GPS 60CS vs Explorist 600 and autorouting questions

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Kingsqueak, May 7, 2005.

  1. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    Pondering these two GPS units.

    I want the small size for other uses for sure, the 76C is pushing the size envelope for me.

    The Magellan has SD memory slot, this is a big plus so far as the 60CS only has 56MB permanent internal memory.

    The 60CS does auto routing, but only if you buy a $140 mapping product on top of the unit. I'm not so sure I'll be doing this, I really don't think I need the feature.

    My main question at this point is with regard to autorouting. I understand it as you pick your destination and the unit will automatically route you with turn by turn directions right?

    If so, without using autorouting, you can select waypoints at each intersection on the route to get a somewhat similar result can't you? I.e. the unit will beep as you approach each waypoint, each of them marked at each turnoff on the route, mostly giving the same result ...right?

    At this point I'm leaning towards the Explorist because of the memory expansion capability, though it doesn't have any ability for auto routing from what I can tell in the manual for it.

    Has anyone had both an autorouting model and a non routing model and just how much is it worth it to have the autorouting as an option?

    Also, I'm no world traveler. The most I'd need to load at any given point would be a 1k mile route roughly. Anyone have any idea if 56MB is enough to load detail maps for a trip like that?
    #1
  2. Slimie

    Slimie Long timer

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    I'm fairly sure that the Explorist can use Magellans DirectRoute software to autoroute much like the Meridian series of GPSr does. I've got this software on a Meridian Colour and it's fine for me. There's no auto re-route if you miss a turn but that's no problem, it's easy to spot and you simply hit goto twice. The autorouting is rather unsophisticated in that you can't choose what type of roads to use (unlike Garmin, I think) but I've no problem with that...usually.

    The use of SD cards is a big plus for me, I've the whole of the UK (in two sections) and tons of waypoints on a 128mb card that cost peanuts. I'd think that whatever unit you get you'd need to budget for more detailed mapping, whether autorouting or not, the basemaps are not very functional IMO.

    As you mention, the size of the thing is great and like being able to use it on my bike, in my car and on my boat.

    What ever you choose, it'd be great to hear what you think.

    Cheers

    -Simon
    #2
  3. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    I'm reading fast and furiously, I think you're right with the mapping add-ons.

    I also sea-kayak, so the smaller the better is handy for that.

    I'll definitely write up whatever I wind up with.
    #3
  4. cbmwgs

    cbmwgs Retired Adventurer

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    The 76C will float, it will autoroute on the base map. With the addin program you just give it more choices of routes. It has 115 meg memory.

    It is a great unit for bikes.
    #4
  5. Slimie

    Slimie Long timer

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    Kinsqueak,

    To be honest, :evil the real reason that I bought the Meridian is that the basemaps can be swapped really easily. This meant that I could buy the GPSr in the US for half what it cost here (sunny London), download a basemap into it and save a small fortune.

    Cheap, me? Oh yes!!

    Cheers

    -Simon
    #5
  6. Karl_L

    Karl_L I need better writers

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    The Garmin MapSource software allows you to select detail maps surrounding a chosen route. I just tried it with a random 1k mile route and it was less than 56mb but it didn't leave much room in case of detours. You can play with it and deselect map sections for the parts where you will be on interstates, saving some space. The detail maps for the entire state of GA takes less than 56mb, if that helps.

    On the subject of autorouting, you can create routes on the non-autorouting units and navigate them, but it isn't the same thing as autorouting. Non-autorouting units will just give you bearing & distance to the next waypoint. With experience it can be useful but it will always be frustrating. Dangerous too since it takes up more of your attention trying to figure out which way to turn. IMO there is no substitute for autorouting.
    #6
  7. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    I realized that gpscity was in Vegas and by coincidence I was heading there on vacation so I decided to pick up the unit in person. Small business storefront in an office park and a friendly staff.

    I decided on the iFinder H20 with the Plus package. This includes an auto power cord and the MapCreate software, as well as a 32MB SD card.

    The reason I went with the iFinder was mostly the bang for the buck that it offered.


    • Waterproof/submersible
    • Tells me where I am and marks where I want to be and where I was
    • Nice display, easy to read. Good compromise with size of the unit.
    • The low price includes the mapping software and it's quite good.
    • Has expandability with SD/MMC cards
    • I just generally liked the feel of the unit, nice solid plastics.
    • I liked the interface on it, lots of options to fool with.
    I don't have experience with other units for comparison, but it seems to acquire a lock in a reasonable amount of time. It also worked very well in the rental car (Chrysler 300) I had with no external antenna...though in my Dodge Ram pickup it isn't doing so well. It does what I expected of it so far and I'm glad for the expandability as I can't even fit all of NJ in the 32MB using full details in the map options. I'll probably stick a 512MB card in it which should get me the whole east coast or close to it.

    The power cord included is very well made and a solid piece.

    As the advice suggested a base map in the unit is pretty much useless if you want any detail at all. The mapping software has so much detail it's almost cluttered, though it's very simple to just select/de-select the detail you want once you load a fully detailed map into the unit itself using the menu options.

    The one downside, being a linux nut, is the heinous amount of licensing/locking up that goes on with their software. They are ultra paranoid about licensing and locking down their precious map software evidently and I found it very annoying. Why these companies don't just make a Java interface for products like these is beyond me.

    The mapping software takes forever to chew on large selections, if you have an old system that is low on RAM, good luck getting it to create large area maps.
    #7
  8. mysdak

    mysdak Canada eh!

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    I've been going through the same. Was leaning towards the 60c, but then started to read about the quest.
    Here's my thoughts.
    Quest has
    Rechargable lithium ion batteries...good for 20 hours
    Comes with autorouting software (city select)
    it's waterproof
    compact size
    voice prompt for autorouting (that's just cool) good for car, not great on the bike.
    115 meg memory
    about the same cost as the 60c if you consider the software and shop carefully
    #8
  9. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    A lesson learned a few times over...see my trip posting about Novice meets the Mojave, about proprietary or built-in batteries. Got out to a trip destination to find out that the battery to my digi cam was belly up and of course the cam doesn't work with normal batteries, only its own packs. My own damn fault and now I don't have any pics of a remarkable ride.

    Any device that you might want the opportunity to use 'normal' batteries in, will eventually need them ;-).

    LiIon sounds like a good idea, but just be sure you also have the ability to use some form of regular batteries as well in case the LiIon pack or built-in dies on you.

    I saw a few units that are now shipping with LiIon packs built in, and passed them up for a unit that uses good old AA's instead. This way I can use the bike power, rechargeable AA's and then easily fall back on plain AA's if I need to.
    #9
  10. rxcoop

    rxcoop persnickety curmedgeon

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    yesh....kingsqueak knows what he is talking about. if you build it, they will come. if you buy it, it will burn out just when you need it most....
    #10
  11. stevenknapp

    stevenknapp Long timer

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    For items like your camera that rely on the battery, sure. But for a GPS? To me the battery pack is the "backup" to the bike's own power.

    Garmin isn't much better. I spent a good chunk of time trying to get my legal legit copy of mapsource installed on my new laptop. One of my packages is an upgrade. So the old stuff *must* be installed first. Which I find strange given there is a unique unlock code required for each version.
    #11
  12. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    I see your point for sure, just remember that one day you might need to walk yourself back out of wherever you got yourself into....if the bike dies.

    Also for use hiking or cycling etc. Not saying the built-in pack won't work, just looking at what would happen if it didn't.

    Also, built-in packs have a lifespan to them. I still have various gizmos kicking around that use regular batteries that still work. Small example but I have a digital tuned FM walkman I got in 1987 that still works perfectly. I'm pretty sure a built-in pack would be long dead, hard to find a replacement for and hardly worth trying to replace if I wanted to.

    A bit of a stretch to consider, sure. But I've had a long list of things with battery packs of varying types die on me over the years. Walkie-talkies, scanners, cameras, mp3 players, wireless phones, cellphones. A few of them also took plain batteries and it was always a welcome feature.
    #12
  13. BurnieM

    BurnieM Nipple boy

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    It really depends how the unit is going to be used.

    The GPSmap 276C and Quest having rechargable non-standard batteries is not a big deal because mainly they will be used in/on a vehicle with occassional handheld use.

    The eXplorists 400/500/600 having non-standard rechargeable batteries is an odd design decision. One of the markets for these units is clearly hiking; hikers go out for more than one day and do not have access to recharging power.

    The Forerunner 101 has AAA standard batteries and the Forerunner 201 has rechargeable batteries. These units are used by athletes who tend to have access to mains power each night so the 201 is selling well.

    The Foretrex 101/201 is similar in shape to the Forerunners but it is a more standard GPS that tends to be used by hikers (and British Army in Iraq!).
    The Foretrex 101, with standard AAA batteries, is outselling the 201 because of the multi-day use.

    I find the eXplorist design decision odd.
    There is also a rechargable battery pack that is effectively 2 x AA together that could have been used (removeable and able to be replaced by 2 normal AA) but they chose not to use it.
    #13
  14. stevenknapp

    stevenknapp Long timer

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    Oh, I prefer standard batteries. There are even standard sized LiIon batteries. One of my handheld radios takes the same pack as many digicams. Making spares $10 rather than $40 for most others. Ideally it would be nice to have an option. Some older radios had rechargable packs and AA cases. You could keep the AA case as a spare. Worked well.

    I've been really impressed with the battery life of the 276C. The smarter batteries get treated better by the charger and tend to last longer than those which used to be charged to temp. I've used mine for long periods in sub-zero cold and it's performed well beyond my expectations. I do carry cord to connect it to the sled if needed.

    If things got really bad, I could probably hack something up to make it work...:)
    #14
  15. Stand Up

    Stand Up Ride non-painted roads

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    A 60CS calculates alititude using barometric pressure rather than the 60C which uses GPS to calculate alitude. Battery life is 20 hrs vs, 30 hrs. The CS also has a stationary compass, so when you are stopped, you can see which way is north..... or you can take a couple of steps and find out. I'd rather have the extra battery life. This elastic dealy was in a bag of tie downs I bought at Costco. Feed it through the adjusting slot for the windscreen.
    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. doc riverz

    doc riverz anatra di seduta

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    Hello Stand Up,

    I have a new 60C and am presently getting to know it. I had a GPSV and have noted differences in the routing. The GPSV showed the route from point to point including tertiary roads as long as you had the data loaded. The 60C seems to only show the route from freeway entrance to freeway exit for the most part. Also, even if I load routes that I have massaged on the computer with my chosen waypoints when ever I am out and about and attempt to use that route the 60C asks me if I want to choose fastest or shortest. If I load in my own route it should just show that route. What's up with that?!?
    #16
  17. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

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    I have a meridian which is similar to the explorist. I haven't really tried to do what you're talking about with waypoints, but I'm not sure it has any kind of beep or alert. I do use the "goto" now and then just to draw a straight line to somewhere, so I can see when I'm getting near, but really I just don't value autorouting at all. I'll turn when I'm good and ready, I don't need anything telling me, then if I miss a turn it recalculates a new route and all that. I just want a map that shows me where I am on it that I can zoom in and out. This lets me make my own route, often using roads not on the basemap.
    Oh yeah, the SD is nice. I have a 512mb in there now, with topographic detail maps for most of canada on it at the moment.



    #17
  18. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    If anyone is pondering an iFinder, keeping an eye on this might be a good idea. I could be off my rocker too, but I don't think so.

    I've had the unit about a week now and I'm a bit concerned with the sensitivity of it, or lack of it.

    Examples

    In my wide open suburban yard, I just barely get a 3D fix and can't get WAAS at all, though maybe WAAS isn't good in NJ...I really don't know. I do know the EPE, estimated error is seldom under 100 feet though and that seems a bit suspicious.

    In my truck it really doesn't work at all, can't keep a fix. I figured that might be the roofline of the Dodge Ram or something so that didn't concern me as much as the first problem. I have an external antenna in the mail for the truck.

    On boats with huge lexan windows all around, the performance isn't much better than in my truck. Constantly dropping and taking a long while (minute or more) to get another fix on position. This is with the unit sitting right at the window.

    I've got a service call in with Lowrance, just waiting to see what they think and how it's handled.

    Anyone with more handheld experience here think I'm nuts?

    I've got a background with radio as a hobby so I at least thought my expectations were realistic. From screen snaps of other people in the forum here, and other places, it would seem that a lock on 8 and more birds is common when I can barely get four or five and generally two of them are hardly registering a signal. I've never gotten any sustained full bar signals from any yet.
    #18
  19. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    It's been five days, the only response has been an auto-responder email from Lowrance and nothing at all from gpscity.

    The up-side is that the $29 external antenna easily doubled the sensitivity of the unit and on powerup it re-acquires a fix in about 5 seconds. Far better than I'd thought the cheap antenna would do. Finally I get full WAAS fix and the EPE is down in the 20ft range regularly.

    It's a shame the unit doesn't work as well free-hand though. I like the map detail and interface a lot.

    I put a 512mb SD card in it and can fit ME to VA in full detail without any problems. I could get ME to FL if I knocked out a lot of the restaurant and other advertising stuff out of the detail selection.

    I like the unit for form and features, maybe I got a lemon with a disconnected internal antenna...I'm really not sure. I guess I'm stuck with it for now.

    I would retract my recommendations for both Lowrance and gpscity at this point, not for bad service, but for no service at all so far.
    #19
  20. MulletWhip

    MulletWhip Bottom Feeder

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    Bump!

    Hey Kingsqueak,
    Any new developments on this situation? I am currently sitting on the fence between the Lowrance iFinder H2O and a Garmin 76C. Your customer service situation is definitely pushing me towards the Garmin. From what I have read, the customer service with Garmin is great and that definitely scores serious points in my book. Please keep us posted on the situation. Thanks.

    Mike
    #20