Author Topic: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?  (Read 6562 times)

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2011, 01:27:26 pm »
I use rechargeables for lights but they have a different usage/charging pattern. For the GPS, convenience, weight and reliability win out. Sorry.

Lithiums are damn expensive though.
I used both. I had a bunch of rechargeables that I used to use (along with a decent charger) but carried a pack of Lithiums as an emergency backup.

Compared to what? £2 every 30~40hrs isn't a bank breaker.

frankly frankie

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Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2011, 01:49:12 pm »
+1 for lithiums
(though I do use rechargeables on long tours)
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

frankly frankie

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Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2011, 05:52:55 pm »
Going  through  Steve's  original  wish-list:

Uber long battery life etc

yes, the Legend/Vista models answer this best, by a long way.

Software/mapping for on and off road in Britain and Europe (off road for Europe isn't essential yet, but could be in the future). If I can't have it ll at the same time, minimal faff to insert/download/install/

yes, all Garmins (map-capable ones that is) and all at the same time with a big enough card, or easy enough just to swap cards to change maps if not.

A rough and tough machine that isn't shy of getting wet and can handle lots of abuse.

All the Garmins are waterproof to IPX-whatever and the screen glass on the Legend/Vista seems very tough.

Free software/mapping, I am a tight git ... I don't mind paying a few hundred quid once, but paying that much every 5 years or so will start to grate. I'm after a long term investment really.


If you expect to ride in W Europe then the Garmin mapping (City or the obsolete but cheaper Metroguide) is well worth having
, cheapskate or not.  It gives street-level (sometimes house-number-level) everywhere W of Greece.
After your initial purchase, well I think the mappers have you over a barrel here.  Hard to guess where free mapping (or Google Maps for that matter) will be in 5 years time, but the outlook is quite hopeful, I think.

Something which I can alter the route as I go along, and/or have several versions (the long/medium/short route) of the same route and switch from one to the other. Or perhaps an external way of storing different routes such as a SD card.


The Legend/Vista is not good here.  You can create/edit routes in-GPS but it's a real fiddle, not exactly drag'n'drop!  You can store 50 routes so no problem storing several alternatives and switching.  You can also use 'Go To' for a quick'n'dirty route on the fly - works well once you understand the limitations.  But you can not store (or put, mid-ride) usable routes (or tracks) on the SD card.  
The Dakota/Oregon/Edge types, you can use the card, they are much much better in this respect.

Something that I can take a route from Googlemaps type of thing on line (or from the sat-nav software downloaded/installed/etc/etc onto my computer) which I can drag the route around while I plan it, then zap it into the sat-nav.

On the desktop?  Yes, people here do it all the time (though 'zap' might be exaggerating things a bit).
Mid-trip?  No.  Getting into smartphone territory here, which at present means very short runtime and not robust.  But again, all this looks hopeful for the future.

To have on and off road for at least Britain all the time if I can't have Britain and Europe. (Good) cycle  paths may be handy too, if they are possible. I believe there is one that goes from Dieppe to Paris, which I will look into for getting to and from PBP.

Road maps - easy-peasy - off-road, that is a lot of map, where it exists at all.  Legend/Vista is not the best for this, but not impossible either.  Dieppe-Paris - the roads will be on the Garmin maps, the paths probably not.  (I rode an all-road route and it was a great way in.)  Is the Dieppe-Paris route on OSM?  Maybe, maybe not - go to the OSM map and find out.  If it isn't, you're stuffed, until you record it on your GPS and add it, after you've ridden it.  You can probably draw a Track using online mapping or whatever, and put that in the GPS - it will just overlay onto whatever mapping you do have, and give you something to follow.

A sat-nav that won't become obsolete when new technology come along (I don't really want a Beta-max sat-nav)

Can o'worms - who knows?  But these things aren't that expensive - after 4 years it won't owe you anything.

Easy to use, as in, not a steep learning curve. As you can probably tell, I'm pretty clueless about sat-nav and hope to have it sussed at least on a very basic "tell me which way" level within a few hours.


The learning curve is a bit steep but there's plenty of advice (good and bad) available.  The trick is not to learn bad habits early on!

One with lots of add ons, toys and gizmos, such as altimeter, gradient, pulse monitor or whatever else. Not essential, but I like looking at numbers and if it only costs a few quid more for lots of different numbers, then I like that sort of thing.

The Vista has over 50 'data fields' (ie numbers) to look at, but not including HRM or cadence.  Average speeds with/without stops, rate of climb, distance to next turn, time of sunset, etc etc. You can see 8 fields at once on a single screen, plus a few more on alternative screens if you want.  The Dakota/Oregon can show 10 fields at once, and can include HRM/cadence (optional extras).
The Legend/Vista is also highly configurable - the Dakota/Oregon are not.  Don't know where the Edge sits here.

A local bike shop which I've only just found out about and seems like I might become a regular customer once I've sussed them out and decided whether I like them or not sells Garmins. So this could be a way for me to suss out my new LBS and get some help with using a sat-nav.


Only the Edge models are cycle-specific - all the rest are walkers' kit with optional handlebar mounts - so I wouldn't expect 'balanced' advice from a LBS.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Biggsy

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Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2011, 06:06:14 pm »
Lithiums are quite nasty though, environmental-wise, I think?

Expensive too.

Not any more.  A cup of coffee costs more than two lithium AAs (from 7DayShop).

Re enviro: they can be recycled, though I've been told no one in the UK is doing it yet.
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frankly frankie

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Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2011, 06:08:00 pm »
Bloody hell.  Are 7dayshop selling coffee now?
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2011, 08:36:24 pm »
Whatever you suggest, he'll break it within 18 months.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2011, 08:41:24 pm »
Whatever you suggest, he'll break it within 18 months.

I decided to spend a bit more on my first PC to 'future proof' it. IIRC the upgrade from DX-25 to DX-33 plus a bit more memory cost about £500. That was when £500 was a lot of money. Money well spent, eh?

In a few years time we'll all have subcutaneous communications implants and getting lost simply will not be an option. Even for <enter name of choice here>.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2011, 10:26:02 pm »
I think the environmental damage wins for me.  Rechargeables "letting you down when you need them" is a bit strong; you just stop, swap them, and continue.  OK, if you can't complete a ride without the help of a group and they won't wait for you, then that's a problem.  I don't think it's a problem that applies to the OP, though.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2011, 10:36:14 pm »
Heigh Ho. YPYPATYC. Where I've come unstuck is recharging 4xAA, two in the GPS and two the bag for later, and alas by the time later arrives they've lost their charge. For me its about eliminating points of failure/things one needs to worry about and such problems disappear when you use Lithiums. Having said that, in another year or so dynamo powered battery recharge rigs will be commodity items and the arguement will have moved on again.

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2011, 10:39:16 pm »
Heigh Ho. YPYPATYC. Where I've come unstrock is recharging 4xAA, two in the GPS and two the bag for later, and alas by the time later arrives they've lost their charge. For me its about eliminating points of failure/things one needs to worry about and such problems disappear when you use Lithiums. Having said that, in another year or so dynamo powered battery recharge rigs will be commodity items and the arguement will have moved on again.

eliminate points of failure by eschewing the GPS.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2011, 11:09:11 pm »
Heigh Ho. YPYPATYC. Where I've come unstrock is recharging 4xAA, two in the GPS and two the bag for later, and alas by the time later arrives they've lost their charge. For me its about eliminating points of failure/things one needs to worry about and such problems disappear when you use Lithiums. Having said that, in another year or so dynamo powered battery recharge rigs will be commodity items and the arguement will have moved on again.

eliminate points of failure by eschewing the GPS.

I've been 'guilted' into swapping the lithiums in my GPS for a pair of rechargeables. (I've a 100km run down to Reading tomorrow and I'm going to try a slightly different route.) Actually, I just want to save the Lithiums for the w/e in case the six pack I've just ordered from 7DayShop don't show in time.

Alas, Martin, I have extensive empirical evidence which supports the arguement that I'm more likely to go off route without the GPS then I am with it, and with the GPS I may go off route but I am never actually lost. Sometimes I miss the frisson of excitement of 'the old ways', of wondering whether I've missed the turn or not, but on the whole I prefer to know!

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2011, 12:18:18 am »
I carry 8 spare batteries usually.  This is because I use them for GPS + for a second rear light (in addition to dynamo rear).  It's huge overkill and I've only once had to buy batteries en route when I was carrying 4 spares and had no dynamo rear light, and due to having loaned a pair to batteries to another rider, and needing to change my own, had no spares.  So I bought a packet of AAs at a shop next to the control I was at.

If you want the best of both worlds, you could just carry some lithiums as emergency backup.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2011, 01:45:05 am »
If you want the best of both worlds, you could just carry some lithiums as emergency backup.

That's my approach. Rechargables for normal use (hybrid NiMH for rear lights, so the self-discharge doesn't get them), but the emergency backup batteries are primary lithiums, on account of the light weight and long shelf life.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2011, 09:24:18 am »
Heigh Ho. YPYPATYC. Where I've come unstrock is recharging 4xAA, two in the GPS and two the bag for later, and alas by the time later arrives they've lost their charge.

Well if you don't replace the spares each time then yes that'll be a problem. My charger has a top-up mode which means I can leave a bunch of batteries in there for months on end without risk of them over-charging and melting. Before an Audax I just take a bunch of them and put them in the various devices, plus some spares in the bag. Very little chance that I'll have any duds and, as I said earlier, my emergency set are Lithiums.

Rechargeables "letting you down when you need them" is a bit strong; you just stop, swap them, and continue.

I think he means a pair that have no charge in them for some reason. I had the same on the first day of LEL, the set I had in my eTrex ran out just North of St Neots. I just took two out of the front light (without stopping as geraldc's video shows) and sorted out the light at the next control.

Lithiums are no different in this respect, they still run out, or does one use a fresh set each time? In which case what do you do with the ones that are not completely spent?
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2011, 09:26:27 am »
Having said that, in another year or so dynamo powered battery recharge rigs will be commodity items and the arguement will have moved on again.

There's a rechargeable version of the B&M Ixon that you can connect to a hub dynamo and it'll charge the 4 AA cells inside the light. I met someone on the 'Uts ride who plans on using this to keep batteries topped up on PBP.

I'll be using an external power pack and getting something like the B&M eWerk to keep that topped up and GPS powered during the day and the dynohub powering the lights at night (whilst the powerpack powers the GPS with backlight on).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

richie

  • Just sleeping...
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2011, 10:11:50 am »
I use vapextech 2900mAH cells in my vista HCX.  Used in routing mode with the compass off, I can get around a 400 without changing cells, including using the backlight at 5% 'always on' during hours of darkness.   I'm no speedmerchant, either.

I normally ensure the cells in the GPS are fully charged the night before (using a decent 'intelligent' charger) and carry two x lithiums as back-ups.  Haven't had a problem yet in four years or so.
Sheep we're off again.

frankly frankie

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Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2011, 10:20:56 am »
Lithiums are no different in this respect, they still run out, or does one use a fresh set each time? In which case what do you do with the ones that are not completely spent?

Part-used lithiums piling up in a drawer can be a significant problem.  In this household, lithiums are used in lights for one night and then become 'part-used' and it is the part-used ones that usually end up in a GPS.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Wowbagger

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Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2011, 01:43:14 pm »
Whatever you suggest, he'll break it within 18 months.

But in that time he'll probably have cycled of 100,000 miles anyway.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2011, 10:13:08 pm »
Only the Edge models are cycle-specific - all the rest are walkers' kit with optional handlebar mounts - so I wouldn't expect 'balanced' advice from a LBS.

I agree, that's why I asked here. :)

Thanks for all of your help. From the advice of a wise AUK, an electrical genius and a tourist who likes to find nice quiet routes, I think it has to be a Vista with good mapping for Britain and I think I'll just use serviceable mapping for France. I can't justify spending megabucks for France, I only intend to go there twice this year, but I'm always in Britain. And as FF says, in 5 years time (or maybe 4, so ready for next PBP) there could well be free mapping all over the web. I can always upgrade as I go along.

Thanks all. :thumbsup:

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #44 on: March 25, 2011, 07:27:54 am »
I would be interested to hear your reports on the Vista. I'm thinking of a GPS but can't decide if the larger screen of the Oregon would be worth the extra!

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #45 on: April 02, 2011, 02:44:41 pm »
Having seen the Vista and owning an Oregon, I'd go for an Oregon every time. And weird-sized rechargeable batteries work in it whereas they don't in my camera or torch.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2011, 02:27:29 pm »
Thanks for all your help. :thumbsup:
I bought myself a Vista HCx in the end and used it in France. As a true baptism of fire, I never took any paper maps with me. (I could always go to a shop and buy one in France after all)
I found the unit easy to use. I did my usual, lets see what happens when I do this, and after about an hour, was pretty familiar to a very basic level of how to get it to do things.

I also bought the Mapsource mini SD card for Europe.
Wow! FF was right. Definitely worth having. Fantastic detail of roads and much better than I could have without carrying several panniers worth of local maps. That was definitely a big advantage. Very handy for finding my way through towns and finding minor roads alongside main roads for dodging traffic. With just a map, I tend to just bash down the main road, otherwise it's stop to get the map out every few miles. Nothing as far as geography goes, so no contours and nothing to show up all the bastard hills, but I never really bought a sat-nav for that, I just want it to keep me on track. I'd buy detailed maps if that was what I wanted.
A bigger screen would have been nice, I suppose. You don't get much area on the screen when you go for detailed mapping. I did zoom in and out a few times, but I found with it set with the scale at 1.2 miles, I could dodge around a small town via back lanes and that with 800ft, I could find a direct route through town along back street quite easily, with maybe a bit of zooming in when it got very fiddly. So yes, a bigger screen would be nice, but I wouldn't say essential, but I'm still very new to all this...

And yes, the base map in the sat-nav is pretty well rubbish, so an additional map is as good as essential. I can see how out of date even the latest mapping is, because living in Milton Keynes, things change very quickly. I tried looking for local restaurants and saw that it was already out of date, but these things change very rapidly. It sent me to an industrial estate in France when I was looking for food, but it soon came up with another.
I love the find facility on it! It meant that I could just keep riding and as soon as I was hungry or it was getting late, I could ask the sat-nav where the nearest supermarket, restaurant or hotel was and it would come up with several answers.

The goto thing was just crazy most of the time. Some of the things it came up with was just comical. It suggest I go home via Winchester from Guilford on my way home, so I tended to look for the way I liked and let the sat-nav keep throwing a tantrum and suggest different routes when I didn't follow it until it came up with something I liked. It was fantastic getting me through towns and cities.
I never had time to find out how to put a route into it from my computer.
It would have been handy to know beforehand that with a mini SD card, you can't put the mapping into your computer, but you can with the CD. But with the CD you can only put the mapping onto one GPS unit, whereas with the mini SD card, you can put the map into whichever unit you like. Although I suspect that there are ways around this, by hook or by crook.
Battery life was very good too. I bought my fast charger with me and 3 pairs of rechargeables from Maplins. I switched off the compass (The mapping told me which direction I was heading in anyway, so the compass seems redundant for using on road at least) and definitely got at least 20 hours from a set of batteries with the backlight on medium.

Plenty of other toys on the machine too. I've never bothered looking into altitude on rides before, but now I have an altimeter, I might look at it a bit and see how much climbing I can do instead of how many miles. I know they are a bit temperamental, but it's only for comparison and a bit of fun.
Plus all the other stuff on the cycle computer mode and altitude, with height gained per minute and so on. Yes all those bits of useless information that I like when there's not much else to think about and other numbers to chase after. All those little personal bests I can go for instead of just max speed, average and distance.
I amused myself on the ferry seeing how fast it was going and the altitude of the waves.

I expect that the way for me to put a route into the unit would be to plot the route on something like Bikey then transfer it into my GPS? I tried this with Google, but only managed to transfer waypoints, not a route to follow.

So, I still have a bit to learn, but overall, I'm dead chuffed with it.

Where does the panel think the best place is for storing a record of my tracks and planning routes to upload onto the unit for following?

Wowbagger

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Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2011, 02:36:06 pm »
If you have an available server, then you can store your routes on that.

bikehike.co.uk - Course Creator shows the track of the day ride we did on 8/4/11 - Dumfries to Ayr, stored on our server. Alternatively, just save them on your hard disc as .gps files. You can't save files on bikehike any more but maybe you can on bikely? I cant remember.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2011, 07:20:29 pm »
Just had a play with that Wowbagger.
I could upload a track, but not a useable route because it needed over 400 trackpoints for a 30 mile route. I couldn't get it to reduce the trackpoints. :'(
So I can get a track to follow, but not a route. I'd prefer a route because the sat-nav beeps at me when I have to make a turn. I like that because my mind always goes wandering when I'm on my bike.
Or is there a way that I can get the GPS unit to beep at me to keep me on route when I'm following a track?
I'll have to mess around a bit more.

Re: Which sat-nav for teethgrinder?
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2011, 07:55:57 pm »
Use GPS Visualizer: Convert GPS files to plain text or GPX (advanced options) to reduce points.