Author Topic: Advice for a GPS Newbie  (Read 3091 times)

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Offline noshbygosh

Advice for a GPS Newbie
« on: February 09, 2011, 10:31:01 pm »
I went into a local outdoors store over the weekend as I knew they carried Garmin GPS devices.  The stores rep seemed to know his stuff (used to do GIS for the U.S. Forest Service) but was not a bicyclist.  As I explained my needs being basically for navigation rather than tracking my performance, we moved away from the Edge series. He ultimately said I should consider GPSMAP or Dakota series.  After further comparison of the two, he recommended the Dakota 20. Is this good advice?  I am basically going to use it for club rides and self-guided touring.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 12:32:05 am »
I agree with your store's rep. We have discussed the Edge many times here. It is excellent for training but not good at all for navigating new terrain. Both the Dakota and the GPSMAP series give turn-by-turn routing when you add the proper road maps.

The Dakota's touch screen raises the same question as the Oregon series, also discussed here: how well does it work in the rain? With gloves? In the rain with gloves? I hope someone will try one and let us know. We do know that the GPSMAP's buttons work well in the rain and with gloves (if not too thick).

Beyond that issue, it's a question of comparing the minor features on the Garmin web site and at http://gpsinformation.net/ to find the unit that fits your fancy and your budget.

Fred

Offline noshbygosh

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 01:13:47 am »
Thanks.  Quick follow-up question.  Garmin carries a one-year warranty.  Is it worth paying $30-40 to get the warranty upgraded to 3 years?

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 06:39:38 am »
I think not. Electronic devices are most likely to fail in the first few months from manufacturing defects, then not much until switches, displays, and connectors begin to wear out after many years. Consumer Reports agrees, routinely advising against extended warranties on electronics.

That said, some credit cards will extend warranties on products you buy with them. My AmEx card does.

Theft and accidental damage are the more important risks to a GPSR. Your home insurance may cover those. If not, you can buy a personal property endorsement to add this coverage.

Fred

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 12:32:03 pm »
The Dakota's touch screen raises the same question as the Oregon series, also discussed here: how well does it work in the rain? With gloves? In the rain with gloves? I hope someone will try one and let us know. We do know that the GPSMAP's buttons work well in the rain and with gloves (if not too thick).
The Dakota and Oregon touchscreens are resistive (as opposed to capacitive, e.g. iPhone/iPod Touch/smartphones).  This means that they respond to pressure and will work when wet or wearing gloves.

ref: Garmin Oregon info.
waynemyer.com
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Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 11:56:11 pm »
Thank you, Wayne. This is encouraging. One would expect Garmin to get it right. I think I would still want to try it with my winter gloves before buying it, or hear from someone who has. Are the software "buttons" large enough, well separated enough, and tolerant of off-center pushing? And so on.

Fred

Offline noshbygosh

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 09:58:22 pm »
As further evidence to what said, here is what a Garmin rep emailed me in response to my query about either the Dakota or GSMAP series working with wet gloves:

"Our touch screen are Resistive meaning they can be touched without using your "bare" finger. Pressure activates the display and not a simple "touch", so gloves would not be a problem.  Any of the unit you mentioned would be perfect for what you are trying to accomplish."

It look like I'm going to be the guinea pig with this model.

Offline Hrushka

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 09:25:10 am »
Has anyone bought a GPS unit from thegpsstore DOT com?  Would you reccomend it?  I am only mentioning it because they have Garmin Oregon with a 24K map bundle for 499. 

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 06:00:25 am »
As further evidence to what said, here is what a Garmin rep emailed me in response to my query about either the Dakota or GSMAP series working with wet gloves:

"Our touch screen are Resistive meaning they can be touched without using your "bare" finger. Pressure activates the display and not a simple "touch", so gloves would not be a problem.  Any of the unit you mentioned would be perfect for what you are trying to accomplish."

It look like I'm going to be the guinea pig with this model.

Good news: Susan just answered this in another topic, http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=8117.0

Fred

Offline gordonharris912

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2011, 08:30:31 pm »
The Garmin Edge 605 is the best for cyclists.  Get the 705 or 800 if you want to measure your cadence and heartbeat, but all are identical with their unique onscreen map and turn alerts.  You can download the GPX files at MapMyRide or RideWithGPS.  In New England you can find GPX files for the best rides at http://ridemap.info .  They have some great prices on the Garmin as well. 

Offline jfitch

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2011, 08:40:21 pm »
Disagree, for touring. The Edge has pitiful battery life. Unless you know you'll have access to power for recharging every day, I would recommend one of the eTrex series that takes AA batteries, such as the Legend HCx or Vista HCx or 60CS. I can get nearly a week out of one set of lithium AA batteries in my Legend Cx, riding all day.

Offline gordonharris912

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2011, 07:04:42 am »
My Garmin Edge 705 (605)  gives me service for days without charging.  Some of the earlier models may have had problems, but not the 605/705 series.  I posted some setup and troubleshooting suggestions at  http://bikenewengland.com/gps.html

Offline jfitch

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2011, 11:52:51 pm »
Well, Garmin's website says the battery life for the 605-800 series in "15 hours typical". That would last me, touring, about 2 days max, given a typical approx 6 hour riding day. With the Legend, even with Alkaline AAs, I get twice that. A set of lithiums lasts for about a week, being run all day. And if the batteries run down ,they're instantly replaceable, from spares on hand or any convenience store, without the inconvenience and delay of recharging. The 605-800 series may be very good, but to me, a mere 15 hour life in a non-replaceable battery is a deal breaker.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2011, 05:47:44 am »
Battery life is important, but more important is the Edge series lack of ability to handle routes and navigate in terrain where it has never been. Summarizing many posts here, the Edge are excellent training devices, bike computers with GPS, but not suitable for tour navigation.

Fred