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Topic: No more Garmin, no more Zumo 660  (Read 1828 times)

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RBEmerson
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« on: December 01, 2018, 08:03:06 am »

I'm done with my Garmin 660. It's developed a way to crash hard. The screen goes black and the power button doesn't restart the 660. The only fix is to pull the battery. I'm tired of life with Garmin in general.

I'm after the functional equivalent or better. I need US and European map support. The 660 supports having two map sets at the same time. Swapping SD's to get one set or the other is acceptable.

Something that's the equivalent of Basecamp would be nice. If the only option is a generic route planner and file format conversion, I'll live with it. Basecamp has a number of annoyances, but it does work, if coerced into doing so.

I looked at Magellan products and was underwhelmed. Which AFAIK leaves Tom Tom as the only replacement option.

Input, please.
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 12:59:16 am »

If you are considering a newer Garmin, especially one of the Garmin motorcycle units, I can comment on them.  I have a Garmin 395.  That spot in the Garmin lineup has recently been replaced by the 396, and all I can say is the 396 can't possibly be worse than the 395 ... can it?  Heaven help us if it is ...

I could write a book about what the Garmin 395 has done WRONG for me (I can say what it does right in two sentences).  In 60-some day trips this year it has followed the route created in BaseCamp twice.  Seriously ... twice.  It has continually routed me to off-road / gravel roads despite the avoidances being set to avoid these.  It continually throws my route out if it gets anywhere near an Interstate and it tries to send me on the Interstate despite the avoidances being set to "avoid highways".  

On a recent trip to New England on the first day it suddenly lost the route, and after fighting with it it finally allowed me to pick a waypoint to re-start the route.  But when I reached my first sleepover place it then failed to route me to a nearby point of interest for which I'd set a waypoint in the route.  It simply didn't go there.  The next day my route was to take me within 5 miles of Hershey PA before turning away from it, it followed the route perfectly then tossed my route as I neared the town and guided me straight into downtown Hershey and tried to make me take the Interstate north.  Again, "avoid highways" was set.  The third day it successfully guided me to my sleepover place in Vermont but skipped two waypoints in my route that I wanted to go through (and believe me, missing Ben & Jerry's ticked me off!).  The 4th day it worked fine ... and I would pay for that.  Day five I'm heading home from Barre Vermont and asked it to simply route me to Lancaster PA - I would let it select the route, so how could it screw that up?  So it tells me there are tolls on the route, would I like it to follow a different route to avoid tolls?  Yes please, at which point it says "TOLLS CANNOT BE AVOIDED ON THIS ROUTE".  Seriously, instead of simply taking me on smaller roads (as it should have been doing because again the GPS was set to "avoid highways") it locked onto a route on the Interstates and refused to calculate a different route.  I ended up simply turning it off and heading back toward Central New York state where I figured it would from there pick a route that would avoid the tolls over near the eastern part of the state and New York City.  So I reach Port Kent New York and asked it to take me to York Pennsylvania this time, and it appeared willing ... until I got near an Interstate, where it again tried to make me take the Interstate (yes, "avoid highways" was set).  I circled around until it finally decided I wasn't going to go on the Interstate and began routing me on smaller roads.  All was good until I realized it was now taking me to northwest New York and CANADA rather than York PA.  I was really ready to smash it on the road then.  So based on my experience I cannot recommend a Garmin motorcycle unit to anyone.

I agree BaseCamp works if you force it.  I've gotten real good at forcing it.  But it doesn't matter if the GPS unit itself will not play well with the BaseCamp route, and in my opinion the newer Garmin GPS units do not.  I have to assume the BaseCamp routes worked well with your Garmin 660, and if they did, you will be sorely disappointed by the newer Garmins.  The only good I can say about the Garmins is they do find gas stations and food extremely well, and they predict your ETA amazingly accurately.  woo HOO!

I can't say much for TomTom, my only experience is with their car units where I found them as lacking as the Garmin's, just in a different way.  I know nothing of Magellan.  Good luck on your search.

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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2018, 11:30:46 am »

As the title suggests, I am so over Garmin. The 660 now does hard crashes when computing some routes. The only fix is to pull the battery. The search for POI's usually leaves the hourglass spinning, and producing no results. I have a Tom|Tom Rider 550 on order.

While BaseCamp can try the patience of a saint, I might continue to use it. It has a few years worth of routes and waypoints. I've figured out what makes it happy and productive. It's hardly intuitive, but after learning some zen master tricks, it does give acceptable results. Since I have a lifetime map subscription, I can keep the maps as current as Garmin considers current - a year or two behind reality. The results can be sent out as .gpx files, which the TomTom 550 accepts. It's not the easiest way to work, but it does work.
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2018, 07:45:52 pm »

I've had the 350 LM on three different bikes over the last 6 years and fortunately its never given me any problems. Its always works like a charm, even with Basecamp. I did once break the glass screen out of warranty, decided what the hell, I'll call Garmin customer service. Even thou it was well out of warranty, they said to send it in with a check for $35.00 and they would either repair it or replace it with a re-furb. I did, they did, and its been working ever since. That was three years ago. My point is maybe give it a try. I know that unit cost you some serious money, it might save you some cashola...
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RBEmerson
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2018, 11:45:09 am »

I'm tired of Garmin altogether. That the 660 has become semi-brain dead is a motivation to remove the thing from service. BTW, for mechanical repairs, see www.palmdr.com - they replaced a wonky power switch and battery contacts. Good folks, fast turnaround, and good prices.  Thumbsup Thumbsup

Anyway, any 660 itself is so old it's technically obsolete. Beyond that, whether obsolete, searches are slow and results miss some obvious choices. My maps are current, which means the POI's should be, too. I'm not counting stores, etc. that closed up recently. Right or wrong, the POI's seem to lag the reality but I'll give them a by on really recent changes. I can winge on about a healthy 660. My 660 isn't healthy and Palm Doctor can't fix it (I asked). The unit has all of the updates and it's still brain dead.

Garmin support, in my experience ranges from friendly folks who can't get/find the answer to a question to people who are themselves brain dead. Witness the simultaneous failure of BaseCamp and Garmin Express. The response was "your computers broken, Get it fixed". I figure a problem that repeats on two machines with different OS' (Win10, Win7) is maybe not the computers' fault. IIRC I got them to run under Win95 compatibility mode.

The problem was brought on by a change in the .NET package by Microsoft. Both apps used something the update changed, removed... who knows? Garmin either took advantage of a hack to use a feature not really supported but it works, or simply was screwed by the change. NTL they took IIRC a couple of months to fix the problem. Bottom line: unreliable support at best.

Why stay with an old product that's poorly supported?
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2018, 06:33:20 pm »

I recently replaced the GPS on my bike with a Zumo 396. The previous GPS was a Nuvi 1690. I replaced it because I wanted something waterproof and with bluetooth. The 396 is functional but the Nuvi 1690 was/is a far more user friendly unit.

As to the Zumo 396, I have found using base camp with it to be a pain in the ass. I usually just let the GPS pick a route. When I want go via specific roads I just lay it out on g\Google Maps and then manually input waypoints to build the route I want. Not the most fun option but works.
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2019, 10:44:37 am »

Cross-posting...

I've had some time to live with the Rider 550. Long list of stuff follows:

I'm inclined to think corporate TomTom is, in its own way, about like Garmin to deal with. Specifically, there;s a user forum for TT products. Responses from TT support are ...ah... rare. There is only one way to get traffic and weather info to the 550: through the MyDrive app, which must be set to exchange anonymous (or is claimed) use info. More about MyDrive below. For some reason, the 550 doesn't display elevation data although it's inherent in all GPS fixes. Getting TT to at least actively look into this is... crickets, nothing but crickets. While the 550 supports a wide range of languages in voice prompts, very few languages included speak street names. Again, no comment from TT about this (even if it's just "we can't keep things correct" or whatever).

The MyDrive app, is needed to manage a BT link between the 550 and phone (phone then moves data in or out via its connection to the Internet). Pairing directly between the 550 and phone is a waste of time; the 550 won't move data through the pathway. MyDrive must have notification permission, access to the phone (of course), messaging (of course), and BT data transfer (of course). But if the user doesn't want to send anonymous usage data, traffic reporting, weather reporting, and avoidance aren't sent to the 550. In short, the user is coerced into using core features. But wait, it gets worse.

MyDrive under Android (I don't have iOS experience) is a major battery drain. And it can't be turned off or put into sleep mode. It launches at boot-up and stays there, even if the 550 is not even vaguely in range for the BT link. If MyDrive's on a phone and the 550 won't be used until the next weekend, tough. It's still there, draining the battery at a very high rate. There are two cures: uninstall the app (app-killing/stopping apps or settings do not work - MyDrive is "The App That Won't Die") or have a rooted phone capable of running Titanium backup app. The first route's obvious. The second route (no pun intended) is limited to a very small group. Rooting is never something for casual users - get it wrong and the phone can be bricked. Additionally, a large number of phones can't be rooted (thank you, US wireless company monopoly). Rooting is not the same as unlocking, BTW. However, Titanium can "freeze" almost any app (freeze the wrong app and the phone dies) including MyDrive. Reboot after freezing it and MyDrive ceases to exit until it's "thawed".

Attempts get TT to be a little(!) more user friendly, by adding an on/off option... crickets, nothing but crickets.

That's the bad news

The good news: This thing screams through data with a four core processor. The screen imagery is crisp (but why, why, why a glossy, sun-reflecting surface???). The touch sensitivity can be changed to allow use while wearing gloves(!). The type-in "keyboard" can be configured for bare fingers or clumsy gloves. The internal WiFi capability means there is no need for a wire connection to a PC for updates. TT recommends having power supplied to the 550 while updating.

For some reason, I couldn't sort out the "what maps and how much" and "how much for traffic" points. The answer is buying the 550 gives lifetime updates to what amounts to global mapping. Including "Oceana" which, I guess, means islands everywhere???. The full Europe map set and North America map set won't fit into the phone simultaneously. TT gives a good collection of European map subsets. Or the NA maps can be pulled to make room for all of Europe. Pull that set to make room for another set without worrying about "we gave you some maps and you tossed them? No reload for you". Traffic and weather data support is also a lifetime feature. The POI info is updated regularly.

Figuring out the on-board routing and other menu items is easier for anyone who hasn't used any GPS at all. For anyone else, there's a learning curve to undo old habits.

One the things I used to curse Garmin about is the voice prompts, via BT to a headset, were screamingly loud, with no volume control. Jump over this section if you don't care about BT and headsets. First, it turns out that the 660's link to the headset was only via HFP (hands free protocol - a BT protocol that's good for simple voice and minimal control activity). HFP is why MP3 playback on the Garmin 660 is so lame; it was never meant for music, ever. Also, HFP means any sound moved of an HFP link will always be EFFIN' LOUD!!

The TT 550 offers a work-around. The headset/intercom must support two BT links (not all do - Sena 20S and 20S EVO do, for example). Step one is pair the phone the headset. It's almost certain the link will use A2DP (the "hi-fi" link). Step two, pair the 550 and phone. Again this is almost certain to use A2DP. Step three is to pair the 550 with the headset. This is the place where the protocol is the 550 user's choice - use A2DP. With at least the Sena, music from the phone will be squelched or dropped under voice and beeps from the 550. Yea! There's still no volume control. Sorta. With the headset off (stops BT link), use the 550 volume control for speaker mode. Dropping to 20-30% should work. Turn the headset back on (BT between phone, headset, and 550) and the 550's volume is reduced! Woohoo! The 550 is that flexible.

The mount supplied with the 550 is a motorcycle mount with a RAM Mount ball on it. I have a RAM Mount mounting place design to replace the brake or clutch master cylinder. A short "dog bone" holds things together and allows positioning. The mount includes a two lead "pig tail" long enough to reach most batteries/distro boxes. The 550/mount interface is far more secure than the 660's. If the 550 pops off the mount it's because it was never put on correctly. The 550 must go downwards to lock, and can only unlock by pulling back a tab and sliding up. An add-on security lock (covers the release tab) is available for a silly price. Remove the 550 and hide it somewhere safe. There is also a car, suction cup windshield mount. It's got a clever way to get full suction. Plug a USB cable into the back and run it to a power point adapter. The adapter must have 2.4A capacity to keep the battery charging during use. The 1.1A port doesn't keep the battery "fed" during use.

Bottom line: would I buy it again? Yes. But I'd be more aware that TT doesn't listen well. The phone app is a necessary evil and PITA - without it not much useful happens. Drat.
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2019, 11:19:58 am »

As a semi-related aside, my Garmin Montana 600 went missing in my bike crash in Oct. Flew out of the mount and (I assume) down a steep hillside, never to be found again. I have learned to make Basecamp do what I want, and would like to continue to use it to create GPX files (tracks) that I will download to my phone. I am going to try using my phone with OSMaps in lieu of a dedicated GPS.

But I am about to do a scorched earth, reformat drives, rebuild of my home PC. I don't want to lose all the routes I've created in Basecamp and would like to continue using the City Navigator North America map I paid for that was installed in my (now missing) Montana. The issue is that Garmin pretty much requires you to hook up your device to do anything with map installs / unlocking and I no longer have the GPS.

Here is a way around having to have your device/GPS connected to re-install and unlock a Garmin map in Basecamp on a fresh PC install:
- Backup your CNNA map files (probably in C:\Program Data\Garmin\Maps)
- Backup your unlock files in C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Garmin\Maps. You should have an UnlockCodes.ucx file and "gma" file. Search for *.gma to find the folder if needed.
- Install Basecamp on the new PC (free download from Garmin)
- Copy the CNNA map folder to C:\Program Files (x86)\Garmin\Basecamp\Maps (should see the Global Map folder in that same folder)
- Copy the unlock files to C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Garmin\Maps
- Run Basecamp. You should (hopefully) see that your CNNA map is unlocked in the "Manage Map Products..." window

File paths might be slightly different system to system, but this should get you close, if not there.
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2019, 12:16:33 pm »

I can't remember how to transfer maps across computers. The GPS receiver is, of course, the gateway. In the worst case, someone with a Garmin lifetime machine could download their maps to several PC's through that one gateway. OTOH, I don't recall any specific lock that ties the gateway and receiver together for "one GPS, one PC". At least I'd like to hear about how the swap goes.
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2019, 01:33:26 pm »

What I would like is for Gamin to get its head out of its ass and go back to being able to send a route straight from Google maps to the GPS or redesign Base cam so that it is as easy as Google maps.
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2019, 02:19:20 pm »

What I'd like is winning a PCH "money for life". Neither is likely to happen any time soon.
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2019, 06:10:01 pm »

Sounds like if my $3.00 garage sale Nuvi dies then I will invest in some paper maps.
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 11:10:48 pm »

I think I sorta busted TT tech support. I take most it back (still not pleased with no on/off for MyDrive app). I received four added voices (male US and Brit "reads street names" voices) and two German voices that do the same. Easy peasy.

Today I couldn't get my 550 to display traffic and weather info, although it displayed messages and phone info. Long story short, it turned out that the needed server(s) bit the dust. BTW the 503 (dead server) was followed by an error code, headlined "Guru Meditation".  Lol

Bottom line: I guess I like support after all. If I don't whinge about the darn on/off problem.
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2019, 09:23:16 pm »

I have an older Zumo and am less than thrilled with it, and was looking at the TomTom. I am an iOS user, so I need to look to see if it is any better or worse than the Android experience. I am expecting worse, but hey, I could be wrong!

As for Garmin, the last map upgrade (1 week ago) maxed the memory, and I can only install Canada, and border states. A bigger memory card is not recognized as bigger, I tried. Before I had ALL of USA and Canada on it and had room to spare, so something large happened in the last update. I deleted some audiobooks to no avail, so I guess I need to stick to the border for a while! (I usually do)
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2019, 10:49:14 pm »

I have a Zumo 550 that I got in 2008 and over time less and less of the NA map has been able to fit in the device at one time.  I came here looking for info on the 595LM but after reading some of these posts maybe I should just live with what I have.  I have been happy with the Zumo and I still use MapSource.  I tried BaseCamp and didn't like it.
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2019, 05:50:47 am »

I’d have to research the new Zumos, but perhaps a low end Zumo is feature rich enough to do the job at a low price point?  I know with the invention of “aqua boxes,” it became possible to use any GPS in foul weather.
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2019, 10:43:36 am »

OP: any updates for summer o'2019?
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