TomTom Rider Upgrade?
In this Update (#6), I'm actually in the process of preparing the Gen5 TomTom Rider for a dual sport rally. No, not on the BigV. As previously reported, I have a new Kawasaki KLR650 that I purchased for light Florida dual sporting.
Having experienced a fractured base (see first photo below) after my ride along the sandy washboard surface of the Apache Trail in Arizona last October I decided that some changes to the mounting would be in order.
- First, the original Ram Bar Clamp that came with the TomTom was the larger model, able to fit a 1 1/4 inch bar and a shim to provide for fitment on a 7/8 inch bar. That clamp is okay on the Versys, but the bar on the KLR is only 7/8 and I didn't want the rubber shim causing any movement.
- Second, I made an attempt to better dampen the vibrations where the back of the device cradle mounts to the ram base plate ( mounted via four M5/11mm-0.80 pitch). To do this, I placed a 3mm thick washer on each mounting bolt and one each side of the Ram base plate (8 total washers) as shown in the second photo below. Adding the additional dampeners required replacing the stock 11mm mounting bolts with longer bolts, which are available at any hardware store. (IMPORTANT NOTE: The cradle mount threads (female end) are 4mm deep and the total bolt aperture depth is 5mm. Inserting a bolt further than 5mm could cause damage to the back of the mount cradle. I used a dial gauge to get these measurements. I very lightly treated the threads with locktite and very lightly torqued them in.)
The photo below shows how the back of the cradle fractured at ALL FOUR points where it mounts to the Ram base plate. Did they fracture all at the same time? I really don't know. The unit didn't fall off the mount until I got to Texas, but I know where most of the damage happened.
A couple side notes: First, when I got on the washboard, I should have simply removed the SatNav from its base. Unfortunately, at the time I was hyper-focused on my Puig screen that was flapping like a piece of tissue paper and never thought to remove the TomTom. The screen did fine. Point is, if I get into a similar situation, I'm pulling the TomTom off! Secondly, when this fracture occurred, I placed the SatNav device inside the map window on my tank bag and on battery power. I do this with my phone all the time. After some time I noted the TomTom screen dimming. When I pulled it out to check on it, the device had become very hot. I thought I'd toasted it, but it later came back to life. Point here is, the device apparently does not like enclosed spaces.
Okay, so let's see how that ^^ works.
On the functionality side, I have updates on "Importing" and "Route vs. Tracking."
As to importing, I have received a number of .gpx (suffix) formatted maps reflecting the dual sport course that I will be navigating over the three-day rally. The Gen5 TomTom Rider does not read .gpx. That's not unusual as many devices don't read various types of map format and there are a number of conversion software solutions available to compensate for that.
From the getgo, TomTom has you hooked up on Tyre to Travel as it's recommended platform for developing maps...called Itineraries with an .itn suffix. I have become a fan of Tyre. While it's a little slow, it sure is easy to use and does a dang good job. And during this process, I found that the .gpx files loaded right up to the Tyre software! No problems. All I had to do was either set the upload window to "all files" or "Garmin Files." Once loaded up on the Tyre screen you can review the Track and make changes just like any other map. Wow!, I thought.
Then I found the catch. As mentioned, the TomTom only accepts .itn files so the .gpx files need to be converted to .itn. No problem. Tyre does that automatically when you load a map onto the device...another good Tyre feature. However, what I found was that .itn files are limited to 100 waypoints to be loaded on the TomTom SatNav device.
Wait a minute! The Gen5 TomTom is represented to be able to hold up to 10,000 waypoints at a time. Yet, each file (or Itinerary) can't have more than 100 waypoints? Yup, I even found it in the manual.
Well, the reason that limitation presented me with a problem is the .gpx files are Tracks and tracks, by their very nature, require many more waypoints to create a map than a typical route (see Routes and Tracks, below). In fact, the number of waypoints in each of the .gpx files I received had between 500 and 700 waypoints. Yes, I could spend a day and a half deleting waypoints, but it was simpler and faster to simply rebuild the routes from scratch.
So, on importing files, the Tyre software really made the process simple. However, the limitation on the number of waypoints per Itinerary was a real surprise.
Routes and Tracks:
Basically, route maps utilize established roads (such as the maps in GoogleMaps) to map out a route to get from point A to point B. It won't look for shortcuts or cross country jaunts. It'll look for actual roads and route along those. Track Maps simply track a path using waypoints (waypoints are nothing more than a virtual pin in a map); tracks don't care whether that track is along an established road or across a farmer's pasture or up the side of a mountain. Naturally, track mapping is a more useful type of map for dual sporting and off-road riding.
I was fully aware that the Gen5 TomTom Rider does not Track when I purchased it. I didn't care because it was my sport touring SatNav. Now that I need it for a dual sport rally, I'm a little on the SOL side but not entirely.
The entire .gpx tracks are mostly established roads. While I would have liked to just edit the .gpx tracks and load them on the TomTom as .itn files, that turned out to be too much effort as discussed under the Importing section above. So what I did, was map the road sections in separate .itn files, loaded them and will run those programs separately. For the off-road segments, I have a paper map and a roll chart. It only resulted in three separate routes per day for the three day event. Not too bad.
So, essentially I've made the TomTom do most of the work for me during this rally. Now, I can only hope that it holds together. :)