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GPS for touring: Edge 530 vs Explore 2 ?

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GPS for touring: Edge 530 vs Explore 2 ?

Old 08-12-23, 08:04 AM
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Kind of an aside comment..and undoubtedly I'm missing something, but these threads on navigation, where people have purchased 3, 4, 5 models of various higher/high-end garmin (or other) units always amazes me a bit. (I spent my career in tech and finished it crunching large data and developing computer models of transportation systems...not afraid of new technology..)

My entire tour navigation system consists of a $12 wireless bike computer that indicates speed, ave speed, distance covered and a Garmin Etrex 20 for navigation. Routes (actually tracks) are worked out on on a laptop using RWGPS. The tracks are then downloaded, transferred to Basecamp and then loaded into the Etrex 20. I also download a kml file from RWGPS and load that into Organic Maps on my cell phone..as a backup and easier to study version to reference as needed. The phone isn't used for active navigation..sucks too much power. I'd rather have a charged phone available for other tasks it does better.

This system never fails and the Etrex lasts a long time on two AA batts.

As I said..I'm sure I'm missing something with the more..exotic..systems. If I felt to need for something more I'd dive in..hasn't happened yet.
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Old 08-12-23, 08:20 AM
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I view these navigation systems more as toys than something with a strict *must* situation for navigation.

I started with basic maps and essentially an odometer to record distances. Addition of offline maps (MAPS.ME) and a smart phone to stop & check as well as Google Maps (where there is a signal) goes a long way.

With that said, these past months I've experimented with downloading routes to a Garmin and seeing how that works - as well as trying navigation on the GPS. I understand better what works and limitations. Also getting a feel for how different environments affect things (e.g. navigating an urban city or Ohio - is a lot different than navigating South Dakota) affect things. Strictly necessary no. Fun to use, yes for me
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Old 08-12-23, 10:25 AM
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I have a Garmin Oregon 600 used for geocaching, thought what a great idea bolt it onto the handlebars and it will work. So I down loaded all the trails in my state from Trailforks, put them on a data card, put it into the Garmin 600. Wow I got maps! Then I went riding on a Trailforks trail. The lighting sucked, cannot get the illumination bright enough in direct sunlight and I live in AZ where we have little shade. Which is exactly how it works when geocaching, I have to shade the Garmin 600 with my body to see anything. Yes, the light was full on, yes, I did not allow the Garmin to shut off to conserve power.
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Old 08-12-23, 11:52 AM
  #29  
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One other comment on the general feature of downloading a route onto a GPS device: I find that I end up taking different routes than if I hadn't.

First an example of where there is no difference: in 1992 I crossed the US including across South Dakota. I believe for the entire state, I followed US 12 for ~400 miles. This year I'm crossing South Dakota. A little more convoluted but the basic navigation can be similar: consult a map, pick major routes and follow them. The "follow them" is not complex. I remember it and even if I didn't, I could write each day in a few lines on a note card.

So where is it different? In 1991 I crossed Chicago using similar techniques to my South Dakota approach: consult a map, pick reasonable route, write some instructions, follow them, stop and consult the map if things got complex.

Advent of smart phone and offline map, makes the "consult the map" step a little easier. Online access and Google maps let's me more dynamically. However all these cases, I would tend to fairly straightforward routes so I wasn't always stopping to consult.

So now this year, I crossed Chicago twice but had a route downloaded into my GPS. By nature it ends up being more complex. I'm on paths a bit more and probably making more turns since there isn't as big of a stop and check cost. So I do find myself on slightly different roads.

Now add uncertainty to things, road closures, construction, map program failures - and I'm back to the stop, consult and reroute steps and probably not as adept at them as before.

Today in the Dakotas there is no difference (today one segment between turns was over 50 miles and I was on the same road all day).
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Old 08-14-23, 09:16 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by fishboat
Kind of an aside comment..and undoubtedly I'm missing something, but these threads on navigation, where people have purchased 3, 4, 5 models of various higher/high-end garmin (or other) units always amazes me a bit. (I spent my career in tech and finished it crunching large data and developing computer models of transportation systems...not afraid of new technology..)

My entire tour navigation system consists of a $12 wireless bike computer that indicates speed, ave speed, distance covered and a Garmin Etrex 20 for navigation. Routes (actually tracks) are worked out on on a laptop using RWGPS. The tracks are then downloaded, transferred to Basecamp and then loaded into the Etrex 20. I also download a kml file from RWGPS and load that into Organic Maps on my cell phone..as a backup and easier to study version to reference as needed. The phone isn't used for active navigation..sucks too much power. I'd rather have a charged phone available for other tasks it does better.

This system never fails and the Etrex lasts a long time on two AA batts.

As I said..I'm sure I'm missing something with the more..exotic..systems. If I felt to need for something more I'd dive in..hasn't happened yet.
Nothing wrong with something like the Extrex 20.

For your use, you aren't missing anything.
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Old 08-14-23, 09:25 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Upfisk
I have a Garmin Oregon 600 used for geocaching, thought what a great idea bolt it onto the handlebars and it will work. So I down loaded all the trails in my state from Trailforks, put them on a data card, put it into the Garmin 600. Wow I got maps! Then I went riding on a Trailforks trail. The lighting sucked, cannot get the illumination bright enough in direct sunlight and I live in AZ where we have little shade. Which is exactly how it works when geocaching, I have to shade the Garmin 600 with my body to see anything. Yes, the light was full on, yes, I did not allow the Garmin to shut off to conserve power.
It's not practical for these devices to have a backlight bright enough to overcome the sun. It would use way too much power (or make the device too big).

The idea with the type of screen ("transreflective") used on these devices is that they don't need backlighting in direct sunlight. These screens work better when the sun is directly above them. That is, you don't want to orient them to your face in direct sunlight.

The transrefective screen on my 1030+ works well enough in bright sunlight.
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Old 08-14-23, 09:34 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by mev
I view these navigation systems more as toys than something with a strict *must* situation for navigation.​​​​​
No one is claiming they are "a strict must" (so this is a strawman). Very little is a "must" for navigation anyway.

Calling them "toys" is kinda rude (it's dismissive). How you happen to "view them" isn't very interesting to other people anyway.

If you want or need to stick to a "complicated" route. they make doing that much, much easier. If your travels are less structured, they aren't as necessary.

Originally Posted by mev
Advent of smart phone and offline map, makes the "consult the map" step a little easier. Online access and Google maps let's me more dynamically. However all these cases, I would tend to fairly straightforward routes so I wasn't always stopping to consult.
This, of course, requires access to a cell phone network, which you won't always have. So, this method is problematic. It's probably better to have the map locally (as a backup for Google maps at least).

Originally Posted by mev
So now this year, I crossed Chicago twice but had a route downloaded into my GPS. By nature it ends up being more complex. I'm on paths a bit more and probably making more turns since there isn't as big of a stop and check cost. So I do find myself on slightly different roads.
??? You planned a complicated route and it's the GPS's fault? It's not "by nature". It's more of a consequence being able to look at more options more closely.

Originally Posted by mev
Now add uncertainty to things, road closures, construction, map program failures - and I'm back to the stop, consult and reroute steps and probably not as adept at them as before.
This is a "you" problem. There's no reason a device would necessarily make you less "adept" than before.

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-14-23 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 08-14-23, 01:45 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
??? You planned a complicated route and it's the GPS's fault? It's not "by nature". It's more of a consequence being able to look at more options more closely.

This is a "you" problem. There's no reason a device would necessarily make you less "adept" than before.
I am not describing fault...

You are the one doing that in this conversation...
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Old 08-14-23, 02:07 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by mev
I am not describing fault....
You should be. The “problems” you are having aren’t the device’s fault.
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Old 08-14-23, 06:04 PM
  #35  
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I opted for the Edge 840 to get the touch screen which I find easier to use while on the bike. I had been using the Wahoo Elemnt and the lack of a touch screen was a limitation.
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Old 08-20-23, 03:18 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by 2ering
I see njkayaker has already responded to your question re elevation profile/data and my response is the same, yes the unit does show the profile and data. The answer to your second question is too lengthy and boring to go into and really, why does it matter if you need to use the course creator one day or 34? Further, the issues with creating courses were only part of the problems that make, the 1040 at least, completely unsuitable for touring. The unit's suddenly changing the data screens and suddenly forgetting where it was or where it needed to go as when it indicated the next turn was 9363 miles away are as much a problem as the course creator...in my opinion.
If I'm understanding this correctly, all of these issues are configuration issues that you control. Specifically, the displays changing is all configurable in the system settings. You can have them scan through a set of screens, you can have them switch screens when you start a climb, a segment, approach a turn on your route etc... I've turned all this off on mine which it sounds like you would want too.

The GPS accuracy can be controlled too, there are three settings if I remember correctly that give you various choices/combinations of accuracy vs battery consumption. DCRainmaker goes through all of this is his online reviews and the GPS accuracy of the edge 1040 is pretty much top of class. I'd rate the 1040 as pretty much top of class for touring, not the least of which is its battery life that doesn't need to be charged in days.

In general, the best approach pretty much for any bike computer is generating the route somewhere else and downloading it to the bike computer. When we tour, we either do it on RWGPS on our phone, "pin" the route, and then it downloads instantly to the GPS. Dynamic.watch also has a neat ConnectIQ app for the 1040 called routecourse that allows you to bring up the routes you have as favorites and it downloads them instantly. As long as you have a cell phone, not sure why you'd want to use the bike computer as the route creation tool.

Bottom line, I think you could resolve all of these issues with a little time spent with the manual and some experimentation.

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Old 08-20-23, 04:10 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by 2ering
6) a couple of times the Distance to Next data went weird, the worst being as we were coming into Ghent, about 4 miles from our hotel, we stopped at a grocery store. While I was waiting outside with the bikes I noticed the Distance to Next now indicated 9363 miles.
For what it is worth, I have occasionally observed similar behavior on a Garmin 540 and not Garmin 1030 when I was running both in parallel (I had one as a backup but then decided to download courses and run both together).

Most of the time the x40 and x30 behave the same way - but occasionally I've had the following two behaviors and fixes I've applied:

1. The 540 would get confused if it thought you missed a turn. If you were in course, it could still show "distance to destination" but it would have 0 or bogus # for "distance to next turn". I found a spot where I could "erase cached calculation" and have it recalculate the route from scratch and it could now tell me upcoming turns.

2. Other times the 540 would get confused in some cases where it thought I had strayed far enough from the course and tell me some huge amount of "distance to destination" and about half that amount as "distance to turn". In general the fix I had was to get back on course where it would note "course found" and then be correct again.

In these cases I was using both 540 and 1030 at the same time so I could observe differences in the two systems. So I believe you when you indicate you saw things with the 1040 that you hadn't seen on your 1030... We could both be observing glitches coming with the newer version of firmware.

In my case, it hasn't been a big problem. Partially since I tried two at the same time and partially since I planned the route offline to download - I often have a reasonable understanding of where I want to go in any case...
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Old 08-21-23, 05:00 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by 2ering
1) an inability to determine location when in a building so we couldn't even plan the day's route without going outside (we ended up staying in hotels each night). Might not seem like a big deal, but why is it an issue at all-our phones/iPads never had a problem.
GPS devices don't work indoors. Phones and iPads cheat: they use things like cell towers and WiFi networks to be able to work indoors. Some of this cheating requires access to the internet, which the GPS devices don't have.

Originally Posted by 2ering
3) Sometimes the created route was ridiculous, e.g. on a ride from Dordrecht, Ne to Den Haag, Ne., a distance of 28.5 miles per ridewithgps.com, the Garmin's proposed route was 60 miles. On those days when we did use the proposed route we had these issues
The internal routing doesn't always work that well. Sometimes. it's the result of map data. Comparing it to something else isn't a bad idea.

Originally Posted by 2ering
4) trying to determine the initial direction can be difficult as the unit typically would say "head towards First Street" without indicating the direction to look for First Street.
The device uses GPS (changes in location) to determine heading but you have to be moving. The newer units (like the 1040) have electronic compasses that should be able to determine accurate heading when not moving. It's possible your compass isn't calibrated. In any case, you can ride around in a circle to sync-up the heading .

Originally Posted by 2ering
5)6) a couple of times the Distance to Next data went weird, the worst being as we were coming into Ghent, about 4 miles from our hotel, we stopped at a grocery store. While I was waiting outside with the bikes I noticed the Distance to Next now indicated 9363 miles.
I think this can happen if it loses GPS reception. I've never seen this on any of the units I have used (not a 1040).

Originally Posted by 2ering
I7) Speaking of weird data screens, the Garmin kept changing them insisting I wanted/needed to see something called VAM
Sounds like something you could turn off.

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?fa...DS5nDr68LEmZY5

Originally Posted by 2ering
Maybe it works with preloaded routes but I'd be leery of that given its tendency to "forget" where it needs to go.
I've found this to work well on the models I've used (way back to the ancient 800. Well enough to do 600ks with them.

Originally Posted by 2ering
.....need I recommend just using ridewithgps (although their mobile app is really disappointing, especially given how good the desktop app is) or google maps or Komoot.
Creating routes on a big screen is always going to beat doing it on the device. You can pick the exact roads to use easily and it's much easier to review the route.

------------------------------------------

Oh. it would be helpful if you broke your text up into smaller paragraphs.

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Old 08-22-23, 04:09 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
I think this can happen if it loses GPS reception. I've never seen this on any of the units I have used (not a 1040).
Partially, though my observations suggest a x40 specific issue related to dynamic routing when it appears you are off course and is trying to correct. It could be related to internal map data or firmware.

I have observed the "thousands of miles to next turn/destination" issue around half a dozen times on a 540 while it does not appear on a 1030 that I am simultaneously running.

It occurs in the context of being off course. Sometimes because a detour/closure and sometimes because I've side tracked to a store/gas station. In these cases, both 540 and 1030 switch to an algorithm of getting back on course and running both at the same time you occasionally see differences including this glitch (most of the time this all works fine but riding every day for past four months it has happened often enough to notice).

I don't recall it happening in first month of my tour but I have seen it twice in the last week. Not sure of causes but I'll note two possible correlations (a) I've had at least one firmware update pushed on the 540 (b) I am on different road networks, in general not as dense as the east coast where I started.

It is more of a curiosity to me than a serious issue since I have two devices, generally know where I am headed and the problem disappears once the device is back in a state where you are back on course (sometimes easy if I intentionally detoured to a store, a little tougher when there is a closure and I'm rerouting without the device).

Again, I've seen it on 540 and not 1030 so this may be a device specific glitch.

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Old 08-22-23, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
Partially, though my observations suggest a x40 specific issue related to dynamic routing when it appears you are off course and is trying to correct. It could be related to internal map data or firmware.
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If it was due to “internal map data”, the route line should show it. It’s almost certainly not that. The older units had a limit to how long a route they could compute. Much, much shorter than 9,000 miles. I suspect the newer units have a similar limit.

9,000 miles is a ridiculously large number to be off by. I suspect the device is losing track of your location and using 0, 0 instead.

Originally Posted by mev
Again, I've seen it on 540 and not 1030 so this may be a device specific glitch.
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Never saw it in a 800, 1030, or 1030+. I don’t recall seeing this issue reported for any of the units (including the *40 line) in the Garmin forums. There’s no indication that it’s a general issue across all of the devices. If it’s an issue in recent firmware for the *40 line, that might explain the lack of reports about it.

Originally Posted by mev

It is more of a curiosity to me than a serious issue since I have two devices, generally know where I am headed and the problem disappears once the device is back in a state where you are back on course (sometimes easy if I intentionally detoured to a store, a little tougher when there is a closure and I'm rerouting without the device).

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It’s not a serious issue. 2ering’s histrionics doesn’t make it so either.

You shouldn’t need another device to have some sense how much more you need to go. One can even look at the map to get an idea of how much extra the detour will be.

Obviously, these sorts of problems shouldn’t happen. But, if they happen, it’s better they fail in an obvious way.

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-22-23 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 08-22-23, 06:28 PM
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I use the same routine any time I'm on the bike (bike paths mostly). I prepare routes on BaseCamp, using free OpenSource maps, and download to a Garmin 64sx mounted on the handlebars. Two Eneloop rechargable AAs run for a day's touring, another pair is backup, and a small wall charger keeps them full. Actual travelled routes I save daily on the GPS to upload to BaseCamp when I get home. And a Cateye odometer, to keep the GPS honest, as well as a cell phone which I use to find a meal or supplies. I've never asked the unit to plan a route, although I can see how that might be wanted in other circumstances. Finding road routes for biking is an issue I avoid because I avoid major roads. In the car I use a Garmin DriveSmart 50 and ask for a route when setting out, but I always examine the routing possibilities in BaseCamp first and then carefully examine the route the DriveSmart suggests.
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