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Old 08-14-2013, 08:27 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Albie View Post
A lot of us don't WANT back country tablets. We just want a normal sized GPS.
I see...

Well, they are planning to offer a smaller one in the future! Guess you'll have to wait...
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by btao View Post
I see...

Well, they are planning to offer a smaller one in the future! Guess you'll have to wait...
I think the EARL is a good addition to the "adventure" device category. But, if they actually make a follow-on unit, I would suggest loosing the FRS/GMRS radio as they are worthless in the really world when you have high cover and other than flat terrain. They certainly are not anything I would rely upon in an emergency. Cell phone is a civilization convenience. Satellite radio's on the other hand are a life saver. If they [EARL] are really keen on making a statement they would include an Inmarsat Two-way Text Messaging x-ceiver and an online-service a la the inReach.

NOAA Weather (SAME) radio is fine but when you are really out there, well, you are really out there and "there" usually has no NOAA radio stations. But, it's good for the fringes of "out there". If you're going to be "out there" a lot, you might want to study up a bit on "weather" and how to read that Barometer and what it's telling you.

B/W e-ink is going to limit you to a few map products as most maps these days are created for color displays. Color e-ink is not well tested in the real world - that would be outdoors in Cold, Heat, Bright Sun Light. The current level of Color e-Ink displays that I've seen are rather washed out when you get outdoors - about on par with most of the current crop of "rugged-smartphone" displays.

I've spent some time with the Galaxy S4 Active and you don't want to be TO active with this device. It is not RUGGEDIZED! It does have an IP67 rating which means if the device is "placed" in 1 meter of water for up to 30min, it will not allow water past the seals. The back cover on the Active is so flimsy though that I wouldn't trust the Active to hold that seal even in my pock - much less from even a low level drop. Maybe if you put a thick Silicone-bumper-poly-case on it it would hold up a bit better but Samsung isn't going to warrant any issues with this phone that have anything to do with water or dropping (I read the warrantee). So, for now let's let the smartphone industry chew on "ruggedized" a bit.

As for the Monterra, we'll have to wait just a bit longer to see what that device has to offer. It will be rugged and it will have a very good GPS platform knowing Garmin.

I'm looking forward to seeing how EARL does in the world.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:39 PM   #18
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No, not really. None that are any good anyway, and still function as a quality smart phone. I would, and many here would probably have one. The S4 Active is the only one that I'd buy that's waterproof, but that's not out yet or for Verizon, yet. Plus, you'll deal with the upgrade/subsidized nonsense if you just got another phone recently.

I don't want one with a case, and I don't like iPhones which incipio makes a nice waterproof case for (and costs $100) While Otterboxes work, they are are obscene and huge. It's the largest band-aid available for solving the environmental abuse problem

Also, don't forget this is a small tablet, not a pocketable phone, and derived from and designed for a different purpose...

Can you elaborate on "with lower specs fewer options, and a way too high price."? I would argue the complete opposite... This has virtually everything you could want in a "backcountry tablet" and for less than half the price of a Garmin Monterra....
waterproof - att, verizon, smarttalk, tmo, orange, and sprint all have em

upgrade / subsidized nonsense - completely agree, if someone is sucker enough to sign a contract for a phone, they're prolly sucker enough to think they have to buy the latest nav-tablet as soon as it comes out too.

cases - well, if you don't mind tossing a $600 device down a rocky creek without any protection, that's fine, for you. I want some kind of enclosure, that snaps onto the bike.

cases/huge- you're complaining about an iphone + case, as far as size, but a tablet sized device is ok ?

lower specs - its black and white (so far, I think), doesn't have a camera, of bluetooth, or wifi hotspot, or bluetooth net sharin, or vpn, or hdmi, or dlna, or usb host mode, or agps (is that a feature, mm, sometimes), or can it call for hell, txt a gps cord, or in any way tell a buddy where you are, right now ?


can I make a system image of the entire device, save it to a 32gb micro sd card, and pop into a store, or find a similar device on craigslist, dump the sdcard image to it, and be back exactly as before in 10 minutes like a phone ?

intended purposes - yes, they have design stages, but the android phones intentiions leapfrogged the sleeping gps industries, cartwheeled over microsoft, and sucker punched the apple-as-best mindset like yesterdays tuna salad.

you're right about price, I slipped. I've gotten used to replacing used phones with more used phones when they get dropped and smashed. $100 is typical replacement, good for 6months to 2 years (the pos I'm typing on now).
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:02 PM   #19
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waterproof - att, verizon, smarttalk, tmo, orange, and sprint all have em - Have em yes, but have you tried them? Garbage really, if you want to get the best you can so it's not obsolete before you get an upgrade

cases - well, if you don't mind tossing a $600 device down a rocky creek without any protection, that's fine, for you. I want some kind of enclosure, that snaps onto the bike. - I have my phone for my pocket device. So all I'm looking for is something to snap to my bike or clip to my backpack. So, for $300 with an "integrated case" or a $300 iphone with $100 case that you can't read mounted to a handlebar. To each his own...

cases/huge- you're complaining about an iphone + case, as far as size, but a tablet sized device is ok ? I would expect a tablet to have a case, and a phone to have a pocket for transport. If I can't fit a phone in my pocket comfortably, then I wouldn't buy it. I personally get the 3rd party insurance so I can toss my phone in the toilet or run it over with my bike and get a new one for $15 S/H, just so I don't have to have a case with my dress clothes at work. I already carry two phones, which stacked together in my pocket is the same size as my old phone with an otter box, maybe less.

lower specs - its black and white (so far, I think) (for a reason - low energy consumption, but not ideal IMO. I'd have to test it. I'd like a nice new high res screen, but it is going on my bike in the sun), doesn't have a camera But my phone does, or a GoPro with bluetooth, of bluetooth, Has Bluetooth 4.0 or wifi hotspot No but my phone does, which I plan to pair with the Earl, or bluetooth net sharin (Not 100% sure, but probably available via android app, or vpn [COLOR="rgb(85, 107, 47)"]Sure, via Android app[/COLOR], or hdmidue to unavailability of a waterproof HDMI. Discussed in detail on Earl forum and probably will be added later on if one becomes available, or dlna, or usb host mode, or agps (is that a feature, mm, sometimes), All those via Android appsor can it call for hell, txt a gps cord, or in any way tell a buddy where you are, right now ? I quote: "Keeping in touch in the backcountry can be imperative. Earl includes a two-way radio to keep you connected, no matter where you are. Featuring a FRS, GMRS and MURS transceiver, Earl connects to analog and digital radio frequencies up to 20 miles away. Send secure text or voice messages via Walkie-Talkie; even transmit weather, location, and route information. Signal for help, report fires or alert your group to changing conditions."

can I make a system image of the entire device, save it to a 32gb micro sd card, and pop into a store, or find a similar device on craigslist, dump the sdcard image to it, and be back exactly as before in 10 minutes like a phone ? [COLOR="rgb(85, 107, 47)"]I don't see why not. It's an Android tablet with root access, designed to be taken full advantage of.[/COLOR]
Here's the posted specs:

Specifications: Android 4.1 • Flexible 6" E-ink screen (1024x768) • Sunlight viewable with lunar lantern mode • Glove friendly IR touchscreen • Waterproof shell • Kickstand • Solar charging • i.MX 6 DualLite 1GHz Cortex A9 • 1GB ram • 16GB memory + microSD • Wifi b/g/n • BT 4.0 • ANT+ • NFC • FRS/GMRS/MURS • GPS + GLONASS • Accelerometer • Gyroscope • Magnetometer • Temperature • Barometer • Humidity • Anemometer • AM/FM/SW/LW • IR blaster • 20+ hour battery • 3.5mm TRRS headphone/microphone jack • 20" usb lanyard • 303 grams (10.8 oz) • 183mm x 121mm x 15mm (7.2" x 4.75" x 0.6")

The TRRS jack is the best waterproof connector out there and was chosen over the HDMI for robustness and IP. I think it was a wise choice. I've thrown out many chargers because the connectors wear out. I've owned many TRRS headphones and have yet to have one fail...
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by btao View Post
...
The TRRS jack is the best waterproof connector out there and was chosen over the HDMI for robustness and IP. I think it was a wise choice. I've thrown out many chargers because the connectors wear out. I've owned many TRRS headphones and have yet to have one fail...
Help me out here...what does the TRRS jack have to do with HDMI and Charging. Isn't it being used just for a Mic/Headphone combo?
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Old 08-15-2013, 05:39 AM   #21
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Help me out here...what does the TRRS jack have to do with HDMI and Charging. Isn't it being used just for a Mic/Headphone combo?
Nope, doesn't have to be. Now, are you thinking of a micro-USB or HDMI?

Earl comes with a USB cable that I think plugs into the TRRS. HDMI is only needed to stream HiDef to a TV.

It'll be used for charging too via the USB. It's the only way to ensure waterproofness without having a rubber plug in the ports.

TRRS can be programmed any way you want. You just need the accessory to either use it directly or with the adapter.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:23 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by btao View Post
Nope, doesn't have to be. Now, are you thinking of a micro-USB or HDMI?

Earl comes with a USB cable that I think plugs into the TRRS. HDMI is only needed to stream HiDef to a TV.

It'll be used for charging too via the USB. It's the only way to ensure waterproofness without having a rubber plug in the ports.

TRRS can be programmed any way you want. You just need the accessory to either use it directly or with the adapter.
Have you actually seen one of these devices or are you speculating? Using a TRRS jack for anything other than Audio would not be a very good design point in my opinion as an EE/ME. The TRS/TRRS jacks were not designed for any type of Power use or high-speed data (USB). And from a mechanical perspective, it's not much better than a USB connector - whether the socket is sealed from internals or not.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:04 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by btao View Post
I see...

Well, they are planning to offer a smaller one in the future! Guess you'll have to wait...
I went from e-Trex (screen too small) to Samsung Rugby Smart ("mil-spec") running DSM (can't see in direct sunlight/poor charging options) to Montana, returned that after few weeks (still too small and Monterra coming!), was impatiently waiting for Monterra, then ordered Earl yesterday. On account of the screen size alone. You did say discussion re ADV Riding, so not worried about knocking it off on some nasty ST. I read most every post on Meet Earl forum and bunch of other speculation on many sites and forums, including very esoteric ones like the SW radio guys. My google-fu got a workout.

I need a tablet-sized gps unless I wear cheater glasses and I'm tired of wearing them under helmet. Plus I would like to wear goggles on some FS roads while following tracks (I don't think the stick-on magnifiers will work well on goggles).

For DS riding (plated dirtbike in my case) I'll probably end up with a Monterra too.

Will likely keep running DSM on both.

And I'll still need to carry my smartphone, a DeLorme InReach SE, and a real camera.

I'm resigned to the fact that there will never be one do-it-all device. If there was, I would still need two for redundancy anyway. ;-)
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by StuInFH View Post
I went from e-Trex (screen too small) to Samsung Rugby Smart ("mil-spec") running DSM (can't see in direct sunlight/poor charging options) to Montana, returned that after few weeks (still too small and Monterra coming!), was impatiently waiting for Monterra, then ordered Earl yesterday. On account of the screen size alone. You did say discussion re ADV Riding, so not worried about knocking it off on some nasty ST. I read most every post on Meet Earl forum and bunch of other speculation on many sites and forums, including very esoteric ones like the SW radio guys. My google-fu got a workout.

I need a tablet-sized gps unless I wear cheater glasses and I'm tired of wearing them under helmet. Plus I would like to wear goggles on some FS roads while following tracks (I don't think the stick-on magnifiers will work well on goggles).

For DS riding (plated dirtbike in my case) I'll probably end up with a Monterra too.

Will likely keep running DSM on both.

And I'll still need to carry my smartphone, a DeLorme InReach SE, and a real camera.

I'm resigned to the fact that there will never be one do-it-all device. If there was, I would still need two for redundancy anyway. ;-)
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If you thought the Montana screen size was to small, why would you go for the Monterra?
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:24 AM   #25
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If you thought the Montana screen size was to small, why would you go for the Monterra?
Good question. Cuz I can run DSM on Monterra and other apps, WiFi, etc. Bought Montana from easy return store, so when I heard of new model, I wanted it of course.

Monterra will be for DS (busting trail, dropping the bike in the river, falling over logs, tumbling down rock gardens and the like). Much easier (and advisable!) for me to stop and pull out the cheaters and take a look at it when riding offroad then when "ADV Riding."

BTW, I appreciate your comments/questions on the connectors and such, with your EE background. I saw much about connectors on the Earl forum. The Earl really has been "discussed" quite widely; ham guys, hangglider/pilot guys, geocache guys, hikers, moto, kayakers, couch surfing geeks, etc. Lots of speculating and wishing going on. With no reports of FCC approval even being submitted yet, it likely will be a Christmas present at best.

By that time my Monterra will be nice and scuffed up. :-)

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Old 08-15-2013, 10:18 AM   #26
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Have you actually seen one of these devices or are you speculating? Using a TRRS jack for anything other than Audio would not be a very good design point in my opinion as an EE/ME. The TRS/TRRS jacks were not designed for any type of Power use or high-speed data (USB). And from a mechanical perspective, it's not much better than a USB connector - whether the socket is sealed from internals or not.
I'm also an E-ME, and having past music studio experience, and develop sensors for a living, I think the TRRS connectors are much better suited to handle high power and clear signal with low impedance than the much smaller micro-USB connectors.

1. Ring design allows for rotation/uni-directional, easy insertion and large surface contact area for low impedance
2. Retention device built into tapered tip
3. Both are 4-Pin designs
4. Designed for balanced signals
5. Allows for better strain relief and retention under stress
6. More proven design, used on telephony switchboards and musical instruments for 100+ years

Downsides:

Size - takes up a lot of board space
Cost - big = $
Wear is on the expensive device instead of the cheap connector/cable

Data transfer is not a function of the connector, it's in the architecture of the bus on both xmit and receiver ends, which includes many details even I'm not familiar with...

USB cables are universal for example, and work with all current and future versions of USB.....
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:42 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by btao View Post
I'm also an E-ME, and having past music studio experience, and develop sensors for a living, I think the TRRS connectors are much better suited to handle high power and clear signal with low impedance than the much smaller micro-USB connectors.

1. Ring design allows for rotation/uni-directional, easy insertion and large surface contact area for low impedance
2. Retention device built into tapered tip
3. Both are 4-Pin designs
4. Designed for balanced signals
5. Allows for better strain relief and retention under stress
6. More proven design, used on telephony switchboards and musical instruments for 100+ years

Downsides:

Size - takes up a lot of board space
Cost - big = $
Wear is on the expensive device instead of the cheap connector/cable

Data transfer is not a function of the connector, it's in the architecture of the bus on both xmit and receiver ends, which includes many details even I'm not familiar with...

USB cables are universal for example, and work with all current and future versions of USB.....
Your statements are a bit confusing...Never the less, I'm skeptical that the TRRS will do anything more than Mic/AudioOut.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:13 AM   #28
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Your statements are a bit confusing...Never the less, I'm skeptical that the TRRS will do anything more than Mic/AudioOut.
That's at least my reasoning. That connector type has been used in the past for all sorts of things, but mainly for analog signals. Remember the old TI graphing calculators from school? Those used the same connector.

The bus architecture I mentioned that gives the speed to the interconnect is also the fuzzy area here. I have no clue how the design is managed on a circuit level and how it's all being done. My point is simple, the connector and cable should be chosen for robustness as is the rest of the Earl design. The devil is in the details of how to make it work well. Is he using standard USB architecture and then adding a different connector? My guess, but it gets real fuzzy.

I'm not an expert in this stuff, but know most of the basics. If interested, I could try to fill in some details, but I'm not the one designing it... The Earl Forum is probably a better place as those homebrew radio guys are smarter than me in this field.

The real question is, what's a better option???

I couldn't find any in Newark or Digikey. Only option was for a big panel mount connector with o-ring.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:34 AM   #29
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BTW, can I have your job Dan?! :)

We have very similar backgrounds. But you're much older... Maybe when my daughter graduates college... She's almost 2!
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:43 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by btao View Post
That's at least my reasoning. That connector type has been used in the past for all sorts of things, but mainly for analog signals. Remember the old TI graphing calculators from school? Those used the same connector.

The bus architecture I mentioned that gives the speed to the interconnect is also the fuzzy area here. I have no clue how the design is managed on a circuit level and how it's all being done. My point is simple, the connector and cable should be chosen for robustness as is the rest of the Earl design. The devil is in the details of how to make it work well. Is he using standard USB architecture and then adding a different connector? My guess, but it gets real fuzzy.

I'm not an expert in this stuff, but know most of the basics. If interested, I could try to fill in some details, but I'm not the one designing it... The Earl Forum is probably a better place as those homebrew radio guys are smarter than me in this field.

The real question is, what's a better option???

I couldn't find any in Newark or Digikey. Only option was for a big panel mount connector with o-ring.
TRRS for Mic/AudioOut, for everything else (other than ext-Antenna) pay Apple for their No-Insertion-Force Magnetically-coupled connector design: MagSafe is one example.
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