The Great Big SPOT Thread

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by John E Davies, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. UnclebudinTX

    UnclebudinTX Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    219
    Location:
    Plainview TX
    I bought a spot on ebay (nib) and i bought the square deal warranty thing too for $14 a few weeks ago, It came in just in time for me to set up the account (easy) and learn a few functions, played with it in parking lot at work and during lunch driving around town.. And then the next day headed out on a 250 mile trip to Ruidoso NM. and area and 250 miles back.
    Wife was able to watch progress online, received text messages every time (i received them on my cell too just as test) Ever thing worked as expected... Excepted when i got home i left the spot on for about 4 hours in driveway while i took a nap and when i logged on there were a bunch of hits from the driveway..:freaky

    Wife thought it was pretty cool and she let up on the leash a little, just in time for me to screw it up again... somehow... maybe she will tell me what i did... but after being married 20+ years i am supposed to know...
    ggeeeezzz!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. ScottV

    ScottV bigdoggscott

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,153
    Location:
    Maryville, TN
    I have had my Spot1 for about 3 years, it has worked flawlessly.

    How can I change my track progress icon on my shared page from the little hiking shoes to a motorcycle? I thought I have seen a little motorcycle icon on other people's shared page.

    Thanks, Scott
  3. TravellingStrom

    TravellingStrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Rockhampton, Australia
    I think this is only possible if you share your track data with Spotwalla, then you can choose from a multitude of icons

    Just go to Spotwalla.com and register your unit, then you are good to go

    Cheers
    TS
  4. ScottV

    ScottV bigdoggscott

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,153
    Location:
    Maryville, TN
    Thanks.:thumb
  5. MedicineBow

    MedicineBow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    From my experience, the lithium diet is more a legal CYA than actual electronics requirement. My V1 has been fed on nothing but rechargeable NiMH AAs for the past couple years and never missed a beat. A freshly charged set of 2400 mAh will easily go 2 weeks running tracking 12-16 hrs a day before needing a night in the charger.

    I keep the SPOT in a fabric camera case with a fresh set of lithiums for the worst case scenario. I figure the chances of a situation where I can press 911 but can't swap in the fresh batteries is vanishingly small.
  6. TravellingStrom

    TravellingStrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Rockhampton, Australia
    I have NEVER managed more than two days before the RED led lights up to say low power on rechargeables, and they were Enloop 2600mah fully charged. That was a few years ago and I guess for me, piece of mind means if I crash and it is flashing red, then I am ded, because I recall losing the tracks after trying to run it when it is flashing red. I would not like to have my life rely on it being able to send 911 while I lie there.

    I am in civilisation at this moment and will just have to stock up on enough LI batteries to last another 7 months :(

    I certainly do not intend mucking around with another SPOT while on the road.

    Cheers
    TS
  7. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,796
    Location:
    SoCal USA
    That is false. If you read the long-ago posts in this thread by Spotmaker regarding battery types, you would understand. They did a lot of battery testing. One important fact is that lithium batteries have far better performance at low temperatures that other types.
  8. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    305
    Location:
    Edmond, OK
  9. spidennis

    spidennis SandStorm Adventures

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,276
    Location:
    South Padre Island, Texas .... far from anything
    cool setup! and if I could ask, Where did you get the spare battery cover for the spot?

  10. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    305
    Location:
    Edmond, OK
    I was able to get a cover directly from SPOT customer service.
    -Shov
  11. cwc

    cwc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    954
    Location:
    anywhere
    Has anyone tested a SPOT 2 to see "about" how long tracking continues to function after the on/off button starts blinking red?

    The above question assumes use of the suggested lithium batteries.
  12. Twohondas

    Twohondas Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,211
    Location:
    San Diego
    I did such a test several times .....on a MC you can reliably get the tracks/OKs out for the rest of the day when the unit starts blinking red.

    On a trip across the country in a moving truck I was able to get signals out after a day and half of blinking red. The trouble is that after a while (another day) the unit is still blinking red and the signals are not getting out.

    For motorcycle use, I recommend replacing your batteries the evening of the first blinking red batteries occurrence. That way if you go into a ditch you still have some SPOT tracks piling up in the ditch (providing the SPOT is pointed in the right direction). :freaky
  13. sandalscout

    sandalscout blah blah blah

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,286
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    The problem with this thought is that the SPOT uses the batteries more quickly if you do hit the 911 button on the unit, and could potentially prove useless if you are low on juice and have an accident.

    As cheap as batteries are (especially when compared to my safety), I plan on replacing the batteries as soon as the light starts flashing. That said, I got my spot used from a buddy, put new batteries in it in February and used about once a week for about 4 hours ever week since February. I've also it used it daily for a week in March, daily for a week in May and I'm still on my first set of batteries.
  14. Strega

    Strega Black is a color

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    502
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Are you SPOT users registered here?

    http://www.WhereAmIRiding.com/

    By riders, for riders. It's free. The problem we found is that trying to remember your SPOT link is near impossible. Well those days are over and we're here to make this easy.

    Eg: http://strega.whereamiriding.com

    You don't have to remember your spot link anymore, then again, no one could memorize it before anyway. Now it's SUPER easy to remember and easy for friends and family to follow you on your trip. Also, the site is in constant development and I've taken many user ideas and integrated them into the site.

    I ride, and being that I have some technical abilities, I want to share that with my riding friends.
  15. Tin Bender

    Tin Bender Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    So. Calif.
    Since this forum has to do with satellite communications, felt this might be the appropriate Spot (bad pun??)

    A couple other ADV members, two of my riding pals have been using the SPOT transponder now for several different trips. Of one of those, his tracks have never been available for viewing by others, The other his tracks could only be followed for a couple days then...nothing.

    He is currently on his dream "bucket list" trip north thru the Sierras, north to Banff then back down thru the Rockies. His wife purchased a SPOT so she'd not worry and he could check in daily. Turns out we could only track the route for two days. Last weekend he wrote, says the "I'm OK" daily check in is taking up to 24 hours to show up in emails, leaving his wife rather anxious. Leaves me to wonder if the SOS feature would do the same????

    I forwarded his note regarding functions not working, delayed reporting, etc. to SPOT since he's still on the road asking what to do, adjust, set-up, whatever. Been a week now but NO reply from SPOT. Since then I've seen that others are having similar troubles. See link..
    http://www.gpscity.com/spot-satellite-gps-messenger-reviews.html

    I just purchased one from REI but after these reports and others here has me thinking I've wasted money. The other thing that bothers me is the automatic debiting and up-charging to one's credit card for each additional year of subscription. Just like the damned cable companies do.

    I can see both the safety and novelty aspects of owning a SPOT, but if the service, features and customer help is unreliable, why bother??

    I just learned that one can rent a satellite phone for as little as $15.00 week excluding cost of calls. Maybe it would be better to rent just for a trip rather than the combined cost of the SPOT and additional subscription cost??

    What say you fellow FF'rs??????

    How 'bout a show of hands of who likes and has good luck with their SPOT and those that have not??????
  16. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,076
    Location:
    Bowling Green, Ky
    You have to call in or is it email to cancel the auto renewal, which is a PITA. There are sites that will keep the SPOT tracks longer and maybe indefinitely, don't know where they are. I tried to set one up some time ago and had no luck. The SPOT worked well for me and don't see why it would be too much problem that tracks only last a few days, unless personally wanting to keep a record of the trip. As long as the SO, checks every day then he/she will know your alive and moving.

    Some places rent SPOT's too.
  17. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    666
    Location:
    an alternate universe, much better than yours
    I have both a Spot 2 and also a Global Star sat phone due to the fact that my cabin is way out of cellular range.

    The Spot 2 was purchased when they first came out and has worked flawlessly on many trips and regular weekend use so I am always surprised at how many people report bad units.

    Perhaps I just go lucky. I have some heart issues and live alone so when I am out in the boonies, having this is a big comfort factor for me and my grown kids.

    The track me feature has worked from here to James Bay to Halifax to Edmonton, at the worst it misses one or so track points.

    I actually lost my Spot a couple of years ago during hunting season when the crappy supplied case let it fall off my pack but I have the tracking feature and was actually able to go to the nearest village with public wifi, download my tracks, transfer them to my Garmin and go back a few days later to find it buried in leaves under heavy tree cover.

    All I can say is it works well for me but I bought the sat phone so I could have 2 way conversation if some complicated sh*t happens.

    Although you have a couple of buttons with less urgency than the 911, it is still likely to cause panic to those who you have designated so I want to be able to actually describe the need by phone.

    The Gstar works okay, it was dirt cheap due to the limited constellation they had in orbit but that has been mostly corrected and there is decent service with only minimal gaps in my area.

    YMMV
  18. larryroak

    larryroak Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    I have had a Spot one, original, for about 5 years and use it only for "check in ok". Have not had to use 911 or help :D good thing. If you want to have a track record of where you went I would use a GPS not the Spot.
    My Check oks have been about 98% and show up on email fast. Tree cover will affect the reception and transmittting, it is not perfect but I don't leave home without it.:evil
    A friend uses his Spot check ok to post automatically to Facebook, works great.
    Larry
  19. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,108
    Location:
    Near Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Best to phone Spot to get instant service and answers...

    I've had a Spot almost since they were released and also bought one each for my wife and son since we all ride, sometimes separately. All three are the originals, Spot 1, but just last week I took over a friend's Spot 2 when he quit riding, and phoned Spot, and they transferred the 2 to upgrade my oldest V1, and it has worked perfectly since.

    The people I spoke to were more than helpful each time I called.

    Re: the service renewal. They never add services, in my experience, and when they renewed for me, a month later I called and told them I wanted to drop the Tracking option and they were prompt in refunding me almost 100% of the annual fee.

    So call their 1-800 number if there's a problem, and use yours now to get used to it before you really need it.

    Don't wait for a trip of a lifetime to find out how.

    SPOT LLC
    300 Holiday Square Blvd.
    Covington, Louisiana 70433
    Customer Care:
    1 (866) OK1-SPOT
    1 (866) 651-7768
    From outside of North America:
    +1 (408) 933-4518
  20. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,108
    Location:
    Near Ottawa, ON, Canada