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DeLorme inReach 1.5, groovy with an iPad

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher since 4/12/2005, and now excited to have Ben Stein as a very able colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2018 and beyond.

34 Responses

  1. Incidentally, the inReach 1.5 works on “iPod Touch (3rd and 4th generations), iPhone® 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad® (3rd generation), iPad 2 and iPad” as long as they’re running iOS 5.0 or later (and are also “Compatible with Android 2.1 and later). Which is a little sad as it leaves my Touch out.
    However, I can use my phone with the inReach 1.5, like when I go hiking on some island, but you do have to un-pair and re-pair when you switch devices, which is a bit of a pain. Nice, though, that the Earthmate mapping works fine with the phone’s GPS when the inReach is not connected.

  2. Patrick harman says:

    Ben,
    I Googled the Delorme inReach 1.5 and got the link below.
    http://blog.delorme.com/2011/06/03/delorme-inreach-two-way-satellite-communication/
    I generally avoid subscriptions to services. They are considering $10/mo. Price of the hardware/software was not mentioned.
    Pat

  3. Pat, you got an old DeLorme blog entry. The link to the product page with all pricing and specifications is the first one in my entry, and again here: http://goo.gl/2b5Ci
    The inReach retails for $250 with no added charge for the apps. Service plans start at $10 a month but ones with unlimited tracking start at $25/mo. They are actually a pretty good deal for work-anywhere satellite messaging. But SPOT is arguably a better deal if you just want tracking, but then again that’s more impetus for DeLorme to pack inReach with boating features.
    The inReach cost is also a lot lower than what I’ve sent Time Warner every month since the fabulous deal I signed up for two years ago ran out! Their scheme to hook me on HBO and an HD DVR worked perfectly. How do you avoid subscriptions?

  4. My share page is working now (last link in entry), and the inReach 1.5 is at Gizmo’s helm, where I’m hoping it will work well. So feel free to locate or text me while I work on some boat projects.

  5. George says:

    Looks good, I’ll have to compare it to the spot messenger that I am considering.
    One caveat: it is $1.50 per text message either sent or received — so I hope that they have a VERY good spam filter…

  6. Richard C says:

    One serious oversight in the design of both SPOT and InReach is their only source of power are from batteries. In the case of InReach, two AA Lithium batteries must be used and only last 60 hours under ideal conditions. Figure less then that in a real world. Lithium AA’s cost about $8 per pair:
    http://goo.gl/vknV5
    Be sure to add battery cost for every 60 hours of use into the monthly cost of operation. Not designing an optional 12 VDC power supply so the InReach can run during a longer then 60 hour voyage is a problem for me. I’m not about to keep buying $8 Lithium AA’s so I can transmit my track while sailing up the coast. If Delorme adds this power supply option I think they would open the door to more serious long term subscribers.

  7. Good point, Richard, but you should shop around! I’ve been buying excellent Energizer Ultimate Lithiums for less than $4 a pair with shipping: http://goo.gl/xIs9b
    Also, I successfully used rechargables for a while yesterday and will experiment more once the boat is more settled (!). My sense is that they could do a lot of tracking and would be fairly easy to swap out on board.
    And, finally, I have heard that DeLorme might be experimenting with a 12v “sled” that could optionally replace the bottom battery door seen in the Cerberus entry: http://goo.gl/iX6oq

  8. Wow, when I just went to my explore.delorme.com site I was greeted with an announcement that I could link the inReach to a BoatUS towing account. I signed right up and apparently the three built-in messages can now alert BoatUS, send a further location, or cancel an alert. And if the phone or pad app is up, you can dialog with the BoatUS call center (and maybe even the tow boat?). There seems to be no extra charge.
    Unfortunately, I was at the site because my mapshare page seems to be broken again, but I’m confident that’s a very unusual situation brought on by my having two registered inReaches and messing with their assignments recently. But it was working last night and I had a little satellite repartee with one Panbo reader. Maybe we can try again later today.

  9. Embarassing! John Gass figured out that my SharePage problem is not at DeLorme but rather somewhere in the cookie/caching whatever of my Chrome browser. It works fine in FireFox on the same machine and probably works fine on your machine. Give it try by messaging me here:
    http://share.delorme.com/?MapId=4fe49467765d43a8aa27f258ec8baad6
    The inReach has a poor sky view right now but I’ll be on the boat soon…
    PS George, I suppose inReach spam is possible, especially if you do what I just did, but understand that an inReach does not have a regular email address and users can turn off messaging on their sharemap. Then the only way to send a message to an inReach is by going to the link received in a message from the specific inReach.

  10. David says:

    Ben,
    How would you compare this to the Spot connect, any plus /minuses?
    Thanks,
    David

  11. Richard C says:

    Ben, That’s terrific if Delorme offers the 12 v “Sled” to power the InReach. I’ll look forward to seeing that.
    I looked carefully at the InReach subscription terms. I’m ok with most of it, but if a subscriber wants to terminate their account early you are obligated to pay for the balance of the full year. Seems to me like punishment for changing your mind about the product or much like what we see with cellphones subsidized by the carrier. Why not allow a customer to cancel a subscription and pay the balance of the month?
    There is a seasonal subscription for Recreational boaters at $39.95 per month, however, customer service offered a canned reply when I sent them an email asking for the definition of “Seasonal”. Their answer never defined “Seasonal”. Since I sail in the summer only and the boat is on the hard for six months a Seasonal subscription would be desirable although way more expensive per month then I think it should be. But what is “Seasonal” – is it six months?
    This all makes me wonder, if Delorme had more modest fees would they gain a massive amount more business or are the high fees designed to screen out all of the cheap sailors, like me, who clog the bandwidth?

  12. André V says:

    Wow this looks great.
    I think a nice tool for on board.
    But will it also work in Europe? (Maybe except Greece 🙂

  13. They’re serious about “Anywhere in the World”, André. I risk confusing people because I’m testing on shore and near shore right in DeLorme’s home state of Maine, but inReach uses the Iridium satellite service and that means it’s even more global than Inmarsat (not that it really matters unless you’re going to the Poles).
    But what you won’t get use of outside of the U.S. or Canada is the detailed topographic maps that are included in the inReach system. DeLorme actually started as a cartography company, and now have lots of resources in that department, but they seem to have stayed focused on North America. And if they do offer nautical charts for the EarthMate inReach apps, it will probably just be NOAA charts, which they already have on their servers. But then again, they also have a relationship with Navionics so that those worldwide charts can display on DeLorme GPS units. Just saying!
    Also Earthmate does include a fairly good global base map. I just zoomed into southern Greece and can make out the town of Kalmata — of olive fame, I think — on the Gulf of Messinia, plus a few major roads. But the islands thereabouts aren’t named and some may not be shown.
    It’s funny you mentioned Greece as this morning I talked with a friend who will be helping to move a new cruising boat from there to England this summer. He’s thinking that an inReach might be just the thing to keep him reliably and easily in touch with his family and friends, and I think he’s right. That 12v “sled” would be nice though.

  14. Richard C says:

    I just found out from the BoatUS web site, where InReach is now sold, “Seasonal” is defined as a four month plan. This is perfect if you live in Maine as the season for many boaters is about that long. A seasonal plan becomes less attractive as you move south to mid-coast where boating last for 5 -6 months. I think after that the full year is the better subscription choice. Remember there is a $20 activation fee to add in and the risk of buying out the full year if you decide to discontinue use early.
    I still feel this great product will be passed up by many just because of the expensive and difficult subscription contract terms. Right now, InReach meets the need of a narrow customer base who sail less then 60 hours at a time, while reaching the far corners of the globe.

  15. Richard, I’ll bet that new BoatUS page is poorly worded and that what’s actually meant is a MINIMUM four month season. Which would make more sense. If a user is willing to pay a $15 monthly premium not to have an annual plan, what does it matter to DeLorme or Iridium if it’s for 5, 6, 7, or whatever months? In fact, it’s better for them.
    I don’t understand your comment about a “narrow customer base who sail less then 60 hours at a time, while reaching the far corners of the globe”. Please explain.

  16. Richard C says:

    With worldwide coverage, from pole to pole, you would think Delorme is targeting blue water sailors and those who tend to trek off the beaten path well out of cellphone range. I think that’s a pretty small customer base and not the type of people who like being restricted by a short 60 hours of battery life. I can’t imagine carrying a pocket full of lithium batteries for every 60 hours as I cross the Atlantic. As I mentioned earlier I can’t wait to see if that 12 v sled is soon offered to power the InReach.
    I hope you’re right on the Seasonal Minimum of four months. At my latitude buying 5 to 6 months of service works for me.

  17. Michael says:

    This looks very useful. Can it link to any Bluetooth device or must they be Apples?
    Also, I’d never buy something that required me to keep changing batteries at this rate. If forced to get one, I’d cobble up a 12 or 24 volt supply that delivered the required voltage. There are lots of switching or linear supplies that deliver 3 volts.

  18. Michael, the original inReach only worked with Android devices. This new model works with both Android and Apple phones and pads, and quite possibly other operating systems if DeLorme decides to make apps for them, or offers an SDK so that other developers can integrate the hardware’s messaging and GPS abilities.
    Product info: http://goo.gl/2b5Ci

  19. +1 for a 12 V sled, or should that be +12?

  20. Christopher says:

    Ben,
    Have you received any information on how robust Zigbee has been as a link for the PN-60w paired up with the inReach in a boating electronics environment?
    We found a 1-2 foot range was max for Zigbee when working in a residential environment due to RFI.

  21. agent g says:

    Note the Inreach can use lithium, alkaline, or NMH. You can select the profile for each type of battery. Trust me, that is a good thing if you know anything about discharge curves.
    I’m not positive, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the differences between versions were merely firmware, excluding the version that uses a dedicated GPS. I just bought one and fortunately it is the rev 1.5 (blue) version that does Android and iphone/pad/pod.
    It is a shame they didn’t cover blackberry, if only for the messaging. [I can’t imagine anyone purchasing the bluetooth version not already owning a GPS, so putting mapping in the app is dubious.] Blackberry phones are much more rugged than Android or iphone since they use plastic on the display rather than that glass that cracks. I had to buy a used android phone just to use the inreach.
    Incidentally, the SPOT messenger is terrible. The Inreach uses the irridium network, while SPOT is on Orbcom. Many people are dumping SPOT for Inreach. I never really understood why Delorme resold SPOT other than to have something to sell in that market.
    Delorme doesn’t publish the API for the Inreach, so dream on about doing your own bluetooth hacks. Possibly someone will reverse engineer the protocol.

  22. Actually Spot uses the Globalstar network, which has been upgraded recently and has more new satellites about to go into service. So past problems with Globalstar phones are not necessarily true today or may go away tomorrow. Plus the Spot simplex service has always worked fairly well and it too has improved. Many boaters would be surprised to hear that it’s “terrible”!
    That said, the Iridium 9602 devices like inReach do offer a lot more features, like two-way messaging, longer messages, and track points with COG and SOG. It would be nice for early adopters if the inReach 1 and 1.5 were just firmware differences but they are not. At minimum the 1.5 has a different Bluetooth module that can work with both Android and iOS and I think there are other hardware differences. Their labels clearly differentiate them.

  23. jose mera says:

    when you have the InReach paired to an iphone/ipad, can you use any other mapping software, or will it only work with Delorme’s Earthmate app ?
    -Jose

  24. Yes, Jose, the inReach seems able to serve as a Bluetooth GPS for any iOS app, and I think its battery life in that mode is huge

  25. I don’t know how much custom coding was involved, but inReach is providing the tracking and messaging for the Greatest Loop’s very nice trip map:
    http://www.thegreatestloop.com/
    DeLorme also announced a firmware update for both inReach models that more than doubles battery life and also provides GPS to Android devices. A world database of topo maps is now available free to inReach apps users (and those NOAA really are in the works).
    http://www.satnews.com/cgi-bin/story.cgi?number=428938071

  26. NickReese says:

    This will be brilliant for our organisation if it works blue water pole to pole. We have observers on fishing boats all over the place and they need an independent communication device.

  27. Nick, inReach uses the Iridium system which can and does claim true global coverage because its 66 satellites are in polar orbits. It should work “blue water pole to pole”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridium_satellite_constellation

  28. Sweeet!…the inReach app, at least the iOS version, now officially offers NOAA charts. See new PS above for comments and screen shot.

  29. Liviu says:

    Very nice post!
    I’m really interested in the inReach for tracking and communication for bush flying in Southern Africa. Sadly their customer service sucks, sent 3 e-mails in 4 days and no reply. Probably they are not interested in business outside north America.
    Spot doesn’t work in this part of the world so I have not many options left

  30. inReach is being sold all over the world, I’m pretty sure, and should work anywhere. The one service exception may be SMS messaging. From what I understand there’s no problem with outgoing SMS texts from the inReach but in some countries like Australia and Brazil return texts don’t back through the Iridium gateway to the inReach.
    There’s more info on this issue if you search “SMS” in DeLorme’s inReach Forum:
    http://forum.delorme.com/viewforum.php?f=232

  31. Good news for inReach in the USA: West Marine is now carrying the product and the inReach canned message buttons can now be set up to call VesselAssist as well as BoatTowUS.

  32. Mostly Michael says:

    Actually, the inReach should function just fine with modern NIMH batteries; assuming you use a battery with a storage capability of 2500 mAH or better.
    I’m considering the inReach and would use NIMH batteries for day to day operations. I’d keep Lithium Ultimate Energizer batteries for emergencies.
    And when all else fails, their is always my amateur radio.
    Cheers!

  33. Sorry I haven’t yet put together an entry this week, but I sure have been testing stuff! Mistakes have been made, and problems discovered, but inReach is one of several systems that is working wonderfully. Feel free to test the messaging function. I’m about to go on an easy (though rolly) watch and will keep an eye out for incoming texts.
    Just go here:
    http://share.delorme.com/(S(wm4b3sr5gjvokbm0sdkctd2g))/?MapId=4fe49467765d43a8aa27f258ec8baad6

  34. Quasii says:

    I would buy this in a heart beat if it offered a plan that suited people that hike infrequently. Do to work I am lucky to get away 4 times a year. If there was an option to pay for single months I would be all over it.

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