Ideal PDA Setup

Discussion about software such as GSAK, OziExplorer etc, as well as all things hardware, GPSrs, laptops, PDAs, paperless caching, cables etc
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Aushiker
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Ideal PDA Setup

Post by Aushiker » 16 December 04 5:25 pm

Hi
<p>
Okay second question on using a PDA setup for geocaching. If you where going to set-up a new, say ideal, reasonably priced, PDA based geocaching rig what would you go with and why? This question is related to the one I posted at http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=1940, but which takes a different angle on the issue. With this question the assumption is that a PDA approach is the way to go.
<p>
Thanks
<br>Andrew

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Re: Ideal PDA Setup

Post by EcoTeam » 16 December 04 9:18 pm

Aushiker wrote:Hi
<p>
Okay second question on using a PDA setup for geocaching. If you where going to set-up a new, say ideal, reasonably priced, PDA based geocaching rig what would you go with and why? This question is related to the one I posted at http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=1940, but which takes a different angle on the issue. With this question the assumption is that a PDA approach is the way to go.
<p>
Thanks
<br>Andrew
You mean PDA to replace the GPS as well?

I use an old almost worthless Palm IIIxe and it does everything I need, i.e. it holds all the caching pages. If I drop it and smash it it's only $50 to replace.
I don't need to link my PDA and GPS, I don't even have the cables to do that. The PDA is only used to replace the gc.com printouts, and unless you want to do mapping on the PDA I can't see much of a point linking them for caching use.
Before each caching trip I simply download my latest GPX file (200km around Sydney), process with GSAK and iSilo and download to both my Palm and eTrex.

I can't see a need to do mapping on the PDA, because to do that I would need to link the PDA and GPS, inconvienient and messy out in the field.

Define "reasonably priced". To me that means only a few hundred bucks tops for the total solution, to others it means $1000. I can't justify having a wizz-bang $500+ PDA just for caching when a $50 cheapie will do the primary job of holding the cache pages.

EcoDave :)

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Post by energizer61 » 16 December 04 9:58 pm

ok, It may not be in the "reasonably priced" bracket, but to me it is Ideal except for the one obvious flaw, it's not waterproof/bulletproof/drop-proof. (but it is insured)

I am using a Navman PIN, it's a Pocket PC with integrated GPS. I have downloaded some additional software (GPX Sonar & Tinystocks Navio)
I simply Export a GPX File every morning from GSAK & Sync the Navman, I then have updated Cache info for the State/Country/wherever.
GPX Files are compatible with Navio, so wherever I am I turn on the Navman, click distance & it will show me the nearest cache. It is capable of mapping if you have maps of the area you are in, although I don't find this very usefull. I then open GPX Sonar & I can see all the info I need. Once I find the cache, I can log it, track travel bugs etc, then when I get home I export my notes from GPX Sonar into GSAK, then log from GSAK & Copy & paste the notes I made from the field. simple & all in one unit :)

It's ideal on a fine day, but I do have a more robust water resistant cheapy GPSr to use if its raining so the Navman can stay dry in the car :)

& if you are considering spending $200-300 on a GPSr then the same on a half decent PDA, you are only a couple hundred short of the current price of around $800 for the Navman (the last one I seen on Ebay went for around that) ... Not bad when you consider it also has 3D turn by turn navigation, which is what I originally bought it for. (before I discovered Geocaching) :)

cheers

Energizer61

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Post by oznaturist » 16 December 04 10:22 pm

I'm with Eco Team, the cheaper the better. I looked at a few s/h shops but they still wanted $180+ for an old palm, so I purchased a zire 21 new at $129. Just use it to save gc.com printouts

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Post by The Garner Family » 17 December 04 10:13 am

I use a second-hand Toshiba E750 pocket PC with Vito Navigator II, Ozi Explorer CE and GPX Sonar. I've got a bluetooth GPSr. I've never cached any other way but I can't imagine doing it any other way... i.e. I've got all the caches in Queensland at my fingertips in GPXSonar.
<p>
If I'm in an area and what to cache I fire up Ozi Explorer and load in all the geocaches as waypoints. I can then zoom in and out and see what caches are in the local area. If I'm having particular trouble with finding a cache with the arrow and distance I can also use Ozi Explorer to show me where the cache is (eg proximity to road, corners, track, etc), this is only useful in very urban caches however as dirt busg tracks tend not to be on the maps (unsurprisingly).
<p>
While I don't have turn by turn navigation, I do have moving map in Ozi Explorer which suffices for my needs. Total solution cost was $850, but during the weeks the PDA gets used as a PDA as well.
<p>
Not to mention the fact that the PDA can also be used as MP3 player while I'm walking/driving, I can also fire up Internet Explorer and dial the Internet via GPRS over my mobile, so in remote areas I can view the full log details and other images (never had to do this, but I could if I wanted to).

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Re: Ideal PDA Setup

Post by Aushiker » 17 December 04 2:17 pm

EcoTeam wrote:Define "reasonably priced".
<p>
I new that statement would get me in trouble :D I guess under $500, but really just interested in the different approaches and will make a judgement call from that.
<p>
Andrew

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Post by orac7000 » 18 December 04 12:05 pm

Ok, I feel experienced enough now to be able to wade into this one!<br>
Personally my choice was price, Palm vX from eBay, $73 inc freight. It holds all of the state's (tassie) caches, I was almost on my way to The Gold Coast earlier this week, Lt Sniper sent me a .gpx for ALL of Queensland, I spun and plucked the WHOLE file, then had two states worth of caches. just a shade over 1 meg.<br>
In the mean time I have discovered more caching software, cachemate and it's plugin module cachenav, which allows me to do "nearest cache", and when linked to my etrex, can display all the nmea output on the palm as well. It can do logging etc... I also have Cachelog, another little freeware prog that is great for quick logs, unfortunately it does not integrate with the cachemate db.<br>
I even have software on it that turns it into a learning 6 device remote control!!<br>
Email is read/replied/composed on it while out, come home, sync and send.<br>
It is my "brain" when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries etc.
<br>
So with minimal financial outlay, I have everything in a PDA that I need at this stage. I might upgrade one day, at the moment I can't see the need and certainly can't afford it.

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Re: Ideal PDA Setup

Post by EcoTeam » 18 December 04 1:08 pm

Aushiker wrote:
EcoTeam wrote:Define "reasonably priced".
<p>
I new that statement would get me in trouble :D I guess under $500, but really just interested in the different approaches and will make a judgement call from that.
<p>
Andrew
The different approaches seem to be:
1) Go ultra cheap, old model or secondhand/refubsihed. <$100 on eBay. Perfectly adequate for general caching. A 2MB model Palm will easily hold all the cache sheets for your state. An 8MB model will be more than you'll ever need. Can do basic PDA functions too of course. No need for a colour screen. The Palm III and Palm V series are the most popular here. Pocket PC's don't really get a look in.

2) Get a new model Palm or Pocket PC (can run OziExplorer CE) with all the bells and wistles, lots of memory, colour screen, expansion, MP3 player etc. The major advantage for caching is that you can do advanced mapping, but that costs $$$ on top of the PDA. Probably looking at $300-$500 minimum for the PDA alone. Bust it out in the field though and you are in big trouble :oops:
Unless you buy the maps and do all that stuff, one of these expensive PDA's will do no more for you than option 1 (for caching).

I wouldn't go in between those two options.
Option 1 is a great place to start to see what paperless caching is like.

EcoDave :)

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Post by swampgecko » 18 December 04 4:11 pm

Orca,

That learning remote software, I have been looking without much success. Where did you get it from please?.

I have a Palm 500m, with a 16meg card in the back. I also have a 256meg card laying around doing nothing since I got a 1gig card for the camera.
The 16gig card will be deciated to geocaching. The 256 meg card will be my "backup card for maps and such if I can find a suitable software setup.

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Post by Webguy » 18 December 04 6:14 pm

I use firepad image viewer to view full sized toppo maps, once converted and compressed a full sized 256 greyscale toppo map comes out at around 8meg or so a map, you need 17meg free on the palm to display that sucker. (Because I am storing it on an sd card, it needs to temporarily store it on the main palm memory, then, enough ram to actually display it)

On my 256meg card, I can fit a LOT of toppos. I usually carry all the mountain maps with me.

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Post by Aushiker » 18 December 04 7:24 pm

oznaturist wrote:I'm with Eco Team, the cheaper the better. I looked at a few s/h shops but they still wanted $180+ for an old palm, so I purchased a zire 21 new at $129. Just use it to save gc.com printouts
<p>
Where did you pick up the Zire 21. Ihave seen it for $180.
<p>
Andrew

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Post by EcoTeam » 18 December 04 8:19 pm

Aushiker wrote:
oznaturist wrote:I'm with Eco Team, the cheaper the better. I looked at a few s/h shops but they still wanted $180+ for an old palm, so I purchased a zire 21 new at $129. Just use it to save gc.com printouts
<p>
Where did you pick up the Zire 21. Ihave seen it for $180.
<p>
Andrew
The Zire21 goes for as little as $81 on eBay, brand new.
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll ... 74167&rd=1
The same guy has several more available, but shipping is pricey.

I don't know if this one has an internal rechargable battery, but be careful. With paperless caching, if your battery dies in the field and you can't recharge/replace it, you might as well go home.
My Palm IIIxe uses AAA batteries, so replacements are always to hand.

EcoDave :)

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Post by Papa Bear_Left » 19 December 04 10:30 am

EcoTeam wrote:I don't know if this one has an internal rechargable battery, but be careful. With paperless caching, if your battery dies in the field and you can't recharge/replace it, you might as well go home.
My Palm IIIxe uses AAA batteries, so replacements are always to hand.
Luckily, it's not much of an issue with the smaller, monochrome Palms. They'll go for weeks between recharges, so you have only yourself to blame if you let it go flat while caching! There's car adaptors as well, of course.

The bigger, newer Palms (Zire71 and up, any Tungsten) and PocketPCs tend to be battery hogs, with only a few continuous hours of runtime and a few days of standby. (Some are better than others, of course)
These will need some sort of mobile charging if you're out for a few days caching, or if you're using the Palm for multiple uses (playing music, moving maps, etc) beyond the occasional cache description check.

Luckily, they mostly charge from USB, so a ciggy-lighter to USB adaptor and a charging cable are a fairly cheap method to keep them topped up, assuming that you're near a vehicle regularly.
If you're on a multi-day hike, then solar or backup batteries are probably required.

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Post by Aushiker » 19 December 04 1:12 pm

Bear_Left wrote:Luckily, it's not much of an issue with the smaller, monochrome Palms. They'll go for weeks between recharges, so you have only yourself to blame if you let it go flat while caching! There's car adaptors as well, of course.
<p>
Would the same apply to the Zire 31, the model up from the 21 but with a colour screen?
<p>
Bear_Left wrote:If you're on a multi-day hike, then solar or backup batteries are probably required.
<p>
Wouldn't take it. :) Bushwalking is my get away from it all. In fact unless I had geocaching in mind (combined trip) the GPS wouldn't even go.
<p>
Thanks to everyone to date for the advice. Looking around for a Zire 21 or 31 I think. I assume programs such as Cachmate will work on it, not that I have really looked into this aspect yet.
<p>
Andrew

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Post by Two Goth Geeks » 19 December 04 4:25 pm

I used to take with me:

* Phone
* PDA
* GPSr
* Digital Camera

Now, I take my Motorola A1000:

Image

It does the lot :)

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