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Everything posted by rickertk

  1. what do you mean my GPS(e600) doesn't like USB? What is this universal connection? PDAs and GPS's are both considered USB "slave" devices. They were not meant to communicate with each other, but directly with a PC which is a "master" on the USB bus. Since the Ex600 only has a USB connection, you're going to have a hard time having it communicate with anything but a PC via that interface. What exactly were you wanting to accomplish by having the PDA connected to the GPS? Perhaps someone can recommend an alternate way to get that done. Keith
  2. Over the rides I've compared, the two have generally been very close. When the GPS has been longer, almost invariably there is a stray point or two in the track which throws the distance off. When the GPS shows a shorter distance, there's often not much correlation to the amount of climbing. I think that some kinds of things like riding in tight circles waiting for my friends probably doesn't register as distance to the GPS, but does to the cyclocomputer. With these and other factors, it's going to be very hard to figure out how much contribution the vertical climb is making to any net discrepancy. It probably would have been a bit easier when I lived near the mountains in California where I could do a ride that was nearly all climbing. In the rolling terrain where I live now, I don't see that happening. Keith
  3. Does the PDA in question have only a USB connection, or does it have a different connector? Most of the Zire models only have USB, and you're not going to be able to connect those to a GPS directly with a simple solution. CenTexDodger's link lists the Zire 71 as one (which I also seem to remember) has a connector which can be made to communicate with a serial port. If you have that model, you're set. Keith
  4. At least for biking, form factor is (or can be) important. If I'm just tracking a ride, a jersey pocket works well for my VistaC. If I want to see the GPSr while riding, the handlebar mount works fine. With some of the other models (particularly the 76 series, which is rather larger), I'm not sure that it would be as convenient to carry in the same way. I'll also say that as a MTB rider, the Topo maps may not be that useful. I've looked at the Garmin Topo maps for a lot of the parks where I ride, and the contour lines are far enough apart that it's not really that helpful to judge what might be coming up - even the bigger climbs I do only cross 2-4 contours. (This is terrain with a lot of short rolling hills, some steep, but no huge mountains). There's not enough detail on trails to be useful at all; the streams information is there but doesn't really play too much into what I want to do. I'd recommend looking at their maps for the areas you're planning on using them, and thinking about your intended usage, as to whether or not you'll really want topo maps on the GPS. I'd also recommend looking at some actual units to figure out where you want to be form factor wise. How important memory is also depends on what your ability/tolerance for reloading maps might be, and how large an area you want to travel in without reloading maps. Keith
  5. Tell me if I'm wrong but last summer, coming back from New Orleans, I had my Legend C on and it seemed that the faster I was going, I could see the ETA change on my screen. If it only considers the speed in the database, what happens if you stop moving for an hour, surely the ETA will change!! Of course the ETA will take into account if you're not moving, and it will change as you drive faster. But what it seems to be doing to me is what Red90 says - it takes your current location, and guesses at a speed for the remainder of the trip depending on the road database (and also your mode of transportation - on road routing with bicycle seems to generate much slower speeds for ETAs). Let me give a more concrete example: If you have ~ 1 hour left to go, and stop for a 1 hour lunch break, with on-road routing when you start driving again, it will still think you have 1 hour left to drive. With off-road routing, it averages your "closing" speed over some time period (not sure what), and that 1 hour lunch break will probably play havoc with it, and give you a very much laterETA when you first start out again. I've had it tell me (off-road routing for a driving trip) that I would get home in about 2 days, for a 20 mile, 30 minute trip. That changed a lot once I got out of the parking lot and started heading in the right direction. Keith
  6. I also have a vista C, and I've used it down to about 20 F with no problems, out and exposed to the cold on the handlebars of my bicycle. I've had it less than a year, so I haven't had the opportunity to try it at colder temps. I'd believe battery life could be significantly shorter (at least with NiMH), but haven't really tested it myself. I've heard that the Li batteries are much better performers at low temps, if it's important to you. Keith
  7. I've heard that they are, but actually for the area I normally load into my VistaC, CS6 took 23.9 MB, and CS7 actually only took 23.5. Keith
  8. On the Garmin GPSrs, you are correct that only the active track log stores the times of the points. So if you save the track log and then clear it out, the time information is gone. However, it's quite doable to save several different hikes (or in my case, bike rides) within the active track log, and download it all at a later time, assuming you don't go over the 10,000 point limit of the track log. If you have tracking on, and either turn the GPSr off and back on again, or turn off tracking and then turn it on again later, the GPSr will start generating a new log. When downloading these to a computer, they are named "ACTIVE LOG", "ACTIVE LOG 001", etc. (at least within Mapsource). Your 76CS should have come with the Mapsource Trip and Waypoint manager; that's all the software you need to download and store your tracks. (There are a lot of other software packages you can use to do the same, if you have a preference). Personally, I use the saved tracks to hold tracks from previous trips in the same area, so I know where (roughly) the trails I rode last time were. I don't ever save a track from the GPSr itself, but download them all to the computer, then manipulate some on the computer to upload them back to the GPSr as a saved track. Keith
  9. However, with the VistaC, you do not need to calibrate the altimeter regularly, if you have it set to the "auto-calibrate" mode. In this mode, it will recalibrate the altimeter based on a GPS reading (which I think is time-averaged). In my hands, this works very well for getting consistent altitudes at a fixed location, through a wide variety of weather changes. If the unit has been off for a while (or without signal), and is then turned on, the altitude may take a little while before it starts adjusting, but then seems to be pretty good. I like the VistaC because I wanted good, detailed, altitude data on my bike rides. I don't use the compass much. Others like the compass, because they can get a sense of what direction they are facing or what direction a waypoint is in when standing still. If neither of those features is strongly appealing to you, then there's no reason to get the VistaC instead of the LegendC. Keith
  10. Actually, you can set up a series of points in Mapsource, transfer the route to the GPSr, and then have it generate a route between them using the "Follow Roads" option. I've done this several times to set up bicycle routes onto my Vista C. If you have the via points set correctly, you'll get the same route on both the computer and GPSr. I haven't used the "Route avoidance" feature in Mapsource, but it sounds like it won't directly transfer to the GPSr. You might try fiddling with settings on the computer until you get the route you want, then "tracing" it with the point-to-point routing tool to generate a route you will transfer to the GPSr. You only need to click on points near turns, and probably only ones that you think are important. Keith
  11. My improvised solution to this problem has been to add some padding (a small piece of paper towel) between the Garmin mount and the GPSr. So far, with several hundred miles of road biking in this mode, it seems to be working well. It seems to have been rapid back and forth shaking in the mount, rather than a single big jolt, that was the most likely to cause a shutdown. Keith
  12. I have been able to use the map interface on the Vista C to create a route by clicking on points on the map. However, once the route has more than one point, I couldn't get the unit to go into the same mode. I couldn't find any documentation that described doing this. My answer to your question would be, probably not. Keith
  13. I have the VistaC. I love the altimeter, but then, I'm not using the unit for geocaching. I'm using it to track bicycle rides, and it's very nice to have the vertical profile to go along with the track. I think it really depends on what you want out of the unit as to whether it's worth the money or not. Keith
  14. You know, I'm often baffled by this comment. I use my GPSr for bicycling, and it's nice to be able to get a good vertical profile of a ride. I can understand those who just don't have a need for an altimeter. What I don't understand is people being upset that the altimeter gives off readings in a pressurized plane - why would you need it to give an accurate reading there? (At least with the Vista C, and I'd imagine with the Vista, you can get an instantaneous reading of GPS altitude if you're curious). Other than curiosity, what's the reason why these folks want to know altitude inside a plane? Keith
  15. Not directly from the Find menu, I don't think you can. But if you set up a route (which can consist of the one point from the find menu, and one point that you add from the find menu or the map), you can then tell it to run that route in a follow-road mode, and it should do what you want if you have the points in the right order. At least, this worked for me on the Vista C. Keith
  16. So this past week, I tried using my VistaC with City Select to do some navigation as part of a bike trip I was doing. It did fairly well, but there were a couple of times (particularly at the start) where it didn't think that I had reached the first point, and so kept giving me directions to loop around to get back to that first point. Eventually, it would give up on that and route properly, I think usually when I was approaching the next via point. Is there any way to tell the unit while navigating to skip a particular via point other than to keep going and hope it figures it out? I've tried looking through the manual, and not found anything. (Stopping active navigation and editing the route, then restarting would work, but it's not quite what I'm looking for). The manuals do seem to be a little sparse on info - I set up these routes from printed directions for the trip on the GPSr itself, using the map button and clicking from point to point to generate each via point at the next set of turns. This seems to work when the route either has no points listed, or just one point listed. Once multiple points have been made part of the route, I can't seem to get it back into that mode (which is kind of like using the routing tool in Mapsource). This feature doesn't seem to have any documentation in the manuals, which is why I'm not sure whether there's something I'm missing about doing routes that way. Keith
  17. I tried something that shouldn't have made a difference - using a built-in USB port instead of a hub - and it seems to have helped the reliability. At least this time, hopefully that continues the next time I try to transfer a map set on. When it does go, as TucsonBill indicates, the transfer is quite quick. Keith
  18. I'm having a problem transferring maps to a VistaC - I have City Select v6. I can set up map sets of the correct size, no problem. I can transfer routes, tracks, and waypoints on and off the device no problem. But just about every time I try to transfer maps onto the GPSr, it seems to hang on the step of "Erasing previous map set - this may take a few minutes". Unless "few" means >15, there's gotta be something wrong. I have gotten one set on, but I'm not quite sure how I did it, and it's been not fun trying to repeat it. Any advice welcome. Keith
  19. Metroguide North America will not autoroute on a GPS, only on the computer. You need City Select to do autorouting on the GPS. Keith
  20. I think you will have a lot of difficulties with the Zire 31, as it only has a USB port. Getting a client USB device (like a PDA) to talk to a serial only device like the Magellan GPS's you mention, without a PC in between, is not a straightforward matter of wiring a cable correctly. Other Palms (mostly older ones, but some newer ones like the Tungsten C mentioned) have connectors that include a serial connector, for which a cable can just be wired. Keith
  21. Looking back through my mountain biking tracklogs, that tends to happen when I think I get a brief stray signal from a satellite. As a result, the track suddenly shifts position for a few seconds a few hundred feet to one side, then shifts back. Those transition legs tend to be when it comes up with a speed in the 100-200 mph range. I'm not sure whether this is a result of a multi-path error, or a weak signal overall, but they don't tend to happen much in good reception conditions. Keith
  22. I've met Bill Cotton, I ride in the same area as he does. That setup he has is a monstrosity; I can see how you could ride with it on the road (but I wouldn't myself). I can't imagine that it would hold up well on a serious off-road ride, or if it did, that it wouldn't create some other problems. Keith
  23. I've been using electronic barometric altimeters for about 10 yrs or so, mostly in a bike computer, but I now have a VistaC which also has one. How useful they are does somewhat depend on what information you are looking to have. 200 ft of change in 9 hours isn't that unusual if weather conditions are changing somewhat. If you need to know absolute elevations with a high degree of accuracy, with a barometric system, you'll definitely need to calibrate it pretty regularly. If you are more interested in relative elevations - how much did you climb on this ride/hike, or over a particular section of road or trail, you don't have to worry about it as much. I rode the same set of hills week in and week out; my starting elevation varied by as much as 3-400 feet, but the climb to the peak of the hill only varied by <100 ft. (this is over a 1600 ft climb). Barometrics will vary more over time in a fixed location than a GPS altitude, but should be able to generate a more accurate track profile over a short period of time, especially if GPS reception is less than ideal. Keith
  24. I've had a VistaC for about a month now, and it's gone on two mountain bike rides with me. The handlebar mount has held up well, and I haven't lost reception except in one place (deep narrow river valley). I can't talk about tree cover, since we don't really have trees leafing out yet here. The rides I've done aren't hideously technical, and I don't do a lot of really big drops or such, but I've crossed my fair share of log piles, and gone down some steep rocky bumpy bits, and hit some air with the GPS on, no problems so far. Keith
  25. I understand the Garmin units have both. You can plug USB into the unit, but it also has a connection for a serial cable. After reading the manuals (I don't own a Garmin and never will - see below), the newer color units have a USB serial I/O port. The older, non-"C", units just have an RS232 interface. Note: The RS232 units list NMEA 0183 protocol as an option. The newer ones list their interface as only "Garmin Proprietary"! Also they only mention using the port for use with their mapping programs. Unless others reverse-engineer their protocol (and proprietary usually means you legally can't), it seems many third-party applications will no longer work. I have a etrex VistaC. If you're working within Windows, many external pieces of software can be used - I've used ExpertGPS and Topofusion with no problem. Garmin has released an interface guide to their USB driver, so the authors of these and other pieces of software (which I haven't used myself) have been able to make them compatible with the newer Garmins. The DeLorme software won't talk to the USB GPSr's directly (I'm working with Topo USA 4.0), but if you're willing to use another piece of software or two to do file conversion along the way, you can get routes and tracks backwards and forwards between the two. Live tracking is another matter - one perhaps better addressed by the above mentioned GPSgate. IMO, this is pretty much just DeLorme refusing to work with the Garmin USB driver. (They may have good reasons or not for doing so, but that's another matter). On the Mac, you will run into problems, given the lack of drivers (not to mention map-loading software). I've been using the Dec. 2004 beta of gpsbabel on OSX 10.3.8 from the command line with no problems to communicate with the VistaC over usb. Macs and GPS's are a whole other thread, though. NMEA is a serial protocol. A manufacturer might be able to support NMEA-formatted data strings over USB, but there is no way that you can take a piece of software that expect to talk over a serial port and have it talk over USB without either updating the software or inserting something in between. Since there are no standards for GPSr USB interfaces, the manufacturers have to create their own, thus guaranteeing that third party software will either need to incorporate code specific to the device, or be incompatible. Once you've guaranteed device specific code, there's no reason not to have the protocol over the USB be proprietary as long as you supply drivers and driver interface specifications. Keith
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