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DeLorme inReach SE announced, ships mid to late April
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Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
3AA lithium... on 03/27/2014 00:42:52 MDT Print View

I agree that it's the amperage that's the problem with the AA chargers. The Miller Charger that I linked above (which uses an 18650 lithium rechargeable battery) pushes out 1.2 amps and that's why it can fully charge the inReach.

I did some final testing on my iPhone with the same charger and I can get two full charges out of one 18650 battery. It actually charges the iPhone very quickly.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: 3AA lithium... on 03/27/2014 00:58:42 MDT Print View

Mike, I guess you know that one single AA lithium battery can deliver 3 amps continuously in short circuit, so three in series can deliver a lot at nearly 5V. Of course there could be some limitations in the small wires and connectors.

We need to do a test of the Delorme input current demand when charging.

--B.G.--

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
3AA lithium... on 03/27/2014 02:27:43 MDT Print View

@Bob

The problem is exactly what you allude to... the raw battery spec isn't what you get from these power supplies.

It's obviously dialed back for whatever reason. The Lithium 18650 batteries that I use have a very high potential output but the power supply that they are used in lists the output at only 1.2 amps.

I believe the spec on the 3AA Energizer charger lists an output of only .5 amp. That's too low for the inReach. Delorme recommends the Goal Zero power supply for charging the inReach and that unit puts out 5V and up to 1 amp, so I'd assume that the Goal Zero spec is what you should be looking for in an alternate charger (and the 18650 charger I have is pretty close and a lot cheaper/lighter than the Goal Zero (79 grams vs 181 grams)).

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: 3AA lithium... on 03/27/2014 08:10:52 MDT Print View

Mike, I already have a Goal Zero Nomad-7 panel, with or without the Guide 10 battery pack. Getting all of the cables right is another trick. I consider a USB cable to be for data transfer more than for power transfer.

--B.G.--

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: 3AA lithium... on 03/27/2014 14:28:07 MDT Print View

Mike, Do you have an idea of how long the 18650 rechargeables hold their charge? I am hiking the JMT and would be mailing a charged 18650 to a resupply location where it would be sitting for about 4 weeks or so. I assume that if properly packaged, the cell would not significantly discharge during that time. I ordered the FastTech charger, but the panasonic 3400mAh cells are now sold out. I bought some 3100mAh cells instead and will test them with the Delorme.

Thanks for the information!

-Bill.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: lithium... on 03/27/2014 14:53:11 MDT Print View

Typical lithium rechargeable batteries are supposed to have a self-discharge rate of less than 1% per day. A good one that is fairly new will be less than that. An old one that is getting funky might be 3-5% per day.

--B.G.--

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Lithium Batteries... on 03/28/2014 01:27:40 MDT Print View

>> Mike, Do you have an idea of how long the 18650 rechargeables hold their charge? <<

I've never really measured the rate of discharge but I just tested a battery (new-ish 18650) with my zebralight and did the flash test and got 4 flashes. The battery was charged about three weeks ago. I also tested the voltage and it's the same as my freshly charged batteries.

This Candle Power Forum link provides lots of opinions on the subject. Bottom line seems to be that after 4 weeks in normal temperatures, the power drain will be negligible.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Security on the Delorme Mapshare Sites... on 03/29/2014 01:45:25 MDT Print View

I was curious if inReach users on this site worry about their web map security on the Delorme site.

Knowing that by default, your personal web map url ends with you name, I typed in a bunch of BPL'er's names at the end of the mapshare url and was surprised to get so many successful hits. Most are password protected but some aren't!

Pretty obvious by my account name on this site that I don't like my full name to be exposed and I dislike sites (like BPL and inReach's mapshare) that default to your full name.

If you are wondering how to change your mapshare URL, it's an option under the "Social" tab on your inReach web page. I like the fact that they let you name the end piece of your mapshare url. You can set a password under "options" on the same tab.

May not be a concern to some but I don't want the world to know where I live or when I am out of town (judging by the way points and tracks, it's obvious that many people play with their inReach at home).

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Extending inReach SE battery life - my experience on 03/30/2014 08:10:48 MDT Print View

Last year on the JMT we had 10 days from MTR to Whitney - meaning no recharge. I set the device to tracking every 4 hours, sent two presets every day (starting hiking...stopping for the night), then had several longer exchanges towards the end to coordinate my ride from whitney portal.

I had bluetooth off, locked the screen all day, hiked for probably 11-13 hrs/day, kept the screen brightness at 10% (but had to up it when I sent those messages I had to actually type out)...

It lasted all the way to Whitney Portal with about 20% left. So that was 10 days with those settings. I was soooo careful about it because I knew I would need to contact my uncle about picking us up.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
New Firmware for the SE with New Features on 04/01/2014 15:15:08 MDT Print View

Here's the scoop:

https://support.delorme.com/kb/articles/44-inreach-se-firmware-update-release-notes

Now, when powering on, the screen is locked, thereby making a faux SOS much less likely. Also, in settings you can choose Screen Lock, so that when activating the display you have to unlock the screen. Probably a good practice. It's two more button pushes, but the chance of doing anything accidentally is just about eliminated. Clumsiness and ignorance remain problems.

The Data Use page is much improved, giving the specifics of your actual data plan and its monthly renewal date. What is more, it resets the data use counters on each renewal date automatically, so you know how many of your allotments you've used in the current billing cycle.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: New Firmware for the SE with New Features on 04/01/2014 16:31:20 MDT Print View

Jim, the support Release Notes refer to Firmware 2.5.

If you use the Sync function to grab the new version, it loads in as ver. 1.2.1.8770 and no explanation of the numbers. But, it seems to be useful.

--B.G.--

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: New Firmware for the SE with New Features on 04/01/2014 19:15:11 MDT Print View

Bob, the version I got was 2.5.17898.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: 3AA lithium... on 04/01/2014 19:35:16 MDT Print View

Just checked the manufacturer's spec for the Energizer PP-3AAMC, and it shows 5V and 1A, which should be enough to charge the SE.

My recharge tests were not very demanding because I'm lazy and a cheapskate. Instead of using expensive Li AA cells I used rechargeable NiMH cells. Instead of trying to recharge a depleted SE, I recharged one after a mere day's use, which left it at about 94%. Actually, I did this several times. The result was simple success. In short order, less than an hour, as I recall, the SE was charged back up to 100%.

However, reading here of the rechargeable Li-ion cells and charger from FastTech, I ordered the kit right away. Looks to be lighter and higher capacity.

We'll see!

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Re: New Firmware for the SE with New Features on 04/03/2014 00:04:54 MDT Print View

Reminder: DeLorme inReach SE firmware updates will reset some of your settings. Check after update.

In my case, Time Zone reset to Eastern, Bluetooth reset to On, Display Timer reset to 30 seconds, Mute All reset to Off.

Screen Lock and improved Data Use page look like good improvements.

-- Rex

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: New Firmware for the SE with New Features on 04/03/2014 00:14:03 MDT Print View

None of my settings were changed.

--B.G.--

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: 3AA lithium... on 04/03/2014 18:38:06 MDT Print View

Ok, just back from a day skiing high in the wild snows of the southern San Juans of Colorado. The SE was down, as usual, to 94%. I connected it to the Energizer triple AA charger with primo Li AA cells. In twenty-five minutes, I checked the SE, which was at 100%. Then I put a Lightning adapter on the micro-B tip and recharged the iPod Touch (5th gen). That took less than five minutes to get to 100%. The iPod provides only a graphic indication of charge state, except for specifying a 100% charge. The iPod was using the SE's GPS signal via Bluetooth to track my skiing. I hardly looked at the display, which at full brightness uses lots of electrons; so the battery had nearly a full charge at the end of the day. Apparently the Bluetooth radio is pretty efficient when communicating at very close range. The mapping app (GAIA GPS) and Bluetooth work while the display is asleep.

I don't know why people have trouble charging the SE with the PP-3AAMC charger, but the difference between my experience and Rex's, for example, is that I'm just topping up the SE, but Rex was trying to recharge a deeply discharged SE battery. I have heard or read and believe that fully discharging Li-ion cells is not recommended, but I cannot defend my belief. However, it is consistent with our two experiences.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: 3AA lithium... on 04/03/2014 19:26:17 MDT Print View

I come from the camera battery world, so I've been recharging similar lithium ion batteries for twelve or so years. The prevailing opinion in that world is that a single lithium ion battery has only so many charge cycles in its chemistry, and that number is thought to be in the realm of 300. That is significant if you are a photographer shooting up a storm every day. However, for the inReach SE, I think it won't see that much use. The big difference is that for a camera, you can have one battery inside the camera and a spare inside your pocket, just in case the first one runs out, so you can swap them. With inReach, that is not possible since there is no user access to the internal battery.

--B.G.--

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Why the SE is locked on during an SOS on 04/07/2014 21:41:22 MDT Print View

Bob Gross complained back in January about the SE locking itself on during the SOS condition:

["Once the message is sent, the unit's tracking is locked on (you can't turn it off)."

Yes, but you can sure as hell kill the tracking signal from getting out. Stick it inside a cook pot with the lid on.]

I just read this interesting story below about climbers who sent an SOS with a Spot device and promptly turned it off to save electrons. This was not a good plan for a couple of reasons. DeLorme wants to avoid that problem.

http://www.thejasperlocal.com/drama-on-andromea.html?utm_source=Newsnet&utm_campaign=13764b4115-Newsnet_November_14_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f101f176b6-13764b4115-11584037

Note to Bob: If you're not in an emergency, just cancel the SOS.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Why the SE is locked on during an SOS on 04/07/2014 22:02:40 MDT Print View

Jim, first of all, I didn't complain.

Somebody had noted that once the SOS was sent, their device could not be easily shut down. I think that on a different event, somebody had opened up the case to disconnect the battery to shut it down. I commented about using the cook pot to stifle the signal.

Then you come up with the previously reported story about two climbers and their Spot device. The problem here was that they simply did not understand how the unit operated, and that once the SOS was sent, it will lock on and try to keep sending GPS coordinate updates, assuming that it has a good GPS solution to send. In their case, there was no good GPS solution, so the Spot could not send much of anything intelligent.

Since then, some of us have gotten familiar with the inReach SE device, and the entire protocol of sending the SOS message is different. It is well documented how to send, how to confirm, and how to cancel.

However, the Spot device is one-way only, and the inReach SE is two-way, so the user/victim will quickly find out if his emergency message was received or if there is some problem.

I was the person who reported on the problem that happened around August 2012 in Fresno County. A backpacker was very ill and a stranger sent the SOS via Spot device. Then, assuming that help would be on the way, the stranger took off on the trail, not realizing that his Spot was still sending GPS updates continually. The sheriff's dispatcher saw all of that and cancelled the helicopter rescue. That entire foul-up could have been avoided with a two-way device.

--B.G.--

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: Why the SE is locked on during an SOS on 04/07/2014 23:05:17 MDT Print View

The moral of the story is Know Your Gear.

It's sad to read of someone ordering some sophisticated piece of gear to be used on a big trip into the middle of nowhere starting the next day. That's learning the hard way. Between lack of familiarity, inadequate User Guides, and poor reading comprehension, or no reading at all, mistakes will be made.

Despite the considerable virtues of the SE, it takes time to set it up and get comfortable with its use. Too bad users are forbidden to try out the SOS function. I still wonder how well the GEOS emergency dispatch works. At least the SE does not limit you to that.