Re: birding-aus GPS

To: "Tony Russell" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus GPS
From: "John Walter" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 15:52:27 +1000
Tony Russell wrote.

> From: Tony Russell <>
> To: 
> Subject: birding-aus GPS
> Date: Friday, 20 August 1999 11:42
> Morning all.
> I have a hand held Magellan Pioneer GPS which I now wish I had not
> it's a real pain and an embarrassment.
>  I believe it's the same type that BA are making available for atlassing
> purposes, which is of course what I use mine for more than anything else.
> The problem with my existing unit is that from switch on it takes just
> to take the first fix. By ages I mean anything up to 5 mins. It's not for
> any lack of satellites because it can often be looking at as many as 7 or
> and be locked on to 3 or 4. During this warm up waiting period satellites
> are often locked on to and then dropped out again. Oddly, and contrary to
> the info in the handbook, it will sometimes compute a fix while only
> showing 2 satellites locked on - shouldn't it need a minimum of 3?  If it
> is switched off and then back on again, just about straight away, it gets
> fix within 20 -30 secs, so the problem has to be one of warm up time
> than satellite acquisition or computation.
> The handbook is quite blase about this suggesting that from switch on the
> unit should take a fix within 10mins!!!, if not, refer to trouble
> and reinitiate etc. This is crazy, what use is a gadget that takes so
> in the field?
> What makes it all the more galling is that a companion with a Garmin
> there laughing because his unit gets a fix from start up in 30 secs, no
> matter what the ambient temperature might be. And he gets exactly the
> fix coordinates as my unit takes forever to get. By the time my unit gets
> going the birds have flitted off and my companions are 300 metres down
> track. This happens at every stopping point.
> Leaving the unit switched on is not the answer, the batteries in these
> things go down very quickly if you do that. The manufacturer's claim of
> hrs continuous use is optimistic to say the least.
> If cost were not a factor of course I would have dumped this thing by now
> and bought a Garmin. Do other people experience the same problems with
> Magellans? I know it was only $300 , but does that mean I got a poor
> performer at a peanut price?
> (Would anyone out there like to buy a 1 yr old as new Magellan for $200?
> or, better still, swap it for a $580 Garmin?)
> The handbook says there is a car adaptor ( will this cost the earth?)
> will enable me to leave the unit "on" long before reaching a desired fix
> point, so the unit will work either in the car (on reduced voltage from
> car battery ) and/or detached for hand carrying at a moments notice. I
> guess that would also involve an aerial on the roof, more cost! Does
> have any experience with this? But even this wouldn't eliminate the
> when walking, or on a pelagic, and only switching on when required.
> Or should I just blow the budget and buy a more expensive unit? What are
> your experiences with these things.
> Cheers.
> Tony.
I have a Magellan Pioneer GPS purchased from BA. I find mine is also slow
at start up, but if restarted within 1/2 an hour or so it locks on much
quicker. I have never had mine fire up on 2 satellites however .Yes you can
get an in car adaptor. As I recall, this was part of the deal with BA, and
I beleive it is worth about $45 seperately. I find it to be good while the
vehicle is running (you don't need an external antennae), but it can be a
trap if you get out of the vehicle with the GPS running and don't switch it
off, or take it with you because it then reverts to battery power. I find
that battery life is adequate, but I have not tried it to see if it will
run for 24 hours as the book says. One good point is that according to the
Magellan website, to do with EOW and Y2K problems, the Pioneer is OK. If
you want to get an in car adaptor speak to Charles Sandbrink at BA office
he should be able to get one for you. Otherwise try Dick Smith Electronics.
I think also you are comparing Oranges and Apples, your friends Garmin (by
the price) sounds like a more upmarket model which would be more like an
upmarket Magellan. It is fascinating to see that Pioneers are sold out here
by BA, Dick Smith and others at a relatively low price, but they are no
longer available and are in fact out of production in the US!!
John & Ruth Walter,
PO Box180,
Australia 4356.
Phone 07 4693 1487
Fax 07 4693 1469
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