Handheld GPS

Radios, intercoms, headsets and GPS systems
lundq
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Handheld GPS

Post by lundq » Tue Aug 05, 2008 22:18

Hi everyone.

I'm looking at buying a GPS (portable, not panel mount) and would like to get some input on what you guys have. Good experiences, bad, models, etc. I've heard all the good stuff about the Garmins and am looking at those but there are some cheaper ones too. I think Bendix/King just came out with some new models and about half the price of Garmin.

Not looking for the cheapest one but somewhere in between quality and reasonably priced. Would like the XM weather option.

Thoughts?

Ron

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joea
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Post by joea » Tue Aug 05, 2008 22:33

I have a Garmin 195 and have used it in my Aeronca for many years. Works well and they are available on Ebay and Barnstormers for a very reasonable price.

Just saw the new Bendix unit and it looks very nice. Glad to see new units coming out at a better price. Until now it cost over $2000 to get options like this unit has.

One thing to remember is that Garmin's customer support and service is the best in the industry, bar none. I own 4 of them and am borrowing a new Garmin GPS 496 to hopefully ferry my new Sedan back to Arizona from Ohio.

Yes I am a very satisfied customer and am somewhat biased towards the company but also have used and owned and other GPS units. So far have not found a better product at any price.

Personally I would rather buy a used Garmin at a lower price than a lesser quality model any day but then thats me.

drjeff
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Post by drjeff » Wed Aug 06, 2008 00:14

Joe,
My wife bought me a 496 for Christmas last year and it is really nice. It has the auto function on it as well so you can use it in the car too!

Nate has one as well except he has the weather subscription with his.

Nice unit!

Jeff

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joea
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Post by joea » Wed Aug 06, 2008 00:24

I wish that I could afford to have all the bells and whistles on this one. To tell the truth its owned by the company that I have just gone to work for.

The idiot who were the chief pilot there bought it using the company credit card, then took it in the Challenger one or two flights then it resided in his truck the rest of the time. When asked why he purchased a $2200 GPS that was not really needed he replied "its an emergency unit for the life raft" and was not with the company shortly afterwards! Course the other $10k charges for vacations on the card did not help any either.

The other pilot in the company told me about it and its been sitting in the office for the last 9 months or so, not being used. I have it with me now and am going to borrow it for flying the Sedan back to Phoenix. Of all the things that I worry about, just about top on the list is wandering into a restricted area or such that pops up every so often. This GPS will keep me safe and heading the right direction. If I like it may try to see if they want to sell it as we really do not need it for the Challenger, its equipped very well as is.

What do you guys use for a mount? Was thinking about a RAM mount. I have the "bean bag" stock factory mount but thats it.

Joe

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Post by drjeff » Wed Aug 06, 2008 00:47

Joe,
I have the standard bean bag that I've used in the champ and the truck. When I'm flying the PA28, I have a yoke mount that I use.

Another handy feature I like about the 496 is that it show towers, their elevations when you are down low. In the event that the weather comes down, everything helps!! Not that I would totally depend on the screen but at least it helps to know where some of those metal thingys are.

JP

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Post by WWhunter » Wed Aug 06, 2008 08:09

I've owned several Garmin units and have only had a few problems with them that the factory fixed without charge. They are great and easy to use. The only problem I had with the Garmin is the small screen requiring bifocals to see. I recently bought an AvMap EKP-IV that has a lagre screen and I love it!! It was suppose to have XM weather capabilities by now but so far they haven't got it available on the unit.

WW

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Post by MikeB » Wed Aug 06, 2008 08:57

Being a 'cheapie' I bought a Garmin Plus Three several years ago. Kind of a take off on the Pilot model. Several of my friends at the airport who fly non-electricss use the same model. It's actually not a aircraft type GPS but has airports in it and, of course, doesn't show MOA's. etc. But for my flying it works just fine. I used to to fly to and from Oshkosh and it worked faultlesssly. I have it stuck to the top of the dash with velcro. Doesn't need a external antenna in that position. Basically, I keep one finger on the map and eye on the GPS. The only thing I have against it is that it takes a while to punch in coodinates.

I can't justify buying a 396/496 for my type of flying and I suspect they probably suck too much battery power in the non-electric mode unless you have a alternate power source.

Mike Berg
"If God had intended man to fly He would have given us more money"

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joea
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Post by joea » Wed Aug 06, 2008 09:04

mikeberg/wi wrote: I can't justify buying a 396/496 for my type of flying and I suspect they probably suck too much battery power in the non-electric mode unless you have a alternate power source.

Mike Berg
Mike,

Really agree with you about the price. I would not be flying with the 496 had I not been able to borrow one!

As well I was concerned about the battery life with the 496 and if I am to believe the onboard meter, the battery should last around 7 hours in its present configuration. That said, I do have the brightness turned down just a bit to save power. Understand that the brightness is what really eats battery life so if you can dial it down a bit that really extends things.

Am hoping to find 12v somewhere in the Sedan's cockpit to hook into the GPS and not have to worry about battery life on the flight back home.

Joe

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Post by Captgrumps » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:11

Joe-

If you didn't need weather you could use a 196. It has black & white screen, no terrain feature, but works off AA batteries. I have one and just a carry extra batteries--It uses 4 or them. In my 182 I use it and a 296 which I have wired direct.

Doug
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The dirty side down.....
And the blue skies on top....

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Post by SFC Hiatt » Wed Aug 06, 2008 21:55

I use a Garmin GPSMap76 which saved my butt more than once at the two way rifle range (Iraq). Just used it to get to and from Oshkosh. I velcro it straight to the dash and use an external antenna. Downside is it doesn't have an aviation database so I have to add waypoints for airports.

Stay away from Lowrance, my wing man has one and he was off course most of the time. ~Chris

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Nathan K. Hammond
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Post by Nathan K. Hammond » Thu Aug 07, 2008 00:10

My 496 will last about 10-12 hours on a charge; more if you dim the screen. With the XM antenna hooked up, it drops to about 3 hours of battery. On the way home from Middletown, I had to keep swapping batteries with Mark because he had a charger.

Before I picked up the 496 I used (and still have) a Garmin 92. Personally I like the Garmin's because they seem more user-friendly and more intuitive. The XM is worth it's weight in gold if you're doing any kind of cross country work (Land, Sea or Air.) Add the XM radio, which is relatively cheap, and you can groove while you cruise. The 396 can handle the XM, has the tower/terrain database and the partial panel which could be handy in a tight situation. But the 496 has all that and gobs more... Road maps (including food, gas, lodging, address function, points of interest and much more), faster processor, The AOPA airport information directory (invaluable and I don't have to carry a paper copy anymore), and taxi diagrams at larger airports.

If you can spare the extra money, the 496 with XM is un-beatable!

nkh

A buddy stopped by in a spanky new Citation, and sitting on the dash was a 496. He claimed that gave him more and better information than anything else in the cockpit!
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joea
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Post by joea » Thu Aug 07, 2008 00:14

Nathan,

The 496 is better than anything that we have in the Challenger 604. Now the 605 will beat it hands down but thats a brand new airplane.

What does the XM cost for the 496? What kills me is that each map revision (taxi, terrain, obs, Jepps and AOPA) are $45 EACH. Thats $225 for the lot for ONE revision and that does not cover the auto routing.

BTW, I have the new Roads CD v.2009 if you want it, but you need a code to activate it in your GPS.

Did you get my email?

Joe

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Nathan K. Hammond
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Post by Nathan K. Hammond » Thu Aug 07, 2008 00:38

There are 2 different plans for the weather; a slimmed down version (Aviator LT $30 a month) and the full up (Aviator $50 a month.)

Aviator LT gives you: Nexrad (US only), TFR's, County Warnings, City Forcast, METAR, TAF, Precip.

Aviator ($50) gives you: Nexrad (US/Can), Canadian WX warnings, TFR, County Warnings, City Forcast, Echo Tops, Airmets, Lightning, METAR, TAF, Freezing Level, Winds Aloft, Sigmets, Precip, Satalite, and Surface Analysis.

http://www.xmradio.com/weather/av_service_pricing.xmc
XM radio adds about $8 a month.

As for updating; I only update about every 2 years or so. I figure not much can change (except new towers) in that time frame, and what does change, shows up on the sectional/WAC chart. So that makes it a little more affordable. I ran my 92 the last 8 years without an update (because they didn't offer it.) Only after I tried to find an airport that didn't exsist, did I bite the bullet and get a new unit.

nkh

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lundq
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Post by lundq » Wed Aug 13, 2008 20:14

Well, I bought a Garmin 195 on Ebay the other day. $150 which I thought was fairly reasonable. I know I've been seeing them on Barnstormers for $200-$250. After evaluating want I was going to really use it for, I figured the 195 would work OK. The only drawback I've heard about it is that it has a hard time intializing sometimes.

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Post by Roger Anderson » Wed Aug 13, 2008 22:19

mikeberg/wi wrote:Being a 'cheapie' I bought a Garmin Plus Three several years ago. Kind of a take off on the Pilot model. Several of my friends at the airport who fly non-electricss use the same model. It's actually not a aircraft type GPS but has airports in it and, of course, doesn't show MOA's. etc. But for my flying it works just fine.
Mike Berg
I've also had a Garmin III Plus which for Aeronca type flying will take you anywhere you need. I just sit it on the Chief's panel. However, I bought a Lorance Airmap 500 several years ago to have an aviation type display and database. It's great for those reasons...except it sucks down batteries like crazy. It only uses 2 AAs, but they only last about 2 hours. The Garmin used 4 AAs but went about 20 - 25 hrs. I have the Lowrance connected to a power supply now and that makes it fine. I'd like something like a 496 but can't really see how I'd use it effectively in a Chief. I have a Tom Tom $150 unit for the car and it's great for that, but not for aviation.

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