Gee Pee Ess

A part on my GPS broke a few weeks ago, rendering it mostly useless. There’s a rubber gasket that surrounds the entire unit (you can see it in this picture), and the buttons are molded into the gasket. There’s also a flap that extends toward the back of the unit that covers the data port. Since I’d been using the data port while driving a lot lately with the GPS hooked up to my laptop, the flap ended up tearing from all the bouncing and sliding back and forth on the dash of my truck. That tear extended into the rubber gasket and eventually the entire thing just came off. I’ve tried gluing it back together, but no glue that I’ve found will stick to the rubber. Since the buttons are part of the gasket, it’s very difficult to operate without it. I can still push the actual electronic buttons that are recessed inside the unit itself, but before long I’m sure dirt and wear will take its toll on them as well.
Garmin has a $99 flat fee for repairing my GPS, which is ridiculous for a simple, easily replaceable part. I first called their tech support to see if they’d simply sell me the gasket, but they said they couldn’t do it, but if I sent it in they’d repair it for half price. Still, $50 was too much, but I’d read here that some people had gotten theirs fixed for free even though the GPS was long out of warranty–maybe they could be bargained with? So I tried emailing their tech support (since I’m not good at haggling over the phone) and asked again if they could either sell me the gasket or repair it at a greatly reduced price. I also hinted around that if not, I could always simply buy a new Magellan GPS. I heard back from Garmin tech support today, but I got the same answer I’d gotten over the phone. Actually, this is part of the bullshit answer I got: “Since it is against ISO regulations to send out subassemblies of GPS units, we can not send you a new rubber gasket.” In other words, they make much more money by charging a flat fee.
I’m not willing to pay $50 for a refurbished GPS, especially when I could buy a new one from Amazon for $123.49, so that’s exactly what I did this morning. I also ordered a handlebar mount so I can more easily take the GPS with me on bike rides (it sure beats using bungee cords). I plan on selling my old GPS as-is on eBay, and I’m sure somebody would be willing to pay $50 or more for it, especially if they have a non-functioning GPS with the rubber gasket intact.
I actually researched all the newer GPS models, but I couldn’t find one that was remotely worth buying. I’d like to dispense with the laptop altogether and simply have a GPS with good mapping capabilities, but apparently no such thing exists. The best topo maps available for Garmin units are pretty much worthless, with a scale of about 1:100,000. The Magellan map software is a little bit better, but they don’t provide any screenshots of what the maps will look like on the actual GPS screen (they only show the computer screen version). I heard from one person who said they still have to plan out trips in advance using the maps on their computer because the Magellan maps still don’t cut it.
I also considered buying a Magellan simply because I don’t want to replace my Garmin every two years when the rubber gasket gives out. The cheapest Magellan that had all the same features as my Garmin eTrex Legend was the eXplorist 400, and it was nearly $300. For way less than that I figured I could buy two new Garmins, and hopefully in the next four years there would be better options available.

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