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My GPS scenario & Bluetooth quest.

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  • My GPS scenario & Bluetooth quest.

    As I embark in the next chapter of in-car computing, I find myself diving into one of the most useful applications for the car - GPS.

    I already did the software research, and it was a close toss-up between Destinator 3 and iGuidance 2.0, but after a day's worth of reading on here and other 3rd-site reviews, I chose the latter. My decision on this was mostly due to-
    price: iGuidance is cheaper
    software: iGuidance comes with both PC and PPC software
    features: iGuidance has better info for US users, and D3 seems better for European users
    bonus: 3d view in iGuidance shows street names

    As for hardware, I'm still in a pickle. I guess the easy way is to just go with a usb connected gps device. Iguidance even sells a package to include one. It came out to be around $90 for the Royaltek gps device alone. Then I realized I might want to look into a GPS unit that I could use with both my carPuter, and my Dell Axim x30h PPC. (this was a major reason I decided on iGuidance - yes, I know about mapmonkey). At times, I ride in my girlfriend's car or go on road trips in other people's "non-gps/pc" cars (ugh), so it's nice if I can still utilize my GPS w/my PPC hehe.

    I looked around on ebay and found some that were in the $100-$150 (shipped) range. This was only slightly more then the Royaltek Sapphire usb one that came with the iGuidance package, so I figured I might as well go bluetooth. Once I decided on the fairest priced units, I went around searching for reviews on the web, as well as if any mp3car users had any.

    I've narrowed it down to two units: the Rikaline GPS-6031-X7 and the HOLUX GR-231. The Rikaline is a tad bit cheaper and I think has a longer battery life. The Holux had some reviews that stated it had faster hot/warm/cold boot times. I'm still undecided, and may spend a few more days investigating these two as well as any other units I come across.

    My question is, has anybody had any serious issues with bluetooth GPS receivers? I know it's still an early development for them, so I'm always concerned with new technology still being too infantile. Does anybody have experience with slowness in compared to a "wired" GPS receiver? I want my setup to just allow me to get straight to GPS and have it ready when I touch that button on the screen. I'm willing to sacrifice the whole bluetooth/gps setup if it's too complex. Lastly, does anybody have recommendations on bluetooth GPS receivers they are currently using and are very happy with or planning to buy and why? Speed? Battery life? Satellite signals? Accuracy?

    Thanks much for any feedback.
    -GiZak-
    Carputer Project: 98% Complete!! *tweakin'*
    Xenarc 7TSV | Opus 150 | Biostar M7NCG400 | Athlon Mobile2200 | Seagate 160Gb | Kingston 2x256mb | BT Holux GR-231 GPS | LiteOn CD-R/DVD| Keyhole Rev. Cam | Zippy Mini-glow Keyboard

  • #2
    shameless bump.

    Since nobody answered any questions, either my post is too detailed and too tedious (I figure the more information I provide, the better answers I receive), or nobody has much experience at all with Bluetooth GPS.

    Welps, been doing more research on my own instead and came across the Globalsat BT-338 which is the first SiRF Star 3 Bluetooth GPS that came out recently. I didn't do too much reading in detail regarding the new chipset, but new is good! Supposedly faster locks, more accurate, and longer battery life. It's more expensive, so I don't think I'll jump on it. I did a search on these forums and was suprised nobody brought it up. If anybody wants to discuss this or perhaps my previous post, type away! =p
    -GiZak-
    Carputer Project: 98% Complete!! *tweakin'*
    Xenarc 7TSV | Opus 150 | Biostar M7NCG400 | Athlon Mobile2200 | Seagate 160Gb | Kingston 2x256mb | BT Holux GR-231 GPS | LiteOn CD-R/DVD| Keyhole Rev. Cam | Zippy Mini-glow Keyboard

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, still nobody talking. I guess I'll get on out with it. In an unplanned purchase, I went ahead and bought the Rikaline GPS-6031-X7. I looked at both and they seemed to have similar enough features that I just ended up getting the cheaper one, by about 10 bucks. But I managed to break off one of the metal battery connectors and was unsuccessful in soldering it back on (I hate that stuff) so instead of messing around with it, I decided to grab the HOLUX GR-231 since I was in a hurry to get my GPS up and running again before the weekend. It also allowed me to do a mini-review and comparison of the two. (I'm probably gonna throw the rikaline on ebay for a few bucks for anybody who wishes to fix it themselves and get it working or see if they can get a warranty repair on it, yea I'm impatient)

      Notes: Real driving testing involved was used pairing the devices with my Dell Axim X30h, but I also managed to get both working with my future carputer:


      Rikaline-
      Pros:
      Longer battery life
      Multiple devices can connect to it (pda & carputer simultaneously)
      Automatic detection of BT to connect & turn on (works great on carputer!)
      Automatic turn off when BT drops (when I exit Iguidance 2.0 on the carputer, the GPS automatically turns off, when I run Iguidance, even embedded, it automatically turns the BT device on)
      cool colorful changable wings! lol
      cons:
      Well, I did break the battery terminal.
      NO on/off switch which proved to be a slight problem because -
      I had connection issues with Dell Axim PPC...worked great when it did, but I was losing BT connection and it wouldn't reconnect unless I reset both devices. No off switch on the GPS required me to keep sliding open the battery cover and removing the battery and reinserting it, which lead to broken metal clip.
      Indicator lights not as informative as the Holux.
      No external antenna plug.
      Can ONLY be connected via BT.

      Holux-
      Pros:
      Seems to have a faster fix then the Rikaline.
      Definitely picks up a signal better (even getting in indoors) and had no problem driving around with the GPS in my pocket, I didn't even have to put it on the dash.
      Can be used with BT or usb cable (purchased seperately).
      It can be charged via the AC travel charger, the car cig lighter socket, or any USB port - the cable seems to be a standard usb cable that plugs into each of these devices.
      Has an external antenna port.
      Indicator lights will tell me if it has a satellite lock, and I can tell if it has a BT connection or if it's waiting for a BT connection.
      Power switch proves helpful.
      Supposedly has power save mode to turn off GPS after 10 min if no BT connection is detected.
      Uses the same type battery of Nokia cell phones (although they claim their battery is more heat resistant).
      Has a heat protection circuit to stop charging battery after it reaches a certain temp.
      cons:
      Can't be connected to both PPC and carputer simultaneously and still testing on how fast/feasible it is to switch between the two. (I plan to use it mostly in my car paired with carputer, but I want to be able to disconnect the unit to bring into my girl's car and pair it with my Dell Axim).
      Power save mode doesn't appear to be working properly, and it hasn't turn off for an hour as of now hehe - but at least it has a damn switch to turn it off!
      Switch is software based, not hardware (have to hold it in for 1 sec to turn on, 2 sec to turn off).
      Battery life isn't as long as the Rikaline's. (not that it matters much to me, 9 hours is good enough).
      Since it's a single usb cable that plugs into the head of either the ac travel charger or car cig light outlet, I can't keep two seperate cables in both areas, but if it's a regular usb cable I will just pick one of those up.
      I still have a lot more testing to do, but as of now, I can only test the Holux, so expect to see any further rants on this item on this thread, but as of now I prefer and like this item better then the Rikaline unit.
      -GiZak-
      Carputer Project: 98% Complete!! *tweakin'*
      Xenarc 7TSV | Opus 150 | Biostar M7NCG400 | Athlon Mobile2200 | Seagate 160Gb | Kingston 2x256mb | BT Holux GR-231 GPS | LiteOn CD-R/DVD| Keyhole Rev. Cam | Zippy Mini-glow Keyboard

      Comment


      • #4
        I use my TomTom Navigator GPS Unit for my tracking.. which is bluetooth..

        the battery life lasts about 5-6 hours which is enough for any long journey, if in doubt use a in car charger costs about 10.

        The satilite strength is very good connects to give position with in 10-15seconds not even that some times.

        I use my pocket pc with this using the tomtom software which is very good. proberly the best out there but if your looking for a gps software for it its compatible with nearly all of them!

        Setting up the bluetooth was easy, you have to be techinically minded and find it easy to problem solve.
        I brought a bluetooth reciever becuase i got so many devices that are bluetooth now. eg. Mouse/Keyboard/PDA/Mobile/GPS. when you pair the device with the computer, it will automatically set two COM ports one for sending the data to the gps and one to reicieve the position data.

        If you have any trouble give us a message and ill help you out where i can!

        Comment


        • #5
          Uhhh... whats wrong with your CPU cooler, gizak?

          Comment


          • #6
            I got myself excited about in-car gps 2 weeks ago and I started to look around for pda's and gps receivers. After couple days of intense browsing around, I got myself a Dell Axim X30 bluetooth - it was on offer at dell - and even more, after I canceled the order I got a phone call from dell to offer me 20% off if I keep the order. Well done. About the receiver, I have decided to the same rikaline 6031 X7 because of the long battery life and good specifications for the price.
            I am using the device 3 days from now and this is what I can say the package works very well, I am driving around with 7-11 locked sats at a time, strong signal once it locks on the sat (with the receiver on the dashboard).

            What makes me unhappy is the amount of time to take off for a hot start (hot start = turn off the pda and on again in less than 1 min. - in this case).

            - with the receiver on the dashboard
            10 sec for the pda bluetooth to turn on the receiver
            40 to 50 sec for the receiver to lock enough sattelites to get running

            - with the receiver on top of the hood
            30 to 35 sec to lock enough sattelites

            on the instructions they say something around 15 sec for a hot start and its nowhere nere that. I suppose I'll just have to live with that as the receiver doesnt have a port for external antenna

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mpattonm
              Uhhh... whats wrong with your CPU cooler, gizak?
              Aside from it being a tad big, nothing hehe. The whole fan portion is a transparent blue and it has 4 blue LED's that illuminate it. Not bad for 14 bucks or so, and it's damn quiet.
              -GiZak-
              Carputer Project: 98% Complete!! *tweakin'*
              Xenarc 7TSV | Opus 150 | Biostar M7NCG400 | Athlon Mobile2200 | Seagate 160Gb | Kingston 2x256mb | BT Holux GR-231 GPS | LiteOn CD-R/DVD| Keyhole Rev. Cam | Zippy Mini-glow Keyboard

              Comment


              • #8
                Wow, I'm impressed by the information you've given. I want GPS so bad, that two years ago I did the noob thing about bought a stupid Delorme. Well as everyone knows, those are so bad that I've been turned off by the whole GPS thing until lately.

                After seeing all the new frontends with GPS support, I think it's time to take the plunge and spend more money on this.

                Hell, until this thread, I knew zero about bluetooth GPS. I thought bluetooth was for cell phone headsets and stuff. I'm a noob. If you have any more information about the receivers, or some more pics, please share.

                I'm off to do some searching on the receivers you listed cause I want to know how much!
                www.mobile-effects.com

                Free file hosting, picture gallery hosting for installs, PM me.

                Internet's first Front End Skin browser, featured installs, downloads, links, informative articles - all free to registered users.

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                • #9
                  Oh, another question - how does the Holux work with the iGuidance software? Any problems?
                  www.mobile-effects.com

                  Free file hosting, picture gallery hosting for installs, PM me.

                  Internet's first Front End Skin browser, featured installs, downloads, links, informative articles - all free to registered users.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey! Glad to see somebody else interested. The Holux is working just fine on both the PPC and Carputer. I finally got my pc into the car and I'm using iguidance2.0 more with the carputer as it is much easier to look at. Although I did go ahead and modify it so the font is bigger and the zoom buttons are bigger. It helps a lot. You can find the info in this thread if you dig enough: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=37702
                    My current frontend is Centrafuse. I tried a few others but I think I'll stick with this one for now. There is a small issue with the window embedding due to the "nag screen", but I used the info in this thread to fix it: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=38596 (I see you already posted in there hehe).

                    Anyways, feel free to ask for any further questions, also regarding the price on Iguidance, I bought mine from storagemedia.com - http://www.storagemedia.com/product....dept_id=56-016
                    for $95, cheapest I could find. They are now taking pre-orders on version 2.1 too.
                    -GiZak-
                    Carputer Project: 98% Complete!! *tweakin'*
                    Xenarc 7TSV | Opus 150 | Biostar M7NCG400 | Athlon Mobile2200 | Seagate 160Gb | Kingston 2x256mb | BT Holux GR-231 GPS | LiteOn CD-R/DVD| Keyhole Rev. Cam | Zippy Mini-glow Keyboard

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey Gizak, I'm definitely interested in this also, and am looking to purchase a bluetooth gps reciever later this week.. how has the holux been for reception? Have you gotten an external antenna for it? Or at least found out where to get one? Thanks

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SnyperBob
                        Hell, until this thread, I knew zero about bluetooth GPS. I thought bluetooth was for cell phone headsets and stuff. I'm a noob. If you have any more information about the receivers, or some more pics, please share.
                        Bluetooth is gaining increased support on laptops especially.. all Apple powerbooks now have bluetooth, also the mac mini.. my sony vaio t150 has it also.. its basically wireless connectivity over radio waves.. for the cellphone it's handy for the wireless headset.. but also you can connect your cellphone to your laptop/pda and transfer data.. but also on the laptop you can get bluetooth enabled mice.. and most importantly.. GPS is now available in bluetooth.. its non-directional, so you can basically have the GPS mounted on your dash, and a car-pc in the trunk (I believe it has that range w/o a problem) and it'll pair up.

                        Hopefully my information is accurate, and that does give you some more knowledge!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yea, bluetooth is taking a while to catch on in the states, seems like many are still weary of its bugs and I can understand as I've felt a bit frustrated playing with it before. My current bluetooth devices are GPS, PDA, Carputer (w/$15 bt dongle), and headset - no, my phone isn't bluetooth but I sure as heck wish it was!! Verizon is so slack and the gimped v710 is a huge dissapointment...anyways, I'm getting off track. I believe bluetooth has tremendous potential, we just need it to become more mainstream so the damn prices on bt enabled devices would drop!

                          Off my mini soapbox, since using the nag screen fix, I noticed the problem with multiple windows opening when you use it in Centrafuse. Example, if you open up GPS, then go to music, then you want to go back to GPS, it attempts to open up another Iguidance window. Gonna go load up another code when I can to fix that, no biggie.

                          The Holux is doing fine, but I currently have to manually turn it on (and off if I want to save batteries). Right now, it's just sitting on the dash and plugged into the cigarette lighter adapter it came with. My cig lighter plug is on w/acc only, so when I leave the car, my GPS loses DC power and goes into battery mode. If I leave the car for too long, then of course the battery dies and when I return to the car, need to power it back on. I plan to hardwire a female cig lighter plug to the battery to use as my new power location (yes it would be easier to just wire the current one directly, but I want to keep it removable). What's nice about the Holux kit is that the usb lighter plug adapter can be used with anything that can be charged via usb! So it's very useful hehe.

                          As far as prospective bluetooth GPS units to consider, I did mention the Globalsat BT-338 above which has the newest SiRFstarIII chipset. There's a good review on it here: http://www.pocketgpsworld.com/bt338.php and you can find some good articles on how good the new chipset is. But remember, it's gonna cost ya more! Hehe. I'm not sure if there are any other SiRFstarIII chipset bt gps units out there - I'm kinda scared to look, makes me want better! Damn I hate technology.
                          -GiZak-
                          Carputer Project: 98% Complete!! *tweakin'*
                          Xenarc 7TSV | Opus 150 | Biostar M7NCG400 | Athlon Mobile2200 | Seagate 160Gb | Kingston 2x256mb | BT Holux GR-231 GPS | LiteOn CD-R/DVD| Keyhole Rev. Cam | Zippy Mini-glow Keyboard

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I got my Holux 231 the other day, and its real nice! gets an immediate fix even without using an external antenna.. even worked inside my house not near a window.

                            One big pointer for anyone who gets it.. when installing it as a bluetooth device, the passkey for it is 6268 .. the documentation didn't mention that at all, thank god for

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