Bluetooth GPS Receivers

Good Morning All

I would like to hear from viewers that use a Bluetooth GPS receiver for OziExplorer.

I have been using for a very long time either a standard hand help GPS or for the last 8 years a GPS Mouse.

I am just thinking outside of the square and if they seem good, one less wire running from the dash.

Those that use them, what are the better units to go for.

Thanks for your replies.



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Stephen
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Reply By: Member - wicket - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 08:54

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 08:54
I used to use one and although you think there is one less wire it still needs to be charged and i found i left the charging wire in permanently, i got a bit tired of all the wires and now use an ipad with a variety of mapping apps, it does all i need as there are a number of pretty good apps out there.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 08:59

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 08:59
Hi Wicket

Thanks for your very quick reply.

Some of the later units claim they have a 12 hour life before requiring a recharge.

When you were using it, was it reliable ?

If not a big ask, can you say what unit you once used.



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Follow Up By: William P - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 10:36

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 10:36
I had one that also had a small solar panel on top - was credit card sized about 2cm thick. The solar panel was not designed to keep the batteries charged but was supplemental in that solar power supplemented the power battery so time between recharges was days rather than the ususal 12hours or so.

Worked fine and with the sun out the battery lasted a long before recharging via the 12v socket. If the unit was switched off, the solar panel would recharge the battery but it took a long time.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:09

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:09
Hi William

Thanks for that. What brand of GPS was it and was it reliable.



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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:53

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:53
Stephen
It was a garmin unit and yes it did have about 12 hrs battery life. Only problem with this unit is it only worked with garmin software so i found myself constantly swapping between using the bt with the garmin on the pc then swapping to the magellan handheld as gps for the pc running ozi. Drove me nuts hence the ipad, but it was reliable only rarely losing a signal.
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Follow Up By: William P - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 16:28

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 16:28
Stephen - I got it off ebay over 10 years ago so is "no name". Yes it was reliable - in fact even though the battery is flat I just took it out in the sun and it started to show signs of life with the solar panel charging the battery after about 15 minutes - after about 30 mins charging just on the solar panel it was able to communicate with my laptop via bluetooth..

However this is now all old technology as most modern equipment will have GPS installed inside it. The one I bought is similar to this one on a 10 year old website See Here

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Reply By: Mick O - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 10:38

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 10:38
Hey Stephen, I'd be keen to know what platform you'll be running Ozi on. I'm looking at teplacing the Toughbook with an android tablet running Ozi and was looking at the BT option myself. Are you running a tablet these days and if so windows or android based?

Cheers. Mick.
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Follow Up By: Gramps - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:25

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:25
Used a Samsung Tab A with Ozi on a 12k trip to WA and return. Internal GPS never missed a beat.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:29

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:29
Hi Mick

I hope you and your family are keeping fit and well.

I am still running the small laptop and a larger one under the back seat.

I like to have all my bases covered and in the chance that one unit stops working, I have not lost any data.

My old 8" Toshiba has now seen a few too many rough roads and is not as reliable as it used to be and every now and then, comes up with the blue screen of death, but a quick reboot and it comes back to life.

I am getting a new small 10" 2 in 1 so I can still keep it on the centre console and still keep the front dash area free ( still use a Hema Navigator on the dash as well ) The unit can run as a tablet if the need be, is a full touch screen and is running Windows 10, so I get all the benefits of running the full Ozi version and not the one for Androids. The new unit will only be used in the car, as I have other better computers for home use.

I do have all the wires in place and concealed, but would be nice to have less wires to the computer, thats all. I have read both good and bad reports about the bluetooth GPS's and would like to get the thumps up first before I commit and buy one. Also it must be reliable, as the last thing you would want is for it to drop out and not have accurate track files.



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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 14:06

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 14:06
G'day Mick,

I can't quite see why you're considering a BT GPS to run with an Android tablet, unless your tablet of choice dies not have GPS.

I have a Samsung Tab S2 9.7 inch running Ozi. Fabulous. GPS uses the US GPS constellation and also the Russian Glonass. It is rock solid. An external GPS is simply not required.

My tablet is a couple of years old. Later ones may also use other constellations like BEIODU (Eurpoean?) and Gallileo. My phone (Samsung S7) sees BEIODU, so maybe later tablets do too. These are not bragging rights, but as I understand it, if the device can see more satellites it can then choose which ones to use to give the greatest possible accuracy.

My tablet sits below the windscreen out of the sun and has no problems with seeing satellites. Right now I am on the ground floor of a 2 storey house and it is seeing 19 satellites, using 17 of those, both Glonass and GPS, for a fix. Accuracy is 32m. Under these circumstances Ozi's snail trail shows the position dancing around a fixed point. It's to be expected with all the shielding and signal reflections within a building.

I just did a test drive around the block. Mounted in the car, 19 out of 19 satellites for a fix. Accuracy 3 to 4m. I've seen better in open country, presumably because of the big sky and lack of reflections.

Here's a pic of where it's located in the vehicle.


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Follow Up By: Mick O - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 15:00

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 15:00
Thanks Frank, this is the sort of feedback I'm after.

Until this year I've always run a windows based Panasonic Toughbook computer with TrackRanger. This will be my first foray into both Ozi and a tablet based Nav system. I have a smaller Galaxy Tab 8 that I use with the drone but am probably looking for a new Samsung 8-10" tablet for use both in the vehicle and mounted on the quad. I've not had cause to use the Android Tablet GPS systems outback as yet so have no concept of their capability and reliability.

If you don't mind, I might touch base with you off line to pick your brain

Cheers,

Mick



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Follow Up By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 15:41

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 15:41
Hi,

I use a 10' Samsung tablet running Ozi and find it works well. I used it for our Canning trip and other than us missing well 1 (operator error) it performed as I would have expected.

I only have mine on a windscreen mount which is really not the best option as it bounces around a lot.

What mount do you have Frank P? It looks good.

William
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 16:51

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 16:51
Mick,

"If you don't mind, I might touch base with you off line to pick your brain"

By all means.

frankp one two nine (no spaces) at gmail dot com.

We can do phones after that if you wish.

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 17:43

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 17:43
William,

"What mount do you have Frank P? It looks good."

It's a RAM X mount sized for my device, mounted on a rod-to-ball adapter.

The upright rod (from RAM) is 12mm or 1/2 inch, can't recall exactly, aluminium rod with their corrugated black conduit to dress it up. You bend the rod to position the head where you want it.

By carefully adjusting the wingnut behind the X mount you can get enough friction to hold the tablet in place, but still allow the whole thing to swivel left to right so navigator and driver have easy access.

I made the aluminium intermediate brackets to steady it. Each has a hole with a rubber grommet to suit the rod. Without the grommets it rattles. Everything has to be snug or it wobbles. I made the holes in the brackets slightly undersize which in turn crushed the grommets slightly, making them a tight fit on the rod. It needed lube to slide through the grommets on assembly.

The bottom black bracket with the slot is part of the RAM kit. It is bolted to a DIY 6mm steel adapter that uses a seat mounting bolt.

The aluminium adapter for the phone holder is DIY from some billet aluminium, shaped to suit the business end of the phone holder.






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Follow Up By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 17:48

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 17:48
Hi Frank P,

Thanks for the detailed instructions and photos.

That gives me some thing to work from.

Even with my lack of skills, because of your detailed reply even I can conjure up some thing similar.

William
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 12:24

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 12:24
I use a GPS mouse with a 13" windows ultrabook. I have thought of a BT GPS in the past but I think the GPS mouse is best.
A BT GPS still has to be charged or kept plugged in most of the time. If the battery runs out it will do it at the most inconvenient time.
A BT mouse would need to be anchored so it does not move when bouncing along some track. The GPS mouse having no battery is very light so tends to just rest wherever you put it, and mine, if it does fall on the floor it still works OK
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 12:59

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 at 12:59
Hi Chris

For the 2 computers, I use one Garmin GPS that is dash mounted and for the other one, the BU - 353.

You do not have to tell me just how good the GPS Mouse are, they are great, but thinking if the newer Bluetooth receivers are any better.

All the Best.


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Reply By: Member - J&A&KK - Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 15:45

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 15:45
Hi Stephen

I use the Bad Elf GPS Pro+

https://bad-elf.com/pages/be-gps-2300-detail

It has proven to be reliable and generally has more than 15 satellites being used for the current position so horizontal accuracy is always around 2m. It is anchored to the dash mat with a piece of Velcro. The unit is extremely light and doesn’t move.

So far all the manufacturers claims have stood the test including battery life of 30 plus hours. However if logging to its own memory(GPX format) and is blue toothed to the IPad it’s battery life is halved or thereabouts. It will depend on the logging frequency. I charge it each night off a Romoss 35000mAH Li battery pack which is charged during the day whilst driving.

When operating, the GPS inputs from the Bad Elf become the default for the device (Android or IOS). As such I would think it would work with OziExplorer but I don’t know actually.

It’s not cheap at around AUD350 but I was more concerned with reliability and performance. So far so good.

Trust the above is useful. The website contains good info.

Cheers John
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 22:37

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 22:37
Hi John

Thanks for the reply.

They sound a top unit and a quick read of the specs and it looks very impressive.

The good part about Ozi, is that it gives you a good variety of GPS units to use with the programme and there is one option of " Bluetooth GPS "

If it is like other Bluetooth devises, once it is paired, Ozi should in theory connect to it.

I am just setting up the new computer no and have set up Ozi, configured the setting to work with the Garmin GPS and all is working as it should.

The idea of 30 hours before recharges sounds great, as in that time frame with the average driving day, it should be good for at least 3 days of driving before the recharge, or overnight as you say keeping it topped up.

Di you consider the straight Pro over the plus version? and did you buy yours in the States or can you get them here in Australia.



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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Sunday, Nov 19, 2017 at 10:46

Sunday, Nov 19, 2017 at 10:46
Hi Stephen

Sorry for the delay in responding to your questions.

I went for the Pro+ as it has USB connectivity and Glonass capability. These two features were important to me. The Pro version does not have these features.

I carry the unit when I go on long walks and turn on data logging. When I get back to base I download the data to my laptop via the USB cable. Laptop does not have Bluetooth so the USB cable connection was important.

The Glonass capability just adds more potential satellites in view. Previous experiences with GPS only units, when in heavy tree covered areas like some of the SW of WA, was patchy at best. I reasoned that the extra satellites available would make a difference. I haven’t tested this yet.

The same reasoning was used for the vehicle installation where a lot of the sky is obscured by vehicle metal. I now commonly see 20 sats in view with 15+ being used in the position solution.

It was purchased in Australia. I wasn’t prepared to wait.

Cheers John
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 19:04

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 19:04
I use an ebay cheapy Holux 1000 with a windows laptop. The battery seems to last a very long time, all day easy. Never had a problem with my old win 7 laptop, but have updated to a win 10 notebook and now it loses connection after about 10 minutes needing a reboot which is a pain.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 22:21

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 22:21
Hi Michael

Thanks for that.

I do not like the sound of it dropping out every 10 minutes, as I am very fussy about my Track files and could not stand re booting every 10 minutes, when you are on the road all day.


Thanks for the reply.


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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 at 06:34

Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 at 06:34
Yes it is annoying to the point I don't use the new laptop. It still works fine with the old laptop so nothing wrong with the equipment. I blame windows 10, it's the only difference.
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Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 at 23:29

Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 at 23:29
You might find that windoize 10 doesn't have any driver support or compatibility.

I have one of those usb gps magnetic mouse (round shape) things that worked a treat with my lappy,

Windose 10 was automatically installed there went my gps mouse never to work again.

Tried every trick in book contacted the manufacturer of the gps unit all to no avail. I contacted Des at Oziexplorer and warned him about 10 variant in case other had same issues as I did.

Now I want a tablet of some description as lappy to big to mount whilst the inbuilt 6 inch to too small and far away to see easily.

First hurdle get over eye operation #2 in 3 -4 months before I can even think about going bush
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Friday, Nov 17, 2017 at 00:30

Friday, Nov 17, 2017 at 00:30
It detects, connects and works properly for 5 to 10 minutes before losing connection. The laptop thinks it is connected while the program does not. Restarting the program does no good, rebooting the computer just restarts the same cycle over again. If it was a driver issue I would have thought there would be no connection to start with but who knows?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Nov 17, 2017 at 19:38

Friday, Nov 17, 2017 at 19:38
Hi Dean

It is not a Windows 10 issue with your laptop, but the GPS Mouse.

There are a couple a questions you need to answer before I can tell you either way and be 100% correct.

1. Are you using the GlobalSat BU type GPS Mouse and how old is it?

2. What model is it, either the BU-350 or the BU-353

Why I am asking is a few years ago, one of my EO friends from Victoria had his computer die in Adelaide at the start of his annual 6th month track around the outback. He purchased a new Windows 8 computer and I set him up again with Ozi based on my then current Windows 7 system.

Try as Chris and I did, we could not get his old BU-350 GPS Mouse to talk to his new computer. We spent a very long time trouble shooting and the only way we could get Ozi to work was via his Garmin GPS.

Aa far as I can remember, Chris did contact Des and the old style BU-350 was not comparable with the new Windows update, and Chris purchased the new model BU-353 and had it sent to Alice Springs. When he connected it to his computer, it worked a charm.

I Alison run the BU-353 and have never had any issues with either Windows 7 or Windows 10. If you have the latest version of Ozi, it the GPS setup section, you must select "GPS Mouse" and under the Comm section, set the Baud Rate at 4800 compared to a Baud rate of 9600 for my Garmin GPS.

I set up my larger Windows 10 computer before our big trip in August when we were away for. Month and over 10,000 kilometres of travel and that computer never missed a beat, recording my Dalit track files for up to 10 hours per day.

A new BU-353 will cost you around the $50 mark and work with Windows 10 compared to many hundreds of dollars if you buy a new tablet.



Food for thought.





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