Testing the SOS button. - BMW R1200GS Forum : R1200 GS Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 13-May-2019, 07:13 AM (509) Thread Starter
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Testing the SOS button.

When I bought my R1250GS a couple of months ago, after much deliberation I decided to pay an extra 295 and order it with the SOS button.

Would it be unreasonable to do a test by pressing it to see if it works? If I do will the emergency services automatically turn up with or without a 'handlebar' conversation or will someone from BMW headquarters give me a lecture on wasting their time.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 13-May-2019, 10:50 AM (659)
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No no no...I understand your curiosity, but with some things you just have to trust they work or test it in a way that everyone knows it is a test BEFORE it happens so the cascade of emergency responses does not begin.

People who respond to "SOS" (or Code Blue) have very little "appreciation" for a test firing. I remember a cardiologist once who did just that in a cath lab "to see how fast 'we' responded." Arriving quickly no one was the least bit entertained by the "test" or her testing of us. And thereafter her reputation as an a$$hole was totally reinforced and certified. People were really really pi$$ed at the abuse of the system.

If you want to investigate, maybe call up Motorrad and ask if there is a safe way to test WITHOUT alerting the troops. If not, I would put my curiosity in my back pocket. Test firing it without a real emergency would likely and rightly result in a huge bill for you and at least rolled eyes and disgusted head shakes.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 13-May-2019, 02:25 PM (809)
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I don't know anything about the BMW SOS button but many such services have a way to test it without sparking an actual emergency call. You call them and they put you in test mode and you activate it to see if they received it.

Many, many years ago (the 1980's) I was a project manager on a DoD program called the SARSAT AFRCC (Air Force Rescue Coordination Center) automation platform at Scott AFB. The system detected aircraft ELT signals and EPIRB signals and correlated the location with other verifications of an actual incident. More than once, I'd be hanging out in the rescue coordination center and watch them respond to a guy that intentionally set off his ELT on an overdue route of flight to see how fast the Air Force would respond. Let me just say that when they scramble the Civil Air Patrol, local law enforcement, and other SAR resources the bills could be quite large, even back in the 1980s. They had no sense of humor about that at all.

I was once listening on a speaker phone when the local sheriff located an ELT going off in a farmer's field. It apparently had been placed there on a battery power supply to see if anyone would come looking for it. With the sheriff on the phone, he asked if he should shut it off and they responded that he should. The next thing we heard on the call was gun shots and then him asking if it was still transmitting. Fun times.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 14-May-2019, 05:35 AM (441) Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses.

Thinking about it, it's a bit like air bags in cars and fire extinguishers. You hope they will work when needed but there is no way of testing them to see if they work.

I guess it's a trust thing but it in the case of the SOS system, unlike the previous two examples, it wouldn't have to be replaced every time it is activated. Surprised therefore that there isn't a testing procedure in place.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 14-May-2019, 09:54 AM (621)
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Having spent a big part of my career in the telecom industry working on system reliability (at least in the land-line days, phone system reliability/availability was considered a "life safety" issue, hence the network being self-powered so that you could still the fire department even if your fuse box was in flames), I'd be surprised if the SOS system isn't doing some kind of self-check from time to time, maybe exchanging handshake signals with the local EMS. Does BMW list any error codes related to SOS? That would be a sign that the system self-tests to at least some extent.

Whizzy brakes, no FD drain plug, what's not to like?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 14-May-2019, 10:39 AM (652)
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From the BMW website:

12. How can I check if the system is working?
In principle, it is not necessary to test the system. In case of technical faults, a message will appear in the instrument cluster. If required, the customer can, of course, personally test the system. To do so, it suffices to briefly press the SOS button at standstill. The countdown begins (acoustic signal & presentation in the instrument cluster), so that it can be cancelled within a short time frame without establishing a connection to the BMW call centre. If an emergency call is inadvertently made, it is important to speak to the call centre agent to inform them that it was a "system test".

http://www.bmw-motorrad.com/com/en/i...ion=&notrack=1

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 14-May-2019, 04:43 PM (905)
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Am I wrong that my '17 GSA doesn't have auto crash report? I followed the link kindly provided by Ex H but am in the dark.

My tool of choice is Garmin "In Reach" mini so I assume none of this applies to me?

Joke of emergency reporting of the day is Apple Watch. I've been rebuilding my house after Maria's destruction and while wearing the watch get at least three "You appear to have taken a hard fall" warnings...all false. At least it doesn't auto call which here, in the bush wouldn't generate a timely response, anyway?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 15-May-2019, 01:05 AM (253) Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExHarley Rider View Post
From the BMW website:

12. How can I check if the system is working?
In principle, it is not necessary to test the system. In case of technical faults, a message will appear in the instrument cluster. If required, the customer can, of course, personally test the system. To do so, it suffices to briefly press the SOS button at standstill. The countdown begins (acoustic signal & presentation in the instrument cluster), so that it can be cancelled within a short time frame without establishing a connection to the BMW call centre. If an emergency call is inadvertently made, it is important to speak to the call centre agent to inform them that it was a "system test".

http://www.bmw-motorrad.com/com/en/i...ion=&notrack=1
Many thanks for the link. Looked everywhere for more information on the SOS system without success, so grateful for the pointer (printed a copy and added it to my manual, for future reference).

It also answered my other question. Yes, it can be used if you have a 'fault'. Presumably if you have a breakdown and your mobile doesn't have a signal one can press the SOS button and utilise it's roaming function?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 15-May-2019, 05:03 AM (418)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crucian View Post
Am I wrong that my '17 GSA doesn't have auto crash report? I followed the link kindly provided by Ex H but am in the dark.

My tool of choice is Garmin "In Reach" mini so I assume none of this applies to me?
I don't think the SOS button was available in the US until 2018 and there isn't any "emergency" function without it.

I use the Garmin (DeLorme when I got it) InReach Explorer and I KNOW FOR A FACT that it works. Its also good for communicating when it is not an emergency.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 15-May-2019, 05:33 AM (439)
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The In Reach Mini is amazing. It weights 3.5 ozs and fits in the palm of you hand. I don't need the nav features of the explorer so this tiny unit is perfect. I haven't signed up for a plan yet but monthly plans start at $15 and include limited messages. I'm going to stow it in my jacket so it will always be "In Reach".
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