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Pda's For Caching


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I want to know what PDA/Palm most of the cachers use, and whats the cheapest I could get to use, strictly for caching.

 

Must connect to my PC, and have some sort of ability to use GPX files. Any other info would be appreciated.

 

RAM needs?

 

Software?

Edited by Marcie/Eric
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I bought my Palm M500 more than two years ago and paid quite a bit of money for it. Until two months ago, it hadn't been earning its keep. :rolleyes:

 

That particular model now sells on eBay for around $50.00. I like it very much and the battery power lasts a really long time. It has a Li-on battery that recharges quickly when it is on the cradle.

 

I paid $8.00 for Cachemate and I download Pocket Queries which GSAK makes short work of.

 

GSAK is a wonderful program!

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A PDA strictly for caching does not have to be fast or anything. CacheMate (best Palm OS caching software to my knowledge) requires Palm OS 3 or later, so anything above that will work fine. You can easily get a suitable Palm on eBay for $30 or less. (Here is one - auction ends in 3 days.)

 

Personally, I prefer Pocket PCs BUT I would not recommend one for you if you're only going to be using it for caching - Pocket PCs tend to be higher end and thus more expensive.

Edited by Tidalflame
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Happy Gillmore PMed me asking about RAM, and I thought I'd post the answer here in case it's helpful to anyone.

 

I read your input on the PDA on Ebay. Is 2mb enough memory to run GSAK files?

 

I'm probably not the best person to answer this, to be honest, as I don't know how much space CacheMate uses per record - it'd be better to ask the author or at least someone who actually uses the program (I've got a Pocket PC), so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

 

Anyway, I would assume so, depending on how heavily you use it. If you're using the device strictly for caching and you put caches on before you find them and delete them after they've been found, you'd definitely have enough space. If, on the other hand, you've got thousands of finds and you absolutely must have every single one of them on your Palm device for reference, then you probably will run out of space.

 

If you're concerned, there are several other models to be had on eBay without paying too much. The Handspring Visor Neo is a nice unit (although it's unfortunately made out of a clear plastic which is extremely fingerprint-friendly) with 8mb of memory - here is one on eBay currently going for $17.50, and this one apparently includes an extra 8mb Springboard card. My only caveat with this unit is that it runs off of AAA batteries, and they're extremely annoying to replace and the cost of batteries can add up.

 

Hope that helps.

 

------------------------------------------

 

Other questions:

 

Icenrye, the IIIxe would certainly be suitable, but two things you'll want to note about this unit:

 

- As graldrich said, it runs on AAA batteries. Replacing the batteries will become EXTREMELY annoying after a while, especially when you take into account the fact that you lose all your data every time you take them out. HotSync backs everything up so it'll all be restored when you sync (which is quite easy), but it's still much more annoying than the units with built-in rechargeable batteries. Also, the cost of AAA batteries can add up pretty quickly (rechargeable AAAs exist, of course, but you still can't charge them while they're in the unit so you still lose your data).

 

- The IIIxe comes with a serial HotSync cable, so if you don't have a serial port on your computer, you won't be able to use it. Most desktop PCs and many laptops do (it looks like this), but even so, the serial port isn't as convenient as USB in my opinion. It's not really a problem unless you use the serial port for something else, like connecting to your GPS - unplugging it and plugging it back in can be annoying. If you're not using the serial port, you can just leave the cradle plugged in, of course.

 

As for Happy Gillmore's question about the serial cable, the Palm V does use a serial cable for syncing. Unfortunately, this is the case with many of the older Palms. You used to be able to buy USB sync cradles/cables for all of the models, but I'm not sure whether or not that's still an option. Serial to USB convertors exist, but Your Mileage May Vary when using one of these - in other words, I have no idea whether or not it'd work. I'd assume so, but I wouldn't make any promises.

 

Oh, by the way, the Visor Neo does come with a USB sync cable.

 

Personally, if I were picking one of these, I'd go with either the V or the Vx. (Unfortunately, the Vx has a serial sync cable as well.) Having owned a Handspring Visor Neo for several years, I've come to absolutely detest having to replace AAA batteries, and both of these units have lithium-ion batteries. Personally, I think I could get by with the V as I really feel no need to keep more than 10 or 20 caches on the unit at a time (as Icenrye knows, there are only so many caches around here :rolleyes:). And 10 or 20 would hardly be the upper limit - as I said, I don't know how efficiently CacheMate stores its data, but I'd expect it to be able to fit at least a hundred caches into 2mb. Most novels are less than that in plaintext.

Edited by Tidalflame
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...
I read your input on the PDA on Ebay. Is 2mb enough memory to run GSAK files?

 

... The IIIxe comes with a serial HotSync cable, so if you don't have a serial port on your computer, you won't be able to use it.

I bought my dad a Palm V a while back for caching. I had no problems with this unit using Plucker and Cache Log Book. I don't know if Cachemate uses more memory.

 

If your computer doesn't have a serial port, you can still use a serial Palm. Just get a cheap serial-USB adapter.

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I have used a Palm V and went back to a Palm IIIxe for geocaching BECAUSE it has replacable batteries. When the rechargable Palms get low on battery you either charge them right away or its useless until you do. I just change batteries and move on. You can get AAA L-ion batteries so you can go rechargable if you like. Changing AAA batteries is a pain but having my Palm V die and having to go home and recharge it got that Palm V archived.

 

I use Cachmate and keep almost 500 records on the Palm with only about half the 8 meg of memory used. It stores data well and works very well. You can't beat the $8 license for Cachmate.

 

My son uses a Dell Axim with GPX Sonar and it is a great way to go. The Axims work well and you can get replacement batteries for them. That gives one rechargable batteries and replacement at the same time.

 

Happy caching

MM

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- As graldrich said, it runs on AAA batteries. Replacing the batteries will become EXTREMELY annoying after a while, especially when you take into account the fact that you lose all your data every time you take them out.

Uhhhh, not quite. I had (and used) a Palm 3x for 3 years and went through many

many battery changes. If you change them within a few minutes (I think the max is 11) the data is not lost due to another internal battery.

 

My rechargable Sonys that I have now DO lose their data from time to time if I do not keep them charged.

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For being cheap and rugged, I have been happy with my Palm Zire that I got for $25 (with shipping) from eBay. It has enough room for 500 caches so I reload it every time I load the GPSs but it's USB so that isn't a problem. It doesn't have a backlight, so I have a stylus from a III that has an LED tip.

 

I only use it for Cachemate and holding the address I need to send my rent to. It's not let me down yet.

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Pros/Cons for Palm Zire M150 (a lot are on ebay for sale)

 

Pros ?:

1. UBS sync cable, I don't have to spend more $ on a cable because my laptop doesn't have a serial port.

2. Cheap, I only want to use it for paperless caching.

3. Easy to read mono screen.

4. rechargable batteries, don't have be replacing with AAA

 

Cons ?:

1. no backlight, too dark to see?

2. 2MB RAM, not enough for holding caching programs and 20 caches?

3. Too low end? I should be thinking about using it with other programs, and for additional uses.

4. No color screen, does this make it too hard to read?

 

A bid just closed on this. Sold for $53 w/shipping. Is this a reasonable price?

 

Any other recommendations, comments, concerns before I start bidding on one?

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FYI, Icenrye, I know you are not endorsing anyone, but the link you provided to ebay is for a seller who has 98% possitive feedback but has 104 negitive and 104 neutral feedback. That is a LOT of neutral and negitie feedback! I would caution buying from this source.

Any re-seller willing to leave feedback on deadbeats is going to get retaliation feedback. 98% is good, but I'd look to see if they are getting retaliation feedback or if they are just idiots 2% of the time. :rolleyes:

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I have used a Palm V and went back to a Palm IIIxe for geocaching BECAUSE it has replacable batteries.  When the rechargable Palms get low on battery you either charge them right away or its useless until you do.  I just change batteries and move on.  You can get AAA L-ion batteries so you can go rechargable if you like.  Changing AAA batteries is a pain but having my Palm V die and having to go home and recharge it got that Palm V archived.

I guess it's a matter of personal taste, but I just think it's annoying to carry batteries around all the time. You can buy different types of chargers as well... solar powered, battery powered, cigarette lighter powered, etc.

 

Oh, and regarding battery life, it basically depends on what kind of features the PDA has. Unfortunately, batteries don't follow Moore's Law, so essentially your battery life depends on when your device was made. The older ones with processors less than 100 mHz will last several days or even weeks on a set of batteries or a charge, but the newer ones (like my Axim x50v) with processors in the 400-600mHz range will only last four or five hours before they need to be recharged. It doesn't really bother me, but of course I can't wait until better batteries hit the market (fuel-cell type batteries are currently under development, as well as "lithium polymer" batteries that should last longer.)

 

As for data loss, I believe that also depends on the model... my Visor Neo lost its data every single time I removed the batteries.

 

Marcie/Eric - IIRC (the info is in this thread somewhere) the V is 2mb and the Vx is 8. Car chargers can be found.

Edited by Tidalflame
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We use an old Palm III with 4 Mb ram we got from ebay for $8 plus shipping. I followed the instructions on http://www.geocacher-u.com/ and it works great for us. Using Spinner and Plucker allows us to get over 500 caches on that tiny memory (minimal graphics though)

 

New batteries seem to last about a month of light weekend caching, and our Rayovac 15min rechargables will last about 2 weeks.

 

The 15 min rechargables are great for the AA GPSr batteries, as we can charge batteries up between caches, but the AAA for the PDA are harder to use, as once the PDA is saying its low on batteries, we always feel rushed to get new ones in to preserve the data.

 

Paperless is so much nicer as we can cache at the spur of the moment, and not have to carry around a filing cabinet.

 

As far as the USB versus Serial port, we have a total of 4 devices that need a serial port that we connect to the computer, so we had to get serial to USB adapters to get them to work. So we can leave the PDA cradle permanantly attached to the desktop.

Edited by Team Fegel
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I am looking at these PDA's on Ebay and a lot of them have velcro on the backs. Enough of them to make me wonder why the universal use of velcro. I know it is used to hold them to something but I don't see the need. Any input/experience with using velcro on PDA's?

Some pda cases keep the pda in place using velcro instead of using a rail or pocket.

Edited by sbell111
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FYI, Icenrye, I know you are not endorsing anyone, but the link you provided to ebay is for a seller who has 98% possitive feedback but has 104 negitive and 104 neutral feedback. That is a LOT of neutral and negitie feedback! I would caution buying from this source.

Any re-seller willing to leave feedback on deadbeats is going to get retaliation feedback. 98% is good, but I'd look to see if they are getting retaliation feedback or if they are just idiots 2% of the time. :)

I agree that 98% is good. I know that I've got some negatives from crazies who could have solved any problem by either reading the item description or sending me an email.

 

However, this seller seems to have alot of people with the same problems regarding slow shipment, poor communication, and faulty merchandise. I would likely stay away from his stuff. Sometimes, I'll buy things from someone like him, but only if the deal is great.

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I did buy a Zire M150 on ebay yesterday. I got if at a buy now for $30 plus $7.75 shipping from someone who I felt much more comfortable with. It turned out great. I got a shipping notice last night! That is very fast.

 

Now I have to decide weither to use GSAK, Cachmate or if I can just copy and paste into Memos. Any suggestions advantages/disadvantages?

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Does anyone utilize street mapping software on their PDAs for use in geocaching? If so, how much memory would that require? (Sorry, I have absolutely no knowledge of PDAs)

Yes. I use Mapopolis. It doesn't take up much space on the palm, depending on how many maps you put in it. It also has the ability to read maps from the memory card, if you have a palm that uses memory cards, you can save ram that way. Cachemate has the ability to export cache waypoints to Mapopolis for navigating, and mapopolis has the ability to interface with your GPS to give you turn-by-turn directions to the cache (or closest street).

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The amount of memory required depends on the exact version you get. The latest NavCard version won't run on a Zire 71 at all, and that has 16MB. The Navigator version runs, but you need 10MB or more free. Only the non-GPS version will run on an older model with 8MB, and don't even think about it with a 2MB model.

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We have been paperless caching for the last 3 months and I must say that it is soooooooo much easier. Our PDA is an IPAQ 4700...yes it is a bit overkill for the job but sometimes we like to watch movies on our 3 hour drives back from a day of caching. GPX Sonar works very well with GSAK I cant imagine going back to paper. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you have it all figured out it becomes a valuable tool.

 

If anyone is interested I have a palm m100 that should be completely capable of doing paperless caching...

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I love it! I'm paperless too. I don't use a PDA for anything so I bought a Palm Zire (M150) on ebay for a buy now price of $30. I followed the directions for paperless caching at Florida Geocaching and it worked perfectly.

 

I have 2mb RAM. I did a pocket query for all caches within 20 mile radius of my home, excluding my finds, and ignore list. I found 487 caches and downloaded them to GSAK then to CacheMate and still have RAM left over.

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I did buy a Zire M150 on ebay yesterday. I got if at a buy now for $30 plus $7.75 shipping from someone who I felt much more comfortable with. It turned out great. I got a shipping notice last night! That is very fast.

 

Now I have to decide weither to use GSAK, Cachmate or if I can just copy and paste into Memos. Any suggestions advantages/disadvantages?

Congratulations on your purchase! I love eBay! :lol:

 

Cachemate is only $8.00 and is well worth it!!

 

GSAK is free to use for 21 days. After that it is still fully functional, but it has "nag screens."

 

Although it took me a while to figure out the rudiments of GSAK, I've learned enough to know it is a brilliant program and is well worth the $20.00 to register it to get rid of the "nag screens."

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I've never had a use for a PDA until now! :o I know nothing about them, so I need your opinion on this unit.

This guy has lots available for sale. Check out this page. :o Not to mention the GPS units.

The PDA's this guy at eBay is selling are all Palm units and OLDER models with less memory/functions than today's models. Even though they are cheaper you wouldn't be happy with it.

 

I'd suggest you invest in an Ipaq 2200 series (approx. $300). They have all the bells & whistles at less cost than the high end units. This way you can use it for other things besides geocaching. I found that my 2210 can do almost everthing my laptop can. :o

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If you are on a tight budget, and plan to use the device only for geocaching, the Palm IIIxe is probably the best choice, and it can be bought in stores for $30 to $50. The IIIxe uses two AAA batteries. Beware of buying a used PDA with a rechargeable battery that is not user replaceable. The cost of replacing the battery may be more than the device is worth, and the battery may be almost gone.

 

Another problem with the rechargeables is that the battery needs recharging every day or so, which can be a problem if you are in the woods several days, or if you are forgetful.

 

If you plan to use additional software on the PDA, such as mapping, you may want to pay more bucks and get a PDA with a faster processor and a memory card slot, such as the Palm Zire 31. Just remember to recharge it.

 

FWIW, CharlieP

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I'd suggest you invest in an Ipaq 2200 series (approx. $300). They have all the bells & whistles at less cost than the high end units.

I have to rant now.

Why is it that when people want something inexpensive/that they can afford, most people are helpful but then some person has to come along and convince somebody that the most expensive thing is the best.

 

My mother's trying to get a home loan, and one bank was very helpful to tell her she can get $100k and stay in the same price range as she's paying now for rent. Another person decided to tell her she could get $150k - an increase of over $300 for her monthly payment.

 

Some people just don't listen to what's being said to them.

End Rant

 

 

To answer somebody else's question, GPSrs don't use color screens with rare exception, and none of us have problems reading any of those, so I can't imagine a PDA being any different.

 

So here's my PDA question. Those of you that have cached paperless without a PDA and paperless with a PDA, how many increased benefits are there really to having a PDA?

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Those of you that have cached paperless without a PDA and paperless with a PDA, how many increased benefits are there really to having a PDA?

Since downloading the 487 caches to my PDA I haven't gone caching so I don't have any feedback. However, I am very interested in reading the replies from those who have been using a PDA for a while.

 

This is what I expect from going with a PDA:

1. Stop calling my wife to read me the information on the cache page because it didn't print on my paper copy I had with me in the field.

2. I have lost/dropped a few cache pages along the trail and had to go back looking for them (some found, some not). I expect not to be dropping my PDA. I expect I'll be a little more careful with that.

3. Go caching on a whim. Hey, I have 487 caches in my hip pocket. No need to go home to look one up. Or if I find a cache and have more time I can do a "nearest caches" search in CacheMate and keep on caching.

4. Don't have to clutter up the car with cache papers and don't have to look for the print out I can't remember where I put, thus having to kill another tree to reprint it. (Well, maybe not a tree, just a small branch. I don't know how much wood a single piece of paper takes.)

5. Caching with a GPSr, cell phone, and now a PDA completes my geekness image and helps me secure who I am. :o

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Those of you that have cached paperless without a PDA and paperless with a PDA, how many increased benefits are there really to having a PDA?

A cheep PDA will pay for itself by the savings on printer ink cartidges in pretty short order. Save trees and money.

 

Also, the time involved in printing and sorting paper is huge compared to a fast pocket query download via GSAK into Cachemate.

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Exactly. I met a fellow Geocacher who is really into the sport and has found almost 200 caches in the past two months. :o

 

He has already gone through two printer cartridges . . . and he now realizes that is more than he would have spent buying a Palm M500 like mine on eBay.

 

Here in San Diego we are having a "Cachin in Fashion" event to get everyone up to speed on paperless caching. :o

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idiosyncratic, that's a great idea.

 

In the past, I've pulled out the laptop and cables from my car to show cachers I met on the hunt and give a quick demo.

 

I brought along my laptop to the last event I hosted, expecting to be asked a few questions, but there was too much going on to give a demo. Please let us know how you pull it off at an event cache and any tips you might have.

 

Thanks,

 

Cade

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