Gps, satnav usage tips

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I have used Ebay Chinese satnavs for years.

ADDENDUM: With Primo its better to pay a little more and go for 8GB and 257MB RAM. This will hold world maps and run all the options simultaneously whilst 128MB cannot.

I have actually had four, (now 7) mostly because people have bought mine after being so impressed and they are cheap. Currently a 7" is about £35, although if coming from china may take a while to arrive.

They run IGo primo or IGO 8, and many have free map upgrades.

We previously ran garmins (I think three, more in hope that newer ones would be better) but they were complete rubbish, the routing was not just terrible, but laughable.

Note that mio and tomtom use the same software as the chinese ones (my wife's mio is excellent and easy to use).

As an aged person with long vision the 7" screen is a boon as I can read it without putting my glasses on.

Note that igo is very configurable, this is good and bad. You can set it up just how you want it, but can make a pigs ear of it so you should record your changes or you will end up with it bleeping all the time for one thing or another if you configure it wrongly.

There are various 'skins' available (free) which are better than the basic vanilla interface. I use dimka-megaduck99 ( !! probably kids that wrote it), which is brilliant. Shows me the current speed limit with a BIG symbol which goes yellow-red if exceeding it by more than a settable amount as well as a verbal speed warning.

You need to understand the limitations of satnavs for really good directing.

1) When directions are given keep an eye on the distance to the junction on the screen, it might not be the turning you are just approaching but the next one.

2) Keep an eye on the map display. Sometimes it may say turn right, when its just a veer right, and similarly for other directions. Eg on roundabouts it may say right, but its really just right of straight ahead and 'turn back' just means more right than right!

3) In heavily built up areas (eg old towns in europe) reception is poor due to tall houses and narrow roads. It can be 50m out of where it thinks you are, tricky when turnings are every 15m!

4) A passenger helping, ie using the satnav to give detailed directions can be really helpful at night, in towns or in busy traffic.

5) Put your destinations in in advance using 'favourites' and do not set off until the device is programmed and ready.

6) Very occasionally the map is out of date, or roads are blocked. You need to head off bypassing (ignore satnav) until you are far enough away from the blocked road and close enough to the calculated route for the recalculation to carry you on past the blockage. Otherwise it will keep redirecting you to the blocked road!

We have been driving in europe (often at night when first arriving) and frankly I do not know how we would have coped without it. It was easy, without it it would have been traumatic.

We use it even on routes we know backwards because on busy motorways its easy to miss junctions due to trucks obscuring the signs. Its just so much more relaxing to glance down and see its 2miles to your junction (or 1mile!). You can relax and concentrate on driving.

Frankly for £35, its a no-brainer, I wouldn't be without mine, that's for sure.

PS Get your garage to route a power cable through the dash so you don't have trailing power leads getting in the way.
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