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Old 07-24-2014, 12:57 PM   #1
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EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

Not sure if this is where the topic should be but....

Been using the EcoTemp 7 for the last 6 months or so. Works great at lower elevations but has not worked reliably above 6000 feet or so for us. We have tried everything we can think of including calling the MFR with no luck. We spent all last week at 10,000 feet and above it only worked for 5-10 seconds or so at a time. Still squeked a shower a day but it was a PIA and glad the wife was not with me on this trip.

Anyway, looking for a solid solution. Reading all the threads here and still not sure which way to go. May just try engine heat exchange solution next.

Two of the others on the trip had new Aqua Cubes and had mixed results with them.

Still looking....

The Spot Sat phone has been a wasted purchase too. The wife had it for three weeks on her John Muir trail hike she just finished and she was only able to call out a few times. She was able to get me on her cell phone 5-6 times. We also tried it on the Grand Canyon trip a few months ago not good again....
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:51 PM   #2
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

Some less glamorous hot water alternatives are here, if you don't mind a non built-in solution.

http://www.hotcampshowers.com/catalog


Herb
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:01 PM   #3
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

Thanks for the review Brent.

All I have read till now makes me believe that sat phones using Iridium satellite network work definitely better than those using Globalsat network. But you still have to have a "clear sky" above the sat phone for it to work fine...
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:03 PM   #4
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

The Irdium we rented for the Mexico trip worked great!! I was able to use it a few times while driving down there. Probably what I will be getting.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:46 PM   #5
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

Likewise I have had decent experience with both Iridium and Inmarsat phones while in Baja California. Both phone networks need clear views of the sky. With Iridium, you don't know where/when the satellite will be flying over. With Inmarsat, it is in a fixed position -- to your south (when in North America).

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Old 07-28-2014, 10:11 PM   #6
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

Globalstar service has been problematic for years. Components of their satellites failed earlier than expected, causing issues for any device that has to receive data. (Simplex devices that only upload data like the SPOT emergency beacons still worked.) For a while they even had a website where you could put in your coordinates and it would tell you the optimal times to make a phone call based on the orbit of functioning satellites.

Last summer the company said its second-generation constellation was up and running and things have gotten better. I use one of the original handsets that's the size of a brick, and is mounted in a car kit cradle on the dash. (SMB did a very nice job of running cables for power and the roof antenna, and concealing a bulky control box.) The phone shows full reception most of the time, but will inexplicably start searching for service maybe once or twice an hour -- even if I'm on completely flat open road. Canyons and dense tree cover make it even dicier.

Thankfully I've never had to use the phone in an emergency, and will probably keep the service because their entry level Orbit 10 plan is the cheapest satellite voice service I've seen. It's nice to have in places where the cellphone is dead 100% of the time.
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:58 PM   #7
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

Yeah, I have been very unimpressed by even the SPOT beacons my friends use. Meh. I might try the DeLorme since it does two-way communication (text) and works on Iridium, and seems to be cheaper than even the beacon when you factor in subscription and fees.

And you could try the Zodi. I expect the issue with the EcoTemp is pressure? The Zodi is just a coil heated by a propane flame, so it's pretty simple. I've used mine up at 8500 a few times and didn't notice any issues. I had seen a guide on eBay that said categorically that the EcoTemp didn't work above 7500', looks like even lower is an issue.

Good luck. These days I use a shower bag and a pot of hot water, or a bottle and a Simple Shower head.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:34 PM   #8
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

I have been an Iridium customer for 6-7 years. Prior to that I used Globalstar.

Globalstar is a joke, that cannot be relied on in any situation, let alone an emergency.

Iridium works well, unless you are in a canyon. Without a clear view of the sky, calls will get dropped. But I have found it very reliable and have always been able to get and hold a connection, albeit sometimes with effort on my part to move around.

Sat phones are expensive. But it gives my wife peace of mind when I am in BFE and it did get used once in a serious emergency to call for help.

All that said, I am surprised that the technology has not advanced much over the past 5 or more years.

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Old 08-04-2014, 08:17 PM   #9
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

I use an Iridium phone in my van... slightly expensive but has saved my butt more than once. We have Globalstar at work and it is hit and miss. I'm not sure on how much it's improved over the last year. We haul it but rarely use it.
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Old 08-13-2014, 06:28 PM   #10
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Re: EcoTemp L7 & Spot Sat Phone review....

About two years ago I purchased a Inmarsat phone. I haven't had to use it but the way I see it, if need it the $600 I spent on the phone will seem cheap. The reason I went with Inmarsat is you can do a pre-paid plan that is good for a year and as long as you renew before your time expires your unused minutes roll over. The cost for the basic pre-paid is about $200 for a year. You can also send text messages or short email message for about the points used for 30 seconds of talk time. It has a feature where you can send a text or email of your location and I will typically send this to a trusted friend when camping in the back country so if we don't come back they will know where to start looking.

If you want to find out more I have a good friend who sells all the brands of sat. phones and service. He is also the official satellite service provider for the Overland Expo. His name is Matt Haase, matthaase@ocens.com, 206-878-8270. He is a great guy and if you are interested in getting a sat phone would be well worth talking to. He can explain all the difference and between the carriers to help you figure out what may be best for you. They also rent phones but it is pretty pricey.

Most of us with 4x4s like going places way off the beaten path which is the reason we have them. For us we are getting near 50 and the though of a heart attach, stroke, bee sting (my wife is allergic) or other critical medical emergency in the back county where medical help may be 4-6 hours away is frightening. In a situation like this a sat phone could be the difference between living to tell the tale or ....

Cheers,
John
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