. Some small planes are using SPOT and they had concerns about 10 mins, but they are moving much faster in remote areas (and no trace left on the ground etc)
    #6
  7. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the clarafication. I thought the Gen 2 tracked by 10 miles not minutes. Yes 10 minutes is much better. So my message above was wrong. My bad.
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  8. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    If you add $50 to your spot fee you can drop a breadcrumb as often as 2.5 minutes.
    #8
  9. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    I think this is very good for a Custom Message----it's what I've been using for years.

    "I've stopped riding for the day and am either in a motel or camped----I'm OK"

    Me and my buddy Dingweeds send that message as soon as we pull into camp---then turn the thing off.
    With this message-----you loved ones can relax knowing your OK till the next days riding.

    The one time I was on a ride "Mobius11" and I witnessed someone using the SOS------Dr. Rock had his cell number in the message and his cellphone rang in a bout 2 minutes and he gave out some very pertinent info------since he was a doctor this helped out a lot. Granted------when you need the thing you'll most likely not have cell service---we were just lucky-------the helicopter would have come anyway even if no one answered.

    BigDog
    #9
  10. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

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    Thanks Big Dog. Gonna use that as my Custom message. Also I bought the Spot 3 last night. Not going to do the Extreme tracking but will put it down to 5 minutes and see what I think.
    I wasn't impressed with a few things. The covers on the Help and SOS are flimsy and open way to easy. I could see that being an issue. Also the rubber piece covering the charge port is really flimsy also. That could be an issue if it tears off and becomes wet inside allowing corrosion, rust etc... But really like the bigger buttons and how they click when pressed. A lot better than he Gen 2 buttons..
    #10
  11. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    I can tell you that the Gen 3 is a vast improvement over the Gen 1. At least there are covers on those buttons where there weren't before. I find them useful but hopefully you will not need to find out.

    Regarding the charge port. This comes from the manual:

    There are three ways you can power your SPOT: 4 AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium 8x batteries (included), 4 AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries, or with line power through a 5v USB connection. Keep your batteries installed, even when using line power, to ensure proper system performance in the event line power should fail. Please note: NiMH batteries cannot be charged within the SPOT unit using line power, and SPOT Gen3 is not waterproof while being line powered.
    TO TURN SPOT ON: Simply locate the Power button on the upper left corner of the device, press and hold the button; lights will illuminate.
    TO TURN SPOT OFF: Press and hold the Power button until the Power light blinks rapidly.
    TO CONSERVE POWER: Your SPOT unit will automatically turn off after one hour of inactivity unless the unit is being line powered.

    I have run the Gen1 for two weeks without shutting it off. Never once. My port likely will not be used and the unit would be on battery power if it was raining anyway. I think for me the charge port is a non-issue.
    #11
  12. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    I still have the Spot 1, and found the AA batteries to last a long time. Used continuous tracking for 5 weeks on one set of batteries. Not sure if latter models will get that kind of usage without a recharge. Don't need all the bells and whistles which just cost more money anyway.

    NO I don't ride a KLR..
    #12
  13. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    OP,
    Why did you list your blood type ? When you show up in an ER, you are going to be typed and cross-,matched anyway. They are not going to trust info on your Spot.
    #13
  14. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    AAA batteries are a real negative .. they tend to leak and don't contain much wattage.
    AA enloops are da bomb...with li-on option are better yet. Garmin Montana uses an excellent battery form factor
    #14
  15. ZEmann

    ZEmann want to be riding

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    I just bought the spot 3 and did enhanced tracking it was $215 for the service including the bs tax

    still fiddling with it but the message sent with the link to the map and location is very cool if I brake down and send a message for My son to come help He can open the link with his phone


    try to find a discount code for the service I know there out there I just didn't spend the time to find an active one

    I don't understand why they wont sell the real durable blue and white unit to the general public and reserve it's distribution ?

    I have had more AA batteries chit themselves than AAA not to mention the ultimate lithium AA that lasted a few hours LOL scam
    #15
  16. Rustynuts

    Rustynuts Adventurer

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    There was a $50 rebate for the Spot Gen3 unit itself that ended on 11/18 which I got in on. I can swear I got an email last week saying there was a new $50 going on thru January but I can't find it right now....I will keep looking and post if I find it.
    #16
  17. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    This seems really bad. If I read this correctly, if I stop for say an hour and 10 minute break, the unit shuts off. So, do I have to manually turn it back on after every 1+ hour stop? Can someone with a Gen3 confirm that it does or does not automatically turn itself back on when you start moving again after an hour+ stop. If it's true that it doesn't turn itself back on when you move, then this seriously compromises the value of the Gen3.
    #17
  18. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    TO CONSERVE POWER: [FONT=Trade Gothic LT Std Light,Trade Gothic LT Std Light][FONT=Trade Gothic LT Std Light,Trade Gothic LT Std Light]Your SPOT unit will automatically turn off after one hour of inactivity unless the unit is being line powered. (page 9 of the manual)
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    To turn back on, use the Power button.
    #18
  19. jackalsour

    jackalsour Dreamer

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    Does it hurt to put the blood type there? What if this procedure is not used all around the entire world? What if they happen to be out of test reagents for some reason? What if you were out in the middle of nowhere, and time is critical when you get to an ER? Maybe I'm just crazy because I've spent too much time down range, but some websites also indicate that civie Dr's can legally perform emergency blood transfusions without testing.. Better safe than sorry right?..

    According to Google "In many situations, there is urgent need for blood before completion of compatibility testing"

    The best prep is probably learning first aid yourself though. I heard they don't teach tourniquets to civvies anymore but you might want to learn how to improvise one if you motorbike more than an hour from an ER.

    Capitalism. It's more profitable when people have to replace things every few years. My last one broke in the middle of a long trip. This is BS on a SOS device imo and I expected them to fully replace it but no, they don't care. They said I should have signed up for their "product replacement program" at $20/year + $30 deductible for a refurb... At that price, you might as well take the risk and just buy the new model if it breaks. You're still SOL if it breaks when you needed it though!

    The same $50 rebate was sent out again in Canada anyways.
    #19
  20. jackalsour

    jackalsour Dreamer

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    It has a vibration sensor to kick it back on. I just placed mine outside in track mode for +2.5 hours. Hit the OK and Track buttons at 2000 after moving from Europe to Asia. I didn't time it but I received the OK msg right away (within minutes). It then sent 3 tracks nearly identical coords at 2010, 2020, and 2030. I left it alone and received no more tracks. After 2 hours I went outside and the light came on as soon as I picked it up (maybe it was always on) I received another track right away.

    This tells me Gen 3 has the hardware to double as the new SPOT Trace. I even found the setting to "activate movement alerts" however I get this error when I try to enable it "Your request could not be completed due an error in our system. Please try again later or contact Customer Service." I called CS when I first got it and they said Gen 3 can't use these options... Capitalism strikes again. They also messed up my GEOS account but that's another story.
    #20