inReach mini suddenly croaked
Jun 29, 2021 at 8:27 am #3720482
I bought my inReach Mini from REI in 2019 – just a little over two years ago. I’ve used it on multiple trips with no issues. Suddenly, on my trip last weekend it died, completely. I had it charged to 100% and in two days with only one test message, its battery was totally drained. It won’t come on at all except to show that the battery is drained. I recharged it to 100% and overnight it was drained again. I’ll try Garmin for a refund/exchange but this was a bit surprising. I’m not hard on gear at all; it’s in perfect shape.
Update: I was behind on updates. Oy. testing again this weekend to make sure it’s working!Jun 29, 2021 at 9:09 am #3720486Michael SirofchuckBPL Member
@mr_squishyLocale: Great Wet North
Always good to investigate all possible problems before posting angry diatribes.Jun 29, 2021 at 9:13 am #3720487
Thanks Michael. I didn’t think my post was angry or a “diatribe” but more of a frustrated plea for help from a group who has experience. I wasn’t sure if i would be able to get help from Garmin and time is critical right now. I’m still not 100% sure this will work, so we’ll see!Jun 29, 2021 at 9:42 am #3720488J RBPL Member
No worries Karen, we’ve all hit “send” or “submit” a little early. Really good you are getting to the bottom of this before out on the trail — I am working right now on instructions for my family if they don’t receive InReach messages from me during an upcoming weeklong excursion well out of cell range, and this has me thinking of additional things to convey to them. I have a PLB and might carry that too (5 additional ounces! Oh, the humanity!) and instruct them that if they don’t get InReach messages and there’s no signal from my PLB then wait until my exit date before calling authorities.Jun 29, 2021 at 10:20 am #3720498Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
Someone at our local outdoor shop was wanting to buy a Mini and it refused to boot right out of the box. A Garmin logo flashed, and then it shut down. Fully charged. Doing a reset didn’t help. If it booted at the factory it should boot when purchased, so I’m assuming it simply must be defective. If firmware is the issue, a warning saying “update me ASAP” would be more useful than just being flaky.
BTW- I’m a Mini owner and like my unit.Jun 29, 2021 at 12:46 pm #3720517
I thought the original post was good. Stating facts. Thanks.
I’ve had my mini for a couple years. Once it quit working so I called Garmin and they helped my fix it. Reinstalled software.Jun 29, 2021 at 12:56 pm #3720518Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
Jerry- for the community’s benefit, do you want to recount how the software reinstall was done? Just via the Sync app on a desktop computer?Jun 29, 2021 at 1:33 pm #3720527
It was via my PC. I connected the mini with a USB cable. Yeah, sync app. I forget details now.Jun 29, 2021 at 1:54 pm #3720529obx hikerBPL Member
Hey thanks for the post!
Now I’m going to make sure mine; totally inactive since the spring of 2020, is updated as well!
As they say down south “Bless your heart!”
I don’t usually say it because as you would learn from Steel Magnolias certain people say that just before stabbing you in the back….. ;)
But in this case the sentiment is genuine and pure.Jun 29, 2021 at 2:12 pm #3720532
test it before you go. send a message and send a reply.Jun 29, 2021 at 2:13 pm #3720533
I had actually tested mine and sent a message, although not a reply. That worked, it was just the battery that was problematic. I’m still not 100% sure it’s resolved; I’ll update if it is. According to Garmin the update was required to prevent the battery from doing this. That doesn’t really make sense to me, but there ya go; I’m not a programmer! If I were, I would hope to find a better way to program it.Jun 29, 2021 at 3:17 pm #3720536Bob FinkBPL Member
Interesting, Ryan noted firmware can cause issues in the masterclass.
Garmin Express app on the desktop for updating firmware. Which there was a recent update this year.
I updated my Fenix watch and In Reach Mini last week.Jun 29, 2021 at 3:32 pm #3720537
The Garmin Express app was not sufficient in this case; I needed the Sync app also. It’s a bit of fussing, this device! Gotta have Garmin explore on the computer to update contacts and messages, etc., two apps on the computer – inReach Sync app and the Express app to update firmware etc. – and Earthmate app on the phone to actually send messages without undue effort. And updating everything, renewing subscription, etc. regularly. I guess it’s worth it if you ever have to push the SOS, but it should be simpler.Jun 29, 2021 at 4:06 pm #3720540
yeah, inreach mini has a terrible user experience
for me, it does allow me to send and receive a message each day, so that my wife and I know each other are okay. I have figured out how to navigate it’s many peculiarities.
a week ago I sent a message. It was more annoying than usual and took more than an hour to let me know it successfully sent the message. I set it next to my sleeping bag and laid down and forgot about it. Another hour later I turned it off, and it said the battery was discharged. Which was weird because I had charged it recently. The next day I charged it with my USB power bank, but it said it was fully charged.
Hmmm… maybe I was sleepy and was mistaken about it being discharged?
Software update required to update so it doesn’t discharge quickly? Maybe that had something to do with my experience?
I better update and sync just in caseJun 29, 2021 at 5:48 pm #3720549Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
There’s a lot to be said for a PLB in safety-critical situations. Much less to go wrong. No software to update. No account to renew. No need to charge the battery. Highly reliable satellite network and SAR dispatch…
They don’t weight much these days either.
If you’re heading for remote parts, it’s surely a good idea to try and ensure that at least one of your party is carrying one?Jun 30, 2021 at 4:20 am #3720600John S.BPL Member
Amen, Geoff.Jun 30, 2021 at 6:40 am #3720608Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I agree the PLB is more foolproof but you have to admit their is value in being able to send a message with the SOS. There is a difference between my hiking parter has a broken leg and is stable but can’t hike out under their own power and my hiking parter fell off a cliff and needs immediate medical attention.
I’ve been a part of two medical evacuations in the backcountry – one pre inreach where I took the individuals cell phone (who was not part of my party) and hiked to the tallest peak and was able to get a signal. The other time in Alaska we used a Sat Phone.
As far as the Inreach fortunately the most important message I ever sent or received was also in Alaska from the bush plane pilot with a slight change on where and when he’d be able to pick us up. It was also nice for me to be able to respond and say we’d received the message and would be there.
Ive got a Delome Inreach SE and knock on wood have had no issues.Jun 30, 2021 at 7:47 am #3720615Ray JBPL Member
Guess I should plug mine into the computer and check for updates!Jun 30, 2021 at 8:12 am #3720643
Don’t run the Garmin app on your PC or the Earthmate app on your phone.
After it updates send a message and a reply to make sure it still works.
I really don’t like fiddling with software like this so I forget each time. Maybe this time I’ll remember.Jun 30, 2021 at 8:22 am #3720645
I get Geoff’s logic. Maybe if you’re on some more risky trip or something?
The fact that you can send text messages back and forth with an inreach makes it so much more useful.
My main use is just exchanging daily message with my wife. If something went awry it would be much easier for SAR.
Once you figure out how to use the somewhat tricky user interface of the inreach, it’s pretty reliable. I just looked – I’ve sent messages on 166 days without a failure.Jun 30, 2021 at 9:16 am #3720659
I did all the updates and it’s still dying overnight. I did figure out that with the most recent update the tracking feature was set to “autotrack.” Had to turn that off in the settings. But that still hasn’t fixed the overnight dead battery. Will be online with Garmin again today.Jun 30, 2021 at 9:29 am #3720661
Do you leave it turned on overnight while it discharges the battery?
If I leave mine on overnight (accidentally) it’s discharged maybe 50%. I can accidentally do this once per trip and still have enough battery. I normally only have it on maybe 1 or 2 hours per day. The battery would last maybe 10 days of this.Jun 30, 2021 at 9:38 am #3720662
I did leave it turned on, and it used to last for several weeks that way. I guess it just doesn’t last that long. On the positive side, if this just isn’t going to work for me, it’s one more thing I can jettison from my pack! 3 ounces saved.Jul 1, 2021 at 1:18 am #3720706Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Just guessing here but given issues I have seen on smartphones with apps accessing wifi and bluetooth that I did not know about, could it be some misbehaving app on your phone accessing the Garmin minis bluetooth??Jul 1, 2021 at 6:55 am #3720710Cameron MBPL Member
@cameronm-aka-backstrokeLocale: Los Angeles
There are a few reasons you would want to do a full factory restore on the inReach Mini:
inReach Mini is in the wrong language
Issues getting the unit to power on correctly
To Factory Restore the inReach Mini:
Power off inReach Mini
Press and hold: Back, Down and Power.
Once a USB icon and Gear Icon appear on the screen, let go of all buttons.
Press and Hold SOS until the device displays “Applying Update” then let go. The device will power off after several seconds.
Power the device back on and choose the correct language.
The device will start the activation setup wizard.
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