Garmin inReach mini issues

For all high tech electronic equipment including GPS, PLB, chargers, phones, computers, software. Discussion of simple electrical devices such as torches, belongs in the main 'Equipment' forum.

Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 8:18 am

Hi,
I've emailed Garmin at au.service@garmin.com, but haven't had a reply yet.
There doesn't seem to be a number to call for Aus support, so that's all I've been able to find.
Does anybody know if there is a better way to contact them?

The issues:

I was in Tasmania last week and the inReach mini failed to find a satellite on Wednesday walking from Bill Nichols hut to Narcissus hut.
The location section just had 'Wait for GPS'.
I'd stop in an open location, and wait, but no GPS signal.
I needed to let my partner know what my plans were, but couldn't until Narcissus hut when I had some Optus covereage on the iPhone.
The iPhone was able to locate our position the whole time when using Avenza maps, so I don't know why the Garmin couldn't get GPS (different satellite network?).

The previous days it had GPS, but the Earthmate app./iPhone would lose the Bluetooth connection, which while annoying isn't that important.
I updated all software on iPhone and inReach mini and followed all troubleshooting guides Garmin provides online before setting off, but this doesn't seem fixable.
I'd just reset iPhone and inReach mini to get them working again.
The Bluetooth issue has happened every time I've taken out the inReach mini, within hours of starting a hike.
That meant my tracking was shot, (turning off device and restarting) so I've given up using the inReach mini for tracking, but I rely on it for sending messages and the SOS function.
The plan (if that makes a difference) was for unlimited messages.
Obviously, if I have no GPS, I can't send messages and can't signal SOS if in a bind.

Anybody else had these issues with Garmin inReach devices?

How do you chase this up with Garmin?

Thanks,
Brian.
Baeng72
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby tastrax » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 9:15 am

Certainly worth chasing it up with Garmin. They don't look to have had any outages in the last few weeks that would have affected the device

https://status.inreach.garmin.com/

Did it still fail at Narcissus?
Cheers - Phil

OSM Mapper
User avatar
tastrax
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1738
Joined: Fri 28 Mar, 2008 6:25 pm
Location: What3words - epic.constable.downplayed
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: RETIRED! - Parks and Wildlife Service
Region: Tasmania

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 11:16 am

Thanks for the reply.
It didn't work at Narcissus. I was able to get some 4G Optus at Narcissus if I stood at the right location for long enough to send a few messages, so it worked out.
When I suspended the plan yesterday, I got 2 messages from Garmin warning that my plan would be suspended on the inReach mini while it was inside.
So, I guess the device works quite well in Victoria. :)
Baeng72
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby wayno » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 11:59 am

the inreach uses iridium satellites which are dedicated to communicating with specific satellite comms devices that are designs to work with them and have active paid services...

different from the satellite network your phone is using for GPS
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8508
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 7:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 12:16 pm

wayno wrote:the inreach uses iridium satellites which are dedicated to communicating with specific satellite comms devices that are designs to work with them and have active paid services...

different from the satellite network your phone is using for GPS

Thanks for the reply.

I thought it was like that.

My point was that an iPhone can give me GPS positioning which isn't it's primary purpose, but an expensive Garmin with expensive subscription can't at same location.

Bit annoyed about that to be honest.
Baeng72
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby wayno » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 12:26 pm

teh satellites for your phones are far more prolific, but the garmin should still get a connection if you have a clear view of the sky, just not an instantaneous one, but it should get a connection after a few minutes... the SPOTs are worse you can wait 20 to 30 mins for a connection with those, they use a different satellite network again... try connecting with the buetooth off to start with
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8508
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 7:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Warin » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 3:02 pm

:?:

While the Iridium satellite network (used by the Inreach for texts) may have more satellites than the GPS network ..

How does the Inreach get its location? I don't think it can use the Iridium network to get the location, but it may use the GPS network to get its location.

The Inreach includes its location with every message .. so it cannot send a message without knowing its location. So if, for some reason, it is not getting the location (GPS signal?) then it will not send the message.

Could the phone interfere with the GPS signal enough to confuse the Inreach location enough to cause this problem? I'd try turning the phone off and see. The other thing is that the Inreach must have that view of the sky to 'see' the satellites.

----------------------
More questions.. If the Inreach cannot get its location, will it still send an SOS message? If not .. then that is a major fail.
Last edited by Warin on Sat 09 Nov, 2019 3:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
Warin
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 822
Joined: Sat 11 Nov, 2017 8:02 am
Region: New South Wales

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 3:24 pm

wayno wrote:teh satellites for your phones are far more prolific, but the garmin should still get a connection if you have a clear view of the sky, just not an instantaneous one, but it should get a connection after a few minutes... the SPOTs are worse you can wait 20 to 30 mins for a connection with those, they use a different satellite network again... try connecting with the buetooth off to start with

Thanks for the reply.

I stopped for a few breaks for 5 to 10 minutes over a 4 hours period walking and always 'Wait for GPS'.
Some of those spots were in open areas with a few trees.
I tried with Bluetooth and without.
The previous days, it just would get satellite as I was walking and notify me of messages and longest wait less than a minute when it didn't have GPS.

I'm not in Tasmania now, so can't test under same conditions.
From what you say, Garmin will have wiggle room to claim that I didn't wait long enough or wasn't in a good spot (which makes the device pointless if you break your leg in a bad spot).

Oh well, joys of technology and false sense of security they provide. :)
Baeng72
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby wayno » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 5:47 pm

contact garmin, the unit could be faulty..
i havent had any issues with mine and i've used mine further south at 45 degrees south and it worked faultlessly even undera heavy canopy in a deep gorge. it gave out its position almost faultlessly every 20 mins
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8508
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 7:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby ribuck » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 6:16 pm

The worst case I have seen on my InReach mini is a 30 minute delay until it got a GPS lock. Is usually less than 10 minutes for the first lock, then it's quick for the rest of the day.

Slow GPS is inexcusable on a satellite messenger, and is the ONLY thing I don't love about the device.

The is an option to send a message without a location, which for me has always been quick and reliable (1 or 2 minutes). I don't have the device with me right now, and I can't recall exactly where the option is found, sorry.

A phone is fast to get a GPS lock, because it can download the satellite orbits from the internet, so it knows roughly where to "look" in the sky. A device without internet must "look" all over the sky until it finds the first GPS satellite, which is always broadcasting the location of the other GPS satellites. But if that first satellite drops below the horizon before it finishes sending the data, the process must start again. Once a GPS device has details of the orbits visible from your general area, those orbits will be valid for a few days or weeks since the orbits are fairly stable, and subsequent GPS acquisition will be faster.

I think the InReach Mini only uses the American GPS satellites. Devices (such as your phone) which also receive the European and Russian satellites can get a lock faster.

If you have travelled more than, say, 100km since your last lock, the satellites are not where the device assumes they will be, so it will take longer for the first lock.

Try getting your first lock after travelling to the general area of your bushwalk, but before you lose mobile coverage on your phone (and therefore lose internet access on your Earthmate app).

Also, for the quickest fix make sure the antenna is vertical. It takes longer if you lie the device down with the antenna horizontal. If you wear the device on your pack strap, your body blocks the signal from half of the sky. I put mine inside the lid of my pack.
User avatar
ribuck
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1203
Joined: Wed 15 May, 2013 3:47 am
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby tastrax » Sat 09 Nov, 2019 8:48 pm

Also check out this map - https://iridiumwhere.com/ and click on the map at a location. It will tell you the number of satellites visible.

There are times when parts of Tasmania may only have one satellite (very rare) but only two is quite common. It may well have been in one of those cycles that you were attempting to get a fix in a poor location. Its no excuse but it may be the case.
Cheers - Phil

OSM Mapper
User avatar
tastrax
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1738
Joined: Fri 28 Mar, 2008 6:25 pm
Location: What3words - epic.constable.downplayed
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: RETIRED! - Parks and Wildlife Service
Region: Tasmania

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby matagi » Sun 10 Nov, 2019 8:40 am

tastrax wrote:Also check out this map - https://iridiumwhere.com/ and click on the map at a location. It will tell you the number of satellites visible.

There are times when parts of Tasmania may only have one satellite (very rare) but only two is quite common. It may well have been in one of those cycles that you were attempting to get a fix in a poor location. Its no excuse but it may be the case.

That is true for the Iridium network, but not for the GPS network. I thought Garmin used the GPS satellite network(s) for position information and the Iridium constellation for its comms function. I could be wrong - I often am.
This makes me the first man to climb Mount Everest backwards, without oxygen...or even a jumper.
User avatar
matagi
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Sun 01 Jan, 2012 5:51 pm
Region: Victoria

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby tastrax » Sun 10 Nov, 2019 8:52 am

matagi wrote:That is true for the Iridium network, but not for the GPS network. I thought Garmin used the GPS satellite network(s) for position information and the Iridium constellation for its comms function. I could be wrong - I often am.


Its always hard to tell with Garmin as they never quite give you all the information....
https://www8.garmin.com/manuals/webhelp ... 5181D.html
Cheers - Phil

OSM Mapper
User avatar
tastrax
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1738
Joined: Fri 28 Mar, 2008 6:25 pm
Location: What3words - epic.constable.downplayed
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: RETIRED! - Parks and Wildlife Service
Region: Tasmania

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Nuts » Sun 10 Nov, 2019 9:12 am

There's some interesting points, you can choose to/ or not display GPS co-ords through the user account, maybe they do delay satellite acquisition (or displaying the user screen)?

We had an issue of not receiving messages until one was sent out, also had trouble with iridium services in the Windy Ridge area sometimes taking a long time to get a signal. But then (the inreach) seems to have worked fine for some time now (the last 2 summers at least).

Alternatively I've talked to other regular users who haven't had a problem, and I tend to learn just what is of immediate use so no boffin, but given it's a box of magic tricks, could even be the unit itself.

I'd reboot the subscription and keep testing it Baeng, you need to be confident. I'd not rely on the experience from Windy Ridge as widely informative.
'a quick game's a good game ... ... ....'
Nuts
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8181
Joined: Sat 05 Apr, 2008 12:22 pm
Region: Tasmania

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Warin » Sun 10 Nov, 2019 2:31 pm

tastrax wrote:
matagi wrote:That is true for the Iridium network, but not for the GPS network. I thought Garmin used the GPS satellite network(s) for position information and the Iridium constellation for its comms function. I could be wrong - I often am.


Its always hard to tell with Garmin as they never quite give you all the information....
https://www8.garmin.com/manuals/webhelp ... 5181D.html


Garmin (as firm) are not good communicators .. :lol: Their manuals (and software) tell you that.

https://www8.garmin.com/manuals/webhelp ... B5610.html
This seems to indicate that it uses GPS to get the location.
User avatar
Warin
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 822
Joined: Sat 11 Nov, 2017 8:02 am
Region: New South Wales

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 11 Nov, 2019 3:54 am

This might help. It's a post I wrote on the Garmin forums. Explains why the inreach mini location performance is not as good as we are used to receiving on our phones and other devices.

https://forums.garmin.com/outdoor-recre ... its-phones

Also you can send a msg without having a location fix.
User avatar
wildwanderer
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue 02 May, 2017 8:42 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby RonK » Mon 11 Nov, 2019 5:02 pm

So, you travelled from Victoria to Tasmania and your Inreach didn’t get an instant GPS lock.

Quite likely this was because the Inreach needed to first find a satellite, then download a fresh copy of the almanac and ephemeris data. This is true of all GPS devices when you move them any significant distance.

As I recall the almanac is retransmitted continuously and takes 12.5 minutes to download. If the almanac transmission has already commenced when your device connects, it has to wait until the next transmission to get a complete copy.

So after it finds a satellite it could take almost 25 minutes to receive the almanac. The least possible time is 12.5 minutes. The ephemerides only take around 5 seconds once the almanac is downloaded.

It is not necessary to have a GPS fix to send a message.
Last edited by RonK on Mon 11 Nov, 2019 5:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
RonK
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon 31 Dec, 2012 10:33 am
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby wayno » Mon 11 Nov, 2019 5:14 pm

i fire my inreach up the best part of half an hour before i set off in the morning, a habit i had with the SPOT, I knew that needed a good 20 mins to start working... i havent had any issues with mine giving the correct location and tracking correctly
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8508
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 7:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 14 Nov, 2019 10:34 am

RonK wrote:So, you travelled from Victoria to Tasmania and your Inreach didn’t get an instant GPS lock.

Mmmm.....
That's a bit of a tendentious reading of what I posted.
I mentioned that I had been using it in Tasmania without GPS issue on previous days, and also being at Windy Ridge/Bert Nichols indicates I was on the Overland track, which is North to South during booking season, so it was not first day in Tassie.
Anyway, I suck at writing, so perhaps I wasn't clear in my first post.
Last edited by Baeng72 on Thu 14 Nov, 2019 10:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
Baeng72
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 14 Nov, 2019 10:37 am

wayno wrote:i fire my inreach up the best part of half an hour before i set off in the morning, a habit i had with the SPOT, I knew that needed a good 20 mins to start working... i havent had any issues with mine giving the correct location and tracking correctly

I fire mine up anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes before I start walking, it's always been on a while before I hike.
Baeng72
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Garmin inReach mini issues

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 14 Nov, 2019 10:46 am

Thanks for the replies!
I wasn't able to send messages nor get GPS on the day, and I did try to send messages.

I've had a few phone calls with Garmin and they've been helpful and haven't fobbed me off.

Still haven't resolved it.

They acknowledge that there was a problem on that day, something about 'no connect's (I think, can't remember the exact term), and are trying to work out what the problem was.

The call today went through a few tests to see what message data was received sending from device, and sending through phone using bluetooth.
That seems to be where they're focusing, although I don't know how bluetooth would stop the iridium and GPS functionality, but apparently there is a difference in message metadata/data between the two scenarios and we tried with iPhone 8 and iPhone 6.
They'll get back to me in a few days with answers or ask me to return the device hopefully.
Baeng72
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male


Return to Techno-Babble

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest