Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Simple budget AA/AAA battery run GPS for touring

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Simple budget AA/AAA battery run GPS for touring

Old 12-29-19, 02:05 PM
  #1  
jambon
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Ireland
Posts: 365
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Simple budget AA/AAA battery run GPS for touring

Hi ,

​​​​​​Apologies for posting yet another GPS thread. I am lost in a sea of information and I am not too tecchy/computer literate . I am looking for a simple GPS for navigating on tour , idealy I hope to find one that ......

takes conventional batteries so that I can carry rechargeable spares and a plug in battery charger

has a display that can blank to save battery while it is in use if needed

will accept downloaded maps/gpx files with pre planned routes

audio directions or cues at intersections would be nice but not a dealbreaker

I really dont need any other bells or whistles.

Is it possible to pick up a simple machine like this ? Any suggestions much appreciated

J
jambon is offline  
Old 12-29-19, 02:30 PM
  #2  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
The Garmin Oregon does all those things. Will run all day on a freshly charged set of AA batteries, has an optional handlebar clip and is waterproof. They've added a bunch of fitness crap and other gimmicks to the software recently but the core features of just overlaying a gpx on the map and showing you where you are are still there and work pretty well.
guy153 is offline  
Likes For guy153:
Old 12-29-19, 03:20 PM
  #3  
GadgetGirlIL
Senior Member
 
GadgetGirlIL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Lisle, IL
Posts: 338

Bikes: 2003 Litespeed Vortex, 2017 All-City Mr. Pink, ~1997 Trek Multitrack 700

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 108 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 20 Posts
I've been using a Garmin eTrek 20x for several years now to do all you are looking for. Uses 2 AA batteries which have lasted through an entire 300K. I use the RAM Mounts system to keep it secure on my handlebars. I download the routes from RWGPS (.GPX files) via Basecamp to the unit. I download my maps (free) from GPSFileDepot.
GadgetGirlIL is offline  
Old 12-29-19, 08:32 PM
  #4  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,559

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1582 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 135 Times in 109 Posts
I have been using the Garmin 64.

Garmin makes lots of models that would fit your criteria. Size, button placement, type of handlebar backet, etc., are things to check out.

On my Garmin 64 there were a couple of occasions that I did not get the GPS in the mount quite right (user error) and it fell out of the bracket while I was riding, but I always use a small cord to the handlebar, so if it slips off it won't completely fall off the bike.

I run mine on Ikea Ladda Low Discharge rechargeable NiMH batteries. I have also used Eneloops but lately I have had better luck with the Ikea ones. Ikea sells two grades of NiMH batteries, the white more expensive ones are the ones I use.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 12-30-19, 01:09 AM
  #5  
MarcusT
Senior Member
 
MarcusT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NE Italy
Posts: 821
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 384 Post(s)
Liked 73 Times in 52 Posts
Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
I've been using a Garmin eTrek 20x for several years now to do all you are looking for. Uses 2 AA batteries which have lasted through an entire 300K. I use the RAM Mounts system to keep it secure on my handlebars. I download the routes from RWGPS (.GPX files) via Basecamp to the unit. I download my maps (free) from GPSFileDepot.
Sorry. I am confused.
Are you saying that one set of batteries lasted you 300,000 kms?
or
300kms?
MarcusT is offline  
Old 12-30-19, 05:04 AM
  #6  
GadgetGirlIL
Senior Member
 
GadgetGirlIL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Lisle, IL
Posts: 338

Bikes: 2003 Litespeed Vortex, 2017 All-City Mr. Pink, ~1997 Trek Multitrack 700

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 108 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 20 Posts
300km 183 miles which took me from 5am to 11 pm or 18 hours.

I’m using the Eneloop batteries.
GadgetGirlIL is offline  
Old 12-30-19, 04:06 PM
  #7  
dh024
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 311
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
I own and have used a Garmin Oregon 600, eTrex 20/30, and a GPSMAP 62s/64. I like the eTrex 20/30 the best - very small and low profile on the handlebar compared to the others and better battery life. The GPSMAP 62/64 units have a much better joystick, but the eTrex works just fine. The Oregon has a touch-screen interface, which was nice at times, but horrible on really dusty roads or in the rain. The eTrex is just as reliable as the rest, but less expensive - its the winner for me. Its also what most of the bike packing community seems to gravitate to eventually.
dh024 is offline  
Likes For dh024:
Old 12-31-19, 02:57 AM
  #8  
CMAW
Senior Member
 
CMAW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Brussels
Posts: 458
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Another vote for the eTrex series. I do 3 and a half days with a set of eneloop batteries.

Plus: 2 sets of rechargeable batteries and it'll last over a week. Very robust: mine was catapulted off the bike a few times (pothole) and bounced over the asphalt like a pingpong ball — not a scratch. Price.

Minus: keeps getting slower with each new map version, which can be annoying if you also have maps/ navigation on your phone ( "lightning speed" by comparison). The small joy stick is the weak point, apparently. I've lost an eTrex 20x because there was a small tear in the rubber covering it and water got in.
CMAW is online now  
Likes For CMAW:
Old 01-15-20, 01:47 PM
  #9  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 93
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 36 Times in 19 Posts
My eTrex seems pretty easy on batteries. Bike has a charging hub (there went simple and cheap) that charges AA batteries fine even at my snail like pace in hilly New England.
Good luck
Pratt is offline  
Old 01-25-20, 10:12 AM
  #10  
3speed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 3,436
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 351 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
I have to say I don't quite understand a desire to use rechargeable AA/AAA batteries and charger. If you're going to do that, you'd be better off, power and space wise, using a GPS that charges via micro usb and a power bank. The power bank requires no charger(self contained) and packs more battery power for the same amount of space taken up by AA/AAA batteries. They'll also charge faster, I believe. One large power bank would charge fairly quickly with a modern 2A or higher charging base and last you days(or longer?) of GPS use. It's also easier to make a rechargeable device reliably waterproof if it has a micro usb flap vs. battery slot, and rechargeable GPS units are generally a bit smaller and more compact. As another plus, you can charge multiple other devices from the power bank. Just get one decent sized one and basically never have to worry about any of your devices going dead. Or if you don't have many devices, get a smaller one and never really have to worry about the one or two devices going dead.
3speed is offline  
Old 01-25-20, 11:16 AM
  #11  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,559

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1582 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 135 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
I have to say I don't quite understand a desire to use rechargeable AA/AAA batteries and charger. If you're going to do that, you'd be better off, power and space wise, using a GPS that charges via micro usb and a power bank. The power bank requires no charger(self contained) and packs more battery power for the same amount of space taken up by AA/AAA batteries. They'll also charge faster, I believe. One large power bank would charge fairly quickly with a modern 2A or higher charging base and last you days(or longer?) of GPS use. It's also easier to make a rechargeable device reliably waterproof if it has a micro usb flap vs. battery slot, and rechargeable GPS units are generally a bit smaller and more compact. As another plus, you can charge multiple other devices from the power bank. Just get one decent sized one and basically never have to worry about any of your devices going dead. Or if you don't have many devices, get a smaller one and never really have to worry about the one or two devices going dead.
If you are only using the GPS for cycling and have a convenient place to plug into an outlet every couple days to recharge everything, what you propose would work fine.

I can't speak for others, but I want to be able to use the same GPS for backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, and cycling. I prefer AA batteries for when I don't have a way to plug into an outlet for a couple of weeks.

And using NiMH rechargeables is greener than disposable batteries. I have not bought any AA or AAA non-rechargeable batteries in over a decade with one exception, my taillight batteries were dead and I was riding home in the dark so I bought a small pack of AAA at a Walgreens to use to get home about eight years ago.

But I can charge my GPS AA batteries from the dynohub with a USB charger and pass through cache battery, I have no reason to have a dedicated cycling GPS in addition to a general recreation GPS for other activities. I should clarify here that Garmin will say you can only charge their proprietary battery pack in a Garmin 64, can't recharge NiMH batteries in it, but there is a work around that I use to do it, thus I can use the same AA batteries in my GPS as in my headlamp (for my head in the campsite) that uses one AA battery.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 01-26-20, 12:20 AM
  #12  
3speed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 3,436
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 351 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If you are only using the GPS for cycling and have a convenient place to plug into an outlet every couple days to recharge everything, what you propose would work fine....
How do you recharge the AA batteries when you're out backpacking, etc? If you simply carry enough to last the duration of the trip, wouldn't a power bank hold the amount of power of the AA, but in a more compact package, and be faster to recharge than a bunch of AA when you do have that option? I'm genuinely asking, as I haven't used AA batteries in a very long time. Just based on my general knowledge of batteries, I'm pretty sure my thoughts are correct since lithium holds the most power compared to other battery compositions. You could also more easily charge a power bank from a dynamo. You just plug it in to your power converter and you're done. It's like if you could just plug your AA directly into the dynamo to charge. Am I genuinely missing something, or is it strictly a preference thing?
3speed is offline  
Old 01-26-20, 01:12 AM
  #13  
downtube42
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,093

Bikes: Volae Team, '83 Bianchi Nuovo Racing v2,'74ish Windsor Carrera Sport, Priority Eight, Nimbus MUni, Trek Roscoe 6

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 127 Post(s)
Liked 146 Times in 86 Posts
I've been using the eTrex 20x for several seasons of randonneuring, including several 1200km brevets. I think it checks all your boxes.

Note that I use mine without any turn-by-turn directions and without any map in the background - just the navigation line and a dot showing my location.

Cons: I find that with a map turned on, the nav line gets lost - there's not enough contrast difference between nav line and map lines. Although it has some turn-by-turn capability, I've not found it useful. In bright sunlight, even the lone nav line can get washed out. Lacking bluetooth connectivity, it's not possible to push route updates to the device without a PC.

Pros: Ruggedness. Seemingly impervious to rain. Robustness of software (only a topic because of the flakiness of so many higher end GPS units). Replaceable batteries (a plus for me, a plus for the OP, and evidently not a plus for the biggest segment of the GPS market).
downtube42 is offline  
Old 01-26-20, 06:57 AM
  #14  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,559

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1582 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 135 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
How do you recharge the AA batteries when you're out backpacking, etc? If you simply carry enough to last the duration of the trip, wouldn't a power bank hold the amount of power of the AA, but in a more compact package, and be faster to recharge than a bunch of AA when you do have that option? I'm genuinely asking, as I haven't used AA batteries in a very long time. Just based on my general knowledge of batteries, I'm pretty sure my thoughts are correct since lithium holds the most power compared to other battery compositions. You could also more easily charge a power bank from a dynamo. You just plug it in to your power converter and you're done. It's like if you could just plug your AA directly into the dynamo to charge. Am I genuinely missing something, or is it strictly a preference thing?
Backpacking, I usually bring on average 1.5 AA batteries per day, that gives me a couple spares at the end. My headlamp (for my head) uses one AA battery, that is part of the battery consumption estimate. When my GPS quits, I swap out the batteries for a fully charged pair, takes maybe 3 minutes. I do not have to mess with recharging batteries in the campsite when I have a bunch of charged up ones ready to put in the GPS. I think I get something like 12 hours for a pair of batteries, but that seems to vary. Food is very heavy, after starting a trip last year with `12 days of food, will never do that again Last year I planned to re-supply half way through my route, then learned just before my trip that the shuttle service I planned on using did not go to where I needed it to go for resupply so had to start out with all my food and supplies. Other than that fiasco, I try to carry no more than 6 days of food when backpacking, which for a re-supply means 9 AA batteries according to my 1.5 batteries per day plan. Li Ion camera batteries, they are light weight, carry spares. Bike touring, I recharge them during my trip but backpacking I include them with food re-supply.

Canoeing and kayaking, I do not want my GPS to die while on the water, so I change the batteries more frequently, do not run them to empty. But otherwise pretty much the same as backpacking. But, canoeing and kayaking, a few more pounds in the boat is not a problem, so carrying a couple weeks of food, batteries, etc., is not a problem. Canoeing and kayaking, I also carry a marine band radio, mostly for weather reports, but kayaking in places like Lake Superior, it is a good idea to have a marine band radio,especially when you are may miles from the nearest cell phone coverage. Mine radio uses six AA batteries, but it is turned on so rarely that I never need to swap out the batteries on a two week trip. Some trips I used AAA batteries instead of AA to make it lighter, but that cuts the number of hours I can use the radio.

I bought a solar panel and tried charging up AA batteries on a two week kayak trip, when I got home I concluded that the solar panel and the USB powered AA charger weighed as much as the AA batteries that I charged during the trip, plus that runs the risk of not having good sunlight during your trip, so no longer carry solar panel. I usually do my kayaking and canoeing trips in Sep and Oct, thus shorter days, more battery consumption for light in the campsite, plus then I am inclined to bring a brighter headlamp that runs on four AAA batteries instead of the one that uses one AA battery.

A friend of mine did Southern Tier a few years ago with some friends. They stayed in motels every night, no camping, they had a van to haul luggage, one of the riders drove the van each day. Thus, recharging GPS each night was easy to do from an outlet. A few times he forgot to charge up his cycling GPS at night and it died during the next day. He was perturbed that he did not have one like mine that runs on batteries that you could swap out.

Last point, a cycling GPS lives on your handlebar. A GPS for backpacking is in your hand or a pocket or belt case. A GPS for canoeing and kayaking is probably sitting somewhere loose where you can see it when it is not in a pocket. Thus, I want a GPS that is easy to handle and use, not one that was designed to be clipped onto a handlebar. And I want one that is robust enough to be knocked around with your camping gear, dropped occasionally onto rocks, etc. Cycling GPS units that I have seen are not that robust.

I am a retired Geological Engineer. Every day of my professional career, I worked with maps. Thus, I am probably more inclined to want the best equipment for outdoor activities that require location data. When your occupation requires that you have the best location data available, the way you think about location data reflects that. Maybe that is why I have upgraded my GPS tools as often as I have. Before GPS I of course used paper maps and compass, I probably have a dozen compasses, including some professional quality ones that are called pocket transits in storage somewhere.

A couple years ago I started out one morning in my kayak in clear weather from a campsite on Isle Royale on Lake Superior, first photo you can see the sun just starting to rise, within two hours the heavy fog had set in, second photo. That is the kind of day you really want to make sure you had fresh batteries in your GPS in the morning so you know where you are and which way to go.



Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 01-26-20, 07:33 AM
  #15  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,559

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1582 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 135 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
I've been using the eTrex 20x for several seasons of randonneuring, including several 1200km brevets. I think it checks all your boxes.

Note that I use mine without any turn-by-turn directions and without any map in the background - just the navigation line and a dot showing my location.

Cons: I find that with a map turned on, the nav line gets lost - there's not enough contrast difference between nav line and map lines. Although it has some turn-by-turn capability, I've not found it useful. In bright sunlight, even the lone nav line can get washed out. Lacking bluetooth connectivity, it's not possible to push route updates to the device without a PC.

Pros: Ruggedness. Seemingly impervious to rain. Robustness of software (only a topic because of the flakiness of so many higher end GPS units). Replaceable batteries (a plus for me, a plus for the OP, and evidently not a plus for the biggest segment of the GPS market).
I do exactly what you do, but i want the track and background map turned on when I am doing a brevet. Perhaps my Garmin 64 uses different colors or otherwise portrays data on the screen differently than your Etrex 20X

In the photo which is unfortunately not a very good photo, on my Garmin map you can see a curvy purple (fuchsia?) line trending to the right and ahead. It is easier to see in person than in the photo.That purple line is the track I want to follow.



The above photo is from a bike tour I was on, but I use the same GPS for brevets. I download the GPX track to my computer and put that into my GPS. I have a map showing on the GPS screen. If I glance down and see that I am not on the purple line, I know I need to turn around and get back on the line. I do not get any turn by turn audible voices or beeps or anything like that when I am following a track. I want that background map turned on so that when I am riding through a town, I can see how many road intersections I go through before the next turn.

The photo below is also from a bike tour, not a brevet, but in a situation like that I really like to see on my GPS map how my planned route looks so I can see how far I have to go around the round about before I get to it. When on the round about, I am so busy watching the traffic that I do not have much time to look at the road signs or GPS map, so I want to have it all figured out before I get to it. I need the map turned on for that.

Tourist in MSN is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.