Author Topic: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)  (Read 25844 times)

pdm

  • Sheffield hills? Nah... Just potholes.
Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« on: December 31, 2008, 12:07:48 pm »
I have used my Etrex GPS units on the bicycle for several years now and have always been dissatisfied with the handlebar mount supplied - it is too flimsy and, on some units, it allows significant vibration which can switch the unit off. It also only fits on the handlebar and I would have preferred a stem mount.

I therefore set about making a bomb proof tough mount for all eventualities.

Herewith an account of the mount build process - pictures are mobile phone pictures and so not brilliant but adequate to show the results...

Scouring the interweb, I came across the RAM series of GPS mounts - originally designed for motorcycles. GPS Warehouse stocks them and I bought a couple of these to butcher into shape - I did not buy rail clamps - most of them being designed for motorcycles and add too much bulk and weight.

This is how they are supplied, together with a set of fixing nuts and bolts which I discarded into the spares tin...



And this is what it looks like without the wrapping before being butchered. Top side first...



and the bottom side. You will notice there is an oblique diamond shaped mount area which usually bolts onto a mount.



The other bits of kit required were:

1. A semi round rasp



2. A small piece of high density foam. I used a piece of central heating pipe insulator foam cut in half. This has the advantage of being pre-shaped...



3. 2 decent weight zip ties - use re-usable ones of you want to swap the mount from bike to bike.



4. 4 mm drill or narrow pointed soldering iron. (not shown)



Method:

First lay the mount on a surface bottrom side up and use the half round rasp to file away at the mount along its long axis to create a wide mounting groove - if you want a handlebar mount, do it short axis. This is what it looks like after a few minutes of gentle and meticulous filing:



and



Next drill or melt two new holes at the other corners of the mount - I find a fine tip soldering iron gives a lot more control and produces an acceptable result like so:



Next lay the HD foam in the right place and pierce with the zip ties - just pushing the sharp ends through at the right spot work very well - no need to cut or drill. Start from the outside push through to the hole, loop the tie over to the other hole and push through from inside out. You end up with it looking like this:







Now simply place on your stem (or handlebar if you have a short axis groove) and tighten the zip ties:





Voila!

(If you want decent quality pictures, let me know and I will brave the -5C outside and do a better job in daylight)

Cadence

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2008, 01:25:08 pm »
PDM

I really appreciate the step by step instructions - very many thanks indeed!

Now all I need to do is to work out how to create routes. Is there a free online site that allows route creation that works well with the Garmin extrex legend HCx? I have managed to create tracks with bikeroutetoaster but not routes. I've no idea how to get started with something like GPS Babel etc

Best wishes for 2009!

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2008, 01:49:17 pm »
Thanks pdm. All nice and clear  :thumbsup:

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2008, 01:55:21 pm »
Thanks - bookmarked for if (when) I take the plunge.

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2008, 02:15:46 pm »

Now all I need to do is to work out how to create routes. Is there a free online site that allows route creation that works well with the Garmin extrex legend HCx? I have managed to create tracks with bikeroutetoaster but

Not totally free (£5 for a years subscription), but Marengo is very good for creating "direct routing" routes.

For a very good description of various routing methods, and an excellent tutorial on the finer points of tracks, routes, waypoints, routepoints etc, see Francis Cookes varioius "Living with a Garmin" articles on the Audax UK site

frankly frankie

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Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2008, 03:08:10 pm »
Is there a free online site that allows route creation that works well with the Garmin extrex legend HCx? I have managed to create tracks with bikeroutetoaster but not routes. I've no idea how to get started with something like GPS Babel etc

This tutorial (using Google Maps) might be of interest:
http://www.aukadia.net/gps/lwg_7.htm

The end result is a gpx file (track or route, your choice) which you should be able to open in your copy of Trip & Waypoint Manager, and thus transfer to the Garmin.
But the more you get into this malarkey, the more you'll find it pays to get your head round GPSBabel.  There is a bit of a GUI for Windows users or you could even just use the web front-end http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/gpsbabel/
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

cheadle hulme

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 08:13:23 pm »
Thanks for the heads up. The clip on the unit snapped on mine so i'd been using a thin bungee cord to secure.
It stopped the rattling but wasn't very elegant! Stem mounted is much better.

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 10:47:58 pm »
Excellent - thanks.

Just ordered a RAM mount for my soon to be delivered Oregon. :thumbsup:

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009, 10:57:04 pm »
I like the standard Etrex mount. I use it on a small Acor bar extender just ahead of the bars, in the middle. One good thing about it is that it is easy to alter the angle of the device.

Tonycollinet, the Oregon has a good stem mount available (unlike the Etrex), the same one as that for the Colorado:

http://www.handtec.co.uk/product.php/1019/garmin-colorado-oregon-handlebar-mount

However, compared to the Vista HCx, the Oregon has a screen that is extremely hard to see in sunlight,  so the ability to vary the angle of view might be helpful.

Charlotte

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Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 11:10:04 pm »
Interesting - great howto there, pdm  :)

Oddly, I use a bicycle mount on the handlebars of my motorbike...

Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Cadence

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 07:57:39 pm »
I followed pdm's excellent step by step instructions earleir this evening to attach a RAM Mount for an eTrex Legend HCx and am very pleased with the result.

The only modification I made was to drill a couple more holes across the middle to add a third zip tie for uber solidity.

Thanks again pdm for taking the time to post such clear instructions. Very helpful indeed.

Cadence 

The Mechanic

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2009, 04:25:01 pm »
As with Mr Cadence, I have just completed the installation of my Ram mount for Etrex Vista HCx.  Nice and robust.  Being a short person, my stem is not a long as PDMs and I have a couple of spacers above the stem.  However, still looks good and far stronger than the garmon mount.

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2009, 06:45:13 pm »
A nice kick at the right moment. I just ordered an Etrex and was figuring out which stemmount to use.

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2009, 06:52:37 pm »
I've also ordered one - it's the only solution for oversize bars.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2009, 07:44:56 pm »
Heh.  Why don't they use the word "handlebar" in the description, then people like me might find it  ::-)
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

The Mechanic

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2009, 06:41:32 am »
If I remember rightly, you also need the small bar mount to get the bit that goes on the back of the garmin.  You don't get one with the large bar mount.

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2009, 06:49:10 am »
Cunning, eh?
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

inc

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2009, 09:12:28 am »
I use a 60 CSx but I think the bar mount is the same. I feel the original mount is strong enough but a pain to mount on the bars so I cut the top part off the Garmin bar mount filed a radius to suit the stem curve and drilled four holes for tie wraps then mounted it on the stem. It was just a temporary fix but has been there for six months now.




frankly frankie

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Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2009, 09:22:32 am »
If I remember rightly, you also need the small bar mount to get the bit that goes on the back of the garmin.  You don't get one with the large bar mount.

Most Garmins come supplied with that bit in the bubble pack - it just tends to get discarded as an unrecognisable thing and then people go bin-diving 2 days later when they've worked out they need it ... 
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2009, 06:19:41 pm »
Gosh - the standard bar mount rattles like buggery, doesn't it?  Black electrical tape?
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2009, 02:28:55 pm »
Definitely.  About 3 layers, taking care not to interfere with the latch.

The rattle seems to be the main contributor to the dreaded momentary-loss-of-power syndrome - by eliminating it the GPS becomes much more reliable.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2009, 10:07:33 pm »
Definitely.  About 3 layers, taking care not to interfere with the latch.

The rattle seems to be the main contributor to the dreaded momentary-loss-of-power syndrome - by eliminating it the GPS becomes much more reliable.
And beware this rattle - on my Map60CSx, the holder eventually ground the little "ears" on the bracket down enough to cause them to snap when I hit a pothole - next minute the whole unit was teetering, restained only by the lanyard wound around the 'bars.

I now make sure there's a skim of Vaseline to avoid this wearing away of the bracket and I also tighten the bracket screw hard, to bow the bracket slightly and reduce the play between it and the cradle lugs. Not sure what this will do to the bracket life though....

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2009, 10:19:09 pm »
Gosh - the standard bar mount rattles like buggery, doesn't it?  Black electrical tape?

Just put two (or as needed) little rectangular pieces of insulating tape, layered one on top of the other, on the Etrex part of the mount, from the little sticky up bit at the top down over the mounting screw to the lower end. This takes out the play and on mine (with two different mounts) it slides on very snugly indeed.

Re the other problem, the name of which I dare not speak, some judicious balancing of shock absorption versus solidity was required for a time. Now I have the mounts out in front of the stems of each bike, centrally, on these. At first I thought mounting the extensions on shock absorbing rubber strips at the handlebar end was the way forward but no: too much give is disastrous. Firm but not totally solid...

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2009, 10:26:03 pm »
Gosh - the standard bar mount rattles like buggery, doesn't it?  Black electrical tape?

Zip tie. As just visible here:- http://www.greenbank.org/misc/le13.jpg

Works for me.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Martin

Re: Robust Etrex GPS Mount (HOWTO)
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2009, 05:05:06 pm »
got my Ram mount today; good gear  :thumbsup: I predict a day's rummaging in the bits box for a removable bracket underneathy bit

on a tangent; can anyone recommend a good cheap dashboard mount to use with the supplied little slidy mount in the car ? (typical modern dashboard; no flat or sucker-able surfaces; but has got a little glasses cubby hole under the CD

I assume a cheapo cigarette lighter - USB adaptor like Halfrauds have for £15 will do the job for power? Handtech shows a weird plug on the end of their version but nowhere to plug it in on the Vista  ???