Comparing the Garmin 500 to 60CSX and other models

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by Han Solo, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Han Solo

    Han Solo Adventurer

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    I am thinking about buying the Nuvi 500. I like the screen size, orientation and resolution, plus topos and 3D driving screen and the fact that it is waterproof and I can hardwire it for power to the bike and it's on ebay right now for $219!

    What concerns me, other than the visibility issue I just read about on another thread, is that it only accepts 10 routes. But not sure what this means. Can one route include an entire state for example or are they limited as to how many navigation points they can accept? I know that the Nuvi 500 can only accept 500 waypoints, but are the waypoints what's used to make routes?

    I am planning to ride the TAT on a WR 250 R and wanted to enter in all of Sam's maps before leaving. Is this even possible on this gps?

    Then I was thinking of either making them on computer software as gpx files or similar and loading them on a usb compatible memory stick? Or bringing along several micro SD cards with all the routes pre loaded onto them. I don't know if these things are possible or even make sense (do the SD cards store track or route data?)

    Another draw back seems to be that you can't record routes. Not sure I even need this feature really since I'm following Sam's route.

    As far as the visibility issue (hard to see in topo mode during the day) it sounds like turning the topo layer off and running it in night mode as several suggested here would solve that issue?

    The only other gps's I can see that can handle marginal roads, topos, etc and motorcycle mounting are the 60csx, Dakota, Oregon, etc (screen to small and low res it seems and battery power only). I don't get how folks are using the Dakota's, Oregons, etc hand held units with battery power only. I guess they would work for single day rides and rechargeable batteries.

    The 60 csx has a lot of great features including storing 50 new routes (as opposed to 10 on the Nuvi 500) and one thousand waypoints. The compass and altimeter are pretty sweet too. I like the idea of using the altimeter to predict weather b.c. of dropping pressure. Sooo.....

    I guess it just comes down to wanting that nice high res touch screen on the Nuvi. I like to be able to just glance down and know where to go. I don't use any voice prompts, I like a good set of earplugs so I'm not deaf at the end of the day. Deal killer for Nuvi is whether or not it can handle the 3 or 4 weeks worth of routes I need.

    Anyone who actually owns a gps (unlike me) please correct me or answer this question.

    thanks,
    #1
  2. biker128pedal

    biker128pedal Super Lurker

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    I have a NUVI 500. It is limited but not that limited. ONe anoying thing is on the NUVI a Way Point is called a Favorite.

    Number of Routes - You can only have 10 routes in the main memory at one time. You can have more on an SD card you can load as you go..

    TOPOs - It has them but not as much detail as the Topo 100 or Topo 24. But it does come with maps.

    Route - I am not sure of the number of points allowed on a route but there is a limit. The two may differ.

    TAT - The NUVI is not very good for off road routes. You have to change it to off road or walking if the points follow a non routeable path/trail.

    Record Routes - You may mean two things. You can make routes on the NUVI 500. It also records tracks. Here is what I don't like. The tracks fill up and then you cannot see older tracks. Annoying on a trip. But it does archive them in a file in the memory. Also I have not figured out how to upload and see old routes. Would like to manage this with my smartphone. I think on the 60CSX you can manage you tracks better.

    Visibility- I put the NUVI in night mode most of the time when looking for small roads and trails. Around Eastern VA the background is green and the small roads are blue/gray. Not enough contrast in Day mode.

    Since I have a NUVI 500 already I would like to get a 60csx or 76csx for a second GPS. In your case get the 60Csx. It will give you more flexibility.

    There is also a thread on here about converting tracks and routes to map format. I think that would be a good fall back but tedious.

    Dakota's, Oregons, etc hand held units with battery power only. You can hard wire these.

    A good GPS will get more use and last a long time. If you have the money look at the Montana. It has a touch screen. You can you it in the car, on the motorcycle and hiking. If you are watching your penny's the NUVI comes with maps.
    #2
  3. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    For TAT, CDR, PCQ, GWT, etc. most people prefer Tracks even if they also use Routes. The Tracks will NEVER change once you start.

    Get a GPS with full track features, 60/76/78/Montana.
    #3
  4. Han Solo

    Han Solo Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the info on the Nuvi 500 biker128pedal. I just got off the phone with Garmin. The first rep said I get ten routes and that's it.

    The second rep said I could make all my routes at home on the Mac using Basecamp (free download), save them on a usb thumb drive and then upload them using any computer (internet cafe) once I deleted the first ten. This works b.c. the Nuvi 500 has a folder where you can drag and drop the raw .gpx files without base camp software installed on the computer.

    He also thought it might be possible to put the data on Micro SD (like you mentioned) and plug those in as I need more routes. He wasn't sure and is going to try it and get back to me! I guess you have done this successfully?

    So despite your advice to get the 60csx I'm going to try the Nuvi 500. I just want the big screen so I can clearly see where I'm going without studying a small screen. Who knows I could be wrong, I usually am.

    In other news the 500 does have topos pre-installed and if you want better or more of them you can buy them and add them (around $100). This might be an issue as I'm not sure if the pre installed topos on the 500 are going to include the backroads of the TAT. It's not trails at all, just dirt roads and forest service roads.

    Ideally I should buy a montana or dakota or oregon but they are pricey and I have to buy a lot of equipment for this trip including racks, tent, etc.
    #4
  5. Han Solo

    Han Solo Adventurer

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    Thanks Countdown, tracks vs routes hmm. This is the first I've heard of this distinction. So I guess routes can change based on what the gps thinks I want to do (I detour around a closed bridge and it changes my whole route!).

    Maybe I just have to give up on the big screen and get a 60csx. Anything more is out of our budget. Course we can always just use our trusty Sam Corerro roll chart which I hear actually work pretty well.
    #5
  6. Han Solo

    Han Solo Adventurer

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    Here's what James at Garmin had to say if anyone is considering the Nuvi 500.

    "Han,

    Thank you for contacting Garmin Product Support.

    I spent some time messing around with the Nuvi 500 after we hung up and here is what I discovered. The Nuvi 500 does not like routes created in BaseCamp. It would not accept any routes I created and loaded to the card or the device itself. What it did like was waypoints I could send waypoints to the device and the card and it would read both without a problem. My suggestion would be to load all of the waypoints for the entire trip and then create the route based on those waypoints internally on the device with its route creator tool.

    Should you require any further assistance, please give us a call at 1-800-800-1020 or reply to this email.


    Thank you for choosing Garmin,

    JAMES B.


    Product Support Specialist x8325
    ) 1-800-800-1020
    4 1-913-440-8280 Attn: (James Ba)
    8 techsupp@garmin.com"

    amazing customer support!!!! He actually pulled a unit and experimented for me!
    #6
  7. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    Nuvi 500 can take 200 waypoints in a route. I create my routes in google earth then convert them to routes.gpx. View attachment Day2Part1.gpx This is an example of a route created in Google Earth then converted at GPSIES.com to a route.gpx. Once converted it can be opened in google earth or in garmin mapsource. Routes work like tracks. On this route i am going from north to south. The waypoints clearly mark my turns and by dropping another waypoint shortly down the road you can see your turns clearly. I have used my Nuvi to ride the trans wisconsin adventure trail, the trans Iowa trail with no problems. It just has to be broken up in 200 waypoint segments.
    #7
  8. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Yes big difference. You must navagate a Route one at a time and it is only thing showing on map. Not a problem on point to point ride like these. However depending on unit, it can auto-reroute without asking you and do other wierd things, especially if my get off route. People use both and they both work, Tracks are just more fool proof and almost idiot proof. Oops, I meant noobe proof.

    You can set any color you want for a Track and they all show all the time on your map and never change even if lyou get off the Track you are followinig. This is very important if there are any options in your trip.

    Montana has best of both worlds big screen and all track features and big $ Tag so you look very important. Best buy in town is 76Cx from WestMarine.com when they are on sale for $149.
    #8
  9. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Not 'important'. 'Intelligent'. :lol3 You'll look like you did your homework and bought the best, more like.

    And this harping on price, as if the Montana is hugely expensive gets on my nerves. The Montana 600 at $460 is cheaper than the 60CSx I bought some years ago at $500.
    #9
  10. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    As with all high technology, but still three 76Cx or one Montana dah!

    I do agree though, quibiling about $200 on a $12,000 total package is a little short sighted, buy what you really like.
    #10
  11. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    But three 76Cx still do not equal 1 Montana in capabilities.
    #11
  12. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Obviouisly when you buy 3 you do not get three times the capability. I am quite sure the Montana does have more capabilities than a 76 (not sure about 78) but do I need them or are they just bling?

    I use my GPS for income not play so it is just another tool and must be purchased in that light. So far I just can't justify new generation units. I did just do a job where at least a 78 would have been a help but I got by fine with my 76.
    #12
  13. Han Solo

    Han Solo Adventurer

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    Sounds like I could just make our maps in google earth, map source or perhaps base camp. Two concerns come to mind:

    1. How do you actually transfer your routes into your 500 (especially since I'm not bringing a computer). Garmin guy hasn't gotten back to me on whether multiple SD cards work or perhaps use a usb thumb drive.

    2. Nuvi 500 can handle 10 routes and 200 waypoints = 2,000 total waypoints. I wonder if this is enough to get from Tennessee to Oregon on the TAT.

    This is contrary to what Garmin tech said. He thought that the N 500 would not take routes and had to be given the simple gpx lat/long files and then create the routes on the gps itself?

    As to budget comments taking a month or more to ride the entire TAT, buy all the gear and motorcycles (not taking the V Strom or Versys on this one) and pay all the bills at home is a tall ticket. A budget is annoying, but also a reality.

    I have always used my mounted iPhone with or without earbuds to navigate and it's awesome - also essentially free. Of course you need cell phone reception. It even took a fall at about 50 mph (before I gave up on suction mount) and survived. If I was staying on the pavement I would just stick with that.
    #13
  14. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    I currently have 17 seperate routes installed on my nuvi 500. There are 10 in the custom route folder ready for use. There are 17 split between the internal memory and the balance on a 8 gig micro sd card. I can delete anyone from the custom routes and import another to the custom routes for use. Each route has roughly between 150 and 190 waypoints. Nearly 3000 way points. You can only cue 10 in your custom routes but after you complete one you can delete it and import another from your sd card. When you delete it from the custom routes it does not remove it from the sd card and so you can re-import it at anytime.
    The most I have had on my Garmin Nuvi 500 at one time has been 21 routes with average 170 waypoints each. Again only 10 at a time useable but all stored directly on the 500 and accessable without a computer or and other device. Not sure what the max is that is as far as I have had to go so far.

    I have to emphasize routes act like tracks when built in google earth and converted to route.gpx files for the garmin. I typically build and load all routes i need for a trip. If you open the route I posted you can get the idea how i use waypoints to direct turns. It will not recalculate if you leave the route because like I said it runs like a track. I always use routes and i hear all the time that routes don't work as well as tracks but if you look at my route files they do not run like traditional routes! This would work I believe but you have to be comfortable with what you get and how it works. I am with mine and just pointing out the things I have done with it if it helps you at all. Cheers mate!
    #14
  15. mrprez

    mrprez KJ4WMZ

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    When we were on the TAT several years ago, we both had NUVIs. We made up our route files based on each map. Each map was a separate route. That way, if we needed to break out a map, we knew right away which map to get. When we reached the end of a section, we could then load the next section and start rolling again. We got so proficient at this that we could do it while rolling. Other than the visibility issue due to the sun, the NUVIs did fine.
    #15
  16. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I only really know about my 60CX, but I suspect that the reason your routes act like tracks is that you have chosen the "do not follow road" option or that you do not have a road routable map set loaded or maybe the unit does not recognize the routes as being possibly road following routes.
    #16
  17. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    First, I agree with Countdown. Get a GPS that will give you full track abilities for your purposes. However there is a workaround.

    Convert your routes to "Direct Routes" and it will work remarkably well. You are still limited to 200 via points but I have found this to be the best work around for my 550. I currently use a 276c (soon to be a Montana) as my primary gpsr but the 550 is my back up.

    Using direct routes gives you a "track" like line to follow. This effectively negates the unit from re-calculating the route if you miss a turn. You can add waypoints as you need them for turns etc.

    See my my post HERE. The steps seem cumbersome but after you do it once it goes quickly and adds the reliability I wanted.
    #17
  18. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    Not sure this is correct as routes and tracks are different by nature but that aside, in the example you posted the 153 mile route contains 191 waypoints. That is why it follows the roads fairly well but even then at the start the first leg crosses the Mississippi River twice at locations where there is no bridge!

    Bruce
    #18
  19. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    Yes it appears as though it does cross the river but that is more like if you follow a route. I build these like a track where you get straight lines between way points. In this example I have, I know that when the lines leave the road way I am not to leave the road I am on until I hit another waypoint indicating a turn or confirming to continue on. At the begining you see this in my example, my last way point at Navoo has me on the river road, you follow that road to the next way point which is a straight line (crossing the river to waypoint) from there and you see I never leave that road. That next way point is confirming I am on the right road and following that one marks a turn. The straight line does not mean to cross the river it means to follow the road I am on at my last way point until I arrive at another waypoint. (Make sense? Think track.) At the end of the route it has me crossing the river again with no bridge. That is a ferry crossing. Look on google earth and you can see the ferry in the river. I say the route acts like a track because it is only straight lines between waypoints. Where I place them sometimes makes it seem like you are following a route. I would bet that most anyone could follow my routes with ease. But the gps will not announce turns because it is not following a road route and it will not re-route if you leave the route. I know weird because it is called a route and saved as a route.gpx and loads like a route but performs in the GPS like a track.

    I use google earth to map out the route (allows me to see terrain and things around the area)and save it. Then at gpsies.com do the convert to route.gpx. Comes out just like the example I posted which is part of an 8 day ride I will be doing in two weeks. I will be riding some levee roads and back roads through Illinois. I know boring right! :) Riding and camping is never boring! The Shawnee will be a beautiful area.
    #19
  20. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    I believe it is strictly a product of the process. When I build the path in Google Earth, I am using points to establish turns and confirming points. When it is saved and converted it is just a path of connecting points and they just so happen to align with the road allot! :) When converted and saved as route.gpx the gps does not see it as a road calculated route. So it displays the data and treats it like a track. Seems I have found a way to make a track and load it as a route. I know weird but it works like a charm and anyone could follow it as long as you just stay on the road and only turn when it is indicated. All turns line up with the roads perfectly and so it makes it really easy to follow.
    #20