Author Topic: Budget Cycle GPS  (Read 1197 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Budget Cycle GPS
« on: September 24, 2014, 02:00:10 pm »

I've had a Garmin eTrex H fitted to my Brompton for a while now, which has been fine, apart from the fact that it keeps turning itself off when I go over bumps, which is frequent round here (cycle paths with cattle grids!).

Can anyone suggest a budget GPS that I can fit to my handlebars to give me things like heading, speed, distance to waypoint etc... Needs to be rain proof.

Thanks

Julia
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 02:32:54 pm »
There's a strong leaning towards the eTrexes on YACF, because of the waterproof and AA battery factors, so the eTrex 10 is probably your starting point.  A low-end Edge might do what you need, though, if you're happy with an internal rechargeable.  Otherwise there are the Bryton units, though I hear the software's a bit iffy, and don't know anyone who actually uses one.

I assume you've dismissed the smartphone-in-an-appropriate-bracket approach?  Not something I'm keen on myself on account of the power issues, but might be a reasonable approach for shorter rides...

The eTrex H cutting out is a known fault that may be repairable:  Try different flavour batteries (some do rattle about in the compartment), and if that doesn't help take it apart and solder bodge-wire between the battery compartment contacts and the PCB, maybe adding an electrolytic cap for good measure.  It's a spring-vs-PCB-pad interface that wears out with prolonged vibration.  Re-fitting the outer rubber band can be achieved with extra-strong carpet tape and a scalpel.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 02:43:04 pm »
There's a strong leaning towards the eTrexes on YACF, because of the waterproof and AA battery factors, so the eTrex 10 is probably your starting point.  A low-end Edge might do what you need, though, if you're happy with an internal rechargeable.  Otherwise there are the Bryton units, though I hear the software's a bit iffy, and don't know anyone who actually uses one.


AA batteries is a big bonus feature. That etrex 10 looks perfect actually. Assuming it doesn't have the reliability issues of my current unit, I think I'm sold.

Quote
I assume you've dismissed the smartphone-in-an-appropriate-bracket approach?  Not something I'm keen on myself on account of the power issues, but might be a reasonable approach for shorter rides...


Yep, I've tried it, but it just doesn't have the stability. Tried using Viewranger with my android phones to record trips, it's just not upto the task. Half the time it crashes losing my track log, the other half the time it gives me bogus data. Using my phone to track a trip down the rive on a boat with a 5HP engine, we ended up off the coast of Scotland, having done over 230 times the speed of sound... In an hour on the Stour... Oh, and of course when doing this sort of think, you can almost hear the electrons being sucked out the phone battery while doing it...

Quote

The eTrex H cutting out is a known fault that may be repairable:  Try different flavour batteries (some do rattle about in the compartment), and if that doesn't help take it apart and solder bodge-wire between the battery compartment contacts and the PCB, maybe adding an electrolytic cap for good measure.  It's a spring-vs-PCB-pad interface that wears out with prolonged vibration.  Re-fitting the outer rubber band can be achieved with extra-strong carpet tape and a scalpel.

Ah, I didn't know it's a known bug. I think I'll just stick it on the bay of e, and get an etrex 10 instead, the increased battery life alone is worth it. Assuming it has the stability.

Julia
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 02:49:32 pm »
You can also try adding a few layers of tape inside the bracket, in the bit where the Etrex clips in. This makes it a snugger fit, so less vibration. This has fixed most of the problems I had with the Etrex turning off.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2014, 03:04:45 pm »
I've had an eTrex 30 for a bit over a year, and the hardware does seem to be a lot better than previous models.  Notably they've done away with the rubber band surround which would eventually stretch (I think as a result of UV exposure) and peel off.  The only vibration issues I've had with mine have been due to the SD card escaping from its holder (it's one of those phone-style slide-to-lock ones) causing a crash - tactical bending of the holder so it clips more securely seems to have put a stop to that.

Obviously it's a bit early to tell whether they suffer from a long-term wear problem like the earlier models, but I haven't seen people complaining about such things.

Bonus feature:  The bike mount on the new eTrex is more versatile and doesn't mean there's a clip sticking out the back when you use it handheld.

Firmware's a bit meh, but that's mostly to do with the auto-routing on the 20/30/dakota/oregon being less configurable than on the HCx models.  The basic GPS navigation stuff is pretty much the same.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2014, 03:11:29 pm »
I've had an eTrex 30 for a bit over a year, and the hardware does seem to be a lot better than previous models.  Notably they've done away with the rubber band surround which would eventually stretch (I think as a result of UV exposure) and peel off.  The only vibration issues I've had with mine have been due to the SD card escaping from its holder (it's one of those phone-style slide-to-lock ones) causing a crash - tactical bending of the holder so it clips more securely seems to have put a stop to that.

Cool, they do look like they are a good improvement over the old range.  I don't really need anything fancy, so the 10 looks idea. Have added it to the shopping list.

Quote
Obviously it's a bit early to tell whether they suffer from a long-term wear problem like the earlier models, but I haven't seen people complaining about such things.

Bonus feature:  The bike mount on the new eTrex is more versatile and doesn't mean there's a clip sticking out the back when you use it handheld.

Firmware's a bit meh, but that's mostly to do with the auto-routing on the 20/30/dakota/oregon being less configurable than on the HCx models.  The basic GPS navigation stuff is pretty much the same.

How well does the USB interface work on Linux? Is it easy to get GPX tracks out of the device, and load waypoints/geocaches into the device?

Thanks

Julia
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2014, 04:05:05 pm »
How well does the USB interface work on Linux? Is it easy to get GPX tracks out of the device, and load waypoints/geocaches into the device?
It works as a USB mass storage device. So just plug it in, and it will appear as a drive. Then you can copy GPX files on or off for waypoints, tracks etc.

Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2014, 06:04:47 pm »
You can also try adding a few layers of tape inside the bracket, in the bit where the Etrex clips in. This makes it a snugger fit, so less vibration. This has fixed most of the problems I had with the Etrex turning off.

Glue in some Fuzzy Felt.

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2014, 06:56:56 pm »

I've had a Garmin eTrex H fitted to my Brompton for a while now, which has been fine, apart from the fact that it keeps turning itself off when I go over bumps, which is frequent round here (cycle paths with cattle grids!).

Can anyone suggest a budget GPS that I can fit to my handlebars to give me things like heading, speed, distance to waypoint etc... Needs to be rain proof.

Thanks

Julia

I second what people say about wedging the batteries in place. My Montana did exactly as you describe, and a folded over envelope made sure the battery connections weren't lost when I hit bumps.

With AA batteries rather than a custom battery with connectors at one end it could be a bit trickier although maybe something to stop the batteries moving side-to-side would be easy enough, and something like a small metal disc wedged in between the battery and the connector would stop any end-to-end movement.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2014, 09:46:31 pm »
What was needed was a bit of packing. The end tab off a cigarette packet. Park Drive was the best.

Between the battery and terminal went a folded piece of turkey foil.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Budget Cycle GPS
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2014, 10:48:59 pm »
That etrex 10 looks perfect actually. Assuming it doesn't have the reliability issues of my current unit, I think I'm sold.

The GPS itself has exactly the same issues (in terms of power cutting out on bumpy terrain) but it uses a different handlebar mounting system which is much better at minimising vibration, so the end result is a great improvement </pedant>
The same thing can be achieved on the old units by judicious use of sticky tape to pack the mount out.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.