Author Topic: Satmap Active 10  (Read 12990 times)

Satmap Active 10
« on: April 10, 2008, 06:39:03 pm »
OK, so I've just taken the plunge and ordered one of these.  The main drive behind going for the Active 10 over, things like the Garmins, is that this has OS 1:50000 mapping on it (or mine will anyway).  I've found the mapping on the Garmin models to be somewhat minimal, and not particularly easy to read.  I like OS Landranger maps.

I've ordered the map which covers the entire southern half of the country, so I'll probably start planning a holiday in Scotland now. ;D

With a bit of luck, I should get this very shortly, and I can test it out on the FNRttC next Friday.

I know there are some issues and limitations with it, but it looks like the latest software has corrected some of the worst of these (assuming my unit comes with that software version).

Has anyone else been using one of these?
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2008, 06:43:36 pm »
Oh bother there is a good change that I will not be there on the next FNTttC, as I would love to see the satman in the flesh so to speak.

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2008, 06:50:45 pm »
Well, assuming things don't go horribly wrong with this ride, I plan on doing a few FNRttCs, and the Dun Run in a few months time, so the chances are you'll see it eventually.  This does of course depend on the 2-4 days express delivery actually working!
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Rob S

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2008, 07:57:42 pm »
By far the biggest Satmap community can be found here:

http://www.pocketgpsworld.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewforum&f=133


Rob S

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2008, 11:11:45 am »
After first hearing about Satmap back in February it’s finally here in my hands…at the end of October….a week or so after their website was finally launched. I'm not going to dwell on this too muchI'm pretty much posted out on the subject elsewhere.

First Impressions

The boxes:

After first hearing about Satmap back in February it’s finally here in my hands…at the end of October….a week or so after their website was finally launched. I'm not going to dwell on this too muchI'm pretty much posted out on the subject elsewhere.

First Impressions

The boxes:



The Satmap is well presented in a matt black finished two drawer box like many a mobile phone…you pull the top drawer to the right and the lower drawer slides to the left by magic (a magic that’s been patented by Burgopak). The unit sits wrapped in a bag in the bottom draw. The top draw holds a USB cable,  3 Energiser LITHIUM batteries, a very nice padded pouch (with embroidering!), a branded lanyard to fit either the unit or the pouch, a couple of spare covers for the USB/audio socket and the paper work. The catalogues and Quick Start guide are printed versions of the ones you can see in PDF format on the website.
The map card box is also of the two drawer design with the card in  it’s case sitting in the lower drawer behind a sealed window, the breaking of which indicates you are accepting the license terms.
Included in the top drawer of the map card box…another Map catalogue. The catalogue lacks descriptions or indication of areas covered by the regional mapping cards although these are available in the map section of their online shop. The catalogue also has a voucher worth £10 off a custom made digital map card which could for example be centred on your home.     

The bike mount.

It has to be said that the photo that Satmap gave the various online sellers didn’t do justice to the price or sturdiness of the thing. For £25 you do get a very sturdy and surprisingly heavy Klickfix mount and a replacement battery cover that has the male connector on it….a rubber ring on the male connector adds a bit of cushioning. There is no slackness or play when the unit is connected to the mount. The unit will still fit in it's protective pouch with the mount specific back on it but not quite as neatly.



The underside of the strapping has lines of thin rubber grip strips on it to aid gripping…much like the kind of thing you get on the tops of arm and legwarmers. The mount can be used on a handlebar or by unscrewing the female connector and turning it 90 degrees mounted on a stem or top tube. Bear in mind that in stem/top tube mode it can’t be adjusted for angle…it will hold the screen parallel to the stem/top tube. The mount holds the screen 6cm above whatever you’ve mounted it to. The removal of the unit from the mount is very quick and easy

The unit.



The Satmap unit itself appears to be very well made (in China) and is dominated by the 70x53mm LCD screen…..which comes supplied with a clear thin plastic sheet which is probably best left on…it doesn’t affect the appearance of the screen.  The buttons described as ‘Soft Keys’ in the manual are not soft…I was expecting rubber buttons from that but they are actually hard plastic. The power and backlight boost buttons are soft buttons. Along the bottom edge of the unit is the mini USB socket and 3.5mm jack….these are covered by a tight fitting piece of rubber that is not permanently attached to the unit….this no doubt explains the inclusion of two spares.

After putting in 3 NiMH batteries (I’ll save the Li batteries for best!) and pressing the power button the screen comes to life with a winter themed splash screen….I also put my SD card map (the Southern GB 1:50,000 map at £99 the same area covered by the similarly named Memory Map map  offered in 2003 and 2004.…(the Version 5 offers less area as the northern limits is governed by county borders rather than a straight line across the country just above Liverpool).

The GPS took several minutes to find a signal…..they always do the first time they are ever used apparently, plus I was sat in doors what with it being about 2300hrs and chucking it down.

On subsequent power ups the wintery splash screen appears and then after several seconds your location is indicated on the supplied base level map…looks a bit like Googlemaps…a couple of seconds later a note on the screen indicates the presence of an SD card and then a splash screen of the map appears (like the sticker on the SD card) …press the right front button to view the map and after a second or three the screen is filled with 1;50,000 mapping. For some reason the default location of the initial view is Leicester…pressing the front left button brings you to your location….it might do this automatically if switched on outside with a GPS signal or maybe I need to set a location….the manual doesn’t say.

The Quick Start user guide.

For me  the Quick Start user guide is a far too quick, as I said earlier it is a printed version of the PDF version on the website and reading it before the unit arrived left me with plenty of questions which Satmap have left you to find the answers to yourself.

The most serious omission is the complete lack of assistance in connecting it to a computer and uploading your collection of GPX files from Bikely or Memory Map or whatever. In fact there is no mention of a computer anywhere in the guide….you wouldn’t even know that you CAN upload and download GPX files….there is a brief mention of it on the bottom of the box as being a feature…and on the website FAQ page.

Plugging the USB cable in to the unit and my XP equipped PC made the PC recognise Satmap and it appeared as a Removable Disk (either with or without the SD card installed) but clicking on it or sennding a GPX file to it says that it needs formatting….which needless to say I won’t be doing until I have spoken to Satmap. Copying a GPX file to the SD card using a card reader failed to make it appear in the list of routes on a page on the unit.

There are many, many features which the guide does not tell you about…I’ll list through some of them that I’ve discovered so far.

A roads have occasional additional road numberings which appear on the maps as though added as a mark…this means you have more chance of the road number appearing on the screen than if you just relied on the original OS markings. It’s not done for B roads however,

You can zoom out to allow about 3km in width appear on the screen in one go whilst still maintaining resolution to render yellow roads and smaller writing effectively. Zooming out further and the Satmap shows a 1:250k OS roadmap. Scrolling around a map requires one initial joystick movement for button menu tabs to appear and then another to actually move…slowly at first and then it gradually sppeds up with the odd white patch on the map as it gets redrawn Bear in mind my map card is a seamless map of the southern GB…a county map may be more fluid.

On the map screen you can toggle between having no data overlay, or two boxes or four. The screen pictured earlier has two boxes, four would add the same height again (ie the boxes don‘t get smaller) . You can decide what data appears in each box…..options include Clock, elevation, Date, a little compass, the direction you are heading in degrees,  OS grid reference of your current location, trip distance, trip time,  current speed, route name sunrise or sunset time (!), max speed, average speed, average moving speed, then various options for when you are following a route including ETA or distance to route end or next way point or Point of Interest  etc.


The sunset and sunrise times correspond to where your GPS location is and are the same as indicated on a website that features a calendar based on your postcode….yes I actually checked it for accuracy!.

Part 2 of the review is to follow after going out with it….and after communicating with Satmap about the computer connection.     

Right, so part two….the thoughts from it’s first ride…..an 80 mile ride around Dartmoor.

I’ll start off with a couple of pics of it on the bike.





It’s fair to say it sits quite high when on it’s mount but it is very stable even on bumpy roads (no rattles) and the strap grips the stem very well. Depending on what lighting setup you have you may welcome the extra handlebar space it offers. A Minoura Space Grip may lower it but I can’t see it being any more tidy.
You may be able to see from the head on shot that the shape of the groove the stem sits in positions the unit very slightly to the right (as viewed in the picture).

I’ve never had or used a GPS before so I was very pleasantly surprised to see the accuracy of my location on the road in relation to that of the map. As you ride the route you have taken is marked by red dots. The only time my location differed to that on the map was through a ‘tunnel of trees’ and the unit showed me going parallel to the road but about 50 metres or so from it….this only lasted about 200 or so metres.

I could see the screen fairly easily though it doesn’t appear to be anti-reflective. The brightness of the backlight is very adjustable with 10 levels including off (for very bright conditions).

The Active 10 can display your elevation and this figure is derived from the map data rather than GPS or a barometer. The only problem with this is that the map data bases it’s heights on the raw ground rather than the road….so riding along a flat dual carriage through a cutting will make it display you climbing the original hill, riding across a viaduct will show you descending down the valley and up the other side. You could at least take account of these things after the ride if you wanted your total climbing and descending figures to be as accurate as possible…not something you can do with an incorrect barometric derived figure.

I mentioned in Part 1 that little road number labels have been added to supplement the original road markings on the map….very useful when you can only see small sections of map at any one time. Only two problems encountered with this on my first ride and here is an illustration of one of them….



You can see in the middle of the screen that the dual carriageway is labelled A3079 but it’s actually the A30! The A3079 is a couple of miles to the northwest and doesn’t even join the A30!
I also saw this kind of error with the A382 being labelled A383 between the A38 and Newton Abbot.

Prior to my first test ride the only trails I had created on the unit had been caused by location errors when the GPS had it’s first ever weak signaled liason with the satellites. Despite being sat on my bed it  showed I’d traveled several miles towards the north east at a maximum speed of 110mph. This ‘journey’ caused a bit of a problem the first time I tried to see my Trip Log about 25 miles in to my first test ride. Although at the beginning of the ride I had cleared that ‘Trail by error’ I didn’t realise that the Trip Log needed to be reset as well….it had kept the details created by that first trail, added my current details….and for good measure added the 3-4 days inactivity between the two to the Total Time….87 hours to ride 25 miles!?

Anyhoo…here is a pic of the Trip Log at my second stop, 27 miles after resetting it at the 25 mile mark.



You can see it displays all the usual useful info….total time and time moving are shown in hours and minutes only, Strt Line Distance is Straight Line Distance from the original start point. The triangles show where the highest and lowest elevations are. Whilst riding I compared the Speed Now with the speed on my cycle computer…on flattish roads the two were pretty much the same but there were differences when going up and down hills. It is also worth pointing out that when you turn the unit on and off the GPS can go walk about whilst it picks up a signal this causes the snail trail to show that you have traveled several kilometres in a strange direction and this also affects the accuracy of many of the data fields, not least the maximum speed which shot up to 85mph later on my ride.

Now is probably a good time to talk about a couple of issues.

The Active 10 froze twice on my ride…at 36 miles and again at about 70. The first time it happen I had parked up to tighten a bottle cage bolt and when about to set off I tried to pan around the screen to see where a nearby lane led and I found none of the buttons or the joystick worked. The Power button worked so I simply turned it off and on and then went on my way. The second time I was coming to the end of a small route that I had input to test it’s ETA and Distance to End features and see what the route marker on screen looked like. Coming up to the roundabout I set as the route end the Distance To Go was showing 226 feet for rather a long time, I went round the roundabout and down the road and decided to stop and check some settings and again the buttons didn’t work….but this time the Power button was one of them and I had to undo the battery cover and remove and put back one battery before continuing. There is a mention of this problem in the Troubleshooting page of the manual….it says this may be due to incompatible data or power supply problems and to remove and refit the batteries….my guess is that this is caused by it being powered by Windows.

I think I’ll leave battery life for a while longer before coming to a conclusion…..a lot is made of it in the advertising and product previews…in an email to Satmap a couple of months ago they were talking about a life of 25 hours from 3 AA NiMh cells….this could very well be with the backlight off and the screen off after a couple of minutes because my first ride with it saw 4 hours of use at screen always on and light at 80 plus an evening of playing around with it on the first day of ownership from 2500 mAh batteries. It also says in the manual that the optional data boxes 2/4 boxes mentioned earlier uses extra power…not sure how.
You may see from one of the above photos that at 1502 the battery had three bars left (it had shown three bars since 5 minutes in to the ride)….but the crappy photo below shows what it was showing three minutes later…a flashing purple screen saying the Active 10 was shutting down with a countdown and one bar showing!



 put some fresh batteries in and it showed 4 bars for the rest of the ride…about 2.5 hours.


I’ll give it another couple of goes. There is a Lithium Polymer battery option on it’s way that claims 60 hours of life.

A very big issue for me and no doubt many others is current lack of ability to upload and download routes from a PC to the Active 10. An email to Satmap asking how to do this brought this response  We found that ActiveSync was generally giving users of other (non Satmap) products some headaches, and we therefore decided to produce a simpler, more stable version, designed specifically for the Active 10 series More details about handling gpx files will be available on the web closer to the time. The User Forum is also in the process of construction, and will be released as soon as possible

A couple of other things whilst I’m thinking of them. The ETA and time to route end or way point function is based purely on a speed which you manually input in the Settings….choices include several walking speeds plus 10,15,20,25 miles per hour…it is not worked out based on your current or average speed.

You have a choice of mapping orientation on screen…North Up or Track Up….Track Up turns the map so the direction you are heading is at the top of the screen….very useful if you just want to follow roads easily at the expense of ease of name reading.

This review now needs updating as a couple of extra features have been provided since this was written....expect one soon.

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2008, 12:34:52 pm »
Thank you very much Rob, I really think this unit is for me now. If it worked with linux and the small issues get fixed e.g. in firmware upgrade. I'll wait and see.

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2008, 04:22:48 pm »
It currently looks like delivery isn't going to be for three week minimum;

Quote
Satmap have held back our consignment of the Active 10 has they are doing an important update to the batch to repair a system fault with the units.  The estimate for us to get the new version is W/Com 5th May 2008.  If you are unable to wait then we can refund your sale but be aware that units that are still available in the marketplace currently will be the old unit with the system error.  Sorry for the delay but it is out of our hands while Satmap remedy the issue.

Which seems reasonable, but is still annoying.  Ho hum.  You may yet see it Woolly, if it arrives in time for May's FNRttC, which is on the 23rd May 2008, so that'll given them a couple of weeks to deliver it!
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Rob S

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2008, 05:57:06 pm »
It currently looks like delivery isn't going to be for three week minimum;

Quote
Satmap have held back our consignment of the Active 10 has they are doing an important update to the batch to repair a system fault with the units.  The estimate for us to get the new version is W/Com 5th May 2008.  If you are unable to wait then we can refund your sale but be aware that units that are still available in the marketplace currently will be the old unit with the system error.  Sorry for the delay but it is out of our hands while Satmap remedy the issue.

Which seems reasonable, but is still annoying.  Ho hum.  You may yet see it Woolly, if it arrives in time for May's FNRttC, which is on the 23rd May 2008, so that'll given them a couple of weeks to deliver it!


Where have you got that from?

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2008, 06:47:40 pm »
Where have you got that from?

A crowd called Global Gizmos.  They are quite a bit cheaper than other suppliers, £284 for the Active 10 itself, and £89.99 for the "Great Britain 3: Southern" 1:50000 mapping, whereas most places have it at £119.99.

It seemed like a worthwhile discount, as long as I get it eventually.  If there is anything dodgy, then it's on the credit card, so I can always claim it back from them.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Rob S

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2008, 05:47:13 pm »
Where have you got that from?

A crowd called Global Gizmos.  They are quite a bit cheaper than other suppliers, £284 for the Active 10 itself, and £89.99 for the "Great Britain 3: Southern" 1:50000 mapping, whereas most places have it at £119.99.

It seemed like a worthwhile discount, as long as I get it eventually.  If there is anything dodgy, then it's on the credit card, so I can always claim it back from them.

Oh right....are you aware of what the system fault is? Is it related to firmware v1.15? Or something more serious?
Satmap were selling unts and updating peoples Active 10s in person at the Outdoor Show with version 1.15 and they discovered a bug that locked the units up if 'Location' was chosen as one of the Data Overlay boxes and so came up with v1.16. 

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2008, 07:56:37 pm »
Oh right....are you aware of what the system fault is? Is it related to firmware v1.15? Or something more serious? ...

Not a clue, the quote in my post above is pretty much the entire email I was sent.  I guess I'll find out what version of software I get in a couple of weeks time.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2008, 02:43:25 pm »
Which seems reasonable, but is still annoying.  Ho hum.  You may yet see it Woolly, if it arrives in time for May's FNRttC, which is on the 23rd May 2008, so that'll given them a couple of weeks to deliver it!
...currently delivery appears to be likely mid-next week, with the FNRttC on Friday, so if I'm very lucky it'll arrive just in time for the ride. <fx: crosses fingers>
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Satman Active 10
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2008, 09:13:02 pm »
Where have you got that from?

A crowd called Global Gizmos.  They are quite a bit cheaper than other suppliers,

snip.

Note - Personal Opinion Follows -> I had a mountain of trouble with Global Gizmos, who seem to advertise stuff that they haven't actually got in stock, but are very reluctant to cancel orders they can't fulfil. I won't use them.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2008, 09:43:31 pm »
I suspect that is the case, but there does appear to have been issues with the supply of the units, so I'll give them a while longer.  I must admit I don't generally like using some company which I've never heard of, and whose website doesn't scream "big professional company", but they were substantially cheaper than anyone else.

It's on the Credit Card, so if all else fails I'll get the money back from the Credit Card company, and they can fight it out with Global Gizmos.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2008, 12:11:28 pm »
Wahay!  Just got a phone call to say that it will be in the post today, and should arrive tomorrow! :thumbsup:

(Wonders whether to take tomorrow off...)
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2008, 01:44:10 pm »
Congrats in advance, it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

My Etrex HCx arrived this morning - neat little item. Wish I had the day off tomorrow too  :(

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2008, 09:29:32 am »
Initial finding; It's very very easy to break off the metal bit that you turn to lock/unlock the battery compartment.  I managed to kill this on both my standard back, and the one for the bike mount. :(

The compartment has to be pushed hard onto the back of the Satmap, if there is even the slightest tightness when you try and turn the handle bit, it will break, very easily.  It's quite a fragile join between the ends, and it's the bit where it's attached to the spindle that you rotate.  It turns out that when the back is firmly pushed against the unit, it turns quite easily.

I've had to bend a short bit of wire into a temporary repair, so I can get into and out of the compartment, and so that it holds in place.


It is a very neat unit otherwise, I've fitted the mount to my bike (temporarily shifted the spare front light out of the way), and I'll try it out on the commute into work shortly.

More comments to follow!
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2008, 03:51:44 pm »
Here's a useful, money saving tip, if you want to use the Lithium battery, and are happy to charge it via the USB connector on a PC or laptop, you don't need to spend £45 on the Power Bundle, you can just buy a Spare Battery for £30 and use a standard USB cable to connect the Active 10 to a suitable USB port.

The Power Bundle does give you things like an adapter and plugs for most type of mains sockets around the world, as well as a car lighter adapter, but if you know you can use a USB socket for this purpose, then you don't need all these bits, and can save yourself £15 (assuming you have a bog standard USB to mini-USB cable).
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2008, 03:48:21 pm »
If anyone's interested in the Active 10, note they've just issued a software update which apparently cures the glitches some early adopters were experiencing.

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2008, 04:15:26 pm »
Interesting, do you know where the update is?  I can't see anything on their website.

As for early adopters, I bought mine a couple of months ago, and great toy though it is, it crashes as soon as look at it. I've learnt to avoid touching any of the controls whilst it's in use, fiddling is a good way to encourage it to go castors up. :-\
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2008, 04:20:09 pm »
OK, I've found it.  They haven't gone out of their way to make it obvious...  :-\

Quote
Please make sure you have registered your device to recieve e-mail notification of updates.

Yes, it's registered.  Did I receive notification?  Did I buggery. >:(

There's a new version of SatSync to go with the new firmware as well.

Hopefully this firmware will be a mite less buggy, with a bit of luck I'll find out on the FNRttC tomorrow (must remember to get the batteries on charge).  Looking at the version history, it implies that the stability was improved with versions 1.18 and 1.19 prior to the new 1.20, which is the first I've ever heard of them. :-\
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2008, 06:40:45 pm »
V1.18 was kicking around as a beta version for download at your own risk - it wouldn't always load properly. V1.200 seems OK though. I did get an e-mail notification, but not until several days after I'd stumbled over it on this forum: Pocket GPS World which seems to be the place where most of the chat about this product turns up.

Rob S

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2008, 10:48:52 pm »
I did get an e-mail notification, but not until several days after I'd stumbled over it on this forum

Yeah me too....not had a chance to try it out yet as I'm in broken shoulder mode for another week or two.

Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2008, 10:26:18 am »
I've installed it, it seems to work, insofar as the unit hasn't crashed yet!  The look and feel is pretty much the same as originally, it's not a vast change in the way anything works.  I need to cycle across Croydon and try not to get lost in the one way systems, so I'll give it a brief test shortly.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

jellied

  • skip to the end
    • Ealing Bike Hub
Re: Satmap Active 10
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2008, 10:56:31 am »
Found some more clues here:

Satmap have released v1.2 of their system software along with v10.23 of their desktop PC Planning Software - SatSYNC. Unlike earlier releases, the latest version is available for download direct from Satmap's website http://www.satmap.com/software.php although you must have a minimum of v1.16 before you can take advantage of this upgrade.

It is not yet clear what improvements are part of the latest SatSYNC beta but the v1.2 release of the system software contains a number of new features including:

Charger Control
SDHC Support
Improved map zoom handling
UTM and MRGS Coordinate schemes
Improved memory handling
A shitter and a giggler.