We’ve been using a Globalstar “SPOT 2” device for years and years. It’s been (generally) rugged and reliable.

Except when the batteries are weak. Then. Not so much. It will continue to power up and may even step though it’s messaging cycle. But. Things don’t always work, even though the lights are blinking green.

Eventually, they start blinking red. But. Not right away.

Tech support was super-helpful even for a single-device owner like us.

What seems to be essential here is to take the batteries out for a good long time: 30 seconds at the minimum. Wait for things to timeout and capacitors to run down, and internal state to return to ground.

This was new to me. I’d changed the batteries, but I tend to change them quickly. I’d reseated the new batteries, but I must have done it too quickly to let the device fully reset.

The trick appears to be to do this s… l… o… w… l… y…

Power up. Let it gaze at the sky for a long time to reset its sense of time and place. (Support folks said give it 20 minutes. I only gave it 5 minutes and that worked.)

I have an Arduino-based GPS receiver. I’ve looked at the logs. I’m vaguely aware satellite acquisition can take a very long time. 20 minutes is — I think — the kind of time required in an urban environment with a lot of buildings blocking the sky. We’re outside Fort Worth, TX, there’s nothing blocking the sky. That’s why I only gave it five minutes.

And it worked!

Lessons learned:

Lesson 1. Reseat the batteries S… L… O… W… L… Y…

Lesson 2. Wait patiently for satellite acquisition.

Now we finally have this after several days of no messages getting through:

map of country
Nashville to Dallas

We’re missing our North Carolina way point, but, we’re back in communication. The point is that SPOT works even when we’re off the grid.

(When we’re not on land, we’re on a boat, where these status check-ins are considerably more important.)

In the not-too-distant future, we may be adding a SPOTX because it has more complete messaging capabilities.