SPOT Connect

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Strimstrum, May 4, 2012.

  1. Strimstrum

    Strimstrum n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Alcester, UK
    I had a standard SPOT messenger but stupidly left it in a hotel in Izmir, Turkey a couple of years ago and never managed to get it back (but did manage to get it disabled by SPOT before someone pressed the SOS button). It was a great bit of kit and allowed me to let selected people know exactly where I was and that I was Ok without the need for internet or phone coverage.

    Anyway, last year on a RTW trip whilst in New York I bought the new generation of SPOT devices - a SPOT Connect - got it back to the hotel and found I couldn't use it because I could not download the App from the US Apple site as I was a UK citizen and had no US address to register with Apple (You need the App to turn your smartphone into a satellite phone).

    Added to this problem was the fact that I then found out that the SPOT Connect wasn't available in the UK at that time so I there was no SPOT App on the UK Apple site. Aaarrrggh

    However, when I finally finished my RTW trip and got back home to the UK I found that the UK Apple site was now giving out the App that I needed but I couldn't be bothered at this stage so I just left the SPOT sitting in my garage.

    Today I dug out the SPOT and set about activating it.... but it said that I had to update the Firmware. Plugged it into my account OK and started the download but it kept failing halfway through.

    I emailed the customer service centre and they sent a reply giving me an international number to ring the cost of which will start making this device a costly investment so I have decided to throw it away.

    It is almost impossible to set up and, after reading a couple of recent reviews, it appears to be nowhere near as good as its predecessor so my advice is stay away from the SPOT Connect.
    #1
  2. Lost Rider

    Lost Rider Roadie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,355
    Location:
    Ventura County, California Republic
    I have found the Connect to be very reliable, I thought it was intuitive to setup, and has been most useful in my travels, no internet or network needed once you have it setup.
    I'm sorry you're having the opposite experience as me, I understand it would be most frustrating to have to pay international telephone fees for technical support. But I would think that you would have a Skype account with all your travels you speak of to make it cheap to call anywhere from anywhere.

    It sucks when electronics don't work right and can be very frustrating, but if you decide to press on and get it working you might find it very useful to be able to send personal text messages to whomever you want without needing a computer or network to change your contact list. The Connect is especially useful when there's trouble of the non-emergency kind and you need to coordinate help.


    Turns out there's a SPOT customer service in Dublin, that shouldn't be too expensive to call if you're in the UK. Strange SPOT would send you an international number.



    Cheers

    http://www.findmespot.eu/en/contactus/

    The Park
    Carrickmines
    Dublin 18
    Ireland
    For Customer Service in English, Spanish or French, please phone:
    +353 1 290 9505
    #2
  3. Capt2u

    Capt2u Capt2u

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    send it to me!
    #3
  4. Strimstrum

    Strimstrum n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Alcester, UK
    Just a little geography lesson then...... Dublin is in Eire - not part of the Uk and international rate phone call applies. Anyway pleased that yours is working well but as I posted - mine's in the garbage.
    #4
  5. Attico

    Attico Wrong way 'round

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,085
    Location:
    Aylmer, Quebec
    hi,

    can't advise you on how to repair the spot, but if you have access to the internet, download one of the free voice over ip apps, like talkatone, or vbuzzer, etc to call spot's customer service, which ends up being free or really cheap.

    the alternative is to sell the device on advrider and recoup some of your cost.
    #5
  6. Strimstrum

    Strimstrum n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
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    Location:
    Alcester, UK
    Thanks Attico.

    Did think about selling the SPOT before I binned it but it would be wrong to sell something to another user if I know that it won't update - it will be just as useless to them as it was to me.

    Although it cost me 149 USD I have decided to cut my losses and not use one again. I am doing a tour of the Balkans in June & July of this year and another Round World next year - I managed a RTW last year without one so I'm sure I can do the same for these upcoming trips.
    #6
  7. Lost Rider

    Lost Rider Roadie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ventura County, California Republic
    I would think that someone who travels RTW as much as you say you do would have a little more resolve, determination, or patience to solve a simple problem with a piece of gear that could be very helpful in your travels. What do you do when your bike breaks? toss it in the garbage and buy a new one?

    Just because you haven't needed a Connect in your travels in the past is no guarantee it couldn't help you in the future. "I never needed to wear my seat belt before and was fine, so I'm not going to start wearing it now".... :lol3

    SPOT customer service has always been excellent, I'm sure they would have helped you fix the problem or send you out a replacement. At least that's been my experience as a SPOT customer when dealing with them.
    There's many options for making inexpensive phone calls like mentioned to get help from SPOT. For a world traveler it seems you should know that already, it is 2012 you know and pricey phone calls are so 1990's. :wink:
    Maybe you can't be bothered with downloading a Skype App to your phone.

    I'm wondering, did you even bother reading the update instructions before plugging in the SPOT?
    http://www.findmespot.eu/en/index.php?cid=225

    Specifically this part:
    Once the application launches, it will wait for SPOT Connect to be connected to your computer via mini USB cable (supplied in SPOT Connect package). Please connect the USB cable directly to the USB port on the computer. Third-party USB hubs may affect the application from working successfully. Make sure the batteries are removed from SPOT Connect before connecting the USB cable to SPOT Connect. Failure to remove the batteries before the firmware update may damage your SPOT Connect. To access the USB port on your SPOT Connect, remove the back cover. The USB port is located in the battery compartment.



    You said it kept failing halfway..... halfway when?
    When it was downloading the Spot update app from the web or while the update app was re-flashing the Connect's firmware?
    If you want to actually steer people away from buying a Connect I think more specific info would be needed, along with steps you followed to have the problem. There's many things that could have been done to fix the issues at hand, tossing it in the garbage is not logical in any way I look at it.
    For now all I see is a guy who didn't do his homework before buying the Connect in first place, then gave up at the first sign of something wrong with technical or communication problems to solve and would rather whine online then being bothered to help themselves.

    Hardly in the Adventure Rider spirit no matter how many miles you supposedly ride. :deal
    #7
  8. jgrady

    jgrady Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Texas Coast
    Spot connect is working for me. Seemed a bit finicky but it hooks up faithfully to my htc evo android phone and performs as advertised. I have found though that if the link is broken between the two, I have to turn the spot off and on to reconnect. Kind of a pain but no biggie if you don't get out of bluetooth range. Nice security blanket out in the booneys regardless.
    Still playing with it but my 2 cents.
    #8
  9. Strimstrum

    Strimstrum n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Alcester, UK
    Hi Lost Rider

    I take on board your points raised but I have tried several times to get the kit working. The App is not the problem - that is all downloaded just fine. I followed the instructions exactly as you have shown above - the Connect recognised the beginning of the update from the SPOT website but failed halfway through - the troubleshooting answers given on the SPOT website do not have an answer for this occurence. You cannot begin to imagine how much time I have devoted to getting this bit of kit started so in the spirit of not wanting to waste any more of my time I dumped it. As for doing my homework, when I bought the kit the New York salesman omitted to mention that I could only download the App if I was a US citizen. I rang SPOT when I was in Baltimore to ask how I should get hold of the App and their response was that I could not - also said that at that time they had received a number of calls from Canadians with the same problem - hence why I just stuck it in my panniers and decided to deal with it when I got back home to the UK some 5 months later.

    You make a lot of suppositions about me as a person and the validity of my travels without even knowing me. I am, for the record, not a bad guy to know - easy going you might say and my "whine" on the forum was merely to reflect my own personal experience with this kit - like I said in my original post... I was very happy with my original SPOT messenger that I left behind in some Turkish hotel so it is not a dig about SPOT more an observation about the Connect.

    Once again, I am pleased that yours works well for you. Anyway, too busy preparing for my next adventure which starts on 1st June - a tour of the Balkans - Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Greece etc etc
    #9