Using a Garmin Nuvi as an ADV GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by trailer Rails, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. PlowHand

    PlowHand Ancient, ugly and happy :-)

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    Thanks for this thread TR. I'm going to try it out on my Nuvi 50LM. I spent many hours playing with the folders on it trying to get tracks working to no avail.
    #41
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  2. fjmartin

    fjmartin Been here awhile

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    I just came across this thread today but last week I decided to get a refurb'd Nuvi 57LM. First thing I did was to waterproof it with silicone on the screen edge and cover the speaker and micro-SD slot with 3M tape. Dialetric grease in the USB port to keep it from corroding. I did a RAM Mount so it's behind the windscreen on my bike which makes it easy to read and also keeps any additional water from hitting the unit. I added another USB port on the bike to power it. From a maps perspective, I used several sites that work with OpenStreetMaps to build custom maps and other sites to download them for things like Topo's (http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/, http://osm.thkukuk.de/, http://www.raumbezug.eu/osm-garmin_en.htm, https://www.gpsfiledepot.com/, https://www.openmapchest.org/, http://alternativaslibres.org/en/index.php, http://switchbacks.com/). Some of these sites include an installer to allow you to get the maps easily into BaseCamp which can then put them on the GPS. Others just allow access to the IMG file to manually put on the GPS. I used the tools from http://www.gmaptool.eu/en to allow me to take IMG files and build an installer so I could get all the maps in BaseCamp. Next, I wanted a way to GPX tracks that I've built using other tools like http://ridewithgps.com or tracks that I had saved from previous rides onto the device as routes. I didn't know about the cool IMG tool for this but instead wrote a PowerShell script that reads in a track file, runs it through GPSBabel to reduce it to 800 points and then my script uses that reduced track file to generate a route file. I did this as the Nuvi I have has a limitation of how many sequential ShapingPoints can exist. My script makes the first, and each 100 points ViaPoints and the rest ShapingPoints allowing me to reach the 800 points that seems to works really well on the device. These are Direct routes so as mentioned in previous posts these routes won't do auto re-routing. I also noticed that because it's a direct route, when I say to route me to the first point it also does direct routing so my script automatically creates a waypoint to the first point and then you can route to that waypoint and have nice auto routing. To access these direct routes you select Apps and the Trip Planning. You can save a bunch on there like each section of a BDR. By doing this the 800 points will be very detailed vs trying to put the full BDR in a single 800 point track. Once the script generates the route file and waypoint start file you just import them into BaseCamp and send to your device. I'm really happy with how it works. Time will tell if the device lasts due to vibration. I don't see a way to attach the script in this post so if it's something you want, PM me your email address and I'll email it to you. Because it's PowerShell, it will have to be run on a Windows computer...sorry mac folks.

    Attached Files:

    #42
  3. Integralle

    Integralle Adventurer

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    I'm using a 1310 as adv gps with fine results and I find a problem:

    Lines of paths and roads are too thin to have a clear and easy view. In a gpsmap 64 (for example) lines are less thin and view result is better.

    Any possible solution??

    Another problem, with no posibilities to improve I'm afraid, is that view with direct sunlight is not nice.

    I know a 276cx is much better (700€ better). I'm trying to get the nuvi capabilities as far as possible.
    #43
  4. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    I don't think there is any way to adjust the size of the road lines. When you convert a route, there is a drop down where you can change the thickness of the line of the route. One thing with the Nuvi, is it sometimes changes zoom level if you exceed 60mph. That is interesting that the gpsmaps 64 is better because it has a smaller screen.

    Yes, direct sunlight can be rough also. I need to make a little sun visor for the one on my big bike. On the small bikes I can move my helmet to block the sun to catch a glance at it but it is too far away not the big bike.
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  5. deserteagle56

    deserteagle56 deserteagle56

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    I find that setting the GPS to "Night" view makes the roads pop out from the background.
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  6. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    If you're using IMGfromGPX use the TYP file of 'NoBorder'

    Most of the TYP files put a thin black border on the sides of a overlay track/route.

    With the border, it is sometimes quite a bit harder to see your overlay routes.

    Also, my Nuvi uses Magenta when I want to do an autoroute, therefore it doesn't want to show tracks/routes in my overlay that are Magenta. I was using a Nuvi 1490 when that happened.

    Also, be aware that different colors in your overlays show up at different zoom levels.
    I posted chart of what colors appear at what zoom levels a few years ago, don't remember it at the moment.
    I think Green and Red showed up the farthest out.

    There was a recent update to the firmware of my 1490 that changed it behavior on displaying overlays.
    #46
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  7. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    When I used a 1300, I found that visibility was better if the screen reflected my black tank bag instead of my high-viz jacket or white helmet. Tilting it down instead of aimed right at my eyes was better.

    I also used something like a sun shield. Here shown where the sun would be on the screen if the sun shield was not present.

    [​IMG]

    The sun shield pieces also held in place the plug with a better angle.

    [​IMG]
    #47
  8. Integralle

    Integralle Adventurer

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    I will try, thanks!!


    I will look for and try "no border" configuration. Anyway problem is not only the track is thin, roads and paths are too thin in my opinion.

    Many thanks!


    As I use it for enduro, gps screen orientation must be to sky, not to me, for stand riding. Also I had thought in extra screen shield.

    Folks, thanks for your assistance, you are great.
    #48
  9. Helibee

    Helibee Been here awhile

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    Good morning all. Thanks for the thread and instructions Trailer rails. I struggled to make this work after having read it was possible. This morning I was able to get it to appear in my maps menu. Yea!

    Cheers!
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  10. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    There his a learning curve to everything GPS related. I am glad you got it to work.
    #50
  11. SteelB12

    SteelB12 Our Purity of Essence

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    This has probably been covered somewhere else, but have you had your Nuvi die on you when riding?? Fairly often on my KLR (and sometimes on my Bandit) the screen with go to the screen you see when the unit is plugged into a computer. It does this a couple times and then usually dies. After an hour or so I can usually power it back on and it works again. Because of this issue, I have thought about getting a motorcycle specific GPS, but since I am a KLR owner, I decided to just use one GPS for all my vehicles.
    Will have to try the waterproofing tip you mentioned. Previously I have just used a baggie over the unit.
    #51
  12. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    My nuvi was fairly reliable but it did cut out occasionally. The failures on mine weren't changing connection mode, but losing power. I forget how to display the error log, but mine was filled with "low power shutdown" errors.

    When my nuvi failed in Alaska I rode to Anchorage and bought a Montana. Very happy with the upgrade. I do post in this thread occasionally because the nuvi did work for me for years. The Montana works better in every way, including aimed up in full sun for standing on a dual-sport as @Integralle needs.
    #52
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  13. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    I keep a rubber band around the cable and nuvi, keeping pressure on it so it does not vibrate.
    #53
  14. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    I am sure I'll upgrade to something one day, the nuvi has been a good stepping stone for getting into gps. I tried a couple nicer gps units before the nuvi and I think they had so many features that I was confused on how to use them properly. Now I have some more experience, I think I can step up to a nicer unit and use it to its full potential.
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  15. SteelB12

    SteelB12 Our Purity of Essence

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    That's probably the issue. I have it mounted to the windshield so it does bounce a lot.
    As soon as I can find a mount to screw to the KLR dash, I will give the rubber band trick a try
    #55
  16. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    That's why I bought a $150 nuvi first (when that was a cheap GPS and phones didn't compete at all).

    I learned what it could do, what I wanted it to do, and what I wanted it not to do.
    #56
  17. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    I should update this thread. In the last couple years of running a Nuvi, I have been killing them on a fairly regular basis. The charging cords and USB interface is the weak point. I use a rubber band to keep tension on them but they still die over time. I killed a few this summer and I will not venture out on a long ride without taking a spare along. On a cross country ride a few weeks ago, I had to resort to using my phone.

    I am still a fan of the Nuvi because it is cheap and disposable. My rides tend to be off-road and everything takes a beating. I was trying a Montana and managed to destroy the screen, for the cost of replacing the screen, I can buy 4 or 5 Nuvi units.

    I am also exparmenting with the Keyocera phone thing but the Nuvi still is what I like.
    #57
  18. deserteagle56

    deserteagle56 deserteagle56

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    I'm not an electronics tech but I would think there should be a way you could bypass that USB port and wire directly into a circuit board in the back of the Nuvi using diodes or ? to get the voltage right.
    #58
  19. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    Good idea, ill fish one out of the garbage and take it apart.
    #59
  20. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Or you can solder the wire from a Garmin power supply into the nuvi with no plug. Or you could solder a Garmin USB cable into the nuvi and still use a generic USB power supply. The nuvi would just have a long cord permanently attached with a USB A plug on the end. The A plug is more robust than the mini B plug, but if it started wearing out, you could cut it off and splice another USB A onto the cable.

    The nuvi needs a 5-wire power cord with the resistor in it to alert the nuvi that it's a power cord, not a computer cord.
    #60
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