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Pda's- Who's Using What Out There?

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One half of the team is using a mobile broadband hookup with a laptop in his truck-yes, he's an IT guy. It's great for when we're out hunting together and we can do some record runs. Unfortunately, it doesn't help me when we are apart!

I'm looking into getting at least a new / used PDA so I can save some $$$ on all the ink I'm using (and my teacher wife is complaining about) So any suggestions from the peanut gallery as to which ones work best out there in the field would be great.

Thanks- g3geoblazers

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I started with a Palm IIIe just to see if I liked the paperless cache idea to start. I was hooked fast. So, I recently bought a PalmOne Tungsten E2.


I also use a Lowrance Ifinder PHD for my GPSr.


Once on the road I currently do not use wireless.

Edited by pcfrog
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"Peanut Gallery"?!?!?!


I use a Palm IIIxe with Cachemate. Lots of folks will tell you that you should use GSAK to run the conversions as well; but Cachemate comes with a converter (CMConvert) that works perfectly well.


I have a feeling I'm gonna get flamed over saying this, but what the heck - my opinion...


<edit> hands got ahead of brain...

Edited by Team Flashncache
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I started with the Tungsten E but now use the Palm TX both with cachemate. I would say both of those nits are overkill for what you would need to get going paperless. A fellow cacher has the zire 31 and I would highly suggest it for it's lower cost, battery life and speed of operation.

Edited by Geo-Deputy
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I started with the Palm M130, but quickly tired of the limited memory and the conversion hassles. I purchased an IPaq 4355 and the difference was night and day. Yes, you will pay more for a PPC over a Palm, but the ease of use is also part of the purchase. Conversion issues are not there. It's drag and drop without having to go through a converter on most things, and on the fly conversion during drag and drop on other things.


With GSAK on the PC and GPXSonar on the PPC, manipulating data and exporting to a gpx file to put onto the storage card is at its easiest.


With it being wireless, I can order up a customized GPS from the website, download it as e-mail to my PPC, save the zip file on the PPC, and either extract the GPX file or use it straight from the zip file with the GPXSonar.


So, you can either save the bucks, and spend more time fiddling the data to get onto a Palm, or you can spend the bucks and spend more time on the cache hunt. YMWV and there will be those that say using the Palm is quite easy and that they've had no problems with it. I've had more than my share of issues with the Palm format beyond the geocaching world. IMHO, until you use a PPC, there is no comparison.

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I've used 2 different Palm PDA's. In my opinion, any Palm coupled with cachemate and cmconvert will work a heck of a lot better than paper. I found the M505 in a hard case more durable but the Zire 31 lighter and faster. The M505 has a better screen for outdoor use though.


Palm M505 with Cachemate - Works great, holds over 2000 caches in memory, virtually unlimited when using a SD expansion card. The processor is a bit slow, working with over 1000 or so in one database can be cumbersome. Used ones are all several years old, and you may need to replace the battery.


Palm Zire 31 with Cachemate - Holds more caches in memory than I need. Battery will last about 2 weeks of normal caching use.

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I was using a PalmIIIc and GSAK, and loved it. However, this Palm is getting old, and the batteries don't hold a charge, so I'm back to paper caching, at the moment.

Yes, I could replace the batteries. Again. But I don't want to just yet. See, my Garmin Etrex Legend has partial bit the dust lately, I managed to put a big crack down the display, and now the display only half works. Yes, I could replace the screen, but as both my GPSr and my Palm Pilot have problems, I'm attempting to talk Mrs VCH into getting me a Garmin 3600 to replace both for Christmas. Until then I'll deal with the partially functioning GPSr and paper :lol:


At least the half of the screen that quit isn't the part where the coords are displayed!

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You can get as fancy (for which read EXPENSIVE) as you like, but in truth, and PDA you can find on eBay for $40 or so will be perfect for caching.


I went paperless a few months ago. Bought an IBM C500 (identical to Palm M500) for $40, got a hard case/USB cable/stylus/screen protector package deal at Big Lots for $15, and then loaded GSAK and Cachemate.


It worked so well that I also put some other business software on the PDA and now use it on the road for all my expense tracking, sales and such. Whoda thunk it.


Total investment - under $100, and all of it is reusable without added cost except the $40 PDA. Not bad.

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GPSmap60CS with Garmin MetroGuide North America v7



Palm TX


I use the "smart" name varible in GSAK. I find it more meaningful that the waypoint name.


The Map60cs has 56mb of storage. 8 county area around home and 500 caches requires only around half of the memory. These are large maps too, Dallas-Ft Worth.

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Wow! what a quick response from everyone- Thanks so much for the input- checking ebay now. Of coarse the other member of the team is still laughing (right now as a matter of fact) because of his setup but what ya gonna do. Maybee I'll show him a new cache and leave him lost in the woods somewhere!

Thanks again -everyone!


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m500 off of e-bay, really cheap like me but a fine unit nonetheless and an otterbox 3600 case. The case cost more than the unit but since it will fit more than 99% of the pda's out there and it has a lifetime warranty, it was a no brainer. The only problem might be iffin I was to drop it into really deep and cold water, I'd have to think real hard about going in after it. ;-) No bumps, no bruises and no moisture even though I have dropped it several times in water up to 4' deep. In one instance the water had rocks on the bottom so there was an opportunity for it to get broken. No damage at all. A great little unit. I think that it might even withstand a nuclear explosion so long as I was at least 10miles more or less from ground zero. I might not survive but it will be good for someone who does.

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Palm m130 - next to impossible to see the screen in bright sunlight unless you turn it just so, so the sun reflects back through and backlights the text on the screen.

Despite its flaws, it is still much much better than dragging a pile of paper printouts on cache trips. And it doesn't get soggy in the rain ;) .


I use GPXSpinner and Plucker, just because they still work just fine. I have GSAK, but haven't taken the time to make the switch.

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I went with the Palm Z22. $99 new pretty much everywhere. My son tells me Office Depot sells the different varieties of cases for them. I have not been there to check that out.


Paperless is the only way to go - especially if you have a paid for account and can get the GPS file. It loads everything you see on the web page except for the pictures.


CacheMate is an awesome program. Best $8 I ever spent.

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