Anyone using a Delorme Earthmate PN40?
I was looking to buy a garmin but after all of the threads about failures I'm looking to go another route. Is anyone using the Delorme Earthmate PN40? I'd love to hear from some owners.
- Any shut off problems?
- How accurate are the features such as speed and altimeter?
- Any other interesting tidbits of information?
Last edited by noeticnormy; 08-24-2009 at 01:16 AM.
I have one and love it. As far as accuracy, all consumer GPS units that use a modern GPS receiver chipset will have similar accuracy, despite what they report as 'estimated position error' onscreen...
The thing that is unmatched with the DeLorme system is you can put any data layer on the device that you can import to their software, including DeLormes TOPO data, USGS quad maps, color imagery, even NOAA charts. Upgrade to XMap software and you can bring in GIS layers and scan paper maps and register them, and transfer them to the PN-40 too.
Good points, good feedback.
Originally Posted by fishbum
A couple of comments.
First off, Garmin sold bazzillions of the Edge 305's (most threads on MTBR are about the Edge series). We sold over 9,000 ourselves. Frankly, there weren't many issues in the grand scheme of things. When you sell that many of something, you're bound to hear about "things". Our customers rarely mention anything negative and we had practically no returns or warranty claims.
I have over three years on my own Edge 305, added a 705 last summer, and have never had any problems with either whatsoever.
We sell the DeLorme PN-40 as well. It is a great unit but lacks the features of a "cycling computer" (i.e. heartrate, cadence, that sort of thing). Feedback has been very positive for this handheld mapping GPS. We have the bike mounts for it too. It is a winner.
My thoughts... Thanks.
I dont have the pn40, I have a garmin oregon with the 24k topo maps on a chip.
I wish I had the delorme, the GARMIN 24k topo maps are NOT usgs quads, same resoultion but missing a lot of data.
Garmin took the time to rename things to be pollitcaly correct (chink mine = chinese mine for example) BUT does not included section lines and many other details.
If you want detailed topo then USGS 7.5 min quads are the best, lots of history on those maps
USGS quads are very useful, but can be out of date.
Which, IMHO, is why you need multiple data choices.
Of course that depends on what you want to do with it, but I've definitely become spoiled having the imagery on my handheld!
Delorme's been pretty good. That multiple layer capability is not a new feature. It has been in survey-grade receivers for years, but this is the first consumer grade unit that has borrowed some of that tech. Nice to see the trickle down effect working.
Honestly, with Garmin, I've only seen a few issues crop up that have been unable to be resoved by a firmware update. There was a battery vibration issue with some older etrex models...fixed by newer models. There is a waterproofing issue and screen viewability issue on the Colorados. Not major, but the Oregons and Dakotas seem to have resolved the issue. The Edge bike mount tab was fragile and broke easily. Recently posted was confirmation that Garmin had beefed up these parts. Garmin has been solid, but they deal with MUCH higher volumes and like Geoman said, little things are bound to pop up. I have a Rino 120 and a GPSMap 76CSx. Both have been trouble-free. I will eventually add an Edge 705 because I want HR data with my other data so I can improve my workout effectiveness.
I've been looking at geoman's website and he has some good deals.The thing with the garmin is they are $235 for a 305 w/ heart rate or speed sensor. Although that is a good deal, I don't really have a need the for heart rate sensor. I've also read that the speed sensor is just for cadence and is only used for determining speed when the gps loses connection with the satellite. While cadence is a cool feature to have it's not a deal breaker.
What is a deal breaker is a unit shutting off or malfunctioning anytime during the first 3-5 years of operation. I have spent the last week reading literally hundreds of horror stories. Although I will agree that the garmin, in most cases, has stood behind it's product and the majority of the design as well as quality control issues seem to be within first few years of production, I am not convinced they have been resolved. $235 is not cheap and I'm debating on whether it's worth taking the "accepted risk" in buying a 305. Just because garmin sold a crap-load of 205/305 doesn't mean I should throw good money after bad.
On paper, I'd rather pay $60 more and get the additional features and access to a database of maps without garmin's legacy of product failure. My only issue is no product is flawless and although I searched, there isn't much info on the pn-40. Here are the specs from the website:
Some of the drawbacks that I've read include the fact you'll need to really study the owners manual to learn the features/functions, you have to buy the mount separately and the map subscription cost $29.99 a year. I'd love to get more user feedback on the unit, especially from you long term owners or anyone who's used both the garmin 305 and the delorme.
The map subscription only costs $29.95 a year for supplemental data, like USGS quads, NOAA charts, Imagery, etc. Once you download it it's yours, and you don't need to resubscribe if you don't want. With the cost of the unit you get DeLorme's TOPO data for the entire USA with land cover, contours, routable streets, POI's... etc.
And with that I'll shut up now!
I've had mine since christmas, used an etrex vista for 4 years before that with the turn off problems, the only down side to the PN-40 that I have found is battery life, I bring extra batteries if I'm riding over 3 hours, other than that it's amuch more capable unit
screamingbunny: After some research I've found that with Duracell lithium 2650 mah rechargeable batteries and a maha mh-c9000 smart charger you can get up to 11hrs of life on a single charge. Also, I read that the unit uses power even while the unit is off so keep that in mind as well.
GEOMAN: Does the PN-40 that you sell on your website come with topo usa 7.0 or 8.0 maps?
Last edited by noeticnormy; 08-25-2009 at 02:52 AM.
I have a Garmin 60Csx, Forerunner 305 and PN-40. Like all consumer GPSs, the PN-40 has a number of issues. See http://forum.delorme.com/viewforum.php?f=131 for all the details. The software, Topo 8 or XMap Pro if you upgrade, have steep learning curves. When you figure out how to get the maps in the GPS, be they scanned topos, scanned forest service maps or the supplied Delorme topo maps, and the unit works, the result is a great GPS! Be prepared to spend some time working with the software and GPS. My favorite feature is being able to dump an entire region of bike tracks into the GPS. I have had the PN-40 fail while kayaking in the hot sun, I had to pull the batteries out and restart the unit. An inconvenience at least.
For biking, I use the Delorme and Forerunner. For backpacking I still use the tried and trusted 60Csx.
Sorry but there is no such thing as rechargeable lithium batteries, and I have used Duracell Ni-MH 2650 batteries and they would never get you 11 hours, maybe 3 or so. The best batteries by far for the PN-40 is their Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, which can get you anywhere from 3-5 depending on their mood. On long rides I always have an extra set of batteries just in case.
Originally Posted by noeticnormy
FYI, the new Topo 8 gives the PN-40 much nicer and readable font for the fields.
I found a great deal and got my pn-40 earlier in the week from rei for $259. It is taking me a while to figure out the software, as such, I can't give a full assessment as I'm still learning it. I've been able to download and transfer maps it just took a little longer than I anticipated.
I took my first ride with the delorme yesterday evening. One question for you guys who own the pn-40, as you are riding is there any easy way to switch from the topo map, to the hi resolution satellite map, to the topo 8 map, etc?
probabilly: How do you dump a region of bike tracks onto the pn-40? Are you using xmaps? I'd love to know how to access that feature.
pastajet: I was misinformed thinking the Duracell's were lithium. I got a maha c-9000 smart charger, recommended by these guys on this forum that are getting 10+ hours out of the duracell 2650 rechargeables with the pn. I haven't used the duracells in the pn yet so I have no reports as far as battery life but I will tell you that the smart charger makes all the difference. I have some 4 year old rechargeable batteries that I was going to throw away but for some reason kept, with this charger I can cycle the batteries and set the charging rate. Subsequently I am getting ~ twice the battery life that I experienced 4 years ago when they were new.
I use a PN40-SE and Garmin 76CSx to map bike trails.
You can import .gpx files of trails into the included TOPO software and copy to a draw layer.
You can control color, width and style of each trail to help keep them separate.
Unlike Garmin, when you move the cursor over the trail on the PN, it gives you the name.
(To help keep things more manageable, I have my trails split into 5 zones and have a separate draw layer for each zone. When printing maps for a zone, I can turn off display of the other zones.)
Then you create a map layer with the selected draw layers. My 5 zones run from
Ft Collins to Colorado Springs (168 tracks, over 1600 miles, less than 1MB.)
My PN has 7.5 GB internal and 16GB memory card, so I can include Vector topo, USGS quads, Color 1M imagery for my riding area on it with room to spare.
The Garmin seems to have a better barometric altimeter and larger screen.
I set the PN to record every 10 feet (1/sec max) and the Garmin to auto most detailed.
I could set the Garmin to .01 mi intervals, but that doesn't work well on switchbacks either. I do most waypoint commenting on the PN (Has some shortcuts for backspace, space, caps, done - to make editing quicker.) as it allows long comments.
I provide my .gpx files with Garmin waypoint symbols as they are more commonly used.
Also provide native DeLorme format waypoint files and map overlays - very easy to share/use.
I like both units, they have their own quirks.
I really like both units.
Streets with 2 tracks
Color imagery - old forest logging cut I followed via imagery on unit - with contour line overlay
zoomed out image of multiple trails around Cherry Cr Reservoir (old)
Hi res imagery with tracklog
2,000+ miles free Colorado FrontRange GPS enabled bike trails w/map overlays.
View network via GoogleEarth @ GeoBiking.org
gps_dr, thanks for the tips! I loaded 7 local trails on my pn within minutes. I'm going for a ride tomorrow and am looking forward to trying out this new feature.
I will give more feedback tomorrow, need to get some rest!