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Thread: Zoleo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    248

    Default Zoleo

    Has anyone in the forum tried one of these?
    https://www.zoleo.com/en-us/
    It seems to be a much better deal than the inreach/Garmin or the Spot. Thinking about becoming a dealer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Discovery Bay, CA
    Posts
    435

    Default

    Interesting device. It looks like antenna is embedded in top surface of unit. I don't see an external antenna in accessories. Do you think the device will operate inside the cabin? I know I was able to get the Iridium Go to work stand alone inside although it was much more reliable with the ext. antenna. Looks like it is pretty tight so may be fine outside. it uses micro usb charging which complicates permanent mounting in the weather.

    Maybe it would be fine mounted internally up against a portlight. That is where my Inreach lives and works great. Being able to leave the comm stuff plugged into power 24/7 and mounting in one single place was a big big plus from my perspective. Just set your stuff up before start and leave it be for the duration. All interaction takes place on the phone and tablet. No drama with dead batteries and missed check ins.

    The offered plans look very compelling esp. if you can get weather/grib downloads, which it looks like you could. The Iridium Go plans have gotten ridiculously expensive IMO.


    edit - just checked pricing. Good deal at around $200.00.
    Last edited by mike cunningham; 06-27-2020 at 04:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    248

    Default

    Thanks for your feedback Mike. It does make sense as a backup or even primary for the budget conscious. I deal with a lot of commercial Tuna fishermen, and this is attractive to crewmen as they obviously donít want to spend $3200 on an Inmarsat sailor. Iím thinking I might get one and give it a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike cunningham View Post
    Interesting device. It looks like antenna is embedded in top surface of unit. I don't see an external antenna in accessories. Do you think the device will operate inside the cabin? I know I was able to get the Iridium Go to work stand alone inside although it was much more reliable with the ext. antenna. Looks like it is pretty tight so may be fine outside. it uses micro usb charging which complicates permanent mounting in the weather.

    Maybe it would be fine mounted internally up against a portlight. That is where my Inreach lives and works great. Being able to leave the comm stuff plugged into power 24/7 and mounting in one single place was a big big plus from my perspective. Just set your stuff up before start and leave it be for the duration. All interaction takes place on the phone and tablet. No drama with dead batteries and missed check ins.

    The offered plans look very compelling esp. if you can get weather/grib downloads, which it looks like you could. The Iridium Go plans have gotten ridiculously expensive IMO.


    edit - just checked pricing. Good deal at around $200.00.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Redwood City
    Posts
    784

    Default

    I looked at this device but I don't think it allows grib files. It supports:

    2-way messaging (text, email or app-to-app)*
    *Characters supported: SMS/text up to 160, email up to 200, app-to-app 950+.

    It does provide weather forecast for your location. So if you remain fairly local than I think it would be a good fit for cheap offshore communication. Or with the money saved, get a professional router?

    It is heavily marketed by the sat plans provider ...
    P___/)___J
    Solo RTW

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    397

    Default

    Deciding what to purchase first requires determining what functionality you're looking for over what geographic range. The range is: transponder, SMS messaging, email, email with attachments, and voice calls. Geography could be global (Iridium, Inmarsat) or continental (Globalstar).

    Zoleo is one-half of a global SMS messaging service, a cell phone is required. Zoleo is not a transponder.

    inReach is a self-contained global transponder and SMS messaging tool. I have one and don't use it for SMS messages as I have email access through other tools. It is a complete pain to compose an SMS text message on the inReach directly, much better to blue tooth it to a phone or ipad and use the inReach application on the phone or ipad.

    Spot uses the Globalstar satellite constellation and does not work mid-ocean. I haven't used one, the geography limitation makes it not usable for my purposes.

    I have an Iridium GO, it's a global modem that supports email, email with attachments, and voice phone calls. It requires a Wifi-connected laptop, phone, or ipad to operate. I use it through my SailMail membership for access to shore-based email (such as Gmail), and it's convenient for downloading GRIB file attachments and for uploading pictures.

    I'm not sure with Inmarsat Sailor you're referring to, if it's the Cobham unit that's an entirely different set of functionality - full internet connection (e.g., web surfing) through Inmarsat on a global basis (well, maybe not at the North and South pole, but most of us are unlikely to sail our boats to those two places).

    If the goal is SMS messaging only on a global geography and you have a cell phone, then the Zoleo is the least expensive ($200) equipment outlay compared to inReach ($400). The real cost is in the plan selection, and the two companies are comparable.

    What functional requirement(s) are your commercial tuna fisherman crew looking for?

    - rob/beetle

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Hello Rob/Beetle, lots of good info in your post. Thanks. I would like to make one comment: you said “ Spot.... does not work mid-ocean. I have not used one”. I have made 6 one way trips to/from Hawaii using 2 different Spots. I had no interruptions in service on any of the passages. The batteries would last one full passage but not a round trip. I am not aware of what the marketing says but that has been my experience. Thanks, Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Discovery Bay, CA
    Posts
    435

    Default

    It will be very very interesting to see how Starlink evolves. That flying saucer on a stick is gonna be a problem on a small boat and the servos will be working overtime in any seaway. But, if they can reduce the footprint a bit and work out the mechanics, Starlink is going to be a game changer. By next SHTP we should have some insight on its functionality and by 2023 we will all probably have flying saucers on a stick vers. 2.0 aboard our boats. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    397

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oregonian View Post
    I have made 6 one way trips to/from Hawaii using 2 different Spots. I had no interruptions in service on any of the passages.
    Hi Dave -

    Globalstar publishes a constellation footprint, and that shows a fringe area almost but not quite extending to Hawaii. I have heard anecdotal evidence that sometimes the Spot works to Hawaii, sometimes not. Your experience are good data points to add to that mix.

    If you sail within the Globalstar footprint, then the Spot is a tool comparable to the inReach. If I understand the coverage maps correctly, there are two different foot prints depending on which Spot you're using. Unfortunately they don't cover French Polynesia.

    The Globalstar Spot X footprint map:
    https://www.globalstar.com/en-us/products/coverage-maps

    Name:  Globalstar-Coverage-Voice-and-Data-Gen2.png
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    Globalstar Spot Gen 3 footprint map:
    https://www.globalstar.com/en-us/pro...fety/spot-gen3

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    - rob/beetle

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    248

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tiger beetle View Post
    Deciding what to purchase first requires determining what functionality you're looking for over what geographic range. The range is: transponder, SMS messaging, email, email with attachments, and voice calls. Geography could be global (Iridium, Inmarsat) or continental (Globalstar).

    What functional requirement(s) are your commercial tuna fisherman crew looking for?

    - rob/beetle
    Hi Rob, I have sold and installed the cobham fleet one. This is a nice unit as you explained. I usually install an optimizer/firewall that also generates a hotspot, and if using WhatsApp costs nothing (depending on data plan) the plan I sign most up with is the $200 per month unlimited data, .50c a minute for voice calls.
    But that is on a higher end commercial boat. I also have many budget conscious commercial guys who will probably find the Soleo attractive because they can stay in touch easily and do not need to download sea surface temperature and weather...crew guys. Thanks for your comments

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