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GPS questions


 
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Code3TJ
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 2:20 am    Post subject: GPS questions Reply with quote

Allow me to preface this by saying I have limited experience with GPS and I'm not looking to map the globe. Wink
Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what some good basic features are and what brands/models to avoid. And here's the most important thing - I'm not looking to spend a fortune. So, any suggestions?
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majikxms
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a Garmin eTrex Camo, this is the only GPS I've owned and I bought it for one specific reason, as quoted from Garmin, "a hunting and fishing calculator that provides optimal times of day to plan your sporting excursions." It also comes with sunrise and sunset times. I hunt allot so this comes in handy. Garmin has a plain version of this called simply "eTrex" that does not have the sport functionality and is about $10 less, I think both can be bought at Walmart.

I've done quite a bit of hiking, hunting, wheelin and camping over that past two years since I bought it and the only time it's failed me is in thick forest cover when it could not get a satellite lock. It's simple to use with either www.topozone.com to look up lat/long info to plug in manually, or as Steve (Phantum) has, the Garmin Topo Maps for his computer to download/upload directly to the GPS. These options add some bucks so I don't have the tools to do it yet.

Things to look for that add money:
Maps on the display
Larger Displays
Color display
Comes with a Radio built in

Things I looked for:
small display
many waypoints
ergonomic button setup
battery life
The hunt/fish - sunrise/sunset display
fits in my pocket easily
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Dale said. When I bought mine I was looking for something that I could use both on and off road as well as have the option to take it with me for camping/hiking/biking...so I went with the Garmin GPS V. It has the ability to work as a handheld (onboard antenna and batteries) or you can hook up and external power supply and remote antenna for use in a vehicle.

You can flip it's display from vertical (handheld) to horizontal (in vehicle or on bicycle). It also has a PC inteface, so you can set up waypoints and routes on a PC and download them (as well as the maps) on it. I got it off of eBay new for $320 delivered.

Check out Garmins website. You can see what they have available and compare the features of each model. It's a pretty good jumping off point for figuring out which features you need to suit what it is you are looking to do.

HTH

Steve
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Code3TJ
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info guys. I haven't searched around yet, but does Garmin have any durability issues?
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Code3TJ wrote:
Thanks for the info guys. I haven't searched around yet, but does Garmin have any durability issues?


Not that I know of...mines pretty tough and I know that Dale has beat his up pretty good as well.
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majikxms
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thephantum wrote:
Code3TJ wrote:
Thanks for the info guys. I haven't searched around yet, but does Garmin have any durability issues?


Not that I know of...mines pretty tough and I know that Dale has beat his up pretty good as well.


Yeah, same. I bought my eTrex in Nov '01, it's been through three hunting seasons in VA and OH, rain, snow, ice, hot as hell, dropped into a stream, rolled down a 400 ft drop off and run over in the mud. Oh and duct taped to just about everything...best trail mod pic:
(not very good, but you get the point)



I have to add that the reason I like this one is because it does "not" have a map display. The GPS' I looked at that have maps are first, too expensive, and second the maps are not detailed enough for my liking. That's why I always have a 24k map of where ever I'll be at (plug: www.topozone.com, it's free), or at least a 50k state map book.

I will be purchasing a data cable soon because this one only has 500 waypoints, and that builds up pretty quick, you can download them onto the computer with the right software. Also a suction cupped windshield mount so I don't have to keep scraping the left over duct tape off and I can move it to other vehicles.

eTrex Series start just over $100. Mounts and data cable about $30 each. Software is over $100. Steve's got the external antenna mount like a tool, but for good reason, XJ's have a problem with too much metal overhead interfering with h/h CB and satellite link, I don't have a problem on the dash, or in the F-150.

I went two and half years without getting any accessories for it, but would recommend the mount first, unless you like duct tape (stupid question you own a Jeep, I know that answer). At this point if it breaks, I would still buy the same one.

Dale
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striker_3
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this goes against what everybody else posted, but I have a Magellan Meridian and I love it. Its been to war and back, and I know for a fact they arent' lieing when the box says "it floats". The main reason my worked purchased it was because it had expandable memory with SD cards.
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the Magellan products are pretty good too (I have heard very good things about them at least). I just prefer the Garmin products, so don't have any experience with Magellan...it's a personal preference, nothing more.

They are worth checking out as well though Troy ==> Clicky
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ehirner
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm working on putting together a computer based navigation system using a laptop I just bought. I don't know how well it'll work but I'll keep ya updated.
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ehirner wrote:
I'm working on putting together a computer based navigation system using a laptop I just bought. I don't know how well it'll work but I'll keep ya updated.


Oh, speaking of laptops...you can tie the GPS to a laptop (you need the data cable and the laptop needs the Mapsource software on it) and use the GPS as a reciever for the software. Allowing you to do all your navigation through the laptop in real time. I haven't played with that feature yet, but I intend to on our next trip in May. thumbs
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ehirner
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thephantum wrote:
ehirner wrote:
I'm working on putting together a computer based navigation system using a laptop I just bought. I don't know how well it'll work but I'll keep ya updated.


Oh, speaking of laptops...you can tie the GPS to a laptop (you need the data cable and the laptop needs the Mapsource software on it) and use the GPS as a reciever for the software. Allowing you to do all your navigation through the laptop in real time. I haven't played with that feature yet, but I intend to on our next trip in May. thumbs

My nextel has the GPS receiver built in. That's where this whole idea hatched from. I just need to bid on one of those 2-in-1 data cable/battery charger cables I've seen on Ebay so I can power the phone and use the GPS at the same time for extended periods without killing my battery.
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ehirner wrote:
thephantum wrote:
ehirner wrote:
I'm working on putting together a computer based navigation system using a laptop I just bought. I don't know how well it'll work but I'll keep ya updated.


Oh, speaking of laptops...you can tie the GPS to a laptop (you need the data cable and the laptop needs the Mapsource software on it) and use the GPS as a reciever for the software. Allowing you to do all your navigation through the laptop in real time. I haven't played with that feature yet, but I intend to on our next trip in May. thumbs

My nextel has the GPS receiver built in. That's where this whole idea hatched from. I just need to bid on one of those 2-in-1 data cable/battery charger cables I've seen on Ebay so I can power the phone and use the GPS at the same time for extended periods without killing my battery.


Not trying to hijack the thread but yea...I have that cable for my GPS (got it off eBay as well). I just need to hard wire it to the fuse panel and hook up a either a COM or USB plug to it to get it to the laptop (this is one of the many little mods that I just need the time to get to). So yeah, what you're thinking will work as long as the software package you run on the laptop is compatible with the Nextel GPS....
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ehirner
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thephantum wrote:
ehirner wrote:
thephantum wrote:
ehirner wrote:
I'm working on putting together a computer based navigation system using a laptop I just bought. I don't know how well it'll work but I'll keep ya updated.


Oh, speaking of laptops...you can tie the GPS to a laptop (you need the data cable and the laptop needs the Mapsource software on it) and use the GPS as a reciever for the software. Allowing you to do all your navigation through the laptop in real time. I haven't played with that feature yet, but I intend to on our next trip in May. thumbs

My nextel has the GPS receiver built in. That's where this whole idea hatched from. I just need to bid on one of those 2-in-1 data cable/battery charger cables I've seen on Ebay so I can power the phone and use the GPS at the same time for extended periods without killing my battery.


Not trying to hijack the thread but yea...I have that cable for my GPS (got it off eBay as well). I just need to hard wire it to the fuse panel and hook up a either a COM or USB plug to it to get it to the laptop (this is one of the many little mods that I just need the time to get to). So yeah, what you're thinking will work as long as the software package you run on the laptop is compatible with the Nextel GPS....

It is. The Nextel gives location data using the NMEA 2.0. The software supports 2.0 or greater.
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Code3TJ
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good testimonial Majik. Mr. Green
The only experience with GPS I have is on a Magellan we have at work. It's one of the high end models (that probably cost the GNP of several small nations) and it has some great features, but like I said, that particular one cost bank.
For the laptops, has anybody checked Stu's setup? We still have a few of that particular model our cars. I can attest to their durability. About the only thing that'll take them out is a spilled cup of coffee. Some of the models have touchscreens, but as they age, the screens start to get jacked up looking. I think most departments are phasing those out, so you might be able to get them cheap(er) at auctions.
The only concern I have with Stu's mounting is the airbags. His is up pretty high (not sure how much it obstructs vision when it's closed) so hopefully if the airbags go off, it'll push it up or towards the windshield. Absolutely do not have it mounted anywhere in front of the airbags. We had a bunch of mounts recalled because it put the computer directly in front of the passenger side airbag. Kinda embarassing to get killed by a flying computer.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an old hand held Garmin, and its nice. It work pretty well, and durability is great. They design these things to be dropped, banged-up, and rained on.

If its within your budget, skip the hand held models, and skip the Street Pilot automotive models, and get a GPS that offers the best of both worlds. Frankly, I'm tired of the small-ass display.

If its going to be used primarily in a trail rig, I think the brand new Garmin 276C is the ticket.


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