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

Locale: British Columbia
DeLorme inReach SE... on 06/16/2013 11:40:25 MDT Print View

Jim, thanks for your review and the ongoing updates on your findings. Much appreciated by those of us that are still waiting to receive our devices.

Can you let us know if the "current position" coordinates (on the track point) can be displayed in UTM or is it only displayed in geographic coordinates. (Is this user configurable?)

Regarding the contact points under the belt clip... My understanding is that these are not only for a battery pack but mainly for dash mount applications such as boating and aviation. It 's important to remember that there is a huge industry outside of the backpacking community that is driving the design of this unit.

Regarding the service plans, I found that Delorme's "suspend" feature made my plan costs a bit cheaper. Over the winter months, I suspended my service which makes the device unusable, but it maintains my online account and only costs $4 per month.

Please keep the review updates coming!

Edited by skopeo on 06/16/2013 11:42:47 MDT.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Another one star review ... on 06/16/2013 11:44:29 MDT Print View

... mostly about poor customer service again, from a BassPro customer:
http://www.basspro.com/DeLorme-inReach-SE-Satellite-Communicator/product/1303070849/

Edited by Rex on 06/16/2013 11:59:38 MDT.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: DeLorme inReach SE... on 06/16/2013 15:12:33 MDT Print View

"Can you let us know if the "current position" coordinates (on the track point) can be displayed in UTM or is it only displayed in geographic coordinates. (Is this user configurable?)"

The choices for SE track point coord display are a number of variations on Lat/Long degrees plus USNG/MGRS. So far as I know, UTM and USNG/MGRS are pretty similar outside of the high latitudes. I have no experience with USNG/MGRS. The conversion may be trivial, or not.

UPDATE:

I just checked the UTM coords for a known location with the USNG/MGRS coords reported by the SE. The last five digits of both the easting and the northing are the same. The major rectangle (or whatever they call it) is the same in both. There are some differences in between, having to do with whether digits or alphabetic characters are used and their order. If you know your location within 100 km, it seems that you can safely use USNG/MGRS coords like UTM by just ignoring all but the last ten digits. The first five are the easting, and the second five are the northing (in meters, natch).

Thanks for telling about being able to suspend an inReach subscription for a nominal fee. This could make the subscription requirement less painful.

Edited by JimSubzero on 06/17/2013 20:25:25 MDT.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: inReach SE Review on 06/16/2013 15:24:17 MDT Print View

"Early reviewers describe serious problems with firmware updates and/or customer service. Do you have any experience with that?"

No firmware update was required for my SE. I have not needed to consult customer service. Wheeee!

When DeLorme gets the synch fixed and I haven't found any fatal flaws, the SE is on track for an upgrade to a five rating. But for synchronization of contacts and prewritten messages, the SE has just been working. It sounds like some of the earliest units shipped had problems. Has this ever happened before?

terry tiedeman
(Terry62) - F
delorme inreach se on 06/20/2013 11:47:32 MDT Print View

I just thought to say I am super happy so far with my SE. I have set it up at home and tested it and talked multiple times with tech support to get some questions answered and I have had a very positive experience. The sync should be up by the end of this week, so I was told, and the earthmate app is super easy to understand and use so far. I have downloaded the maps for an upcoming trip and checked them out and I am pleased. I like that I can send a general message to the map share page if I want to and all of the settings and prompts are pretty basic and easy to understand. I usually use google chrome but I had to use mozilla firefox to set up my account because I couldn't do it in chrome for some reason but now that I have a login and password I can access my account and explore page through chrome. I have had some friends who worked tech support and I have heard what a terrible job it is having people take out their frustration or anger on you all day long so I always try to be very kind and friendly over the phone and I have found them very clear in their answers and exceptionally easy to deal with. The 2 free months of service for registering in June is great as well. I did have to update the firmware when I first got the unit from REI in the mail last week but the update was easy and fairly quick. No Problems. I will be back from a 5 or 6 week backpacking trip sometime in august and I will post my experiences with this unit in the field upon my return.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: inReach SE Review on 06/21/2013 22:36:37 MDT Print View

The nth increment of my inReach SE review was just posted. This most recent post discusses using the SE paired with a 5th gen iPod Touch. The previous post discusses using the SE standalone. I also propose a reasonable answer, I hope, to the problem of builtin batteries on longer trips.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/reviews/display_reviews.html?forum_thread_id=78521&skip_to_post=669507#669507

Fred Eoff
(fredeoff) - F - M

Locale: Northwest
InReach SE on 06/22/2013 07:52:53 MDT Print View

My apologies for being slow to add a review since it seems I was fortunate enough to get one of the first SE units. And this one will be short as I am pressed for time this morning.

I had no problems at all with initial registration and setup of the SE. Transition from my old account to new account was not so bad. I will say if you have an original Inreach the vastly preferable approach would be not to terminate service to the old unit prior to adding the new SE. The account transition would be much easier that way. I did not do that as I had sold the older unit and the new buyer was anxious to get it for a trip. But the DeLorme support group handled the transition for me very nicely.

I have only been out on one trip so far, 3 days and 2 nights into the Glacier Peak Wilderness area here in WA. In reviewing the map log after the trip, tracking was quite accurate. I did notice one tracking mark which was transmitted after stopping for the second night and before I shut down tracking which showed a drift maybe 100 yds from our actual location for some reason. But that was the only oddity as everything else was pretty much right on. Since I was interested in getting a feel for performance, I sent a few more than normal text messages from the unit with 100% success both send and reply.

All text messages were from the SE in standalone mode as my primary purpose in acquiring it was to eliminate the necessity of carrying my Android and pairing it for messages. In that regard this has been a complete success. The only nuisance so far is that I have not been able to get the send/receive aural tones to work. Could be user error in setting that up but I will work on that when time permits.

All in all....I am really pleased with the SE.

Edited by fredeoff on 06/22/2013 07:56:56 MDT.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
inReach SE accessories; more activation problems on 06/23/2013 23:28:12 MDT Print View

DeLorme is promising custom mounts and cases for the inReach SE for delivery in July:
http://www.inreachdelorme.com/product-info/accessories.php
like this neoprene flotation case:
inReach SE flotation case

Some negative reviews on Amazon concerning activation problems; others have had no problem with activation.

-- Rex

Edited by Rex on 06/23/2013 23:30:26 MDT.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
inReach SE first impressions on 06/25/2013 00:17:55 MDT Print View

Bottom line: After some activation snafus, so far, so good.

Ordered from REI on May 18, delivered today June 24. Last update from REI said device would ship after July 6, maybe DeLorme is shipping faster now.

Web site was pretty easy to navigate. 31 pages of Terms and Conditions is ridiculous!

Instruction booklet impossible to follow literally, wants you to get IMEI and activation code *before* turning on the device, not possible. I get grumpy when the documentation obviously wasn't tested before publication.

Could not activate device in my backyard, in a forested canyon with about 20% sky visible, despite multiple tries. Drove to a parking lot, activated in just under 5 minutes. I hope that tracking and messaging works OK in a forest, I do a lot of hiking in redwood forests.

Using virtual keyboard to enter phone numbers, addresses, and messages, gets old fast. Looking forward to setting up more contacts on the device, using pre-set messages, and learning virtual keyboard shortcuts.

Outbound messages went through to my cell phone in less than 30 seconds. Inbound messages from my cell phone took a few minutes.

Never got the "Welcome" test message from DeLorme, despite receiving a few messages from myself while in the parking lot.

Location on one message was within a few feet, judging from the satellite view. Linked map sucks on an iPhone, the map is a tiny corner of the screen, must enlarge and poke very carefully to change the view.

Device defaults to Eastern time, which was confusing at first. Had to go into Settings to set Pacific time. Out-of-box setup should have walked you through that.

Device seems smaller and lighter than I imagined. 196 grams on my scale, 190 grams according to DeLorme, but maybe they don't include the belt clip. Cannot figure out how to remove the belt clip, which came pre-installed. I presume the IP67 rating is with the cover on the micro USB port, which is kind of fiddly and hard to put back on straight.

As others have noted, DeLorme web site says Syncing contacts and canned messages isn't working yet, coming soon.

My device shipped with 2.0.2596018 firmware, which seems to have the updated features described here. Since others report problems with firmware updates, I'll leave well enough alone for now.

Edited by Rex on 06/25/2013 00:20:02 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: inReach SE first impressions on 06/25/2013 00:32:08 MDT Print View

"Could not activate device in my backyard, in a forested canyon with about 20% sky visible, despite multiple tries."

Is there any way to predict how much sky view is necessary to expect a reliable connection? Also, if the sky view is broken up into little pieces, you get the so-called picket fence problem, and you may never get a reliable connection. The satellite is visible for only long enough to get part of the message done, and then it is blocked.

Assuming that you had a completely clear view of the sky, about how long do you think each satellite is overhead from horizon to horizon?

--B.G.--

Mike Bitz
(trek_guy) - M
Belt clip removal on 06/25/2013 05:39:42 MDT Print View

Rex, to remove the belt clip just a) pinch the tabs together, and b) slide the clip up and out -- note this is very very tight so I had to tap the clip on the edge of a table for it to break loose.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Belt Clip Removal and Picket Fence Problem with LEO Sats on 06/25/2013 07:36:44 MDT Print View

Thanks, Trek Guy. I wrestled with the belt clip unsuccessfully until I tried your method. Without the clip the SE weighs the stated 190 g.

Actually, I use the belt clip but didn't like the idea of not being able to remove it. I clip the SE to the haul loop on top of the pack, where it gets a good view of the sky and is out of the way.

Regarding Bob's concern for the "picket fence" problem, the time to send or receive a text message is extremely short, and a text message transmission does not require a signal of as high quality as voice does. These are the great strengths of short text over voice. Furthermore, text communications are opportunistic, not real time. I have not had any problem with messages or track points getting through forested areas in the southern Rockies. Redwood forests and narrow canyons may be more challenging.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Belt Clip Removal and Picket Fence Problem with LEO Sats on 06/25/2013 08:16:20 MDT Print View

I used a belt clip on my GPS but it popped off a couple times so I quit using it.

Maybe there are better belt clips.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Re: Re: inReach SE first impressions on 06/25/2013 08:44:16 MDT Print View

With an unobstructed horizon, most LEO satellites like Iridium are visible 9 minutes on average. My backyard sky view is one patch of about 20% open sky. I attempted activation there for a total of about 40 minutes, with two restarts. Gave up after 15 minutes of "waiting for GPS fix" the first time. The next two times eventually got "Activation started, waiting for confirmation", and stalled before I gave up. On-screen status messages were mildly entertaining. After 5 minutes, something like "activation is taking extraordinarily long"; after 10 minutes, something like "activation is taking extraordinarily long, are you sure you are activated on explore.delorme.com?" I had no similar problems activating and using the Briartek Cerberlink in my backyard; maybe the satellites were in better positions.

In the parking lot, got to "Activation started..." quickly, took a couple minutes to complete after that. Maybe a big download in 160 byte packets? Red status LED was blinking in parking lot, never saw that in the backyard.

Startup problems can really affect user satisfaction; the inReach SE Amazon rating might rise from 2.5 stars to 4 stars without those problems.

-- Rex

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Be Careful What You Wish for on 06/25/2013 09:31:12 MDT Print View

Trek Guy told how to remove the very tight belt clip. So I did. Now it comes off easily, too easily, as Jerry described.

I put a split ring on the lanyard attachment and now use a tiny carabiner to attach it to the pack. I'm happy again.

UPDATE

I decided I liked using the belt clip better, so fixed it. I took it off and wedged the prongs further outward and then put a drop of hot glue into the base of the enlarged slots then let the glue cool and harden. Now the belt clip stays attached until I use Trek Guy's edge of table trick.

Edited by JimSubzero on 06/29/2013 20:38:47 MDT.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Messages, Quick Text Messages, & Preset Messages on 06/25/2013 16:08:59 MDT Print View

After a lot of messing around with messages, I will try to clarify the different kinds of messages. SOS messages are a separate category with which I have no experience and want to keep it that way. I hope SOS messages don't take a lot of practice to get them to work.

Plain ol' messages are sent to any recipients with arbitrary text which you compose on the spot. You can send them from the SE standalone or from Earthmate on a paired device. They are charged against your plan.

Quick Text messages are pre-composed on the inReach or a paired device, can be edited on the spot, and are sent to any recipients. You can have any number of these. You can send them from the SE standalone or from Earthmate on a paired device. They are charged against your plan.

Preset messages must be composed on the Share website and they each include a list of one or more recipients. You get exactly three of these. Neither their text nor their recipients are available to you on the inReach nor via Earthmate. In fact, you cannot even send them via Earthmate on a paired device. They can only be sent from the SE directly where they are known only as Preset message 1, 2, and 3. Try to remember what they say and who they go to! You could cheat and carry a slip of paper with reminders, or you could keep an electronic copy on your paired device, if you have one with you. There are two ways to send the Preset messages from the SE. You can hold the X key on the SE for several seconds to see a screen with the choice of the three messages, or you can click the Preset icon on the home screen. These three messages are free and unlimited on all plans but the safety plan. In the safety plan there is no advantage in using preset messages other than convenience.

There is a fourth type of message, which instead of the user's current location includes a different location, a reference point. It also includes arbitrary user text.

Edited by JimSubzero on 06/26/2013 08:34:16 MDT.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
DeLorme inReach SE is available... on 06/26/2013 00:55:28 MDT Print View

I see that GPScity.com is listing the inReach SE as "available" (not back order), so it does seem like Delorme has finally caught up and gotten some units onto the shelves!

EDIT: It's also available on MEC's website as well (for those of you in Canada that might be looking for one)

Edited by skopeo on 06/26/2013 16:38:57 MDT.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Auxiliary Power for the SE (and paired device) on 06/29/2013 21:11:22 MDT Print View

I've added yet another update to the SE review, this time about a lightweight external recharger that works for the SE and with a one gram adapter works for the iPod. If you are not using a paired device or are pairing an android device, leave that big heavy adapter behind.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/reviews/display_reviews?forum_thread_id=78521&cat=First%20Aid%20and%20Survival%20Gear%20%26%20Accessories&cid=58

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Re: Auxiliary Power for the SE (and paired device) on 06/30/2013 00:06:25 MDT Print View

Just for comparison:

Goal Zero Switch 8 Recharger with internal Lithium-ion batteries
90 grams (".09 Kg" from specs)
2200 milliamp hours ("2.2 Ah" from specs)
$40 retail

Energizer PP-3AAMC charger with three Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries
90 grams (Jim's weight)
8500 milliamp hours (approximate, eyeballing Energizer charts, times 3)
$30 retail – $20 retail for charger, about $10 retail for the batteries

The Energizer is the same weight, almost 4 times more energy, replaceable batteries, not rechargeable, and more expensive after the first two sets of batteries.

Interesting tradeoffs.

-- Rex

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: Auxiliary Power for the SE (and paired device) on 06/30/2013 06:52:06 MDT Print View

Rex,

I expect that the three AAs in the Energizer charger are in series, at least in effect, to get the voltage required, so multiplying the current by three is likely wrong. The charger comes with a set of Li AAs, so no extra charge for the first set, which implies the charger itself costs about $10. Another point of comparison is whether you can replace cells. When any Li-ion charger is discharged, it is dead weight until it's recharged, just like the SE. When a AA powered charger is discharged, you can replace its cells. For the Energizer, the cells weigh 45 g or 1.5 oz.. For an extended time in the wilderness, it seems to me that the cost of a set or two of Li AAs is static in the budget.