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A Tale of Two GPS

Old 05-01-22, 08:28 AM
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A Tale of Two GPS

TL; DR - I want a simple/basic GPS that will give me turn-by-turn directions, work with my Garmin Varia, and have enough battery life for a long ride (say 6-8 hours).

Full story:

I am a 57 year old MAMIL and although I used to think I was tech-savvy, I now know I am old because I feel like technology has become an enemy instead of a friend.

I purchased my first GPS about 4 years ago. I got a Garmin 130 right when they came out. I really love that little unit. Small and gives me turn-by-turn directions, integrates ok with my laptop and iPhone. I was even MORE happy after I got a Varia 510 which works GREAT with the 130. Over the next few years, I noticed that the battery life was becoming a problem. Short rides of 3 hours were ok, but after about 3 hours the battery would crap out. I tried all the tricks, factory reset, etc., and even complained to Garmin. The problem persisted. Note I do NOT use a speed sensor or cadence sensor, the only "connections" to the unit I want and need are iPhone (it's helpful to know who is texting or calling me) and the Varia radar. I don't really care about segments and hills and other distractions. I actually don't even care about current speed or average speed or anything else. I want to keep it simple, tell me when turns are coming up and when cars are sneaking up behind me. So in essence, I want a 130 with a longer battery life.

After much frustration, I decided to bite the bullet and get a GPS unit with a longer battery life. I ended up choosing a Garmin 530, and bought a new one off of ScamBay.

I know the next part will be self-incriminating and has caused several of my gripes. It turns out the Garmin 530 I bought was designed for the Asian Market, so it was preloaded with maps from Asia. The thing wound not route me at all. I "solved" this problem by futzing around and downloading some maps from openmap sources, but the unit would not let me download a full USA map. No biggie, I downloaded the detailed map for my area. However, as above my tech skills are not good, so when I travel I try to re-download maps for the destination, and it oftentimes does NOT work.

One good thing about the 530, its battery life is fine. But otherwise I HATE the thing. The buttons and user interface are not intuitive (very different from the 130). It frequently gives me "pop up" alerts/messages about hills/cannot navigate/Laps/warnings, and these stay on the screen and obscure the route schematic which is all I really want. The alert for the Varia is QUIET and cannot be heard in windy conditions. This cannot be made louder. So my experience with the 530 is that I don't like it, I keep getting lost/missing turns because the maps are messed up or the screen to navigate is covered by pop-ups. I am especially frustrated today because we are traveling and somehow the maps I downloaded are not working.

My inclination is to just sell the 530 on ScamBay and get a new 130X. Supposedly the 130X has a better battery life. I still have the 130 and would even consider trying to put a new battery in, but the youtube videos make that process too intimidating and I expect I would mess it up. I am also concerned that "better" battery life means 5-6 hours, not enough for a long epic ride.

I am sure the Garmin 530 fans will tell me this is all my fault for getting a unit that did not have USA maps preloaded, and maybe that is true. But there is no denying the pop-ups (which maybe I can turn off but a brief google search has not helped), and certainly the quiet aspect of the Varia alerts are well known. I know the unit CAN make louder beeps (does it all the time when it thinks I am off course), but that is not user adjustable.

Again, TL;DR.....I have an old 130 that has crap battery life. I want something that does what it does but has a better battery. I am open to suggestions. I am willing to consider a non-garmin product.

p.s. maybe I should cross-post to 50+ but I know the forum frowns on cross-posting so no.
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Old 05-01-22, 09:35 AM
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in a nutshell, that is modern tech. A fred gadget that limits what was once a purpose. Between proprietary issues, copy rights, patents, "liability" & everything else that promotes greed over functionality as well as legit common sense for safety, the old tech is worth a second attempt at life.
I would look around for a business that might be able to put a new battery in it, & you might be surprised to find that it might even have a better long lasting battery option (add a little bit of money on it) to net you more run time.
IDK if it's feasible, but you might be able to slave a battery bank to your old computer while it is in use. It adds some additional clutter, but it could be the cheaper temp solution until you find something that checks the boxes for your needs.
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Old 05-01-22, 10:17 AM
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I have a pair of wireless earbuds that came with a rechargeable battery bank that I can use to power my Iphone when necessary, or actually anything that can be powered off a USB port (Garmin). It's much more compact than a real external battery and also shows charge level. Just a thought...
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Old 05-01-22, 11:43 AM
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Cheapest touch screen unit is probably the Edge Explore. The Garmin website says its compatible with the Varia 510. Runs about $250, gets 12 hrs. battery life.
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Old 05-01-22, 11:58 AM
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Once you get your course started on your 530 or anything else, why are you needing to futz with the buttons so much to do anything but just change pages to view?

Though I do share your dislike of the 530 being buttons. That was my mistake when I got my 530. I should have gotten a 830 or 1030+ with touch screen. It's just so much easier to do anything while riding without having to stop.

Though with Di2, I have the top buttons under the hoods assigned to my Edge 530. So button pushes for changing pages and replying to notification messages is much easier.
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Old 05-01-22, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Once you get your course started on your 530 or anything else, why are you needing to futz with the buttons so much to do anything but just change pages to view?

Though I do share your dislike of the 530 being buttons. That was my mistake when I got my 530. I should have gotten a 830 or 1030+ with touch screen. It's just so much easier to do anything while riding without having to stop.

Though with Di2, I have the top buttons under the hoods assigned to my Edge 530. So button pushes for changing pages and replying to notification messages is much easier.
Might be a settings problem. I keep getting pop-ups about hills or laps or not being quite on course, or other stupid warnings. I feel like I need to install a popup blocker! It’s worse than a pron site!
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Old 05-01-22, 02:00 PM
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I don't know about messages that you mention. Maybe they are more something one will only get while in navigation mode and doing a course. I seldom do courses. I know where I'm going!

I do get messages for other things like weather alerts and sharp turn ahead.... even though I don't have an active course.

However you probably just need to push the enter (button top right) or return button (button bottom right) to clear the message.
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Old 05-01-22, 02:02 PM
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BTW I did see an article on a DIY battery upgrade for the 130. I sent an email to the author asking if he would do this for me. It’s beyond my skill set.

Link: https://www.souperdoo.com/stuff%20th...attery-upgrade
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Old 05-01-22, 06:34 PM
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I hear you buddy. I got a 830 edge and honestly, I hated the thing till just recently. The most basic function, speed, was not accurate. My Garmin 935 watch, my phone, and my old cat eye cycle computer all would say one speed- say 15 mph, and the Garmin 830 computer would say 7.

I finally switched to recording every second and that looks to have fixed it but honestly, the thing does not impress me.
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Old 05-01-22, 07:05 PM
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Most of these alerts you are talking about popping up can be turned off. I tried to google links for you as one would assume that these instructions would be on Garmin's site, but I didn't come up with anything right off.

This is the instruction for enabling Climbpro. You should be able to use it to turn this off removing that popup. https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?fa...6MAlCXOzUZb1e9

I think you can disable the auto lap popup from whichever activity profile you are using. I didn't find a link for that.

What does popup on mine seem to go away on their own. But if you want, you can use the lower button on the right hand side of the unit to make it go away.
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Old 05-02-22, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus View Post
I hear you buddy. I got a 830 edge and honestly, I hated the thing till just recently. The most basic function, speed, was not accurate. My Garmin 935 watch, my phone, and my old cat eye cycle computer all would say one speed- say 15 mph, and the Garmin 830 computer would say 7.

I finally switched to recording every second and that looks to have fixed it but honestly, the thing does not impress me.
The speed you see on the device or the speed calculated by the site you upload to?

If it's the speed on your device, then I can't see how changing the logging interval helped whatsoever. Even for the speed calculated by a website from your log that's a big stretch of the imagination.

If you are talking about the speed displayed on your device, then various things, like do you use a wheel sensor, or wheel based PM that might be giving your device wheel speed info? Or are you just using GPS? And are you certain you are displaying the correct speed field.

Your Edge 830 might still be in warranty. Even if it's not, call Garmin support. They will help you. At least here in the North American region they've never failed to help me, even with things long out of warranty.
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Old 05-02-22, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The speed you see on the device or the speed calculated by the site you upload to?

If it's the speed on your device, then I can't see how changing the logging interval helped whatsoever. Even for the speed calculated by a website from your log that's a big stretch of the imagination.

If you are talking about the speed displayed on your device, then various things, like do you use a wheel sensor, or wheel based PM that might be giving your device wheel speed info? Or are you just using GPS? And are you certain you are displaying the correct speed field.

Your Edge 830 might still be in warranty. Even if it's not, call Garmin support. They will help you. At least here in the North American region they've never failed to help me, even with things long out of warranty.
The actual speed on the head unit. It appears to have made a difference. Will check it when I am gravel riding but on the road, appears to have helped.
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Old 05-03-22, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Might be a settings problem. I keep getting pop-ups about hills or laps or not being quite on course, or other stupid warnings. I feel like I need to install a popup blocker! It’s worse than a pron site!
You can turn off notifications about hills (Climb Pro) and laps in your Settings menu. As far as not being quite on course, that could be due to using non-Garmin maps. Your unit would most likely be dead on in Asia.

You keep looking at "pron" sites and you're going to get a virus!
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Old 05-03-22, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The speed you see on the device or the speed calculated by the site you upload to?

If it's the speed on your device, then I can't see how changing the logging interval helped whatsoever. Even for the speed calculated by a website from your log that's a big stretch of the imagination.

If you are talking about the speed displayed on your device, then various things, like do you use a wheel sensor, or wheel based PM that might be giving your device wheel speed info? Or are you just using GPS? And are you certain you are displaying the correct speed field.

Your Edge 830 might still be in warranty. Even if it's not, call Garmin support. They will help you. At least here in the North American region they've never failed to help me, even with things long out of warranty.
Logging breadcrumbs, as it were, every second, as opposed to Smart, would make for a more accurate track, that would show increased accuracy of the actual route ridden, speed would be more accurate as result. Smart only records points when you change direction or speed.
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Old 05-03-22, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Logging breadcrumbs, as it were, every second, as opposed to Smart, would make for a more accurate track, that would show increased accuracy of the actual route ridden, speed would be more accurate as result. Smart only records points when you change direction or speed.
The bolded is the only part I disagree with. The log is only a log. No information displayed on the device is calculated by the number of records being put in the log.

And even for websites that re-calculate data from the log file, the gps coordinates in each record are time stamped. So again, the rate at which logging occurs should not affect the speed read out.

If the other person I responded to finds that it does affect the speed read out then it is only incidental to something else that must be going on to give them such a low speed reading when everything else suggests a faster speed.
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Old 05-03-22, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The bolded is the only part I disagree with. The log is only a log. No information displayed on the device is calculated by the number of records being put in the log.

And even for websites that re-calculate data from the log file, the gps coordinates in each record are time stamped. So again, the rate at which logging occurs should not affect the speed read out.

If the other person I responded to finds that it does affect the speed read out then it is only incidental to something else that must be going on to give them such a low speed reading when everything else suggests a faster speed.
With known time, a more accurate location due to the 1 sec record of position, will provide a more accurate speed.
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Old 05-03-22, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
With known time, a more accurate location due to the 1 sec record of position, will provide a more accurate speed.
@Iride01 is correct on this point. Your Edge or watch must determine your speed before it can decide anything about the file. The whole idea of smart recording is to write a new point in the file when your speed changes enough to require one, that can't be done without knowing your current speed.

Even if you're in smart recording mode, going in a straight line at a steady pace, the hardware has real time access to the GPS.

But it's a different story when Strava gets your data from Garmin and runs their own algorithms over it.
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Old 05-04-22, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus View Post
I hear you buddy. I got a 830 edge and honestly, I hated the thing till just recently. The most basic function, speed, was not accurate. My Garmin 935 watch, my phone, and my old cat eye cycle computer all would say one speed- say 15 mph, and the Garmin 830 computer would say 7.

I finally switched to recording every second and that looks to have fixed it but honestly, the thing does not impress me.
This doesn't make sense. Assuming the 830 isn't broken, the speed should be close to the watch or the phone.

The recording option should have no effect.

Originally Posted by vespasianus View Post
The actual speed on the head unit. It appears to have made a difference. Will check it when I am gravel riding but on the road, appears to have helped.
​​​​​​​
Doesn't make sense.
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Old 05-04-22, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Logging breadcrumbs, as it were, every second, as opposed to Smart, would make for a more accurate track, that would show increased accuracy of the actual route ridden, speed would be more accurate as result. Smart only records points when you change direction or speed.
The smart recording only affects the data in the file. What's being displayed in the head unit happens before the unit decides what data to write to the file.

The 7 mph versus 15 mph difference has nothing to do with the recording options. And, if there are differences between the accuracy in the file later, they would be much, much smaller.
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Old 05-04-22, 05:58 AM
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Hmm possibly a defective unit or perhaps not set up correctly.
I had the 130+ and it worked great. I now have the 830 and it too works fantastic.
You do have to spend some time and effort learning how the devices work, how to customize the settings, screens, etc. to display what you want when you want it.
Age does not mean not knowing how to use technology. I'm 66 and have no trouble using or understanding today's technologies. Like anything it takes a bit of learning and practice to use.
There are many youtube videos showing to to set up, customize and use pretty much all devices that are in use. Most are easy to understand and follow along. Best of all you can stop, go back and rewatch the video over and over until you get it right.
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Old 05-04-22, 06:22 AM
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Since you're not a slave to data readout directly in front of you, you could run the Varia through a phone app and get the rest of your needs through a GPS watch. That would give you long battery life. You'd have to let go of the old school Timex/Casio you currently wear, though.


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Old 05-04-22, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
BTW I did see an article on a DIY battery upgrade for the 130. I sent an email to the author asking if he would do this for me. It’s beyond my skill set.

Link: https://www.souperdoo.com/stuff%20th...attery-upgrade
LMFAO, Not sure what his JST problem was specifically, but that is NOT how you solder two wires together for a PCB. ‘Might get a short’, yeah you will if you can’t solder properly.
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Old 05-04-22, 09:48 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
The smart recording only affects the data in the file. What's being displayed in the head unit happens before the unit decides what data to write to the file.

The 7 mph versus 15 mph difference has nothing to do with the recording options. And, if there are differences between the accuracy in the file later, they would be much, much smaller.
I looked this up, you are completely correct. I love it when my understanding of something is found to be completely in error !!!!. Heh, heh !.
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Old 05-04-22, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I looked this up, you are completely correct. I love it when my understanding of something is found to be completely in error !!!!. Heh, heh !.
(It's a computer.) It has to have/know the data before it can figure out whether or not to keep it.
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Old 05-04-22, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I looked this up, you are completely correct. I love it when my understanding of something is found to be completely in error !!!!. Heh, heh !.
​​​​​​Where? This is a fairly detailed, low level discussion about how things move under the hood. I'm not aware of a good reference for that kind of info. Might prove useful in the future. 🙂
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