Our Love/Hate Relationship with MotoSat

Motosat F2 Satellite Internet Dish in SnowJust the other day, I was thinking of writing about how much I love our satellite internet system. It provides us with connectivity even when we have no cell phone coverage camped deep in a National Forest campground, alongside a roaring stream, in the snow.

Then our Datastorm F2 refused to deploy. Luckily, we had made it back to civilization at Mountain Views RV Resort in Creede, CO with full hookups and WiFi. But now we are taking an 900 mile round-trip detour to Salt Lake City for a factory repair at MotoSat.

You see, certain issues with the MotoSat dish mount require what they like to call an “in-house” repair. This means the entire unit must return to their factory for them to repair it. Any attempt for us to do so would void what remains of our warranty.

MotoSat Datastorm F2 Cable DamageConsidering the large F2 mount on our roof weighs 195+ lbs, getting assistance to remove it combined with the packaging and freight costs – from rural Creede, CO – would probably come close to what we’ll spend on gas to get to the factory. Unless, diesel hits $7.00 a gallon by the time we get back.

Anyway, what happened? A cable went bad. Got chewed up is more like it. No surprise really, considering what I consider to be a serious design flaw in the way cables route through the F2 mount assembly.

The protective sheath that encloses three cables as they wind around the axis and through the elevation hinge obviously didn’t do it’s job. Or I should say, only did it’s job until our one year parts and factory labor warranty expired.

In fact, the fine print says this specific cable isn’t covered under our three-year MotoSat parts warranty. Well, we’ll see about that. And we’ll see if the optional RV insurance we purchased will cover any gas or lodging when we go in for the repair. I suppose we’ll see a lot on our way to Salt Lake City, UT and back to Lake City, CO.

MotoSat Datastorm F2 Cable DamageSo what were the symptoms? For a while now, we’ve had intermittent trouble locking on to our satellite (91W). We would often experience long delays, unknown signals, and resumed searches. This last time, the dish went up, searched and stopped at every bird in the sky attempting to identify the signal. Every time, it would peak and fail to identify the signal then resume searching. Why? Well, the missing insulation from the transfer cable exposed enough bare wire to pick up signals from every satellite, cell phone and microwave in the vicinity. Perhaps why it worked while we were out in the woods.

The worst part will be telling the good folks at the ranch we’re going to be a week or so late for our workamping job. But we’ll be passing right by them so at least we can tell them in person. Like I said, the worst part.

The best part is that when we speak with the good folks in MotoSat support, at least they speak English and are quite knowledgeable, friendly and attentive. Stay tuned for more details about yet another exciting aspect of this full-time RVing lifestyle … once we’re back online that is!

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13 Responses to “Our Love/Hate Relationship with MotoSat”

  1. The Fifth Water hot springs is just south of Salt Lake near Spanish Fork and is one of the best in the country. The website above has directions. If you go in by Sheep’s Creek/Ray’s Valley road, there are numerous good boondocking sites. Look at the map and you will see where the road crosses Fifth Water creek. We hiked in from both Diamond Fork road and Sheep creek. It is about 3 1/2 miles either way. A great place to relax on your way out of town.

  2. Hi Jenn, thanks for commenting … FYI: You didn’t spam us. Your message didn’t appear at first because we must approve new comments before they do appear. Once we approve commenters a couple times, their comments will be automatically approved.

    We got suckered into … um, I mean we purchased the optional XtraRide insurance plan offered by our dealer when we got the rig. It was pricey, but does cover up to two nights lodging. Only, however, we just discovered, when required due to mechanical failure of the rig – or tow vehicle in our case. It also covers towing, and is a 7-year policy that is transferable, so I think it was worth it. IF we ever decided to sell the rig we’d have the insurance policy as a major value-add!

  3. Wow…i just found your blog and looks like you’re on a fun adventure.

    Bummer about the technical problems…it’s pretty cool that the technology does exist…but sometimes, it’s crazy how when it’s not working we feel so detached from the world, or anxious or some other similar emotion.

  4. Eric Auckerman May 29, 2008 at 7:39 pm Reply

    Dang, that being the case, I’d be stompin’ my feet, spittin’ my spittle and giving those boys a real earful as to why they shouldn’t eat animals (who are made of meat, mmmmm, meat).
    Wow, real bummer Jim but as described, a real design flaw to say the least, you purchased their technology in good faith no matter what the warranty says – they need to stand by their product or, or, or eat foods high in saturated and or trans fats!

    OK, so what was I saying about meat?
    Man, I just be hungry?
    Eric

  5. Thanks Eric, but we were pleasantly informed that any attempt to do this specific repair would void our warranty. And they don’t dispatch repairmen.

    I did some quick math and determined it would be cheaper to haul our rig to the factory one state over rather than find some freight company to palletize our system and ship it there and back. It was certainly much quicker!

    We’re already in Salt Lake and the lodging is free when you call a truck stop home sweet home for the night. The food, well, it’s in the fridge. If only we had a nicely aged Malbec …

    As for the $200 round trip tickets, you obviously haven’t flown in to many small mountain towns. Granted, I haven’t either. But it used to cost $400 to fly to Eureka from SFO. And we were in Creede, CO.

    As for the duct tape, that solution only lasted so long.

    As for the spam, I’ll take mine with eggs, spam, ham, bacon, spam and spam.

  6. Eric Auckerman May 29, 2008 at 6:59 pm Reply

    Jimbo,
    Can’t you just remove the old cable and reroute a new one?
    Would it be cheaper to have a repair-person (non-gender specific Rene) flown to your WorkCamp location for the day rather than drive the 900 miles? I know this sounds crazy but think about the fuel charges (say $400), food, lodging, wear and tear on you and vehicle and so on?

    Most flights that distance round trip couldn’t be more than $200? The factory might not want to lose a technician for a day but this might the most cost effective route to take, besides, what’s your time worth?

    Just a thought?

    Eric

  7. Rofl. Jenn tells me we just comment spammed this post. I have banned her from internet usage until she grows up some more.

  8. Ugh. I think I’d just fix it and then rip off the duct tape as we were pulling into Salt Lake City with out going out of the way. Good luck.

  9. dang newfangled “ca,ca” !

  10. Ouch, that hurts. At least you will be traveling and seeing more stuff. I hope that your insurance will cover it.

    I had a big comment, but for some reason, it didn’t post. After I submitted my post, it just brought me back to the same page. That wasn’t too bad, what was bad was that there wasn’t a way to recover the text that I had entered. Ugh. I have actually experienced it a few times on this site. I then become frustrated and what I was going to say becomes clouded, so I do not try to write it again :/. I would guess that I have written 5 or so nice long comments that didn’t make it on to the site. I am sure its completely my fault (and a cookie issue
    ), but I just wanted to let ya’ll know I do read and try to post :).

  11. Wow, that hurts. I am not a great fan of warranties or insurance. That’s not saying that I don’t have them both. But, when it comes to gambling, the house always wins.

    I think that if it were me, I would just get some insulated tape or heat shrink sheath and wrap that puppy up. Regardless of voiding my warranty. Then, once I was in the area, I would take it off and have them fix it.

    What kind of insurance did you get on the camper?

    Northwood’s factory warranty specifically stated that it will not cover any fuel or lodging. And, they refused to take care of it out of good will. Can’t say that I am too happy about it. Particularly due to the fact that we still have some issues.

    Anyway, you get to do some traveling and see more places. Isn’t that what this lifestyle is all about? 🙂

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