Author Topic: Danno's 1st GPS  (Read 3163 times)

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Offline paddleboy17

Danno's 1st GPS
« on: July 02, 2010, 11:49:23 am »
I bet you all cringe when you see topics like this.  I have tried to be informed by reading back posts 1st, and doing some other research.  I lay out my own routes, and I recently had a situation where it was really complicated to follow a paper map.  I think I might want to add a GPS device to my arsenal.

I am interested in supporting day, weekend, and week long trips.  Until I retire, that is the duration of what I can do.  I figure whatever GPS unit I buy will quickly be hopelessly outdated.  And I don't have much of a budget for a transciever.  I have laid out routes using DeLorme Street Atlas and MapTech Terrain Naviagator Topo Maps.  My last trip I laid out using Google Maps with the Bicycle Route Option.

Right now I am looking at the following 3  Garmin options:  eTrex Legends H, eTrex Venture HC, and eTrex Vista HCx.  I have been frustrated by trying to read color cell phone displays in bright light, so the gray scale Legends H is attractive for that reason.  Being able to load maps onto a data card for the Vista HCx is also attractive.

Sadly enough, I don't understand what is important well enough to pick a GPS unit.  I would appreciate any and all feedback.
Danno

Offline TimTyler

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 01:33:48 pm »
I'm in the same boat.

I'm currently leaning towards the Delorme Earthmate PN-60 because it's brand new to the market and does not require an additional map purchase.
Tim

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 05:18:20 pm »
I bet you all cringe when you see topics like this. 
HAHAHHA!  Not at all.  Especially when it's obvious you've done some legwork already.  :)

Right now I am looking at the following 3  Garmin options:  eTrex Legends H, eTrex Venture HC, and eTrex Vista HCx.  I have been frustrated by trying to read color cell phone displays in bright light, so the gray scale Legends H is attractive for that reason.  Being able to load maps onto a data card for the Vista HCx is also attractive.

Sadly enough, I don't understand what is important well enough to pick a GPS unit.  I would appreciate any and all feedback.
The Garmin units have a transflective screen, which make them sunlight-readable.  They are quite legible in bright light; I would say more legible in bright light than in lower light levels.  I have the Vista HCx and use it as my cycling computer.  The runtime is 24 hours on the dot using Rayovac Hybrid NiMH batteries.  Running the backlight constantly on its lowest setting gives me a runtime of ~19 hours.  The backlight goes bright enough to just about give a tan.  Okay, not that bright, but it's intense.  I have never needed anything more than the lowest setting.

I think you would be happy with any of those units.  The MicroSD is handy.  With a 2GB card, I have almost all of the lower 48 loaded into my GPS unit, simply because I didn't want to have to bother with loading it up ever again.

Don't worry about obsolescence.  Hardware GPS units don't have product cycles nearly as short as other electronic goods.  I bought my Vista HCx about four years ago and never looked back.  My one suggestion would be a screen protector.  I don't use one, but I am retentively careful about not scratching the screen.  Also, whatever you get, once you have it, make sure it has the most recent firmware update.  Garmin addressed quite a few annoyances with a recent firmware update for my unit.
waynemyer.com
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Offline Tourista829

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 07:57:44 pm »
Daniel, I hope you are well. Detroit Airport was a mess, so it was good you didn't come. I would go with a Garmin 78 series. I think it is worth contacting Garmin. Their experts can help you sort out the dilemma.  They were very helpful when I picked out a GPS for my airplane.There are many variables to consider. I would go with the most way points, best battery and good a good size external memory card. Good luck, Bob
200 East 151st Street
Olathe, KS 66062-3426
(913) 324-7905
www.garmin.com

I am sure you saw this in a previous post from Nola:  Thanks for the help.  I've decided to follow Fred's advice and go with the Garmin GPSMAP series, but I am now faced with the decision of which device within that series (60CX, 60CSX, 76CX, 76CSX, 78, 78S, 78SC).  All of these seem about the same to this novice, but it appears that the primary difference is that the devices in the 78 series (78, 78S, 78SC) have the following advantages:  (1) 18 vs. 20 battery life, (2) 1.7 GB built-in memory, and (3) storage of 2,000 waypoints (vs. 1,000).  This is making me lean in the direction of the 78 series.  Does anyone have any insight/advice/guidance on this?  Also, does the Atlantic Coast Route have more than 2,000 waypoints and, if so, then what's the work around?  I am hoping to have as much of the route "pre-loaded" as possible so that I don't have to deal with updating on the road (if that makes sense).  I know that this question has been asked before relative to other routes but I could not get back to the answer.  I REALLY appreciate the help.  - NOLA.     
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Offline paddleboy17

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2010, 08:35:36 pm »
Hey Tourista829, Hope your stay at DTW did not leave a bad taste in your mouth.  For the record, I would take a layover at DTW over LAX anyday.  As it was my wife got sick and I had be charming at grad parties without her supervision. 

Got any feedback on Magellan?  As part of my ongoing quest, I took a look at their offerings.  At a spec level, the Magellan Triton 400 and Triton 500 look like a better value than the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx and Vista Hcx. 

Does Garmin coast on their name or does Magellan make less capable stuff?  Even the Magellan support software looks like a better bargain (at least on paper).

Oh how I wish I had some practical knowledge of this stuff.
Danno

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2010, 01:05:46 am »
Danno, what's your timeframe for purchase?  I am going to be buying an Garmin Oregon 450 soonish (I am a dreadful procrastinator when it comes to purchases).  When I do buy it, I would be happy to lend you my Vista HCx so you can try it out firsthand and see what you think.  If that sounds good to you, let me know.  It might just also light a fire under my tochus to drop the green.
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Offline paddleboy17

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 12:16:34 am »
Danno, what's your timeframe for purchase?  I am going to be buying an Garmin Oregon 450 soonish (I am a dreadful procrastinator when it comes to purchases).  When I do buy it, I would be happy to lend you my Vista HCx so you can try it out firsthand and see what you think.  If that sounds good to you, let me know.  It might just also light a fire under my tochus to drop the green.

My wife offered to get me something in honor of our wedding anniversary, and I thouhgt I should take her up on it soon.  So thank you for the offer, but I am mostly looking for advice.  It looks like if one were not careful, a GPS set up could cost as much as a low end road bike.  I am getting the impression that you basically should buy Garmin.  I am leaning towards a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx ($178 on Amazon) or a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx ($211 on Amazon).  The electronic compass does not sound all that useful, and since I never had an altimeter, I don't know how important a barometric altimiter is.  If I decide to do this, I have a week long tour in early August that I wanted this for.  There is a daylong ride in mid July I was going to use as a shake down.
Danno

Offline Tourista829

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 12:40:16 am »
Daniel, I had both a Magellan and Garmin GPS. Two were auto and one was aviation.  I liked the way Magellan presented material on the screen. The garmin was easier to download new updates. Garmin's screen sucked when wearing sunglasses  I would decide on your mission. Then your budget. I wish I had more experience with this area. I am tired of the map thing. They get messed up and do hold up. I like Fred Hiltz. I beleive he is the moderator of the GPS section on the ACO Forum. I would write him a private message. He is very knowledgeable and may be able to steer you in the right direction. I was into the Garmin 605 but was told that way points and lots of them is one of the most important features, the more the merrier. I wish I had the time to research this out more carefully. I will be in the market to purchase one in the next 6 months. I would contact ACO and several manufactures and find out what they think. I would also contact some tour operators and see what they use. It would be great to get one that would work for cycling, auto and aviation. All you would have to do is charge out the sd card. I know this is not possible. The last idea I have is Europe is more developed in this area than we are. There has to be several resources over there that could help you too. I wouldn't rush into it until you know what you want it to accomplish and the features of each unit. I would also contact our old friend MEC of Canada and see their take. I will let you know what I find out. Bob

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 02:11:18 am »
... I am now faced with the decision of which device within that series (60CX, 60CSX, 76CX, 76CSX, 78, 78S, 78SC).  All of these seem about the same to this novice... Does anyone have any insight/advice/guidance on this?  Also, does the Atlantic Coast Route have more than 2,000 waypoints and, if so, then what's the work around? ... I know that this question has been asked before relative to other routes but I could not get back to the answer.

http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=7185.msg35316#msg35316 addresses these points and also how best to search for more answers. Try that one.

Fred

Offline pptouring

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 04:39:56 pm »

Right now I am looking at the following 3  Garmin options:  eTrex Legends H, eTrex Venture HC, and eTrex Vista HCx.  I have been frustrated by trying to read color cell phone displays in bright light, so the gray scale Legends H is attractive for that reason.  Being able to load maps onto a data card for the Vista HCx is also attractive.

Sadly enough, I don't understand what is important well enough to pick a GPS unit.  I would appreciate any and all feedback.

I used the eTrex Vista Cx (discontinued model) for a couple years before picking up a HCx and they're both great units. My wife and I have used the HCx on two European bike tours, along with other short tours here in the States and it rocks. We've used it for bike touring, MTB riding, backpacking, kayaking, GEO Caching, and for when we're out sightseeing a new town. I think it's the perfect size for the handlebars and/or just to carry around. I do wish Garmin would upgrade their mapping software to mimic Google Maps or come up with a plugin that works with Google Maps just so creating routes was a little more user friendly, but that is just me.

Oh and it works great with the E-Werk charger from Busch & Müller.  ;D

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 01:18:16 pm »
I was going to get a Vista HCX, but I lucked into a 60 CSX.  Garmin just discontinued them.  My local Bass Pro Shop was blowing them out for $219.  My wife and drove up to our nearest Bass Pro Shop and bought one (I took her out for dinner too).
Danno

Offline rvklassen

Re: Danno's 1st GPS
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2010, 03:08:22 pm »
The electronic compass does not sound all that useful, and since I never had an altimeter, I don't know how important a barometric altimeter is.  If I decide to do this, I have a week long tour in early August that I wanted this for.  There is a daylong ride in mid July I was going to use as a shake down.
The electronic compass is cool in that it doesn't care about the presence of ferrous metal, and it does mean that the map can be oriented the right way when you haven't started moving.  But other than getting the map oriented before you start moving, it's hard to imagine using the feature.   The altimeter is mostly good for entertainment value, and occasionally morale boosting.  Entertainment, since you can leave the thing sitting stationary for a day or two and find that you wandered up and down several hundred feet (if a storm passes through); morale boosting when climbing long hills, as it will give you a reading on what fraction of that beast of a hill you've climbed is now done.  But neither is important.

Above all else I put battery life, with replaceable AA batteries.  Even for a 1 week trip that would normally mean having one spare set of batteries and the set in the unit, and if you have it on for about 7 hours per day, it'll make it without recharging.   For longer trips you ought to be able to get to where you can charge that frequently.