All posts by Luis

Hard Wiring a SPOT Device

Safety is important to us, and we chose to use a SPOT CONNECT Satellite Messenger as a fail safe device in case things go wrong in the field and we need urgent help.  The SPOT device was designed to be versatile, portable, and rugged.  A part of achieving portability is to function using batteries — very specialized Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries that are expensive and difficult to find in more remote cities.  Our SPOT device sits inside of our vehicle 99% of the time, and yet we were still consuming a pair of these batteries every 4 days when using the active tracking features.  We were surprised and a bit disappointed that SPOT did not offer a 12V vehicle power option, since the performance of the device would be more reliable having a consistent power source.  After further researching the device, we decided to develop a solution that would retain all portability and ruggedness of the SPOT device while allowing us to plug it in to the vehicles power.

The first step in the development process involved figuring out just why SPOT insists that the device be used with the Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries exclusively.  We wondered if it was a result of needing a specific steady voltage over the battery life cycle, or if the current demands from the SPOT device were too much for a standard lithium battery.  So we opened up the device to take a look at its insides and do some testing.  You start by taking the back cover off your SPOT device and removing the batteries.  The first thing you notice when you start the tear down is another warning on the circuit board that reads: “AA Lithium Batteries Only.”

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Mini Overland Trip – 2011

We are fortunate enough to work for companies that have Holiday Shutdown.  This gives us around 2 weeks of time off around Christmas and the New Year, a perfect time to catch up on projects or go out on an adventure.  In December of 2011, we were hanging out at home one morning and spontaneously decided to take a mini overland trip after chatting about past trips.  We packed up the trailer with a few days worth of supplies and headed out the next day.

The destination was spontaneously set to start at the Bradshaw overland trail and explore the area there.  From the Bradshaw trail, we would head into Arizona and travel along the Colorado river and see all the beautiful sights there.  At the time, Riley was 8 months old, and her new awareness to nature made it a great family adventure.  We knew from all our previous trips that she really enjoyed getting out to nature.

The photo show below is a picture narrative of some of things we did.  It turned out great considering we didn’t plan anything.

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Mojave Road Trips – 2009

In 2009, we visited the Mojave Road twice.  It was one of our first real overland adventures where we would learn so much about our needs, wants, and likes.  We ventured out on our first 3 day trip across the Mojave Road by ourselves, with just our mildly modified Tundra, plenty of recovery gear, and the basics… a cooler with food and a ground tent.  The experience was like none other, and it really sparked an interest in further exploration of this type.  While we enjoyed camping and staying at the many gorgeous campgrounds throughout California, the tranquil and remoteness of road less traveled buried itself on us.  We were eager to go back, and a few months later we joined a group on Expedition Portal on an adventure and made some great friends while learning a lot about remote travel and exploration.

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