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DeLorme PN-40

Jun
25
2008

Following the success of their first handheld/screen based GPS, the PN-20, DeLorme has now started to ship the PN-40. While much about the PN-40 is the same, what has changed is almost entirely for the better, and will leave PN-20 owners drooling for the new device. I’ve logged over a hundred hours of time with […]

386 Responses


  1. I just ordered the PN-40. My primary use will be for hunting in northern Maine. My question is how often are aerial photos updated since there is constant logging going on?

    Thanks
    Mike

    mike - December 11th, 2008
  2. Mike I’m not sure how often they do update them but the great thing about Topo USA 7.0 is you can edit the maps and then transfer them to the PN-40 with all the roads and trails you want.

    I’m currently doing the same with an area that I’m hunting which is loaded with fire trails and I’m very impressed with options in Topo to manipulate the maps to what you need.

    I basically just started walking the fire trails and then saving the track and transferring it into Topo on my aerial color images it looks great.

    Take it from me your really going to like Topo USA 7.0 and your PN-40 for hunting, your buddies are going to be jealous!

    Have fun!!!

    Roger - December 12th, 2008
  3. Hi! Does any one know any software, like OziExplorer or Fugawi, that works with Earthmate PN-40 for saving and uploading waypoints, tracks and routes?
    Thanks. Have a nice weekend.

    jgilalmeida - December 12th, 2008
  4. The included Topo software does all of that and much more. Unless you have specific needs not met by Topo I don’t know that seeking out third-party software is especially necessary. Topo’s pretty darn flexible and powerful. Sometimes it seems like people are so accustomed to the software included with GPS units being of minimal use that they just assume that they need to use third party software. I don’t feel that that’s the case with the PN, unless you have very specific/specialized needs.

    At the moment, nothing other than Delorme products talk directly to the PN-series. There is some development effort that involves a cross-platform API that might lead to other software talking directly to the PN, but nothing’s released yet. Any software package that can output a .gpx will work, indirectly (with a quick import of the GPX into topo required to send the info to the PN) if you need functionality not in topo or really like the interface of some other program. In the future, more direct interaction may (or may not) be available.

    Matt - December 12th, 2008
  5. Thanks Matt for your answer. Problem is that I have more than one thousand waypoints that are important to me. I have two Garmin gpsr and one Magellan and usually use OziExplorer for upload and download my waypoints and track files. I would like to upload to PN-40 my waypoints or at least a part of them. I received today XMap 6 but I didn’t have the opportunity to install it. It will be during the weekend. As I live in Portugal, I had to buy XMap 6 for having the chance of upload to PN-40 scanned and georeferenced maps of Portugal.

    JGilAlmeida - December 12th, 2008
  6. Well, depending on how you use your waypoints, Topo/XMap may or may not be suitable. Given the 1000 waypoint limit of the PN, you clearly can’t just upload them all to the PN, and thus saving them all in one big file in Xmap (or topo, but since you have and will be using Xmap I’ll just use Xmap from now on) would be problematic for transferring purposes.

    First off, regarding your current information in OziExplorer you should be able to import/export stuff in GPX or other formats that XMap can understand, so you should be able to move data in both directions without too much difficulty. Not ideal, but not impossible and should be at least workable.

    A few other options for managing waypoints: You can sort waypoints into multiple files in Xmap, and then upload those waypoints as a group to the PN. Useful if your waypoints are used in easily sorted groups. You can also convert waypoints into symbols and then cut a “Draw Layer Map” that contains them. This allows you to keep way more than 1000 “waypoints” on the PN, with a few limitations that are either minor or dealbreaking depending on your use. The draw layer “waypoints” can’t be edited on the PN and comment information is not included. They can easily be turned on/off, routed to, searched, etc. though. Great for things that don’t require a comment/description (better that waypoints for that in my opinion) but not so good if you need a comment/description of want to modify them in the field.

    Matt - December 12th, 2008
  7. I just received my PN-40SE in the mail and to my first fix. Worked like a charm. What did not work was transferring maps from the DVDs to my PN-40. When I USB-connect the PN-40 to my Mac, it isn’t even being recognized. I tried with 3 Macs. That is in native Mac mode, not Bootcamp or so. I would have expected this to work, especially looking at this excerpt from http://blog.delorme.com/2008/11/11/geocaching-features-for-the-mac-and-pc/:

    In addition to the new Cache Register widget, there are several features in place to help the Mac user with the Earthmate PN-Series device. First, we ship the PN data discs with each device allowing the user to transfer detailed 100K topographic maps (ETA: Enhanced with DeLorme street-detailed maps and four million places of interest!) to their device or SD card for any state in the US. While we plan to deliver a desktop application in the future, the map data needed to take the device outside is available in the box.

    Can anyone help? Am I not supposed to see the PN-40 show up as a USB device on my Mac desktop?

    Herbert - December 12th, 2008
  8. When you hook up the PN a “connect to computer” screen should come up. You need to select “Map Transfer” form that screen and then make a selection on the following screen to transfer to internal or to SD. When you do that, the PN should show up as a storage device. If that’s not happening, check/recheck the cable and clean the connections on the PN.

    Matt - December 12th, 2008
  9. Response to JGilAlmeida question about software. Another very versatile software that uses .gpx is ExpertGPS. I have not yet experimented with how to use it in conjunction with my PN-40 though.

    Frank - December 12th, 2008
  10. Yes, Matt, I was indeed expecting the “connect to computer” screen to come up. It does not. I also checked the menu setting with this regard to see whether maybe the default behavior was overwritten. It is not. Just now, I also cleaned the connections as you suggest, although I would not expect them to be dirty on a brand new device. Anyhow, the behavior remains the same: upon power-on, first the demo screen shows, and after I quit that, the satellite screen appears. There’s never a “connect to computer” screen, and the device does not show up on my desktop. Feels like a big bummer to me … Help!

    Herbert - December 12th, 2008
  11. I bought the PN-40 from Amazon. I like its user-friendly controls and menu and its great map and other on-screen visibility. It acquires a fix very fast. The altitude appears to be quite accurate. The location cursor on the map points in the direction of movement, switching within a few steps as I change walking directions.

    A problem. Unlike my old Garmin 12XL, the PN-40 loses the fix when I place it in front of me on my snowmobile with the engine running and it cannot re-acquire a fix until I turn the PN-40 off and on again – standing away from the machine. I talked with DeLorme Tech support about this and they told me to update the firmware from the 2.0 to 2.3, which I did. That did not correct the problem. Assuming that the problem is electrical interference from the engine, I worry that it might also lose fix when in or on other vehicles. I sent a message to DeLorme about this but have not yet heard back – and I waited over an hour in phone cue on Friday before their end-of day shut down.

    After updating the firmware, a previously accurate track that I recorded was relocated on the map about 1/3 mile off-course. I don’t yet know if that is just an inevitable result from updating or if new tracks will be inaccurate also.

    Battery life. Using freshly charged high capacity NIMh batteries, I tested the unit in power save mode by letting it sit in one spot and turned on. I also set the battery type to NIMh on the device. Batteries lasted 11 hours. That is disappointing.

    I am still evaluating the mapping. I find that the image I get from the Western Region Topo 7 map is no more detailed for Alaska than the pre-loaded World map. In addition, using the Western Region cut that came with the unit, street level detail for Anchorage is definitely lacking. I downloaded some USGS topo from the Delorme site and it shows up very well on the device. I was told by Tech support that there is better quality street data than what is on the Regional cuts that ship with the unit (not Street Atlas 9.0) available on their site for free download but I did not retain details about accessing it. I would appreciate hearing from others about how to maximize on-unit maps quality.

    Frank - December 12th, 2008
  12. You’ll need to either disable the demo screen or go into the menu and manually change to one of the Map Transfer modes. When the demo is active the connect to computer screen does not come up. This happened to me the first time that I started up mine.

    Matt - December 12th, 2008
  13. I disabled the demo and the PN-40 still didn’t show up on the Mac desktop and neither did the PN-40 display the “Connect to Computer” screen. I then replaced the USB cable that came with the PN-40 with the one that came with the battery charger and then it worked. So the likely verdict is bad cable. You were quite close, Matt, when you suggested I had to clean it! Thanks for the help.

    Herbert - December 13th, 2008
  14. I am not interested in geocaching but simply need the PN-40 for land navigation. I am using a Macintosh computer. I need the answer to two brief questions:

    1) Can maps from the accompanying three DVDs be transfered to the PN-40 using a Macintosh computer without resorting to Parallels or Boot Camp?

    2) Can the download subscription ($29.00/year) maps from the Delorme website be load into the PN-40 using a Macintosh compute without Parallels or Boot Camp?

    John - December 13th, 2008
  15. Hi John as for the first question according to another Mac user on the Delorme forum he hooked his PN-40 up to the Mac it was recognized I think as an external drive, then dragged the map files off the DVD and dropped them onto the PN-40 icon and the maps were transferred.

    As to the second question I don’t think you can because Topo USA 7.0 is currently only a windows program and the download interface is part of the program so I don’t think the files can be downloaded without it unless Delorme can email them directly to you but then I think most file sizes would be to large or exceed the limit of most email providers.

    Hope this helps, Roger

    Roger - December 14th, 2008
  16. Frank maybe it’s not electrical interference but the windshield the PN-40 has a patch antenna unlike your previous Garmin which I believe was helix and your body and the windsield could be blocking the signal.

    Have you tried some type of mount to keep the PN-40 elevated away from the windshield, plus I know the snow machines I rode tended to have a lot of vibrations maybe that’s messing with it also.

    As for battery life 11 hours on rechargeable battery’s isn’t bad at all especially since all rechargeable have a steep drop off once they hit a certain point unlike lithium or alkaline which seem to hold up better right to the end.

    Another thing to consider is that a dual processor GPS unit will (for the most part) use more juice than a single processor but you reap the benefits in quicker display times and faster response times when using the unit.

    As for the maps I don’t know much about your area but for me Topo USA 7.0 has the best coverage of my area and the maps are detailed and seem to be as up to date or newer than the other software I have.

    Take care and have fun!

    Roger - December 14th, 2008
  17. Roger,
    Thank you.
    Re the snowmachine interference, there is no problem when the engine is turned off, holding the device in the same places behind the windshield. The loss of fix occurs with the machine sitting and idling. The unit kept its fix and laid down a very accurate track over eight miles of snowmachine travel when it was in my shirt pocket, under two layers of outer clothing. I do have a cushioned holder for the Garmin but when I put the PN-40 in the same holder, it lost its fix – the same way it does when I hold it in that area.

    I appreciate your feedback about the battery life also. I did use some new alkalines and was surprised at how quickly they depleted. I will do some more test runs with batteries. After some more guidance from DeLorme folks about map enhancements, I will post an update on what I find out in practice.

    Frank - December 14th, 2008
  18. I just received my PN-40. I downloaded a few color aerial images through NetLink to my PC. When I tried to get additional areas I lose my money ($15 so far) but I don’t receive the imagery. What are the steps and where did the imagery go.

    mike - December 14th, 2008
  19. John

    I am the user that Roger is referring to, and I was indeed able to move maps from the DVDS via my Mac to the PN-40. The PN-40 shows up as a USB devise on the Mac Desktop and the PN-40 shows the “Connected to Computer” screen. Then, you can simply copy maps from the DVDs into a “Maps” sub-folder on the USB device.

    I am very disappointed by Roger’s answer that Mac users can not download other maps from the DeLorme site. Obviously I had wanted to download satellite images since that is one of the major benefits of the PN-40. I don’t know why map transfer should only be possible via the Topo USA software. I guess it would be rather straightforward for DeLorme to make those maps download-able from their Web site. I wonder whether there are any plans with this regard?

    Herbert - December 14th, 2008
  20. Herbert, DeLorme does have plans to make a method available where Mac users can download and install aerial imagery. The reason it has been Topo USA only for that so far is because the maps get encrypted for the serial number of each PN device.

    Tim - December 14th, 2008
  21. I would like to thank everyone for the helpful information about the PN-40 and Macintosh compatibility. This information will help me make a future decision between the new Garmin Oregon 400t and Delorme PN-40.

    I would have purchased the PN-40 at REI in Austin,Texas, but the store clerk pointed out the information on the PN-40 box which stated compatibility with Microsoft Windows computers and operating system.

    Based on the information that everyone has disclose, it would behoove Delorme to state on future PN-40 boxes the partial compatibility with Macintosh computers. That information could help sales and enlarge the customer base.

    I know a number of Mac people that are disappointed by the difficulty in reading the Garmin Oregon’s screen in bright sunlight conditions and they are looking for a handheld gps that can overcome this limitation and still acquire satellite data under foliage and mountainous valleys in record time.

    I have one last question about PN-40 firmware upgrades using the Mac:

    Can the PN-40 be upgraded by firmware downloads using the Mac to implement these changes via a USB cable connection?

    John - December 14th, 2008
  22. I believe Delorme has a web-based application, in beta right now, that should allow Mac users to download maps without Topo USA.
    https://data.delorme.com

    John R - December 14th, 2008
  23. John, right now you can “almost” perform a firmware update without a PC. They have been distributing the firmware update as a Windows Executable file which extracts the (hex) firmware and places it on the device to run at reboot. So from the PC you can extract the hex file firmware, and then do the rest of the procedure on a Mac. Knowing this is an issue, DeLorme has been talking about (very soon) being able to offer the firmware update file (the hex file) directly so Mac users can update the firmware without a PC.

    Tim - December 14th, 2008
  24. John R, yes, that site is live. However it doesn’t currently accept subscriptions as a method of “payment”. So if you are downloading anything other than a tiny area of aerial imagery and are using a subscription it will get expensive. :)

    Tim - December 14th, 2008
  25. John, your welcome I hope you get the unit working to your satisfaction and remember that all that speed and map data does come with a price of battery life but I think it’s a small price to pay for what you get.

    Herbert I don’t think it was Delorme’s intention to exclude or make things more difficult for Mac users by integrating the download interface into the program I feel they were trying to make it easier for the Topo user to access and download map files.

    While I love my Mac the last figure I saw is that we make up only 17% of the market share so in many areas we will be playing catch up but I believe Delorme is listening and will at some point in time give us a full blown option, that’s just my 2 cents.

    Until then I’m just using the dual boot and I’m very happy although if they came out with a Mac version I’d be one of the first guys to jump ship and say, “Adidos Windows!”

    Hang in there!!!!

    Roger - December 14th, 2008
  26. Well, I ran into another problem with my PN-40SE. I bought the version that comes with the rechargeable batteries, and this is what I have found:

    (*) If I take the batteries out of the PN-40, and recharge them in the recharging unit, all is fine.
    (*) If I recharge the batteries while they are in the PN-40 (and wait until the PN-40 tells me the batteries are fully charged), there are problems: First, the PN-40 will not start up when I press the power button. I need to take the batteries out and put them back in before I can start it up again. Second, it turns out the batteries are hardly charged, even though the PN-40’s battery charging screen tells me charging was completed. I did several charging attempts, and the charging results according to the satellite screen varied between 2 yellow bars (half charged) and 1 red bar (very low battery).

    I did check to see whether the PN-40 has the right battery settings, and it does. So, it seems charging the batteries while they are in the unit (quite handy, I am sure you will agree) does not work. Does anyone have advice?

    Herbert - December 18th, 2008
  27. Well, I ran into another problem with my PN-40SE. I bought the version that comes with the rechargeable batteries, and this is what I have found:

    (*) If I take the batteries out of the PN-40, and recharge them in the recharging unit, all is fine.
    (*) If I recharge the batteries while they are in the PN-40 (and wait until the PN-40 tells me the batteries are fully charged), there are problems: First, the PN-40 will not start up when I press the power button. I need to take the batteries out and put them back in before I can start it up again. Second, it turns out the batteries are hardly charged, even though the PN-40’s battery charging screen tells me charging was completed. I did several charging attempts, and the charging results according to the satellite screen varied between 2 yellow bars (half charged) and 1 red bar (very low battery).

    I did check to see whether the PN-40 has the right battery settings, and it does. So, it seems charging the batteries while they are in the unit (quite handy, I am sure you will agree) does not work. Suggestions?

    Herbert - December 18th, 2008
  28. Can anyone confirm that the PN-40 will drive
    Street Atlas 2007 as a moving-map display on a
    laptop (via USB)? I use an old Garmin to do this
    now and want this option with the PN-40.
    Thanks.

    Jaime - December 20th, 2008
  29. Tim- I enjoyed your review of the PN-40. My question relates to the elevation profile shown in your review, which calculates ascent and descent of the route.

    For bicycle touring on roads, I have been putting routes into Garmin City Select, (now City Navigator), transfering them to a Garmin Quest or 60CSx mounted on the bicycle for use on the road. I have been looking for a way to print out an elevation profile in advance that calculates total ascent and descent. Garmin’s profile is extremely rudimentary. The Topo USA 7.0 looks great.

    Two questions: 1.) Will Topo USA 7.0 produce that good elevation profile on road routes (in addition trail routes in your example)? 2.) Can a route made on City Navigator be displayed on Topo USA 7.0 to view the elevation profile?

    Chuck Jackson - December 23rd, 2008
  30. I use my gps unit as workplace tool. A very important function for me is the ability of the unit to give an area calculation in the field. One of your comments on this site, from October, stated that area calculation was one of the unit’s functions. Recently I emailed DeLorme website’s Q&A, and they responded that area calculation with the PN 40 was only possible by downloading the track info to Topo USA 7.0 and using the software’s tools to retrace the track and determine acreage. Which is correct? Can area calculation be viewed on the unit, or must it be downloaded?

    Paul - December 23rd, 2008
  31. Jamie – Yes, it will drive SA.

    Chuck – 1) Yes. 2) I’m not certain and will try to test it.

    Paul – I have no idea why they told you that, you can clearly calculate area on the device itself. Note that you must “trace” a series of straight lines to form a poligon with the cursor rather than just recording yourself walking a perimeter (perhaps what they were thinking). But you can mark waypointsnd then create a polygon ( show the measurement) to get the area calf withou going back to the topo software.

    Tim - December 23rd, 2008
  32. With certain Garmin units I simply walk around a field and when I return to the starting point it will give me the acres in the field. Are you saying that the PN 40 will not determine acres in that way?

    Paul - December 23rd, 2008
  33. Can anyone tell me if there are online forums for the PN-40?

    I recently purchased one, and would like to read other peoples Q&A’s to learn more about it.

    Right now I am having difficulty transferring waypoints from Topo 7 to the GPS. The maps will transfer, but not the waypoints on them. I’m pretty sure it is something I’m doing wrong. I hate it when my gadgets are smarter than me!!

    Regards,

    Steve - December 24th, 2008
  34. Paul – No, the procedure is different on the DeLorme.

    Steve – forum.delorme.com

    Tim - December 24th, 2008
  35. Just bought my DeLorme PN-40. Some observations:

    1) I noticed that there is a $50 rebate for purchases made by December 31, and I filled mine out and will send it in tomorrow.

    2) The DeLorme unit works perfectly. No freezes, no crashes, no slowness. That was what made me decide not to buy the Magellan Triton 2000 — all the dozens of negative user reviews and pro reviews about the Triton 2000’s many problems. The Triton’s shaded relief maps from Nat Geo seemed attractive, but that unit’s reliability is described as being terrible.

    3) The DeLorme unit offers many different maps and aerial photos. I downloaded the TOPO 7 maps for my area, the USGS 7.5 minute 24K maps for trails I hike, and aerial photos of the same trails. Then I was blown away by seeing the result on my PN-40: For a series of trails in my area, I was impressed with the pretty good TOPO 7 maps, and then when I zoomed in the downloaded USGS 24K map layer appeared, and when I zoomed in again the color aerial image appeared — WOW! That is absolutely amazing, and it all happened perfectly with no more effort than pushing the zoom button. Then, when I thought that I might want to zoom in without having the aerial photo layer appear, I discovered very quickly that the Imagery can be turned off, revealing just the TOPO 7 map, which can be zoomed in. How neat is that?!!! DeLorme obviously is basing its decisions on functionality on what people who actually use handheld GPS devices for hiking, hunting, biking, etc. — its own employees and people like us — say is needed. I laughed when I read a review in an outdoors magazine yesterday of the Triton 2000 being able to record sound and play music with an earplug — these are not what users really need. We need a GPS device that actually works and has good to great maps with mapping options — and that is exactly what DeLorme offers with the PN-40.

    4) I did find the map software a bit difficult to use at first, but I eventually figured it out after a few hours. This is my first GPS device, so my learning curve was a bit bigger than what other folks will experience. Part of my difficulty, aside from my lack of experience, is due to the fact that the PN-40 offers so many options with maps — this is a real handheld GPS device, not a child’s toy. I don’t know if DeLorme already offers this, but perhaps some high-definition YouTube videos could be put on the DeLorme PN-40 page online that would show users how to use the software.

    5) This screen is very high quality but a bit small. I knew that before I bought it, so no complaints. The PN-40’s speed makes it possible to pan and zoom very quickly, however, and that speed makes up for the screen size.

    6) I am convinced that based on the DeLorme PN-40’s reliability, speed, and mapping options, I made the best purchase available. I appreciate it when a company makes a well-made product. I am pleased!

    Allan - December 25th, 2008
  36. Hi I was wondering how good this unit is doing in heavy tree cover with it’s signal. It is a deciding factor for me to consider purchasing it. I have an older Lowrance GlobalMap 100 GPS and none of the mapping abilities the modern GPS have, but it is VERY good in heavy cover and has out performed other newer GPS models on the market. I just want something comparable but more modern. By the way, the Altimeter feature is something I like, I will take this unit on mountaineering trips and the altimeter would be nice to have in the GPS.

    Torrey - December 26th, 2008
  37. To Torrey..
    I have traveled by snowmobile through long stretches of forested area (trees 25 to 50 ft high) and the unit keeps the signal. I don’t know how it would be in high dense canopy. It also holds the signal when in my breast pocket under two layers of heavy clothing.

    Frank - December 26th, 2008
  38. Report on PN-40 use. 12-26-08. I have had mine for a month.

    1. Earlier I posted about the device losing its fix when operating near my snowmobile. I found that it will find and hold a fix if the vehicle has resistor spark plugs installed but otherwise will not. My ten-year old Garmin 12XL worked fine without the need for resistor spark plugs.
    2. When traveling and posting waypoints be careful not to un-intentionally pan the screen before pressing the waypoint button. If the screen is panned (e.g. by pressing the rocker button to get backlight) the waypoint will mark the center of the screen rather than the location of the GPS.
    3. NetLink Map error reporting only connects using Microsoft Internet Explorer. I normally use Firefox as my browser so I find the IE requirement a real impediment to providing map error feedback to DeLorme because it requires changing the default browser each time. Hopefully, DeLorme will add other browser options??
    4. For the area where I live in Alaska, the Topo7 map, including the Western regional cut that I installed from the included regional disks, lacks any useful detail. In addition, PN-40 tracking displays significantly off-course on the Topo7 display whether viewed on the PN-40 screen or the computer. However, the USGS topo download from DeLorme works well and displays tracking accurately – but USGS maps for my area date to the 1950’s. I had expected the Topo7 map to be an enhancement of the USGS imagery but it is not. In fact, comparing the Topo7 map to the USGS map is like comparing stick figure drawings to well crafted art. Maybe other areas of the country are better mapped by Topo7?
    5. Batteries. I can’t figure out the unexpected battery performance. Setting the unit to Lithium batteries and installing fresh Lithiums, I had expected longer duration than Alkalines. If anything, the unit did “low battery power” sooner on the Lithiums. So, I did some in-house testing. I tested the two used battery sets with a multi-meter. The lithiums I had been using read 1.54 V and 1.45 V respectively on the meter (Fresh, the lithiums tested 1.74 V!). Both of the used Alkalines read 1.37 V. With the alkalines in the unit and the setting on Alkalines, the PN-40 battery indicator showed ¾ capacity and the unit displayed just fine. I then changed the battery type setting back to lithium and re-installed the lithiums and turned the unit on. Immediately after being switched on, the screen went semi-dark and appeared to dimly flicker. Pressing the off switch did no good and the unit remained stuck in that dimmed screen freeze until I removed the batteries. Dimmed screen means that it was not totally black; I could still read ID information on the screen but without any apparent back-light and not the normal unlighted screen appearance. Next, I set the unit to NiMH battery type and installed used NiMH batteries that had the same voltage reading as the Alkalines (1.37). The unit’s battery gauge displayed full capacity and the unit stayed on and functioned fine. Explanations?
    6. Despite disappointment with Topo7 mapping and the quirky battery performance, I do like the PN-40. The screen and map visibility is great. Controls are well placed and control procedures are intuitive. The layout of the menus and the sub-menus/settings screens are logical, readable and readily operable. Position acquisition is quick and the position arrow/icon instantly shows the compass direction heading as well as the location. The icon also changes color with the state of fix (No fix, 2-D or 3-D fix). Tracking seems very precise (when viewed on USGS overlay). Saving tracks individually and transferring them to the map on the PC works well. The user manual is well done. At first, transferring maps and data between PC and GPS unit requires some very careful reading of instructions and even a little “scouting” for where on-screen labels and icons referenced by instructions are actually displayed.
    7. I have several things to explore before further comments, like setting up a route by applying waypoints from the waypoint list. In my quick preliminary attempt to do this, I did not see how it is done but I will work on that.

    Frank - December 26th, 2008
  39. Frank –

    Your problem with the snow mobile could be that the older Garmin unit is just not as sensitive as the newer technology in the DeLorme. Also, USGS maps are notoriously old. I am wondering why they did not try to use TRAILS ILLUSTRATED for this feature. Still, the geography of the earth doesn’t change much, however details change. Having several screens to compare is a good thing.

    Different types of batteries behave differently. I have seen the same thing in other devices. I would run some home brew tests, and then choose the best option.

    Torrey - December 26th, 2008
  40. All I want to do is take a list of coordinates that I have saved in GPX format and put them on the PN-40, then select from those (archaeological sites) and have the PN-40 lead me to them. That’s it. Is there going to be anything tricky about this function? I have a list of about 250 points.

    Doug - January 2nd, 2009
    • That should be pretty straightforward.

      Tim - January 3rd, 2009
      • Thanks. This will be my first handheld GPS unit. I just wanted to make sure that getting all of these points over would not be difficult.

        Doug - January 3rd, 2009
  41. Ok i’m a newbie. I enjoy backcountry hiking, kyaking, and mountain biking. I have never used a gps in these activities, but have some christmas money allocated to this. I would like to be able to use the unit driving on and offroad. I am computer savy. Initially i was looking at the oregon 400t, but the lack of road functions made me look at the nuvi 500. I hear lack of support for its offroad functions. this seems like it may be a better option, but the geocaching and whereigo functions do sound like an interesting hobby. Any advice for a confused part time outdoorsman???

    rob - January 4th, 2009
    • My advice would be to concentrate on the features that you will use the majority of the time. For backcountry hiking, kayaking and mtn biking the PN-40 is a great pick. For road navigation it leaves a lot to be desired as that isn’t is primary goal. When you can pick up a decent dedicated street navigator like the Garmin Nuvi 200 or the TomTom ONE 125 for around $100-$125, that makes more sense as a second dedicated device rather than trying to get one device that does it all.

      Tim - January 5th, 2009
      • thanks for your help. I’m getting the picture, you can’t get everything in one package. if comparing the oregon vs the pn40 is one better all around, on road, on backcountry. I seem to believe the pn40 is what i would prefer. But i am wanting to get into the geocaching hobby.

        rob - January 8th, 2009
  42. Newby looking for good off road performance -which this unit sounds like it will do the job just fine. a couple other questions remain- how long does this gps run on a set of batteries? Are there good Canadian maps too(as I live here)? Thinking of hiking, kayaking, dual sport motorcycles (on & off road).

    Steve Doel - January 9th, 2009
    • No Canadian maps are available from DeLorme. Battery life depends on battery type but is typically 8-12 hours depending on battery type and usage.

      Tim - January 9th, 2009
  43. I am going to use GPS for my off-roading in CO/UT/NEV. I was gathering as much info on the Garmin Colorado 400t as I could and “drifted” over to the PN40.

    I will use the 24k maps on my gps. The ones available from Garmin will not load on a PC. That’s a bummer for me.

    It appears that the PN40 is much more flexible than the Colo 400 with respect to what maps can be uploaded to it – am I right? I would like to use the maps on my PC to plan my trips.

    Does the PN40 work well inside a pickup truck cab? Or do I need an external antenna?

    I know the PN40’s screen is not as large as the Colo 400 but I can live with that as long as the resolution is there.

    Are there any advantages of the Colo 400 over the PN40, other than price?

    Sorry for all the questions, but this forum has really been helpful to me.

    Clayton - January 9th, 2009
    • You are correct that the PN-40 is much more flexible in the maps that can be used. You can plan maps on your PC. It will work fine in a vehicle without an external antenna. (There are none available anyway.) The Colorado’s advantage is with the out of the box simplicity.

      Tim - January 10th, 2009
  44. I have National Geographic’s TOPO! Version 4.2.8 installed on my PC and I have over the years mapped most of the biking, hiking and other trails in the area that I use. I used my Magellan platinum gps to transfer track points to TOPO! The software then converted them into trails. I can select the color and style of these trails and view or label the length. I can give the trail a name and label it on the map.
    My question is, can I use these maps (which are scanned USGS maps) on the PN-40? And if I can will it display the trails that I have added?
    If this is not possible, can I transfer the trails that I have made to Topo and use them on the PN-40?
    I don’t know if there would be any legal issues involved.

    Harold - January 12th, 2009
    • If your map is a scan (image, raster) of a map then the only way you could get that part into the PN-40 is if you upgrade to their XMap product and import the map. For the trails, assuming you can export them to something like a GPX format, then yes you would be able to import those trails pretty easily.

      Tim - January 13th, 2009
  45. Hi,

    I’m new to GPS and considering the PN-40 for use both in hiking and on roads. Does anyone know if large scale vector or raster data is available for Europe/the U.K. for use with the PN-40?

    Norman - January 14th, 2009
    • It isn’t available from DeLorme, however you might find some third party sources (I’m not directly familiar with any) that could be installed through the extra DeLorme XMap program.

      Tim - January 14th, 2009
  46. Hi Tim et al

    Great work, and website. Looking to buy a good hand-help GPS and the PN-40 looks interesting, esp from a map/image import capability perspective. Can ESRI vector GIS data be imported (easily) into the PN-40? Also, do you know if DeLorme sells into Australia? Have Googled but can’t find anything definitive on either point.

    With regard to the ‘tracking off highway’ problem in post #98, this is essentially a ‘map scale’ issue – cartographers have to offset/displace some features (parallel roads being a classic case) in order to portray them legibly on hardcopy maps. Hence if your GPS data is based on hardcopy maps you need to be aware that the positions of SOME features in detailed areas are relative only. This problem is obviously exacerbated as the scale gets smaller eg GPS data based on small-scale maps (1:250,000 or 4 miles to the inch in your parlance) will be more affected than data based on a 1:10,000 scale map. There is also the issue of map symbol (line) sizes, but I won’t go there.

    Cheers
    Jon

    jon - January 15th, 2009
  47. Refer to post # 140. My situation is similar, that is I have several hundred archaelogical waypoints that I made with a Garmin 12XL. I would like to transfer them to Topo 7, and eventually to my PN-40. In Delorme’s manual and forums I have not been able to find how .gpx files are to be dealt with or how they compare to .gpl files. Please point me to the location of such info or explain how .gpx is transferred.

    Now comes my underlying question. Once I get the .gpx waypoints onto Topo 7, I would like to use these waypoints to geo-tag time-stamped photos taken at the same time as the waypoints. I have experimented with the Delorme geo-tagging, using the PN-40 and fresh photos taken on my digital camera and found that the geo-tagging works well – with TRACKS. However, when I eventually get the old .gpx waypoints onto the Topo 7 image, how can I then get the software to use those WAYPOINTS to geo-tag the associated photos and embed them onto the map. I think this question translates into, How can I get the waypoints converted to trackpoints or seen as trackpoints by Topo 7?

    Frank - January 16th, 2009
    • GPX files can be transfered through DeLorme’s Import command from the files section of the Draw tab.

      Tim - January 17th, 2009
      • It couldn’t be easier – just drag your .gpx file onto the TOPO 7 map.
        In addition, when you drag the gpx file onto the TOPO map, the map view shifts to the area where the waypoints are located.
        This is a hint which a knowledgeable sales rep showed us on a recent visit to DeLorme.

        Ronald Levere - January 17th, 2009
  48. Thanks for the tip, Ronald. I have been using Topo since version 1.0 and did not know you could just drag a gpx file onto the map.

    John

    John - January 18th, 2009
    • I just use the import feature, everytime I drag a file over the program aborts (TOPO) and closes. I have not seen comments on this on this forum or at the support site. The import functionn never fails.

      Doug - January 18th, 2009
  49. I have been using the PN-40 for about three weeks now. What I find especially useful is the ability to survey an archaeological site by walking around, making a waypoint, and entering a comment about what the point is. I then transfer that data back to TOPO and pretty much only have to add a few comments and map corrections to have a complete survey of a site.
    My only complaint is battery usage, but batteries are a very small price to pay for what I get out of it. I go through a pairs of batteries per day when in the field, sometimes two pairs. However, I would not be wlling to give up any features for better battery life. I have a 16gb card installed and have all available map layers for the eastern portion of the state, including the hi-res city photo layer for the available areas.
    I also like the ability to use different datums and coordinate systems, as I can enter points in my field notes that reflect the WGS84, NAD27, and NAD83 datums plus record in standard UTM and GPS formats. It is a great piece of gear.

    Doug - January 18th, 2009
    • Doug-
      you mentioned that you have the eastern portion of your state stored on a 16gb card. Does it take all 16gb to store all available layers for just part of your state? What state are you from? I am trying to get an idea of how much memory these maps take up? If I get the $30 all you can eat deal, I would like to be able to download everything available to have handy in case I need it.
      Also wondering what read/write spead your card is and if there is any lag time when using such a large card.
      -Tom

      Tom - January 29th, 2009
      • I have quad maps 8 counties (NC), satellite imagery for the same area, and hi-res satellite for the portions of Wake County that are covered. I am using about 1.6 gig of the 16 gig card.
        And what about this map deal where you can get the professional level software for $99? Did I read something here about that?

        Doug - January 29th, 2009
        • Doug, see thread #157 for the deal info.

          Tim - January 29th, 2009
  50. I am pleased that several of you are sharing your experience knowledge regarding waypointing and transferring to Topo, etc..

    Doug, you mentioned your 16GB card. According to the PN-40 Manual, waypoints, tracks and routes cannot be transferred from Topo 7 to the SD card maps. Do you find that you can use the SD mounted maps in the PN-40 to directly record waypoints, tracks and routes and then view them on the unit just as if they were recorded on internal memory? Can you then transfer those waypoints, tracks and routes from the SD card to Topo 7?

    In my post # 147, I asked about geo-tagging photos, specifically if there is a way to convert waypoints to trackpoints so that Topo 7 can do its geo-tagging. Anyone know? Better yet would be for Topo 7 simply to use waypoint timestamps or trackpoint timestamps for geo-tagging but all geo-tagging references in the instructions mention only trackpoints.

    Frank - January 18th, 2009
    • Frank-
      Only map cuts can be stored on the SD card. However, once you have done that, the portions of the maps needed for your route are imported from the card to the internal memory for display. I went to the trouble to test this, as the PN-40 is a dual processor instrument, by intentionally creating routes that spanned maps at map boundary points. You would never know it the PN-40 draws them so fast. The PN-40 has two exchange modes, one for maps, and one for everything else. Only when in map mode are you given the option to use the internal SD card. So right now I think I have 10 counties worth of every map layer on the card, and I just switch layers for the hell of it, I really find the USGS quad and base maps the most useful for my purposes. Actually, I switch layers to demonstrate that function to my less fortunate colleagues who use other handheld GPS units.

      Doug - January 18th, 2009
  51. Does the Topo 7.0 software that come with the PN-40 allow the user to import and kind of GIS image files to use on the GPS unit such as MrSid files Tiff’s Geotiff’s and another question I have is if the software lets you export your waypoints in to excel or create any kind of shape file. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Ruperto Aguilar - January 21st, 2009
    • Their Topo 7 software is designed for average consumers and doesn’t allow the import of that type of imagery. However PN-20 and PN-40 owners can get their professional GIS software, XMap Professional for half price at about $99. That software does allow you to import GeoTIFFs and MrSID files then transfer them to the GPS. You can export waypoints to TXT files which can be easily imported into Excel, but you can’t export them from Topo to a shape file format.

      Tim - January 21st, 2009
    • Ruperto-if you don’t mind an extra step, POIEDIT is a freeware utility that is actually designed to create POIs for car GPS. However, you can export a GPx file from TOPO, and POIEDIT will read the file and convert it to around 15 other formats, including Google Earth and a variety of CSV. Of course the CSV file can then be imported into Excel. It will not handle the map issue, however.

      Doug - January 22nd, 2009
      • Thankyou very much for your help I ordered my PN-40 and look forward to using it and getting some aditional XMap software to go with it.

        Ruperto - January 22nd, 2009
  52. Hi Tim

    Can you confirm the actual display size for the PN-40 please.

    (In your review you say it is 2.2×1.5″, the same as QUOTED for the Garmin GPSMAP 60 – at least from what I can see on the web. But a comparative picture elsewhere gives the impression that the PN-40’s display height would be lucky to reach 2″. I’m confused and have no way of seeing one in the flesh so am relying on reviews, pics etc. Certainly wouldn’t want to purchase one if the display is any smaller than what you originally said. Thanks again.)

    PS you can reply directly or simply remove the 2nd par from my query if you want to post it.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Jon - January 24th, 2009
  53. Tim

    Just found an image on the DeLorme website which shows that 2.2″ is the DIAGONAL size. Thanks

    jon - January 24th, 2009
  54. Tim

    Appears that my original query re display size of the PN-40 didn’t go thru. Second one did. Anyway, I have my answer. thanks
    jon

    jon - January 24th, 2009
  55. The PN-40 has a sensitive barometric altimeter for reliably accurate altitude readings but just how accurate are these readings? I have read every where how they are accurate but no where on just how accurate. Any help would be great thanks!

    Ruperto - January 25th, 2009
    • The answer is “it depends”. When initially started, the barometric altimeter needs to be calibrated to either a known altitude or a known pressure reading at your exact location. Barometric pressure will change as time goes by with normal weather fluctuations. Therefore it needs to be frequently recalculated to remain accurate. If you don’t have an accurate pressure reading or accurate elevation to calibrate it to, then it won’t be practical to use.

      So if you know with a 1 foot accuracy that your current location is at 1,024 feet you can set the barometric altimeter and it will be accurate to within 1 foot. However later in the day with normal weather/pressure changes it could be off by a few hundred feet.

      Tim - January 26th, 2009
      • So in San Diego where the wheather is about the same most of the time it would accurate but here in Oklahoma where I live where it can be 70 one day and 10 the next it would not work as well. Maybe I should move! Thanks

        Ruperto - January 26th, 2009
        • Well, it really isn’t temperature, rather it is atmospheric pressure differences. For example if you look at this graph for Los Angeles today there was a variation of about four millibars. It has been a little while since I did millibar to altitude conversions but I think that is a variation of about 100 feet. Looking at Salt Lake City today there was a variation of about 18 millibars which would have produced errors of roughly 500 feet (I think).

          Tim - January 26th, 2009
  56. This may seem strange, but I have found it necessary to loosen one of the back cover screws about one-half turn in order to get or maintain an accurate barometric altimeter reading. This is possibly a design flaw. The sensor is evidently located somewhere within the battery compartment which seems to be sealed too tightly to pick up minor changes in atmospheric pressure. With the back cover clamped tightly down, I sometimes get a variation of over 200 feet without even changing position here in a relative flat part of Texas.

    John - January 26th, 2009
  57. Hey Tim, I just go my PN-40 in the mail 2 days ago and I love it it is all the things people say and more. I had asked before about being able to use MrSid, Geotiff with my PN-40 and you said XMAP could help me with that, and you also said PN-40 users could get XMAP for about $99 my only question is how do I get that deal? Thanks

    Ruperto - January 28th, 2009
    • Call DeLorme on the phone and tell them you own a PN-40 and would like the deal to get XMAP professional for half off. They should take care of you.

      Tim - January 28th, 2009
  58. Just a heads up that you can now install the geocaching plugin (Windows and Mac) so you can transfer geocaches from geocaching.com directly to your PN-40 GPS. The firmware update for additional geocaching features is still to come, but the plugin is a good start. http://www.delorme.com/geocaching/plugin/

    Tim - February 12th, 2009
  59. This is what I’ve been waiting for! I’m gonna buy it tonight! great deal on amazon after $50 rebate!
    http://www.delorme.com/images/PN40_mir.pdf

    Tom - February 13th, 2009
  60. Hi,

    I’m very interested in the PN-40 but I need to view the USGS aerial maps on it.

    I went to data.delorme.com but the only maps available are topo maps.

    Any chances they’re available and I just didn’t look in the right place?

    Thanks,

    Joseph

    Joseph - February 13th, 2009
    • You won’t see the aerials there, but you should be able to select them. Provided you can select them in your area they are available for the device. Pretty much all of the USA is covered.

      Tim - February 13th, 2009
  61. Aerials are not available for Alaska or the Island of Hawaii. I have found them at DeLorme for at least one area of Montana. Even USGS quads for Hawaii Island are only available along the coast from DeLorme. So, if aerial coverage is critical to you, don’t assume that \most of the USA\ necessarily includes the place where you need it. Double check with DeLorme.

    Frank - February 13th, 2009
    • He gave me the location in the discussion forums, and I had checked the area on the DeLorme data site.

      Tim - February 13th, 2009
  62. Where can I find detailed information on downloading the last firmware? V2.4? My instrument locks up at the worst times. It is one of the first produced.

    TheotherTim - February 15th, 2009
  63. I have found this site very helpful in trying to decide on a new handheld GPS unit for my geocaching-crazied family.

    Question – Does the DeLorme PN-40 come loaded with maps of Canada? Or are these maps extras like for those overseas?

    Any assistance on this question would be greatly appreciated.

    Elizabeth Mary - March 6th, 2009
    • The PN-40 doesn’t come with any maps outside of the USA other than a very generic base-map. They don’t have Canada maps available. You could update to the Xmap software and install third party maps, but that adds considerable work and complexity.

      Tim - March 7th, 2009
  64. I am looking for a GPS for deer hunting. I want to scout an area and mark all details I find such as rubs ,scraps, bedding areas,etc. I like the topo map feature and the aerial photo feature. The compass would be nice as well. I would like to mark stand entry routes because I will be traveling in the dark in some cases. I am currently struggling by with a garmin 12. I would like to be able to use this GPS in conjunction with a laptop so I can study on a bigger screen and update maps. I would have to transfer way points back to my laptop. Is the 40 the best choice or would the 20 be plenty for me? When people say the screens are slow on the 20 can you define slow? Are there other units besides the 2 I mentioned that might be better? I am somewhat limited with my computer skills. Is downloading maps and uploading into the GPS going to be a challenge? Does Delorme have a decent support staff?

    Todd - March 11th, 2009
    • Todd, the PN-40 is a great choice for what you describe. The PN-20 can often take several seconds to redraw screens as you move, while the PN-40 is almost always fast. The PN-40 also gets a satellite signal much faster. But with both, the software is more difficult to learn than other GPS devices as a result of the software being much more full-featured. DeLorme’s support staff is very good.

      Tim - March 11th, 2009
  65. I realize that Delorme just started shipping this PN-40 in November, but should I read into the $50 rebate as a signal that they are getting ready to release an updated model?

    Ray - March 12th, 2009
    • No, I wouldn’t expect any new device from DeLorme until at the very earliest next fall… and even that might be a stretch based on my own guesses. The rebates started to be offered almost as soon as the device was released so I wouldn’t take it as any indication of a new model anytime soon.

      Tim - March 13th, 2009
  66. Does anyone know if the $50 rebate extends to the PN-40SE? I am considering buying the unit, would love to take advantage of the $50 rebate but am also interested in the 8GB of storage vs. the 1GB. Thanks

    Joe DiDonato - March 16th, 2009
    • My understanding is that yes, it extends to the SE. The SE is only available direct from Amazon Delorme (as far as I remember) so you could confirm with them directly.

      Tim - March 16th, 2009
      • Just to clarify… The PN-40SE is only available directly from DeLorme. There are no retailers or resellers that have the SE model. Call DeLorme directly for pricing info.

        Brian - March 20th, 2009
        • Oops, yeah, that is what I meant to say.

          Tim - March 20th, 2009
  67. I called Delorme and they are not extending the rebate for the PN-40 SE, only the PN-40. Most retailers are no longer carrying the rebate except for REI if you buy before the end of the month. Thanks

    Joe - March 20th, 2009
    • Delorme customer service and sales are very responsive and consumer friendly. I would encourage you to try to get the rebate again on the Select Edition (SE). Delorme wants their products in the hands of passionate GPS users.

      rob - April 2nd, 2009
  68. OK, I purchased the PN-40 and at first I was a little hesitant based on the review of the challenging software (TOPO USA). Fortunately, I have found it to be intuitive and rather simple, albeit, I am just two days into it. I have already successfully purchased and downloaded aerial photos and 1:24,000 topos and loaded them onto my PN-40. The unit is accurate and easy to figure out. Of course the screen is a bit smaller than I would like when viewing aerials but I knew that going in.
    Can anyone tell me how to collect “area” with the unit? For instance, I am hoping I can walk the perimeter of a pond and calculate acres. Possible? Thanks

    Joe - March 24th, 2009
    • OK I need some help. I have the Delorme Pn-40 and am figuring it out.I am ending up with a red dot in the center of my map that I did not collect. It appears next to my WayPoints in the TOPO program on my PC. I cannot figure out how to delete it. Can some one give me a clue? Thanks

      Joe - April 5th, 2009
      • Are you trying to delete it from the device or from the device or from Topo? By the sounds of it you might be looking at one of the built in POIs?

        Tim - April 10th, 2009
  69. I am getting nowhere near 11 hours of battery life. With new alkalines that came with the unit I got about 3.5 hours of learning (inside and out) how to use the machine. With some realtively new 2500 mah NiMH batteries I just got about 5.5 hours of field use, of which about half was tracking and setting waypoints and half just sitting on a rock in my front yard. Of the total, about 1/2 hour was interfacing with the computer (dowloading a track and a few points).

    How are others doing- am I doing something wrong? Will I get significantly more out of lithiums? Any suggestions?

    Robert - April 16th, 2009
    • I change batteries twice every day. I have just become accustomed to it. The machine has two processors so it is going to eat batteries, even with tracking turned off. I accept the trade off because I believe the PN-40 is superior to other products and worth the effort.

      Doug - April 16th, 2009
      • I can not say you will get more out of the lithiums, but the travel kit allows me to keep the batteries charge before each use. I charge the battery full on 110vAC prior to leaving the house, and keep it charging on 12vDC while in route to destination in my truck.
        Still I carry extra (alkiline) batteries at all times. I do this with my Garmin as well. The PN-40 is hard on bateries, but for me, is well worth a little extra battery management and expense. I am considering investing in an extra set of rechargeble batteries.

        Rob - April 16th, 2009
    • The scenarios you described will drain the battery faster. Battery claims by manufacturers are typically a “best case” scenario with the backlight turned off, not using USB, etc. Connecting it to USB for transfer will typically drain the battery really fast for example. With my (now weaker) batteries I’m still getting about 7-8 hours out of most charges– sometimes a little more, sometimes less. That is with “real world” use, enabling tracks every 10 feet and “checking” the GPS once every 30 minutes to an hour. If I’m doing something more processor intensive like marking waypoints, creating routes, etc– like geocaching, then the battery life will suffer.

      Tim - April 17th, 2009
      • Tim, are you saying that when I attach my unit to the computer via USB to transfer data or maps, that the battery will suffer from this action? I though the unit was being charged by the computer at that time and the batteries were not being tapped for power. I guess I could remove the SD card and just tansfer data from my computer to it to save battery power but going the other direction I have to connect to transfer waypoints etc to my computer.

        Joe - April 17th, 2009
  70. ESRI shapefile compatibility and other formats.

    With a couple of steps you can dowload ESRI compatible shapefiles (*.shp) for use on the PN-40, which is the industry standard GIS for public agencies. Get a copy of “DNR Garmin” which is a freeware program that creates GPX files from shapefiles and vice versa. I am using XMAP Pro ($100 if you have PN-40) but I think that Topo 7 also can translate the GPX files to DeLorme’s format as well.

    As noted earlier, you need XMAP Pro to put MRSID and GEOTIFFs on the PN-40. DeLorme does not do Canada yet, but apparently you can download the 1:50000 canadian topo Geotiffs from the government site and put them on the Pn-40. I have not tried that yet.

    Robert - April 16th, 2009
  71. 4/25/09

    I like my PN-40 that I purchased in November 2008. I don’t like the way it goes through batteries. I just gave it a carefully monitored test. I put new AA alkaline batteries in it that tested 1.58 volts before installation. I confirmed that the device setting was for use of alkaline batteries. I made sure that sound was set On so that the unit would “ring” me when the batteries got depleted. I turned the GPS on and set in on a window sill where it quickly acquired signals and showed a 3-D fix. I left the unit there to continue monitoring. 5 hours and 43 minutes later, the alarm rang and the screen reported low power. I turned the unit off and after two hours turned it back on, it reacquired and I set it back on the window sill. In 15 minutes the alarm sounded again and I turned the unit off. I tested the batteries and got a reading of 1.28 volts.

    I am sending this report to DeLorme and asking for their reaction.

    Frank - April 25th, 2009
    • There is a PN-40 forum with a number of user battery tests at http://forum.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?t=16728. With 2650 NIMH rechargeables and a slow charger users are getting up 10 16 hours on a stationary test in power saving mode and 9-11 hours in field use. This is in line with reports above. I got about 12 hours in a stationary test with older NIMH batteries in power saving mode.

      For day use I can deal with the drawdown by simply carrying more rechargeables. What I am finding is that the PN-40 really eats batteries over 2-3 days when it is turned off. Recently I put some freshly recharged Eveready 2500 NIMH batteries in the unit (recently run through a recinditioning cycle) left the unit for three days (turn it on once for less than a minute), and then when I went to use it after 3 days I got less than 5 miunutes of use. This would be a real issue for backcountry use as batteries are very heavy to carry.

      I am currently testing the PN-40 drawdown while it is turned off and will report in when finished.
      Can anyone else report on battery drawdown while the unit is turned off?

      Robert - April 26th, 2009
      • The battery will draw down a tiny bit when the device is turned off. I think DeLorme has talked about it in their forums and it is due to needing to keep the internal clock running. The draw is typically unnoticeable.

        Tim - April 27th, 2009
  72. I’m not sure there is any battery drain with the unit powered off. I just powered on mine, after at least a month of not using it, normal alkaline batteries, and they are still fully charged. What would draw power with the unit powered off?

    Doug - April 26th, 2009
    • My PN-40 completely kills a set of 2300 NIMH rechargeables in 3 days even if the unit is never turn on. See my test results at the Delorme forum battery testing page (http://forum.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?t=16728&sid=5d8fcf1851dbdb0a74d924546972acb5).

      I talked to Delorme tech support about this today and they said that is the case because the unit is never really off so it can quick start and get a quick fix when you turn it on. The tech rep I talked to said they get the same results (i.e. dead within 2-3 days without being turned on) with Delorme’s Li-on rechargeables. Of course, it’s not much of a “quick start” if the batteries are dead when you go to use it.

      Doug says he is getting minimal drawdown with alkalines. Tim, are you getting long life when turned “off” with rechargeables?

      Robert - April 27th, 2009
  73. Can I upload autocadd files to the PN 40 through the Xmap software or someother software?

    Chris - April 27th, 2009
    • I have not tried it, but with Delorme’s X-Map professional ($100 if you buy the PN-40) there is a new patch where you can put AutoCAD (.dxf), MRSID, GeoTIFF, etc. files on the PN-40. See the info at http://www.delorme.com/about/pressreleases/XMap6_1.htm.

      If you can export your points and lines in .gpx or .txt format you can pick those up with X-Map and then put them on the Pn-40.

      The PN-40 comes with DeLorme’s Topo USA mapping program and their USA base maps (which are much better than the free Garmin base maps). I would call DeLorme and see if Topo USA can accept .dxf files. I believe Topo USA will take .gpx and .loc files files too.

      Robert - April 27th, 2009
  74. There may be an option to allow the device to stay ‘warm’ and perhaps I have disabled that. My unit stays in a backpack, in a closet, all the time. It has been a minimum of one month, I think closer to 45 days, since I last powered it on (other than to check the batteries). After all of this discussion I just checked mine again. Took it outside, turned it on, waited for a fix (it was not that quick) and the batteries still show fully charged. It seems like there may be some defective units out there. I will say it eats batteries when I use it, but they don’t go dead sitting in the closet.

    Doug - April 27th, 2009
  75. I asked Delorem tech support and they said there was no way to disable the “quick start” feature. My NIMH get similar life to that reported by others when fresh an being used (i.e., bring 2 pair for a full day afield) and the discharge rate when not in the PN-40 is evident but not alarming.

    Doug, I’m curious how your alkalines read after letting the unit run for about 10 minutes. Sometimes the PN-40 reports full power when you first turn it on but may drop to 3 or 4 bars in a few minutes after the reality of some current draw sets in. WFUV-F

    Robert - April 27th, 2009
    • That is entirely possible. I will power up the unit and let it run for at least 10 minutes. Then I will post the reading.

      Doug - April 27th, 2009
  76. Ok. In the six or so minutes between posts, I powered up the unit (outside), had 4 green bars, got a 3D fix, and about a minute later dropped to 2 yellow bars. I last used the device on Feb 20th, and not long before end of use that day I put in the second set of fresh alkaline. Sorry for any false hope I may have given. It does eat batteries, but I still say that the trade off is worth the features of the device. I just have formed the habit of taking at least five pairs of new batteries every time I go out. Longer battery life would be nice.

    Doug - April 27th, 2009
  77. I am ready to upgrade GPSs and am torn between the Oregon 400t and the Delorme PN-40. The battery life issue has swayed me a little toward the Oregon but they have their own issues with battery life. Maps are important to me and the Delorme has the best. Now to my question. Can I use my national geographics Topo to transfer waypoint, tracks etc. to the PN-40 since this gps is not listed as one supported by the software? This is important to me because that is the mapping software I am used to using and where my waypoints etc are saved.

    Harold - April 28th, 2009
    • Harold,

      The National Geographic folks are only telling part of the story. It appears from my quick review of some web formums that NG Topo!can export waypoints and tracks in .gpx format. The PN-40 comes with Delorme’s Topo USA 7.0 mapping software that runs on your computer. Topo USA can import .gpx or .loc files that you export from NG Topo! and then transfer them to the PN-40. The PN-40 comes with topo discs that have the same maps as Topo US for the entire country so you get good detail for field work. If you get the Oregon you can have to buy base maps for about $100 per region. The ones for the western US are good but the ones for the East are very poor. Topo USA (free with the Pn-40) & the matching maps for the PN-40 has good topo and trail detail for the entire country. You can also create tracks and waypoints with Topo USA so you would not need to use the NG Topo! .gpx export function at all if you did not want to. I would check further into the Topo! export formats (.gpx or .loc are compatible with Topo USA) to be sure.

      Robert - April 28th, 2009
  78. Thank you for contacting National Geographic Maps,

    Unfortunately, TOPO! is not compatible with any Delorme product. We do not have any future plans to be compatible.
    In response to your question regarding the compatibility with the Nat Geo Software, here is the answer I received from them when I was inquiring about it.

    Technical Support
    National Geographic Maps
    Ticket #TQJB5553 (please include this ticket number in future correspondance)

    On April 01, 2009 19:11, joe wrote:

    > Hi, is it possible to download data (Waypoints, tracks, routes) from
    > my Delorme PN-40 to the Topo program? Thanks

    Joe - April 28th, 2009
  79. Harold, I agree with Robert. Once you start using the TOPO USA software that comes with the PN-40, you will find you will not use the Nat Geo Program very often. The Nat Geo Program is a good one, but it doesn’t include the options you get with TOPO USA. TOPO USA is much more similar to a GIS software program allowing calculations of area and more. In regards to the Garmin Oregon, I too was torn between that unit and the PN-40 and researched them both for months. I did like the touch pad of the Oregon but once I started using the PN-40 I realized the touch screen was not that important. I was scared off by the bad reviews of the screen visibility too on the Oregon. Additionally, with a Delorme subscription for less that $30 a year, you can download any coverage including color and B&W aerials, topo, nautical and satellite imagery. It is really well worth it. I am getting as good as plus or minus 6 feet with my PN-40. It does eat batteries so heads up and read the past postings regarding battery life.

    Joe - April 29th, 2009
  80. Thanks, Technical support, Robert and Joe for your help. Yes, I can export my waypoints etc. from Topo! To a .gpx file. That should take care of my concern about getting my waypoints and tracks into topo USA. As far as continuing using Topo! If I buy the PN-40, I probably still would because I use the State series that uses scanned images of the USGS 1:24,000 scale maps. Also I have converted tracks to trails on my maps. Also, if I buy the Oregon 400t I wouldn’t have to buy all the maps as you stated Robert. It comes fully loaded with topo maps of the entire USA ( 1:100,000 scale). If you were referring to 1:24,000 maps you are correct and there are none yet available for the east coast where I live (except for parks etc.) The point that you brought up Joe about battery life still has me a bit hesitant. I have one more concern about downloading the maps from Delorme. I still us a dial up internet provider. I can get broadband service at my son’s place of business but considering the time it takes to download, I’m not sure that would be practical. If I could only get to physically compare the two units that would help, but I couldn’t find a retailer in my area the carried either.
    I still haven’t made my decision :=)

    Harold - April 29th, 2009
    • Harold,

      I don’t know anything about the Oregon battery life, but there are user test reports for the Pn-40 at http://forum.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?t=16728 you can check out. In sum, these tests indicate that with Duracell 2560 mah NIMH batteries users are getting up to 16 hours in a stationary test (sitting on the deck) and about 9 hours in the field (geocaching). The PN-40 has higher battery use than the Garmin 60/76 series because the processor can handle large image (photo) files.

      With any unit you’ll probabably want to carry extra batteries in the field. Get a good charger (e.g. a Maha with a long charge cycle – no one of the 15-minute quick chargers) and high capacity NIMH rechargeables. Some folks are like the new “low discharge” NIMH becasue they hold a charge better when over time when the unit is not in use, but they are not any better on any given day of use.

      I got the PN-40 specifically because it can handle aerial images. I use those in the field professionally (I am a forester/ecologist)and also for hunting. If you don’t think would use the aerial imagery or other maps that Topo! does not have (i.e., nautical charts) then a Garmin with your Topo! might be a good choice. Keep in mind though that the scanned 1:24,000 quads you have in Topo! are relatively old in most cases, whereas Topo USA is reasonably up to date in terms of new roads and it also has hiking trails that are outside of National Parks.

      If you are leaning toward Garmin I would also consider the 60 or 76 CSX. I’m not sure the Oregon is worth the extra $$$ for the big touch screen.

      You won’t want to download the DeLorme imagery on your dial up. I don’t know if there would be a Topo USA licensing issue to have it on your computer for interface with the GPS and also to have it on your son’s for downloading the imagery. Better check with DeLorme on that.

      Robert - April 30th, 2009
  81. I am an ecology grad student buying gps units for my lab. Since we can’t afford high-accuracy Trimble type units, we need the most sensitive/accurate consumer model available. It seems that the Garmin 60cx and DeLorme pn-40 are the best bets (the pn-20 has a lot of poor reviews regarding its accuracy). My impression is that the 60cx has better sensitivity and battery life, while the pn-40 has the bonus of aerial maps. Are the aerial maps really worth the decline in sensitivity and battery power? Maps are not as important to us, but I would like to give my lab the most options for the future. Are there any other differences between the two models that I should be aware of?

    Thanks!

    Ian - April 30th, 2009
    • I’ve done much research and talked to users and the 60/76 CSX are the best for battery life and customer tests seem to indicate is is slightly more accurate. With rechargeables battery life should not be an issue, unless you are not near power for recharging at night. The PN-40 is worth it if you need the imagery, which is why I bought it. If you don’t then the Gamins are a probably better overall fit. Hard to predict your future needs though. In a couple of years there will certainly be something better!

      Robert - May 4th, 2009
  82. Great reading and have learned a lot. Is there a GPS you suggest for riding dual sport motorcycles. My first choices were Delorme pn-40 or Garmin 60csx. I like to set up routes on forst service roads or approved trails for motorcycles don’t ride highways unless I have to. Have always liked 1 to 24,000 maps. Hope you can help. Thank you for your response if you have time. First time on this site. Everyone I know will now know about it. Thank you very much!

    Dave H - May 1st, 2009
  83. Wow! This looks like a good site to get help. I’m searching for a portable GPS for my wife to take on our Rockhounding Trips. I would like it to be easy to use. Be able to accurately mark the sights where we find material for return visits. I would like her to be able to return to camp if she gets lost because we do drive out in the boondocks in some places. She doesn’t want to spend too much money, but I want to keep an open mind, so could you recomend a good, better, best product. Thank you, Jim

    Jim - May 3rd, 2009
  84. Jim,

    The Garmin E-trex series is a good value for marking points in the field, tracking routes, and getting back to camp.

    Depending on where you live your choice of brand may depend on maps if you want the detail on the unit. If you do your field work in the the west or southwest, Gamin has the best maps (1:24,000 equivalent) but they cost $109 for each region. DeLorme has good maps for free for the entire country. I have checked out the Delorme map for an area I hunt in Colorado and the topo detail is good but not quite as good as the 1:24,000 topo quads. At least one user have reported a small lake missing. Roads and trails are current, though.

    Robert - May 4th, 2009
  85. Looks like we are about to see a DeLorme PN-30.

    Tim - May 8th, 2009
  86. I am going to the Italian Alps (Gran Paradiso) for a 10-day hike in June and I would LOVE to take my PN-40. I am aware that Delorme does not have maps for that area but I am still wondering whether/how I could make a good use of my PN-40.

    One option, I guess, is to bring it along without maps and just use it as a recording device. That way, I am thinking, I might be able to use it to trace back to where I came from on a hike. And, once safely home (!), I think I could upload the recorded data into e.g. Google Earth. Am I correct in making these assumptions?

    A better option would be to find maps for that area that I can upload to my GPS. No, I am not going to scan paper maps. But I remember people on this list mentioning maps in e.g. GeoTIFF that can be migrated to DeLorme format via some special software (XMAP, XMAP Pro?). The question then becomes where I could find/buy such maps for the Gran Paradiso area south of Aosta, Italy?

    I would be very grateful for information with this regard.

    Herbert - May 14th, 2009
    • Herbert,

      You need X-Map Pro ($100 if you have a PN-40) and then a source of GEOTIFF maps (or MRSID) of the area (I have not done this yet, but this is what I was told by DeLorme). I’d go online and see if you can find an Italian government or EU website with such maps. This site may have potentiL: http://www.ezemaps.com/index.html but I’m not sure the detail is there.

      -Rob

      Robert - May 15th, 2009
  87. I’d like to hear some response to my comments about the pn-40. I have been using a new unit now for about 2 weeks. I work in urban forest parks, meaning there is generally fairly dense canopy over head and close proximity to buildings. I was attracted in part to the pn-40 because of its accuracy. I have found this to be sub par.

    My usual error is 8-12m. I have never reached 3m (as advertised by most of these WAAS models). In fact I very rarely get below 6m, even in open fields. The ancient Garmin models that I was replacing for my lab (pre WAAS I think) even get better accuracy! What disappoints me most, though, is the fact that I need to get a fix in open areas before going under canopy. Whenever I turn on the unit under canopy it fails to even get a fix. This is lame.

    So far I am disappointed. Has anyone else had similar experiences.

    Ian - May 25th, 2009
    • How are you conducting your accuracy measurements?

      Tim - May 26th, 2009
    • I just tried turnig the unit on under full deciduous forest canopy, relatively high tree stem density, and there was a dense hemlock stand about 60 ft. to the south. After a cold start – I had not turned the unit on in almost 2 weeks – I got a 3-d fix with reported +-15ft. accuracy in about 1 minute 20 seconds. Note that this unit has a patch antenna and gets best reception when held horizontally.

      I would try a side-by-side test with another brand to see how much difference you get and to make sure the problem with aquiring a fix under the canopy is not a location issue, and then get in touch with DeLorme if you are sure that it is the PN-40 and not the location. My first unit was devouring batteries while turned off and they sent me a new unit.

      Robert - May 26th, 2009
  88. I’m not sure if I’m ready to pack a case of batteries to the field yet. If I want to mark property lines, hunting stands,mark starting points out and return, get good battery life, and keep it in drawer for months at a time.What do I need? Thanks

    Jay - May 26th, 2009
    • You might want to consider what you need in a GPS. The PN-40 has advanced image processing features that you might not need. If all you want to do is take a set of points at a given location, then practically any GPS will work for that. If you have a need to layer different types of information (GIS, aerials, maps, etc) then the PN-40 does all of that very well, but at the price of power. I use mine to mark points for geological and archaeological work, but I also use the aerial imagery to show me where I am relative to modern manmade structures and I also use GIS layers from various sources to see where I am relative to, for example, the planned track of a greenway or sewer line.

      Doug - May 26th, 2009
      • I’d like to have a map of my lease and property to mark stands and property borders. Are any better than others to put me within +/-3′ or better?

        Jay - May 26th, 2009
        • I’ve had 3 Garmins and 2 Delorme Gps units. I would not count on accuracy of better than 15 feet with any of them in varied terrain,folage cover,and weather. But for all of my hunting and land mapping applications this has proven to be accurate enough. Let’s face it 5 yards is pretty close for hunting applications. I have prepaired maps on our 600 acre farm locating 12 hunting stands and numerous property line boundaries and corners. Any one with knowledge of a GPS units usage could comfortably locate the stands with the accuracy I’m stating from experence. Unless posted otherwise, the GPS accuracy will keep hunter from encroching onto ajacted property owner’s land. Mytopo.com can produce a quality map (Topo and Aerial) with the coodinates you supply them if you are looking for a hunting club “key” map.
          If you like detail, the mapping on the PN-40 should impress you when you mark a waypoint of a aerial feature (field edge)and overlay it with uploaded aerial map in the PN-40. You should find the accuracy more than adequate.

          Rob - May 26th, 2009
        • No consumer GPS offers better than 12 ft accuracy and that is an aggressive number. When you get into the sub meter class of GPS (+- 3 ft) you are into a class of GPS receivers that will cost in the $3,000 dollar range with the appropriate post processing software. I have to locate archaeological sites with mapped artifacts. Getting to within a 12 foot radius has always been adequate for me, but your requirements may be different. Property borders, for example, could have legal implications that would justify the expense. Even then sub meter accuracy is not guaranteed. The next step is differential GPS using a base station at a known location that helps correct errors from other GPS receivers linked to it, the system I believe used by surveyors. What that would cost I don’t know, but you would be well into five figures I expect. You might contact a local surveyor, as there always seems to be a GPS freak employed there that will tell you way more than you ever wanted to know about GPS systems and accuracy.

          Doug - May 27th, 2009
    • Two sets of rechargeable batteries for the field should do you for most days if you run the unit constantly, plus maybe a pair of spares. Not really a “case” of batteries. Get a good quality slow charger (not a “fast” charger) and good quality NIMH AA rechargeables. For occasional use and long term storage get Sanyo Eneloops or equivalient low-discharge rechargeables.

      The strenght of the PN-40 is in its capability to layer photos and other maps. Thge PN-40 has better topo base maps that come with the unit than the Garmin, wnhich you need to pay to get decent maps. If you want to make your own maps the PN-40 is nice because making a map on an aerial photo is more interesting than on a plain background or USGS topo. You need the Delorme image library subscription ($30/year) for that.
      With any GPS you could also export your lines and points to Google Earth and make a simple map with that if they have decent images of your area.

      I agree with the other comments on +-15 foot accuracy – plenty good for hunting and non-surveying professionals. I am a forester and ID property lines at that level for mapping purposes. Of course you go with the actual marked line you are on the ground, but if you are within 20 feet with the GPS you will see boundary markers. Also, if you can visually ID your corners on an aerial photo (e.g., a field corner) then you can tweak any spots in the office that appear to be off.

      Robert - May 27th, 2009
  89. Looks like the PN-30 in green & camo are here. One e-store indicates similar specs relative to the 40 except lack of compass and altimeter. No data as to battery life nor other details.

    Robert N - June 22nd, 2009
  90. I’ve just acquired a PN 40 with no previous knowledge of how to use a GPS. I’m at square one? on how to use the device. Anyone want to post an instructional video-101 for the neophyte on YouTube. Yes, I’m reding the manuel and reviewing the tutorial help files BUT a picture (video) is worth 1K words.

    George - June 28th, 2009
  91. George,

    I found a video for the PN-20 and Topo USA 7.0. The Pn-20 is very similar to the PN-40, and 8.0 is a modest upgrade from 7.0, so that should help you get started.

    I recommend taking the manual outside with the unit and walking around the neighborhood and learing to use the many screens and functions in real time. Better than a video!

    If you search on “PN-40″ you’ll also find some stuff on You Tube.

    You’ll want some good AA rechargeable batteries and a decent charger. The slower chargers(4-6 hours) are best. Sanyo “Eneloop” low discharge batteries (sold by Duracell as “Pre-charged”) are good because they hold their charge over a long time when the machine is not being used. The Duracell re-brands are made in Japan and China. White positive ends are the ones made in Japan.

    The Delorme forum is very good for technical info when you get stuck: http://forum.delorme.com/. There are some expert users who monitor the forums there and help out us newbies whn we post questions. I’d recommend asking your future questions on one of the threads there.
    -Rob

    Robert - June 29th, 2009
  92. Why did the price on PN-40 suddenly jump up? On 6/22/09 to today it went up ~$60. Is this due to the release of the PN-30?

    Jeff - July 8th, 2009
    • Are you looking at a particular retailer, or at DeLorme themselves?

      Tim - July 8th, 2009
      • I looked at Amazon and JR and both have gone up recently.

        Jeff - July 8th, 2009
        • Nice observation. Near the top left corner of the page where it says MSRP price, click on the $399 link to pull up a graph of recent prices. It does seem there was a bit of an up-tick in pricing recently.

          Tim - July 8th, 2009
  93. I am interested in getting a handheld GPS. After doing some research, including this website, I think the PN-40 would be my best option. I am wondering if I can use this GPS unit in Puerto Rico. I went to Delorme website, but I couldn’t find if they have Puerto Rico maps in their library. I don’t know if it will worth the investment. Any comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Best Regards,

    Wilbert

    Wilbert - August 1st, 2009
    • I just tried to find PR on my Delorme Topo 8 and it was not recognized, which means that it won’t be on the PN-40 base maps either. Delorme is pretty much limited to the 50 US states in terms of good topo data for the GPS. They now have road maps for Canada and Mexico too. I would go to the Delorem Forum at Delorme.com and see if you can learn more. If you don’t need aerial photos and just need a basic nav tool then the Pn-40 does not offer an real advantages over other brands. I would see what Garmin has to offer.

      -Rob

      Robert - August 3rd, 2009
      • Thanks Rob, I’ll go to their forum to find out. I’ll see which other brand would provide support for PR.

        Wilbert

        Wilbert - August 3rd, 2009
  94. I Just ran across this site and it seems to be a great sight for info. I am looking to purchase a handheld unit and are considering the Delorme pn-40 or the Garmin Oregon 400t. Could you please give me a comparison of the two, or guide me to a location that will give it. My primary uses will be geocaching, backpacking and hiking. I have a seperate veh. unit so the roads and other veh. features do not interest me. Ease of use, being able to see screen and battery life are important.

    Scott

    Scott - August 3rd, 2009
  95. I am really considering the PN-40. I have done some good research and my best option for the price is this unit. My only concern is if I would be able to use it in Puerto Rico, since I have not found much about support and maps available in the library.
    My application will be more for field survey applications. I am looking for a GPS that will meet the following requirements: portable, rugged, good image quality, electronic compass, altimeter, accurate, and water resistant. I don’t need a lot of topography features, routes, etc. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks,

    Wilbert

    Wilbert - August 5th, 2009
  96. Thanks for the info, I am now leaning toward the pn-40.

    Scott

    Scott - August 5th, 2009
    • Scott,
      I have the PN-40 and like many of its features. I have also talked with the owner of a Garmin Oregon and he demo’d some of its features. The BIG advantage of the Oregon is battery life. My PN-40 battery life has been woefully disappointing and when I compared experience with the Oregon owner, he gets at least twice as long on battery. I expect the one main advantage of the PN-40 is much better deal from DeLorme on maps.

      Frank - August 7th, 2009
  97. I am looking to purchase a DeLorme PN-40 or a Garmin Oregon 400t. Or perhaps a different unit if pointed in that direction. I have a few big concerns though and really hope someone can help me out!

    I only have dial up internet access due to where I live. Yes, it drives us crazy…

    I hunt and fish (seriously and with great passion) and want a unit for those activities.

    I do the vast majority of my activities in a limited area- Southeast and Northern Wisconsin.

    I am NOT computer savy…I am getting to be an old fart. I get around way back in the woods fine though!

    The thought of layering DETAILED topos and aerial photos, etc. on to the unit and once it is there leaving it alone- so it is ready to use forever, once set , is very appealing. (go through the learning curve once and be forever done) is appealing.

    I currently use Garmin Lake master chips for my lake maps and want to use this very detailed mapping software for fishing, esp. ice fishing. I want to be able to use this software on the unit I choose IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.

    My personal internal ram is very limited… I would like something easy to use and one that I can remember how to use if I do not use the unit for a while. (I can’t remember where I put my car keys let alone how to pick up and use a complicated device after a period of time).

    I have another unit for street navigation that works well so this unit does not need to do that.

    Specifically, what additional software or service would I need to buy to accomplish my objectives for either or another unit?

    My computer is a boat anchor and is slow and not powerful- with dial up. It sucks to be me.

    How can I get the best of all worlds guys? I am an old fart that needs a kid around who can figure out all this stuff at a blink of an eye. It is very confusing and intimidating to me. I really want to make the right choice, and am willing to learn, but am very limited in my surrounding technology and skills. I take my hunting and fishing VERY seriously though and want the TOP tool for these applications. Extremely detailed lake maps and arial photos along with detailed topos would be REALLY sweet! I want to buy the right unit, or find a personable geek who lives in my area who likes to hunt and fish, that I can take along to guide me through this menagerie of programs, buttons and functions. Otherwise, I am afraid I will be lost in the woods forever once my two sets of batteries die.
    THANKS!

    John - August 8th, 2009
    • Here’s the hard truth, all at once.

      The PN40 is only part of a system. You will need a supply of batteries, not that expensive, and perhaps a charger to keep them charged. A good lithium ion battery runs about $30 shipped.

      If you go with lithium ion batteries (you get one shipped with your PN40) you will need some way to charge them, although if you leave the battery in the PN40 and connect the PN40 to the USB input of your computer, it will charge using computer power.

      The PN40 comes with a software program included in the price. The program includes three DVDs that contain detailed maps of all 50 states. This means you will need a DVD reader in your computer. I don’t know if this is a problem for you or not.

      The DVDs contain no imagery files such as satellite data. You get that from Delorme.

      You do not need the program to use your PN40. You DO need the program if you want to obtain aerial or satellite imagery, or USGS 7.5 minute maps.

      You can purchase, from Delorme, maps that are ready to be used in your device. These maps cost $100 per state.

      You can purchase, from Delorme, a 1-year subscription that will let you download all the maps and imagery Delorme has for no cost. The subscription costs $30.

      I’m not sure what your data transfer rate over the phone is, probably 28.8K if you’re lucky. It will take you forever to download the imagery files due to their size, in some cases, several hundred megabytes. However, if you only need them for Wisconsin, you won’t need very many.

      It is impractical to try downloading files of that size over the phone. It would take literally hours and hours and hours for must a small bit of data. Some noise on the line during downloading could kill the download and you would have to start all over again.

      While you are downloading using your phone, you will not be able to call or receive calls. That could be a problem depending upon your circumstances.

      Since you need detailed maps, what come on the 3 DVDs will most likely NOT be detailed enough. Not when you get down to the fishing and hiking level anyway. You can download (all in the subscription price) USGS 7.5 minute maps that most likely will be helpful.

      The fly in that ointment is that these maps are almost as old as you and I put together, and I’m 65. Well, not really, but I don’t think they have been updated for the last 30 or so years. The stream courses probably have not changed much, certainly the terrain is the same, but some of the roads on the maps simply don’t exist anymore, and roads/trails constructed in the last 30 years won’t be on the maps.

      If you are fishing at the bottom of some steep-walled canyon that only gets sunlight an hour each day, the PN40 will have limited visibility of the satellites. Perhaps so much as to render it useless. OTOH if you can see half the sky, so can the PN40 and it should work just fine.

      So IMO, the 2 limiting factors to the usefulness you will get out of your PN40 are…. your computer and your internet access. While you can get a brand new computer with DVD drive for as little as $350 these days, you are still stuck with the slow download rate.

      About your limited personal RAM – I know exactly what you mean! (What is RAM anyway? Sounds vaguely familiar to me.)

      As far as the DeLorme product goes, you will find the PN40 to be a fine GPSr. It does have a lot of functions, but its size limits the number of user controls (i.e. the buttons). Therefore, it will take some time to learn where all the different functions live, and which buttons to press to “get there”. I’ve had mine for about 6 months now, with no prior GPS experience, and I’m finally getting to the point where I don’t have to go easter-egging to find what I want on the PN40.

      Well, that’s about it. Sounds pretty negative, I know, but those are the facts as I see them.

      One last thing – there is a user forum for the Delorme products. It is habitated by many experienced users who will take the time to answer any questions you may have (and you’ll have a lot of them) or will at least direct you to where you can get the answers. It is one of the few forums that have dedicated, serious, and professional-type users.

      I recommend you lurk around in that forum for say, a week or so to get a feel of the PN40 world. Here’s the link:

      forum.delorme.com

      BTW, you can save hundreds of $$ if you buy your device online as opposed to walk-in stores.

      Hope this helps.

      john - August 9th, 2009
    • I enjoyed reading your post. I think that the answers you got from John are right on. His explanations should go a long way in helping you sort out your dilemma.

      To get around your slow Internet connection, older computer and limited personal RAM restrictions, you might consider finding a techie-type who would download and set up your GPS using his/her computer. In Wisconsin and probably near you there are probably plenty of computer savvy and GPS savvy people who would do this as a favor or for a fee. That set up would not automatically enable you to operate the GPS but it would get the maps and aerial imagery onto it. This helper might also be a good coach for learning the hands-on operation of the GPS. Consider running a “personal” ad like the following in a Wisconsin newspaper, in an outdoor store, GPS store, or computer geek newsletter, Craig’s List, etc.

      “Serious Senior Wisconsin hunter-fisher seeking temporary technical relationship with experienced bi-tech (computer and GPS) fetishist willing to share knowledge, time and computer high-speed download capabilities to install mapping data onto GPS and to coach its operation. Willing to pay a reasonable fee for same. Prefer someone who lives in the (whatever your town) area of the state.”

      I have the PN-40. I have seen the Oregon 400t briefly demonstrated by a wildlands’ fire-fighter and I was much impressed with it. The Oregon uses touch-screen to control its functions. It appeared pretty user-friendly but I did not try it myself. I recommend you arrange to get your hands on both units at a store or somewhere and try out the controls a bit.

      It seems that DeLorme’s big advantage is its mapping service – the $30 for downloading anything they have – compared to Garmin’s costs. However the DeLorme pre-loaded map for the part of Alaska where I live is worthless. I had to install the USGS quad maps from DeLorme but that is not very difficult for the type of savvy helper I suggested that you find. Where I am there are no aerials available so you may want to check that out for your area before buying a GPS unit.

      Battery run-down time in the PN-40 is short. When I asked the Oregon owner for comparative info, it turns out that the Oregon has much better battery staying power – about twice as long.

      Though the learning curve may seem steep to you, once you get on top of it, you will probably be glad you joined the rugged GPS crowd. Caution: Fascination with GPS capabilities and on-site data reports can distract time and attention away from less important things like actual hunting and fishing.

      Frank - August 9th, 2009
    • John,

      The Delorme will not be able to read the Garmin lake data set (or any other Gamin data). Check with Garmin to see if the Oregon or any of the other handheld units will read the lake data.

      The Delorme is the only unit that will display aerial photos in the field. That is why I bought it. (Acutally I think maybe Bushell or one other brand does but the images are expensive to dowload.)

      If you realy want the DeLorme and are on a phone modem I would seriously think about buying an inexpensive laptop and going to the nearest decent library of or other location that has a wireless Internet connection and planning to spend some time downloading images there. A new computer won’t cost much more than hring some techie to do it for you ($75+ per hour hadds up fast), and then you can always go and get more data for your next hunt. Then you can just use that old machine as boat anchor and not need to take it back into the house when you are done fishing.

      Robert - August 10th, 2009
  98. I bought a PN-40 at one of the big sporting goods chains after comparing features, price, and included extras. It is my first GPS and I got it to use on an elk hunt in the mountains of Utah.

    Suffice it to say I’m VERY pleased, since it never failed me and gave very clear and concise directions and readouts, even in timber.

    I would not hesitate to recommend the PN-40 to anyone in need of a good GHPS unit.

    Ron - October 15th, 2009
  99. Why has this thread died since August??????? I’ve read the entire post and I was completely sold on the Garmin 60csx and about to order, now I’m stuck in a tie…….was sold on this till I got down to the battery life part…..my friend has this one and we’re going on our every weekend arrowhead hunting excursion today so i’ll check it out some this weekend……I need it for getting around on 15,000 acre hunting club in which we hunt arrowheads. also will be used for my extensive caving, and some fishing. decisions decisions..

    Keven - October 16th, 2009
    • Keven,

      They are both great units. Just carry some spare rechargeables and the battery life will not be an issue iwth the PN-40. If you want it on all day 2 sets will do you. Get the Duracell “pre-charged” rechargeable battteries – they hold 85% of charge for a year.I just came back from a 9-day elk hunting trip in Colorado and did not go through 2 sets of rechargeables. I just turn it on when I need it. As long a there are satllites in the area I get a fix in about 30-45 seconds.

      I got the PN-40 primarly because I can download aerial photos and real USGS topos from the Delorme site for $30/year. With the 60CSX you need to buy topos for each state at $100 each as the baseline topos are only fair (60 CSX owners please chime if if I got this wrong). Good luck deciding!

      Robert - October 17th, 2009
  100. i’m getting ready to buy either a PN-40 or PN-30 but can’t decide if I want the compass/barometric altimiter. It seems like they are good things but I’ve read the barometric altimiter is sometime inaccurate. I really don’t need either of them but it’s kind of a get it because you can thing. Is the barometric altimiter inaccurate? If I turn it off does the PN-40 still have the other kind of altimeter? Does the PN-30 have any altimeter? I know it’s my decesion but I’m on the fence with this one. Plus the camo color is cool.

    Jason - October 27th, 2009
    • Most GPS devices derive altitude from the GPS signal in the same way your latitude and longitude are derived. So the PN-30 does have an altimeter. For most people, I’d go with the PN-30 in a heart-beat.

      Tim - October 28th, 2009
    • Thanks for the reply. Since my post I’ve been reading a lot about the altimeter and compass. I honestly don’t need anything to do with an altimeter or at least one with great accuracy. But now I’m focused on the compass. I still would have a regular compass when in the woods but to have one onthe GPS would be easier.

      Either way I’ll be getting a PN-30 or 40. I guess the decision will be mde when I put down the cash. Best I’ve seen is a $70 difference between the two.

      Jason - October 30th, 2009
      • The 30 has a compass function, but is based on the GPS signal. So it looks at your movement and determines direction. If you are standing still the compass isn’t accurate on the 30. The 40 will have an accurate compass even when standing still, provided it is calibrated.

        Tim - October 30th, 2009



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