eTrex 30 or Nuvi 550?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by C-Stain, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    So, I'm notoriously frugal. Some would say "Cheap", but I prefer "Frugal".

    I would like a new GPS that gives me the ability to add my own routes, is waterproof and will give me the options I need for Dual Sport Riding, without the hassle of constantly switching the device I'm using.

    My options?

    I can purchase a second hand Garmin Nuvi 550 with all the RAM mount accessories. From what I understand, the NUVI 550 can accept Garmin Topo maps, but not in the same detail that you'll get from an eTrex model. If I buy this used model, I save $100. That's a few tanks of gas.

    I can also purchase a brand new Garmin eTrex 30 - for $259. It doesn't include any mounts or other accessories. However, I can get the Topo Maps that will cover any of the dual sport riding that I will do and I can get City Navigator for it that will cover any street riding as well.

    Pros to the eTrex? It is brand new and comes with warranty.

    If you were going to do it, which would you buy, given the options presented?

    Thanks for you help!

    C.
    #1
  2. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Do you want the capability to follow tracks as well as routes?
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  3. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    Yes! I hope to ride pieces of the TCAT in the coming years and want to record, share and ride other people's tracks.
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  4. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Nuvis don't do tracks.
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  5. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    The Nuvi 550 doesn't accept tracks and the Etrex has a small screen, the connector for external power is a problem on both.
    I would strongly suggest you consider the Garmin 78, under $200 and free shipping.
    This is the newly undated replacement for the 76 which is a close cousin of the famed 60Cx. Sadly when the 60 was updated to the 62 it lost the good power connector while the 78 still has it. Being a handheld you will need maps, a RAM mount and power cable (if hardwired). You seem to have a handle on the maps and the other two are inexpensive.

    http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product1_11151_10001_495788_-1?icid=HF1_2

    Bruce
    #5
  6. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Get a Garmin 78 as I mentioned in my PM to you, Craig. $200 at West Marine is an awesome price for that unit. Or if you prefer to buy in Canada, you can get it for $240 at GPSCity.ca.
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  7. Sludminger

    Sludminger Show me the dirt

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    What do you mean by this? I have a Nuvi 550 which I have used for years for road touring. I'm doing the TAT this summer and was hoping to use this GPS. I've downloaded routes from Basecamp onto my unit and even got a sample file from Sam (the TAT guy) before committing to buy all the files for the TAT. I was able to download it and I see a route on the screen.

    But, what I'm wondering is what happens if theres no GPS-recognizeable road to follow?
    #7
  8. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    Just doing some research now and that looks like the way to go. I can pick one up at MEC for $245 - so that's not too bad. I always get dinged for GST at the Border so sometimes buying local is the way to go.

    Thanks for the advice! Looks like there's a new GPS in my very near future.
    #8
  9. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Then things go sideways.

    A GPS that can use tracks can get you there even without a mapset loaded. Just follow the line on the otherwise empty screen.
    #9
  10. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Get MEC to match GPSCity's price. It's only $5 but that's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. :lol3

    And if you do get that, I have a power cable you can have.
    #10
  11. GlennR

    GlennR Playin' in the Fire

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  12. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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  13. Sludminger

    Sludminger Show me the dirt

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    What do you mean by "USB only power"?

    I'm considering the 78 ($200 new at West Marine), but like the added features of altimeter and compass on the 78s ($290 new on ebay), Etrex30 ($250 refurb on ebay), Oregon 450 ($200 refurb on ebay).

    But there's also the Dakota 20 and also the Montana 600 for those with the deep pockets. Arg! - too many options!!

    I'm looking for a good reapsonably priced (under $300) GPS to use instead of my Nuvi 550 for the TAT this summer and future off road motorcycle adventures. I'm seeing the 78 recommended by a few people, but why is this one better than the others?
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  14. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Most of the recent crop of Garmin handhelds only used the mini usb connector for external power and this has proven to wear out rapidly, usually within a year, then stop connecting.

    The Montana is the ultimate gps right now, for many reasons, but especially for the surface mount power connection when used with the $33 Rugged Mount.

    The 78 series is unique in that it still has the rugged 4 pin power connector as well as usb. So if you don't have $450 to spend on a Montana, the 78(S) is the one to get.




    Sent using strings and tin cans and Tapatalk
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  15. GlennR

    GlennR Playin' in the Fire

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    Are there any good choices to consider under $100? (I'm even more frugal...) :wink:
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  16. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    You might find a 60 or 76 for $100. They are still pretty good.


    Sent using strings and tin cans and Tapatalk
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  17. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    To the OP, I have an eTrex 20 as a backup for my Montana 600 and also as a small hiking and backcountry skiing gps that I can carry in my pocket. I didn't need the compass and file sharing of the eTrex 30 and was happy with $180 cost for the 20. I have City Navigator on a uSD card that I can move from my Montana to the eTrex 20 and also got the Topo 24K for the southwest. It has awesome battery life. They say 25 hours on a pair of AA batteries but I seem to get more than that. The screen is bright and easy to read but it is small. I can do routes and tracks and it has profiles and adventures. The software/user interface is very similar to the Montana so if you have a Montana, it should be pretty intuitive. It just works great. It is a nice size and easily fits in a shirt pocket. I really love it and think it is a great bargain.

    That said, I think the screen is too small to mount on a motorcycle and be able to read the screen while moving, especially with my older eyes.

    It is a great unit for what it was designed for and I recommend one if your needs fit its capabilities.
    #17
  18. GlennR

    GlennR Playin' in the Fire

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    Thanks for the advice. I just bought a new 60 for $110. :clap
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  19. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    I'm happy for you. Welcome to 2005.















    :hide
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  20. Sludminger

    Sludminger Show me the dirt

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    OK, I purchased a 78s. Now, what do I need to purchase for map(s) to load onto this thing to help me navigate the TAT?

    Also, what is the round 4 pin conncector called? I need to buy the wire to hardwire it to the bike.
    #20