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Going back to Garmin

 
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scotch_whisky
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Joined: Jul 20, 2006
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject: Going back to Garmin Reply with quote

I have tried very hard to like the Satmap and it many ways I do. The ability to display proper 25K OS maps on a weatherproof rugged device is of course its main attraction, at least to a hiker such as myself.

What I am not so happy about are:-

Battery issues - The constant 34mA driain with the unit switched off has flattened my expensive lithium batteries on a number of occassions and I doubt that this issue can be fixed by a firmware update. I have not yet purchased the rechargeable pack.

OS Maps - I have a large collection of Memory-Map 25K maps which I use for route planning. It is extremely galling to have to repurchase maps I already have so I can see the SAME map on the Satmap.

A bit bulky for serious hikers particularly when you have to carry a stock of spare batteries. I have also picked up quite a few scratches on the screen which I know can be replaced.

The Satmap was purchased to replace a Garmin Etrex Legend HCx with Topo GB software. Topo GB software is absolutely no match for OS 25K as it contains very few rights of way but it does contain accurate contour data, water features etc. As I usually download routes from memory-map and print the route in reality the Satmap gives very little benefit. The real benefit of the Garmin is that it is not only smaller and lighter but that a pair of rechargeable batteries last at least 20 hours or over 50 hours if using lithium. It also has a dislay that does not need a backlight unless it is dark and is extremely readable in the brightest sunlight. The screen material appears to be more scratch resistant than the Satmap. The Garmin also aquires a fix quicker but this is of no real consequence.

I will not sell the Satmap yet but I know which unit I am going to pack on my next hike. For me the battery issues are probably the main drawback and if it wasn't for this I probably would not be so critical.
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mikealder
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Joined: Jan 14, 2005
Posts: 19638
Location: Blackpool , Lancs

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Going back to Garmin Reply with quote

scotch_whisky wrote:
Battery issues - The constant 34mA driain with the unit switched off has flattened my expensive lithium batteries on a number of occassions and I doubt that this issue can be fixed by a firmware update. I have not yet purchased the rechargeable pack.

I got fed up with the battery drain in the same way you have, all too often I left the costly Lithium cells in the device only to find them flat after a few days. I purchased the rechargable pack at the NEC Outdoor Show back in March, and it has been great to charge the device the night before setting out - the running cost are considerably lower than throw away cells, if you are going to keep the unit this battery pack is a very worthy accessory for the active10.

I use Memory Map on the PC and PDA, I also recently started to use Quo on the PC and PDA, both applications can load routes to the active10 via Satsync. Each application needs its own mapping data to be purchased which is annoying, I would like to see a common mapping format for OS data but I very much doubt we will ever see this. - Mike
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scotch_whisky
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Joined: Jul 20, 2006
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may well purchase the power bundle. It doesn't solve the power drain problem as I understand it just lowers the running costs if a mains outlet is available. The early literature on the Satmap promised a 25 hour life from the batteries. Some of us rather naively assumed this was with ordinary alkaline batteries and not from some battery yet to be invented!

I hate to think how much I have already spent on this device. I guess another £45 is almost insignificant.
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Trevor1234
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Joined: Apr 30, 2005
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Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi scotch_whisky
I have been toying with the idea of purchasing the device for some time but having read the comments on the forums I have held back. Having just read your comments my mind is now made up. I will keep my money in my arse pocket. After all, including maps itís a very expensive bit of kit.
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scotch_whisky
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Joined: Jul 20, 2006
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Although I have been somewhat critical of the Satmap it is still the best of its type out there. Although on balance I prefer the Garmin the Satmap scores points if you are not in the habit of preplanning your hikes. With the Satmap it is easier to plan or modify your route on the move as the full OS maps are on the screen.

The only other GPS you might consider is the Road Angel 7000. This is a showerproof CE 4.2 device which is able to accept Memory_Map OS maps. On paper this looks like the perfect solution. Relatively cheap, no extra maps to buy if you are an existing memory-map user, rechargeable lithium ion battery and doubles as a car satnav.

In fact it seemed so good that I bought one. (Note: I am a bit of a gadget man!). 24 hours later I took it back and I was relieved that the retailer (Argos) gave me a refund.

So what was wrong with it.

As soon as I took it out of the box I could see it was wrong. It has the wrong form factor to be used as a handheld and there is no place to attach a lanyard. It also did not look like it would stand the rigors of serious hiking.

What you do get is is a moving map which is north up only. Routes can be planned on the device but other facilities are minimal compared to the Satmap and Garmin. It might be OK for use on a mountain bike but I certainly would not recommend it for handheld use.

Now if Memory-Map had taken on Satmap as a partner rather than Road Angel I for one would have been delighted.
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LostMike
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Joined: Jan 17, 2008
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Location: Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trevor1234 may be right. It is not cheap and it is not perfect but I note that the local Blacks are sold out and that although it may not support a lanyard they do supply and excellent strap that hangs very comfortably around my neck. I have no problem with the size - how else would you get a reasonable map image?

As for the battery drain, why not take the batteries out when not in use? I sue standard rechargeables which are cheaper than the Satmap pack and work perfectly for me. I recharge them before each trip.

Let me just leave it with the thought that if scotch_whisky is happy moving back to Garmin then I'm glad he is happy but I don't think that Garmin have anything to compare with this less than perfect product.

I'm glad I chose it but I sincerely hope they continue to improve it.
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scotch_whisky
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Joined: Jul 20, 2006
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LostMike,

You seem to be implying that I am rubbishing the Satmap. I most certainly am not. Just reread my last post:-

Quote
"Although I have been somewhat critical of the Satmap it is still the best of its type out there."
End quote

The unit I said wasn't suitable for hiking was the Road Angel 7000. I DO use a lanyard with the Satmap.

My only real complaint is the the unit does not have an ON/OFF switch. It really is not acceptable to have to remove the batteries when not in use. How this was overlooked by the designers is beyond me.
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J-K
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Joined: Apr 20, 2008
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do consider the Power Pack option.

I purchased one on 18 April and immediately charged it up fully. I have used the SatMap for several trips since (5/6 hours apiece) plus experimental 'playing' with it. After all this time tt is still showing a full charge now after nearly a month.

With the better charge the device seems to get a quicker satellite lock on switch on.

I found high power AA Ni-MH rechargeables discharged quickly affecting performance if one forgot to take them out of the unit when not in use.
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FrequentFlyer
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Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Posts: 960
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

J-K wrote:


After all this time tt is still showing a full charge now after nearly a month.

.


You sure it's not faulty Exclamation Exclamation Question
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J-K
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Joined: Apr 20, 2008
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Yes, send it back for one that goes flat!
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