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I need bike computer advice

Old 07-31-21, 08:46 PM
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TheHelmetHook
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I need bike computer advice

Guys, I don't really ride bikes any longer but I figured this was the place to ask because I need a bike computer and I'll explain why.

I recently bought a used car but the digital odometer is messed up or rather, the display is so I have no idea how far I've driven, when to replace
the oil and so on and on top of that, the gas gauge is not really working.

So, I went online and bought a GPS odometer/speedometer for cars but that didn't work out for me and the reason was that, I don't
take long trips. Most of my drives are local so it's a lot of start and stop and that thing has no battery backup meaning that every time
I start the car, the damn thing now has to find the satellites again and it takes some two minutes.

ALL I need is a gps device that is battery operated and that saves date even when it runs out of power (hopefully).
I prefer something rechargeable but above all, I need something with an odometer than I can reset if I'd like, AND, most importantly,
something that keeps track of total miles driven and that hopefully goes up to four digits. That should not be erased unless I do it manually.

Additional options would be LARGE digits. I need something simple with decent battery that I can recharge or replace and if so, without losing at least
the TOTAL mileage, I would like something cheap 'cause this is all I want and accuracy is NOT critical as I only want to know when it's time to get gas
or change the oil.

Preferably something available online (amazon or something) as I live in a little hole in the wall.

Something I can keep on the front seat or something so that it doesn't have to find satellites every damn time I get in the car.

Is there something like this?

How long will a battery last? I may not get in the car for days. Would this mean I have to take it out or leave it to charge and then reboot when I start driving
and it will at least have enough battery to last me that day? Some of the ones I saw said something about 8 hours of run time so yes, it's important that it
save the total mileage.

Also, NO apps. I don't want to use my phone.

Also, I have a Garmin but in the manual, it didn't really say anything about total mileage.

I was wondering if there is something that is always ON so to speak?

Thanks

George

Last edited by TheHelmetHook; 07-31-21 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 07-31-21, 10:33 PM
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Any Garmin would work and most of the competing GPS units too. They'll have to find the satellites but that's very fast on newer ones. Battery life can be up to around 20? hours of use, the Garmins can be charged from your cigarette lighter while you use them.

A GPS watch can work too.

You can use this stuff for routine maintenance like you described. It depends which one you go with, there's usually an app or web site and ... can be a conversation unto itself.
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Old 07-31-21, 10:48 PM
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https://bench.co/blog/operations/mileage-trackers/

https://dollarflow.com/best-mileage-tracking-apps-free/
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Old 07-31-21, 11:26 PM
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I should have mentioned. NO apps. I don't want to use my phone.

Also, I have a Garmin but in the manual, it didn't really say anything about total mileage.

I was wondering if there is something that is always ON so to speak?

Thanks
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Old 08-01-21, 12:12 AM
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The XOSS G and G+ are the cheapest good GPS bike computers I know of. I've used a G+ for about 18 months, no real problems.

The G is about $30 (vs $50 for the G+), lacks ANT+ support for heart rate, cadence sensors, etc., but should be fine for the usage you've described. It does need the app (Android and iPhone) to set up and transfer data. But it doesn't rely on the app or a phone for routine usage.

It has a long runtime per charge, especially with the backlight turned off (25 hours without backlight). And it can run while charging via the USB port, so you can leave it plugged into your car charger or portable USB battery.

The one quirk that annoys some XOSS G owners -- non-resettable odometer -- wouldn't be a factor for your usage.

GPS sync might be hindered by using inside a car, as it would be indoors, under heavy tree cover, downtown surrounded by buildings, tunnels, etc. That's just the nature of GPS devices. Phones circumvent this to some extent by using cell tower data as backups for navigation and route tracking. Most GPS bike computers rely only on satellites and cannot access cell towers.

I'm not sure whether the XOSS is suitable for turning on once and leaving it running indefinitely, even with the device plugged in via USB to a charger or battery. The longest rides I've done were around 100 miles or so. Starting/stopping rides to log individual trips won't affect the odometer -- the odometer is like any odometer and tallies up all recorded rides.

Regarding sync times, it usually takes most devices longer the first time to sync. After that it generally takes less time, but still depends on view of the sky, weather conditions, tree cover, buildings, etc. Usually my XOSS G+ syncs within seconds of starting a ride outdoors. Sometimes it takes longer, up to a mile or so, before syncing.

There are other inexpensive GPS computers very similar to the XOSS. I have no experience with those, no idea whether they're any good. I'd be surprised if such a device hadn't already been adapted specifically for motor vehicles. There are probably rental/lease vehicles around the world with small GPS devices used for various reasons -- tracking, record keeping, makeshift substitutes for pricey dedicated navigation devices, etc.
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Old 08-01-21, 07:42 AM
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Several years ago I bought a computer for my truck, it plugs into the OBD2 port. It gives me everything you said you want plus a ton of engine diagnostics. (That was how I knew I needed a new oxygen sensor.) That might be another option to consider. The one I bought, is this one:
UltraGauge OBDII Scan tool & Information Center

But it is not a GPS, it will not tell you where you are or how to get anywhere. It is intended for mechanical diagnostics, but includes trip meter, distance since last oil change, estimated gallons left in tank, etc.

Originally Posted by TheHelmetHook View Post
...
Also, I have a Garmin but in the manual, it didn't really say anything about total mileage.
...
Which one?
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Old 08-01-21, 10:36 AM
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Have you thought about going to a junk yard and picking up a used display? It might not be easy to install but the trip to the junk yard will give you an idea of how hard it is to access that part. When I bought my car I bought a digital copy of the repair manual. It was worth the cost alone in figuring out if I should fix it myself or let a mechanic do the job.
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Old 08-01-21, 11:27 AM
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First, thanks for the info and the detailed reply. Just the way I like it.

When you turn it off or lose power or something, does it remember the total mileage?

I assume max on total mileage is 999 miles which in itself is not a problem. I would just write that down before I reset it.

Resettable odometer would be nice but not crucial.

If it DOES store the total mileage, I could just start it up fresh so to speak when I go out to run errands or drive and just leave it on that day and then just turn it off. That would solve my problem.

The other stuff you talk about IS available but like I said, they have no battery back up so I have to power on and find satellites EVERY time in order to get it working which I think is a bit of a ******** thing in my opinion.

GPS reception has never been an issue for me because I'm not riding a bike in the woods so I dont' see that as a problem.

We're getting somewhere but for now, I'll keep searching although I would like a reply to my questions about the unit.

Thanks
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Old 08-01-21, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Have you thought about going to a junk yard and picking up a used display? It might not be easy to install but the trip to the junk yard will give you an idea of how hard it is to access that part. When I bought my car I bought a digital copy of the repair manual. It was worth the cost alone in figuring out if I should fix it myself or let a mechanic do the job.
The problem with that is that I can barely walk and not really stand up so I can't do that stuff and, I am way too damn stupid to take anything apart and fix it and I don't have the money to pay someone to do it for me so that would be a no
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Old 08-01-21, 12:03 PM
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The Garmin I have is the Nuvi 65 LM I think.

This thing is what I need but the problem with some of those is that they tell me they will not work on my car 'cause it's too old. 2001 Buick Centry.

They have them now even cheaper and they WOULD do what I want (they Do have GPS too) but again, not compatible with my older car. Some are under 40 bucks and plenty of them on Amazon if you want a link.

IF the unit you showed me would work with my OBD, I would be interested so I'm gonna look into it.
I wrote them about it by the way.

The thing is that it's sometimes hard to find stuff because of the searches and what they find.

Even though I know how to search, I still get results that I dont' want, especially on amazon and I frankly think they do it on purpose so that you get to see much more stuff. I wonder if they think I'll buy more?

I always use google ADVANCED search to exclude or include more stuff or for a more detailed search but they can't do their job unless the idiots that sell the product display things properly. Bottom line is that it's not that easy and it definitely seems it's hard for me to find one unit with the TWO features that I want.

The Ultragauge seems to do it and I may have to get one, but it's more than I wanted (or can afford) to pay. Not a lot of money but that also depends on how much money you have. Business has been crap since this covid junk

Thanks
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Old 08-02-21, 09:19 AM
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Your response made me wonder just how costly and difficult it is to restore the instrument panel. A quick look at YouTube and eBay provided the answer. It is way easier than I ever expected. The panel removal is all done while seated in the driver's or passenger's seat. It's just a total of 5 screws to undo and pop off a couple of small panels.
There are numerous repair offers on eBay like these https://www.ebay.com/itm/322856293414 https://www.ebay.com/itm/324078500394 These all run about $60 plus whatever it costs you to ship the instrument cluster to the repair service. It may be less expensive than buying an OBD reader. If you can't do this perhaps a neighbor would help since it is so simple.
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Old 08-02-21, 10:05 AM
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Ha, you clearly don't know me VegasTriker. Trust me on this, I'm a total dumbass and there's no way I can do this and then there's the fact that as I said, I can't walk or stand up long enough to take this out from a car at a junkyard.

Nope, if this doesn't work then I'll have to do without.

I also wrote to Ultragauge but I won't be buying their unit because I got a reply back with a standard answer. No one bothered ANSWERING my two questions and I have learned a long time ago that if the service sucks before you've spent
your money, chances are it will suck after you've spent it too.

Too bad 'cause although it is more money than I wanted to spend, I would probably have gotten it.
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Old 08-02-21, 03:50 PM
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A cheap Nuvi or what Garmin now calls a DriveSmart and other variation of that name will keep track of your mileage and be easier to get to than most of the Garmin Edges where you have to drill down in the menus. Although I guess there might be a odometer field you can add to your ride screen.
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Old 08-02-21, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
A cheap Nuvi or what Garmin now calls a DriveSmart and other variation of that name will keep track of your mileage and be easier to get to than most of the Garmin Edges where you have to drill down in the menus. Although I guess there might be a odometer field you can add to your ride screen.
I just talked to Garmin and that won't work either 'cause again, I have to turn it on every time and although it finds the satellites faster the second time, I still have to do that.

HOWEVER, I may just do that and see how that works out for me and how much I forget to turn it on or not. It's NOT crucial for me how far I drive, I just need to know roughly so I know
when to change oil. I would also like to have a simpler odometer so I can tell when it's time to get gas but since I have two trip meters on my garmin according to the manual and to the tech,
I can give it a shot.

For now, those who are interested can chime in 'cause maybe someone else has a need for the same thing or you just think it's interesting.

Now, you guys know what I'd like and if I can find one of those OBD2 odometers that IS compatible with my car, I'll get one 'cause they seem to be the perfect solution.

Actually, that ultragauge was prolly perfect although it was a bit more than I wanted to spend but if I deal with a company that doesn't respond to questions BEFORE I buy, I doubt they'll get better AFTER.

Thanks
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Old 08-02-21, 04:32 PM
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I don't remember having to turn any of my nuvi's or drivesmarts on when in the car and connected to power. Maybe I did for some of them.

On my DriveSmart, If I'm plugged into a power point or cigar lighter that doesn't work when the key is off, it just goes into sleep mode. Then when I start the car again it starts back up. If I was mid route, then it still has that active. I think it's the same when the power point stays active with the key off, but it's been awhile since I've used it in my other car.

I don't leave it in the car when I'm through driving for the day, so I don't know what it will do for an extended time with no power. Also, I guess I really don't know if it accumulates mileage when not using a route. I'm only supposing it does
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Old 08-02-21, 04:43 PM
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Thanks Iride
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