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elora_c

PN-20, my impressions

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I recently upgraded from my old eTrex Legend, and since I used these forums quite a bit to help make my decision, I thought I'd give my impressions of the PN-20.

 

I actually first upgraded to the Vista HCx, but there were many things about it I didn't like. So after agonizing a while, I ordered the PN-20, compared the two, and sent the HCx back.

 

I really like the feel of the PN-20. It fits comfortably in my hand and I have no problems using the buttons at the bottom with one hand. Although I was used to the stick and side buttons of the eTrex line, I found these buttons much easier to use. I haven't had any trouble using the buttons with my gloves on.

 

The display is really easy to read. I've read other's comments about the screen being small, but it is certainly large enough for geocaching and seemed larger than the HCx (I don't have the dimensions in front of me). I haven't had a problem with brightness either inside or out.

 

The software is non-intuitive for starting up. It took me a while to figure out how to do simple things like editing a waypoint. However, the manual does do a pretty good job at explaining things, so once you know what you're looking for, the manual should be able to walk you through it. I haven't downloaded any imagery yet because I don't want to "waste" my $100 on unnecessary images. But I've cut a few map packages and once again, using the manual and experimenting helped figure out this task.

 

When I first started using it, I didn't realize I was running firmware 1.1 instead of 1.3 and so was missing lots of features (like having waypoints sorted by distance). Since upgrading, I've had no complaints about the interface. I don't power-cache, so I haven't had a problem with the lack of changing a cache to "found" status. I also haven't had any problems with redraws of the map. I only use this walking, so waiting a second or three for it to redraw the map as I zoom in or out isn't a problem.

 

The only downside I've experienced so far is its (perceived) reception. I realize that Garmin and DeLorme use different calculations for the estimate GPS accuracy, but the HCx seemed to be much more sensitive than the PN-20. Today, I was standing next to a 10 foot brick wall and was under a few leafless trees. The PN-20 showed an accuracy of +/- 80 feet. I had expected better reception from reading others posts comparing the PN-20 to the HCx or 60CSx.

 

Other than that one issue (which is a bit disheartening since the prime motivator in the upgrade was better sensitivity), I'm extremely pleased with the PN-20.

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I recently upgraded from my old eTrex Legend, and since I used these forums quite a bit to help make my decision, I thought I'd give my impressions of the PN-20.

 

I actually first upgraded to the Vista HCx, but there were many things about it I didn't like. So after agonizing a while, I ordered the PN-20, compared the two, and sent the HCx back.

 

I really like the feel of the PN-20. It fits comfortably in my hand and I have no problems using the buttons at the bottom with one hand. Although I was used to the stick and side buttons of the eTrex line, I found these buttons much easier to use. I haven't had any trouble using the buttons with my gloves on.

 

The display is really easy to read. I've read other's comments about the screen being small, but it is certainly large enough for geocaching and seemed larger than the HCx (I don't have the dimensions in front of me). I haven't had a problem with brightness either inside or out.

 

The software is non-intuitive for starting up. It took me a while to figure out how to do simple things like editing a waypoint. However, the manual does do a pretty good job at explaining things, so once you know what you're looking for, the manual should be able to walk you through it. I haven't downloaded any imagery yet because I don't want to "waste" my $100 on unnecessary images. But I've cut a few map packages and once again, using the manual and experimenting helped figure out this task.

 

When I first started using it, I didn't realize I was running firmware 1.1 instead of 1.3 and so was missing lots of features (like having waypoints sorted by distance). Since upgrading, I've had no complaints about the interface. I don't power-cache, so I haven't had a problem with the lack of changing a cache to "found" status. I also haven't had any problems with redraws of the map. I only use this walking, so waiting a second or three for it to redraw the map as I zoom in or out isn't a problem.

 

The only downside I've experienced so far is its (perceived) reception. I realize that Garmin and DeLorme use different calculations for the estimate GPS accuracy, but the HCx seemed to be much more sensitive than the PN-20. Today, I was standing next to a 10 foot brick wall and was under a few leafless trees. The PN-20 showed an accuracy of +/- 80 feet. I had expected better reception from reading others posts comparing the PN-20 to the HCx or 60CSx.

 

Other than that one issue (which is a bit disheartening since the prime motivator in the upgrade was better sensitivity), I'm extremely pleased with the PN-20.

I can't specifically address the relative accuracy issue as I do not have both DeLorme and Garmin units to make side-by-side, simultaneous comparisons. However, there seems to be a consensus among those that do have both, that the DeLorme estimate as displayed is more conservative, or less aggressive, that that of the Garmins.

 

But does estimate of accuracy really matter? Is not WYSIWYG the real proof? For example, my 7 year old grandson found two geocaches this afternoon when my PN-20 indicated that we were at GZ. So in reality, each time you locate a geocache you are cross checking and calibrating against the GPSrs of the original hider and the previous finders.

Edited by CowboyPapa

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The only downside I've experienced so far is its (perceived) reception. I realize that Garmin and DeLorme use different calculations for the estimate GPS accuracy, but the HCx seemed to be much more sensitive than the PN-20. Today, I was standing next to a 10 foot brick wall and was under a few leafless trees. The PN-20 showed an accuracy of +/- 80 feet. I had expected better reception from reading others posts comparing the PN-20 to the HCx or 60CSx.

 

Other than that one issue (which is a bit disheartening since the prime motivator in the upgrade was better sensitivity), I'm extremely pleased with the PN-20.

I can't specifically address the relative accuracy issue as I do not have both DeLorme and Garmin units to make side-by-side, simultaneous comparisons. However, there seems to be a consensus among those that do have both, that the DeLorme estimate as displayed is more conservative, or less aggressive, that that of the Garmins.

 

But does estimate of accuracy really matter? Is not WYSIWYG the real proof? For example, my 7 year old grandson found two geocaches this afternoon when my PN-20 indicated that we were at GZ. So in reality, each time you locate a geocache you are cross checking and calibrating against the GPSrs of the original hider and the previous finders.

I didn't find the cache :unsure: so I couldn't say whether it would have been accurate or not. It was more a case of being surprised at how much the GPS accuracy increased from ~20/30 ft to 80/90 ft when I stood next to the wall. So, regardless of whether the PN-20 uses a more conservative estimation, it does seem that its sensitivity is not as good since walls (and trees) seem to cause more interference.

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I have had my PN-20 since they became available. I do not pay any attention to theGPS accuracy display. What is important to me is how accurate is when I am at a known coordinates, like a Benchmark. When displaying DOQQ (Aerial photo) it show where I am despite the + -. what I mean is that the courser is usually directly on me no matter what the accuracy display says.

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...The only downside I've experienced so far is its (perceived) reception. I realize that Garmin and DeLorme use different calculations for the estimate GPS accuracy, but the HCx seemed to be much more sensitive than the PN-20. Today, I was standing next to a 10 foot brick wall and was under a few leafless trees. The PN-20 showed an accuracy of +/- 80 feet. I had expected better reception from reading others posts comparing the PN-20 to the HCx or 60CSx.

 

Other than that one issue (which is a bit disheartening since the prime motivator in the upgrade was better sensitivity), I'm extremely pleased with the PN-20.

 

 

I have owned numerous units prior to the PN-20--- Eagle, Lorance, two diferernt Magellans including a Meridian Gold. None of them were as sensitive as the PN-20. Look at my post on the DeLorme Forums regarding reception in very difficult conditions. http://forum.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?t=12755&start=27 In this case the tree cover on both sides of the road was very tall and dense....combine that with the location of the PN-20 in the vehicle and it is pretty impressive.

 

--Gareth

 

And yes, I know that I have been a member here for quite a long time and today, I just decided to come out of the shadows. LOL

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When people have questions about the accuracy of their units (whatever the make), I like to suggest checking it against a benchmark, too. These are survey markers, some of which are placed with a very high degree of accuracy (a matter of centimeters, I think...I forget just how much).

 

You can find find a suitable benchmark near you by entering your zip code in this page. On the results page, check out the benchmark disks (if there are others in your area who log their finds here, it's a good idea to start with ones that have been found). You need to identify one whose location is ADJUSTED. If the location is SCALED, the coordinates are only approximations that could be hundreds of feet off.

 

Not as many people enjoy looking for benchmarks, but there are some of us who even prefer them to geocaching. They are not hidden, but rather are meant to be easily found. However, time takes its toll, so ist can be quite a thrill to find one that hasn't been reported as observed for decades. Snow may still be a problem with them...winter is not the ideal season for these things. :unsure:

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So many benchmarks have disappeared in our area of the past 20 years from home building and highway construction. One thing we do from time to time at cache events is have everyone go to a known point like a benchmark and then hide it. Everyone is given a flag and the coords and they place their flag where their XXX brand GPSR says it is Ground Zero. The last time we did that was two weeks ago, with every brand imaginable. The flags were all within about eight feet of the actual benchmark Pretty tight considering there were tom tom's, garmins, magellans, and DeLormes plus whatever there.

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Delete of duplicate post......message after sending the first one said it had failed so I re-sent it.

Edited by SpankySCRC

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