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Got It For Christmas


egg-roger
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Ya, I'd agree with that. They are cute little things, but if you're really going to get into caching just messing up the coords by entering them in by hand a few times will be enough to get you to want to swap it for something. Plus Magellan GPSs were know as the one to have the "better" antennas. This has a patch antenna which is a step backward in the Magellan line. But that's what you're sacraficing to have a cute little GPS.

 

BTW if you actually end of caching for more than a few months, maps would be really nice. And since you can get a GPS that accepts maps pretty cheaply I think everyone should have that.

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<Snip> Plus Magellan GPSs were know as the one to have the "better" antennas. This has a patch antenna which is a step backward in the Magellan line. </Snip>

I'll second (third? :D ) the vote for a computer interface. Nothing like trying to punch in 10 -20 sets of co-ords by hand to make you wish for that cable. Mapping is another big plus; certainly not necessary, but something that you will probably wish for as/if you get deeper into this lunacy hobby. As far as the question of the AE goes however, I don't think that there is enough data (I haven't found it) to make an accurate assessment of whether or not it is in fact a step backward.

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I got the Explorist 200 a few weeks ago for my birthday and I love it!

I don't really need to download 500 POI's. I can do a half dozen or so in about 5 minutes. I like to read about them first and pick out the ones that seem interesting.

The Nav functions have been excellent! I have had NONE of the problems I see others writing about with tracking.

My vote is fire that puppy up and try it! Three things might happen:

1) you hate geocaching and are glad you didn't spend any more money.

2) you love geocaching and find that your little 200 is perfect for your needs.

3) you love geocaching and decide you need more features, so you give the 200 to someone else and get them hooked!

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i got the explorist 200 for christmas...Ilove it too!!, and i dont really care to get waypoints from my computer.....as for the antenna,, i think it is great,, anytime i am not inside my house it jumps to 10 feet accuracy,,even in the car!!!..in the house it maintains a 35 foot accuracy..its nice and small,, and i went to san antonio recently(from houston) ,,and i used the basemaps it comes with,, and they were detailed enough to take me straight to my hotel...I would definatly say keep it!!.... :D

Edited by coolcars011
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I have yet to understand why companies continue to sell GPS units without the ability to send and retrieve GPS data. The cost of manufacturing the additional connector must be negligible.

Here's what I don't get. This is a shot of the back of my Explorist 200, just above the battery compartment:

 

expl-bak.JPG

 

The only thing that makes sense is that this is a cut out for a data port. So apparently at some point (after the cases were manufactured) a data port was going to be included but then got dropped.

 

Was it due to cost? If so, why are basic eTrex units still cheaper than the Explorist 200?

 

Exactly how cheap will these things be when they're in the closeout bins 3 or 4 months from now?

 

Bret

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It's amazing that even the eXplorist 300 doesn't have a dataport--to think that Amazon is advertising them for upwards of $200. Geez! And they're advertising the eTrex Legend for $135 right now. If I were looking for a comparably priced GPSr, it's a no-brainer to me. (I'm sure you can get the 300 cheaper, but Amazon was the only site I bothered to check)

 

However, according to the Magellan website, the eXplorist DOES have this feature:

 

No service fees

Your eXplorist 300 is ready to go with no service fees and no activation fees, so go ahead, use it all the time.

Wow! No service fees! Imagine that! :D

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I don't really need to download 500 POI's. I can do a half dozen or so in about 5 minutes.

 

Mis-key your coordinates once and you'll wish you had that PC connection. Put me down with those that say trade it in for another. I see the eXplorist goes for $149. For less than that you can get an eTrex Legend ($135 at Amazon) which is a fine unit with mapping, a Gecko 201 ($117 at Amazon) which is the most compact GPS on the market, or for a little more, a Sportrak Map ($169 at Amazon). Even the "lowly" yellow eTrex is a better deal at $89 at WalMart.

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I don't really need to download 500 POI's. I can do a half dozen or so in about 5 minutes.

I don't use the POIs either, but what happens when you do those 6 caches and then decide you got them done so quickly you wish you had punched in another cache? Sure NOBODY really needs 500 waypoints loaded, but you might never be sure which one of those you wish you did have.

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I don't really need to download 500 POI's. I can do a half dozen or so in about 5 minutes.

I don't use the POIs either, but what happens when you do those 6 caches and then decide you got them done so quickly you wish you had punched in another cache? Sure NOBODY really needs 500 waypoints loaded, but you might never be sure which one of those you wish you did have.

Or what if you only punch in 4 or 5 and you can not find three of them and you have half of a day left. there is really no reason not to have lots of waypoints loaded into a GPS. When I started out with a yellow e-trex there were times when I entered bad coordinates, this can be a real drag.

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I used to use a Garmin 12. We punched in coordinates by hand. I usually entered them, while my girlfriend looked over my shoulder to make sure they were right. We rarely entered them wrong, although the close contact sometimes meant that our caching was delayed.

 

I kind of miss those days . . . . :blink:

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They are getting ready to ship the Explorist 400, 500 and 600. Those due have USB data ports. They are on the Magellan web site as of yesterday. They also have some other new features that sound interesting.

 

This is a link to that information

 

New Magellans

I just got my new Basspro 'bible' in the mail today and saw those. It's nice that they decided to include a computer interface. I thought it was funny when they had their big cache hunt during the summer to promote the new Explorist line when it was less than ideal for power caching.

 

Wulf

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since you asked, you must have had some doubts... trust your instincts.

 

i got a Garmin Legend for Christmas, and although i can't compare it to anything... i've already been very glad to have pc connectivity and am very interested in purchasing the mapsource maps.

 

being able to suck your tracks, routes, and waypoints onto a fullscreen aerial photo (via expertGPS) map is a HUGE advantage and very easy to do with this lowcost unit.

 

i would highly reccomend a unit with pc connectivity and a few mbs of ram for when the "basemap" don't cut it anymore.

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My 8 year old daughter got the exporist 200. I like the sounds of the 400, 500, and 600 with the USB ports. But here is my complaint about the explorist 200: the antenna isn't as good as your typical magellan GPSr, IMO. Anybody else have thoughts on this? <_<

 

I'm a big fan of the Sportrak's antenna. I swear I could almost go caving with that thing and still get a signal. ;)

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The one thing that has not been mentioned is that without a PC link, you can not upgrade the firmware on the GPS. Magellan and Garmin have both had upgrades offered over the years.

True. It was a firmware upgrade that I dowload through the cable that raised the number of waypoints available in my Vista from 500 to 1,000.

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I got a Garmin Legend for Christmas. Love the little booger. Plus I use mine for APRS also, so I have to have the data port. Life is so much easier when all you have to do it download the coords and go. More time for other things.

APRS, thats one of my next projects on my list a about a dozen next ham radio projects.

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I don't use the POIs either, but what happens when you do those 6 caches and then decide you got them done so quickly you wish you had punched in another cache?  Sure NOBODY really needs 500 waypoints loaded, but you might never be sure which one of those you wish you did have.

I have all my caches on my Palm using Pocket Queries - a darn sight easier to find things on that beastie.

 

It also depends on whether you only use it for Geocaching. I use mine with cadets & am away from a PC for up to 2 weeks sometimes - the 20 routes come in useful then.

 

I find that it only takes a minute to enter the co-ordinates (reading them from the Palm) & I haven't managed to mess it up yet......

 

I'm very happy with my eXplorist 100 & if I ever upgrade I'll be looking at this range...

 

Chalky

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I got a Garmin Legend for Christmas. Love the little booger. Plus I use mine for APRS also, so I have to have the data port. Life is so much easier when all you have to do it download the coords and go. More time for other things.

APRS, thats one of my next projects on my list a about a dozen next ham radio projects.

Cheap to set up really. You can do it on a budget. I am fixing to set up a digipeater with my computer sound card.

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Tricky question.

 

Any GPSr is good for caching.  The biggest problem I see with that model is the lack of any sort of computer interface, so you have to input all your waypoints by hand.  A nice yellow e-trek is around the same price range.

  Alas, the Nice Yellow eTrex does not include cables (at least mine didn't).  Garmin will be quite happy to sell you the cables separately, but at unimaginably high prices.  Just within the last few weeks, after a couple years of using my eTrex the stone-aged way, I finally bought a data/power cable, and then a separate power-only cable, from this eBay seller.  Even by foolishly buying these cables in separate transactions*, and spending more than I otherwise needed to on shipping, I still got both of these for about what Garmin charges for a data-only cable.

 

*  It wasn't until after I got my data/power cable that I realized how useful it would be to have a separate power-only cable to keep in my car.  Had I bought the two cables at once, this seller would have charged me only the same shipping for both of them together (about $5.00) that I ended up paying separately for each.

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I bought the Exlorist 200 after going to Best Buy with the intention of buying a Garmin Legend. Taking a page from my wifes playbook, I used the Explorist for two weeks, (keeping the scratch guard on the screen), and returned it after finding the Garmin somewhere else.

 

After using each for about the same time, I have to say that the Garmin, for $20 more, is the more functional unit, and the download capability makes them very different units, with Garmin being well ahead.

 

The Magellan is functional, but the Garmin just has more for the money.

 

All that said, I have been using GPS for an entire month, so I may not exactly be an expert. B)

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Is the Garmin E-Trex, the yellow one, WAAS enabled? I have the exPlorist 100 and am very happy with it. I find it extremely accurate.. always 3-5 meters. NO maps but I know the roads I am going on anyway. If a cache was hidden on a woodsroad, most likely that road wouldnt be on the basemaps anyway. I print off a mapquest map if I am in doubt. For $139 CAD taxes included I am happy with my explorist 100. If $$$ is not a factor then go get a better one by all means. This is what I could afford 5 days after christmas!

 

There is a small black plug in the battery compartment of it that has 4 contacts on the printed circuit board. Wonder what that is for? Probably the initail programming of the unit. When i opended mine when I first got it that little plug fell out...

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Is the Garmin E-Trex, the yellow one, WAAS enabled? I have the exPlorist 100 and am very happy with it. I find it extremely accurate.. always 3-5 meters

 

I don't believe it is, but what do you expect for $89 (USD)? I find WAAS to be of little value anyway and keep it turned off on my units.

Edited by briansnat
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I have yet to understand why companies continue to sell GPS units without the ability to send and retrieve GPS data. The cost of manufacturing the additional connector must be negligible.

*"drifting off topic" alert*

 

Generally with electronic and/or consumer goods, the cost of components can have a surprisingly large effect on the final retail price.

 

I did a project many years ago for a manufacturer of weighing scales - the kind you find at the butcher's counter. You press a button and it measures the weight and sends the numbers to the cash register.

 

We wrote the s/w in a strange hybrid of FORTH and assembly language (if you know assembly, this was weirder, because the assembler was in FORTH, so instead of, say, "LOAD A,9" you would write "9 A LOAD"), because that made for the smallest code. We aimed to fit the software into 2K because a 2Kx8 ROM was about 30 cents cheaper than a 4Kx8 ROM.

 

So we spent a lot of time on the software - probably spending several thousand dollars' worth of our time to get it from 2100 to the magic 2048 bytes - to save 30 cents per scale. You see, the product had to sell for about $120, and the total budget for the catalogue price of all the components was $12 - on top of that you had R&D costs (software etc), marketing, documentation, manufacturing overhead, weights&measures department certification, wholesaler margin, dealer margin, etc etc. Components are about 10% of the final retail price.

 

To the extent that that's true today, a Geko 201 has about $10 worth of electronics and plastic in it ! So that serial connector adds quite a bit. There's the cost of the connector, the cost of having two plastic moulds (one for the model with connector, one without, unless they use one and plug the holes somehow in the no-connector model), the cost of making two manuals...

 

Don't forget also that the guys from marketing will also have their input. They will have "determined from market studies" (funny how these always turn out the same way) that the market "needs" a no-frills entry-level model, a model which has the features most people need, and also that they can shift quite a few units of a model with a couple of extra features which almost nobody needs, but which will appear to the Buick drivers who want to "get the best and not have to worry afterwards".

 

Talking about cars: a friend who worked for Ford (in the UK) told me this story. The production engineers had sat down and worked out the cost of making the various models of the Fiesta subcompact, from the 1.0 litre "el cheapo" version with no rear window defroster, to the 1.8 all-singing all-dancing leather interior model (which nobody in their right minds would buy, as you could get a far bigger car for less). These cars listed for, say, $8000 and $16000 respectively, and cost respectively, say, $3000 and $4000 to make.

 

Well, the engineers worked out that if they only made the most expensive model, they could do it for $2800. The $1200 difference came from the overheads in running multiple models on the line. In other words, the "choice" between a low-end and a high-end model, prevented everyone from being able to have the high-end model for less than they currently paid for the low-end one. (It's more complex than that, of course, since then they wouldn't have been able to sell at such a wide range of prices, but it gives an idea of what is {and is not} involved in pricing this kind of consumer item.

Edited by sTeamTraen
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I was in Costco yeterday and the rather large quantity of Explorist 200's on display caught my attention. Decided to take a quick look.

 

In the list of features listed on the front of the packaging it proudly proclaimed:

 

No Downloading - No PC Required

 

I would have tried to hide that fact.

 

The next line said:

 

Great for Geocaching

 

Not without downloadable waypoints in my opinion

 

Hopefully GC.com gets something for the use of Geocaching on the packaging at least.

 

I'm a Magellan user and love my Meridian and Visor GPS add-on but am embarrassed a bit with this product at the price being asked. Not sure what its good for withour I/O. Seems like a huge step backwards to revert back to a 'dumb' GPSr as technology advances.

 

I'd be happy to test and review new products for Magellan and give some honest real world feedback if needed, especially as they relate to geocaching.

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In the list of features listed on the front of the packaging it proudly proclaimed:

 

No Downloading - No PC Required

 

I would have tried to hide that fact.

 

Ah, but that's marketing for you: making a feature out of a non-feature, or even a deficiency. Don't forget, many people are pretty afraid of their PC, if they have one at all - or maybe they've been bitten in the past because they use a Mac, which suits them for Web and e-mail, but never seems to have the connectivity and software compatibility which they need. (There's no GSAK or EasyGPS for Mac, for example, although of course there are alternatives.)

 

>The next line said:

>Great for Geocaching

>Not without downloadable waypoints in my opinion

 

I have a Geko 201 and the data cable, but given the low density of (unfound) caches round me, I rarely need to put more than one or two WPs into it at a time. So I tend to enter them by hand as well. When I get a mapping GPSr, though, I will probably use the cable to upload the maps <_< - doing it by hand may be "challenging".

 

>Hopefully GC.com gets something for the use of Geocaching on the packaging

>at least.

 

I think the word "Geocaching" is in the public domain, not a TM. Certainly when you go to n***c***e.com it says "Geocaching with N***C***e". Any of the GC.com logos (dancing guy, Signal, hand on chin :blink:, etc) would be a different story.

Edited by sTeamTraen
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my poor little 200 has his feelings hurt! I too weighed the pros and cons of trading this Xmas gift...but decided to keep it. My mother bought it for me at Costco, so it was a bit less than from, say, REI...and at $130 I decided it would make a nice starter. I have only entered one coord in wrong, but it became apparant WAY before I got too off track, so I moved on. Entering the digits is pretty easy and quick ( I know, it's not 500 in a millisecond) with the toggle, and so far the pre loaded maps have been right on. AND the thing has been really durable, and surprised me in the car on rainy days leading me within feet of the find. I have been told for that last couple years that Garmin (is it G-armin, like "Gregory", or g-armin, like "geo"? remember, I am really new to this...) is far more USER friendly and easy to operate. Well, if this little yellow toy is supposed to be difficult, when I DO upgrade to the garmin I want I should be a pro at it. :)

I decided to open the blister pack a month ago and take 'er for a spin when I concluded that when I take friends nieces out geocaching, they will have a GPSr that they can use...one that I won't mind getting dunked in a pond or dropped on the sidewalk. Just a thought or two.

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I think you have made the right decision. I occasionally wish I had some minor feature or other on my Geko 201, but the fact that you have any GPS at all is 99% of the question. Get caching and wear that sucker out; then you can buy your next one with confidence :)

Edited by sTeamTraen
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