Author Topic: Basic GPS  (Read 7478 times)

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FredHiltz

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Basic GPS
« on: July 06, 2009, 08:04:29 am »
From the thread "Anyone using SPoT Tracker for Trips?":
... please tell me straight up if there is a cheap, reliable, battery friendly GPS unit out there that simply gives coordinates in addition to the basic info you get from standard bike computers? ...

Hi Fanwaar,

I started a new thread to avert topic drift and keep your question visible.

There are several. Your best best is to browse the available units and their specs at http://gpsinformation.net/, the GPS information central. What they don't have there, they link to. None of us can know better than you just what features are most important for you.

Most of the rugged hand-held units run on two AA cells for 12 hours more or less. If you plan on just a few 5-minute sessions a day to get coordinates, they will work for weeks.

Please let us know what you choose and why. It will interest other riders of far-out places, I am sure.

Fred

Offline Fanwaar

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  • I'm quite new to cycling but old to adventuring...
Re: Basic GPS
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 03:45:34 pm »
Thanks for the link Fred. I've been wrestling with this for far too long. Be sure to let you know what i decide on.

Offline Bikewood

Re: Basic GPS
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2009, 12:52:42 am »
Just starting to look at GPS for my up coming trip ( Utah Cliff Loop) worried about battery life any good idea?

FredHiltz

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Re: Basic GPS
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2009, 08:43:56 am »
Just starting to look at GPS for my up coming trip ( Utah Cliff Loop) worried about battery life any good idea?

Most receivers suited for longer trips use two AA cells. Avoid the specialty cycling GPSRs with built-in batteries; they need charging every night. There are just a few practical AA options.

First, among primary (non-rechargeable) cells, alkaline or lithium. (Forget the cheap zinc-carbon cells. They do not last long.) Alkaline cells are cheap, widely available, and power most receivers for 8 to 12 hours. Lithium cells are more expensive, harder to find, about 2/3 the weight, and run 1.5 to 2 times as long.

The only practical secondary (rechargeable) cells are nickel metal hydride (NiMH), which run about as long as the alkaline cells. You can recharge them about 1,000 times with either a plug-in charger or a solar charger. The "regular" variety hold more charge than the precharged variety, although they lose more charge when on the shelf for months: not a problem in this application.

Plug-in chargers are cheap and fast (1 to 2 hours). Solar chargers are more expensive, heavier, and slow. The ones that would fit on a bike need most of a sunny day to charge two AA, and NiMH does not take a complete charge when charged slowly. The solar option might appeal to those who are willing to spend more and work harder to relieve the grid of 0.01 KWH per recharge.

Speaking of the environment, a word about disposal is in order. All of these cells may be safely disposed in the trash. The U.S. government classifies them as non-hazardous waste. However, California and some European countries consider them hazardous. Years ago, alkaline cells contained small amounts of mercury. In my opinion, that and the bad reputation of nickel-cadmium cells, which are indeed hazardous, caused the politicians to ignore the chemists and write the regulations, which you may wish to follow when in those locations.

Planning a five- or six-day ride on Utah Cliffs, if I did not own a charger I would start with two fresh alkalines in my GPSR, two more in my bag, and buy another pair soon after the first two run out. I do own a charger, so would take it and two rechargeable NiMH cells.

Fred

Offline Bikewood

Re: Basic GPS
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 10:39:16 am »
Thanks for the great information I have a Garmin geko 301, now I will look in to waypoints, I do not plan or riding with it on just checking in during the day