User Reviews / Example Setups

This appendix contains user reviews of various Palm + GPS units running SoarPilot. Each solution is rated on a few criteria by the owner on a scale from 1 (awfull) to 10 (excellent) stars.

Handspring Visor + GPS Companion

I’ve been using SoarPilot with a Handspring Visor i.c.w. a GPS Companion by Magellan for over 2 years now. My first setup was with a Handspring DeLuxe which has 8Mb of memory and runs PalmOS 3.1 with a 20Mhz processor and 2 AAA batteries (either Alkeline, NiHm or NiCad). The batteries didn’t last long enough for long flights so I’ve come op with a power solution with a 3V DC/DC converter and an external larger battery that is now posted in a PDF in the Files section of the SoarPilot group site. I found this unit a bit too slow with large waypoint and/or SUA databases, even when Afterburner was installed. The 160×160 B/W screen is excellent in bright sunlight though. The GPS Companion lasts for upto 8 hrs with 2 1000mA NiMh batteries. This unit is discontinued but is still available via eBay. A full review of this GPS can be found here.
Later I’ve acquired a Visor Pro (full review here) which has 16Mb of memory and a 33Mhz processor. With Afterburner I can overclock this unit running SoarPilot upto 52MHz without any noticable side effects. It has a Benchmark 3.0 index of 169%. The Visor Pro has a built-in Lion battery which lasts easy for over 8 hrs on a single charge. I don’t own a Visor SD card springboard module, this means I must either use serial or DOC transfers. I’m still using this setup to date, but I must admit that a Tungsten T is tempting ;-)

Performance
Battery Life Time
Screen Visibilty
Screen Resolution
Memory
GPS
SP ↔ PC
Overall

Antoine Megens 2005/09/26 13:47

Tungsten T + Bluetooth GPS Mouse + Power Sled

I have found this an excellent setup for Soarpilot. The Tungsten T has a hi-res colour display of the REFLECTIVE type. This has superb visibility in sunlight. The later Tungsten models (T2, T3, T5) all have a TRANSFLECTIVE display, and this has visibility problems in sunlight. It has a 144mhz processor and 16mb memory, so is capable of running with complex airspace and many waypoints. I have up to 300 SUA items and 700 waypoints. The Tungsten T can also be used in flight in the closed position, as the 5-way navigator is used to replace the silk screen buttons.

Although the Tungsten T is not made any more, you can find them on eBay. To improve the battery life a Palm Power-To-Go battery sled is used. This can be obtained from Expansys. This gives 9 hours plus of power and therefore is a completely glider independent solution. Great for using club gliders. The suction mount has a simple velcro attachment to the back of the Power-To-Go sled.

Many Bluetooth GPS units will work. The one shown is a Holux GR230, another popular model is the Globalsat BT338 unit. The Tungsten T has an SD Card slot, so I use this for data and flight transfers.

Note: Remove the PDA from the Power-to-go sled after flying, otherwise the sled drains the battery and the PDA eventually loses SoarPilot and its databases!

Performance
Battery Life Time
Screen Visibilty
Screen Resolution
Memory
GPS
SP ↔ PC
Overall

Paul Gleeson 2005/09/27

Zire 71 + Garmin 12XL Handheld GPS

– No Picuture yet

The Zire71 has the same CPU and RAM amount as the TungstenT mentioned above. The only drawback is the transflective (as opposed to reflective) display which is harder to see in direct sunlight. But it is still possible to see everything important in flight.

I have used this setup in conjunction with some self-built cables too hook up both the GPS and Palm to the club-gliders batteries. So power-consumption is no problem. Speed is just fine, even for a lot of SUA data, and Transfers to the PC are very easy with the SD-Card.

You can get this unit very easily on ebay. However, i would also suggest looking into a used TungstenT, to which i sidegraded a month ago. Its display, while worse indoors, is noticeably better outdoors in sunlight. And they should cost nearly the same on ebay.

Performance
Battery Life Time
Screen Visibilty
Screen Resolution
Memory
GPS
SP ↔ PC
Overall

Markus Gayda 2005/09/29

More Setups

Some more example setups (without a review) can be seen in the Photos section of the Soaring Pilot Yahoo group site.

 
soarpilot/user_reviews_of_various_palm_units.txt · Last modified: 2006/10/25 11:25
 
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