Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Topic started by: Spike on February 05, 2019, 01:34:39 pm

Title: GPS
Post by: Spike on February 05, 2019, 01:34:39 pm
Hi. What do people use for navigation on Audax..Shall i get better android phone ... but how do you put audax gpx file on it? or shall I buy new gps unit...? Using old etrex at the mo but screen is small.thanks in advance.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Edd on February 05, 2019, 01:43:02 pm
On anything longer than a 200km route, I tend to use the provided routesheet as it doesn't run out of battery. I have a Mio 305 (nice sized screen, good for directions) which lasts for about 100km and a Garmin Edge 500 which is good for about 150km. I'm actually thinking of going the opposite direction and moving to an etrex, purely because I can replace the batteries on a ride.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: frankly frankie on February 05, 2019, 02:01:47 pm
A good pair of cells in an etrex will at least last you 400km, and if you push the boat out and use lithium primaries they will safely pass 600km (and weigh less than any other option).
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Dtcman on February 05, 2019, 02:38:48 pm
IMHO, Etrex 30x is still the way to go. It's one of the few left that take AA batteries and comes with full European mapping.

As for the phone, you can get apps that load up gpx files and I tend to have it installed as a backup but using gps on your phone sucks the battery dead and you wouldn't get a 200 out of it without an additional battery pack.   
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Kim on February 05, 2019, 02:40:31 pm
IMHO, Etrex 30x is still the way to go.

Assuming you can see the screen.  Otherwise the Montana/Oregon might be better.  If you really need something larger, it might be worth fudging round the inadequacies of a smartphone with waterproof cases and external battery packs and so on.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 05, 2019, 04:58:40 pm

I use a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, and just top it up from a power bank at controls.

If you're using an android phone, then OSMand is a nice app.

J
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Ian H on February 05, 2019, 05:12:49 pm
IMHO, Etrex 30x is still the way to go.

Assuming you can see the screen.  Otherwise the Montana/Oregon might be better.  If you really need something larger, it might be worth fudging round the inadequacies of a smartphone with waterproof cases and external battery packs and so on.

Nowadays, for those options or for a routesheet, I would still need reading specs.  There are several off-the-peg sports/cycling specs with bi-focal lenses for reading available.  Very useful for the older blinder cyclist.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: phil w on February 05, 2019, 05:15:36 pm
Which generation eTrex / model are we referring to? If it takes maps then a high contrast map on your existing GPS might be the answer.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Spike on February 05, 2019, 07:15:29 pm
Thanks for comments so far..I like the look of the Wahoo...I like my old Etrex but as I said being old my eyes are poor !! chevrons on the wahoo may help ... cycle bi focal...mmm...I cycle with someone who uses those...
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Kim on February 05, 2019, 07:22:01 pm
One option the smartphone approach gives you is audio prompts (perhaps through Bluetooth headphone(s)), instead of having to use a screen while riding along.  The phone can stay safe and dry in your barbag or whatever.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: aidan.f on February 05, 2019, 10:53:51 pm
I have 58 y old vision and manage an etrex or route sheet very well with bifocal safety glasses. Cost  a few ££'s
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Greenbank on February 05, 2019, 11:04:41 pm
One option the smartphone approach gives you is audio prompts (perhaps through Bluetooth headphone(s)), instead of having to use a screen while riding along.  The phone can stay safe and dry in your barbag or whatever.

Not good for riding on the continent though (wearing headphones whilst cycling is illegal in France and Germany at least).
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: grams on February 05, 2019, 11:56:59 pm
Relying on audio-only prompts fails the moment there's more than one similar turning available unless the prompts are extremely specific, which auto-generated ones never are. If you could somehow get it to read human-created route sheet instructions, that might work.

using gps on your phone sucks the battery dead and you wouldn't get a 200 out of it without an additional battery pack.   

Pedantic point-of-order: The GPS receiver uses very little power - it's the screen and the graphics rendering that burns the power. Mine will track log for *days* with the screen off.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Karla on February 06, 2019, 12:02:43 am
I have the Wahoo Elemnt which is basically the slightly larger version of the Bolt.  The supplies mapping isn't quite as complete as you get on an effective bit then again, you can see the screen; I find it much easier to navigate with on the go than my old Etrex models and if you really want to stop to look at a detailed map, you stop and look at your phone. 

The battery is rated to 17 hours and it charges very fast so like QG days, you can top it up over a coffee stop.  The AA thing is a non-issue, ignore it.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Dtcman on February 06, 2019, 08:42:01 am

The battery is rated to 17 hours and it charges very fast so like QG days, you can top it up over a coffee stop.  The AA thing is a non-issue, ignore it.

That is still not long enough for a 400km plus audax. If you're only doing 200s then fine but for me, the AA thing is a big plus. 2 nights in to a 1000km ride and just swapping 2 AAs rather than worrying about charge is a big consideration.     
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Pingu on February 06, 2019, 09:01:23 am
I get on fine with varifocals and an eTrex 30. Of course YMMV applies  :)
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Karla on February 06, 2019, 09:17:19 am

The battery is rated to 17 hours and it charges very fast so like QG days, you can top it up over a coffee stop.  The AA thing is a non-issue, ignore it.

That is still not long enough for a 400km plus audax. If you're only doing 200s then fine but for me, the AA thing is a big plus. 2 nights in to a 1000km ride and just swapping 2 AAs rather than worrying about charge is a big consideration.   

It shouldn't be.  An internal battery can be recharged on the move (my old Garmin 500 needed a special cable for this but my Wahoo is perfectly happy with any old cable), or else in a cafe stop (The Wahoo would probably get s complete charge after one of these).  Carrying a USB battery is really no different to carrying AA cells, and using an internal battery frees you from having to juggle AAs.

There's a small advantage to the 'instant charge' that AA cells offer but it's much smaller than lots of people on here seem to think.  Meanwhile it locks you in to the 30/30x devices, which is a big minus.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Frank9755 on February 06, 2019, 10:19:41 am
Hi. What do people use for navigation on Audax..Shall i get better android phone ... but how do you put audax gpx file on it? or shall I buy new gps unit...? Using old etrex at the mo but screen is small.thanks in advance.

To the OP.

Any GPS will do. 
They all pretty much do what you need - at least those marketed in the last 10 years or so.  The killer app is showing you the route on a map. And some people want to record their data and connect with devices. 
Some of them do a bunch of other things as well that you most likely don't need. 
They can be a bit idiosyncratic to work out how to use them. 
In part because of this, people get surprisingly attached to the particular model they happen to use and find reasons to say it is the best option.
But, most likely, any other one would do just as well. 
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: T42 on February 06, 2019, 10:52:36 am
ETrex 30x permanently backlit and running off the dynamo. Controls as waypoints, map screen set up to show distance & estimated time to next one.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: trekker12 on February 06, 2019, 11:03:38 am
ETrex 30x permanently backlit and running off the dynamo. Controls as waypoints, map screen set up to show distance & estimated time to next one.

Does the Etrex 30x have the auto off function?

My older Etrex30 counts down from 30 and switches itself off when it stops receiving input from the dynamo - even with batteries fitted as back up. During the daytime this isn't an issue as the standlight power from my Luxos U provides enough when stopped at junctions but at night with front rear and dynamo power it maintains the standlight (sensible safety feature) but cuts the power to the auxiliary and I get half a mile down the road to notice the Etrex has switched off.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: frankly frankie on February 06, 2019, 11:12:35 am
... The AA thing is a non-issue, ignore it.
...
Carrying a USB battery is really no different to carrying AA cells, and using an internal battery frees you from having to juggle AAs.

It's "having to juggle AAs" which is the non-issue.  The time it takes to swap the AAs is less than the time it takes for you to take one step forward in the food queue.  A USB battery is a lump you must carry all the way round.  AAs can be disposed of as and when, or even bought en route as required, reducing weight and bulk better allocated to bonk food.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: phil w on February 06, 2019, 11:36:07 am
I have just bought some new rechargables after my 2011 ones have reached end of life.  It looks like the latest rechargable AA's are starting to push 36-40 hours run time in eTrex now.  So a single set good for a 600km audax. But as Frankly says, swapping over the batteries when one set run out is simple as anything.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Greenbank on February 06, 2019, 12:06:38 pm
... The AA thing is a non-issue, ignore it.
...
Carrying a USB battery is really no different to carrying AA cells, and using an internal battery frees you from having to juggle AAs.

It's "having to juggle AAs" which is the non-issue.  The time it takes to swap the AAs is less than the time it takes for you to take one step forward in the food queue.  A USB battery is a lump you must carry all the way round.  AAs can be disposed of as and when, or even bought en route as required, reducing weight and bulk better allocated to bonk food.

Honestly, you have to be seriously weight weenie-ish to worry about the bulk of a USB power pack, or to think that freeing up the space from two AA batteries is a bonus (and disposing of used batteries responsibly can be quite tricky although most supermarkets should have battery recycling bins[1]).
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: mattc on February 06, 2019, 12:23:39 pm
This stuff is so subjective, it's hilarious when people get impassioned about it (it's not like we're debating anything serious, like valve cap colours!)

Reasons I like the AA solution:

- You can buy them anywhere*
- They are totally reliable
- They have many uses (battery lights, my Sony Walkman, head torches etc)
- I am emotionally invested in my 3yr-old eTrex, so seek confirmation that I have bought The Right Thing, and all other solutions are just silly.
- I know that the one in my bag is ready to go, no matter how bad my planning and/or café recharging schedule
- I'm a luddite, scared of using scary new stuff (I didn't need to say that, did I?)
- It's the "Mike Hall Approved"** solution, so that gives me a few more ultra/backpacking cool points.
- I can't possibly buy the wrong size/connector/standard in a shop in Franglanistan


*Apart from the first petrol station on entering a wet Lancaster 2 Julys ago. "We've got every other size!" - it's true, they did.
** Well, it's in a Race Manual that features lots of his words. I don't know exactly what he ever said on the matter.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Karla on February 06, 2019, 12:25:47 pm
... The AA thing is a non-issue, ignore it.
...
Carrying a USB battery is really no different to carrying AA cells, and using an internal battery frees you from having to juggle AAs.

It's "having to juggle AAs" which is the non-issue.  The time it takes to swap the AAs is less than the time it takes for you to take one step forward in the food queue.  A USB battery is a lump you must carry all the way round.  AAs can be disposed of as and when, or even bought en route as required, reducing weight and bulk better allocated to bonk food.

You're right: used specifically within an Audax, swapping AAs is about as burdensome as plugging into a wall socket at your table, plugging into a powerbank or plugging into an AA-USB charger.  The best reason not to buy an Etrex isn't the batteries, it's the crappy small low-contrast screen - unless you're buying one of the Touch series when the best reason not to buy is because they crash all the time.  That's the biggest reason why nobody should be recommending them as a new purchase cycling GPS.

Assuming the OP might want to use their GPS outside of Audax though, let's examine a couple of other use cases:

1) I had a long cycle-rail commute on top of a full-time job, I was out the house 12 hours a day.  Both for lights and GPS I really didn't want to be getting home in the evenings, disbanding my gadgets to put multiple AAs in the charger, remembering which cells went with which - and then reversing the process before I went to bed because I'd never catch my train if I had to do it in the morning.  When light and GPS were both USB powered it was two gadgets to plug into my computer at work - much less stress.

2) A world cycling tour.  I ran an Etrex 20 which was fine apart from the crappy screen until it got trashed in Canada, but in many of the countries I've been since then, AAs have been much harder to find than in Britain so I didn't replace it a moment too soon.  AAs have been hard to find, but AC power has been available everywhere so my USB devices have remained effortlessly charged.  My experience has mostly been in East Asia but I've had the same experience reported from a friend touring another continent.


ETrex 30x permanently backlit and running off the dynamo. Controls as waypoints, map screen set up to show distance & estimated time to next one.

If you're using a dynamo you've solved all the power worries so there are many newer units out there that will be a better fit for you.  A 30x is obviously fine if that's what you've already got (heck, I've done about 12,000 km with a plain old 20 within the last year) but don't start recommending obsolete units to new purchasers.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Karla on February 06, 2019, 12:28:18 pm
Reasons I like the AA solution:

- You can buy them anywhere*
See above  :P
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: fuaran on February 06, 2019, 12:31:34 pm
Charging from USB while riding will probably break the USB port.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Paul Rainbow on February 06, 2019, 12:42:39 pm
For me I moved over to using a phone a few years ago now, never looked back. Much bigger easier to read screen, chances are your carrying one anyway! I run RWGPS app on it and its been bombproof, never crashed once. Used it on LEL, PBP, and several 2000+KM events... just load up the route at the start and save the track at the end (even if several days later!) The phone battery will be fine for a 200km but anything more and you'll need to charge it. I use a sinewave Revolution dynamo charger and the phone stays fully charged, can leave the screen on a good brightness all day and night. No cache battery just a small usb cable straight to the phone. Sometimes I also run it with the screen off and audio cues over the speaker on the phone which works well. 
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Kim on February 06, 2019, 12:47:19 pm
You're right: used specifically within an Audax, swapping AAs is about as burdensome as plugging into a wall socket at your table, plugging into a powerbank or plugging into an AA-USB charger.  The best reason not to buy an Etrex isn't the batteries, it's the crappy small low-contrast screen - unless you're buying one of the Touch series when the best reason not to buy is because they crash all the time.  That's the biggest reason why nobody should be recommending them as a new purchase cycling GPS.

I thought it was the Edges that were Crashy McCrashface?

The eTrex screen works well in bright sunlight, and in darkness with the backlight, but it's pants (at least for maps, the data display is usually okay) in overcast conditions.  Agreed about the size - it's designed to fit in the palm of your hand, but a bit small for cyclists, especially those of a myopic or laid-back persuasion.

The only recent alternative I've given real-world use is the Edge Touring, which wasn't a significant improvement screen-wise (slightly bigger and the default map rendering was certainly nicer, but the touchscreen added murk), and it suffered greatly by being touch-screen operated.  Just no.  Without getting religious about USB vs AAs, 8 hours of battery life is a joke on a touring-oriented device.

I reckon the outdoor models have a real advantage if you're interested in recording long rides, as they don't have a concept of 'starting' and 'stopping' - they're always recording (unless you deliberately turn the GPS reception off), so that's one less thing to fuck up when you're tired.  The flip side of this is that they're hopeless for racing - you can't just hit the button as you cross the line.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on February 06, 2019, 12:58:49 pm
We had a couple of Etrex Touch models (30 and 35?) and got them replaced with non-touchscreen versions. They weren't stable in use, much like most of the Edges.

I'm very happy with a couple of Etrex 30x and HK generally prefers her Elemnt to the rest of her GPS collection.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: zigzag on February 06, 2019, 03:46:50 pm
i've been using and experimenting with the edge 130, it's a pretty good unit for shorter distances (e.g. up to ~100km). for longer rides and audaxes there are few extra things to bear in mind:
* split the track into 100-150km chunks as i believe each track is automatically filtered to 500 trackpoints, which makes a broken line for the longer tracks
* have a battery pack to charge the unit as the battery lasts 6-10hours in real use (against the advertised max of 15hrs); the device can be charged on the go
* there are no maps so in case of detours have a phone with the internet connection as a backup

the plus points is that the unit is small, reliable (so far; except the altimeter, which requires frequent calibration) and it's convenient to send/receive the tracks to/from the phone via the bluetooth straight after the ride, sync with strava etc.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Frank9755 on February 06, 2019, 04:17:33 pm
Charging from USB while riding will probably break the USB port.

It doesn't.
I've done it on multiple audaxes over the last decade without any issue and it is what pretty much every rider on longer events like the TCR does. 
 
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: FifeingEejit on February 06, 2019, 04:37:23 pm
Charging from USB while riding will probably break the USB port.

It doesn't.
I've done it on multiple audaxes over the last decade without any issue and it is what pretty much every rider on longer events like the TCR does.

Reasons for breakage I can think of are:
Loss of waterproofing - dinnae dae it when raining
Cable is being wiggled with bike movement - make the cable free-er.

Been doing it for years with only the waterproofing proving to be an issue on a wet Relentless; and with that it was actually when I plugged it in out of the rain in the motorhome, I'd managed to get the cable end wet while plugging it in.
A good cable end seems to create enough of a seal that water ingress isn't an issue provided you keep the cable in.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: andrew_s on February 06, 2019, 04:46:16 pm
Charging from USB while riding will probably break the USB port.

It doesn't.
Ever?

If you've got a couple of feet of cable flapping about between the plug and where it's next secured, the port will last a much shorter time than if you use a right angle plug and neatly secure the cable near the mount. Similarly, a bit of salty winter road spray or a drop of sweat getting into the port will cause port death where mostly dry use won't.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Frank9755 on February 06, 2019, 04:59:38 pm
Use tape, or even blu-tac, to keep the plug stable and keep water out.   

Of course there are thoretical risks but, in practice, it is not something that I've ever seen people report happening, despite virtually everyone doing it on longer events!

EDIT
Here's the 2010 thread that I remember being useful back in the days when charging a GPS on the move from an external battery was a little bit radical:
https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=34935.0 (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=34935.0)

Actually this is the one I was thinking of:
http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=16781.msg314479#msg314479
 (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=16781.msg314479#msg314479)
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: JonB on February 06, 2019, 05:06:00 pm
This stuff is so subjective, it's hilarious when people get impassioned about it (it's not like we're debating anything serious, like valve cap colours!)

Reasons I like the AA solution:

- You can buy them anywhere*
- They are totally reliable
- They have many uses (battery lights, my Sony Walkman, head torches etc)
- I am emotionally invested in my 3yr-old eTrex, so seek confirmation that I have bought The Right Thing, and all other solutions are just silly.
- I know that the one in my bag is ready to go, no matter how bad my planning and/or café recharging schedule
- I'm a luddite, scared of using scary new stuff (I didn't need to say that, did I?)
- It's the "Mike Hall Approved"** solution, so that gives me a few more ultra/backpacking cool points.
- I can't possibly buy the wrong size/connector/standard in a shop in Franglanistan


*Apart from the first petrol station on entering a wet Lancaster 2 Julys ago. "We've got every other size!" - it's true, they did.
** Well, it's in a Race Manual that features lots of his words. I don't know exactly what he ever said on the matter.

You've still got a Sony Walkman ... retro cool points there  8)
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: fuaran on February 06, 2019, 05:06:40 pm
There have been several threads on this forum about Garmins with broken USB ports.
Even if the cable is secured in place, it could still transmit small vibrations. And over time these could break something. How strong are the solder joints for the USB port on the circuit board?
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Frank9755 on February 06, 2019, 05:11:16 pm
I'm sure it could happen.  All I can say is that it hasn't happened to my GPS, although I have done it regularly for almost a decade, which has included riding on some pretty rough roads.  And while I haven't gone out of my way to enquire, no-one has mentioned to me that it happened to theirs.   
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: JonB on February 06, 2019, 05:11:36 pm
i've been using and experimenting with the edge 130, it's a pretty good unit for shorter distances (e.g. up to ~100km). for longer rides and audaxes there are few extra things to bear in mind:
* split the track into 100-150km chunks as i believe each track is automatically filtered to 500 trackpoints, which makes a broken line for the longer tracks
* have a battery pack to charge the unit as the battery lasts 6-10hours in real use (against the advertised max of 15hrs); the device can be charged on the go
* there are no maps so in case of detours have a phone with the internet connection as a backup

the plus points is that the unit is small, reliable (so far; except the altimeter, which requires frequent calibration) and it's convenient to send/receive the tracks to/from the phone via the bluetooth straight after the ride, sync with strava etc.

Interesting I've been thinking about one of these as an alternative to my Etrex when mapping isn't an issue.  Good to get some insight, the having to split thing is slightly disappointing and the same with the battery life as I'd been thinking it would be good for a 200 without having to resort to a battery pack. The appeal lies in the simplicity and (reported) reliability.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 06, 2019, 05:13:18 pm
Ever?

If you've got a couple of feet of cable flapping about between the plug and where it's next secured, the port will last a much shorter time than if you use a right angle plug and neatly secure the cable near the mount. Similarly, a bit of salty winter road spray or a drop of sweat getting into the port will cause port death where mostly dry use won't.

It is a known failure point, at least one person on this forum has reported such a failure in one thread (which I can't find right now annoyingly).

On my bike I have a 90° µUSB cable, that is routed up through the hydration port outlet of my framebag, and then through the rest of the cockpit crap, up onto the stem, on smooth tarmac there is minimal flapping to vibrate onto the wahoo. However I wouldn't want to leave it there unnecessarily, nor would I want to ride pavé with it in place (not that I ever want to ride pavé by choice if I can ever avoid it).

As detailed up thread, leaving it plugged in, esp without a cache battery between the dynamo and the device is not going to do the device any good. Races like the TCR/TABR/IPWR are unique, the duty cycle of equipment used is just not seen by most cyclists' kit. I've had people in bike shops tell me that the 6hr battery life of a head unit would be plenty long enough for any ride I do. My reply was "I did a 19 hour bike ride on Saturday". The look of horror was worth it. This gets even more fun if you look at events like the iditarod. The grease used by most component manufacturers has a gelling point at about -20°C (Hope use a grease rated to -50°C). When I spoke to shimano about this, their reply was "Why would anyone cycle in that cold?". When I spoke to SON about the temp rating of their hubs, they said the grease they use is rated to -20°C, and there was no scope for a custom unit as they are too over worked. If you look at the rated use temp of devices like the wahoo, it lists "Operating Temperature: -4°F to 122°F / -20°C to 50°C" thing is the actual life of a LiPo battery at temps below 0°C is pretty poor, their performance drops significantly as the temp goes down, what is more you can't charge the internal cells below 0°C, and even at 0°C, the charging rate is pretty damn poor. Obviously this is way beyond the scope of TCR/TABR/IPWR/PBP, but it shows some of the design limitations that are out there in the kit that we use and how the push the envelope of what the kit was designed to do. That said, cycling in NSW in January, in full sunlight the 50°C upper limit may be reached... tho at those temps chances are the squishy bit between saddle and handlebars may be more of a problem...

I had one bike shop guy try to sell me some really good expensive lube, and said I should apply it every 100km. I said fuck that I'm not doing 3 chain lube applications on a single day, that's way too much faff, again look of horror (I should stop playing with the bike shop staff of Amsterdam bike shops really...).

What we do as both Randonneurs and ultraracers is pushing the envelope of what kit is designed to do, it's worth remembering that when choosing out kit.

I'm sure it could happen.  All I can say is that it hasn't happened to my GPS, although I have done it regularly for almost a decade, which has included riding on some pretty rough roads.  And while I haven't gone out of my way to enquire, no-one has mentioned to me that it happened to theirs.   

The plural of anecdote is data...

J
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: phil w on February 06, 2019, 05:25:06 pm
Yep usb port of my GPS went in 2016 due to cable from Dynamo. Yes it does happen.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: grams on February 06, 2019, 05:32:38 pm
I use an iPhone 7 Plus connected to a power bank in a top tube bag (or occasionally an Igaro). The iPhone 7 onwards is IP67-rated so moisture shouldn't get inside through the Lightning connector. Corrosion on the charging pins is an occasional problem, although a bit of Vaseline on the plug solves that.

The Lightning connector is very solidly mounted to the case and connected to the circuit board via flat flex - what cowboys rely on solder joints for mechanical stability in a portable device?!?
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Kim on February 06, 2019, 05:48:21 pm
There have been several threads on this forum about Garmins with broken USB ports.
Even if the cable is secured in place, it could still transmit small vibrations. And over time these could break something. How strong are the solder joints for the USB port on the circuit board?

On a Garmin the mini-USB port tends to be moulded into the back of the case (hence waterproofing is only an issue for the connection itself), with flying leads to the main board, so it shouldn't suffer this particular failure mode.

My main concern (other than corrosion - DC and water don't mix) would be wear on the spring terminals inside the mini-B socket.  They're under-engineered compared to micro-B, which is designed for orders of magnitude more mating cycles, and where the springy part is in the plug and can be easily replaced.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Karla on February 06, 2019, 06:42:36 pm
You're right: used specifically within an Audax, swapping AAs is about as burdensome as plugging into a wall socket at your table, plugging into a powerbank or plugging into an AA-USB charger.  The best reason not to buy an Etrex isn't the batteries, it's the crappy small low-contrast screen - unless you're buying one of the Touch series when the best reason not to buy is because they crash all the time.  That's the biggest reason why nobody should be recommending them as a new purchase cycling GPS.

I thought it was the Edges that were Crashy McCrashface?


While Garmin always seem to have seen software testing and bug fixing as optional extras, my Etrex Touch 25 (bought to replace borked E20) took it to another level.  Unstable in use - much more so than the Edge 500, E20 or Legend HCx - plus with lots of other design flaws (bad touchscreen, rubbish 'classic' mode, no documentation on how to get out of classic mode ... ).  By the time it bricked itself at ~3000 km I'd decided the cost of a new unit would at least be cheaper than the stress counseling I'd need were I to continue using it.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: zigzag on February 06, 2019, 06:59:49 pm
i've been using and experimenting with the edge 130, it's a pretty good unit for shorter distances (e.g. up to ~100km). for longer rides and audaxes there are few extra things to bear in mind:
* split the track into 100-150km chunks as i believe each track is automatically filtered to 500 trackpoints, which makes a broken line for the longer tracks
* have a battery pack to charge the unit as the battery lasts 6-10hours in real use (against the advertised max of 15hrs); the device can be charged on the go
* there are no maps so in case of detours have a phone with the internet connection as a backup

the plus points is that the unit is small, reliable (so far; except the altimeter, which requires frequent calibration) and it's convenient to send/receive the tracks to/from the phone via the bluetooth straight after the ride, sync with strava etc.

Interesting I've been thinking about one of these as an alternative to my Etrex when mapping isn't an issue.  Good to get some insight, the having to split thing is slightly disappointing and the same with the battery life as I'd been thinking it would be good for a 200 without having to resort to a battery pack. The appeal lies in the simplicity and (reported) reliability.
it's still possible to navigate without splitting the track, but you'll be weaving near the track most of the time, like so:
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190206/335e2a54956f8f0636236582eb2543bf.jpg)

this is still much better than riding without a gps as it gives you a very good idea where to go. but sometimes you may wonder if you are on the right road.

p.s. my edge 500 had a usb socket detach from a circuit board due to vibration while riding tcr. my take is that it's ok to charge the unit and unplug the cable, not ok to leave the cable plugged in all the time, especially on poor surfaces.
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Frank9755 on February 06, 2019, 10:45:07 pm

* there are no maps so in case of detours have a phone with the internet connection as a backup

p.s. my edge 500 had a usb socket detach from a circuit board due to vibration while riding tcr. my take is that it's ok to charge the unit and unplug the cable, not ok to leave the cable plugged in all the time, especially on poor surfaces.

Interesting point about maps. I am often unsure whether maps make navigation by following a route easier or harder. Without the backgroundclutter it can be easier to see where you are meant to go. Once or twice I've forgotten to get the right map before a trip abroad and it has never been a problem.

Bad luck re the socket!  On long rides I always keep the cable permanently plugged in and tape it securely in place to support it and make it waterproof. That way I can power the GPS (and phone) directly from the battery pack which is more efficient than using the device battery and then recharging it. I have been doing it regularly since 2010 with no issues but clearly there is a risk.  Maybe I have been lucky, or maybe the newer devices have lost some robustness as they have been shrunk down and made lighter. 
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Spike on February 07, 2019, 11:01:00 pm
thanks everyone for your posts...Jeez didn't realise how much of a dinosaur I am !! I like the glasses idea....but reckon I might treat myself to a Garmin 5/7/8 or Wahoo...secondhand is my budget...plus something like this. Aukey Power Bank 20000mAh .. Then hopefully bar bag .. android phone connected to powerbank plus cable to GPS as well...surely all of that is good for a 200?? Im not worried about charge for lights..ive a system that works with them..I am not most confident bod when it comes to GPS set up...better with maps but its the stop start faff looking at the bloomin thing...I normally type up route in sections on A3 size and have map holder on bars. plus cycle with a GPS geek professor !
Title: Re: GPS
Post by: Frank9755 on February 08, 2019, 08:17:02 am
A 20 Ah battery pack will power a gps for about a week so you could get away with a smaller one.
most units would get round a 200 without needing external power