Nuvi 500 first impressions

Cabrito

I come in Peace
I love it. Why did I wait so long?

Although I have yet to do anything advanced I thought I would share a little bit that I have done so far. I would consider myself to be a real basic user and will probably never really use this thing to its full potential.


So out with the old in with the new.
I’ve been using an old Garmin GPS 12 for years and have been quite satisfied with it.



It does not do maps but it does leave a bread crumb trail to follow home. It also interfaces with my laptop and mapping software really well.

I almost think I can ditch the laptop setup now.


The Nuvi 500 has three settings, driving, bike, and hiking. It auto-senses between hiking and driving. It’s waterproof, and it seems pretty rugged but I would still be carful with it. It’s pretty heavy compared to a similar sized Magellen, one of the cheap ones you get a Costco that is streets only. For some reason that says “quality” to me. The price is right to if you can find it on sale. I’ve seen it for as low as $223 at my local BestBuy. I paid a little more on Amazon, :(. (note to self: drop by bestbuy before purchasing online)


It lets you take screen shots and leaves a trail of where you traveled making it easy to find your way back.


We used it while hiking in Boggs Forest near our place in Lake County. The hike takes you through pretty thick forest so understandably the gps has a hard time keeping up.


Because of the thick cover of the trees the trip meter was not even close to accurate.


Out in the open this thing would really rock. It did a way better job than the old GPS 12 ever does. This was evident by the bread crumb trail that it leaves for you.


We hiked for over two hours and the battery held up really well considering that I was constantly playing with it. Plus it was probably working really hard to try and connect with the satellites.
Here is a screen shot of the battery usage,


Here are a few more screen shots






I can’t wait to use this thing on our Death Valley trip next month. It lets you input way points and I have already put a few destinations, and checked it out on the pre-installed topo maps.

I’m sort of an analog person living in a digital world so I am easily impressed.
 

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Cabrito

I come in Peace
I do wish it would interface with the computer a little more. It would be nice if you could download your trip to a local computer map program.

I'm not totally ready to ditch the computer w/handheld gps setup just yet.

I finally just about drained the battery this weekend. I had been using it back and forth to work on battery power all week. Not every trip, but most of them. Each way is about 35 minutes. I then was able to still use it on another two and a half hour hike at lands end here in the city on Sat.

It finally started showing the "low battery" message. I just kept going and it never actually died.
I really dig the topo feature.

Fun Stuff..
 

chet

island Explorer
you should be able to save your track and then download it into Garmin Mapsource software on your computer no?
 

Cabrito

I come in Peace
you should be able to save your track and then download it into Garmin Mapsource software on your computer no?
Okay that sounds good. I guess I need to get the Mapsource software. Anyone else have any experience with that?
 

Alex

Adventurer
I bought a Nuvi 500 and returned it immediately because you can not transfer previously saved tracks from your computer back into the Nuvi. One of the most important things my GPS does for me is to be able to route me on a trail that I have never been on before. Other than that one failure it would have been the perfect off-road driving GPS.
 

IntrepidXJ

Explorer
I bought a Nuvi 500 and returned it immediately because you can not transfer previously saved tracks from your computer back into the Nuvi. One of the most important things my GPS does for me is to be able to route me on a trail that I have never been on before. Other than that one failure it would have been the perfect off-road driving GPS.
You couldn't place the GPX track file into the GPX folder on the device when you connected it to your computer? I was under the impression that was possible....I was planning on picking up a 500 pretty soon to replace my Crossover....
 

Alex

Adventurer
I didn't try that method Randy, maybe it is worth a shot. You could buy 3 Nuvi 500's for the price of 1 Zumo 550, believe me I really wanted it to be the one.

I used the same method to attempt to upload tracks to the Nuvi 500 as I did with my Zumo:

1) Open a file in Garmin MapSource that has maps, routes, waypoints and tracks.
2) Click on "Send to Device" in the Transfer Tab.
3) Check the boxes for Maps, Routes, Waypoints and Tracks, hit the "send" button.
4) Eject the Nuvi from the computer and power up.

This is where the trouble began. I selected "Import Route From File" (screenshots are from the Nuvi 500 while I was testing it out)


The on road routes showed up, ones that navigated using roads only, none of the off-road tracks were imported. The routes that used roads shown in the National Parks Topo 24k maps imported just fine, as did the maps.


The supplemental mapset imported and functioned just fine.


It is possible that Garmin will add the "import triplog" function with a software update. The Zumo could not display a breadcrumb trail, show the coordinates or elevation of your location when it first came out. These features were added as software updated about 8 months later. This would be the place to look for updates.

The Zumo has options for importing Favorites, Routes and Trip Logs (tracks). I save them to the 4 gb sD card which allows an almost unlimited number of triplogs to be stored. Going to the "Import Data" button in the "User Data" screen gives access to them. This also gets around the 50 route limit of the Zumo. I just store all of the tracks I may possibly need on a given trip to the memory card and import them as necessary. Thanks to this ability, Zumo serves as a stand alone navigator, I don't also need to tote a laptop on trips anymore. The triplogs are converted to routes as they are imported, with Zumo using roads if they exist in the maps stored in the unit and plotting the off-road segments where needed. Once imported, the on-road routes and off-road tracks are treated the same: (Zumo screenshot)


I suspect that this conversion process requires more than the usual amount of brain power, this could be a possible explanation of the large price difference between the Nuvi 500 and Zumo 550.

I have attached a .zip file that contains a .gbd file with a track and a route for Lathrop Canyon, as well as an off-road track for Fins n Things trail. Can somebody who knows their Nuvi 500 try uploading them all and tell how they got them all to work if possible?
 

Attachments

Ryanmb21

Expedition Leader
I beleive in mapsource, you open a track file...then convert it to a route then import it to the nuvi 500.....or something like that. It's been awhile, I'll try that out when I get back into town next week.
 

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Lichen

Explorer
Well, I just bit the bullit and ordered the Nuvi 500 from Amazon. I also just received a new laptop and TOPO 7.0. I found the user's manual on-line. 300 pages!! Looks like I have a lot to learn this spring.
 

The BN Guy

Expedition Leader
Just ordered mine from Amazon as well. Curious as to what the USB cable is for and what are the odds of me already having one that fits? Is this a special cable?
 
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