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Delorme PN-40 - decided not to buy (Pros & Cons)

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Well...after weeks of looking at different GPS units for geocaching I decided NOT to buy the DeLorme PN-40. It's disappointing, really - because I was ready to buy it. I've been to REI and BASS PRO Outdoor World checking it out a number of times. But there are three things I can't live with:

CONS

  1. 500mb of internal memory
    That just isn't acceptable. Yes, I know you can use the SD card slot for up to a 32gb card - but from what I've read about current PN-40 owners, the 8gb se version lets them keep a large regional area loaded - and then they use sd cards to manage other areas. Not to mention the aerial photography - which will be a memory hog. So pony up for the SE version right? Wrong.........
  2. No way to input a set of coordinates by hand
    I was ready to order the SE version today ($500) and called DeLorme sales. As I've used the unit a couple times - I've been trying to figure out how to input a set of coordinates by hand. According to the sales rep there is no way to do this unless you get some third party software? I'm not sure how it was supposed to work - but I didn't like it. When I get new cache listings sent to my phone by text message - I can get the coordinates. I would like to be able to type those into my GPS and grab an occasional FTF. For $500 bucks - I should be able to input data by hand.
  3. The screen is just way too small
    The smallest on the market. Scrolling through the tiny text on that tiny screen was annoying. I was ready to live with this screen size - but the inability to input coordinates was the straw that broke the camels back.

If I"m going to spend $500 on a GPS unit I really want it all. Is that asking too much? I don't think so. Heck, I'll spend $600. I just want EVERYTHING! So what's everything? A large screen, ability to input coordinates manually, a decent amount of onboard memory, memory card slot, well reviewed chipset, reliable antenna, quick sat lock and very accurate, good paperless geocaching support, at least 32 channels, and a touchscreen would be nice (easily viewable in sunlight). I can live without the compass, altimeter, barometer, photo & video viewing and built in camera that seem to be on many of the higher end models.

 

To be fair - there are a few really compelling items that were drawing me to the DeLorme PN-40. So much so, that I'm hoping the next one to come out in a year or two might improve on the current version:

PROS

  1. Dual Processor The PN-40 has dual processors - one for mapping and one for satellites. NICE!
  2. Excellent Maps I've heard a lot about the quality of maps from DeLorme and I've been told they started as a mapping comapny. Plus - I really like the idea of accessing different layers/types of maps. And I really like the idea of being able to access aerial imagery maps on my GPS. Very Cool.
  3. Large memory on SE model I'm ready to pay for 8gb of internal memory. I think this will make map management and access a lot easier - plus the ability to expand with SD cards just makes sense.

So...that's my two cents. You're probably asking yourself - so what did you decide to buy? Well, I've looked at the Lowrance Endura Models, the Garmin Models, and just about everything else I can find. I've decided that I can't get what I really want right now - so I'm going to switch gears and go cheap until they come out with what I want. Something used on ebay? A low end Lowrance Outback? Magellan 2000? I don't know - I feel like I'm starting all over!

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[*]No way to input a set of coordinates by hand

I was ready to order the SE version today ($500) and called DeLorme sales. As I've used the unit a couple times - I've been trying to figure out how to input a set of coordinates by hand. According to the sales rep there is no way to do this unless you get some third party software? I'm not sure how it was supposed to work - but I didn't like it. When I get new cache listings sent to my phone by text message - I can get the coordinates. I would like to be able to type those into my GPS and grab an occasional FTF. For $500 bucks - I should be able to input data by hand.

 

 

I don't know the Delorme PN's at all but, this one has to be false! Manually entering a coordinate into a GPSr is a PRIMARY task that every GPSr made can do! The only exceptions might be those wrist/sports GPSr's like the Garmin Forerunners, and I know the GeoMate Jr can't handle manual entry..

 

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will describe the exact sequence of coord entry.

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You can put waypoints in by hand. There is a button with a thumb tack on it and you use that, its right next to the power switch.

 

Why were you looking at the 40 if the compass, altimeter, barometer didnt matter to you? The 30 has the same features except for those.

Edited by IBcrashen

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You can put waypoints in by hand. There is a button with a thumb tack on it and you use that, its right next to the power switch.

 

Why were you looking at the 40 if the compass, altimeter, barometer didnt matter to you? The 30 has the same features except for those.

Yep, then you joystick up and press Enter and then rotate through the digits... just like most other GPS units. The only exceptions to this method will be the touchscreens and rollerrockers. Frankly, this is a question I don't bother to ask when looking at handheld GPS units. Some car navigation on the other hand still only work with address entries.

Edited by TotemLake

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You can put waypoints in by hand. There is a button with a thumb tack on it and you use that right next to the power switch.

 

Why were you looking at the 40 if the compass, altimeter, barometer didnt matter to you? The 30 has the same features except for those.

 

IB - that thumbtack button is for marking a waypoint at your current location, that's my understanding. And, according to the sales rep - he said there is no alphabetical or numeric input screen on the device. I also asked if it was possible to change the coordinates of another waypoint on the PN-40 and then just hit "go" to those coordinates. He said no.

 

As for looking at the 40 instead of the 30 - I looked at both. The Altimeter, compass and barometer aren't deal makers or breakers for me. But the compass would be nice and I was willing to step up in a model to get those.

 

delorme_pn40.jpg

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NordicMan - I'm all ears. I was pretty surprised too - I just thought I couldn't figure it out. When the sales rep told me you can't - I was AMAZED!

I have found that with a wide variety of consumer goods (cars, electronics, more) the sales reps know very little about what they are selling. It's best to do your research about a product's features and capabilities on the Internet, then go out and look at them in person at a store.

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You can put waypoints in by hand. There is a button with a thumb tack on it and you use that right next to the power switch.

 

Why were you looking at the 40 if the compass, altimeter, barometer didnt matter to you? The 30 has the same features except for those.

 

IB - that thumbtack button is for marking a waypoint at your current location, that's my understanding. And, according to the sales rep - he said there is no alphabetical or numeric input screen on the device. I also asked if it was possible to change the coordinates of another waypoint on the PN-40 and then just hit "go" to those coordinates. He said no.

 

As for looking at the 40 instead of the 30 - I looked at both. The Altimeter, compass and barometer aren't deal makers or breakers for me. But the compass would be nice and I was willing to step up in a model to get those.

 

delorme_pn40.jpg

Yes it is for marking the waypionts, but you also have the option of editing the coordinates at that time.

 

Click the button, thumbclick to the coordinates, press Enter. You're now in edit mode. Use the thumclick to rotate through the digits and navigate through each one, and then press Enter when you're done. You can even change the waypoint icon to something that makes visual sense... and don't forget to save your changes. I do this all the time.

 

by the way, to change the coordinates on an existing waypoint, click on the waypoint, and edit in the same manner.

Edited by TotemLake

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A clarification on my esteemed colleague's link...it shows how to input a waypoint in the TopoUSA software. Inputting on the PN is as described higher up.

 

I have the SE, and for my use there's not much need for the extra internal memory...but, it is available for someone who sees a need (reportedly after the current stock sells out they're gone).

 

Not much to say about the screen...for those who want bigger, it's definitely smaller.

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I'm actually surprised how many people can't figure out how to enter coordinates manually, & it doesn't matter what gps model/brand we are talking about.

 

Marking waypoints on most gps is very similar, Hit whatever button your gps uses to mark your location(mark button, pushpin, ect.) now a page comes up where you can edit the name, coordinates, & Note. Can't get much simpler than that. :anibad:

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NordicMan - I'm all ears. I was pretty surprised too - I just thought I couldn't figure it out. When the sales rep told me you can't - I was AMAZED!

I have found that with a wide variety of consumer goods (cars, electronics, more) the sales reps know very little about what they are selling. It's best to do your research about a product's features and capabilities on the Internet, then go out and look at them in person at a store.

 

I would have to agree with you Steve - however, it's one more place to look. I searched all over the internet for info on how to do this and couldn't find it. Maybe cause it's something all the Vets take for granted. But since this is the first time I've shopped for a GPS unit specifically for geocaching- I needed to be sure.

 

As a side note - I find it a good practice to call the manufacturer's support line whenever I'm looking at a piece of electronics I might need support on. You get an idea on what support will be like. The phone Que at Lowrance was prett painful and the sales rep had no idea what she was talking about. On the flipside - the guys at DeLorme seemed pretty knowledgeable. He seemed to know a lot of very specific details about the PN-40 (other than the obvious I guess) and did offer to move me up to the next level of support. I guess I shoulda gone up the chain! Plus, I got through to an actual person very quickly - and a live person actually answers the support line and routes you to the right place rather than an automated system.

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NordicMan - I'm all ears. I was pretty surprised too - I just thought I couldn't figure it out. When the sales rep told me you can't - I was AMAZED!

I have found that with a wide variety of consumer goods (cars, electronics, more) the sales reps know very little about what they are selling. It's best to do your research about a product's features and capabilities on the Internet, then go out and look at them in person at a store.

 

Well, even the internet isn't guaranteed to be the hallowed halls of truth :anibad: but yes many sales people don't take their work very seriously & don't know their products very well, especially in a large sporting goods store like Bass Pro where they sell litrally thousands of different products. Ok the sales person might not know intricate details of every product on the shelf but, to flat out "guess" an answer (that is absolutely WRONG) is going to just ruin the reputation of the store he works in..

 

Best thing you can do with most products is go to the manufacturer website & download the owners manual. Read it thoroughly!

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Your sales rep was horribly misinformed. I won't repeat what others have already posted explaining how to manually enter coordinates. I would recommend going back to those stores and letting the managers know that their sales staff needs a refresher on product features, and possibly even drop a line to DeLorme direct with the store locations so they can make contact.

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Thanks for the info on how do input the coordinates - I'll go back and check it out. That may be enough to change my mind - especially now that I see you can get teh PN-40 for about the same price as the PN-30 at Walmart - $305 here's the link:

DeLorme PN-40 for $305.00 at WalMart.com

Just bear in mind you can get the SE model only at DeLorme.

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I just got a PN-4 yesterday so I'm by no means an expert but I've already spent a lot of time playing with it so I had to chime in. :anibad:

 

Small internal memory: That wasn't an issue for me since I can still load 1000 caches and I use the SD card for my maps. I really like that it takes a regular SD instead of a micro since all of my computers have SD readers and I always manage to lose that stupid little micro SD adapter. Plus I LOVE that I can load not just the basic cache info but can also load the full description, all logs, and the hint for each cache. No more carrying my iPod while I'm caching!

 

Manually inputting coordinates: As others have noted, it can be done and I have found that it's easier to input them on the PN-40 than it was on my Garmin 60CSx.

 

Small screen: Huh, I didn't look at the specs but just from looking at the unit I actually thought the screen was bigger so this surprises me! The compass/arrow are smaller but still easy to read and everything else is MUCH easier to read than my CSx was.

 

A couple of other things (a mix of good and bad) that I have noticed:

 

Maybe I'm just an idiot but IMO the Delorme Topo software is a nightmare! I fought with it last night until I was ready to give up but then I remembered that the new beta version of GSAK works with Delorme. Once I installed that it was a cinch to load my caches. I played with Topo again tonight and at one point got it to load the caches to the unit but when I tried to do it again I couldn't. I'll stick with GSAK.

 

Reception: With the CSx (and with our eTrex Venture) I am unable to get ay reception inside my house or my work. With the PN-40 I'm getting about 11' of accuracy. Outside I get down to about 7' which is much better than my CSx ever got, even with all of the updates installed.

 

Found It: With the CSx I was able to mark a cache as found and I could set the notes but I was limited on characters. With the PN-40, when I hit "Found" I immediately have the option to add notes and can add long notes. Granted, I haven't figured out how to get the notes from the GPS to my computer but I know it can be done! I don't like standing there entering my caches logs so at best I'll use this option to record trackable pick-ups and drops but it'll sure beat the scraps of paper that I always seem to lose.

 

Buttons: I have large hands so the buttons aren't as easy as the CSx but they're still quite functional.

 

Find next: With the CSx if I clicked on Find Next it automatically gave me walking directions, I never had the option for driving directions unless I hit Quit and then clicked on the next cache, then clicked on Go To. With the PN-40 I can click Find Next and right there I have the option of Driving or Hiking, much easier!

 

Comfort/feel: The PN-40 just feels more solid. The battery compartment closes with 2 screw in clips so it actually looks and feels waterproof.

 

Street maps: This was one of my biggest concerns because I use my maps a LOT. Since I don't exactly live in mainstream USA I was concerned that the maps wouldn't have good coverage here but from the little I used them today they do. I also like that I can either see my route on the map page or that I can see turn by turn directions with distances.

 

So anyway, those are my thoughts. I know I've only had it a day and haven't really put it through its paces yet but from what I've seen so far I am thoroughly impressed and wouldn't hesitate to recommend the PN-40.

 

Forgot to add: If you watch Amazon you can get them a little cheaper. I paid $285 last weekend but I see it's up to $297 now. Give it a few days and it should drop again.

Edited by sunsetmeadowlark

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I'm glad to hear all the positive about the PN-40. I bought one from REI a few days ago, for $288 shipping included, but it is back-ordered and I probably won't see it until sometime in October. Sigh.... patience, Grasshopper. :anibad:

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I'm glad to hear all the positive about the PN-40. I bought one from REI a few days ago, for $288 shipping included, but it is back-ordered and I probably won't see it until sometime in October. Sigh.... patience, Grasshopper. :anibad:

Congrats on your purchase! If my memory is right I've already congratulated you, but hey it's such good news it deserves another congrats. You're going to love it! I really think the steep learning curve that comes up sometimes in discussions is over rated, but if you ever do run up against a brick wall with something there are lots of really smart folks on this forum that can assist you (and no I'm not claiming to be one of the smart ones, I'm slowly learning, but I too could go by the name of Grasshopper).

 

Happy caching!!!! :o

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I bought the PN=40 for $260 from REI on Aug 28th (the first day of the sale) and it arrived on the 1st. You can enter coords and edit coords on the geocaches, handy for multis. In heavy tree cover, while it is raining - I got a lock that the arrow pointed to the cache exectly.

 

I upgraded from a decade old eTrex Legend and am very content with the performance. The eTrex performed well enough out in the clear, but the arrow would go bonkers when I stopped walking. The compass in the PN-40 works perfectly while stopped.

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I bought the PN=40 for $260 from REI on Aug 28th (the first day of the sale) and it arrived on the 1st.

Yes, apparently I just missed the sale - it ended 9/7.

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As others said, you certainly can input coords.

 

I have one and I've encountered other negatives.

 

1. Reception doesn't come close to my 60CSX. I can't use it for trail mapping which is one of my primary uses for a GPS. I've had 3 different units and all 3 had the same issue, so I doubt I had 3 lemons.

 

2. Topo 8 software is clunky and a PITA to figure out.

 

3. Tiny menu fonts. I need to bring my reading glasses along when I use it. Never had to for any other unit I own.

 

4. The autorouting feature is very primitive and really not an good option for automotive navigation, other than in an emergency.

 

5. It eats batteries like potato chips. I went through 5 pairs of AAs (Duracell) last weekend on a 3 day canoe trip. 60CSX only used 2 pairs on the same trip and they were on about the same amount of time (actually I shut off the PN40 more often than the 60CSX to save batteries.)

 

6. This is a new one that I just discovered this weekend. The screen drawing is glacially slow when it gets a bit cold. Morning temps were in the high 30s/low 40s and I couldn't believe how long it took to draw screens. When the weather warmed during the day it was fine. The problem appeared again the next morning when it was cold and it was fine again once things warmed up. So it doesn't seem to handle cold very well.

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4. The autorouting feature is very primitive and really not an good option for automotive navigation, other than in an emergency.

I don't think anyone's claimed that the autorouting is that great.

 

5. It eats batteries like potato chips. I went through 5 pairs of AAs (Duracell) last weekend on a 3 day canoe trip. 60CSX only used 2 pairs on the same trip and they were on about the same amount of time (actually I shut off the PN40 more often than the 60CSX to save batteries.)

 

6. This is a new one that I just discovered this weekend. The screen drawing is glacially slow when it gets a bit cold. Morning temps were in the high 30s/low 40s and I couldn't believe how long it took to draw screens. When the weather warmed during the day it was fine. The problem appeared again the next morning when it was cold and it was fine again once things warmed up. So it doesn't seem to handle cold very well.

I think the slow redraws are probably related to the cold alkaline batteries, not so much the device itself slowing down due to cold. Aside from low-capacity rechargeables, alkaline batteries are just about the worst-performing batteries you can put into a PN-40.

 

Over in the DeLorme forum, a number of folks have done quite a few battery rundown tests.

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4. The autorouting feature is very primitive and really not an good option for automotive navigation, other than in an emergency.

I don't think anyone's claimed that the autorouting is that great.

 

5. It eats batteries like potato chips. I went through 5 pairs of AAs (Duracell) last weekend on a 3 day canoe trip. 60CSX only used 2 pairs on the same trip and they were on about the same amount of time (actually I shut off the PN40 more often than the 60CSX to save batteries.)

 

6. This is a new one that I just discovered this weekend. The screen drawing is glacially slow when it gets a bit cold. Morning temps were in the high 30s/low 40s and I couldn't believe how long it took to draw screens. When the weather warmed during the day it was fine. The problem appeared again the next morning when it was cold and it was fine again once things warmed up. So it doesn't seem to handle cold very well.

I think the slow redraws are probably related to the cold alkaline batteries, not so much the device itself slowing down due to cold. Aside from low-capacity rechargeables, alkaline batteries are just about the worst-performing batteries you can put into a PN-40.

 

Over in the DeLorme forum, a number of folks have done quite a few battery rundown tests.

 

Probably true, but I never experienced the same issue with my 60CSX. It was drawing screens quite nicely at the same time in the same temps. Apparently the PN40 needs more juice to be able to work properly.

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Probably true, but I never experienced the same issue with my 60CSX. It was drawing screens quite nicely at the same time in the same temps. Apparently the PN40 needs more juice to be able to work properly.

Not surprising, the PN40 is doing a lot more work with the imagery, etc.

 

I haven't noticed "slow" screens with mine, but I haven't been below 50 degrees since March with it. I've only used 3 sets of alkaline batteries, lithium batteries have been my preference as I haven't invested in good NiMH batteries & a charger yet.

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... screen drawing is glacially slow when it gets a bit cold...when the weather warmed during the day it was fine.
That's bizarre enough to merit a call to DeLorme's tech support, and perhaps cross-posting to their own user forums.

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... screen drawing is glacially slow when it gets a bit cold...when the weather warmed during the day it was fine.
That's bizarre enough to merit a call to DeLorme's tech support, and perhaps cross-posting to their own user forums.

Not bizarre at all. Liquids (as in LCD - Liquid Crystal Display) slow down when cold.

- See this -> http://www.howstuffworks.com/lcd.htm/printable

or this -> http://www.isminfo.com/index.php?option=co...3&Itemid=69

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Hi everybody. I notice the OP voiced a concern over the amount of memory in the PN-40 and I'd like to share my very non-technical view of the situation. I'm not really a tech savvy person so unfortunately I can't get real specific, but here is what my observations on the memory situation is.

 

I've got a 16 GB PNY SDHC card installed in my PN-40. So far I have stored all my maps and imagery on the SDHC card and have not loaded anything into the internal memory. As far as maps I've loaded they consist of:

 

1. For U.S. streets and topo maps if you were to draw a line from the eastern edge of Texas up to the Canadian border and then also draw a line from about the southern edge of Tenessee and draw if from the Atlantic Ocean over to the North to South line from the eastern edge of Texas then all of the states East and North of those lines are the ones I've got streets and topo in for the U.S.

 

2. I also put in the complete street maps for Canada (yeah, I probably won't need that, but who knows one of these days I may wake up and decide to take a decent sized road trip).

 

Now as far as aerial imagery goes I'm in the process of trying to load imagery of as many towns in Michigan as I can cram onto the card. To help you visualize where I'm at in that project (again it's all being loaded on my 16 GB SDHC card and not internal memory) if you hold up your hand with the fingers together it looks like the shape of a winter mitten (sorry if I'm boring you folks with the geography lesson, but I don't know if geography is everybody's strong point or not). That will give you a good idea of the general shape of the lower pennisula of Michigan. So if you were to draw a line going from East to West half way up the lower penninsula (to save typing I'll abbreviate it to LP from here on out) and then another line from from right down the center of the state (not including the "thumb" when figuring out the center) and there you've now got the LP split into quadrants.

 

As far as aerial imagery goes so far I've gotten all the decent sized towns of say 30,000 people or more and lots of extra smaller towns in that lower Southwest quadrant of the state and I still have I think it's about 4 GB of space left before I fill up the memory card.

 

So all that just to try and make the point that although you'd think aerial imagery should really gobble up a lot of space it doesn't seem to as far as I can tell. I won't know until I'm done, but I really think I'll be able to get every city with a population of 30,000 or more in the LP of Michigan onto a 16 GB SDHC card and who knows I'm hoping to add aerial imagery of Chicago too since I love going there.

 

I apologize for my post being so wordy, but unfortunately that's my particular writing pattern and I just wanted to try and help folks visualize what I was talking about.

 

Have a great weekend everybody! Happy caching!!!! :anibad:

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As others said, you certainly can input coords.

 

I have one and I've encountered other negatives.

 

1. Reception doesn't come close to my 60CSX. I can't use it for trail mapping which is one of my primary uses for a GPS. I've had 3 different units and all 3 had the same issue, so I doubt I had 3 lemons.

 

If you are going to be doing trail mapping with your GPS, make sure you have your GPS positioned in its optimum orientation. This is usually determined by the antenna technology used by the GPS. For the 60CSX, it likes to be positioned vertically with the antenna pointing up. the PN-40 likes to be horizontal with the screen pointing up. So, if you are doing trail mapping with a PN-40 (or other GPS that use a patch antenna), a good place to mount it would be on a shoulder strap on top of your shoulder with the screen facing up. For a 60CSX (or other GPS that use a quad helix antenna), a good location would be on the front of a shoulder strap, or in a pocket of a daypack with its antenna pointing straight up.

 

In your trail mapping comparisons, how did you have your units positioned?

 

--Marky

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I didnt read rest of posts, but your reasons for not buying the unit are not really fair.. 1. more internal memory would be good, but SD cards are OK as well 2. false 3. small but bright and hi res.

 

 

(Ok, so I did go and read... I share Brian's main points)

Edited by Maingray

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1. more internal memory would be good, but SD cards are OK as well
This leaves an issue when users want to use specialized, preloaded cards (like Navionics charts), and can only load their own custom maps/imagery on internal memory.

 

You can never have too much memory, but the extra internal memory on the SE is a bit pricey for now. But if you don't foresee using custom, preloaded cards, then it's a non issue and SDHC cards are a less expensive way to go.

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4. The autorouting feature is very primitive and really not an good option for automotive navigation, other than in an emergency.

I don't think anyone's claimed that the autorouting is that great.

 

5. It eats batteries like potato chips. I went through 5 pairs of AAs (Duracell) last weekend on a 3 day canoe trip. 60CSX only used 2 pairs on the same trip and they were on about the same amount of time (actually I shut off the PN40 more often than the 60CSX to save batteries.)

 

6. This is a new one that I just discovered this weekend. The screen drawing is glacially slow when it gets a bit cold. Morning temps were in the high 30s/low 40s and I couldn't believe how long it took to draw screens. When the weather warmed during the day it was fine. The problem appeared again the next morning when it was cold and it was fine again once things warmed up. So it doesn't seem to handle cold very well.

I think the slow redraws are probably related to the cold alkaline batteries, not so much the device itself slowing down due to cold. Aside from low-capacity rechargeables, alkaline batteries are just about the worst-performing batteries you can put into a PN-40.

 

Over in the DeLorme forum, a number of folks have done quite a few battery rundown tests.

 

Battery voltage won't have any effect on the LCD speed. That said, alkaline batteries don't work all that well in low temperatures. When I'm out playing in the winter, I put lithiums in my units most of the time. That said, different Displays do tend to slow down, then fail completely when it's really cold. I haven't played with my PN-40 yet in temperatures that were very cold yet so I can't comment on how it behaves.

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Battery voltage won't have any effect on the LCD speed. That said, alkaline batteries don't work all that well in low temperatures. When I'm out playing in the winter, I put lithiums in my units most of the time. That said, different Displays do tend to slow down, then fail completely when it's really cold. I haven't played with my PN-40 yet in temperatures that were very cold yet so I can't comment on how it behaves.

 

I bought mine in the winter and took it out a few times in pretty cold temps, never saw a problem with it. I remember us searching one time in very cold conditions with bitter winds and blowing snow, never found the cache, but not the PN-40's fault (didn't realize it was on the ground).

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... screen drawing is glacially slow when it gets a bit cold...when the weather warmed during the day it was fine.
That's bizarre enough to merit a call to DeLorme's tech support, and perhaps cross-posting to their own user forums.

 

Not bizzare at all, it's the nature of LCD units. Where I found this issue to be the most interesting is back when I was peak bagging, and bought one of those little Brunton wind watch units to measure temperature and wind speeds on some of my climbs. My first winter climb I was experiencing some significant wind and cold, and I figured I'd have some significant bragging rights thanks to the little brunton. Imagine my surprise when I learned it doesn't work in sub zero temperatures. That was mentioned in the specs of course, but who takes the time to read the instruction book.

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As others said, you certainly can input coords.

 

I have one and I've encountered other negatives.

 

1. Reception doesn't come close to my 60CSX. I can't use it for trail mapping which is one of my primary uses for a GPS. I've had 3 different units and all 3 had the same issue, so I doubt I had 3 lemons.

 

If you are going to be doing trail mapping with your GPS, make sure you have your GPS positioned in its optimum orientation. This is usually determined by the antenna technology used by the GPS. For the 60CSX, it likes to be positioned vertically with the antenna pointing up. the PN-40 likes to be horizontal with the screen pointing up. So, if you are doing trail mapping with a PN-40 (or other GPS that use a patch antenna), a good place to mount it would be on a shoulder strap on top of your shoulder with the screen facing up. For a 60CSX (or other GPS that use a quad helix antenna), a good location would be on the front of a shoulder strap, or in a pocket of a daypack with its antenna pointing straight up.

 

In your trail mapping comparisons, how did you have your units positioned?

 

--Marky

 

I usually put one in each cargo pocket in my pant leg which may not be optimum position for the PN40. Which leads to another issue with the PN40, there is no good way to carry the thing. The case they sell holds it vertically.

 

Besides today's units shouldn't be so sensitive to position. I had to deal with stuff like that with my old Etrex. I've successfully mapped trails with my 60CSX sitting inside my pack at the bottom. Maybe I'm asking too much for the PN40 to get the same outstanding reception as the 60CSX, but that brings me back to my original point.

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As others said, you certainly can input coords.

 

I have one and I've encountered other negatives.

 

1. Reception doesn't come close to my 60CSX. I can't use it for trail mapping which is one of my primary uses for a GPS. I've had 3 different units and all 3 had the same issue, so I doubt I had 3 lemons.

 

If you are going to be doing trail mapping with your GPS, make sure you have your GPS positioned in its optimum orientation. This is usually determined by the antenna technology used by the GPS. For the 60CSX, it likes to be positioned vertically with the antenna pointing up. the PN-40 likes to be horizontal with the screen pointing up. So, if you are doing trail mapping with a PN-40 (or other GPS that use a patch antenna), a good place to mount it would be on a shoulder strap on top of your shoulder with the screen facing up. For a 60CSX (or other GPS that use a quad helix antenna), a good location would be on the front of a shoulder strap, or in a pocket of a daypack with its antenna pointing straight up.

 

In your trail mapping comparisons, how did you have your units positioned?

 

--Marky

 

I usually put one in each cargo pocket in my pant leg which may not be optimum position for the PN40. Which leads to another issue with the PN40, there is no good way to carry the thing. The case they sell holds it vertically.

 

Besides today's units shouldn't be so sensitive to position. I had to deal with stuff like that with my old Etrex. I've successfully mapped trails with my 60CSX sitting inside my pack at the bottom. Maybe I'm asking too much for the PN40 to get the same outstanding reception as the 60CSX, but that brings me back to my original point.

I have my pouch on the shoulder strap on top of the shoulder. It holds the PN near horizontal. With a couple of notable exceptions due largely to narrow horizon terrain, this has been an optimal position for it to be in instead of vertically in a shirt or pants pocket.

 

Besides today's units shouldn't be so sensitive to position.

I would agree if everything else was equal, but you're talking patch versus quad-helix and trying to accomplish an apples to apples argument with it. I have no argument if it doesn't fit with the way you like to work, but the unit is quite accomplished at what it does.

Edited by TotemLake

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Not bizarre at all. Liquids (as in LCD - Liquid Crystal Display) slow down when cold.
I'm not buying that as an explanation for Brian's problem.

 

Reread his description. Temps in high 30's to low 40's. And it would have been in his hand or next to his body, presumably a bit warmer than ambient. That's just not cold enough to account for such a dramatic slowdown.

 

Especially not when DeLorme boasts about these kind of activities...

http://blog.delorme.com/2009/05/04/north-p...tion-a-success/

Edited by lee_rimar

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Not bizarre at all. Liquids (as in LCD - Liquid Crystal Display) slow down when cold.
I'm not buying that as an explanation for Brian's problem.

 

Reread his description. Temps in the mid 30's to 40's. And it would have been in his hand or next to his body, presumably a bit warmer than ambient. That's just not cold enough to account for such a dramatic slowdown.

 

Especially not when DeLorme boasts about these kind of activities...

http://blog.delorme.com/2009/05/04/north-p...tion-a-success/

I have to agree. I've had my unit in weather frigid enough to freeze a cup of water in minutes and didn't experience any significant lag and my GPS was not kept inside the jacket, but rather in a pouch on my shoulder. Pretty exposed on a bony shoulder.

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CONS

[*]500mb of internal memory

That just isn't acceptable. Yes, I know you can use the SD card slot for up to a 32gb card

Out of curiosity, what GPSr under $300 has a large internal memory?

 

Heck, which other besides the SE has a decent amount of internal? I wasn't aware that there were others, I would like to know as that would be a nice plus for that unit.

 

And as far as Topo8 having a learning curve, a lot of people have mentioned it but I haven't tried it out yet to find out. But I'm sure that it is there to some degree as I have read it numerous times. But also out of curiosity what free software from other maufacturers come included with their GPSr's that do what Topo8 does? Does Garmin or Magellan or other manufacturers ship this kind of sofware?

 

Without a doubt the PN-XX's have some drawbacks, as all other GPS's do, but they also have a large number of pros as well - and as I've said before, no one has yet to manufacture the perfect GPSr, I know many are still looking :)

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As others said, you certainly can input coords.

 

I have one and I've encountered other negatives.

 

1. Reception doesn't come close to my 60CSX. I can't use it for trail mapping which is one of my primary uses for a GPS. I've had 3 different units and all 3 had the same issue, so I doubt I had 3 lemons.

 

If you are going to be doing trail mapping with your GPS, make sure you have your GPS positioned in its optimum orientation. This is usually determined by the antenna technology used by the GPS. For the 60CSX, it likes to be positioned vertically with the antenna pointing up. the PN-40 likes to be horizontal with the screen pointing up. So, if you are doing trail mapping with a PN-40 (or other GPS that use a patch antenna), a good place to mount it would be on a shoulder strap on top of your shoulder with the screen facing up. For a 60CSX (or other GPS that use a quad helix antenna), a good location would be on the front of a shoulder strap, or in a pocket of a daypack with its antenna pointing straight up.

 

In your trail mapping comparisons, how did you have your units positioned?

 

--Marky

 

I usually put one in each cargo pocket in my pant leg which may not be optimum position for the PN40. Which leads to another issue with the PN40, there is no good way to carry the thing. The case they sell holds it vertically.

 

Besides today's units shouldn't be so sensitive to position. I had to deal with stuff like that with my old Etrex. I've successfully mapped trails with my 60CSX sitting inside my pack at the bottom. Maybe I'm asking too much for the PN40 to get the same outstanding reception as the 60CSX, but that brings me back to my original point.

 

Are you seriously telling us you can't find any way to carry your GPS? I take you to be an intellignet person, but if you can't find a way to reasonably carry your GPS... :):D

 

I carry mine either in a pocket, around my neck or in my hand and have not seen a single problem with reception. :P

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I'm not buying that as an explanation for Brian's problem.

 

Reread his description. Temps in the mid 30's to 40's. And it would have been in his hand or next to his body, presumably a bit warmer than ambient.

It fits his descrption exactly. The screen got faster as it warmed up later in the day, two days in a row.

Unless it was on an inside pocket all the time and taken out only for a minute, simply holding it in his hand would not warm up the entire unit including the screen. And the screen is directly in the ambient air so the screen temp would be pretty close to the ambient air temp.

That's just not cold enough to account for such a dramatic slowdown.

Sure it is.

If I leave any LCD device (phone, camera, GPS, iPod) in my car overnight on a cold night (40's), the displays are all slow when first fired up.

Especially not when DeLorme boasts about these kind of activities...

http://blog.delorme.com/2009/05/04/north-p...tion-a-success/

I doubt anyone traveling to the North pole would leave any electronic device (not designed specifically for that weather) simply hanging outside their parka. They'd take it out when needed then put it back inside.

 

Not all LCDs are going to act exactly the same at the same temps. Different type batteries can also heat up the unit more than others.

Edited by Chris CA

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Out of curiosity, what GPSr under $300 has a large internal memory?

 

Heck, which other besides the SE has a decent amount of internal? I wasn't aware that there were others, I would like to know as that would be a nice plus for that unit.

Well.....until I started to respond to your post - I thought the Endura Outback had 4 gig of memory. But when I went to verify that fact before posting - it seems I'm wrong. I know the Lowrance Endura Sierra has 4gb of memory. That's the unit I've primarily been comparing the PN-40 to. It's a similar price point from an MSRP but it has 4 gb of memory, picture & video viewer and a touch screen.

 

I'm only concerned about price as it relates to value of product. If I thought the Garmin 550t was "the one" I would drop the 6 bills.

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I notice the OP voiced a concern over the amount of memory in the PN-40 and I'd like to share my very non-technical view of the situation.

 

Thanks for bringing us back on topic Cacheman! It's good to hear how someone is actually managing the memory/maps with the PN-40. With 500mb of avail flash memory on the unit - I'm just thinking you'll be lucky to load just your small local area of maps, caches, aerial maps, etc. That means you'll have to manage a bunch of cards for other content. Until now - my caches have been limited to the 15-20 mile area around my home (short of 1 trip to Phoenix). Northern Illinois from Chicago to the Quad cities is pretty big. I don't know how much data that would be - but it would be nice to have all that on my GPSr all the time so that when the whim hits me - I can go geocaching.

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I notice the OP voiced a concern over the amount of memory in the PN-40 and I'd like to share my very non-technical view of the situation.

 

Thanks for bringing us back on topic Cacheman! It's good to hear how someone is actually managing the memory/maps with the PN-40. With 500mb of avail flash memory on the unit - I'm just thinking you'll be lucky to load just your small local area of maps, caches, aerial maps, etc. That means you'll have to manage a bunch of cards for other content.

I have the 1:100K "detailed" maps for all of upstate NY loaded into the 500MB internal memory of my PN-40. With some space left over.
Until now - my caches have been limited to the 15-20 mile area around my home (short of 1 trip to Phoenix). Northern Illinois from Chicago to the Quad cities is pretty big. I don't know how much data that would be - but it would be nice to have all that on my GPSr all the time so that when the whim hits me - I can go geocaching.

I have a single 8GB SDHC card in my PN-40 and that holds the aerial imagery & 24K topos for most of the areas I would be in and want to cache "on a whim" - with about 2GB left to spare. I have no idea how large an area you're talking about, but I don't think you'd need "a bunch of cards" - maybe 2 (depends upon what size you use), but if you're selective about the area you put in the device (you aren't really going to need 100% coverage every day, are you?) it should be manageable.

 

Caches & waypoints are not involved with this memory discussion at all. They are loaded into a separate area of the internal memory & you always have space for 1000.

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Caches & waypoints are not involved with this memory discussion at all. They are loaded into a separate area of the internal memory & you always have space for 1000.

Thanks Dak....I was curious about how the caches & waypoints would play into all this. As far as caches go - what do you do if you're caching in a big city? Sunday I'm gonna be in downtown Chicago and I imagine there are more than 1000 in Chicago. Having to pick and choose is a little frustrating!

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Caches & waypoints are not involved with this memory discussion at all. They are loaded into a separate area of the internal memory & you always have space for 1000.

Thanks Dak....I was curious about how the caches & waypoints would play into all this. As far as caches go - what do you do if you're caching in a big city? Sunday I'm gonna be in downtown Chicago and I imagine there are more than 1000 in Chicago. Having to pick and choose is a little frustrating!

 

Are you going to be in ALL of Chicago or do you know the area in Chicago you'll be visiting? Seriously, 1000 caches and you're worried you'll have to pick and choose??

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I doubt anyone traveling to the North pole would leave any electronic device (not designed specifically for that weather) simply hanging outside their parka. They'd take it out when needed then put it back inside.

A recent North Pole expedition team did take a PN-40 along on the trip.

However, I just can't recall how they carried it in conjunction with an approriately layered apparel configuration.

Check this:

http://blog.delorme.com/category/pn-40-news/

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