The Great Big SPOT Thread

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

  1. Spirit_Rider

    Spirit_Rider Been here awhile

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    Has anyone used Both?
    If so which worked better? more reliable. Which was easier to use?

    I currently have a Spot Gen1 but I am thinking of switching to a Connect. I have suspended my contract with Spot right now due to lack of traveling but I plan on using it this summer and wonder if I should change. I never did like the activation for the tracking and had problems with missed tracks, normally after sending a OK.
  2. OneEffinName

    OneEffinName Been here awhile

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    VanIsle, BC
    About a year or so ago, I purchased an InReach - I liked the idea of gauranteed messages and the Iridium network. However I had a lot of pairing issues with mutiple devices, so it was a PIA. Plus the tracking plan in Canada is expensive (not like the states). So I dumped the InReach and went with SPOT II plus a PLB as backup. I am often in the backcountry alone so I need redundancy. The SPOT II gets about 95% of my messsages through.

    While mountaineering we have needed to use the PLB a few times, and it always works.

    So basically, the SPOT is for the wifey to track me. The PLB is for emergencies.
  3. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    I have an iphone and have a connect, I also had a Spot1 with tracking
    Both do well most of the time, there are definitely dead spots so expect some lost/missing locations.
    The Connect had some early problems with the software and BT connection.
    New software versions have fixed most of this??
    It still has trouble making the connection sometimes and I like to leave my phone off to save battery, so it takes a little time to turn on phone, establish connection (sometimes quickly, and sometimes turn on/off/reset/retry) then send message.
    In the end, the Connect has more features ie. send different messages ( I don't subscribe to the txt service) but is a little harder to use than the Spot 1 or 2.
    This is just from my personal experience. I'm sure others have a much better grasp on the workings and differences between models.

    Lastly whatever you get, practice with it before you need it.
  4. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    You might already know this, but on the SPOT 1, you can't activate a track while an "OK Message" is in progress. Or vice versa, You can't send an OK while Tracking is in progress. I think that was the biggest downfall of the SPOT 1 was the confusing manor between the tracking and OK using the same button and not being able to tell which one is currently in progress. If you make sure the OK message box isn't blinking before trying to activate the Tracking, it works fine. It wasn't well documented, but if Tracking is active, you can stop the tracking by holding in the OK button till you see a red light. Then after a series of more red lights and such, it turns off. Only way to stop an active OK process that spans over 20mins is to power the unit off and turn back on.

    I've been on the SPOT 1 since it came out and I'm still very happy with it. I have no desire to upgrade to the SPOT 2 or Connect.
  5. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    That's one of the reasons I've got a Spot2 on the way.
    Along with smaller size and quicker to pick up satellites.
  6. Spirit_Rider

    Spirit_Rider Been here awhile

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    I knew about the checkin and tracking, I just think it is a PITA. Since I have the Spot 1 I would consider the connect before the Spot2 even though I think the Spot2 improvements are very nice
  7. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Overall the SPOT II seems nicer with its few extra features, smaller size, updated GPS Sirf III chip set, but I could just never get by the fact it went from 2 AA batteries to 3 AAA batteries and their life is drastically reduced. I love the super long battery life in the Spot 1 and how little I have to actually replace the batteries. It seems quality on the Spot II is not quite as good and a lot more people have had issues with them eventually failing. For me, the SPOT 1 still works, the larger size doesn't bother me, and I don't have an issue with the Tracking/OK limitations since I understand how they work.
  8. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    Last Saturday, I rode for 3 hrs in the hills and got zero track points out.
    I didn't wait long enough for it to get a gps fix before leaving.

    Sunday, I turned it on 20min before leaving and got a track point from home and 3 more in the hills in 3 1/2 hrs of riding.

    Riding with thick tree cover and in steep gullys.

    I want to be able to hit the OK button whilst tracking without having to turn tracking off, send OK, wait 20min until cycle completes, turn tracking back on...

    Going to be interesting to see how the 2 performs in the same terrain.

    It would be great if the 2 got the same battery life as the 1 although I feel the battery life in the 2 is great anyway, it's just that it's almost unbelievable in the 1.
  9. Hikertrash

    Hikertrash Wasted Rock Ranger

    Joined:
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    I've been so frustrated with my Spot. I'm on my 2nd one and will be calling them for another replacement on Monday. My first one stopped tracking when I was in Mexico last year and my family thought I was dead. The replacement they sent me started turning off on its own about a month ago. The first time I thought it was dead batteries, but it turned back on when I pressed the button. I still replaced them with new lithium batteries. Thursday I went on a 500mi ride and it turned off again after about 2 hours according to where the last tracks stopped. I purchased a Delorme INREACH to replace this a couple months ago, but haven't activated it until my Spot subscription runs out in May. However, at this rate since Spot won't credit me for the tracking not working all the time, I may just cancel my subscription as soon as my replacement arrives.
  10. Stricko

    Stricko DRZ'er

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Brisbane Southside
    After seeing the service and response that a spot GPS provides and now finding myself doing more distance rides and adventures I am in the market of getting me a Spot.. Several mates have the old spot device but having looked at the Spot website there is the newer Spot 2 and also the spot connect.. Just add more choice and confusion :huh
    So my questions are... Whos has either the Spot 2 or the Spot connect and is the connect worth doign considering I have a dumbphone ( Iphone) My thoughts would be that the bluetooth connection to the phone would chew up battery life fairly quickly ( not such a problem as I have a charger on my bike ) or is it just best to run the Spot 2 with the tracker option sevice added in as well ? Either way I guess it a must for safety and for family to see im still on the move or safe ?
    Would love your feedback:ear
    Cheers Stricko
  11. BrzGSAdv

    BrzGSAdv Adventurer

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    I am sorry if this is an old issue and has been discussed before... I searched a number of the posts 224! pages in vain....

    Does SPOT II REALLY works only on Lithium batteries?? What would happen if I use simple Duracell alkaline ones???

    Thanks!!!
  12. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    It would work reasonably well for a short time, then the voltage would drop below the minimum required and the Spot would become less reliable, possibly when you need it most. Lithium batteries have a discharge curve where they stay at a higher voltage for longer, then they drop abruptly. Alkalines have a more gradual voltage drop.

    The Lithiums work especially well if temperature drops. Alkalines don't, and are likely to die, then you might too, when nobody gets your 911 message. :eek1
  13. BrzGSAdv

    BrzGSAdv Adventurer

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    Gotcha... thanks...

    One last noob question: will recharchable Lithium batteries work fine as well? Checked prices on one-way Lithiums and they cost multiple times the Alkalines... hence, maybe rechargable is the way to go... any cons?

    Going for my first test ride with SPOT right now... :eek1 let's see how it goes...



  14. Downs

    Downs KK6RBI

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    The length of time the lithiums last in a SPOT should make the cost of them a non issue. In on maybe my 3rd set in as many years.


    Sent from my iPhone
  15. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    Agreed. They last quite awhile. I find them on sale at Target/Wallyworld/amazon and stock up. Not worth scrimping on batteries if this is going to be part of your GMTFOOH stategy.
  16. dcstrom

    dcstrom Long timer

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    Not exactly a non-issue for me. Travelling in Sth America right now and with every-day use of the SPOT 2, in tracking mode, a set of batteries lasts 3 weeks. On top of that, they are not easy to find here, and are not as cheap as the US. I usually buy 2 or 3 sets when I can find them, so it ends up costing about $15 a month in batteries. Worth it, but stil a decent chunk of change.
  17. wdeTA

    wdeTA TransAlp Adv

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    Boulder, CO
    I don't think using alkalines will hurt the SPOT, it just won't run as long/well. When I first got my SPOT 1 I experimented and found I used so many cheap alkalines to get the same time as one set of the lithiums that the cost came out almost the same, but the security, weight savings and convenience of the lithiums was well worth it. I also tried rechargables, and they lasted longer than the alkalines, but no where near as long as the standard lithiums and several standard lithiums take up less space and weight than the charger. Of course that was based on US price differences, SA differences might be great enough to change the equation.
  18. rider914

    rider914 Agnostic Adventurer

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    I've got a longish business trip coming up to a faraway place.
    Would like to take my SPOT along, more for the tracking feature than for rescue (though you never know what might happen :huh)

    Is TSA gonna have a conniption if I put it in my carry-on? :mulie
    Turned off and batteries removed throughout security and flight of course :nod

    :ear

    -M
  19. sandalscout

    sandalscout blah blah blah

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    I have had no problems flying with mine in my carry-on, done it 3-4 times now.
  20. Downs

    Downs KK6RBI

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    I had mine on and running during a flight.