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So Where Are The Explorists 500 And 600??


D0T-C0M
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Are we still stuck with only 200 of the waypoints, er I mean POIs being capable of holding a comment?

Yes, that seems to be the case. I just loaded a POI file with 250 waypoints, and the autoroute I created lacked message content. It presents a bit of a dilemma...put cache waypoints into My POI folders, and you have to hold it under 200 if you want to autoroute to it. Put them into Geocache POI status, and it's not an issue.

 

I just remembered you're just getting going with DR. You may or may not know that the problem is that the street information for the next waypoint in an autoroute leg is contained in the message field. So it was always necessary with the Meridian or SporTrack to not use up all the message fields if you wanted to autoroute to your cache.

 

what happens if you plug connect the gps to your computer? If the gps is recognized as a drive (or does that only apply to the SD card?) can you then perform normal Windows functions on the files?

 

You have to choose on powerup with USB connection between internal memory or SD card. You then can delete, copy etc. in windows fashion.

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A half gig of flash memory and we get 200 waypoints before DR silently fails. Boooooo! (Competing units offer 1000 without excuses.)

 

This tells me I probably need to make a trivial change to GPSBabel so that the 'maxcmts' suboption is honored when writing to files, too. This is why my script to upload to my Magellans outputs to ' -o magellan,maxcmts=185'

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"Anyone tried the 500 or the 600 under tree canopy ?"

 

Well not exactly. Since the new eXplorist units were released before they had been field tested, Thales Navigation is counting upon early adopters to perform this portion of their field testing. You should have access to the results in about six months...........give or take. It is my understanding that only five or six of Thales' employees had these units prior to their market release and that they only used them in urban/suburban settings, don't know why though. Strange isn't it?

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I can't figure out how to post the photos of the explorists 600.... When I click IMG all I get is a http:// reference... Any suggestions? :lol:

You could upload them to your profile, if you don't have some other webspace to put them. Then you just use the URL like you said.

 

--Marky

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Is there any way to send waypoints to this other than the 'Geocache Manager?. I also would not like the idea of not being able to delete a waypoint as I go.

 

We've been playing with an Explorist 100 and the manually entered waypoints are easily deleted. Anyone know if GSAK can send waypoints to the 400/500/600 yet?

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Is there any way to send waypoints to this other than the 'Geocache Manager?. I also would not like the idea of not being able to delete a waypoint as I go.

Sure, if you send waypoints over as "regular" waypoints into the MY POI folder, you can deal with them in the usual manner. They will not have the addtional information that the Geocache Manager affords, but at least you can delete them.

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Is there any way to send waypoints to this other than the 'Geocache Manager?.  I also would not like the idea of not being able to delete a waypoint as I go.

 

We've been playing with an Explorist 100 and the manually entered waypoints are easily deleted.  Anyone know if GSAK can send waypoints to the 400/500/600 yet?

Yet? Has GSAK been reported to not be able to send to these units? That seems odd. More field testing obviously required.

Edited by Team cotati697
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Is there any way to send waypoints to this other than the 'Geocache Manager?.  I also would not like the idea of not being able to delete a waypoint as I go.

Sure, if you send waypoints over as "regular" waypoints into the MY POI folder, you can deal with them in the usual manner. They will not have the addtional information that the Geocache Manager affords, but at least you can delete them.

Thanks Embra

 

I'm just not seeing where the extra 'Geocache Manager' info would be all that helpful to me. It sure looks pretty though. Perhaps I'm missing something, I'll need to check one out more.

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Is there any way to send waypoints to this other than the 'Geocache Manager?.  I also would not like the idea of not being able to delete a waypoint as I go.

 

We've been playing with an Explorist 100 and the manually entered waypoints are easily deleted.  Anyone know if GSAK can send waypoints to the 400/500/600 yet?

Yet? Has GSAK been reported to not be able to send to these units? That seems odd. More field testing obviously required.

When I go to the GPS selection screen in GSAK it does not yet show support for USB when you choose Magellan.

 

Clyde, the GSAK developer, is always very quick to provide updates so I'm sure it in the works if not already possible.

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"Anyone tried the 500 or the 600 under tree canopy ?"

I have used my 500 along side my Meridain gold in and area that I know creates problems for GPS reception. Both performed well. The signal reception between the two was very good.

 

Well not exactly. Since the new eXplorist units were released before they had been field tested, Thales Navigation is counting upon early adopters to perform this portion of their field testing. You should have access to the results in about six months...........give or take.

The 100, 200 and 300 have been out for quite a while, so there has been plenty of time to field test the explorist, they are using the same recievers.

 

It is my understanding that only five or six of Thales' employees had these units prior to their market release and that they only used them in urban/suburban settings, don't know why though. Strange isn't it?

Thats not strange at all, the early models would have been prototypes and not in great supply and very expensive.

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I'm just not seeing where the extra 'Geocache Manager' info would be all that helpful to me. It sure looks pretty though. Perhaps I'm missing something, I'll need to check one out more.

I see two advantages and one disadvantage in using the Geocache Manager.

 

Advantage 1: A range of cache information not able to be contained in a regular waypoint is relatively accessible. The hint (so long as it is less than 50 characters) would probably be the most useful piece of information. If the capability of this part of the software is expanded to have the flexibility of making descriptions and maybe recent logs available, it will be much more useful than it is now.

 

Advantage 2: Autorouting with DirectRoute uses the message field in waypoints to provide detailed street directions. There are only 200 message fields to go with the waypoints. If one has 200 or more waypoints with existing messages, the DR autoroute will lack the street info it usually provides. If one has most or all the 500 active waypoin slots occupied, an autoroute cannot be calculated because there may not be empty waypoint slots available. The Geocache Manager uses a different memory bucket, so you have more room for autoroute requirements.

 

Disadvantage: cannot edit or delete GM POIs on the GPS.

 

I can envision some times when I will want to go one way, and some times the other. I think for the most part I will not use the GM as it is currently implemented, but we'll see.

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The first question I'll ask the 600 crowd that the 500 crowd hasn't been able to answer yet is "does the compass now sensibly automatically turn on when the speed drops below X and use GPS tracking when the speed is above X"? In the absence of that, is there now a single key to toggle between compass and gps course instead of tunneling through several menus?

 

This is something we Plat users have requested about a billion times.

Works just like the Plat...although it is a little easier to turn the electronic compass on and off.

MENU>PREFERENCES>PWR MANAGEMENT>ELECTRONIC COMPASS-OFF

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When I go to the GPS selection screen in GSAK it does not yet show support for USB when you choose Magellan.

 

Clyde, the GSAK developer, is always very quick to provide updates so I'm sure it in the works if not already possible.

 

In GSAK, export a Meridian Protocol (SD) file, naming it with a .upt extension. Then copy it to the SD card on your eXplorist in a POI folder.

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As Promised.... Here are a few pictures of the 600 right out of the box... I've tried to cover all the angles, but if you need something specific, let me know. :laughing:

 

 

http://www.imagerack.net/is.php?i=857&img=GPS_001.jpg

http://www.imagerack.net/is.php?i=858&img=GPS_002.jpg

http://www.imagerack.net/is.php?i=859&img=GPS_003.jpg

http://www.imagerack.net/is.php?i=860&img=GPS_004.jpg

Edited by Tikishark
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My first battery rundown test of the 500 gave 16 hours and 23 minutes of continuous operation. The low battery warning came on at 16:08, and then there was somewhere from 15 to 18 minutes before it either died or shut down (I wasn't looking at it at the crucial moment).

 

The unit was on a 30 second light off timer, so the vast majority of the operation mode was with the backlight off. I did use it a bit for some autorouting here and there, so there was some time with the backlight on full. I would estimate the light on time at 10 to 15 minutes.

 

I'll do a rundown with the backlight on continuous operation as soon as I get a charge back.

 

So...pretty close to "as much as 17 hours;" it was about what I would have hoped for after discounting the marketing perspective.

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"Anyone tried the 500 or the 600 under tree canopy ?"

I have used my 500 along side my Meridain gold in and area that I know creates problems for GPS reception. Both performed well. The signal reception between the two was very good.

 

Well not exactly. Since the new eXplorist units were released before they had been field tested, Thales Navigation is counting upon early adopters to perform this portion of their field testing. You should have access to the results in about six months...........give or take.

The 100, 200 and 300 have been out for quite a while, so there has been plenty of time to field test the explorist, they are using the same recievers.

 

It is my understanding that only five or six of Thales' employees had these units prior to their market release and that they only used them in urban/suburban settings, don't know why though. Strange isn't it?

Thats not strange at all, the early models would have been prototypes and not in great supply and very expensive.

I am NOT referring to 'prototypes'. I AM referring to the amount of time devoted to field testing PRIOR to general market release. I don't think that Thales would classify the units that they are currently selling to the general public as 'prototypes'. But you just never know what those boys might do....do you? And by the way, NEW does not in any way indicate that I am referring to the OLD 100, 200, or 300 models. It DOES mean that I am referring to NEW units like the 400, 500 and 600. Sheesh!!!

 

Like I said, six months.....give or take.

Edited by Team cotati697
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When I go to the GPS selection screen in GSAK it does not yet show support for USB when you choose Magellan.

 

Clyde, the GSAK developer, is always very quick to provide updates so I'm sure it in the works if not already possible.

 

In GSAK, export a Meridian Protocol (SD) file, naming it with a .upt extension. Then copy it to the SD card on your eXplorist in a POI folder.

The geocache manager exports files to the SD card in the following format:

 

$PMGNGEO,4217.166,N,8253.126,W,0000,F,GC8BFE,3%,bapper2,Not many areas to hide look under the fallen trees aprox 8 metres off the trail. I set a few more branches to hid it even better,Traditional Cache,0709102,0904105,1.5,1.0*4B

$PMGNGEO,4216.773,N,8300.520,W,0000,F,GCMZCQ,Windsor-Essex Geo-Meet,Team Tigger International,,Event Cache,1604105,,1.0,1.0*29

$PMGNGEO,4201.940,N,8244.114,W,0000,F,GCN959,Train Station,Old Sailor,Look for # 37,Multi-cache,2903105,1004105,1.5,1.0*7D

$PMGNGEO,4223.007,N,8211.016,W,0000,F,GCNG2G,Lizzy's Lucky Lootbox,lizw2000,Sit on the concrete slabs at the bridge facing the river facing your car. Look for a deep crevasse between slabs and reach way back in.,Traditional Cache,1504105,,3.0,1.0*69

$PMGNCMD,END*3D

 

Likely possible to create a text file in this format although I have no idea what the significance of the *XY cache separator is or the 0000,F after the coordinates. Interestingly the whole Hint is on the SD card - it's just that the screen only shows 50 characters - even though there is room for a lot more.

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... I have no idea what the significance of the *XY cache separator is or the 0000,F after the coordinates.

Cool - pretty simply stuff, easy to write utilities for.

Like most of Magellan's custom messages.

 

The *<hex pair> at the end of each line is a hex checksum of the message.

 

The 0000,F is the elevation in feet - in your example, no elevation was coded.

Edited by lee_rimar
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Do these units come with any other utility for just plain good old waypoint transfer to/from the device without using the memory card. I'm a big KISS principle fan.

 

What if I'm out marking fishing or hunting spots, or whatever. Is there a utility to pull these of the unit and later send them back without going thru the memory card?

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Do these units come with any other utility for just plain good old waypoint transfer to/from the device without using the memory card.  I'm a big KISS principle fan.

 

What if I'm out marking fishing or hunting spots, or whatever.  Is there a utility to pull these of the unit and later send them back without going thru the memory card?

You don't need a utility, the GPS acts just like a drive and you can work with the folders on your PC. You have the option of working with those on the SD card or those in Internal memory. Files are pretty straightforward text (csv) files as far as I can tell.

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Along these lines, let me offer a tip to avoid some confusion I experienced. I uploaded some files to the SD card, but when I went to look for them in the GPS they weren't visible in the folders. This puzzled me, because I could see them from the computer side.

 

It turned out that I was looking in folders in internal memory; it was necessary to go up several levels to choose the SD card, and then drill down to the the folders that had the files I wanted.

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I am NOT referring to 'prototypes'. I AM referring to the amount of time devoted to field testing PRIOR to general market release. I don't think that Thales would classify the units that they are currently selling to the general public as 'prototypes'. But you just never know what those boys might do....do you? And by the way, NEW does not in any way indicate that I am referring to the OLD 100, 200, or 300 models. It DOES mean that I am referring to NEW units like the 400, 500 and 600. Sheesh!!!

 

Like I said, six months.....give or take.

If you re-read Johnny Vegas' reply, you will see he meant that since the 400-500-600 series use the same receiver (and antenna) as the earlier series, then--yes--they have, essentially, been tested under tree canopy (which was the question from an earlier poster that you originally referred to).

 

I, for one, have owned a 200 for a year now, and can vouch for the effectiveness of the antenna and receiver.

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I am NOT referring to 'prototypes'. I AM referring to the amount of time devoted to field testing PRIOR to general market release. I don't think that Thales would classify the units that they are currently selling to the general public as 'prototypes'. But you just never know what those boys might do....do you? And by the way, NEW does not in any way indicate that I am referring to the OLD 100, 200, or 300 models. It DOES mean that I am referring to NEW units like the 400, 500 and 600. Sheesh!!!

 

Like I said, six months.....give or take.

If you re-read Johnny Vegas' reply, you will see he meant that since the 400-500-600 series use the same receiver (and antenna) as the earlier series, then--yes--they have, essentially, been tested under tree canopy (which was the question from an earlier poster that you originally referred to).

 

I, for one, have owned a 200 for a year now, and can vouch for the effectiveness of the antenna and receiver.

This twisted logic is giving me a headache. How testing of a component years in the past, which is installed in a completely different and technologically much more advanced device, how this can pass for actually testing the current version of the device is truly one of the most mind-boggling pieces of logic that I have ever encountered...even in these forums.

 

Lets all hope that NASA hasn't applied this same 'logic' in its reworking of the shuttle that they expect to fly again this summer.

 

"essentially"........ya just gotta love it.

Edited by Team cotati697
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How testing of a component years in the past, which is installed in a completely different and technologically much more advanced device, how this can pass for actually testing the current version of the device....

Because the original question (has it been tested under tree cover?) refers...don't you think?---to the antenna and receiver (since I doubt that the battery performance, or the geocaching function would differ whether under trees or out in the open!).

 

Now, if the same antenna and receiver is placed into a different colored case, and the 1st digit of the model number is changed, is it not reasonable to expect this part of the gps to perform the same?

 

I sure as heck wouldn't wait 6 months for field test results of the antenna and receiver that probably came out of the same parts bin as the one being used for the 200. Its performance has already been documented.

 

Now, if the question had pertained to the new functions, then your point would be valid. But the original question certainly seemed to refer to signal reception.

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I am NOT referring to 'prototypes'. I AM referring to the amount of time devoted to field testing PRIOR to general market release. I don't think that Thales would classify the units that they are currently selling to the general public as 'prototypes'. But you just never know what those boys might do....do you? And by the way, NEW does not in any way indicate that I am referring to the OLD 100, 200, or 300 models. It DOES mean that I am referring to NEW units like the 400, 500 and 600. Sheesh!!!

 

Like I said, six months.....give or take.

If you re-read Johnny Vegas' reply, you will see he meant that since the 400-500-600 series use the same receiver (and antenna) as the earlier series, then--yes--they have, essentially, been tested under tree canopy (which was the question from an earlier poster that you originally referred to).

 

I, for one, have owned a 200 for a year now, and can vouch for the effectiveness of the antenna and receiver.

This twisted logic is giving me a headache. How testing of a component years in the past, which is installed in a completely different and technologically much more advanced device, how this can pass for actually testing the current version of the device is truly one of the most mind-boggling pieces of logic that I have ever encountered...even in these forums.

 

Lets all hope that NASA hasn't applied this same 'logic' in its reworking of the shuttle that they expect to fly again this summer.

 

"essentially"........ya just gotta love it.

The 100, 200 and 300 are not from years in the past, they were offered for sale to dealers last august, I saw them the outdoor retailer show in Salt lake city when they were first displayed. The receiver circuits and antennas in the 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 are the same, so they are going to perform the same way under tree cover. The changes in the 400, 500 and 600 are in the firmware and the color screens in the case on the 500 and 600, these changes are not going to effect receiver performance.

 

You can also be sure that the 400, 500 and 600 were tested in prototype form way before they were put into production. BTW a prototype is not a unit that is ever offered for sale, it is a test platform to make sure the firmware, software and components work properly before they are put into production

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My first battery rundown test of the 500 gave 16 hours and 23 minutes of continuous operation. The low battery warning came on at 16:08, and then there was somewhere from 15 to 18 minutes before it either died or shut down (I wasn't looking at it at the crucial moment).

With full backlight on, the 500 ran for 7 hours 36 minutes before the low batterry alarm sounded.

 

I'll do one more tonight with the backlight at the mid-level setting.

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I have to agree that the new product is rough on the edges and lacking in documentation. It's a bit of a dilemma--do you ship a product that's pretty good, but needs a little polishing, or do you wait until all bases are [reasonably] well covered?

 

It would seem a no brainer from a consumer perspective: no product before its time! But as a particular niche of consumer, perhaps--I prefer having this somewhat raw product in my hands now. I had decided I wanted to upgrade from my monochrome meridian to a color something. The 500/600s looked promising, and I have been waiting 6 months. The niche I occupy is one where I don't mind too much figuring out a few obstacles with the help of this community and so long as the obstacles aren't insurmountable.

 

I, too, have some disappointments with the explori. But while early adapters of a new product (and I'll distinguish between the 1/2/300 and the 4/5/600) have a right to frustration and disappointment, they shouldn't be too surprised at the deficiencies likely to be remedied in the next few months. I think in this sense that TC's advice to wait 6 months if you don't want to take on pioneer duty is well-founded. For me, though, that's part of the fun...and personally, I couldn't wait that long.

 

Edit: spelling

Edited by embra
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I am NOT referring to 'prototypes'. I AM referring to the amount of time devoted to field testing PRIOR to general market release. I don't think that Thales would classify the units that they are currently selling to the general public as 'prototypes'. But you just never know what those boys might do....do you? And by the way, NEW does not in any way indicate that I am referring to the OLD 100, 200, or 300 models. It DOES mean that I am referring to NEW units like the 400, 500 and 600. Sheesh!!!

 

Like I said, six months.....give or take.

If you re-read Johnny Vegas' reply, you will see he meant that since the 400-500-600 series use the same receiver (and antenna) as the earlier series, then--yes--they have, essentially, been tested under tree canopy (which was the question from an earlier poster that you originally referred to).

 

I, for one, have owned a 200 for a year now, and can vouch for the effectiveness of the antenna and receiver.

This twisted logic is giving me a headache. How testing of a component years in the past, which is installed in a completely different and technologically much more advanced device, how this can pass for actually testing the current version of the device is truly one of the most mind-boggling pieces of logic that I have ever encountered...even in these forums.

 

Lets all hope that NASA hasn't applied this same 'logic' in its reworking of the shuttle that they expect to fly again this summer.

 

"essentially"........ya just gotta love it.

The 100, 200 and 300 are not from years in the past, they were offered for sale to dealers last august, I saw them the outdoor retailer show in Salt lake city when they were first displayed. The receiver circuits and antennas in the 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 are the same, so they are going to perform the same way under tree cover. The changes in the 400, 500 and 600 are in the firmware and the color screens in the case on the 500 and 600, these changes are not going to effect receiver performance.

 

You can also be sure that the 400, 500 and 600 were tested in prototype form way before they were put into production. BTW a prototype is not a unit that is ever offered for sale, it is a test platform to make sure the firmware, software and components work properly before they are put into production

Thanks Johnny, you're the best. Cache on dude!!!

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How testing of a component years in the past, which is installed in a completely different and technologically much more advanced device, how this can pass for actually testing the current version of the device....

Because the original question (has it been tested under tree cover?) refers...don't you think?---to the antenna and receiver (since I doubt that the battery performance, or the geocaching function would differ whether under trees or out in the open!).

 

Now, if the same antenna and receiver is placed into a different colored case, and the 1st digit of the model number is changed, is it not reasonable to expect this part of the gps to perform the same?

 

I sure as heck wouldn't wait 6 months for field test results of the antenna and receiver that probably came out of the same parts bin as the one being used for the 200. Its performance has already been documented.

 

Now, if the question had pertained to the new functions, then your point would be valid. But the original question certainly seemed to refer to signal reception.

Probably. Cache on dude!!

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Back from the first full day of caching with the 500. Love it versus my old Meri Gold. The old Magellan overshoot/boomerang effect is gone. Reception in the car is better - it can sit in the coffee holder between the seats and still gets a good signal. My Meri Gold would only work up on the front dash. And I can turn it off and it remembers the previous goto (although it forgets it if I switch maps from DirectRoute to Topo). Great screen - I can now tell a contour from a river - and the size - perfect. When muggles approach I can hold it to my ear, talk at it and look believable ;). And after 8hrs of caching the battery is only half done (and I haven't got an in-car charger yet).

Edited by Hard Oiler
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My 3rd weekend using the 500, and comparing it to my Meridian Green, which I have had over 2 years. I set both to the compass screen, with the fields showing bearing and distance. While driving and walking, they seem to react almost exactly the same in the arrow (with same go-to), bearing and distance. Walking up to cache hides, they performed equally. At a super-accurate benchmark, they showed the same (over a period of minutes, one would be closer, then the other.)

 

Regarding the reception, based on the number of satellites shown on the signal meter, their strength and the EPE number, initial fix on power up, the 500 performs very well compared to the Meridian. I tested it in the house, car, open fields, under heavy tree cover. In every case, I find the Meridian was equal or slightly better than the 500. But sometimes receiving one fewer sat, or having slightly lower signal strength, the 500 appears to perform just as well.

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My guess is that nobody has the European version of these, if any cachers in europe have one I am sure they will let us know. If your concern is not being able to change of the base map from the european version to the north american version, this is the case with any GPS. Not having a European base map does not mean that the GPS will not work in europe.

 

You might try posting in one of the european forums.

 

Edit to add;

 

Check this link for the explorist 500 and then look up what software will work on the 400, 500 and 600

Explorist 500

You will find a version of direct route for europe and some topo software also.

Edited by JohnnyVegas
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Somebody who has a 400/500/600 with EU-basemap?

 

The new basemap for the 4/5/600 has the extension *.mgi the 1/2/300 *.mgn so it isn't possible to change the maps.

 

Don't want to buy any Magellan in future...

I ask these things without any intent to flame because I would like to understand your complaint better:

 

Which brands beside Magellan allow (and I don't mean the word in the legal sense) for swapping of the basemaps?

 

Why does incompatibility of 1/2/300 basemaps with 4/5/600 basemaps matter? I would presume that if it is possible to swap basemaps on these units that one would just need to get the right basemap.

 

Edit: grammar

Edited by embra
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I was able to spend a bit of time with my 500 over the weekend. Most of that time spent was simply getting it recognized on the computer.

 

FINALLY, I had no choice but to upgrade to Windoz ME. That solved most of the problems. I created a region on DR and created some POIs.

 

You should know that the POIs are not tied to a saved region. I also discovered that you can't (that's can not) save your files to a SD card reader. If you try, it will appear that it saves it, but when you check your card, it'll be empty.

Loading a file to the SD card that's within the 500 takes a looooooooooooooooog time.

 

DR is woefully out of date. I've found several roads that don't exist on DR. And there's no updates?

 

Without being sure of how it's done, I attempted to build a route. Each waypoint is connected by a straight line. This is a bit confusing to someone new like me. I don't know yet, how the 500 is going to direct me between each waypoint when the road is curvy between actual left and right turns. I wasn't sure about the placements of way points, i.e., if I should place a waypoint at only left and right turns, or if I need to place them to follow the sweeping turns of an on ramp.

 

Since getting the 500, I've had to buy street level software (why it doesn't come with that baffles me. it's like buying an air conditioner without freeon), an SD card, an SD card reader (because I had read that it was faster to use one, but it turns out DR won't work with it), it took four days of one failed attempt after another for the 500 and computer to talk, until I finally had to upgrade the operating system of my computer. Windows is used world wide and they can't make a device that works with it?

In use, Direct Route is dumb when building routes between POI's, bypassing freeways and sending you on surface streets. You can search for a shopping POI, but there isn't a shopping icon for POIs, so you have to use something else. You can't change the display size of POI's on the map. The way DR slants the street names makes them nearly unreadable under the best conditions and completely useless if your driving. When creating a POI, you can't place it using the exact address. Instead you have to 'guess'. I understand this is for memory saving purposes, but that wouldn't be an issue if the processor was better at memory swapping, and you weren't limited to how much SD card memory you could use.

PDA's have been using touch screens for years, yet on the 500, menu and character entry is a laborous and time consuming task of using a small thumb-stick.

Some people, more patient than me B) , have commented that the company will correct the deficenties with time. It's true that other companies release updates, but those are to fix bugs, not make up for missing features the product should have had to begin with.

 

If anything, I can say I've gotten a true education in GPS. What I thought about GPS and what it really is are very different, and it's been one dissapointment after another, with a good helping of frustration. While the technology of being able to track yourself on the planet from outer space is amazing, with a very high coolness factor, the features, useability, intuitiveness, and adptability of the 500, in comparison with other consumer technology, is just plain primitive and sloppy.

 

Over all, these experiences have completely take the novelty and luster off of the first GPS I've ever owned.

 

There may be some of you who may be upset with what I'm saying. Understand these are my opinions. From the enjoyment and activity I see on this forum, many of you are very happy with your GPS. My comments won't, and shouldn't, detract from that. And, if some of you feel like flaming me, I would ask you instead to impart your knowledge, insight, and tips/tricks of GPS to help me gain the same level of enjoyment you have.

 

You'll laugh (maybe) when I say that having said all of this, I'll be keeping the 500. Because, having said all this, it will show me where I am when I'm on those odd, out of the way back roads when I'm on my motorcycle, so I can eventually find my way home.

 

One last thing. If the quality of my GPS was as good and helpful as the people on this forum, I'd be telling every friend and family member to run, don't walk, to buy one. Thanks to everyone for sharing your experience and help.

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I take your comments in the spirit intended, Snap, and I certainly agree that no one should *have* to endure frustration as a part of the GPS experience. If you had happened to choose an older, time-tested model you probably would have had a smoother (though not necessarily perfectly smooth) time of it. It's a bit a dilemma, too, in that until you dive into the whole thing you don't exactly know what you're letting yourself in for. Doing one's homework helps a lot, but there's nothing like the real thing (for better or worse).

 

I think in the long run you'll come to appreciate what you've got as you learn to live with the shortcomings and get maximum use out of the things that work well. There are any number of things in any brand's offerings that drive us nucking futs, but I still am drawn to it all like a moth to the flame.

 

A very few comments in response to your tale (which I appreciate your sharing):

 

DR is woefully out of date. I've found several roads that don't exist on DR. And there's no updates?

In the grand scheme of things, I think they're pretty good. Understand that no maps available today are 100% accurate. The older Mapsend road products *were* woefully old...many years so...but DR is based upon the same NavTech data as Garmin. It's considered state of the art, but as soon as it is published, it begins to age. NavTech has a website where they solicit corrections and updates, where they would love you to tell them what's missing, and it should make it into a subsequent update. Magellan has promised annual updates; they are late on this promise but I will bet that part of the delay is to incorporate explorist direct communication capability. "any day now" B)

 

Without being sure of how it's done, I attempted to build a route. Each waypoint is connected by a straight line. This is a bit confusing to someone new like me. I don't know yet, how the 500 is going to direct me between each waypoint when the road is curvy between actual left and right turns. I wasn't sure about the placements of way points, i.e., if I should place a waypoint at only left and right turns, or if I need to place them to follow the sweeping turns of an on ramp.

The routes you create will be point-to-point, i.e., "as the crow flies." That's desireable when you're going through the woods to a cache. Most of the time those kind of routes are not as useful as the street routes that DR creates on the fly (I know, they don't always go the way we want). If you choose "street route" when you activate it on the GPSr, DR will just take the first and last waypoint and create an autoroute ignoring anything in between). Street routes use the roads to get you from here to there (if you are zoomed out past .40 mi, you will see a waypoint-to-waypoint display in the map screen; .40 and closer will hilight the road to take).

 

Since getting the 500, I've had to buy street level software (why it doesn't come with that baffles me. it's like buying an air conditioner without freeon)

A marketing decision, I guess...some people want street software, some people prefer Topo. Some people can only afford the GPSr to start, and add on the other stuff as their budget allows. With the Meridian, Magellan did sell packages that included most of the basic setup.

 

Many of the rest of your comments sound like great ideas that I hope we see as soon as possible. If a competitor can offer them and Magellan can't, you can bet we'll see a shift in market share.

 

...and remember, what doesn't make your head blow into smithereens make ya stronger! :o

 

edited for the usual spelling errors and clarity

Edited by embra
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Poor, poor eXplorist 500/600, most people could not wait until you were born ... and now, just a few weeks on this world, you're getting already so much beating that you might wish, you were never born B)

 

Well, I'm the happy owner of an eXplorist 600 for 10 days now and love it! B) I've put in a 2GB SD card and loaded it with the entire U.S., incl. Alaska, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Canada and most of Europe with DirectRoute. All the regions were cut into 64MB sizes and saved on the HD, after that I transferred them onto the SD card in the card reader. A region, with a size of 64MB took 8 sec. to upload onto the reader. Everything worked flawlessly! I'm using Windows XP SP2.

 

My first GPSr was a SporTrak Pro and even with the background light on, I could not read it without my glasses on when it was dark outside. But eventhough the screen of the eXplorist is smaller as compared to the SporTrak, it is much easier to read, even at nights without the background light on ... and no, I don't need my glasses to read the eXplorist screen at night. :o

 

Yes, the eXplorist 500/600 is not perfect ... but what other GPSr is?

 

Just a little episode on the sideline, last Saturday, I went caching with some friends, one had the Meridian Plat. and another the Garmin 60CS. I almost had an inferiority complex right next to the 60CS, but which dissapeared rather quickly after being in the woods with still no leaves on the trees, the 60CS suddenly lost its signal while the Meridian Plat. and the eXplorist had 6-7 sat. showing ... go figure.

Edited by SwissTeam
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Holy cow! My experience and opinion is almost the exact opposite of everything you say. Here's my rebuttal. Correct me if I misinterpreted some of the things you've said.

 

I was able to spend a bit of time with my 500 over the weekend. Most of that time spent was simply getting it recognized on the computer.

Ok, I'll give you that. I had some trouble too. But it seems that in your case, and in mine that it was not the fault of the GPS, but something external.

 

You should know that the POIs are not tied to a saved region.

I don't know what you mean by this. Do you mean the DR POIs or waypoints (which are confusingly also named POIs on the Explorist)? When I've searched for DR POIs, I select Menu-->Pts of Interest-->Detail Map--> and then whichever type of POI I'm interested in. Those are the POIs for that region, are they not?

 

I also discovered that you can't (that's can not) save your files to a SD card reader. If you try, it will appear that it saves it, but when you check your card, it'll be empty.

I saved a region through my SD card and it worked fine. Not sure where you made your error.

 

Loading a file to the SD card that's within the 500 takes a looooooooooooooooog time.

Agreed (mostly). With the Meridian, it was simply drag and drop, and took about 10 seconds. For some reason, The Explorist take 3-5 minutes for the same size region. A long time, but not a "looooooooooooooooog" time.

 

DR is woefully out of date. I've found several roads that don't exist on DR. And there's no updates?

There has been one update. v1.00 to v2.00 where they updated some roads. Even so, I haven't yet been anywhere where the roads were incorrect. Even a new highway near my work (which doesn't appear on Topo 4.2) is there. Perhaps in your area the experience is different, but I have to say that I'm quite impressed with the completeness of the DR data.

 

I attempted to build a route. Each waypoint is connected by a straight line. This is a bit confusing to someone new like me. I don't know yet, how the 500 is going to direct me between each waypoint when the road is curvy between actual left and right turns.

I don't quite follow you here. I think you're using the program incorrectly--or at least in a less efficient manner. When loaded on the GPS, select Goto-->Street Route--> and then your destination of choice, be it an address, POI, geocache, whatever. The Explorist will calculate the route for you automatically, and it follows all the curves in the roads. I've never "built a route." It's done for me by the GPS.

 

Since getting the 500, I've had to buy street level software

Well, you chose to by street level software. I used my Meridian Gold for several months until I decided I wanted something more detailed. Sure, it'd be nice if it came with all the street level data... but that's part of the deal. You knew ahead of time that it just has a basemap.

 

[i've had to buy] an SD card, an SD card reader (because I had read that it was faster to use one, but it turns out DR won't work with it)

Actually, you need neither, even to use DR. The internal memory of the Explorist 500 will accept maps just as easily as the SD card. Yes, it's only 8 megs or something, but Legend users have gotten along fine with 8 megs for years. The SD card just give you lots more room. And the Explorist 500 itself acts as an SD card reader, so getting another one is just redundant.

 

it took four days of one failed attempt after another for the 500 and computer to talk, until I finally had to upgrade the operating system of my computer. Windows is used world wide and they can't make a device that works with it?

It worked, right? Again, this is a Windows issue, not a GPS issue.

 

In use, Direct Route is dumb when building routes between POI's, bypassing freeways and sending you on surface streets.

Yes, sometimes it chooses a different route than you might have gone. For example, when I have DR route me from work to home, it turns me off the main street onto residential streets about two blocks early. Does that make a big difference in time? Yeah, maybe about 30 seconds. The truth is, except maybe in rare cases, the route suggested by DR is, or is close enough to the optimum route as to be negligible. I think you're being too picky here. There are numerous ways to get somewhere, and DR will find one of them for you. If you're in unfamiliar territory, the time savings by using it more than offsets any time used by going through a few extra stop signs.

 

When creating a POI, you can't place it using the exact address. Instead you have to 'guess'.

No, actually it will do this. Menu-->Pts of Interest-->Detail Map-->Address. Now put the street address in. The kludge here is that sometimes there are many similarly named streets, and it can be hard to figure out which one you really want, but the functionality is there. It's a feature I use often.

 

PDA's have been using touch screens for years, yet on the 500, menu and character entry is a laborous and time consuming task of using a small thumb-stick.

Pretty good for a device with 10 buttons. Other than touch screen, I can't think of any better way for data entry, other than having a big keyboard layout. It's a compromise you have to make for having a handheld device. Honestly, I've been extremely impressed with the menu system on the Explorist, and the ease of switching between files and folders. Vastly easier than the really klunky Card Utilities on the Meridians.

 

Some people, more patient than me B) , have commented that the company will correct the deficenties with time. It's true that other companies release updates, but those are to fix bugs, not make up for missing features the product should have had to begin with.

I too, hope that Magellen fixes some of the deficiencies which I percieve in the Explorist. Magellan does have a track record for this. When the Meridians first came out, there was no way to switch maps or save waypoint files. They added a missing waypoint projection, and somehow found a way to make the Meridians autorouting GPSs several years after they came out. So hopefully in the near future, Magellan will be addressing some of our concerns.

 

I would ask you instead to impart your knowledge, insight, and tips/tricks of GPS to help me gain the same level of enjoyment you have.

I hope this post does that.

 

Jamie

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Eight seconds? Mine took almost 20 minutes!!!

What the heck?

Are you counting creating the region within DR or just the transfer to the GPS.

 

Yes, creating the region takes a long time. 20 minutes or more is not uncommon. A faster CPU will lower this time, but it's still an intensive process.

 

Converting (with the Conversion Manager) and sending to the GPS is the "quick" part. I have not experienced 8 seconds. I'm curious what I'm doing wrong.. but when I run the saved region through Conversion Manager and send it to the Explorist (Or card reader as I've done also) the process takes several minutes as I stated in my previous post.

 

I suspect all three of us are referring to slightly different processes.

 

Jamie

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Eight seconds?  Mine took almost 20 minutes!!!

What the heck?

Are you counting creating the region within DR or just the transfer to the GPS.

 

Yes, creating the region takes a long time. 20 minutes or more is not uncommon. A faster CPU will lower this time, but it's still an intensive process.

 

Converting (with the Conversion Manager) and sending to the GPS is the "quick" part. I have not experienced 8 seconds. I'm curious what I'm doing wrong.. but when I run the saved region through Conversion Manager and send it to the Explorist (Or card reader as I've done also) the process takes several minutes as I stated in my previous post.

 

I suspect all three of us are referring to slightly different processes.

 

Jamie

Yes, downloading from DR onto the HD takes approx. 15 min. (64MB) but after that, uploading a region from my HD to the SD card reader (SanDisk USB 2.0) is just a breeze ... no more than 8 sec.

Edited by SwissTeam
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Eight seconds?  Mine took almost 20 minutes!!!

What the heck?

Are you counting creating the region within DR or just the transfer to the GPS.

 

Yes, creating the region takes a long time. 20 minutes or more is not uncommon. A faster CPU will lower this time, but it's still an intensive process.

 

Converting (with the Conversion Manager) and sending to the GPS is the "quick" part. I have not experienced 8 seconds. I'm curious what I'm doing wrong.. but when I run the saved region through Conversion Manager and send it to the Explorist (Or card reader as I've done also) the process takes several minutes as I stated in my previous post.

 

I suspect all three of us are referring to slightly different processes.

 

Jamie

I think Snap is talking about the time for Conversion Mangager to send a 64MB file over to the explorist. I found that CM needed about 9 minutes to send a 32MB region to my 500, while it took about 2 minutes to send it to a card reader. I attribute this difference to apparent USB1.x in the GPSr vs. known 2.0 with my reader.

 

CM must be doing something, because I can just copy a 32MB file much more quickly. (8 seconds?)

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Yes, downloading from DR onto the HD takes approx. 15 min. (64MB) but after that, the uploading a region from my HD to the SD card reader (SanDisk USB 2.0) is just a breeze ... no more than 8 sec.

Is this for an Explorist 500 using the Conversion Manager? I get the feeling you're creating the region for your Meridian, in which case you can just drag and drop the file. The Explorist requires a conversion, and the conversion plus the subsequent transfer to GPS takes my 1.4GHz machine roughly four or five minutes.

 

If I'm wrong in my assumption, I must be doing something wrong.

 

Jamie

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Holy cow! My experience and opinion is almost the exact opposite of everything you say. Here's my rebuttal. Correct me if I misinterpreted some of the things you've said.

 

I was able to spend a bit of time with my 500 over the weekend. Most of that time spent was simply getting it recognized on the computer.

Ok, I'll give you that. I had some trouble too. But it seems that in your case, and in mine that it was not the fault of the GPS, but something external.

 

You should know that the POIs are not tied to a saved region.

I don't know what you mean by this. Do you mean the DR POIs or waypoints (which are confusingly also named POIs on the Explorist)? When I've searched for DR POIs, I select Menu-->Pts of Interest-->Detail Map--> and then whichever type of POI I'm interested in. Those are the POIs for that region, are they not?

 

I also discovered that you can't (that's can not) save your files to a SD card reader. If you try, it will appear that it saves it, but when you check your card, it'll be empty.

I saved a region through my SD card and it worked fine. Not sure where you made your error.

 

Loading a file to the SD card that's within the 500 takes a looooooooooooooooog time.

Agreed (mostly). With the Meridian, it was simply drag and drop, and took about 10 seconds. For some reason, The Explorist take 3-5 minutes for the same size region. A long time, but not a "looooooooooooooooog" time.

 

DR is woefully out of date. I've found several roads that don't exist on DR. And there's no updates?

There has been one update. v1.00 to v2.00 where they updated some roads. Even so, I haven't yet been anywhere where the roads were incorrect. Even a new highway near my work (which doesn't appear on Topo 4.2) is there. Perhaps in your area the experience is different, but I have to say that I'm quite impressed with the completeness of the DR data.

 

I attempted to build a route. Each waypoint is connected by a straight line. This is a bit confusing to someone new like me. I don't know yet, how the 500 is going to direct me between each waypoint when the road is curvy between actual left and right turns.

I don't quite follow you here. I think you're using the program incorrectly--or at least in a less efficient manner. When loaded on the GPS, select Goto-->Street Route--> and then your destination of choice, be it an address, POI, geocache, whatever. The Explorist will calculate the route for you automatically, and it follows all the curves in the roads. I've never "built a route." It's done for me by the GPS.

 

Since getting the 500, I've had to buy street level software

Well, you chose to by street level software. I used my Meridian Gold for several months until I decided I wanted something more detailed. Sure, it'd be nice if it came with all the street level data... but that's part of the deal. You knew ahead of time that it just has a basemap.

 

[i've had to buy] an SD card, an SD card reader (because I had read that it was faster to use one, but it turns out DR won't work with it)

Actually, you need neither, even to use DR. The internal memory of the Explorist 500 will accept maps just as easily as the SD card. Yes, it's only 8 megs or something, but Legend users have gotten along fine with 8 megs for years. The SD card just give you lots more room. And the Explorist 500 itself acts as an SD card reader, so getting another one is just redundant.

 

it took four days of one failed attempt after another for the 500 and computer to talk, until I finally had to upgrade the operating system of my computer. Windows is used world wide and they can't make a device that works with it?

It worked, right? Again, this is a Windows issue, not a GPS issue.

 

In use, Direct Route is dumb when building routes between POI's, bypassing freeways and sending you on surface streets.

Yes, sometimes it chooses a different route than you might have gone. For example, when I have DR route me from work to home, it turns me off the main street onto residential streets about two blocks early. Does that make a big difference in time? Yeah, maybe about 30 seconds. The truth is, except maybe in rare cases, the route suggested by DR is, or is close enough to the optimum route as to be negligible. I think you're being too picky here. There are numerous ways to get somewhere, and DR will find one of them for you. If you're in unfamiliar territory, the time savings by using it more than offsets any time used by going through a few extra stop signs.

 

When creating a POI, you can't place it using the exact address. Instead you have to 'guess'.

No, actually it will do this. Menu-->Pts of Interest-->Detail Map-->Address. Now put the street address in. The kludge here is that sometimes there are many similarly named streets, and it can be hard to figure out which one you really want, but the functionality is there. It's a feature I use often.

 

PDA's have been using touch screens for years, yet on the 500, menu and character entry is a laborous and time consuming task of using a small thumb-stick.

Pretty good for a device with 10 buttons. Other than touch screen, I can't think of any better way for data entry, other than having a big keyboard layout. It's a compromise you have to make for having a handheld device. Honestly, I've been extremely impressed with the menu system on the Explorist, and the ease of switching between files and folders. Vastly easier than the really klunky Card Utilities on the Meridians.

 

Some people, more patient than me B) , have commented that the company will correct the deficenties with time. It's true that other companies release updates, but those are to fix bugs, not make up for missing features the product should have had to begin with.

I too, hope that Magellen fixes some of the deficiencies which I percieve in the Explorist. Magellan does have a track record for this. When the Meridians first came out, there was no way to switch maps or save waypoint files. They added a missing waypoint projection, and somehow found a way to make the Meridians autorouting GPSs several years after they came out. So hopefully in the near future, Magellan will be addressing some of our concerns.

 

I would ask you instead to impart your knowledge, insight, and tips/tricks of GPS to help me gain the same level of enjoyment you have.

I hope this post does that.

 

Jamie

Jamie Z, thank you for the great reply.

 

The only thing we disagree on is the Windows thing. The way I see it, Magellean is creating something that should interface easily with Windows. I don't believe it's Windows responsibility to adapt to Magellan.

 

With regards to getting personal POIs from the computer to the GPS, that can be done through Windows Explorer, and you can simply drag and drop? I thought all files from the PC to the GPS had to go through this converson process, which by the way, I'm not sure I'm doing right, yet, I put a custom region on the 500 via DR menu options.

 

Concerning routes, this may be a special case. When I take a bike ride, it's not specific places I'm going, but there are a series of specifc roads I want to take. How would I go about creating a route for that?

 

As for Direct Route being dumb, well, my POI is to the east, but I've got a freeway a couple of minutes to the west of my starting point. Instead, DR has me taking surface streets half way across the valley eastward until the street intersects with another freeway. That would be a 20 minute drive, where taking the freeway to the west would save me that 20 minute drive. The amout of DR dumbness is relative to where you happen to be going, I suppose.

 

Let me clarify when I'm talking about creating a POI. My bad for leaving out this detail. I should have said that I'm creating the POI on the PC, not the GPS. When using the PC, you have to guess where to place the POI. DR will have to an area where the address range is, but not the specific location.

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Yes, downloading from DR onto the HD takes approx. 15 min. (64MB) but after that, the uploading a region from my HD to the SD card reader (SanDisk USB 2.0) is just a breeze ... no more than 8 sec.

Is this for an Explorist 500 using the Conversion Manager? I get the feeling you're creating the region for your Meridian, in which case you can just drag and drop the file. The Explorist requires a conversion, and the conversion plus the subsequent transfer to GPS takes my 1.4GHz machine roughly four or five minutes.

 

If I'm wrong in my assumption, I must be doing something wrong.

 

Jamie

I'm using an eXplorist 600. When I pick up the DR region file with my Conversion Manager und upload it to my SD card, via a SanDisk USB 2.0 card reader, a 64MB region will not take more than 8 sec. I'm using a 2.8 GHz, 512 RAM Laptop to do that.

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I'm using an eXplorist 600. When I pick up the DR region file with my Conversion Manager und upload it to my SD card, via a SanDisk USB 2.0 card reader, a 64MB region will not take more than 8 sec. I'm using a 2.8 GHz, 512 RAM Laptop to do that.

Well, that's clear enough. As I said, a 32MB file took me 2 minutes; Athlon 2200 1GB RAM. I'll be doing some more regions, so I'll see if I can find why the discrepancy.

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