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SATMAP active 10
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Physicist
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Joined: Nov 08, 2007
Posts: 57
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Active 10 is beautifully designed and boxed. However I feel that the supplied strap is a bit of a disappointment; the canvas is rough and and to stiff to fold up at the end of the day (try stuffing it in a jacket pocket). It is also not the most comfortable to wear around your neck all day. The problem is easily solved; buy a soft camera strap with 'loop end' fitting. I use the OP/TECH range of straps.

Garmin's cord lanyard is comfortable but it only comes with a single loop end. Unlike a strap, a cord doesnt need untwisting to lie flat.

Perhaps Satmap will reassess the current strap.
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bryanwal
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Joined: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Physicist wrote:
The Active 10 is beautifully designed and boxed. However I feel that the supplied strap is a bit of a disappointment; the canvas is rough and and to stiff to fold up at the end of the day (try stuffing it in a jacket pocket). It is also not the most comfortable to wear around your neck all day. The problem is easily solved; buy a soft camera strap with 'loop end' fitting. I use the OP/TECH range of straps.

Garmin's cord lanyard is comfortable but it only comes with a single loop end. Unlike a strap, a cord doesnt need untwisting to lie flat.

Perhaps Satmap will reassess the current strap.
i bought the bike mount i attach it to my belt works a treat
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lucevans
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Joined: Mar 21, 2007
Posts: 261
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bryanwal wrote:
Physicist wrote:
The Active 10 is beautifully designed and boxed. However I feel that the supplied strap is a bit of a disappointment; the canvas is rough and and to stiff to fold up at the end of the day (try stuffing it in a jacket pocket). It is also not the most comfortable to wear around your neck all day. The problem is easily solved; buy a soft camera strap with 'loop end' fitting. I use the OP/TECH range of straps.

Garmin's cord lanyard is comfortable but it only comes with a single loop end. Unlike a strap, a cord doesnt need untwisting to lie flat.

Perhaps Satmap will reassess the current strap.
i bought the bike mount i attach it to my belt works a treat


I use the case that came with the Active10 attached to my rucsack waist belt. I was worried that it would not be able to maintain a constant satellite lock in such a low position, especially on ascents where I'm leaning forward, but I took it up to the Peak District yesterday, and it performed perfectly all day. A number of questions I had about the unit's design and performance were answered, namely:
1) Receiver sensitivity - compared to my Garmin 60CSx, the receiver on the Active10 did not perform at all well in and around my home. However, in the environment for which it was designed (hillwalking, in my case), the unit rapidly found and kept a lock on a minimum of 7 satellites at all times, even in steep valleys under tree cover!
2) Battery life - I quickly came to the conclusion that the default factory settings were not realistic - i.e. screen & backlight on contantly at 70% brightness, so for yesterday's walk I set the screen to turn off after 30 seconds, and left the unit powered on all day. Pressing a button brought the screen up instantly, and after 5 hours walking, the battery indicator still displayed 4 bars.
3) Visibility of screen in bright daylight - With the backlight set to 70%, the screen was usually quite easy to read on the moors under bright but changeable conditions. Occasionally when the sun was out and reflecting directly off the screen I found it hard to read, but pressing the backlight boost button instantly made the screen easily readable. I'm considering changing the default backlight level to 100%, since I turn the screen off after 30 seconds anyway, but I'd like to see what effect it has on battery life under this scheme first.
4) Maps - Having used a Memory Map/PDA combo on the hills in the past, I was a bit concerned about the readability of maps on-screen under real outdoor conditions. This was the biggest revelation for me - despite the bright conditions yesterday, I was able to see the map clearly in sufficient detail to follow it all day and use it to make decisions where footpaths split on the map with no apparent signs on the ground. I was completely bowled over by the accuracy of the 1:25 000 map and the GPS accuracy was stunning (virtually no divergence of the GPS trail from the footpaths marked on the map). In fact, by the end of the walk I was feeling really guilty, because I hadn't taken my paper map or compass out the rucsack pocket all day! I now think I'm in serious danger of losing my traditional map and compass skills through lack of use!
5) Electronic compass - Either I haven't got the hang of the electronic compass yet, or it's not very good. I played around with orientating the map "track up" but despite repeated calibration away from all metal objects, the map would not stop spinning when I was standing still. I upped the threshold speed that the unit switches from compass to GPS heading to 5 kph, and when I'm moving, the "track up" mode works well, but when stationary I just don't think it is stable enough. But then I was never very impressed by the electronic compass on the Garmin 60CSx either - I'm much more inclined to use my trusty old Silva type 4.
6) Screen cover - I know that the screen cover is replacable, and I've seen the replacements for sale on the website, but there are no instructions in the user guide to remove the cover. Why would I want to do this unless it's to replace it? Well, yesterday saw 70 mph gusts up on the tops, and numerous bits of grit and dust have managed to get between the protector and the screen proper. This is annoying, as they show up as dark specs against the backlit map, and this after just one day out...
The only other problem with the Active10 is that it's display is so pretty that I'm in serious danger of spending half the walk looking at the screen with a stupid grin on my face, instead of the scenery!
Sorry for the length of this post, but I was so impressed by this unit in real conditions, and felt the need to share Laughing
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PloddinPedro
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Joined: Mar 25, 2007
Posts: 229

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 7:34 pm    Post subject: Active 10 screen cover Reply with quote

In response to the comment by lucevans re. the cover, I have to say I have discarded this and just applied a PDA screen protective film direct to the main screen underneath. I found the plastic of both the cover and the main screen to be susceptible to scratching, even when wiped with a microfibre cloth, and rainwater that dried between the cover and the main screen etched a puddle outline on mine. My view is that the screen material needs to be much more robust (a la Garmin) and the cover then dispensed with.
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Physicist
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Joined: Nov 08, 2007
Posts: 57
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may be talking at cross purposes but if you say you remove the angled clip-on cover (rather than the outer protective film) you are leaving the unit vulnerable; a drop may well fracture the lcd display.

I am still disappointed by satellite acquisition times (start-up times) even when switching on the unit in the same area of the country. My previous set took up to an hour to acquire a lock - sometimes it never did - so I returned it to Satmap to have it checked out. They provided a new unit (beat that for service) which is significantly better but nowhere near the 15-30 s taken by my Garmin 60CSx. My A-10 sometimes shows the dreaded single satellite at the 12 o'clock position; when that happens I have to switch the unit off and restart it. Curiously the very early Garmins (eg the 30 or 35) also used to develop this single satellite failure (Garmin told me a series of keystrokes to overcome it).

On a different point Magellan's Triton will soon be on sale in the UK. This model can use National Geographic 1:25 k mapping on SD cards. However these only cover the US. It is hard to see why they are launching it in the UK, particularly as they have discontinued their UK Topo mapping! So no threat to Satmap.
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lucevans
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Joined: Mar 21, 2007
Posts: 261
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Physicist wrote:
I am still disappointed by satellite acquisition times (start-up times) even when switching on the unit in the same area of the country. My previous set took up to an hour to acquire a lock - sometimes it never did - so I returned it to Satmap to have it checked out. They provided a new unit (beat that for service) which is significantly better but nowhere near the 15-30 s taken by my Garmin 60CSx. My A-10 sometimes shows the dreaded single satellite at the 12 o'clock position; when that happens I have to switch the unit off and restart it. Curiously the very early Garmins (eg the 30 or 35) also used to develop this single satellite failure (Garmin told me a series of keystrokes to overcome it.


I experienced those ridiculously long acquisition times too when I tried-out the A10 in my garden (there were a couple of times it never managed to get a lock) so imagine my surprise when I moved the unit over 100 miles north whilst switched off, only to find that it got a solid lock on 9 satellites within 60 seconds when I powered it up at Ladybower reservoir! I'm not sure what's going on here, but this partiular implementation of the SirfStarIII chipset seems to much prefer the great outdoors!

Pedro: My screen protector has a few fine scratches now too - disappointing, since I only wiped it gently with soft fleece gloves. Since the covers are replaceable, maybe in the future SatMap could change the material used in their construction to something like the self-healing screen my first ever GPS had (Magellan GPS2000).
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Landyfan
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Joined: Dec 02, 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:38 pm    Post subject: Satmap first impressions Reply with quote

Bought a Satmap Active10 a couple of weeks ago in Ambleside (and secured a 10% discount in Stuart Cunninghams !) and have now used the unit 4 times on walks in The Lakes (x2) a gentle bike ride in Northumberland and a run beside Loch Awe in Scotland.

First impressions (and a few questions) are :

This muther chews batteries ! Currently averaging just over a walk/ride a set (ie used 3 sets). Also a bit worrying that the unit shows a full strength battery for over 90% of battery life, then only 3 bars shown for about 15 minutes of further use then straight to red and the unit switches off automatically. Does this sound right ?

The planned route is such a large and grey line that it obscures far too much of the details on the map. As I like maps, I really don't enjoy having so much obscured by the route I have laid out. Can this be altered in settings somehow ?

Had a few significant deviations between where the Satmap said the footpath should be and where the footpath actually was on the ground. The largest was about a 75 metre difference between the actual path (and in this instance the footpath on the ground was very obvious - ie a clear and very old route crossing a wall by a gate) and where the Satmap / map said it should be (using the Lakeland 1:25,000). That type of deviation on a ridge / descent path in thick mist could be dangerous. Would that be a mapping error or a GPS error ?

A couple of the walks were very wet and I now have water between the screen and the screen cover. How do you remove the cover to dry it out ?

Beats any other GPS I have used hands down. At last a GPS I actually feel is useful / interesting and value for money. Previously I simply found them to be of too limited use to justify the expense and relied on good ol' fashioned map and compass and pacing etc.

I am still using the V1 software but learn here that new versions are being produced. Will Satmap send those out automatically (I have registered) or will I need to buy these ?

Has anyone yet used the unit on a Moutain Bike on "knarly" terrain ? If so, is the unit and the mounting kit up to the task ?

I have bought the Lake District National Park map and the North of the British Isles Map which cover everything and every area I am likely to use (never straying south of the M62).

Thanks for listening .
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PloddinPedro
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Joined: Mar 25, 2007
Posts: 229

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Satmap first impressions Reply with quote

Landyfan said: [quote=
This muther chews batteries ! Currently averaging just over a walk/ride a set (ie used 3 sets). Also a bit worrying that the unit shows a full strength battery for over 90% of battery life, then only 3 bars shown for about 15 minutes of further use then straight to red and the unit switches off automatically. Does this sound right ? unquote]

This mirrors my experience using 2800mAh NiMh rechargeables - this type of battery seems to run its duration at a fairly steady output and then drop off a cliff. I've chosen to run it at 50% backlight when cycling. When walking, just turn it off completely and hit the backlight boost when you need to look at it. Once you've got over the novelty of a rolling OS map, you generally need to view it only when you come to junctions/ uncertain paths etc.

[quote: The planned route is such a large and grey line that it obscures far too much of the details on the map. As I like maps, I really don't enjoy having so much obscured by the route I have laid out. Can this be altered in settings somehow ? unquote]

I raised this point with Satmap a while back - they say they are going to provide an option to suppress previous saved routes so they don't permanently show on the screen. I believe this will be a software update (free hopefully) in due course.


[quote: A couple of the walks were very wet and I now have water between the screen and the screen cover. How do you remove the cover to dry it out ? See my earlier post on this. Satmap advised me thus:

"Moisture under the screen cover can be removed by easing off the screen cover itself. The cover is held in place by 3 clip points: the top (by the GPS text), left shoulder and right shoulder (by the Active 10 text). To remove the cover:

Slide your fingernails under the top edge of the screen cover (directly underneath the GPS text). Ease the screen away until it ‘clicks and lifts up. Depending on the stiffness of the cover, you can now do one of two things:
Insert a small headed screwdriver into the cut-out on the edge of the cover beneath the Active 10 text on the right hand side (i.e. just above the on button). Move the screwdriver head backwards, under the edge of the screen (i.e. towards the side buttons, not towards the antenna) and ease the cover away from the edge of the unit. This should release the 2nd clip. With two clips released, the screen cover will come away.
Please your nails at the bottom edge of the screen cover, between the top edge so the buttons and the cover. Then holding the back of the unit firmly with your other hand, push with your nails upwards towards the antenna. This should release the cover. When doing the method though, please do be careful: if you press down on the screen cover itself, when it slides off there is a small chance that it may leave marks on the screen underneath. These can be cleaned off – but it’s just better all round to avoid it on the first place.

Replacing the cover is easy, just sit the tang at the base of the cover into the slot above the joystick, then push the cover down at each clip point until all three click into place.

I’m planning on putting a video of this on the website."

This was advised to me on 13th November. I haven't checked the website recently. Don't let it dry off its own accord - I did and the screen got etched with a stain mark. Dry it with a very gentle cloth as the screen material scratches VERY easily.

[quote: I am still using the V1 software but learn here that new versions are being produced. Will Satmap send those out automatically (I have registered) or will I need to buy these ? unquote]

If you ring Satmap they will post you an SD card with version 1.03 f.o.c. If you scroll back through this thread, you will see others have done this and get some helpful tips on how it's done.

[quote:Has anyone yet used the unit on a Moutain Bike on "knarly" terrain ? If so, is the unit and the mounting kit up to the task ? unquote]

I haven't used it off-road but have covered a few hundred road bike miles - so far so good. Satmap assure me they've tested it extensively off-road without problems.

Sorry for long length of reply!
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merroarc
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Joined: Nov 07, 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Teddington, West London

PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:22 pm    Post subject: Gnarly terrain etc Reply with quote

Hi all,
I have used the unit off road. The unit stays secure and picks up everything accurately. Just watch out for loose batteries- you might find the jiggling about requires you to tighten the battery tabs a little. Be careful doing this, I asked Satmap guys first.
My biggest issue is that I watch the screen in fascination and nearly crash !
I think I've sorted the battery issue - (see an earlier post of mine).
I see some issues related to satellite locking on, I have not found this yet. The unit even locks on inside the house. Outside it seems to take 30 seconds.
I asked for release software 1.03, was sent it by Satmap FOC next day. When you install it, copy your routes onto an SD card first or you will lose all saved info.
Now ny unit is much quicker and better in all respects.
In short, I'm delighted with it.
Thanks,
Simon
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robs1972
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Joined: Mar 19, 2007
Posts: 310
Location: Plymouth

PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that the routes I'm creating for my cycle rides since buying my Active 10 are very clearly benefitting from the ability to easily follow yellow roads in areas I don't know.
I no longer have stick to planning them on possibly longer/hillier A or B roads knowing that out on the road when I'm tired or pushed for time I will 95% of the time go on the well signed but longer main road route than picking my way through possibly unsigned minor roads and getting lost.....and I'll no doubt get to see some nice secluded villages too. Very Happy
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maultby
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Joined: Dec 04, 2007
Posts: 13
Location: verwood, dorset

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:06 am    Post subject: mountain biking Reply with quote

Hi
Have read all the messages on this forum and this device looks fabulous however the messages seem to have been from walkers and road bike users but i have a couple of questions on its usability for mountain biking.

1) i can see the advantage of having a rolling map especially 1:25000, however with MTB you need to watch the ground in front carefully and may only be able to make a quick glance at the satmap device. is your current position and that position's location compared to the planned track clear in a quick glance - i can forsee a lot of "missed turns"?

2) Does the need to have the device in "low power screen off mode" mean that you need to stop to "wake it up" to see where you currently are compared to the planned track?

3) Does it make any audible sound when you leave the planned track (ie miss a turn?)

4) is it robust enough to cope with the more severe shocks through the bars that off road terrain provides?

5) how accurate is its current location display - for example will it show your location on narrow singletrack, bridle-ways, forest gravel tracks?

thanks
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merroarc
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Joined: Nov 07, 2007
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Location: Teddington, West London

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:14 pm    Post subject: MTB use Reply with quote

Hi Matltby,
I am using the device off road. The only problem I've had is the batteries shaking when the device was new. I adjusted the retaining clips (consulted Satmap first !) to keep the batteries tight. I try not to run the forks on "lock out". I have a Giant XTC1 (composite) hardtail with Fox forks. I tend to ride pretty quickly.
I keep the screen on all the time but with 40% background light at night. I think the batteries (I'm using NiH rechargeable with a 1 hour charger) will last at least a couple of hours. I take a spare set with me in case.
I can follow the route with no problem, there are no audible warnings for turns, but I can easily see when there is a fork/ junction coming. Its a hell of a lot easier than getting a map out.
As far as accuracy goes, I'm finding it acceptable at 1:50,000 but would like 1:25,000. I have not missed a turn yet.
The zoom function (set to 1 touch) works really well. The unit shows a circle around your current position which moves as you do making it easy to see where you are relative to the terrain.
I found I could run "track up" last night. I don't know how I did this, but it helps to have the unit running with the direction rather than North orientation.
Does anyone know how this function is activated ? I've seen the option in the settings speed/ compass.... is this it ?
Cheers Simon
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PloddinPedro
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Joined: Mar 25, 2007
Posts: 229

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:55 pm    Post subject: Re: MTB use Reply with quote

"merroarc" asked: [quote] I found I could run "track up" last night. I don't know how I did this, but it helps to have the unit running with the direction rather than North orientation. Does anyone know how this function is activated ? [unquote]

When in GPS mode, the bottom left button toggles between "Track Up" and "North Up" If you're in North Up mode, the icon shows an arrow pointing top right; if you're in Track Up mode, the icon is a capital N with an up arrow.
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merroarc
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Location: Teddington, West London

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:54 pm    Post subject: track up Reply with quote

Hi PloddinPedro,
Thanks for that.
I hear Satmap are going to issue a full instruction set, probably via the website. That would help solve a few bits and bobs.
How is your A10 ? Do you find it better than maps ?
Cheers,
merroarc, Teddington
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PloddinPedro
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Joined: Mar 25, 2007
Posts: 229

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
How is your A10 ? Do you find it better than maps ?

I use my A10 primarily for road cycling. I've used a Garmin GPSmap60CSx until now, but find the very basic mapping very unhelpful and the map database is often inaccurate. For me, the Holy Grail has long been the rolling OS 1:50,000 map. The A10 provides this, and it's great. When out cycling, maps are a pain. Anything of a useful scale (about 1:120,000 is optimum) is usually too big. Stopping to extract the map from a pocket is tiresome; struggling with handlebar mounted map holders is dodgy and exhausting. The A10 meets this need brilliantly, especially given the ability to zoom out to the 1:250,000 scale, to enable rough plotting of longer routes. Indeed, with this facility I often don't need to input a pre-prepared route at all; I just get a rough idea from the small scale map and then zoom in to about 1:30,000 and get all the detail I need. If I lose track, mentally, of my overall direction, I just zoom out to refresh my memory. It's great.

The major disappointment for me thus far is that screen visibility is poor compared with the Garmin, at least if the backlight is used at anything less than about 70%. With the Garmin, strong daylight means I can turn the backlight off completely and enjoy maximum battery duration. Most of my riding is for 4 hours minimum, often longer, and the A10 struggles to get past 4 hours on 70/80% - the brighter the daylight, the worse the screen visibility, i.e. the complete oppposite of the Garmin. I'm using rechargeable 2800mAh NiMh cells. The Ever Ready Energizers did much better than this but it's too expensive (for me) to use disposables. I haven't yet used the A10 for night riding. I use a headtorch for this and I don't know how this will work with the screen on the A10.

But I am crying out for the software to link it to my desktop so that I can up/download .gpx tracks. It's fairly simple to devise a route in the A10 itself if you're dealing with walking routes of up to 10 or 15 miles, but road bike rides of 70 miles or more take much more effort. Also, I have a library of previous rides which I could pre load into the device and simply activate whichever one I choose at a moment's notice - if I could upload them in the first place!
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