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Author Topic: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.  (Read 760 times)

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Offline RBEmerson

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So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« on: December 01, 2018, 07:00:43 AM »
I'm done with my Garmin 660. It's developed a way to crash hard. The screen goes black and the power button doesn't restart the 660. The only fix is to pull the battery. I'm tired of life with Garmin in general.

I'm after the functional equivalent or better. I need US and European map support. The 660 supports having two map sets at the same time. Swapping SD's to get one set or the other is acceptable.

Something that's the equivalent of Basecamp would be nice. If the only option is a generic route planner and file format conversion, I'll live with it. Basecamp has a number of annoyances, but it does work, if coerced into doing so.

I looked at Magellan products and was underwhelmed. Which AFAIK leaves Tom Tom as the only replacement option.

Input, please.
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Online garry

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 09:57:15 AM »
Smart phone?

My Montana 600 went missing (over a cliff?) in my recent crash. I've decided to try using a spare Samsung S5 cell phone and OSMand+ mapping software. I can still create GPX files using Garmin Basecamp, then load them into OSMAand+ on the phone, and then follow the TRACK (not route). Not worth much for find POIs or specific street addresses, but for following a track, it appears to work fine (driving around locally in the car). OSMand+ costs <$5. Spare cell phone is already paid for (no SIM card in it). Just need to buy a mount and figure out USB power cabling.

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Online chornbe

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2018, 10:21:29 AM »
FWIW, I've given up on Garmin and Sena. They lost their magic, and are now "me too" competitors in very, very crowded spaces, just trying to capture whatever dollars are left with shit warranties, frequent releases with odd fracturing of feature sets, stupid subscriptions, etc., rather than delivering exceptional user experiences. :(
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Online sleazy rider

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2018, 11:05:36 AM »
Well, I’d gladly send you $20 plus shipping for that old POS Garmin 660.  ;)
--Tom

Online PatM

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2018, 09:31:45 PM »
That's not so bad considering that the 660 came out in 2006.   :shrug:

I've never had to complain against Garmin. It works well in NA, it has decent road updates, it also works fine in Europe and most issues I've had were programming issues.
IOW my fault.  :shrug:

I have friends who swear by TomTom and others who swear at TomTom.  :lol:

In other words, whatever device you use will do the job, well or not, depending on how you program it, what you do with it and what your expectations are.

Anyways, Garmin and TomTom each have one recent product designed for motorcyclists.
The Garmin 396 LMT-S and the TomTom Rider 550. Both retail for about the same price.
Both have some form of road programming onboard and some form of route programming software.
Both can use routes from other apps.
Both have similar features and functionalities.

The only difference I can see from the specs is the TomTom has lifetime World maps coverage vs the Garmin has a base lifetime map (North America or Europe) and you have to purchase the other maps.

I suggest you take a good look at the TomTom. I think the world map coverage might be what you're looking for.




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Offline OldButNotDead

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2018, 10:36:23 PM »
Chris, I feel your pain on both Sena and Garmin.  Do you remember when Garmin had some of the best customer support for actually fixing a problem and standing by it.  Despite my old timers, I still do, but that has left the building with Elvis.  Sena is similar in that regard as well.

Just a couple of points.  I have worked with GPS since it was just a Norad number and you could only get a 4 bird constellation at certain times of day and not every day.  Been using Garmin stuff since the GPS 45 which was one of their first units.  Some of the problems with GPS units in general is that location has been rock solid for years but maps used for display vary and are NOT updated as much as you might think.  Those updates you hear about have more info on restaurants, gas stations, etc than road updates.  How do I know?  I ran county GIS systems for over 30 years and companies bought our data to put in their units.   Probably the biggest problem with GPS units is users buy them for bells and whistles more than navigation.   Routing is hard.  All routing algorithms in GPS units are built on building some form of best guess.  We motorcyclists usually travel on secondary roads which makes routing even harder.  Bottom line is the most dependable portion of a GPS system sits between the user's ears.   GPS systems give you data but it isn't always the data you want.  The use has to intervene.  With all my GPS experience I still carry paper maps AND I never trust the GPS to give me a perfect solution.
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Online naustin

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2018, 08:15:16 AM »
My Zumo 450 was basically flawless and bug free - until the buttons wore off the front.  The Zumo 595 was a real disappointment at first - until I learned what a “shaping point” is (450 didn’t care), and with respect to bugs, until both a Garmin and a Sena firmware update.  Now, things are mostly smooth sailing, with phone calls being the remaining issue.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. 

I was ready to abandon Garmin I was so mad about the 595 and the $800 I spent on it.  Then I looked for alternatives and realized they’re aren’t any good ones.  There are other options, but serious compromises come with each.  In the end, I simplified the chain of BT connections I was trying to employ and gave up on phone calls entirely.  That got me by until firmware improved. 

Online naustin

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2018, 08:18:55 AM »
PS - is you hard crash issue related to battery health?   If the battery is bad/damaged/old, the unit may be shutting down to protect itself.  Happens with phones - so it wouldnt surprise me.  Can you get a replacement battery pack? 

Online sleazy rider

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2018, 08:25:23 AM »
^ What he said.


As far as using a phone thru the GPS?  I'm on the bike to get away from that stuff.  I want routing capabilities, easy access to nearby facilities and that's it.
--Tom

Offline Skee

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2018, 08:49:31 AM »
Chris, I feel your pain on both Sena and Garmin.  Do you remember when Garmin had some of the best customer support for actually fixing a problem and standing by it. 


Probably the biggest problem with GPS units is users buy them for bells and whistles more than navigation.   


With all my GPS experience I still carry paper maps AND I never trust the GPS to give me a perfect solution.


<<This>>    And the user interface was coded by a monkey who couldn't climb a menu tree.


While I wouldn't want to have to navigate a European city without GPS, there have been a few occasions where I came close to throwing my 595 out the window.  I much prefer my 550 over the 595.  That's why  only have the 595 installed on one bike.

Last trip through NC, my 595 got the route Scott & I were trying to follow horribly twisted up.  We still managed to make a good ride out of it.   While I positively detest the thing, I wouldn't want to ride without it.

Glimmer of hope - some automobile based systems are showing improvements - maybe that trickles down.
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but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.   Vincent van Gogh

Offline RBEmerson

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2018, 10:20:36 AM »
FYI I've ordered a TomTom 550. The manual suggests there are going to be a few issues. OTOH TomTom answers support questions far faster than Garmin.

The 660 has gotten to the point where it does hard crashes that take pulling the battery to get past. Asking it to find POI's, even close to my location, leave the hour glass spinning with zero results. At least it's going to make a passable paperweight.
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Online kendenton

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2018, 11:36:18 AM »
If you can live without a waterproof version, I've been very happy with my Garmin 2589.  Vastly improved interface over the old Zumos.  Accepts routes, keeps weeks worth of tracks.  Will not bluetooth to Sena.
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Online Oddball

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2018, 08:50:16 PM »
...Just need to buy a mount and figure out USB power cabling. Garry

Been using a cell phone as a dedicated GPS for years.  You'll figure out the mount, but this what I have found best for power after going through many other cables.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXYIVZG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2018, 09:21:23 PM »
That's pretty slick.

Online HipGnosis

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2018, 11:44:06 PM »
...Just need to buy a mount and figure out USB power cabling. Garry

Been using a cell phone as a dedicated GPS for years.  You'll figure out the mount, but this what I have found best for power after going through many other cables.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXYIVZG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
What app are you using for routing?
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Online Oddball

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2018, 11:51:39 AM »
Depends....I use 3 based on location and the last time I had internet. 

OSMAND+, Locus, and offline Google Maps.  When traveling in South America my first stop getting into a city was wifi for the Google Maps downloads as they were the most accurate.  I switch between Locus and OSMAND+ most of the time and I'd like to say it boils down to how I feel that day, not where I am riding.  But, if it is multiple tracks Locus is on the screen all day long.  Long road trip across country without planning, OSMAND+.

I started out with the $40 Kyocera Hydro Air as a backup, then it became my primary with the Garmin as a backup. It was not long before I upgraded to a better Android phone.  Garmin still works, but had not been updated since 2014 and when it goes it'll be another Android that will get mounted in its place.
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Offline Skee

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2018, 12:33:05 PM »
Good intel.  Never heard of either app.  I will have to check them out.

When traveling without WiFi, I also use maps.me.  Works off gps. Not good for complex routes. 
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Online zer0netgain

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2018, 06:38:55 AM »
I almost feel bad for Garmin.  My 660 works fine, but it’s too underpowered to handle the volume of data they now pack into a map update.  Between that and the new map data format, I think it overtasks the CPU and the overall clock speed of the device.

I got the Navigator VI with the BMW, and it has minor, but inexcusable, shortcomings indicating a lack of QA in the design/programming phase...considering the $1,000 price tag.  If it didn’t integrate with the BMW’s systems as an integral component, I’d not have bought it.  Don’t expect much help from Garmin support.

Garmin was the “go to” brand for GPS...especially if you needed a waterproof device.  Between aftermarket “aqua box” products and now smart phones being able to serve as a GPS, Garmin’s only market are people who need GPS units that can be pre-programmed with complex routes and work anywhere regardless of access to a cellular network.

Now they are getting too expensive to justify their cost...unless you get an inexpensive car model and buy a waterproof mount system.
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Offline Max Wedge

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2018, 08:34:22 AM »
My Garmin 550 is still working +-a  power button. I tneeds to go to the palm doctor for a rehab. Waterproofness is not longer as good either, and screen is starting to delaminate after years of daily use.

No problems with my Sena, Except for a fiddly connection on a mount, which I tweaked. :shrug:
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Offline OHScot

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2018, 08:54:03 AM »
Still using the 550 just got revamped by Palm Dr.  It has been a little crazy since new never routed as other devices people riding with me had.  Even if the same setting brand etc.

My back up system is to stop and ask a real person.  Some are really reliable some are almost as crazy as my 550.  If things get real nutty may break out a paper map.  I have been told I make a lot of U turns.  But I see some neat stuff, not all the good stuff is on through roads.  "Hey you mind if I cut through you grass?"


On a side note West Virginia / southeast Ohio is no place to judge a GPS.  They are a little satellite challenged in those areas.

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2018, 06:25:13 PM »



On a side note West Virginia / southeast Ohio is no place to judge a GPS.  They are a little satellite challenged in those areas.

Depends on the unit.  My Montana has never lost signal regardless of how remote an area I was in.

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2018, 09:10:33 PM »



On a side note West Virginia / southeast Ohio is no place to judge a GPS.  They are a little satellite challenged in those areas.

Depends on the unit.  My Montana has never lost signal regardless of how remote an area I was in.
A zumo 550 is old tech.  Newer devices have come out since  :augie:
My NAV V is usually good. It has its quirks, one day it told me I was going over 209 kph on a narrow, twisty mountain road. Twice.  :lol:
Sometimes it sends me on local city streets instead of following the main path. I call those GPS cramps.  :shrug:
I use waze in the car. That is a fine app to get you somewhere. Searching for stuff, not so much. Google maps is mo better. I use a free app to send routes from google maps to waze.
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Offline RBEmerson

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2018, 10:49:15 AM »
Meh. A BMW Nav{whatever] is Zumo with a few features added. FWIW I've plugged by 660 into a new RT and a K1600. Neither responds to the ring, but so what. If I've got a Zumo and it behaves, why pay BMW prices to buy it again so it listens to the ring?
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Online PatM

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2018, 11:06:45 AM »
Meh. A BMW Nav{whatever] is Zumo with a few features added. FWIW I've plugged by 660 into a new RT and a K1600. Neither responds to the ring, but so what. If I've got a Zumo and it behaves, why pay BMW prices to buy it again so it listens to the ring?

Meh, my NAV V doesn't crash.  :razz:

Actually, the only thing they have in common is the connector. The hardware and software are different. It's expensive but so was the 660 when it came out in 2006.

FYI I've ordered a TomTom 550. The manual suggests there are going to be a few issues.

Have you received the TomTom yet? What are those issues you think you may have?
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Offline RBEmerson

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2018, 05:58:25 PM »
The 550 is turning out to be a mixed result.

It's wicked fast. The screen is cleaner (better detail, better contrast). Having all world maps available is good for people who ride outside of North America, although having an Oceana map set is probably of minimal use. Traffic data, including traffic cameras and known speed traps (more useful in Europe?), as a free part of the package (data provided through phone Internet access) is attractive. Searches for addresses, POI's are also wicked fast, although sometimes a little creativity is needed to get the search right.

The screen cover is glossy, not matte, not great with the sun over a shoulder. I've found some addressing errors in the German map (my current address is listed as being about a block away from here). Traffic info is limited by national laws. In Europe, generally forget about speed traps. (not TT's fault).

The owner's manual (PDF download or on-line web document) runs to 200 sides (100+ double side pages - make sure the printer does double side and there's a lot of paper in the tray). Indexing is ...um... lacking. Trip stats (odo, speed and distance) seemed to be missing. Stats for one day (midnight to midnight - why bother??) and all time (for the minute the power is applied out of the box to the next full factory data reset) were obvious. But where are the stats for a multi-day trip??? How do I reset any of this??? Daily and All Time stats: forget it. Trip stats - the heading isn't trip stats, like daily or all time, it's the date the trip starts. Why not Trip Stats? Ask TT. Resetting Trip stats is simple: in the detailed info screen push RESET. To get to all of this I resorted to the user forum. Finding the info in the manual was "you're kidding, right?" BTW no blame attaches to downloading the PDF. Full manuals for any device are becoming scarce on the ground.

It may be a personal thing, but I want to see my current altitude - "wow! 9700 feet! Yikes!" It's not present in the 550 and it's almost 100%guaranteed to never show up. Why? Who knows?

The 550 has a "anything but direct" routing tool. I haven't tested it yet. NTL nice to know it's there.

Here's a weird thing: The voices that speak street names. etc. are all female. The only male to give street names is a British voice (Malcom). Available (free) on special request from TT. This one just caught my eye for some reason, no agenda here.

The Garmin wins on the spread of voices, but also on spoken directions. The directions come in a simple sentence with various items such as "bend right/left, turn right/left, hard turn left/right". The 550 gives similar "turn, follow, second exit in roundabout". But it comes as a terse "Left turn in 500 ft. Main Street". A personal choice, I guess, but Garmin wins here.

In essence, any device mount is just that. The more robust the mount, the more comfortable the owner is. The Garmin mount isn't bad, but there's no real fall-back if the latch lets go. TT has amount that a) slides the back behind two "rails" with a stop across the bottom (of course). The fit is tight enough to work on its own. But TT included a ring with two holes in it and a latch with two pins that fit into the ring. And a lock is available to keep the latch being opened by "bad people". The lock is pretty much a dead loss. The bike mount uses RAM Mount components. Including a knob to adjust the tension in a "dog bone" connecting strut. Open the dog bone ends by backing out the tensioning wing screw, cut the cable (mercifully only power + / - ), and be the happy new owner of a Rider 550 with mount. Think hard before leaving the bike. NTL the TT is IMHO the better feature.

The 550 has three potential links: USB cable to PC, BT to headset and phone, WiFi to phone. Access to the phone isn't just for calls and music. The 550 collects traffic data via the phone, too.

Overall, each device has its pluses and minuses. The balance between the two, at least to date, comes out somewhere near even. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Weight around the middle shifts with personal choices. Lots of free maps is good. Obscure manual is bad, etc. Until it comes to where TT nails Garmin to the floor.

Support is excellent. There's a user forum that TT people read and reply to regularly. How do I know about the trip stat thing? I asked on the forum. Ditto for other questions and TT replies.

Would I do this again? Almost certainly. Garmin lost me on support that was usually clueless and sometimes arrogant. If I thought I would never need Garmin for anything, including maps, I might have stayed with their GPS receivers. But that's not going to happen. I'll enjoy the pluses, work around or ignore most minuses, and not regret getting away from Garmin.
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Offline RBEmerson

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Re: So over Garmin 660 and Garmin in general.
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2019, 10:31:00 PM »
Having somewhat dissed TT support, I'll take most of it back (still not pleased about the "no on/off" for MyDrive app). I've called about some changes to the voices collection. I've added a US and Brit male voice (for SWMBO). And male and female German voices that name German place names correctly. I sorted out "no traffic or weather, but phone works" - dead server in TT-land. Good answers, although, not trying to be nasty about it, working through Indian accents can be challenging. Hey, if the results work, who's complaining?  :)
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