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Autotether wireless kill switch

Old 11-24-2015, 01:59 PM
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Default Autotether wireless kill switch

http://www.autotether.com

Anyone ever use one of these? Thinking bout getting it for the Seahunter as my dad fishes solo a lot. It would be a lot easier to walk around the boat with this. Thoughts?
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:26 PM
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good product
it will eat batteries and it will corrode after a few years

I need to order a new one
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:37 PM
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We have them on sale right now for $175 and free shipping to the lower 48.
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:40 PM
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Great gift. I frequently troll solo and used one this past season. Worked great and good piece of mind.
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:46 PM
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Yes. Well worth it if you boat or fish alone.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:09 PM
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Mine works well.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:12 PM
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Search the site. There have been recent quality-control problems, and reports of very poor customer service. Appears to be a home-based "cottage industry" with production outsourced to China.

I would like to find a better-made (and less expensive) product similar to their's...seems very over-priced, considering the technology and reports of declining quality. It may be patent-protected, which could explain the lack of competition.

Anyone know of a competitor? If you're the only game in town, there's little incentive to make it well or affordable.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Karl in NY View Post
Search the site. There have been recent quality-control problems, and reports of very poor customer service. Appears to be a home-based "cottage industry" with production outsourced to China.

I would like to find a better-made (and less expensive) product similar to their's...seems very over-priced, considering the technology and reports of declining quality. It may be patent-protected, which could explain the lack of competition.

Anyone know of a competitor? If you're the only game in town, there's little incentive to make it well or affordable.
+1
They need some competition.
I have had one for years and as a long time designer of electronics I see lots of room for improvement. It eats batteries, fires off ocasionally when it should not, and the user interface is horrible imo.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by My Turn View Post
+1
They need some competition.
I have had one for years and as a long time designer of electronics I see lots of room for improvement. It eats batteries, fires off ocasionally when it should not, and the user interface is horrible imo.
This is disappointing. I had never heard of this product and was excited to read about it.

Maybe there needs to be more demand.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:35 PM
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My understanding is be prepared to replace frequently due to corrosion issues. Great idea, poor quality apparently $175 would be cool if it was a better quality product IMO
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:52 PM
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I think I answered my own question re: patent protection.

http://www.google.com/patents/US7201619

Expires 20 years from filing date, meaning it has 10 years to go, unless challenged in court.
There is so much "prior art" cited in the application, I'm surprised the patent was even granted, but the USPO is so under-staffed that you can probably get a patent on things that have been been in the public domain for years.

A patent challenge is expensive, however, and it would probably take a major corporation to pull it off, and if they won, return on legal investment would take years, since it's a niche item, unless the winner could get the device to be mandated in lieu of the present lanyard system, then payback could be only a few months. Only certain classes of boats (generally, those without an enclosed helm) are even required by regulation to have a lanyard kill-switch, but that class represents an enormous number of power boats sold per year.

I'm certainly not a specialist in intellectual property, however, and I hope someone on site who is will jump-in with a more informed opinion. I know we have some attorneys here, but patents, copyrights, trademarks, and "trade dress" issues are way outside the scope of most practicing lawyers.

Just using the yellow pages for Albany, the NYS capital, only has one such practice listed, for example, and I expect she fills in defending drunk drivers in town courts and doing real estate closings, just to pay the rent and keep the lights on, between juicy cases that she specializes in.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:39 PM
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Regarding the reported corrosion problems, is that when the unit the plugs into the kill switch mounted permanently? If so, would that be alleviated by using some sort of velcro mounting so that you can take the unit indoors when not in use?
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by raduray View Post
Regarding the reported corrosion problems, is that when the unit the plugs into the kill switch mounted permanently? If so, would that be alleviated by using some sort of velcro mounting so that you can take the unit indoors when not in use?
It comes with 3M Dual Lock Velcro strips you can use for dash mounting. I have mine this way.
Test it regularly and check the batteries regularly.

...seems very over-priced
How much is your life worth? Would you spend the coin for a PLB, or EPIRB?
My life is worth the $250. ymmv.
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:15 PM
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Solid product, no issues here. I do take mine out of the boat when I pull it for winter.
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:05 PM
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Too expensive for a poorly made product and I personally would not put my life in the hands of this product. It is a good idea just needs to be better made. Customer service is non existent.
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:32 AM
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I've had mine for at least four years now. Replace batteries on both the sending unit and the fob twice a year as a precaution. Never had any corrosion issue. Had a minor issue with the unit going off prematurely after the first year. Called the owner and he picked up the phone on a Saturday. Walked me through the simple re set process and haven't had a problem since. A little surprised to read other posts about the quality but then again, things may have changed since I purchased mine. I do not troll or run offshore alone without it.
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Old 11-25-2015, 04:34 AM
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I had a battery powered one that lasted a little over 2 years but basically fell apart in my hands during a battery change. I really liked the unit but was disappointed with the construction quality.

About this time last year I heard that they had been "improved" so I bought one of the hard-wired units to avoid having to open it up for a battery change. I ended up having a problem with it and after some troubleshooting and communication with them had to send it back for them to replace the circuit board. Since then it has worked fine and I only have to deal with the batteries in the fob.

While I agree with the previous comment that these guys need some competition to drive development of a better-made product, I've found them to be responsive from a customer service standpoint when presented with an issue.

Yes, they are a very small business, but have a great product idea that just needs to be made a little more bulletproof. If they would go ahead and make that needed change then they would have no issue when their patent expires with someone else coming in and taking over who will.

I fish solo A LOT and while I've never fallen overboard before, shit does happen. This gadget gives you some safety without the inconvenience of a kill-switch cord, which few people are willing to put up with.

Mine stays clipped to the inflatable PFD, which I have on whenever the boat is in gear when solo. It usually gets tested every time I get off of the boat at ramp to walk back to the truck and forget to take off my PFD. I make it about 40 feet before it trips...
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Old 11-25-2015, 05:48 AM
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I have one from Maritech Industries based in Redding, CA.

Their unit, called "CAST, is used by USCG, Sheriff and Fire Dept's. Replace battery on the fob that you wear once every two years. I tested it and it works great. It works by water submersion (not proximity) which is better and safer since you won't get run over by your own boat if it drives in a tight circle.

No affiliation just sayin I found the best unit out there IMHO. I bought the unit on the original post and could not get it to work (returned it). Just my own experience...

Here is Maritech's website >>>> http://www.powerboatsafety.com/
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Old 11-25-2015, 05:59 AM
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LOVE mine...works great never an issue
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Old 11-25-2015, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Therapy View Post
LOVE mine...works great never an issue
Same here. Think I have had mine 3 yrs now. No problem eating batteries either. I fish a lot as well.
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