Since I wrote about the original Pod GPS Pet Tracker , I’ve had a lot of feedback from others, and they’ve come out with a Version 2.0. It’s probably time to discuss both.
Let’s start with the feedback from others, and then cover the V 2.0 to see if it fixes those issues.
I’ll break the issues down into the most common ones:
Can’t Get GPS Lock
This is the most common one. The Pod simply can’t get a GPS lock and therefore can’t tell you where your precious pet is. Obviously, this is a deal breaker; after all if you can’t use it to find where your pet is, what was the point of getting one?
GPS signal can be affected by a lot of things. I’ve sometimes been able to get a GPS lock inside, and I sometimes can’t get one with clear sky above me. As a general rule, however, if you have any kind of interruption between the device and the satellites (trees, building structures, even clouds sometimes), then you’re likely to have GPS issues. If your yard is mostly covered in tree canopy (as mine is), then the Pod may not work for you.
GPS Position Is Hours Old
This is partly related to the previous point, and partly related to the phone network the Pod uses. Obviously, if the Pod gets a GPS lock, but then can’t get one again, it only knows the old position.
Another possibility is that the phone network is flaky where you are, which means the Pod last told the network where it was a few hours ago, and hasn’t been able to connect since.
Since the Pod uses the Vodafone network, it’s worth investigating their coverage maps – and asking others on the Vodafone network about their experiences in your area. The Pod is no use if it cant’ communicate.
I’m on my second Pod. I was in the middle of working with them to replace my old Pod (or the batteries – see a bit further down) when I found they’d released the v 2.0 Pod. So I got that instead.
In my case it wasn’t obvious where the issue was. I had one battery that was broken when I got it (it didn’t lock down tightly to the Pod. This was a first production run Pod/Battery). However, even though the second battery insisted it was charged, I couldn’t get the Pod to turn on.
Others have mentioned cracked batteries, or cracks where the battery seals to the Pod. Since the battery is the only removable part, and sometimes requires a bit of force to actually remove and install, then this doesn’t surprise me a great deal. I don’t know where they are in fixing this issue (perhaps using a different resin, or manufacturing technique, or even a completely different design of the battery ‘lock’ is needed), so you should assume it still exists.
So, they’ve now released the Pod Version 2.0. What are the changes, and have any of the problems above been fixed or at least lessened?
Externally the new Pod looks just like the old one. If you put them side by side I’d only be able to note the difference between the battery lock markings to tell them apart.
Internally they’ve now added a WiFi system. It doesn’t log onto your network, but you can tell it which network is your local one, and if it can see that SSID it knows its ‘home’.
How useful this feature is to you really depends on your WiFi coverage. I have some really weird dead spots in my home, so I invested in a strong WiFi router. The good thing is that the Pod can now see the WiFi even at the furthest point in the yard. The downside is that it still saw the WiFi about 6 houses down from me …
For all that it has WiFi detection, it doesn’t seem to actually ‘track’ with it. As long as the Pod can see the WiFi, it just assumes the dog is ‘home’. It also doesn’t seem to ask the GPS for a signal if it can see the WiFi,. The upshot of all of this is you can’t use it to find your pet around your house/yard.
On the other hand, the point of using WiFi is to use less power than it takes to use GPS – to make the battery last longer. Having said that I haven’t noticed much difference, if any, with time between battery changes.
There doesn’t seem to have been any change in this area. I have no idea if they’ve redesigned the GPS subsytem, but I get lock/location about the same as I did with the previous version. So if you had issues with the V 1.0 Pod, I’m going to guess you’ll have issues with the V 2.0.
GPS Position is Hours Old
Again,there doesn’t seem to be any change in how the Pod talks to either GPS or the phone network. I’ve had about the same response times as before. The App1 looks a little better, and gives you a better idea of what it’s doing when retrieving location from the Pod, but the actual responses seem the same.
I’m sad to say that there still seems to be some issue here. One of my batteries has a crack in it from top to where it meets the seal on the Pod. It doesn’t seem to have affected it yet, but I’ll probably have to get a new one soon. I’ll let you know how it goes.
So, the only real change I can reliably inform anyone about is the addition of WiFi, which may or may not make this more useful for you. If you’ve been waiting on the 2.0, hoping it will fix any issues with the 1.0, I can’t honestly tell you it’s been worth the wait.
I still find my Pod useful for what I bought it for, and I do still recommend it to friends – with the caveats I’ve listed above.
I think that I should write up what little I’ve gleaned on how you can get the ‘best’ out of your Pod. Perhaps you’ll see that soon.