Garmin InReach FAILURE - test yours

ChuckInTn

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Aug 21, 2022
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Thanks for sharing elkstabber. Glad you didn't have a real emergency. We usually test before a trip, but never really considered the firmware update as an issue.
 

AK_Skeeter

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Jan 3, 2020
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Becker Ridge, Alaska
Excellent post!
I have an old Delorme InReach Explorer.
On a 2-week backcountry trip I accidently cracked the screen.
Since the screen is liquid crystal display, it was not functional in terms of reading the screen.
Since then I carry the InReach in a hard plastic case to prevent screen cracking.
 

KHNC

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I had a Ford truck that left me stranded one time... No more Fords for me! ;)
Literally brand new 2014 Ford F150 had the accelerator pedal go out on me 3 times. Its a relay operated device. First time was in middle of nowhere New Mexico. Each time it would start working after it sat for 15 mins, then randomly quite less than 100 miles later. Replaced it 3 times, it failed 15-20 times total.
 
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elkstabber

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How long had it been since you used it previously? Any chance the unit broke when you cracked the screen?
I activated it in May and June for offshore fishing. But, I never tested or used it. The last time that I used it was in November of last year.

I agree that maybe not doing the updates might affect the messaging. But the SOS failure was unexplained.

The screen cracked midday but I doubt it broke the unit. I've known of guys with cracked screens that worked for months/years afterwards and are still working.
 

Marbles

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The SOS effectively is just a message and tracking points sent to Geos. Despite anything Garmin says, if messaging is not working, it is unlikely SOS will work.

Again, for SOS, PLB or EPIRB is the answer. For anything using a SATCOM connection, a handshake between device and satallite is needed (SPOT, inReach, Zoleo, Satphone). The PLB/EPIRB is like a flare, you burn it and NORAD sees it go off, no handshake needed.

I use an inReach, but do not expect more from them then they are capable of. The one time I asked Garmin a question, support was unable to answer it, so I do not put much stock in the depth of their knowledge.

On a boat, weight does not matter. At least take a PLB, better yet, install an EPIRB. My wife knows not to get worried until 24 hours after I miss a check in; unless I text and tell her I'm about to do some schetchy shit and put tracking points at every 2 minutes. This does not work with a mini though as it only links up once an hour, which is why I know carry an Explorer+.
 

KHNC

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The SOS effectively is just a message and tracking points sent to Geos. Despite anything Garmin says, if messaging is not working, it is unlikely SOS will work.

Again, for SOS, PLB or EPIRB is the answer. For anything using a SATCOM connection, a handshake between device and satallite is needed (SPOT, inReach, Zoleo, Satphone). The PLB/EPIRB is like a flare, you burn it and NORAD sees it go off, no handshake needed.

I use an inReach, but do not expect more from them then they are capable of. The one time I asked Garmin a question, support was unable to answer it, so I do not put much stock in the depth of their knowledge.

On a boat, weight does not matter. At least take a PLB, better yet, install an EPIRB. My wife knows not to get worried until 24 hours after I miss a check in; unless I text and tell her I'm about to do some schetchy shit and put tracking points at every 2 minutes. This does not work with a mini though as it only links up once an hour, which is why I know carry an Explorer+.
My Mini has screen options to link every 2 min, 10 min or 1 hour. Is your mini an older version? Or does this option not actually work on the mini?
 

Marbles

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My Mini has screen options to link every 2 min, 10 min or 1 hour. Is your mini an older version? Or does this option not actually work on the mini?
On my mini, if I set it to send tracking points every 10 minutes, it logs the points, then sends the 6 points for the past hour all at once. If not watching mapshare at the time, and only looking back at it later, it looks like the points where snt every 10 minutes.

If you send a message, the mini will check for messages 10 minutes later, but after that will not check again for an hour (unless you manually force a check, though a manual message check does not result in tracking points being sent).

Yours could work differently, mine is the mini, not the mini 2. Best thing is to play with it in your yard.
 
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KHNC

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On my mini, if I set it to send tracking points every 10 minutes, it logs the points, then sends the 6 points for the past hour all at once. If not watching mapshare at the time, and only looking back at it later, it looks like the points where snt every 5 minutes.

If you send a message, the mini will check for messages 10 minutes later, but after that will not check again for an hour (unless you manually force a check, though a manual message check does not result in tracking points being sent).

Yours could work differently, mine is the mini, not the mini 2. Best thing is to play with it in your yard.
Sounds good. Got mine last year for a moose hunt that didnt happen. Just activated it this week. Got an elk hunt in september and offshore fishing trip next weekend. Gives me time to sort it out.
 

Bluto

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Glad for the thread, if for no other reason than letting people know that didn’t that they need to update.

I have an InReach Mini, it’s been perfect since initial setup. I also use it for offshore fishing. That said, I also check my fire extinguishers, replace flares regularly, and update firmware on my inreach as well as my garmin electronics on the boat regularly.

At the price of these communicators now, I think I’d replace at some interval that one is comfortable with, especially folks like me that use it not only backcountry, but offshore. That environment will eventually murder anything, much less electronics. I don’t see myself switching from an inreach mini though
 

Justin Crossley

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I thought everyone knew that you needed to keep your InReach updated.

Garmin should do pushed updates whenever you power on your device, but they don't which is a bummer.
 
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elkstabber

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Glad for the thread, if for no other reason than letting people know that didn’t that they need to update.

I have an InReach Mini, it’s been perfect since initial setup. I also use it for offshore fishing. That said, I also check my fire extinguishers, replace flares regularly, and update firmware on my inreach as well as my garmin electronics on the boat regularly.

At the price of these communicators now, I think I’d replace at some interval that one is comfortable with, especially folks like me that use it not only backcountry, but offshore. That environment will eventually murder anything, much less electronics. I don’t see myself switching from an inreach mini though
I completely agree on a number of points, especially replacing after a couple of years.
 

Jacack

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Apr 27, 2018
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Florida
I have used a garmin for about 5 years now, I use it almost weekly on a boat I captain and never had any real problems. I do update regularly and test it alot.

I do know the sos works, even when pressed accidentally in a pack when chasing elk. Pretty embarrassing to hear someone yelling your name in the middle of nowhere and then realizing what is going on. Wife and family they contacted didn't think it was funny either.
 

Gone4Days

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Oct 29, 2021
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I use a zoleo but also have a ACR ResQlink PLB. I use the zoleo for communication, but if I want to be rescued, I will reach for the PLB everytime. Best thing about a PLB is no subscription or firmware updates. One time purchase and done. Replace battery every 5 years.
 
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Totoro

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NorCal, PRK
Great info there, many thanks for sharing.

Planning a two week way off the grid trip, and been thinking/researching/ etal long and hard on options.

I have an Iridium sat phone but that thing is heavy in comparison.
 

left hunter

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Feb 6, 2013
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is it possible to do the firmware update from the app on a phone or does it have to be a computer? I had issues last year with mine so I’m hoping this will help
 

ChrisAU

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SE Alabama
Reminds me that it’s about time for my annual rodeo with my Mini and my
Computer to update it. I’ll have the full complement of 4 letter words available for use. It’s never been anything close to user friendly.
 

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