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  1. #1
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Fed up with Garmin. Any options to Garmin products?

    Garmin licensing is disgusting. My handheld GPS died. If I buy a new one they won't allow me to transfer the maps I own to the new unit. So after spending $400 on a new handheld I will need to pay again for maps that I already own. This should be illegal. It's clearly a racket.

    Does anyone else make handheld units that will work on a bike and as well as for hiking?

  2. #2
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Try using opensource maps, so if you need a license for a new GPS it costs the same $0 as it did on the first one.

    Seriously, I gave up on Garmin maps partly because they always seem to be badly dated and partly because I didn't want to have to buy another copy of the exact same map when I wanted to buy another Garmin GPS. For cycling and hiking you can do a lot worse than OpenStreetMap maps. Not only that, if the maps are wrong you can correct them yourself rather than emailing Garmin and getting an automated response that says how important your mail is to them and a map update within a timeline that says they couldn't care less about your email.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  3. #3
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Thanks! Do they offer the same functionality as Garmin maps and are they compatible with Garmin tracks? Track recording, track uploading, etc? I don't really use routes on the handheld. I create a route with RideWithGPS or Garmin Source and load the tracks on to the handheld. I also like to record tracks when I'm riding and then save them on my computer.

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    Delorme makes some nice units. I have a Delorme PN40 that I've used for MTB, and it works well. Delorme also has the PN60 and Spot. Spot allows you to send text messages (send but not receive, as I understand it).
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  5. #5
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    Delorme makes some nice units. I have a Delorme PN40 that I've used for MTB, and it works well. Delorme also has the PN60 and Spot. Spot allows you to send text messages (send but not receive, as I understand it).
    And how's their map licensing?

  6. #6
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Thanks! Do they offer the same functionality as Garmin maps and are they compatible with Garmin tracks? Track recording, track uploading, etc? I don't really use routes on the handheld. I create a route with RideWithGPS or Garmin Source and load the tracks on to the handheld. I also like to record tracks when I'm riding and then save them on my computer.
    Pretty much the same functionality, the only difference will be in the routing which can sometimes be a bit hit-and-miss.

    Track recording - no problem. Track uploading - no problem. I just cycled a 170 mile coast-to-coast trip across England this last weekend, recorded the track log for the entire way and had a pre-prepared track log I followed when the road signs weren't as informative as they might have been.

    Swing by http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl and download some maps for your area.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  7. #7
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    If you're unhappy with Garmin products you can also try creating track logs with www.bikeroutetoaster.com - that's the one I tend to use for routes around the UK. Sometimes a route needs a little tweaking if it tries to be too clever by taking "shortcuts" that involve turning across the traffic twice to cut 0.1 mile off a corner somewhere, but once you've got the route created you can download it, see the elevation profile, estimate how long it will take you to ride (based on your speed on the flats and climbing speed) etc.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  8. #8
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    Pretty much the same functionality, the only difference will be in the routing which can sometimes be a bit hit-and-miss.

    Track recording - no problem. Track uploading - no problem. I just cycled a 170 mile coast-to-coast trip across England this last weekend, recorded the track log for the entire way and had a pre-prepared track log I followed when the road signs weren't as informative as they might have been.

    Swing by http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl and download some maps for your area.
    Thanks! Yeah, I wouldn't use routing on this one so that's not a problem. I mainly need the ability to load GPX tracks and record tracks.

  9. #9
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    If you're unhappy with Garmin products you can also try creating track logs with www.bikeroutetoaster.com - that's the one I tend to use for routes around the UK. Sometimes a route needs a little tweaking if it tries to be too clever by taking "shortcuts" that involve turning across the traffic twice to cut 0.1 mile off a corner somewhere, but once you've got the route created you can download it, see the elevation profile, estimate how long it will take you to ride (based on your speed on the flats and climbing speed) etc.
    I use http://ridewithgps.com/ which I'm used to. Then I export the track into a GPX file and upload it to the unit using MapSource. Although they support direct loading to the unit now from their site so I won't need to use MapSource which is a horrible piece of software anyway.

    I'm mostly unhappy with Garmin extortion scheme not their products though. If they were more accommodating and respectful I'd continue using their products. But they're like RIAA/MPAA: they treat their customers like thieves and want you to pay again and again for software that you already own.

  10. #10
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    You can route, it's just that sometimes the route it comes up with is a little... shall we say... scenic?

    I've sometimes seen my GPS create an 8-mile route to a point a mile away. I've got no idea why. So for the most part I use it to know where I am and accept if I'm going somewhere new I may need to create a track and stick to it well. Failing that I can always navigate back to the track and go from there.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  11. #11
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    You can route, it's just that sometimes the route it comes up with is a little... shall we say... scenic?

    I've sometimes seen my GPS create an 8-mile route to a point a mile away. I've got no idea why. So for the most part I use it to know where I am and accept if I'm going somewhere new I may need to create a track and stick to it well. Failing that I can always navigate back to the track and go from there.
    LOL, routing even with Garmin maps is hit and miss. So I also know where I'm going and just use the GPS to know where I am.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    I'm mostly unhappy with Garmin extortion scheme not their products though. If they were more accommodating and respectful I'd continue using their products.
    I wouldn't blame Garmin for the map policy. They buy the rights to the maps from NavTeq and that's the company that imposes the single device restriction. Back when Garmin was using TeleAtlas maps there was no such limitation (but I did find the NavTeq maps to generally be a little more accurate).

    But, as mentioned already, there are plenty of free maps available, especially if you don't need all the bells and whistles. The track recording is completely separate from the maps you have loaded so that is unaffected by whether you use the Garmin/NavTeq maps or some of the free ones.

  13. #13
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I wouldn't blame Garmin for the map policy. They buy the rights to the maps from NavTeq and that's the company that imposes the single device restriction. Back when Garmin was using TeleAtlas maps there was no such limitation (but I did find the NavTeq maps to generally be a little more accurate).

    But, as mentioned already, there are plenty of free maps available, especially if you don't need all the bells and whistles. The track recording is completely separate from the maps you have loaded so that is unaffected by whether you use the Garmin/NavTeq maps or some of the free ones.
    Thanks for the explanation. I'm still sour whether it's Garmin or NavTeq. I'm looking at the Delorme units now and they look pretty nice.

  14. #14
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    Coincidentally, just got an offer from Delorme today: $125 for the PN-40 with U.S. topo maps. I haven't seen anything terribly restrictive about Delorme's maps, but then again I haven't looked too hard.

  15. #15
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, it looks like a $30/year subscription gives you access to all their maps. I just need to figure out the differences between the units.

  16. #16
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I'm not promoting this site but you can look

    http://gpsunderground.com/forum/gps-...n-gps-systems/

  17. #17
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    Try this site for free GPS maps:

    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/

    The first couple of downloads are a little tricky until you get the hang of uploading to the Garmin through BaseCamp. I tack my rides using a Dakota 20.

  18. #18
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    What went wrong with the unit?

    What broke on your GPS? Unless it was totally destroyed, maybe its fixable.

    "PND"s (personal navigation devices) are just small computers. Most generic GPSs these days have an ARM cpu and a small touchscreen display. I don't know what part of the hardware defines the particular unit that is licensed, but I am sure that an inventive person armed with Google could figure out how to fix most broken GPSs for a fraction of what a new one would cost.

    Check out instructables.com for info on how to do specific tasks.

    Often a broken electronic device just has a broken trace on its PCB.

    The thing that can fix some is heating the PCB up for a short time just over the melting point of the solder thats used, in an old toaster oven. Dont use an oven you use for food! And make sure its just the board and soldered components - not the plastic parts, screen, case, switches, speaker, batteries.. etc.

    Or you can use a heat *** if its hot enough. Make sure you *only* heat up the PCB and its directly attached parts.. *not the other parts*

    Some other PNDs just need battery replacement. When rechargeable batteries are soldered in, the old battery needs to be removed and replaced with a new one of the same voltage.

    Even a broken screen can often be replaced. See if you can find the same or a similar unit and cannibalize it for parts.

    You get the idea..

    Small embedded devices are great. You can learn a lot with those devices.

    There is a new small (credit card sized) development board that is coming out right now, the RaspberryPi. Its going to cost around $25-35

    Chances are you could build your own GPS using open source maps, one of these boards, and a one chip GPS solution like the Skytraq modules.

    And it would never go obsolete on you, because you could update it with open source maps.

    I second the recommendation for http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/ if you want garmin-compatible *topo maps* of the US. (Good for hiking, but they dont supply the street data in a form thats usable for turn by turn directions.)
    Last edited by christ0ph; 04-06-12 at 07:28 PM.

  19. #19
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I think it developed a crack over time and water got inside during riding in pouring ran. It shuts off intermittently now. Although it got better. Last week it wouldn't stay on more than a few minutes. Now, half an hour more. I took it apart, and dried it by putting it on top, of my screen for a few days. I'll take for a ride tomorrow and see how it behaves. Perhaps I will follow your suggestion and disassemble it even more. Perhaps I can tell how the water got in and seal the crack.

    I am not as handy with electronics though so I am not sure I could replace parts like that.

    Thanks a lot for all the advice

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    It sounds like a fixable intermittent circuit board problem to me. A GPS is a computer, so if the power cuts out even briefly, it will then reboot, which may make the problem look worse than it is.

    Be careful about static electricity on top of what sounds like a CRT monitor!

    It sounds to me like your unit is still fixable, but be aware that *static electricity* can - in a second, permanently destroy the CPU, making the unit *much* more difficult to fix.

    If you open the case up, you'd be smart to do a little reading on ESD first. Its quite easy to minimize ESD. You just need to keep yourself and any tools you use grounded. (Typically people use a wire connected to a grounded plug - connected via a strap attached to a wrist or similar)

    Its still early in the year and the humidity is still low enough to make ESD a big potential problem. When or where the humidity is higher, ESD is a non-issue.

    Check out the instructables site and sparkfun.com for lots of good basic info on electronics.

  21. #21
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I know about static. I work with computers, but I don't have a lot of experience with small electronics. I'll try to take it apart and see if I can find anything wrong. I'd much rather hold on to it for a while longer than buy a new one right now.

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    If you have a cheap multimeter, that's very useful. I also recently got an inexpensive 8 channel logic analyzer pod, and thats also proving to be super useful with digital devices.

    They also can work as a JTAG cable which is potentially extremely useful with embedded devices.

    I've seen similar raw hardware (just the basic board, no case, no cable, no grabbers) for as little as $18 on ebay.

    Check out the sigrok project wiki.

    http://sigrok.org/wiki/Main_Page

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Garmin licensing is disgusting. My handheld GPS died. If I buy a new one they won't allow me to transfer the maps I own to the new unit. So after spending $400 on a new handheld I will need to pay again for maps that I already own. This should be illegal. It's clearly a racket.

    Does anyone else make handheld units that will work on a bike and as well as for hiking?
    I'm fed up with Garmin, too. Do they offer any kind of tech support? I'm having a hell of time using my Garmin device, and I can't find anywhere on the net where they offer help to their customers.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...iles-to-device

  24. #24
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Their support is OK. They respond to an email in a day or two and are generally helpful. Go to their website->Support and click Contact Support.

    It's this map licensing scheme that drive me nuts. This is the second time for me. At least the maps are cheaper now, REI sells them for $60. They used to be twice as much.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Their support is OK. They respond to an email in a day or two and are generally helpful. Go to their website->Support and click Contact Support.

    It's this map licensing scheme that drive me nuts. This is the second time for me. At least the maps are cheaper now, REI sells them for $60. They used to be twice as much.
    If I were you, I'd see if I couldn't find some of those maps on a pirate site. After all, Garmin's cheating you out of your money. You're entitled to a copy of those maps since you've paid for them.

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