Spot questions

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by bdcorrigan, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. bdcorrigan

    bdcorrigan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    650
    Location:
    South Of Portland Oregon in the Burbs
    Looking at these Spot devices and have a few questions. First is the help and 911 buttons are out there in the open, how long do you have to push the button to call for help? Along with that what are the chances of accidentally pushing the help or 911 buttons? Is there a way to cancel the call? Are there a difference between a first generation and the most recent 3rd generation models? Last is between the $150 and $100 plans what (and dumb it down) is the difference in the plans.
    #1
  2. dukegnarley

    dukegnarley Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Bonney Lake, Wa
    I have a gen 3. as far as plans i think the difference is that the gen 3 plan includes unlimited tracking

    the call for help buttons actually have a protective flap over them that has to be lifted up to be able to push the button. you have to hold them down for 3 or 5 seconds. There is a way to cancel a call, but you have to do it pretty quickly.
    #2
  3. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,715
    Location:
    Mt Hood mud flow
    I have Gen II
    you must push the buttons for about 3 seconds, hard to do accidentally if it's alone in your jacket pocket. Cannot cancel a 911, or any button call. A "help" is just a custom prechosen message that you prewrite from Spot's website, just like the OK and custom message buttons.

    The Spot "Connect" works with smartphones to allow custom texting on-the-fly, costs $50 more initially, but no more per month unless you send a lotta messages with it.

    The $100/yr service plan is what I have, the $150/yr plan adds auto tracking, where it sends an OK message every 5? minutes. My plan does nothing automatically, stuff only happens when I pusk OK to let my "list" (up to 10 per button message) know where I am. Autotracking gives rescuers potentially better location info, unless you hit the button lots and lots beforre you crashed. But that's why I carry my SPOT in my pants pocket, so hopefully I can still push the button while laying in the bottom of a ravine without my bike.

    The new Gen III requires the $150/yr auto tracking service, and offers upgrade to a 2 minute auto send interval, but with a motion detector, so it only transmits when you're moving. Batteries last a year easy on my Spot II, but battery life has been improved the Gen III is even smaller.
    #3
  4. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,456
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
    I have a Gen I which I have been using for a number of years. The help and Ok messages are preset messages that go to the people you determine. 911 goes to a dispatch for emergency help to be called out. Like the others you have to hold the button down for 3-5 seconds for it to activate.

    With the tracking the people you give your link to can see where you are at any time plus you can add yourself to this: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=719703

    I have heard the batteries last longer in the Gen I than they do in II and I don't know about III, I heard the batteries are supposed to last longer in them. My batteries last about a year. I use it on the tracking function when ever I'm out although I do turn it off when I stop for the day.

    I think the biggest decision between the three is how many of the functions do you want or need. I just want something basic with few bells and whistles so I stick with the Gen I. The tracking function and OK function work fine and luckily I haven't had to test the Help or 911 functions.
    #4
  5. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,867
    Location:
    Portland...the newer one on the left side.
    Gen 2 here. FWIW the "SOS" and "Needs Assistance" buttons are under a little cover you have to flip open first. It would be hard to inadvertantly press either of them.

    Only difference in the two plans is if you want tracking where it sends a SPOT message every few minutes, or no tracking where you have to manually press CHECK IN / CUSTOM MESSAGE when you want a location to be sent. SOS and NEEDS ASSISTANCE buttons work the same regardless of what plan you have.

    I have the tracking, but have only used it a couple of times. My normal operation is to send a CHECK IN at the end of every day when I'm travelling, and CUSTOM message if I want to sent some point of interest etc. SOS and NEEDS ASSISTANCE are always available as well, but used only in emergencies and hopefully, never.

    If I were doing more solo trips I would use TRACKING more often. Initially I was more concerned about battery life, but I'm finding this lasts a long time with the REQUIRED litium AAA's (Like months and months).
    #5
  6. bdcorrigan

    bdcorrigan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    650
    Location:
    South Of Portland Oregon in the Burbs
    Sounds like I am in the market for a Spot. Thanks for the info.
    #6
  7. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    369
    Location:
    Oregon City
    +1 with Scott's answer. I set up a page and send the email home. the wife tracked me through death Valley and Nor. NV this year. I'll go out alone with a chainsaw to clear trail and setup SPOT first. Great to have for solo riding, gets decent reception mounted on the shoulder.
    #7