Am I crazy?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by JayhawkGSA, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    I just picked up a Zumo 660 (my first GPS ever) and I am less than impressed. Garmin's touchscreen tech seems to have stalled in the late 90s somewhere and everything so unresponsive, especially once I loaded som topo maps on it. The whole thing just seems so unintuitive after years of using smart phones with pinch to zoom, high resolution screens, and really responsive controls.

    So...I think I am going to return it and make a setup based around a Google Nexus 7 tablet. This would include:

    • Google Nexus 7
    • Otterbox Defender Case
    • Gaia GPS which allows for the downloading ot USGS topo maps, import/export of GPX files, tracks, etc.

    Am I completely insane? This just seems like a much better solution as a GPS for my Adventure Touring in Colorado as I really need high res topo maps that are responsive to scrolling around while I am looking for shelter above treeline!

    The only problems I can identify are the possibility of a less than stellar GPS antenna and a not totally waterproof solution. The waterproof problem could be solved by sending it to a company to have Liquipel applied.

    Someone tell me I am not crazy.
    #1
  2. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    I cannot comment on your mental state. :lol3

    I think your biggest challenge will be supplying enough power to the unit that will allow it to charge while at the same time being used in GPS mode. I have not tried this myself because I don't have a smart phone or a tablet, but this seems to be a common problem. :dunno

    Hope you let us know how it works out.
    #2
  3. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    I tend to agree with your statement as I am trying to replace my dedicated Garmin car GPS with my new Galaxy S4. I have the Co Pilot App installed with a US map for $9.95. Very versatile and slightly buggy, need to restart every now and then, but has bunch of features. I am using a 12v to USB converter with 2 amp output and I am still noticing that over a course of about an hour, the battery still discharges even though it shows that it is charging. I'd say that although it is discharging very slowly, it is possible that having the display to the brightest setting with GPS mode running, could result in battery draining faster than recharging rate and leaving the phone dead after 1/2 a day.

    I am still trying to tweak the power setting.......


    Jon
    #3
  4. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    I pulled the trigger on this today.

    I ordered this 12v to 5v unit off of amazon and will hard wire a USB connection to the bike. The wall wort hat comes with the Nexus 7 is 3 amps so I am hoping this is enough to keep the unit charged.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CXKBJI2/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I also decided to go with the Backcountry Navigator App as it has the option for Accuterra maps which are more detailed than the Gaia maps.
    #4
  5. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    Good luck as it will not be easy trying to solder the output wires from your transformer to a USB cable.

    Jon
    #5
  6. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    I almost gave up using my new Galaxy S4 as a Car GPS due to charging issue. My setup was one of those bullet shaped 12v to USB adapters that you find everywhere. Mine had a dual output- First is 1 amp and the second output is labelled as a 2 amp. I was also using one of those retractable USB to microbus cable.

    While trying to Google maximum power (current) draw of my S4, I came across this article and basically, it talked about how the smartphones are now able to sense your voltage and current output including your cable capacity to determine the charge rate. Lot more to it but good stuff.

    I changed my retractable USB cable to a high quality shielded type and took it out yesterday. With display on the highest setting and with GPS running, the battery actually started charging using the 2 amp output.

    Previously, the battery was discharging with the only difference being the USB cable. I tried the 1 amp output and it started to slowly discharge. My Galaxy S4 AC power supply that came with the phone output is rated at 2 amp and so using 1 amp is simply not sufficient.

    I had it our about an hour and worked great and the battery was fully charged.:clap

    The article below is really for geeks but interesting reading nevertheless.

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2274321

    Jon
    #6
  7. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    Thanks, good information. I may have to revaluate as it seems that simply shorting our the data cables doesn't cut it anymore.
    #7
  8. QuasiMoto

    QuasiMoto Been here awhile

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    Any updates on how this is going? Considering taking the plunge...:lurk
    #8
  9. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    I will be taking pics this weekend. Been busy getting ready for a 10 day trip, but so far it seems like it is a viable solution.
    #9
  10. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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    Pondering this exact solution as well, so I'm interested to hear how it goes.
    #10
  11. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    This is what I have so far. It is a functional solution, a quite nice one actually. This is what I am using for a 1000 mile trip through Colorado backcountry that covers 90,000 feet of vertical climb/descent so I will give everyone a report after that, I start Monday.

    Two things I still want to do but will have to wait are send it to Liquipel to get waterproofed and make a sunshade out of Kydex.

    I am open to suggestions to make it even better but right now I am in about $300 total and I am much happier than with the Zumo 665 I bought originally.

    http://imgur.com/a/aGltq

    Edit to add: I have also thought about buying a package to allow my iPhone to be a wifi hotspot and feed the Nexus. That would give me a little more flexability if my route changed. For now I will rely on Starbucks and Panera bread for free wifi.
    #11
  12. _Magoo_

    _Magoo_ master of disaster....

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    yes, you're crazy.....
    #12
  13. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    The Nexus 7 performed wonderfjully on my 5 day off road tour of Colorado (1400 miles). Even in rain it didn't get wet as it is tucked under the windscreen. Laying the bike over 15-20 times on day two in mud up to my knees didn't even phase it.

    It will discharge slowly with the setup I have to charge it but it never got below 65% IN 8-10 hour days of riding.
    #13
  14. QuasiMoto

    QuasiMoto Been here awhile

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    That's good news! I just Amazoned the new Nexus 7 -- it should be arriving tomorrow. Unfortunately the Otter Box won't work with it, so thinking I may just have to mount it "naked", or perhaps in a ziplock bag, on the RAM Tab-Lock bracket. Like you, I don't have time before the next trip to give it the waterproofing treatment. Especially interesting that you found it highly functional even without a sun shroud -- I may have time to fashion something before the trip, but sounds like not a deal breaker if I can't. Any other tips or insights you might have regarding your setup or learnings, post away!
    #14
  15. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    A sunshade would have helped a lot, I did find myself having to cup the screen occasionally when the sun was behind me. My friend had a good idea of using my vacuum sealer to make a waterproof bag for it that was formed to the tablet. I didn't do that and rode through two days of rain without a problem. The tablet only got a few drops on it and only when I wasn't moving forward. The wind screen did a nice job of protecting it.

    One thing I found really helpful was the very detailed acuterra topo maps that i could easily scroll around on. I was in several situations where I wasn't sure if I should continue on certain "roads" with the big GS Adventure fully loaded. It was nice to be able to see the contours it followed to determine if it was straight downhill or at least somewhat flat. Those maps also very clearly define who owns what land - BLM/USFS/State/Private/etc. It was very easy to know when I could pull off to camp somewhere.

    If I were to have one complaint it would actually be the ram mount. The vibration movesthe mount no matter how tight I had it. Not a lot but it made the tablet slightly crooked after a couple hundred miles. I think I am going to still use the tab lock as that worked great but maching my own bracket that doesn't use the ram mount ball mounting system.
    #15
  16. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    Still testing but I am now running on my Galaxy S4 Sygic GPS app as a general GPS tool and Dual Sport Map (DSM) for trail use (tracks) on my KLX.

    I previously tried Co Pilot but still too buggy and some of the features never worked as advertised. It was OK and cheap but I guess you get what you paid for.

    I am using Ram X- Grip and I simply swap it from my Vee to KLX as needed. I also got the suction mount and I can use it in my car. Sygic is pricey but you can get discount code online which drops it to about $29.00.

    Of all the GPS apps that I've looked at, Sygic appears to more closely mimic Garmin. Is that good or bad?:wink: Sygic does have some nifty features such as rerouting by simply selecting a road and dragging. Pinch gestures work fine to zoom in and out. Lane guidance, speed limit, etc. Of course, it operates off-line (no data) as does DSM. The maps are high quality and you download individual states when on wifi.

    Jon
    #16
  17. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Not crazy,just whining possibly due to boredom? If you want a Tablet taped to your bars do so.
    #17
  18. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

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    Yes, as my pictures showed, I have a tablet taped to my bars. I just competed 1400 miles of off road through Colroado and it worked so much better than my Garmin could have ever dreamed of.

    I'll throw it right back to you. If you want antiquated technology that is locked down and overpriced do so.
    #18
  19. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    I'm using a Galaxy S4 in a RAM mount.
    I have a home grown charger. I simply shorted D+ and D-, and the S4 pulls just a bit over 1 amp (which is my charger max output).
    With the display a max, and GPS software running, it is still charging the battery (not super fast, maybe 20% per hour, but fast enough).

    Personnally, I woulodn't touch a thing on mine because the next step up would simply run it to hot in the sunlight, which isn't a good thing.
    #19
  20. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    How about a few pictures out in the bright sunlight? I'd like to see how far the display tech has progressed.
    #20