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Old 08-18-2017, 02:44 PM   #1
pacman
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Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

This isn't a review of a single gadget, but rather a set of gadgets put together to hopefully create a viable, cost-effective, alternative to a traditional navigation device. This has been done many times before, and in many different ways, this is just my take how this can be accomplished.

With the TWT Fall Rally quickly coming up, I really needed to get my nav setup refined and sorted out. I'm a big fan of cell phone-based nav solutions, and I've been using a simple setup for a couple years now, but as everyone knows from reading other threads, there are drawbacks. I'm hoping to mitigate those drawback with this setup. We'll see how it goes.

Since there's quite a bit of interest in using this type of setup, I thought I'd show the details of my setup, and review how well (or poorly) it works here in this thread. It's pretty much what I described in my earlier post on another thread, but with a few refinements.

So here's the setup I've assembled over the past couple of weeks. Previously I just had the phone in a basic handlebar mount, but now it will be mounted in a rugged, waterproof enclosure. I'm still waiting on one piece that I'll detail below.

This is the basic setup. From left to right:

Interphone Pro-Case for Samsung Galaxy S6/S7, Waterproof inner layer, safety tether, rubber plugs (one blank, one with charging cord pass-through), medium height RAM mount, and tubular handlebar mount. Except for the RAM mount, all of this comes with the Pro-Case. The tubular handlebar mount won't work with my bike, but I'll show my solution for that further down.


And here are the components up close.
The actual Pro-Case itself:


The rubber inner liner molded to the shape of the phone (available for Galaxy and Iphones)


The tether and rubber plugs:


With the plugs and charging cord in place. You can also see the slides on either side that slide down and seal the case:






The locking ring slides up and over the cord and plug to create a tight seal. The little loop hanging down is to secure the locking ring. Also faintly visible on either side of the rubber plugs are the latches that snap closed and, along with the sliding locks, create a good seal around the phone:




And the whole thing assembled along with a sharpie for scale:




This is the mating surface of the tubular handlebar mount that latches into the back of the Pro-Case. It is very secure, and made with high quality plastic. Unfortunately, I don't have any space for this on my bars, and doubly unfortunately, the ball on the mount is not compatible with RAM.


After mucho googling I ran across the Interphone store, based out of the UK, and that led me to search ebay UK where I found this little gadget. It adapts the Pro-Case to the 1" RAM Mount. The only drawback I can see is that it doesn't have the nice little securing latch that the tubular mount has. If it ends up not being secure enough for motorcycle use, I'll try cementing or super gluing it in. I'll never use this case off the bike anyway. It's just too bulky. Anyway, it's ordered and heading my way.


So that's the mount set up. Once I get the RAM adapter I'll show the whole setup mounted on the bike.

For my route planning, as mentioned before I've been using Furkot. I haven't really used any other PC based planning programs or sites other than Google maps, but from what I've this web-based service seems to be one of the best out there. Plus there are tons of tutorials and how-to's available online.

For actual navigation on the bike I'm using CoPilot. Furkot export trips in CoPilot format (and a variety of other formats) and it's extremely easy to use and work really well, so I haven't tried the built in planning features. Just make sure you add plenty of data points along your route to get accurate results.

The UI looks very nice, and the voice turn-by-turn comes in a variety of accents and languages, and works very well. I like the British lady with the sultry voice. 2: Although the app is free, I did have to pay $10 for unlimited turn-by-turn voice navigation. (one time fee - no subscription)


Furkot exports routes in all of the popular formats, so it should work for pretty much everyone. They have taken extensive measures to make the website motorcycle friendly, and it really has evolved into a great planning tool. Here are some great resources from ADVRider.

http://advrider.com/index.php?thread...-tool.1028148/

http://advrider.com/index.php?thread...lanner.959091/
(This thread was posted by the actual developer and goes through a lot about the evolution of the site, and how they took suggestions from riders to make it better for us. It also talks about how the site earns money and how they have kept it free and plan to do so for the foreseeable future.)

Here's a breakdown of the cost involved so far (I'll update if/when I have to spend more):

$?? - Galaxy S7 company phone so I didn't purchase (Pro-Case also fits Galaxy S6 and several versions of the iphone)
$63 - Interphone Pro-Case
$14 - RAM Medium Double Socket Arm
$31 - Pro-Case-RAM adapter (at current exchange rates)
$10 - CoPilot Turn-By-Turn Voice Nav (1 map region is free to download, additional regions cost a few dollars per reqion. Luckily North America is 1 region.)
$30 - RAM Ball mount (Murph's Kits Bar Riser with Integrated 1" RAM Ball - used, scored it on ADVRider. Normally runs about $120 for Concours 14)
_______________________________
$148 Total - Not including cell phone-since I had that already and would have regardless. (Unlocked S6 in good condition runs about $150 on swappa.com. No need to activate it on a provider since CoPilot works offline)

You also need to factor in the cost of a headset, Bluetooth or corded, for your helmet. Since that would also be needed for a traditional navigation device as well, I didn't include it in the total cost. I use a Sena 20S and it works beautifully with the S7 running CoPilot and Google Play Music.

This will be a fun experiment, and hopefully I'll save a few dollars along the way. I'll keep this thread updated as I gain some experience and make changes or mods along the way.
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Last edited by pacman; 08-18-2017 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:37 PM   #2
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Forgot to include the cost of the RAM ball mount on the bike side. OP updated.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:48 PM   #3
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

You need to get with Fang on this forum. He builds a nice xram based device with a 2 amp charging coil integrated into the mount. It is a smart charger and charges at .5 to 2.0 amps. He has music, turn by turn directions, phone, and push to talk dual band radio all wirelessly via cena bluetooth in his helmet. Plus, no wires, at all. Hit up Steve for a chat. He is always looking for cool ideas.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

I am gonna do more like you...dig out an old wifi only cell for permanent bike mount. Music plus nav only. Bluetooth. Keep it simple.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:01 PM   #5
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

My phone is actually still a fully functional cell phone, so at any given time I'm running Copilot, Google Music/Podcast, plus all the other stuff that normally runs on a smartphone these day. Without that charger, I'd be dead in under an hour. At some point I'd like to get a wifi only phone to use a a dedicated nav device.

I'm interested in this charging mount you mentioned, but I'm not a big fan of the X-Grip mount. Is that the one his is based on?

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Last edited by pacman; 08-18-2017 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:17 PM   #6
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

I just went and checked out Fang's thread, and it's pretty darn cool. I need to ruminate on it a while and maybe figure out if there's a way to integrate wireless charging into my Pro-Case.

Here's his thread if interested: http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113256
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:37 AM   #7
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Got the last piece of the puzzle in the mail this past week. I'll get it set up and post pics and a full review in the next couple of days.

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Old 09-05-2017, 09:45 AM   #8
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Nice set up. I have something similar but I'm happy to see there's more options for mountable waterproof phone cases than there used to be.

A side note on the Ram mount. It's been worthwhile for me to cut an approximately 1" length of 1" heat shrink tubing and shrink it onto my Ram balls. (sounds painful, but they don't really mind) It adds grip without having to really torque down on them and acts as an easily replaceable wear surface should it ever be needed.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:55 AM   #9
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

I didn't see how you're supplying power to your setup. I'm sure you've got that sorted out, but just in case you're looking for other ideas...

I use the waterproof USB outlet from Cycle Gear. It's only waterproof when it's not in use and has the rubber cap on. I cut off the cap and permanently attached a charging cable by sealing it with silicone. The entire setup has survived several downpours, stream crossings, and minor dirt naps.

It's positioned so that I can plug it into my battery tender connection which is attached through a fuse directly to the battery. One less wire to run.

https://www.cyclegear.com/accessorie...ide-usb-outlet
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Old 09-05-2017, 07:07 PM   #10
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

I'm using a setup very similar to the one from Cycle Gear that plugs into my battery tender lead. Still on the lookout for something that maintains a seal even when plugged in. More than likely will have to be something hardwired under the seat.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:04 PM   #11
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by crchristo View Post
....

A side note on the Ram mount. It's been worthwhile for me to cut an approximately 1" length of 1" heat shrink tubing and shrink it onto my Ram balls. (sounds painful, but they don't really mind) It adds grip without having to really torque down on them and acts as an easily replaceable wear surface should it ever be needed.
That's a great idea!
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:21 AM   #12
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Spirit, you can pick up the heat shrink at Altek next time you're in San Antonio or I'd be happy to just give you some next time you're in town.


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Old 09-09-2017, 12:55 AM   #13
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Gonna display my ignorance here but I thought the Samsung devices were already water proof... Does that not include while charging?
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:35 AM   #14
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpcraft View Post
Gonna display my ignorance here but I thought the Samsung devices were already water proof... Does that not include while charging?
Some are, some aren't. My Sony phone is waterproof, though not when charging. But some new waterproof phones also charge wirelessly, which is very cool. I've decided to stop buying phones & cameras that are not at least rain-proof.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:10 AM   #15
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

I was thinking the same thing in regards to wireless charging but I guess even it has to plug into a power source, and is probably much less waterproof than the samsung phones...
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:35 PM   #16
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

The S7 (which is what I'm using) is IP68 and MIL-STD-810G rated. The ratings depend on the phone being structurally intact, which means in can never have suffered an impact. The water and dust resistance MIGHT still be intact after a drop, but there's no way to be sure, other than testing it in real world conditions. Since my phone has had a couple of minor drops, I'm not willing to risk it and the extra protection of the Interphone case is pretty cheap insurance.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:37 PM   #17
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

There's also this test done by cnet that provides further evidence that additional protection is a good idea.

https://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-ga...-tests-reveal/
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Old 09-09-2017, 01:12 PM   #18
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

So I went for a quick, 1 hour ride with the full setup on the bike. It was a warm, sunny day, about 95F. Here are my thought so far:

1. The phone got hot, but I never got an overheat warning. It continued to function normally, running CoPilot, Google Play Music, and connected to the cellular network. When I took it out of the case it was very hot to the touch. Time will tell if it will continue to function in these conditions for longer periods of time.

2. I typically run navigation with the screen off, just relying on the turn-by-turn voice instructions. This works great for me, but running with screen on and full brightness will generate more heat, and might trigger that dreaded overheat warning. Although, with the MILSPEC rating on the S7 that I mentioned in the earlier post, I'm wondering if will ever be an issue? When I did have the screen turned on, it was set to full brightness and was easily visible.

3. Using the phone with gloves on will always be an issue. I am going grab some of those fingertip patches from CycleGear for my gloves to make them touchscreen compatible. Hopefully that will help.

4. I forgot to set the bluetooth volume to maximum before I set off on the ride, then quickly realized that the Interphone case covers the volume buttons. The only way to change the volume while in the case is to go into the setting menus. Pain in the butt, so I won't forget that again.

5. I did the ride with the phone plugged in and using the waterproof plug on the Case. It was very simply and quick to place the phone in the case, and remove it when the ride was over. Running it without the charger, like when you're commuting or on a quick ride, will be even easier. The case latches and unlatches very easily and quickly. At some point I'll maybe shoot a quick video of the whole mount and unmount process to show how easy it is.


Fortunately, the riding season is about to start here in Texas, and I'll be logging a lot more miles with this setup. Long term review on the way!
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Old 09-09-2017, 01:35 PM   #19
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

Here's a few pics of the full setup and with it mounted on the bike. I'll shoot a video of the phone going in and out of the case and post it up later.













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Old 09-09-2017, 03:25 PM   #20
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Re: Cell phone-based Navigation Setup and Review

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Here's a few pics of the full setup and with it mounted on the bike. I'll shoot a video of the phone going in and out of the case and post it up later.
Very nice. It looks like it belongs there.
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