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A week in the Lakes with a SatMap

 
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jamesrico
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Joined: Apr 20, 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:55 pm    Post subject: A week in the Lakes with a SatMap Reply with quote

Spent last week walking in the Lake District, this was my first use of my SatMap purchased from eBay.
Managed to get it for 270, unit was in an as new condition and came with the National Park SD card. It had already been upgraded to software v1.16

Planning:
Found the planning on the device pretty annoying so I planned all of my walks with Memory-Map and exported them to .gpx files. Converted and imported to a .map format using the SatSync software, this worked fine.

Power:
Used 2500mah rechargeable batteries (Energizer Advanced) which lasted on average 8 hours.
(advanced power option, screen off after 1 minute, north up display, 50% brightness)
Took two extra sets of charged up batteries with me each day just incase.

Found that using the advanced power option made a big difference - the non-rotating map cuts the cpu use and it only updates the position every four seconds instead of one.
Before purchasing the SatMap I was dead set of having a route up device but even before discovering the power disadvantage I found I prefered the north up option anyway. Route up became pretty difficult to view if you stop to look at the screen, map kept rotating around.

Walks:
Planned and walked seven routes, each around 7-10 miles varying from coastal (St Bees) to mountains (Great Gable) and the SatMap behaved almost perfectly.

Two issues to mention.

On two occasions during the week after stopping for a rest the unit appeared to hang when starting to move again.
Device was active and showed good gps lock-on but the position stopped updating, only solution was to switch off and back on.

The only main complaint is the initial lock on time. Generally took 20-30 mins each day to get a gps lock regardless of weather or location.

All in all very pleased though. I started the week with a device I hadn't really used and ended it with something that I feel I can trust.
Apart from the initial lock-on 20-30 mins I didn't have to use my os map and compass which made the walking even more enjoyable.
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a couple of points, have you calibrated the compass prior to use? the reason I ask is the device will switch from GPS heading to electronic compass below a certain speed (which is configurable). Without calibration the map will hunt if used in track up mode.

For lock on time, I always wait for the device to acquire a position lock before moving off, when moving the device can take quite a while to work out your true position. For me simply switching it on prior to putting on my boots and other outside weather gear is sufficient for the device to grab a signal and position fix - Mike
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jamesrico
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Joined: Apr 20, 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikealder wrote:
Just a couple of points, have you calibrated the compass prior to use? the reason I ask is the device will switch from GPS heading to electronic compass below a certain speed (which is configurable). Without calibration the map will hunt if used in track up mode.

For lock on time, I always wait for the device to acquire a position lock before moving off, when moving the device can take quite a while to work out your true position. For me simply switching it on prior to putting on my boots and other outside weather gear is sufficient for the device to grab a signal and position fix - Mike


Hi Mike,

I will try the calibration but to be honest the battery life advantage of the advanced mode with north up is quite a bit better.

Interesting what you said about waiting for a lock-on before setting off, stupidly this was something I didn't try !
Will give it a go, certainly sounds like a possible solution.
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All GPS devices will struggle if moving when trying to acquire a signal lock, the active10 is no different to the others in this respect, typically a couple of minutes are all that is required.
Compass calibration only takes seconds and is well worth doing periodically, it is very simple to do requiring the device to be rotated twice through 360 degrees whilst held flat.

If you are concerned about battery life I would consider dropping the screen backlight time from 1 minute to 15 seconds, the timer only starts from the last button press, so it is easy to keep the screen alive when used this way. I far prefer track up mode and can live with it as I only turn the device on when I need it - its a cracking bit of kit and don't get too hung up about power save, although I would seriously consider the LiPol battery pack option as this offers the most cost effective solution IMHO - Mike
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PloddinPedro
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Joined: Mar 25, 2007
Posts: 229

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jamesrico - the locking up problem may be associated with the loading of several routes alongside a (perhaps?) large map file. Mine locks up regularly if I have my library of fifteen cycling routes loaded with my GB South 1:50,000 map. If I use my local 1:25,000 (much smaller file) map, I have no problem. The Satmap people are working on a patch to fix this issue.
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Bloberoonie
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Joined: Apr 21, 2008
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject: The Lakes Reply with quote

Hi James, many thanks for the mini review of the Satmap in "the lakes", I am thinking of getting one to replace my Garmin 60. I have read quite a few reviews but none that were specific to the lakes area and the type of walking that I do.

One interesting point about the long satelite aquiring times, I was in the lakes at the same time as you and had lots of issues with weak or no satelite lock yet the 18 months prior when I have been up there I had no problems at all.

Maybe aliens or a solar flare interfeering with them?

The real joy of this device seems to be in using a colour screen with O/S maps, real shame that I have to buy the same map I already own over again.

regards

Steve
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PloddinPedro
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Screen brightness Reply with quote

jamesrico wrote:
Used ... (advanced power option, screen off after 1 minute, north up display, 50% brightness)
Interesting that you were able to manage on 50% brightness. When walking with my A10 I struggle to read it comfortably at the 80% level that is mandatory with the Advanced Power Option. When using it cycling I have to have it at 100% if the day is reasonably bright, preventing the use of the Power Save option. Someone commented a while back, on the thread regarding the feature on The Gadget Show, that the unit shown in that programme appeared to have a particularly bright screen. At the time I put it down to merely the TV screen but I'm now wondering if there are differences between units. How many other people use their A10 at a brightness as low as 50%?
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jamesrico
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I managed on 50% put it that way. I wouldn't say it was easy to view in the sunlight but I just used the 'boost' button a few times when needed.

Most of the time it was fine though.
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jamesrico
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Re: The Lakes Reply with quote

Bloberoonie wrote:
The real joy of this device seems to be in using a colour screen with O/S maps


Its very good. Just makes walking even more enjoyable.

I still carry my os map and compass in my rucksack and always will but to be able to just glance at the SatMap is a real bonus.

As I said in my first post I ended the week feeling I could trust the device.

Bit of a pain about the maps, I'm in the same boat as I need to purchase some other NP os cards ready for some more trips.
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oddsock
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I have my GpsMap 60Csx in battery save mode the cold start aquisition time is greatly increased especially if moving before a full sat lock.You say you have yours in a BS mode so could this be part of your problem?
Dave
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jamesrico
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oddsock wrote:
If I have my GpsMap 60Csx in battery save mode the cold start aquisition time is greatly increased especially if moving before a full sat lock.You say you have yours in a BS mode so could this be part of your problem?
Dave


I tried both settings but only whilst moving.

I'm going to try it at the weekend, think it will probably be okay if I wait for a lock before setting off.
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oddsock
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamesrico wrote:
oddsock wrote:
If I have my GpsMap 60Csx in battery save mode the cold start aquisition time is greatly increased especially if moving before a full sat lock.You say you have yours in a BS mode so could this be part of your problem?
Dave


I tried both settings but only whilst moving.
e

Getting a lock whilst moving with normal battery setting is no problem on the 60Csx but I think the chipset in it maybe better than the Satmap..the only experience I have of this was at the Satmap stand at the outdoor show,courtesy of PGPSWorlds free ticket,BTW Many thanks ,I was talking to a rep and I commented that the unit in his hand did not have a lock to which he replied that one could not be obtained in the Hall.I reached in my pocket and took out my 60 Csx which had more than enough Sat lock bars showing.his answer was that I had brought it into the building with a lock already aquired.Thinking this was a feasable reply I switched mine off and wandered around for an hour and then turned it back on by their stand,a lock was obtained almost immediately Very Happy I left without saying a word..

Dave
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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamesrico wrote:
Interesting what you said about waiting for a lock-on before setting off, stupidly this was something I didn't try !
Will give it a go, certainly sounds like a possible solution.

I've never experienced TTFF's of 30 mins even when I set off before I had a fix. As Mike has said though, leaving it to get a fix before setting off is the best method.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oddsock wrote:
Getting a lock whilst moving with normal battery setting is no problem on the 60Csx but I think the chipset in it maybe better than the Satmap.

They both use SiRFStarIII. As I have said in my review, it would appear that the Satmap has a much higher threshold for what it deems an acceptable signal for initial lock.

Once it has obtained one though it is as sensitive as any other device I could compare it with.
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Physicist
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Oddsock's observations re Active 10's sensitivity compared with the Garmin's 60 CSx's .....though one is apt to be shot down for claiming it on this forum!

The A10 can be deceptively good; get a lock in clear country and head into deep woodland and it may continue to show satellites and say that the reception is excellent. But turn it off and on again while you remain in deep woodland and it may not get a lock. Repeat the experiment with a 60CSx and it quickly will reacquire a lock.

It seems to me that the Active 10 has a long response built into the satellite display which fails to show true current level of the signal. The accuracy depends depends of course on the number of satellites currently being used. In my experience the true accuracy of the A10 falls dramatically compared with that of the 60 CSx in tough terrain. Until the sensitivity issue is studied in more depth I have to take claims that the Active 10 works fine in deep tree cover with a pinch of salt. When I know I will be walking in deep tree covered ravines I take the 60 CSx with me.
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