Author Topic: Using a phone instead of a GPS device  (Read 5870 times)

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2020, 01:34:02 pm »
That looks like a goodun, I'll be interested to see how your findings go :thumbsup:
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD



Ban cars.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2020, 11:16:32 am »
Oruxmaps looks very good.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLMBNsaK2pA

I don't think it has a lap button but it ticks every other box.  In particular, the map display that you get with data fields seems as good as OSMAnd.  That is really what I want, to be able to see a proper map when I am cycling.  Cost is £3.39 so I expect I'll buy it and set it up when I have a minute. 

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2020, 11:24:12 am »
I use maps from https://www.openandromaps.org/en for Oruxmaps which are really excellent.  They will install automatically into Oruxmaps if you download them on the same device.  You can configure the map theme through Oruxmaps to further refine the map display and  also there is a POI database as a separate download from the same site which is astonishingly good, enabling you to carry out an offline search for whatever it is you're looking for be it the nearest "Spoons" or public loo :thumbsup:
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2020, 08:15:16 pm »
My replacement GPS unit hasn't come in time for a grimpeur tomorrow, so I'm going to be using my phone. I'm going to navigate using Strava to try to record the ride, but if it doesn't work I've also loaded it into Komoot.

We'll see how it goes....
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD



Ban cars.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2020, 08:11:50 am »
What are y'all using to attach the phone to the bike / waterproof it?
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2020, 10:22:22 am »
What are y'all using to attach the phone to the bike / waterproof it?
Quad Lock. Tried others and this is streets ahead.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2020, 11:41:35 pm »
There are an increasing number of phones available that are rated to IP68 available that negate the use of a waterproof case.  In terms of a mount I use a modified Topeak Ridecase and mount which can be picked up very inexpensively, typically as NOS for obsolete models of phone.  The Ridecase is a basically a back shell for a specific model of phone but can be adapted to fit any phone by cutting away the raised edges of the Ridecase frame and bonding the carbon fibre back plate to the remaining frame with epoxy.  The phone can then be attached to the modified mount using self adhesive velcro strips.  It provides a surprisingly neat, secure and versatile mounting option as the ride case mount allows the phone to be mounted on either the steerer top cap or handlebars and can be tilted and rotated.
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2020, 11:49:24 pm »
+ 1 for Quad Lock, mine stays in its case all the time on and off the bike. I get about 8 hours out of my Galaxy S8 running RWGPS in aeroplane mode, 12+ hours if I fanny about with brightness, battery optimisation etc. I like the functionality of RWGPS but have had issues with it not downloading all the map tiles for off-line use, despite saying it has (and it's done this on more than one phone). OSMAnd is great for Nav only but a bit more battery hungry. Viewranger is great for OS mapping but cuts batter life to a few hours on my phone. I run a small Giant computer for instant speed/distance/cadence so I can have the phone screen only come on for navigation prompts. I'm still not 100% settled on the phone solution but nothing that's come out in the GPS market has persuaded me to switch back.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #33 on: March 23, 2020, 05:47:06 am »
What are y'all using to attach the phone to the bike / waterproof it?

I have a box full of mounting kits. 
For the TCR last year I used velcro, which worked well. 
There are various proprietary systems, eg Rokform, Quadlock, Topeak, and lots of cheap solutions on eBay.  What currently seems to be the most popular is to use a Garmin mount.  You can get a stick-on bit to go on the back of your phone (put it on a removable case) for a couple of pounds.
Waterproofing is a bit more tricky.  My plan is to use a dedicated waterproof phone (should arrive any day now - but seems less relevant than when I ordered it a few weeks ago).  Otherwise, there are various options which use either plastic bag or tupperware technology in some form. 

velosam

  • '.....you used to be an apple on a stick.'
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2020, 10:03:07 am »
What are y'all using to attach the phone to the bike / waterproof it?

I have a box full of mounting kits. 
For the TCR last year I used velcro, which worked well. 
There are various proprietary systems, eg Rokform, Quadlock, Topeak, and lots of cheap solutions on eBay.  What currently seems to be the most popular is to use a Garmin mount.  You can get a stick-on bit to go on the back of your phone (put it on a removable case) for a couple of pounds.
Waterproofing is a bit more tricky.  My plan is to use a dedicated waterproof phone (should arrive any day now - but seems less relevant than when I ordered it a few weeks ago).  Otherwise, there are various options which use either plastic bag or tupperware technology in some form.

With the garmin mounts stuck on the back of a case, does the phone then have to be on a landscape only?

Also how heavy can you go?

I ask because I have an old Tomtom rider device and would not mind trying to figure out how to get that stuck on the bars, inexpensively.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2020, 07:50:45 am »
No, you can stick it on whichever way up you want it. 

How heavy would need to be established by experiment!  But the pads seem to stick on well.  Needs a clean, flat non-porous surface.  There are some pretty big ones around for larger devices.  I don't know anything about your TomTom but I expect it would most likely work unless it is an absolute brick of a thing.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2020, 10:00:19 am »
OK - I have now finished all my research, test purchases and experiments and think I have got the answer I was looking for - a phone-based setup which is far better than the Garmin 1000, Garmin 1030 and Wahoo Element (however they spell it), which I have previously purchased, tried out and returned.

This project has rather been overtaken by events and I'm hardly able to ride at all at the moment, so the one thing I have not done is test my setup on long rides, nor in the rain, but I've done a few short rides and expect it will work well.

Hardware

I am using a ruggedised, waterproof android phone with a 4-inch screen.


It has with a garmin mount stuck on the back so that I can mount it exactly where I used to mount my Garmin.


The phone is a Cubot Kingkong Mini. 
https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/mobile-phones/1411672/cubot-kingkong-mini-review

Despite the daft name, this is a pretty good, robust and waterproof phone which should be up to living on handlebars.  It is almost exactly the same size as a Garmin 1030, but with bigger, and much better, screen.  It's also not very expensive - mine cost $93 (£74) from AliExpress. 
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000203850799.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.393a4c4dIR5Jgk  I see it's gone up slightly since I bought it.
Add a data card, case and stick-on garmin mount and the hardware cost was about £100. 

I don't use this as a phone.  It is just a cycling computer.

The main downside vs a dedicated GPS is battery life.  I think I'll get about 6 hours of life in normal usage (not tested yet), which would be in aeroplane mode apart from bluetooth to get data from heart rate and power meters and with the screen on a low brightness setting. 

For most of my rides - commuting and short training rides - that isn't an issue, but if I am going over 100km, I will need to carry a power bank.  That is not a massive problem, as I have always had to do that for rides over 300km anyway.

I could extend battery life by turning the screen off and using voice directions.  I could imagine doing this on long, straight, main road sections, but I wouldn't normally do it as one of my main requirements is to be able to see some data fields as I ride., and I prefer navigation by seeing a line on a map than voice prompts

Software

Finding the right app took far longer.  I did a lot of searching, read lots of reviews (mostly written by people who had different criteria to me or, in the case of cycling magazines, had not used the app but had copy to write) and tried several options.  Most of them are not expensive so I paid for a few of them to do proper testing.  The main cost is not £ but the time it takes to learn how they work.

There isn't one perfect app but the two best ones that, between them, cover everything I need, are RideWithGPS and Cyclemeter [EDIT and BikeComputer]

I'm not doing in-depth reviews but here are some thoughts on these two and the others that I actually tried out.

1. RideWithGPS https://ridewithgps.com/app
I've actually been paying for this for the past year since my Garmin let me down on a 400km and I needed to set up another navigation method, but not using it.  It is the best all-round app with pretty much everything I need, apart from one thing - a lap button.  I only need this when I am interval training so, for other rides, it seems to be the best option.  Key thing is that, with the paid version, it has offline maps.
Cost is $5.99 per month, or if you don't need offline maps, free. Potentially one could pay to use it over the summer for longer rides and using the free version in the winter. 

2. Cyclemeter https://abvio.com/cyclemeter/
This is a really clean, intuitive interface.  It is the only app that I have found that has a lap button, so it is what I use for doing intervals in Richmond Park.  I would probably also use it for TTs, if I do them again.  You get a large number of screens but there are two that I would use: One has a map plus 6 data fields and the other has 12 data fields - more than I would ever want - with no map.  There are loads of other options including graphs and charts of all the metrics, but I can only ever imagine looking at an altitude chart, not the rest. 
The only flaw with this is that it does not have offline maps.  I emailed their support to enquire and they said it was on the horizon but not being worked on just yet.
Cost is £10 per year for the Elite version.

3. OSMAnd+ https://osmand.net/
I have been using this for a few years.  It has great maps, good navigation and can do ride logging but doesn't do cycling things like power.  I'll still keep it for the maps.  Because I know how it works, there is not any learning curve.
Cost is £5.99, one-time purchase

4. BikeComputer Pro http://bikecomputer.roproducts.de/
I thought this would be better than RideWithGPS as it would give me everything that RWGPS does but with more data fields for a tiny one-time cost.  But it is not as intuitive and I found a flaw when I tested it:
a. While it is great for navigating in most directions (ie north, east or west) but, if you want to go south, you have only a tiny bit of map in front of you, as the data fields hide the screen!  You can minimise the data fields, but that was one of my criteria.  EDIT - I discovered this can be changed in the settings which may make it a viable option.
NB, not to be confused with Bike Computer, which is completely different and doesn't do navigation.
Cost is £5.49, one-time purchase

5. Orux Maps https://www.oruxmaps.com/cs/en/
This is a great application which potentially does everything (apart from lap button).  But it is too complicated and non-intuitive to be useful to normal people.  I tried a month or so back; I spent about two hours on it, but I wasn't getting anywhere.  But, not having found the perfect option, I had another go last night and spent another hour and a half on it.  I still wasn't getting anywhere - in over 3 hours, I wasn't able to do what I could do on Cyclemeter or RWGPS in a few seconds, or a few minutes on BikeComputer - which was customise the home screen. 
Eventually I found this critique, which made me realise it wasn't me being slow, it is just a usability disaster: https://oruxmaps.forumotion.com/t2514-some-usability-observations.  I think it is still good for mapping, just not practical to set it up as a cycling computer, and I already have OSMAnd for mapping.
Cost is £3.39, one-time purchase

6. Strava
This was one of the first I tried as I thought they would have this nailed, but was surprised how little functionality their app has.  I can only assume that, because they partner with Garmin, Wahoo, etc, they have agreed not to eat their lunch!



Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2020, 10:41:37 am »
Interesting, but the photos don't show for me. Can you summarise the key advantages?

velosam

  • '.....you used to be an apple on a stick.'
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2020, 10:51:31 am »
Thanks, thats extremely helpful.

I need to do some measurements and see if it will fit in a out front mount.  I suspect not as the Garmin 800 I have is small.

The TomTom is an absolute brick (think original mobile phones)

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2020, 12:11:42 pm »
Interesting, but the photos don't show for me. Can you summarise the key advantages?

My aim is to get something more up to date and reliable than my ageing garmin 705 that still does what I want. I listed my criteria but realise it was in an earlier thread, here:
 https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=112373.msg2403199#msg2403199

It's mainly to be able to follow a line on a map and see at least 4 data fields at the same time, and to have north upwards. To my surprise, neither garmin nor wahoo can do this.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2020, 01:10:14 pm »
OK yes, that would be useful.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2020, 01:26:05 pm »
I am pretty sure that my Etrex 30X will do all those things.  What it won't do is your additional requirement to talk to an Ant+ power meter.

ETA: It is not clear to me whether your phone solution will do that.

Morat

  • I tried to HTFU but something went ping :(
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2020, 04:42:13 pm »
Many Android phones do include ANT+ as standard, but I don't think that one does. A quick google doesn't show any reference to it, at least.
Tandem Stoker, CX bike abuser (slicks and tarmac) and owner of a sadly neglected MTB.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2020, 07:56:58 pm »
My power meter (and HR monitor) works via Bluetooth so I don't actually need Ant+

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2020, 11:48:17 pm »
For me one of the key advantages of using a phone as a bike gps device is the ability to have access to multiple apps.  It's no great overhead to have all of the popular apps installed and use them as situations dictate.  If I just want to record a ride I'll most likely use Strava, if I'm navigating "on the fly" I'll use Oruxmaps, for offline route planning I'll use Komoot and for online route planning I'll use cycle.travel and upload the track into Oruxmaps to navigate.  I've sold all my Garmin devices apart from an etrex 30 which I still use for audax rides and long tours as a fail safe device.   
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2020, 01:43:34 pm »
I'm really glad, Frank, that your experience of Orux maps aligned with mine. I had assumed I was an idiot. Which of course could still be the case.

RWGPS wins for me. For intervals I used a separate app as interval timer, but I just wanted the timer, not to review the intervals afterwards so didn't need a lap button.

I found the pricing model for Komoot unappealing, even aside from the yet-another-app aspect. I also can't bring myself to purchase from a company with a blatent dsrgrd for cnsnnts.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2020, 11:42:16 pm »
I can see why Oruxmaps might seem a bit of a challenge to get to grips with but I think it's well worth downloading the user manual and spending some time to understand its usefulness as a feature rich navigational aid.  If displaying performance based data was my aim then I'd probably look elsewhere, but for anyone who enjoys exploring by bike I'd say that Oruxmaps is well worth the effort.

I had high hopes of Komoot when it was launched and paid the one off fee for the world wide downloadable map package.  It's certainly an incredibly annoying app that forces you to try and create an "adventure" from every ride you plan or do, but I do like its ability to plan a fairly viable long distance route offline.

Also, as someone who likes to have the map display "always on" when navigating, I've found that older LCD screen devices seem to work better than OLED displays in bright conditions in that you can reduce the brightness down to about 10% and still be able to read it.  Maybe it's just a unique difference between the devices I'm using but it does make a big difference in power consumption enabling 10hrs+ usage from a 7" LCD screen tablet with display always on and GPS recording.
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #47 on: April 20, 2020, 12:17:35 am »
The trick for saving power with OLED displays is to have as much black (and dark colours generally) on the screen as possible, as only the pixels that are actually lit up consume power.  So it might make sense to use a 'night' or 'high contrast' theme, with the brightness turned up high.

Traditional LCDs don't care what's on the screen, it's all about the backlight brightness.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #48 on: April 20, 2020, 12:42:34 am »
The trick for saving power with OLED displays is to have as much black (and dark colours generally) on the screen as possible, as only the pixels that are actually lit up consume power.  So it might make sense to use a 'night' or 'high contrast' theme, with the brightness turned up high.

Yes. Switching from an LCD to OLED phone I got pretty much the same battery life in the normal theme, but switching to Dark Mode (and changing nothing else) has doubled or maybe even tripled it. It’s probably more readable too.

(It helps that I’m using an app I wrote and in implementing dark mode looked for ways to illuminate as few pixels as possible)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #49 on: April 20, 2020, 12:57:15 am »
I always find it counter-intuitive that my tablet uses markedly more battery scrolling through web pages than it does playing video.  Then I get annoyed at how pointlessly *bright* modern web design is.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...