Supercheap GPS unit.

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 16:45
ThreadID: 21354 Views:3267 Replies:12 FollowUps:14
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Hi,
just wondering if anyone has used, or know anyone who has a similar GPS unit to the one currently on sale at Supercheap Auto?

It seems a cheap way to get into "GPS'ing" but would like to know of others experiences both good and bad before I commit funds to something that might end up as an expensive battery eater for example.

Many thanks.

Peter
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 17:29

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 17:29
It might be like the dick smith branded radar detector of 30 years ago, It was called Dick Tracer $79.. all it did was give you enough time to get your licence out of you wallet!!!! This might be similar, When it cant work out where it is, a light flashes to let you know that you are lost!!!!
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Follow Up By: techo2oz - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 18:55

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 18:55
Hmm, similar to the feeling I get now when the last landmark I thought I recognised was not really anything like what it should be. Hence that familiar sinking feeling that I am well and truly lost.

I have acquired various tools and gadgets over the years and some have proven more than their weight in worth, while others should never have even made it to the market place.

Peter
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Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 17:35

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 17:35
Peter - Like most things, it depends on your needs/wants.
We do outback trips, and bought a basic unit. We needed the GPS to show where we are on a MAP.
The GPS units with full mapping are too expensive, so we bought the basic (Garmain 72) and it plugs into the laptop (or desktop), with Oziexplorer software.
With a cradle in the car, the GPS _Affordable_Storage_Drawers.aspx power from the cig lighter socket.
Most of the time it is in the car. The unit has rechargable batteries, but only needs them on the few times it is out of the 4be.
As long as it connects to a computer, you can plan a trip at home, and upload the waypoints to the GPS. This becomes your tour guide - keeps you on track.
On return, you can download the trackpoints to your computer, and see where you went. Our unit also drops 'breadcrumbs' as you go. You can backtrack using these, if lost.

Having never had an expensive unit, possibly I don't know what I am missing.
Our basic GPS does all we want it to - and the Laptop holds all the maps.
They definately provide some mental stimulation - it was a whole new world for me to learn about..... and still learning.
So - does the Supercheap unit plug into your computer?
If yes - do you need to buy cables? (normally yes). Cost ?
Does the unit plug into your car cig lighter socket? If yes - cost of cable.
nb1 - you will need software for a GPS to work with a computer. Ozi Exlorer is a widely used GPS maping software in Australia.
nb2 - You also need maps for the GPS/Oziexplorer. NATMAP 250k Raster Mosaic is the most widely used digital maping - covers all of Aust.
Not sure what we paid, but I think around $100 each for Oziexplorer and NATMAP. I think a GPS would be of limited use without these, but the dollars do add up.
A new world................have fun................Keith.
AnswerID: 103099

Follow Up By: techo2oz - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 19:10

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 19:10
Thanks Keith,
like most new things I am cautiously venturing in. I have simple needs (for now). My simplest desire is to have a means so that when I venture out into the scrub on a hike, I can find my way back to base camp without having to "have a couple of goes" at getting there. While a number of national parks have established tracks etc, some I do like to go to, do not. Therefore it is up to the old compass and landmarks to navigate around.

I see a GPS might be a handy additive to be able to assist in backtracking to camp, or at the very least show I am heading the right way.

I have an Ipaq PDA and had thought about using it for this purpose as well. Unfortunately it only has an SDIO slot and I am not sure the GPS units are available for this type of interface.

Essentially I need something portable which will tell me where I is, where I started from and how to get back. Later maps might be very handy, especially when it comes to places I have not been to before.

Of course it is always hard to know what you want exactly when you haven't seen it before or used it. All I can go on is what I have read and what others say.

I will check this unit out though, based on your comments, however I doubt that it will have the ability to be able to connect to PC's or if it can be, the cost of the cable will be as much as the unit costs.

Peter
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:41

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:41
"Unfortunately it only has an SDIO slot and I am not sure the GPS units are available for this type of interface"

You can get SD GPS units - exploroz sells them as do a number of Ebay sellers. Set my friend up with one on a 1900 series Ipaq - limitations - memory for maps is limited to units in built memory (64mb I think) - but he was in no position to purchase a more suitable PDA (two memory card slots..one for GPS and one for maps), Also SD GPS units a a bit expensive compared to say CF units ...though depends where you get them. He is, however, happy with the set up.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: motherhen - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 17:52

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 17:52
Can i come in on your thread? We know little about GPS but are interested. Someone is selling a Magellan Gold GPS Unit with Discover Aus software and data cable, vehicle mount with power cable. It is 12 months old. He says it has own display, but could be hooked up to a laptop. Worth considering? Motherhen
AnswerID: 103101

Follow Up By: techo2oz - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 19:13

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 19:13
You are more than welcome to join in, after all I believe forums such as this are about sharing wisdom, experiences, humour and at times anecdotes.

If it can assist you, it will more than likely assist me as well.

Peter
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Follow Up By: AdrianLR - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:42

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:42
A couple of friends have Meridian Golds. Nice units, perhaps a little bulky. The included maps are ok but don't have minor tracks.

I have a Magellan 315 which is a "non-mapping" unit I bought in Canada very cheaply a few years back. With either type of unit you will need to get good maps either on CD or scan your own maps then calibrate them in whatever software you end up using (I use GPS Trackmaker from Brazil - excellent product and free if you abide by the licence conditions which are to not use it to do harm to the environment - www.gpstm.com)

I use my system to either plot just waypoints or create routes on the PC then download these to the GPS. It sits on the dash (in a mobile phone bracket) and acts mostly as a confirmation of where we are (if we're somewhat familiar with the spot) or the paper map of a area we are going through.

An interesting part for me is to download the track actually recorded after we return and overlay it on the map image.

Another use is when I'm scouting out possible camping areas for a future trip - I'll read the coordinates and record them in a Palm Pilot database which has a description of the campsite.

So in summary to this rambling reply - get a GPS that has data connectivity, mapping (as in the Gold) is nice but for my travel not essential), expect to invest in maps or scan your paper ones.

Happy to answer any queries the description of our uses may raise.

Adrian
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 11:10

Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 11:10
motherhen, the Merigold is a pretty good outfit and has been getting less expensive by the month, as is the GPS competition brings them down. I have a Platinum. The base maps have little detail but you say there is Australia Streets and Tracks too. Make sure you have a memory card too as that will add another $60 or so to load the Streets and Tracks data on. Good it has a connection to a comuter and a car power lead, but is it a combination? They are another $100 +/- and the first one I had failed!

Streets and Tracks has a LOT of tracks on it and actually has farm tracks, showing it was from aerial data, rather from surveyed roads.

Is certainly worth considering, just know what you are buying and how much.
Cheers,
Who?
John

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Follow Up By: motherhen - Thursday, Mar 24, 2005 at 00:41

Thursday, Mar 24, 2005 at 00:41
Thanks Techno, and thanks Adrian & John for your feedback. We decided to go with the 2nd hand magellan and it arrived today. It has the software for WA loaded, shows the track to our farm, and even an internal farm track. Should be good. Thanks Guys, Motherhen
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Follow Up By: techo2oz - Thursday, Mar 24, 2005 at 06:41

Thursday, Mar 24, 2005 at 06:41
Hi Motherhen,
I am glad your quest has ended, mine has just begun.

Hopefully your new "toy" will be all you need and not lead you up a garden path. ;-)

I have decided for sure to actually seek out people who have GPS's and draw conclusions from real life, real time usage. See the units then apply what I learn to my own expected usage patterns. For me, I have never even seen one in operation so I need to do the research first.

All the best.

Peter
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Reply By: Casnat - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 18:12

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 18:12
I bought one of those supercheap jobs. It did the basics (and looked pretty basic too). Stopped working after about 1 week (only limited use in that time too). They gave me a replacement and that one gave up after 2 hours. Got my money back (luckily they had run out of stock).

The old saying.....you get what you pay for. There are places selling the E-Trex for only a little more. I think that would be a better entry point

AnswerID: 103103

Reply By: The Explorer - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 18:47

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 18:47
Hello - my opinion - forget about it no matter how cheap - get a Magellan or Garmin and you will have no worries - I have no idea of your budget but seriously consider getting one that (as others have suggested) connects to PC and has external power facility for car (some dont). Having PC connectivity will give you a few more options in the future when/if you get a bit more interested in using a GPS for the activities you undertake. Magellan and Garmin are the most popular brands and people on this forum (and elsewhere) will be able to advise you on every facet of their use.
Cheers
Greg
Magellan Sportrack Pro + Ipaq 2210/Holux CF GPS + OziExplorerCE + a few hundred maps
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 19:23

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 19:23
How about a long ball of string,that should get you back home. and a wet finger out the window should tell you which way the wind is blowing.. buggar supercheap!!!
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Reply By: GazzaS (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:25

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:25
Hi techo2oz

welcome to the wonderful confusing world of trying to figure out what to buy. it seems there are more choices of gear than tracks to go on.

I recently went down the path (excuse the pun) of looking for a unit to use with my PDA. I ended up buying a Haicom GPS unit, Y cable and a portable mount. this plugs into a PC and also the PDA. For software I bought a small program called GPS Dash - provides a good functional display of course, speed, distance, elevation and time. Can also use with maps. Displays position in Lat/Lon or UTM and can backtrack though haven't had it long enough to work out how yet.

I wanted a basic unit to tell me position - and this is perfect. Am thinking I will go to the oziexplorer eventually but need to be convinced the screen size of the PDA is going to work in the vehicle when travelling. Looks like it will. I do not do any foot slogging yet that will require a GPS. The unit I have charges from the cigar lighter but is definitely not portable to take out of the car (without a battery).

Make sure you get one from a reputable dealer who can help if you have problems. I could not get mine working at all until dealer (JA) suggested looking at the infrared beam settings - he was right this was blocking use of the port on the PDA.

PDA is an I-mate with phone and I think same size screen as the Ipaq. Wife has an Ipaq so must try and see if it works on hers as well.

Good Luck - keep posting or send message if you want specifics.

Gazza
AnswerID: 103122

Follow Up By: GazzaS (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:27

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 22:27
PS - sorry forgot to say cost. was $275 for the hardware and I think $40 for the PDA software.

Gazza
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Follow Up By: techo2oz - Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 09:13

Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 09:13
It is now somewhat more confusing for me I must say...

I think based on the feedback here and from what I have read elsewhere, I will save my money and put it towards something a little more useful.

The IPAQ I have is the base model rz1710. It only has about 32Mb of memory and of that only about 10Mb is available for data which I would assume would be things like maps. It only has the single SD slot but I have yet to find a GPS unit that says it will work with this IPAQ.

I think for now I'll go back to Lurk mode and see what other people are using. Then base my purchasing decision on what is tried and tested. Or if opportunity presents itself, I'll trial an SD type in my IPAQ and establish suitability/workability.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Cheers

Peter
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Follow Up By: Allan Mac (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 21:55

Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 21:55
Hi Gazza,
It was interesting reading your post re your setup.
I have a iPaq 1910 and unfortunately am not able to setup a serial port with it however Haicom has come up with a 3 in 1 car holder that uses an infrared beam to connect to the iPaq. coupled with a Haicom HI 203E gps receiver it works a treat. The software I am using is Destinator but it is not off road friendly. Though you can record the trip it doesnt allow uploading of coords etc. and is only a flashy record of the trip. I have tried oziexplore but I cant get it to see my setup. The software you are using looks the goods. So after a long winded oracle.. I will try that out and see how it goes out in the donga.
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Reply By: Member - Craig M (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 11:00

Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 11:00
Hi Techo2oz,
I think you have come to the right conclusion.
Just save up a couple more $ and get a name brand GPS.
What I have found is that if you purchase one of these no name brand products it is nearly impossible to get extras for them, eg, cables maps etc.
At least if you get a Garmin or whatever everything is easy to get hold of at a reasonable price.
I recently bought a Garmin Etrex, and bits and pieces are easy to find and it works with the software and everything.

Cheers
AnswerID: 103152

Reply By: Member - Brian (WA) - Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 12:44

Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 at 12:44
Hi Peter. Have just seen add in paper for Supercheap GPS. Dont get it for the
price they were selling it for add another $50 and get a Garmin e-trex. I have seen those
going for $200 the yellow model. I have one which I only use the way you say you
want to use. That is enter my car as a waypoint so when I wander off into the
bush if I cannot find my way back out comes the gps to find the car( I have been
lost a couple of times once quite worried). I think you can get data cables for
them. Cheers Brian
AnswerID: 103157

Follow Up By: Member - Craig M (NSW) - Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 10:16

Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 10:16
Hi,
I bought an Etrex, and the cables for connecting to a laptop etc are readily available from lots of sources eg GPSOZZ, or Ebay etc.
I bought one that connects the etrex to the computer and also plugs into the cig lighter to power gps. (save on battery power)

Cheers
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FollowupID: 360849

Reply By: Member - Kevin R (QLD) - Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 09:32

Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 09:32
Hi techno2oz

For a simple unit I bought Gecko 201( Garmin) - its small,light,tough,waterproof and can be plugged into computer. Cst is about $250.

Cheers

Kevin
AnswerID: 103258

Reply By: flappa - Thursday, Mar 24, 2005 at 09:29

Thursday, Mar 24, 2005 at 09:29
DONT DO IT . . . . please please please , save your money . . .

They are the BIGGEST heaps of crap you could lay your hands on. Even the Sales staff are embarrased about carrying them.

I tried one when they first came out. I had a base magellan (310) as well.

On a slightly cloudy day , my Magellan could pick up 12 Sats , from INSIDE my house , the Supercrap , couldn't even pick up ONE , OUTSIDE . . .

You can buy Base model Magellans , or Garmins , for not a lot more then these things.

Even the new Explore 100 Magellan (not 100% of exact name) , would be a 1000% better then these Supercrap GPS.

And just to finish , I'm normally a big supporter of Supercheap , NOT for their GPS though . . .
AnswerID: 103684

Reply By: age - Friday, Apr 01, 2005 at 08:25

Friday, Apr 01, 2005 at 08:25
Wow, some mixed reactions here - I purchased one and have had no problems. Bought the USB/cigarette lighter adaptor cable and data sync cable (also available from Supercheap) and have successfully interfaced into laptop (get latest drivers off website). It is a bit cheap and flimsy when compared to my Garmin, but cabling/adaptors/cradles etc are common PC fittings and not like the specialist (very expensive !!) Garmin cables. These GPS's are commonly used in the USA and most buy the bluetooth version and link to PDA - heaps of info about them on the net. If it breaks, I will get my money back.

It isn't waterproof like Garmin, but will do as an on dash GPS and if it gets flogged, I only lose a cheap item.

No problems picking up satellites or accuracy when compared against waypoints in Garmin. Heaps of freeware out there to handle NMEA input/outputs for real time mapping. Cigarette lighter adaptor only cuts in when battery life expired.
AnswerID: 104631

Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Friday, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:40

Friday, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:40
Just how cheap are these items?

Cheers,

Jim.
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Follow Up By: age - Friday, Apr 01, 2005 at 11:47

Friday, Apr 01, 2005 at 11:47
Jim

GPS unit on special at Supercheap for $149 including leather case, usb/cigarette 12v adaptor $20 and Data Sync cable $50. Data sync cable can also be used with many other devices that you need to interface with usb port on laptop/pc. Laptop usb outlet will also power this device when connected with either of the above cables
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