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  1. #1
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    Just stuck a Vista HcX on the bars- how many days until it snaps?

    After watching this forum I finally stuck a Vista HcX on my MTB bars and actually find it more fun/useful than expected. I ordered the Garmin handlebar mount but had planned to 'make my own mount' in the machine shop at work after hours. However, the Garmin stock mount is pretty clean and seems to be worth trying in a more long-term sense.

    I was thinking to make an aluminum mount which would hold the device on the top tube, as far forward as possible. This was mostly due to my expectation that it 'should be protected' since I'm MTB'ing, but now that I look at the unit in-hand, it seems surprisingly mechanically sound.

    What I'm really wondering is, say I happen to lose my bike down a flight of stairs, should I expect the HcX to survive? The plastic adapter which sits between the backplate and the 'handlebar mount' looks like it would probably snap first under torque or impact. If this is the case, a real spill might merely pop the unit out of the mount, thus minimizing the number of impacts if the bike might happen to be tumbling for some time for some reason. I can imagine a direct impact to the screen would prevent this type of dismounting (and would probably crush the screen), but aside from that possibility I wonder if one of the ~$15 neoprene HcX cases (with a clear vinyl protector for the screen) might actually, in combination with the 'easy to break free' handlebar mount, let this thing live for a while while doing some real riding.

    I wonder, have any of you done any design/engineering of your mounts to try to preserve your GPS over time? I'll be thinking about it for a bit, but wonder if anybody else has already found any clever solutions.

    -b

  2. #2
    trail rat
    Reputation: slocaus's Avatar
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    There have been a number of semi and full custom mounts shown here, but none for the HCx that I remember. Do and advanced search in this forum for "mount" and you should get hits.

    Let us know long term, or if you decide to toss it down the stairs.
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  3. #3
    Prez NMBA
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    the other thing that a buddy taught me to do is wrap the wrist strap around the bar leaving just enough room to slip the unit back through the loop that you form after wraping then slide it into the mount. that way if it does break loose from the mount it doesnt go flying anywhere

  4. #4
    fuggansonofahowa
    Reputation: Hawseman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus
    There have been a number of semi and full custom mounts shown here, but none for the HCx that I remember. Do and advanced search in this forum for "mount" and you should get hits.

    Let us know long term, or if you decide to toss it down the stairs.
    There has been some HCx posts on mounts.....

    Check Here and my "ghetto" mounting Here.

    People like the Ram Mount, but I think it's too rigid and obstructing. I wanted something super low profile and cushioning. Endo's are painful enough without ripping your scrote en-route.

  5. #5
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    On my mountain bike I use the stock adapter for my eTrex HCx. I've crashed hard a few times and the unit just pops off. Make sure it's there before you ride off! Back tracking three miles sucks.

    My road bike has big fat carbon fiber ergo bars so the normal adapter doesn't fit. I made a ghetto one by attaching the Garmin soft case to the stem. See here:
    http://flickr.com/photos/milliron/2397848284/
    and here:
    http://flickr.com/photos/milliron/2408121518/sizes/l/

  6. #6
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    Cool, thx for the feedback. I was originally planning to build something out of aluminum to protect the sides/top, but ended up spending less time on that and instead got some riding in. My 'Garmin Carrying Case' (prod. no. 010-10314-00) hadn't arrived yet, so a rock was able to chip a small bit out of the polycarbonate display. I'm thinking to add a bit of epoxy to the pit, which should better match the index of refraction of the plastic in the pit and might form a more regular surface through which rays might be less refracted.

    Has anybody else tried to fix their 'chipped screen' yet? If no suggestions I'll post my results after some experimentation.

  7. #7
    fuggansonofahowa
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    Quote Originally Posted by ca_rider
    Cool, thx for the feedback. I was originally planning to build something out of aluminum to protect the sides/top, but ended up spending less time on that and instead got some riding in. My 'Garmin Carrying Case' (prod. no. 010-10314-00) hadn't arrived yet, so a rock was able to chip a small bit out of the polycarbonate display. I'm thinking to add a bit of epoxy to the pit, which should better match the index of refraction of the plastic in the pit and might form a more regular surface through which rays might be less refracted.

    Has anybody else tried to fix their 'chipped screen' yet? If no suggestions I'll post my results after some experimentation.
    That sucks....that is another reason I use the carrying case for my mount - LCD protection.

    Maybe something like this would work.

  8. #8
    trail rat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawseman
    There has been some HCx posts on mounts.....

    Check Here and my "ghetto" mounting Here.

    People like the Ram Mount, but I think it's too rigid and obstructing. I wanted something super low profile and cushioning. Endo's are painful enough without ripping your scrote en-route.
    Yes, but those are existing mounts and cases, not custom mounts as the OP requested.

    I use the RAM mount on my 60CSx on three bikes, plus the lanyard wrapped around the stem for safety. It has popped loose a couple times, but no damage or problems. I have a Invisible Shield protector on mine. When really navigating with it on the bars, I am not riding fast and rough. When I can ride at normal speeds, I usually hang it on the CamelBack strap using the stock belt clip to keep it out of the way, and the lanyard attached to the pack.
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  9. #9
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    I'll look into that windshield repair kit, thanks. I wonder if the tool it includes would help. I suspect it may apply vacuum to remove bubbles and thereby improve optical clarity as this is usually done when casting PDMS etc. At minimum I should have put some packing tape over the screen, but was a bit eager to get out (GF is tired of waiting for me to mess w/ GPS stuff anymore). I'll post any useful findings regarding the fix.

  10. #10
    Slowest Rider
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    I've owned the similar eTrex Vista and rode with it on the handlebars using the standard Garmin mount for over three years through all sorts of nasty trails and zillions of crashes and endos.

    My Vista just goes flying in a nasty crash or endo, a few times a year. I just pick it back off the trail and everything is fine. It usually comes loose because my knee hit it as I was flying over the bars, so I'm glad it separates rather than break itself or my knee. On my new 60CSx that's got a more delicate protruding antenna, I wrap the wrist strap around the handlebars so the GPS will not fly against a rock and break the antennae. The strap indeed kept my 60CSx from flying the one time the GPS came free so far.

    The Vista has a very sturdy case with soft padding on the sides, and overall pretty tough - one of the toughest of Garmin's line. I have scrapped the front cover a few times with minor scratches, but nothing major over the years. The worst ding was when I dropped it out of my hand face down onto a sharp rock. I got a chip out of the face.

    The only issue I've seen commonly with a GPS on the bars is that the power can start going off intermittently on big bumps, which starts happening after about a year of hard use. The problem is usually weak spring contacts. Some issues are the springs inside the battery bay, but once you fix those, there's a couple more spring contacts internally to connect the battery half to the circuit board. Some have opened up the unit and soldered the battery connection to eliminate this issue permanently.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  11. #11
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    My eTrex has lasted a few months through some pretty rocky stuff. I find the navigation is necessary at night when almost every trail looks the same.


    Photobucket

  12. #12
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    The setup I converged on is surprisingly similar. I've made two findings since first experimenting with the plastic Garmin 'handlebar mount': 1) I didn't use threadlock on the screw the first time, and even though I cranked down on the screw, it fell off within the first 2 miles of bumps. It hasn't fallen off since adding 'blue' threadlock to the screw. 2) The neoprene cover gets tightly pinched between the unit and the top of the stem, thereby eliminating the slight lash which otherwise exists between the mount and the unit. In its current form, the cover is so tightly pinched against the stem that the unit does not vibrate/move within the mount, even while riding fast/rough stuff. In this case, the vibrations in the unit match the vibrations in the bike and are thus damped by the mass of the bike etc. However as soon as the unit becomes even somewhat free over the mount lash (i.e. a decoupled mass which results when the neoprene cover is absent), the vibrations in the unit do not match the vibrations in the bike, and the power of those resulting vibrations in the unit can spike tremendously compared to the tightly-fixed case. These vibrations would be much more likely to cause internal damage to the unit, and by this reasoning I think the neoprene cover should markedly damp the unit vibrational load and increase its expected lifetime when riding offroad.
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    Last edited by ca_rider; 06-03-2008 at 12:21 AM.

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