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Old 06-03-2012, 03:05 PM   #1
Beakster OP
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How to: Cheap GPS + USB Power & Route Planning (Itineraries)

Hey,

Here's how I got USB power and cheap satellite navigation on my Bonneville without spending a lot of money. I also describe how to do route planning/itineraries.

The USB power is useful for charging up satnavs, mobile phones and digital cameras. The idea here was to add a USB socket to the bike as cheaply as possible, but it had to be weatherproof. I didn't want to add a 12V (cig lighter or powerlet) socket to the bike as I have no need for 12V and I'd have to have an adapter hanging off it to get the USB power which probably wouldn't be weatherproof.

The solution I found was this handy wee weatherproof 12V to 5V USB socket: http://www.princessauto.com/pal/prod...B-Power-Outlet

Note that I got mine from Princess Auto (link above). It was $7 and with postage and tax I think it came to around $14. I did a lot of research on this part and its a generic item made in China. You can buy them direct from China for $2.30 but there is a minimum order of 500 units. BEWARE as there are people online selling these for ridiculously inflated prices. Princess Auto seemed to be the best deal by far if you just want 1 unit.



As you can see from the image, I have cut the cables short to the length I require and crimped and soldered on a couple of spade terminals. I then connected these to the socket under the fuel tank which is normally used for 12V socket. Black wire to black wire, red wire to purple wire.

I then decided on the best place for my socket and cable tied it in place:



After that I wrapped the wire and terminals in black electrical tape. This was to provide a bit of weather protection to the wires and also stop the spade terminals slipping out of the socket.



Fuel tank back in place and USB cable connected for charging phone:



Here are some photos showing how my phone is mounted and the cable is routed. Note that I'll need to get a right angled USB cable (right angled at phone end) as the current straight one sticks out too far to close the case fully.










The phone I'm using is just a cheap Android phone (LG Optimus). It fits nicely into this "waterproof" smartphone case I got on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...E:L:OC:GB:3160

At first I was using the phone in the map pocket of a magnetic tank bag. I used velcro to keep the phone from moving around inside the pocket but I found I had to look down too far to see it and also it didn't get much airflow so the phone got too hot on sunny days. Also the tank bag kept scratching my tank. I then decided to get a handlebar mounted case.

The case seems ideal and can be mounted in a few different places on the handle bars and offers lots of adjustment. The phone can even be used in the case, although gloves can make it challenging. I haven't used it in the rain yet but I would be confident about using it in a light shower, but if it was a heavy downpour I'd probably take the phone off and put it somewhere safe. These phones are pretty cheap though, about $90 second hand for one, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if it got damaged.

There are a few different options for GPS software. I started off using NavFree which, as the name suggests, is free. https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....OSM.ALL&hl=en

NavFree works really well for what it is. You can use it offline but if you are searching by address then I think it needs an internet connection to find the co-ordinates. I installed a plugin for it which lets you search by postcode offline as that's normally how I find addresses. Once you are on the road and following the route, you no longer need the internet connection which you would if you used Google Maps. You need to make sure you have the maps for your country/state downloaded before hand though.

As I'm in a riding club now I found the need to plan routes which I could then follow by GPS. This proved quite challenging as most only offer an A-B option where you set the destination and it takes you the way it wants. After some research I found a way to create routes on the computer which I could then follow on the phone.

Firstly I installed a free program called Tyre on the computer: http://www.tyre.tk/

Using this program I can create a route using a series of waypoints. Once the route is completed I can export it as a Tomtom itinerary file. If you are using a Tomtom device which supports itinerarys then you are good to go, just upload it. Unfortunately I have an old Tomtom which doesn't support itinerarys so I wanted a solution for Android.



After much searching I found a program called Sygic: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...gic.aura&hl=en

You can get a 1 week free trial of this online, but to use it after that you need to pay for it. It's a good program though and much cheaper than buying a new GPS device. In order to get your Tomtom itinerary to work with it:

1) First install Sygic on your device and the map for your area:
2) Create your route in Tyre and save as a .ITN (tomtom)
3) Convert your route from ITN to ITF with ITN2ITFConverter
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-s2...4UQ/edit?pli=1
4) Put the ITF file into your phone (AURA/RES/ITINERARY) using your USB cable.
5) In Sygic you can go to routes and load route and you will see the route you created.

Now you can just follow your preplanned route by watching your phone while you ride.

You could also connect your phone to speakers and use it to listen to music or the radio while you ride and you never need to worry about running out of charge seeing as you have your USB power socket. :)

Total costs:
USB Power Socket + postage $14
Spade Terminals $2
Phone Case/Bracket + postage $20
Android Phone: I already had one
NavFree: Free

Total: $36

If you want to use Sygic so you can plan routes rather than just go A-B you'll need to buy that, its about $30 I think.

Beakster screwed with this post 06-03-2012 at 06:34 PM Reason: typos
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
Irishman
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I like this...

I have Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket now and I used to use a handlebar mount and my Iphone. Now that I have a Viper fairing on my Bonneville, I tink I am going to mount the USB port on the little shelf inside the fairing and also mount the phone in there and that will keep it out of all but the worst rain.

Good post!
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:42 PM   #3
FatChance
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Be aware that it is just a matter of time before the vibrations on a motorcycle will eventually kill the device's USB connection. Getting the connection wet will also cause it to fail as you point out, but so will vibration. USB connections are just not a good way to power electrical devices on a motorcycle, but unfortunately many have no other option. That is why GPS devices made for motorcycles use a different type of power connection and cost more.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
hugemoth
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I've had problems with the mini USB connection on the back of a couple different GPS units when mounted on my dual sport bikes. What worked for me was to wedge a needle between the plastic and the wide side of the metal surrounding the mini USB socket on the GPS in order to bend it in slightly and make the plug fit tighter. After doing that there have been no problems for many thousands of off road miles. I also use a couple elastic hair ties to hold the 12V plug into the cig lighter outlet. The NUVI 205 has taken one heck of a beating but keeps on working.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance View Post
Be aware that it is just a matter of time before the vibrations on a motorcycle will eventually kill the device's USB connection. Getting the connection wet will also cause it to fail as you point out, but so will vibration. USB connections are just not a good way to power electrical devices on a motorcycle, but unfortunately many have no other option. That is why GPS devices made for motorcycles use a different type of power connection and cost more.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
MrMac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance View Post
Be aware that it is just a matter of time before the vibrations on a motorcycle will eventually kill the device's USB connection. Getting the connection wet will also cause it to fail as you point out, but so will vibration. USB connections are just not a good way to power electrical devices on a motorcycle, but unfortunately many have no other option. That is why GPS devices made for motorcycles use a different type of power connection and cost more.
Well, maybe. I've been using the same PocketPC w/ mini USB in a RAM Aquabox for over 5 years now, both on my Vstrom and KLR. And my Android with micro USB seems to be even more secure, although I haven't put nearly as many miles on it. Only problem I've ever had was on an Iphone, when the vibrations (on the KLR) really freaked out the accelerometer and caused a shutdown; at least I think that is what caused it.. But yes, I suppose it could be a problem. Still not enough of a concern for me to pay for an overpriced and under-functional motorcycle-specific device when I can re-purpose my old smartphones and handhelds for next to nothing.. Now, if Garmin (or anyone else) would come out with a good rugged bike-specific device that actually had decent software to compete with what I can get for my Android, I'd be willing to pay a (small) premium for that.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:03 PM   #6
MrMac
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Originally Posted by MrMac View Post
Well, maybe. I've been using the same PocketPC w/ mini USB in a RAM Aquabox for over 5 years now, both on my Vstrom and KLR. And my Android with micro USB seems to be even more secure, although I haven't put nearly as many miles on it. Only problem I've ever had was on an Iphone, when the vibrations (on the KLR) really freaked out the accelerometer and caused a shutdown; at least I think that is what caused it.. But yes, I suppose it could be a problem. Still not enough of a concern for me to pay for an overpriced and under-functional motorcycle-specific device when I can re-purpose my old smartphones and handhelds for next to nothing.. Now, if Garmin (or anyone else) would come out with a good rugged bike-specific device that actually had decent software to compete with what I can get for my Android, I'd be willing to pay a (small) premium for that.
I should probably add, that the way my devices are mounted in the Aquabox, power is through a small hole drilled in the bottom of the box between the cover and holder, where the power cable runs. The box cover clamps down on the power cord, and combined with the padding in the box, holds the devices and cord quite secure. The USB connection is not going to vibrate any more than the rest of the unit.
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