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kerecsen

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Everything posted by kerecsen

  1. According to industry data, typical NiMH batteries self-discharge when stored at reasonable temperatures in about 2-3 months. My experience confirms this number. There are but a few ways to deep-six the rechargeables quickly: 1. use a faulty, poorly designed, or designed-for-NiCd charger. Slow chargers are the safest, even if they don't turn off in time, they will only heat the batteries to lukewarm temperatures. Quick chargers will actually melt the plastic cover of the batteries in case of a charge overrun; 2. if your charger takes 2 at a time or 4 at a time, you must always use and charge the batteries in corresponding sets. Using an old and a new battery on the same charging circuit is bad for both; 3. deep-discharging the battery by leaving it in a device that will constantly consume power even when the battery is "exhausted"; 4. leaving the battery uncharged for a long time (3+ months -- less for empty batteries). I have batteries from various manufacturers that I've been using for several years and occasionally leaving them on the shelf for months. They are all in perfect working order and still hold a reasonable amount of charge. Unless you live in an unusual climate (very, very hot and very wet), I can't explain your findings.
  2. AeZShop doesn't even show up on resellerratings.com. I would be wary...
  3. As far as Garmin units are concerned, pretty much all of the price difference is going to Garmin Europe. The European wholesale price is significantly higher than the US retail price. Retailers are forced to maintain a very slim profit margin, because they need to sell as close to the US retail prices as possible. Otherwise people turn to other brands or grey imports.
  4. I think you will rarely actually lose reception, you will just get bad accuracy at some spots. And if you absolutely must know your current location, holding the GPS above your head, or wandering around a bit will get you a good fix eventually. The difference is that you don't usually have to make an effort with the Sirf III. And that it will acquire the first fix very quickly after turning on the GPS -- which is a big deal when you get back to your car in an unknown city, and you don't want to sit around waiting a minute to finally figure out which way to turn at the parking lot exit. Here is my unscientific comparison of the performance of a Sirf III bluetooth gps and a 60cs (these track logs were done under rather heavy foliage on mostly north-facing, steep mountain sides): http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...dpost&p=1763378
  5. I'm really disappointed that they didn't put the SiFR III in the Vista/Legend. I was contemplating getting a Legend Cx as a backup -- but not without the Sirf chipset (and the 60 series is a bit on the bulky side for the purpose) Of course their 60 series sales would probably plummet otherwise, seeing that hardly any of the other differentiating features are actually worth the extra money for their typical user base.
  6. I agree. However, I've also seen quite a few people who regret getting a basic GPS when they find out how useful a mapping GPS is for whatever they do when they're not caching. Caching downtown can be pretty trivial, you just plug the coordinates into google earth and head out for the right address No GPS necessary However, when you're driving downtown, that's a very different story (especially if it's a European city, where streetnames are random and sporadically posted). Sorry for digressing and being way off-topic.
  7. I doubt anyone buys a $350 mapping GPS to just cache. For that, a yellow etrex off ebay is entirely sufficient, for about 10th the price. So if you go and shell out the money on a 60cs/csx, I'd better work to its full potential when you are driving downtown.
  8. They say: "We also tested the pedestrian navigation profile in one of the world's most challenging environments—Manhattan. Most GPS units fail miserably when you try to use them in Manhattan's "canyons." Not the nüvi; it kept a lock on five or more satellites throughout our walk between Penn Station and our offices on East 28th Street and Park Avenue. One truly inspiring feat: The device maintained satellite lock even while we were walking under construction scaffolding." Which is consistent with what you would expect from a Sirf III unit.
  9. First of all TomTom covers a lot of products (it's like saying "Garmin"). There is the TomTom Navigator "box", which is a pretty decent piece of hardware, and runs a software very similar to the PocketPC TomTom software. The biggest selling point against the similar Garmin units is the inertial dead-reckoning. As far as the software itself is concerned, TomTom is pretty good. It has one of prettiest 3D displays, the voice navigation is easy to understand and the UI is truly touch-friendly. The box has plenty of horsepower, so zooming and scrolling is very responsive. The software was the first to support real-time traffic data as well as POI alerts (speed cameras). Since these features have been available for a long time, there are many supporting tools and freely available databases of all kinds. The reason I would hesitate to recommend the US version is that the Teleatlas maps that come with it are suprisingly horrible for some areas. For example, in Salt Lake City, TomTom will advise you to "keep left" at every 2 lane highway exit, and will issue 2 or 3 completely ridiculous directions when highways join and/or part. The Navtech-based units (pretty much every hardware and software other than TomTom) have more sensible voice prompting. (Actually, the navtech map format itself is inferior -- it is too simple to properly describe some of the more unusual traffic situations. However, the Navtech data itself is better than the Teleatlas data.) All in all, he should check out some other options and tread wisely. There are plenty of competing units at wildly varying price points, so he has to do at least some research to find out what he wants. If at all possible, he should go with a Sirf III based unit if he frequents downtown areas.
  10. A good place to start for GPSes of all kinds is Semsons. I've seen mention on some forum of a lag issue with early Sirf II units. I've never had this problem with my Sirf III. However, depending on your hardware (PPC) and software, you may get lagging with pretty much any GPS (through no fault of the GPS itself).
  11. This $100 price drop -- more than anything else -- lends credence to the rumors that the 60Cx is just around the corner.
  12. Let me clarify: the Sirf III is a GPS receiver chipset, or in other words, the part of the handheld GPS responsible for receiving the GPS signals and figuring out the current coordinate. It's a very dumb piece of equipment otherwise, it doesn't know about maps or menus or keyboards. All it cares about is outputting a coordinate every second. (Well, actually it also tells you about the available satellites, their signal strengths and such, but that's just a minor detail.) Typically a handheld will have a GPS chipset and a miniature computer (typically an ARM microcontroller nowadays). The chipset just keeps dumping position data to the microcontroller and the microcontroller is responsible for displaying all the screens, as well as storing the tracks or communicating with your PC. (Just to digress: sometimes the GPS chipset has a built-in microcontroller, which may perform double-duty.) The currently available Sirf III-based GPS receivers (typically bluetooth, CF and SD card units) run circles around Garmin handhelds. They acquire much faster, hold the lock better and are more accurate under challenging circumstances. The difference is large enough to be easily noticable to any user, not just the pros. See http://www.gpspassion.com/fr/articles.asp?id=143&page=3 for a comparison of chipset accuracy (the Garmin GPS10 is about the same or slightly better than most current handhelds). The reason why SIII is so much better has to do with the architecture of the chip. While previous generations of chips (such as the Garmin chips or the Sirf II) were solving the position-equations more or less sequentially (iterating to more and more likely solutions), the SIII has a huge number of correlator units that try to find the solutions in a brute-force manner in parallel. It basically means that the SIII doesn't have to approach the solution in a continuous "line", it can afford to go on wild goose chases and try to find a whole bunch of local optimums at the same time. Since it can try a much larger spectrum of possibilities, it can actually make good use of reflected and very weak signals. It can say to itself: hmm, what if this was a reflected signal with x delay -- would that give a more consistent solution? (And do this for thousands and thousands of hypotheses all at once.) The traditional designs did their best to filter out reflected and unreliable data, because it would confuse the iterative algorithm -- the SIII uses them to improve accuracy instead. Some people tried using an external antenna with their BT Sirf units and they reported that it didn't make too much of a difference. So it is safe to assume that the Garmin antennas will provide similar or better performance than the tiny patch antennae in common external units.
  13. I agree with Chuy, the Legend C is a much better investment on the mid-to-long term. The GPS 60 is barely usable for anything other than geocaching, whereas with the Legend C you (or the giftee) can buy Mapsource maps and use it for automotive navigation and/or hiking. On the downside, it's 50% more expensive
  14. While I haven't tested it myself, gpspassion members indicated that the geoid altitude issue has been corrected to their satisfaction in sirf III. My only informal verification included hiking with a sirf III GPS and checking the reported altitudes against USGS markers. They were pretty darn close.
  15. You may also want to check out the Quest. It comes with Mapsource in the box, which may make it significantly cheaper than getting a 60c and the maps separately. (European Garmin maps are infuriatingly expensive.) The major differences between the 60c and the quest is that it is slightly less convenient to use in hand (bad), has a built-in rechargeable batteries (question of taste), and does voice navigation (very useful).
  16. You can go to Garmin's website and check it out for yourself here. Alternatively you can go to any of the major internet mapping sites (maps.google.com, maps.yahoo.com, maps.msn.com), they all use the same navteq database. So do pretty much all decent GPS manufacturers today. You will see a difference in POIs however: Garmin gets their POI database from some other source (I'm not sure if they buy it or develop it in-house), so they have a TON more POIs than most other GPS maps (including the Pocket PC maps). ps: If the link doesn't work, go to http://www.garmin.com/cartography/ and select "City Select North America v7" from the "Mapsource Map viewer" combo box.
  17. Marketing. Just good old fashioned common sense. They've probably manufactured a ton of 60c/60cs/vistaC/legendC units in preparation for the shopping season, and they don't want to get stuck with them. And since it's such a popular category, they probably didn't want to introduce a brand new mechanical design just before xmas; they prefer to have a smaller run around the March slump to iron out the bugs.
  18. I agree. I've been saying for a while now that if Garmin would make a GPS that gets good reception, has unlimited memory, has a good compass, is waterproof and robust and can talk, they could put a rather sizable dent into the PDA navigation market. The cx series will be a big step. If only they would add voice navigation -- even if it only functions when a specialized car charger/speaker is connected.
  19. From my personal experience comparing a 60cs to a Holux SiRF III GPS I can say that the difference is at least as noticable in the woods as between skyscrapers. I was comparing tracklogs and also used them side-by-side. The Sirf tracklog follows the map continuously and with only slight deviations, while a comparable 60cs tracklog (in a wooded canyon or steep northern slope) is a zig-zaggy mess with major dropouts. (I did my best to position the units in my backpack so they would get the best possible reception.)
  20. I played around with the product images in photoshop, and the "Vista Cx" image is an exact match of the Vista C product image (aside from resolution and photo quality), except for the product name caption at the top of the screen. Even the caption matches perfectly, it was just moved a tiny bit to the left and an x was added. Here are the two images overlaid with 50% transparency (other image is from the Garmin product page for Vista C here). I do not believe you can take two pictures that would line up this perfectly (due to imperfections in manufacturing, camera and object location, lighting, etc). So I have to conclude that it is a photoshopped Vista C image. As for the "60cx", I could not find a corresponding 60c picture, but the map on the screen matches one of the 60c product images... I don't know if the Vista Cx image was faked by Garmin or by Bass Pro, but it is suspicious at best. It is also possible that Garmin has indeed announced the cx release, but hadn't provided any product images, so Bass Pro engaged in some innocent creative marketing... Let's wait and see
  21. Just for the record, I have to disagree with this assessment. Based on empirical evidence the chipset being used is a significantly bigger contributor to the "quality of the lock" than the size or type of the antenna. It is true that plopping a quad-helix in front of a poor chipset will yield somewhat superior results than a patch antenna -- under heavy canopy, but NOT in canyons and narrow streets... For those conditions the gain profile of a patch antenna is a better match. Using a SiRF III instead of an older Garmin chipset (such as the one in the Foretrex and the 60c series) will yield dramatically better results. My tiny bluetooth GPS with its small patch antenna consistently and significantly outperforms the 60cs across the board under any condition may it be forest or sky scraper. In fact, even a Garmin Legend/Vista C tends to outperform the 60cs due to the newer generation chipset employed.
  22. Actually Mah would mean mega-are-hour. So if the device can in some way cover, encompass, or otherwise operate on 6 million square kilometers (a measly 4% of Earth's surface) in 60 minutes, it's all good (references: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/outside.html , http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/DanielChen.shtml )
  23. I used to hike with a 60cs and topo, but switching to a pocket pc with a bluetooth GPS made a world of a difference. With the PPC solution I can scan detailed, up-to-date hiking maps with all the trails and good (24k) surface detail. In addition I can keep the GPS in my backpack and the PPC on my belt and get good reception AND conveniently access the map at the same time. My PPC is also much smaller than the 60cs was...
  24. I used to have an eMap, and was very happy with it. The reason I finally upgraded was to get auto-routing and to get color. Most low- and mid-end units are similar or inferior to the emap. If you want something that's worth the cost and hassle of an upgrade, you should consider at least a Vista C (or similarly featured magellan/lowrance). That would give you a compass, waas, color, water-proofing (all these useful in GC) and auto-routing (useful on the way to GC). Spending an extra 20 bucks to get waas unit as opposed to a non-waas unit may be worth it, but getting a brand new receiver just for that is dubious at best. As for battery life, I used to get about 12 hours on my emap. Rechargeable AAs being cheap as they are, I hardly see a reason to upgrade to get an extra 6-12 hours.
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