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Old 07-04-2013, 04:02 PM   #1
JayhawkGSA OP
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Am I crazy?

I just picked up a Zumo 660 (my first GPS ever) and I am less than impressed. Garmin's touchscreen tech seems to have stalled in the late 90s somewhere and everything so unresponsive, especially once I loaded som topo maps on it. The whole thing just seems so unintuitive after years of using smart phones with pinch to zoom, high resolution screens, and really responsive controls.

So...I think I am going to return it and make a setup based around a Google Nexus 7 tablet. This would include:
  • Google Nexus 7
  • Otterbox Defender Case
  • Gaia GPS which allows for the downloading ot USGS topo maps, import/export of GPX files, tracks, etc.

Am I completely insane? This just seems like a much better solution as a GPS for my Adventure Touring in Colorado as I really need high res topo maps that are responsive to scrolling around while I am looking for shelter above treeline!

The only problems I can identify are the possibility of a less than stellar GPS antenna and a not totally waterproof solution. The waterproof problem could be solved by sending it to a company to have Liquipel applied.

Someone tell me I am not crazy.
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:08 AM   #2
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I cannot comment on your mental state.

I think your biggest challenge will be supplying enough power to the unit that will allow it to charge while at the same time being used in GPS mode. I have not tried this myself because I don't have a smart phone or a tablet, but this seems to be a common problem.

Hope you let us know how it works out.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emoto View Post
I cannot comment on your mental state.

I think your biggest challenge will be supplying enough power to the unit that will allow it to charge while at the same time being used in GPS mode. I have not tried this myself because I don't have a smart phone or a tablet, but this seems to be a common problem.

Hope you let us know how it works out.
I tend to agree with your statement as I am trying to replace my dedicated Garmin car GPS with my new Galaxy S4. I have the Co Pilot App installed with a US map for $9.95. Very versatile and slightly buggy, need to restart every now and then, but has bunch of features. I am using a 12v to USB converter with 2 amp output and I am still noticing that over a course of about an hour, the battery still discharges even though it shows that it is charging. I'd say that although it is discharging very slowly, it is possible that having the display to the brightest setting with GPS mode running, could result in battery draining faster than recharging rate and leaving the phone dead after 1/2 a day.

I am still trying to tweak the power setting.......


Jon
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
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I pulled the trigger on this today.

I ordered this 12v to 5v unit off of amazon and will hard wire a USB connection to the bike. The wall wort hat comes with the Nexus 7 is 3 amps so I am hoping this is enough to keep the unit charged.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I also decided to go with the Backcountry Navigator App as it has the option for Accuterra maps which are more detailed than the Gaia maps.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayhawkGSA View Post
I pulled the trigger on this today.

I ordered this 12v to 5v unit off of amazon and will hard wire a USB connection to the bike. The wall wort hat comes with the Nexus 7 is 3 amps so I am hoping this is enough to keep the unit charged.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I also decided to go with the Backcountry Navigator App as it has the option for Accuterra maps which are more detailed than the Gaia maps.
Good luck as it will not be easy trying to solder the output wires from your transformer to a USB cable.

Jon
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VStromNC View Post
I tend to agree with your statement as I am trying to replace my dedicated Garmin car GPS with my new Galaxy S4. I have the Co Pilot App installed with a US map for $9.95. Very versatile and slightly buggy, need to restart every now and then, but has bunch of features. I am using a 12v to USB converter with 2 amp output and I am still noticing that over a course of about an hour, the battery still discharges even though it shows that it is charging. I'd say that although it is discharging very slowly, it is possible that having the display to the brightest setting with GPS mode running, could result in battery draining faster than recharging rate and leaving the phone dead after 1/2 a day.

I am still trying to tweak the power setting.......


Jon
I almost gave up using my new Galaxy S4 as a Car GPS due to charging issue. My setup was one of those bullet shaped 12v to USB adapters that you find everywhere. Mine had a dual output- First is 1 amp and the second output is labelled as a 2 amp. I was also using one of those retractable USB to microbus cable.

While trying to Google maximum power (current) draw of my S4, I came across this article and basically, it talked about how the smartphones are now able to sense your voltage and current output including your cable capacity to determine the charge rate. Lot more to it but good stuff.

I changed my retractable USB cable to a high quality shielded type and took it out yesterday. With display on the highest setting and with GPS running, the battery actually started charging using the 2 amp output.

Previously, the battery was discharging with the only difference being the USB cable. I tried the 1 amp output and it started to slowly discharge. My Galaxy S4 AC power supply that came with the phone output is rated at 2 amp and so using 1 amp is simply not sufficient.

I had it our about an hour and worked great and the battery was fully charged.

The article below is really for geeks but interesting reading nevertheless.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2274321

Jon
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VStromNC View Post
I almost gave up using my new Galaxy S4 as a Car GPS due to charging issue. My setup was one of those bullet shaped 12v to USB adapters that you find everywhere. Mine had a dual output- First is 1 amp and the second output is labelled as a 2 amp. I was also using one of those retractable USB to microbus cable.

While trying to Google maximum power (current) draw of my S4, I came across this article and basically, it talked about how the smartphones are now able to sense your voltage and current output including your cable capacity to determine the charge rate. Lot more to it but good stuff.

I changed my retractable USB cable to a high quality shielded type and took it out yesterday. With display on the highest setting and with GPS running, the battery actually started charging using the 2 amp output.

Previously, the battery was discharging with the only difference being the USB cable. I tried the 1 amp output and it started to slowly discharge. My Galaxy S4 AC power supply that came with the phone output is rated at 2 amp and so using 1 amp is simply not sufficient.

I had it our about an hour and worked great and the battery was fully charged.

The article below is really for geeks but interesting reading nevertheless.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2274321

Jon
Thanks, good information. I may have to revaluate as it seems that simply shorting our the data cables doesn't cut it anymore.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:57 PM   #8
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Any updates on how this is going? Considering taking the plunge...
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by QuasiMoto View Post
Any updates on how this is going? Considering taking the plunge...
I will be taking pics this weekend. Been busy getting ready for a 10 day trip, but so far it seems like it is a viable solution.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:50 AM   #10
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Pondering this exact solution as well, so I'm interested to hear how it goes.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:26 PM   #11
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This is what I have so far. It is a functional solution, a quite nice one actually. This is what I am using for a 1000 mile trip through Colorado backcountry that covers 90,000 feet of vertical climb/descent so I will give everyone a report after that, I start Monday.

Two things I still want to do but will have to wait are send it to Liquipel to get waterproofed and make a sunshade out of Kydex.

I am open to suggestions to make it even better but right now I am in about $300 total and I am much happier than with the Zumo 665 I bought originally.

http://imgur.com/a/aGltq

Edit to add: I have also thought about buying a package to allow my iPhone to be a wifi hotspot and feed the Nexus. That would give me a little more flexability if my route changed. For now I will rely on Starbucks and Panera bread for free wifi.

JayhawkGSA screwed with this post 08-09-2013 at 08:32 PM
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:32 PM   #12
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:17 PM   #13
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The Nexus 7 performed wonderfjully on my 5 day off road tour of Colorado (1400 miles). Even in rain it didn't get wet as it is tucked under the windscreen. Laying the bike over 15-20 times on day two in mud up to my knees didn't even phase it.

It will discharge slowly with the setup I have to charge it but it never got below 65% IN 8-10 hour days of riding.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:46 PM   #14
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That's good news! I just Amazoned the new Nexus 7 -- it should be arriving tomorrow. Unfortunately the Otter Box won't work with it, so thinking I may just have to mount it "naked", or perhaps in a ziplock bag, on the RAM Tab-Lock bracket. Like you, I don't have time before the next trip to give it the waterproofing treatment. Especially interesting that you found it highly functional even without a sun shroud -- I may have time to fashion something before the trip, but sounds like not a deal breaker if I can't. Any other tips or insights you might have regarding your setup or learnings, post away!
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:23 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by QuasiMoto View Post
That's good news! I just Amazoned the new Nexus 7 -- it should be arriving tomorrow. Unfortunately the Otter Box won't work with it, so thinking I may just have to mount it "naked", or perhaps in a ziplock bag, on the RAM Tab-Lock bracket. Like you, I don't have time before the next trip to give it the waterproofing treatment. Especially interesting that you found it highly functional even without a sun shroud -- I may have time to fashion something before the trip, but sounds like not a deal breaker if I can't. Any other tips or insights you might have regarding your setup or learnings, post away!
A sunshade would have helped a lot, I did find myself having to cup the screen occasionally when the sun was behind me. My friend had a good idea of using my vacuum sealer to make a waterproof bag for it that was formed to the tablet. I didn't do that and rode through two days of rain without a problem. The tablet only got a few drops on it and only when I wasn't moving forward. The wind screen did a nice job of protecting it.

One thing I found really helpful was the very detailed acuterra topo maps that i could easily scroll around on. I was in several situations where I wasn't sure if I should continue on certain "roads" with the big GS Adventure fully loaded. It was nice to be able to see the contours it followed to determine if it was straight downhill or at least somewhat flat. Those maps also very clearly define who owns what land - BLM/USFS/State/Private/etc. It was very easy to know when I could pull off to camp somewhere.

If I were to have one complaint it would actually be the ram mount. The vibration movesthe mount no matter how tight I had it. Not a lot but it made the tablet slightly crooked after a couple hundred miles. I think I am going to still use the tab lock as that worked great but maching my own bracket that doesn't use the ram mount ball mounting system.
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