Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Montana series RAM mount

Garmin Montana in RAM mountThe RAM cradle for the Garmin Montana series was finally released recently, so I ordered one right away and put it on my mountain bike’s handlebars.

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Bracketron MobileDock Vent Mount review

Bracketron MobileDock MountI’m planning to pick up a new phone soon, and I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of buying clunky, expensive phone docks. And then there’s the fact that my wife and I have different phones, so if I take her vehicle, I’m stuck without a mount.

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A new type of GPS mount

Buzz-bomb-cradle

UPDATE: Now available for the GPSMAP 78 series (scroll down for pics).

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from a fellow in Idaho who hand manufactures a new style of mount for the Garmin 60 series. It looked interesting enough that I agreed to test it out, and I came away pretty impressed.

Made from Concealex (a modified form of Kydex), the mount seems very rugged, and doesn’t appear to block GPS signals, allowing the unit to be almost completely enclosed. Dave Jankowsky, creator of the mount, has dubbed it the Buzz Bomb Cradle. You need to use a RAM diamond mount with it; I used the RAP-274U.

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DeLorme PN-40 RAM mount

PN-40-RAM-mount

UPDATE: Check out my hands-on review of the DeLorme PN-40.

While working on my DeLorme PN-40 review, I've also been testing a RAM mount for it on my bike. Bottom line — like most RAM mounts, it's rock solid. I tried a couple of different setups, including a new type of rail mount. Read on for the details…

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Choosing the right friction mount for your auto GPS

Gps_friction_dash_mount

Friction mounts are great, but it’s easy to get one that won’t work with your GPS. Today I’m going to look at three different friction mounts and address how to select the right one. First I want to cover some common questions about friction mounts.

Why use a friction mount?

I prefer friction mounts over suction cup mounts for two reasons — theft prevention and convenience. Let’s say you’re navigating to a shopping center or restaurant. You see it coming up. You can lift the friction mount off the dash before you even pull into the parking lot. No one sees you remove the GPS and there is no tell-tale suction mark left on the windshield. If I’m leaving the car only briefly, I will often just place the mount with GPS attached on the floorboard.

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Garmin Colorado RAM bike mount

Coloradorammounttop

Earlier this spring I wrote about Garmin’s bike mount for the Colorado handheld. I wasn’t too pleased with the zip tie mounting system, though once I moved it to the handlebar stem it was much more stable. But a stem mount means the angle isn’t adjustable, and visibility was quite poor.

Fortunately, a RAM mount has finally been released for the Colorado, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. What I ended up with is pictured above. But don’t go ordering one till you read the rest of the story.

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Garmin Colorado bike mount

Biking_with_a_colorado

UPDATE: I found a better mouse trap bike mount. Read my post on how I configured a RAM mount for my Colorado.

Now that my move is over and the baby is a little older, I’m getting back out on the bike and putting my Garmin Colorado 300 to the test. I really like the Colorado, but at this point I can’t recommend it for mountain bikers, due to the backcountry navigation issues I posted earlier this week, along with problems finding a decent mount.

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Garmin friction mount review

Garmin_friction_mount_2

UPDATE: Here’s my video review of the newest Garmin friction mount.

After years of illegally using a windshield mount, I finally plopped down $28 for a Garmin friction mount. My nuvi and I now walk ride the straight and narrow.

While suction mounts are only illegal in California and Minnesota, there are other reasons to choose a friction, AKA beanbag or dashboard mount — one being theft deterrence. No suction cup, no tell-tale marks on the windshield.

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Eneloop rechargeable batteries

Eneloop_rechargeable_batteries
After seeing various glowing recommendations on Groundspeak (the geocaching.com message board), I broke down and bought some rechargeable Sanyo Eneloop batteries. Their claim to fame is that they hold their charge well in storage.

These may well be the best rechargeable batteries on the market these days. I haven’t done an exhaustive test but so far I’ve been quite happy with them. Here’s an in-depth Eneloop rechargeable battery review if you want to dig into the details.

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invisibleSHIELD screen protector for your GPS

Invisibleshieldlogo
Last weekend I installed an invisibleSHIELD
screen protector on my Garmin GPSMap 60CSx. I became interested in this product after reading rave reviews on Groundspeak, the geocaching message board. My tendency to crash my mountain bike and scratch my GPS didn’t hurt either.

The Invisible Shield installation was very easy. I did end up with some micro-bubbles which the instructions said would work their way out over the next 2-3 days.  The bubbles did get smaller, but they were still there. So I took a pushpin and popped them, then used the supplied squeegee to remove the rest of the air from underneath them. Screen visibility is impacted in only the most minor manner, and the benefits of protecting the screen far outweigh any downsides. I just wish I would have had this when I purchased the unit.

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