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GPS on the cheap

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Andyvh1959, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
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    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    On my BMW R1200RT I glued a RAM ball into the top edge of the inner fairing trim, to give me a mount for an old Nuvi 360 that I had. I wired a power socket to the battery under the seat and then routed a power cord up under the fuel tank and into the fairing, so it came out at the ball mount. It worked good until one day it rained. The GPS still works but is too dark to see even at full brightness.

    So off to ebay to shop a replacement. I scoured a fully functional used Nuvi 750 with updated maps for under $20 with the mount clip. It connects to the same power cord as the Nuvi 360. I put clear Gorilla tape over the speaker holes at the back and over the slot for the memory card (it came with a 4gig card in it). Then I applied painters tape on the screen, leaving maybe a 1/16" gap to the outer frame. Next I applied 100% Silicone caulk around the screen edge, and forced the caulk under the screen frame with a small piece of plastic. Pulled off the tape and smoothed the caulk with my finger. Once cured it will seal the GPS from rain. I found a video on youtube of a rider who did the same on his car style GPS and has worked in the rain for many years. Finally, I added a sun shroud I bought on ebay.

    So now I am set for GPS on my BMW for less than $50. With a bit more shopping I could have bought a used GPS with lifetime maps updates.
    #1
    TonyKZ1, flei and HarveyM like this.
  2. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    You can use open street maps (http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/). It has some hiccups on my Zumo (it loves to use 'take ramp' in place of 'turn') but the map looks to be as good or better than the current Garmin ones, plus it's POIs are so much better than Garmin's it's sad.
    #2
  3. JR356

    JR356 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,210
    Location:
    Way out West
    Small ziplock bag works well as a good rain cover,can use rubber bands or use elastic hair ties to keep it in place.
    The freezer style bags are sturdier and all still allow you to view the screen.

    JR356
    #3
  4. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,964
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    The youtube video I found about waterproofing the Nuvi using the technique I posted above, showed the GPS active and working while he doused it with a steady stream from a garden hose. He claimed he had many years of rain riding using a "waterproofed" GPS.
    #4
  5. Manrider218

    Manrider218 Been here awhile

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    Mar 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    USA
    This
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. JR356

    JR356 Long timer

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    May 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,210
    Location:
    Way out West
    Think I saw same video from GPSKevin.

    JR356
    #6
  7. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,054
    Location:
    Maine
    The remaining vulnerability is the USB mini B connector. Inmates have sealed a short extension to the connector and have opened up nuvis and soldered wires to the circuit board.

    Open Street Maps is great some places but not ready for prime time in others.
    #7
  8. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,964
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Good point about the min USB connector, I'll check that. On the Nuvi 750 it is on the bottom, so maybe a small o-ring stretched around the plug may work, or a small wrap of electrical tape to form a seal lip when the plug is inserted.

    Revzilla sells a waterproof case for a GPS, which features seals and a clear front so the GPS can be used in the case.

    One issue I had with this used Nuvi 750 is when mounted on the ball it would constantly droop. Not loose enough to fall off but too loose to stay in position. So I cut "shims" from a beer can, and slid that in between the metal ring and plastic fingers on the GPS mount socket. Nice and tight now, in fact it takes a good tug to pop it off the ball mount.
    #8
  9. V2Neal

    V2Neal Been here awhile

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    Feb 9, 2010
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    585
    Location:
    Apple Valley, MN
    #9
    TonyKZ1 and Yinzer Moto like this.
  10. flei

    flei cycletherapist

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
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    7,883
    Location:
    Western Mass.
    I'm with you on this. A few years ago I got a good deal on a used Garmin 660LM in the flea market ($250 with all mounts etc.) and put that on my BMW. IMHO it works ok (though I think Basecamp sucks), but it blows my mind that people were willing to pay $500+ for these things (with their dull screens, unintuitive menus etc.).

    I just got a second bike and figured I could just buy a second mount and swap the 660 onto it, but since Garmin eliminated the model, on eBay the mounts are going for prices I consider outrageous for that they are ($135+). So I just bought a Nuvi 255W for $18 on eBay, stuck it on a RAM mount I already had, cut the lighter plug off and wired it up. Zip-loc bag rain cover. VOILA!
    #10
  11. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto aka: trailer Rails

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    Jun 13, 2008
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    Pittsburgh PA
    #11
    V2Neal likes this.
  12. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    Washington, DC