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  #81  
Old 11-15-2007
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Skype Questions

In addition to my satellite phone (way too expensive per minute) I will be using Skype In and Out to receive and make calls - if I can get my family trained.

I'm looking at purchasing either Skype's MSC WiFi phone or the Philips VOIP8411B/37 phone (leaning toward the latter based on consumer reviews). However, my power system is entirely 12v and it will be only rarely that I will have 110v shore power. Does anyone know whether either of these phones comes with a 12v adapter; the literature just says "power adapter"?

Has anyone used Skype In and/or Out on a consistent, satisfactory basis? Particularly internationally?

And to you cruisers outside US waters, in more remote locales, how often are you running into marinas with WiFi?

Thanks!
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  #82  
Old 11-15-2007
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Heather...
1. The Philips comes with an AC charger only BUT the batteries are AAA Nimh rechargeables so you can use ANY 12V battery charger to juice them up or buy AAA batteries wherever you are.
2. I would suggest that a small inverter is probably the easiest way to go and will be useful for other things as well.
3. I cannot speak about the more remote places in the world, but wifi is ubiquitous throughout the caribbean basin at marinas and often in harbors and we used skype successfully there in 2005. I would never rely on it exclusively, but you can save a lot of Iridium bucks by bringing it along. Rather than get a handset, we simply got a MIC and CAMERA combo (abou $50) to plug into the PC and now we have free VIDEO and PHONE wherever we go!
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  #83  
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Hey, Cam -

I have a little inverter for special uses...but don't want to stress the battery panel more than necessary. I've read in a couple of places it takes more juice through the inverter than simply using a 12v adapter.

Sounds like Skype is definitely something I'll be able to make use of. Trying to get my non-techie family lined out with it may be the toughest part!

I'm going to get the mic/camera combo as you suggested. But for times I'm moored instead of docked (my preference to save money), I thought the handset would be handy to carry ashore.

Thanks so much for your great input!
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  #84  
Old 11-15-2007
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Heather...you are right about conversion from DC to AC costing some amps vs. a straight DC to DC hookup...but you are only dealing with an amp or less here so even a 50% loss (unthinkable!) would not cost you an appreciable number of amp hours.
My pleasure to be of some small help. We are ALL here for you!
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Old 11-15-2007
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Sologirl-
If the AC adapter has some tiny ratings for input and output stamped on it, the odds are you can find or make a simple DCC adapter that will step the boat's power down to match what the adapter puts out.
Unless the adapter still puts out AC, which some do.

And, when plugging adapters into inverters, you need to check them, some will overheat or burn out. I don't know any rule of thumb to guarantee success but a "true sine wave" inverter will keep them all happy, anything else is "maybe".

(Those AAA cells are sounding pretty good right now, huh?[g])
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One other thing about using an inverter... it gives you alot more flexibility than using a dc-to-dc converter.
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I have used Skype throughout the Caribean, Bermuda, and in Spain. You need a Wifi or broadband connection. It is reliable and cheap. Ebay bought the comnpany a yearago and there have been rumorwsof changes in the fees after the first of the year.
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Old 11-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sologirl View Post
Has anyone used Skype In and/or Out on a consistent, satisfactory basis? Particularly internationally?

And to you cruisers outside US waters, in more remote locales, how often are you running into marinas with WiFi?
I use Skype in Europe, US and Canada. It usually works well, but sometimes has poor connections. I particularly use it to reach a daughter in Australia, it works fairly well. But not as good as Rebtel, so I use the combination.

Marinas in Europe are increasingly adding WiFi, but the charges are often unattractive. Also, having a high gain antenna is worthwhile.
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Thanks so much for all the info.

I don't think the inverter I have is sine wave, so may upgrade to that.

Already have a WiFi boosting (er, uh, booster) antenna.

I did read Skype was bought out by eBay and assumed prices might change but they swear computer-to-computer will always be free, so I can't go wrong there.

Now where did I put those AAAs!?
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  #90  
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eBay did buy them out. And I wouldn't call eBay money-grubbing whores with no appreciation for customer service, simply because I wouldn't want to offend whores.[g]

eBay was pretty fast to buy up PayPal to ensure eBay retained all revenues. Then they hiked the PayPal rates and killed free accounts. Then Citibank came out with a competitor--and eBay/PayPal took steps to punish any member using that service, with some non-compete rules.

So I've no doubt eBay will patiently look Skype over, then milk it for whatever the competition will bear.

In the early days eBay's Boss Lady used to say that she just wanted her friend to write a database to support her hobby of trading Pez dispensers. These days...the interviews sound like Great Wizards intentionally built this incredible system with fantastic knowledge of what would come. Funny how the old "tee hee, look what I stepped into" story has changed.
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