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Old 05-20-2014, 04:23 PM   #1
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Default RV GPS? Any experience with these?

I have been looking at the Good Sam enhanced GPS by Rand McNally vs the Magellan RV systems.

Anybody actually have hands on road miles with one of these? All the campgrounds and POI's are nice but I'm really more interested in low bridges, steep hills and fuel stops I can't get out of once I'm in there.

Your experiences?
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:10 PM   #2
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No experience with special RV GPSs, but I've always been well served by my inexpensive Magellans. Today I ordered a new Magellan 6230-LM, which besides being a plain-Jane GPS is also a dash camera. I'll have it in a week or two.

I too would be interested in knowing whether anyone found any real advantage in the RV-special GPSs.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:04 AM   #3
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I bought one of these last year and I wish I would have bought something else. A lot of the information is outdated or inaccurate and the routing sux. Guess Garmin has spoiled me.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:59 AM   #4
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I bought one of these last year ...
One of which, Doc? What did you buy, and not like? The Magellan (what model?), or the Good Sam unit, or what?
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Old 05-21-2014, 04:18 PM   #5
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Carl, I bought the Magellan Roadmate. Supposed to do everything. Clearances, fuel, all Good Sam campgrounds, big 7 inch screen. A real disappointment. Once you enter a route, it will stay on it. If you go a different route, it will try to send you back to the starting point and not re-calculate a new route from your present position. Not real good if you're not familiar with the area. You could go back to where you started from and do it all over again.
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Old 05-21-2014, 04:53 PM   #6
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Wow, my Magellans never do that. Instead they simply lead you to your original destination from wherever you got to when you wandered. They've always worked that way, which of course is what either of us would want.

I hope my new Magellan, when it comes, acts like my old ones and not like yours.

I can't think of any setting that could be causing it to do that, either.

Have you tried updating the internal software? It's pretty easy to do. Maybe they've fixed it.

I'll give you fifty bucks for it, sight unseen.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:51 AM   #7
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Thanks for the offer, but it looks impressive on my console. Haven't tried to update it. Is the update on their website?
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:56 AM   #8
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Thanks for the offer, but it looks impressive on my console. Haven't tried to update it. Is the update on their website?
On their web site you can download Magellan Content Manager which runs in your PC and connects to the Internet. With that running, you connect the GPS via a USB cable and play with it a bit.

You didn't mention a model number, but if it includes LM, as in 6230-LM or 2136T-LM, that means "lifetime maps" and map upgrades are free. Otherwise I guess there's a charge for map upgrades. I have avoided buying the ones without LM, so I'm unfamiliar with those upgrades.

The model number is on a little label somewhere on the unit.

Software upgrades (as opposed to map ugrades) are free regardless, I think.

The upgrades are massive files, so expect to tie up the PC for a nonzero time. But if you have two of the same model (I have two of the 2136T-LM), it only downloads once and saves the stuff.

Content Manager also, for example, provides a way to maintain your "address book" on the PC and copy it from one Magellan GPS to another. That's a convenience, especially when you buy a new unit and don't want to put all that stuff in by hand. I have a gazillion Flying J and Walmart locations in mine, for example, from Florida to Oregon to Texas to North Carolina, so that's been very useful to me.
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Old 05-22-2014, 12:36 PM   #9
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A new GPS is not in my budget right now but I have been looking at them. If you are looking at Garmin RV models you might want to look at the Nuvi 2798LMT which has a 7" screen and is also a monitor for an included wireless backup camera if you don't already have one that makes a nice package. Saw one on Ebay for $400, free shipping.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:50 PM   #10
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I just updated my 9165T and you were right. The file is massive. I'm leaving for Colorado next week and I'll get to try out the new update. Thanks for the info.
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:59 PM   #11
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Size matters.

5" screen: cheaper. easier to see out the windshield. harder to see the info.
7" screen: Costs more, harder to see around, I drive a truck, not a class A. easier for nearsighted eyes to see maps.

Still trying to make up my mind on that.

And how about audio quality and external speaker ports?
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:43 PM   #12
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... how about audio quality and external speaker ports?
I've never owned (or heard of) one with external speaker ports, but my little Magellans have plenty of volume. Despite severe hearing loss, I've never had a problem navigating without looking at the thing. I've got it set so loud that people with normal hearing scream in agony.

The new 6230-LM apparently has a headphone jack, though. It's supposed to arrive on Saturday. I can hardly wait. If I survive my MRI tomorrow afternoon, I'll play with the Magellan all weekend.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:26 PM   #13
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If I survive my MRI tomorrow afternoon, I'll play with the Magellan all weekend.
I used to work on MRI machines. It's just a big ol' HF radio set. And a big ol' magnet. And a big ol' refrigerator. All on steroids.

A little cramped and noisy in there, but not a problem really. Let us know if something serious turns up.
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:47 AM   #14
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Update on the Magellan 6230LM: It arrived last Saturday and is now on its way back to Amazon for a refund. Here's the letter I wrote to the president of Magellan, explaining why:

Peggy Fong, President
Magellan GPS
471 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95050-4300

Dear Ms Fong

I have been a happy Magellan GPS customer for some years, and currently own several of your products.

Recently I purchased (from Amazon) your latest GPS, the 6230-LM GPS-Dashcam. It is on its way back to Amazon for a refund. I thought you might find use in knowing why.

It wasn’t easy to purchase this product. It seems in great demand, and has been in back-order countrywide. I was delighted to purchase it, and eagerly pleased when it arrived last Saturday.

I immediately placed it in service in one of my vehicles and drove around a little. Then I played the video back on the Magellan device itself. I was surprised to see that the video was jerky and that it was plagued with frequent dropouts, or freeze-ups (several per minute), each lasting from about 1/5 second to several seconds; the longest was about four seconds.

Well, I thought, perhaps on the PC it will be better. So I hooked it up to one of my PCs, which was running Windows XP at the time, and attempted to run the Magellan Player from the little memory card. It crashed with a Data Execution Prevention violation. DEP is an optional hardware/software feature not present in all PCs.

Well, OK, I’ll try it in Windows 7 on the same PC. It came up fine, and after fumbling around I was able to save the video as an AVI file on one of my solid-state drives. Playing this AVI in Windows Media Player, the jerkiness and the freeze-ups were still there, unfortunately.

Then I booted back into Windows XP and tried it there. Whenever I attempted to browse to the drive containing the AVI, Windows itself crashed! Back to Windows 7, delete the directory that contained only that AVI. Then back to Windows XP, and once again I was able to browse my disk drive.

Curious, I attempted to run the Magellan player in another XP system that doesn’t have the DEP feature. It came up, but I didn’t attempt actually to view or save any video on that PC.

So I’m guessing that you tested the software on a non-DEP Windows XP system but not on one that had DEP. That’s an unwise omission, wouldn’t you agree? But it seems to run in Windows 7 with DEP.

Another thing that disappointed me considerably is the downloadable User Manual on your web site. I downloaded and printed it and found an amazing number of errors.

Samples:

Many misspellings of the word maneuver as manuver. Sometimes the two spellings occur in the same short line of text.

Several misspellings of receiver as reciever.

On page seven there are two images of the 6230-LM, labeled with capital letters starting with B. Accompanying, there is text in short paragraphs labeled starting with A. The text for A describes the feature labeled B; the text for B describes the feature labeled C; and so forth. This is true for both of the illustrations on page 7, and for others on pages 22, 23 and 24. May I say I found this confusing until I figured it out. It isn’t your best advertisement.

In several places the plural criteria is used when the singular criterion is meant.

In at least one place in the manual there appears the nonexistent word ut.

In at least one place in the manual the word too occurs when clearly to is meant.

I contacted Customer Support, describing the problems with the video and the problems on the PC: support case 59391. Three or four days later I received a reply from Dan – AM 20354 which addressed only the video problem. Clearly he had not read my whole 250 words. He advised that I reformat the memory card. I did that, and tried again. The video was now even worse. I replied to him, but have heard nothing back.

Amazon seems very accommodating, and my 6230-LM is on its way back for a refund.

I think you may have been in a little too great rush to market; to me this product seems actually unmerchantable.

In a spirit of helpfulness I enclose my printed copy of the downloaded User Manual, in which I have indicated numerous errors (I count 67 of them) that need correcting. While you probably cannot find a proofreader with skills equaling mine, surely you can find someone better than you have.

Sincerely

Carl Hayes
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:24 PM   #15
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Picky, picky, picky. Now you are going to make some poor Chinese person actually read the gibberish they print in their user manual. Or, possibly some American high school kid. Having spent a great deal of time in the Far East, I can usually understand their translations in users manuals. You would think that if they are going to sell their product over here, the least they could do is make sure the documentation is correct.
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:31 PM   #16
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Well, I wouldn't have returned it for the problems with the downloaded PDF manual. The printed manual that comes in the box is much better, though less complete.

I returned it because of the poor performance of the video camcorder function and the problems with the Windows software.

I was quite disappointed, and more than a little surprised. I have always really liked Magellan products, and I expect to buy Magellan in future.

I was impressed with Amazon's handling of the return. When I bought it, shipping was free, and Amazon also paid for the return shipping. They contacted UPS, and the UPS guy, when he picked it up, had with him a prepaid shipping label. So I won't end up losing a single red cent. All I had to do was put it back in the box I got it in, and tape it up. To me, Amazon seems a first-class outfit.

Actually I think Magellan is first-class too, but they really fell down on this particular product. They had never before, I think, designed a camcorder of any kind. The GPS function was all anyone could reasonably demand.

Of course, I think people who are paid to write English ought to be able to write English. Spelling is so easy! You learn a word once, and it stays the same as long as you live. Why would anyone who has more than twenty working neurons have any trouble spelling the words of his native language?
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Old 05-31-2014, 05:24 PM   #17
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Carls letter reminds me of the letter I wrote to Jelly Belly about some of their rather odd selections of flavors for jelly beans.

http://www.openroadsradio.net/forums...ht=Jelly+Belly

But back to GPS: I have heard the 5" screens are too small to be seen, and the 7" are too large to allow seeing out the windshield of anything but a Class A or a tractor trailer rig. What is the consensus here?
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:47 PM   #18
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I've been using 4.3 inch screens for a couple years now, both in the little Ranger pickup toad and in the big Class A. Big enough, but only because I never try to program them while driving, and because it's easiest in any circumstances to listen to them but not look at them. It's essentially never necessary to look at the thing when driving. That's my experience anyway, going from Florida to Oregon, then Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio (for the Dayton Hamvention), thence North Carolina (for Judo camp), and finally back to the good old Sunshine State, where right now it looks very stormy, rainy, and tornadoish outside. Big wall cloud a while ago (ten minutes), but no rotation last time I looked.

++++++++++ LATER +++++++++++

Big nothing. A little rain, hardly any wind. Bummer.
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Old 06-01-2014, 06:53 AM   #19
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I have a couple of vehicles with factory gps, (large screens) and I also have a Garmin Nuvi with a small screen that I use when I want good directions. The factory automotive units are pretty sorry. I have the 7 inch Magellan and a 7 inch Garmin that I use in my MH. The spoken instructions are good until you get into major cities and need to see lane information, then you need the largest screen that you can get. The small screens are ok in your Nissan, a foot from your face, but stretch that sucker out there 3 feet and with old, tired eyes, it's a problem. I have a Ford dually with factory nav (worthless) and I have no problem using the 7 inch Garmin mounted in the middle of the dash. In the case of gps, bigger is better and a person of average height should have no problem seeing over the gps mounted on top of their dash.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:48 PM   #20
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Update on my 9165T. Hit the road this morning on my way to Colorado. I updated the Magellan with the latest software and this was it's first use since then. The first deviation from the route it selected resulted in it trying to re-route me back to my point of origin. The only way to make it calculate a new route was to power it off and back on. This is truly a worthless POS, in my most humble opinion. After the update, the screen is very dark, even on the brightest setting. The speed limit in Texas on most highways is 75, and on some roads, 85. These are not new speed limits. The Magellan still has the old speed limits for ALL the highways. I updated my Garmins and they have the current speed limits. The Magellan supposedly has some great features, like overpass heights, weight limits, etc., but it's negatives far outweigh it's positives. IMO.
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