I don't see the Truck version listed for my TMobile Dash, just the Live version. It would have to be the truck version to be worth getting as I already have a regular non-truck Garmin. Does anyone know if the truck version works on the Dash or not?
GPS with Truck Routes
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Hello everyone. I am brand new to this forum. Have been driving trucks for about 5 years but work for a construction services company where I stay at a site for a week or or sometimes much longer. My point is that I don't have as much over the road experience as someone who has driven 5 years for a regular trucking company.
I have been on a quest for the ultimate truck GPS for quite a while.
My first experience with GPS was Street Atlas USA 2003. I really like this program and have updated it every year since then. But it is not truck specific and the maps and POI database always seem to be about 5 or more years behind. The user interface of this program is amazing. If only the maps and POI database were better I might use it for navigation. What I do use it for is to search for local resturants etc. near my jobsite. I have gotten in the habit of calling first to make sure the place still exists before I go there. I also like to use it to preplan my stops on a cross country route. Not all of our trucks have sleepers and the ones that do are full of spare parts and other junk. In a pinch I can squeeze in between the stuff and take a nap but we mostly stay at motels when traveling.
OK I was about to give a history of all the GPS products I have ever used but I can see that it will take way too much space and time so let me get to my point.
The PC Miler Navigator.
I just got one for $300.00 at a Petro in Effingham, IL off I70.(I got the last one.)
When I initially plugged in the 12vdc charger nothing happened.
On closer examination I discovered that the center spring loaded contact was stuck inside the housing. I was able to unscrew the end and get it to protrude out of the hole as it should. Not a good first impression though.
The device itself feels cheap. The PC Miler logo is just a thin metal strip that is glued on just above the display. It does not seem like the device was built from the ground up to be a GPS device. It seems more like a cheap touch screen handheld computer into which they installed CoPilot Truck 11. I have not tried CoPilot Truck 11 on my laptop but I do own version 9 and I don't like it much. The maps are out of date and not accurate. I often had trouble entering addresses into Truck 9 and would have to use SA USA to find a nearby address that Truck 9 would accept.
I have read quite a few negative reviews of Truck 11 and not one really positive review.
I stuck it onto the windshield right next to my Garmin nuvi 760t (which is amazing but not truck specific and will get you into trouble if your'e not paying attention.) and entered the address of our home shop near Pittsburgh, PA and it did accept this address without issue.
So my route was from Effingham, IL to Coraopolis, PA. Basically I70 all the way. I was traveling at night. My Garmin automatically switches to the night display. The PC Miler has a night display setting but you have to dig into the menu and do it manually.
The website describes the spoken directions as loud. They are not loud. Not nearly loud enough to be understood in a big truck. Granted I was in an old 1994 Freightliner COE but even with the volume maxed out and leaning in as close as I could get I could not clearly understand the voice. There is no FM transmitter like the Garmin. But the Garmin speaker is loud enough to hear though I wish it were louder as well. But this is supposed to be a truck specific GPS. Did they actually test it in a real truck? Obviously not.
I turned on the feature to have POIs announced and wore headphones so I could hear what it was saying. I know headphones are a no no when driving but this is for science?
It announced every exit along I70 as a point of interest. The exit itself with no additonal information as to what I would find should I venture to take that exit. What good is that? Sprinkled in were a few hotels and truckstops but I know it missed a bunch of those. Is this a sneaky way to boost the number of POIs they can claim the database contains? When I stopped at a Flying J just East of Columbus, OH the Garmin found it no problem but the PC Miler Navigator could not find a Flying J Truck Stop that has been there for many years! This is a truck specific device and should contain a complete truck stop database. I could forgive a miss if it were a fairly new location (It was not) or the occaisional miss of a small mom and pop location but this is a major national chain (with dried out food on the buffet, but I digress).
Actually I could forgive all of the above if the truck specific directions were good. But no. They are bad. Granted it was only one trip but if it can't get a simple trip across the "heartland" of America right I am not looking forward to NYC.
My Garmin routed me straight through Indianapolis on I70 which made sense at night. During the day I might have chosen the bypass I465 if it weren't under construction. The Miler wanted me to take I465. I went straight through and it rerouted OK but the real problem was Columbus, OH. Appearantly the Miler defaults to always taking a bypass when available. Once again since it was the middle of the night it made more sense to go straight through Columbus, OH. The Miler thought that trucks are not allowed to go straight through Columbus and there were dashes through road on the map indicating I was not supposed to be there. And it kept telling me to take every exit I saw to get me off of I 70 untill I was outside the loop. And I did set up my vehicle before entering the route and made sure hazmat was not checked.
Later while on I79 northbound towards Pittsburgh A message displayed that the memory was full and CoPilot Truck Truck 11 will close. I hit OK and the map went away and something like a PC desktop appeared. I reopened it and it did resume my route but my POI settings were cleared.
At the very end of the trip was the last straw. It had the old name for a road that was upgraded and renamed many years ago and is the best way to get from the highway to the road our shop is on. Copilot wanted me to keep going down another mile then double back. It would have gotten me there but in a round about way. I took the short way and here is the clincher. I arrived at the road my home shop is on. Turn left and go .2 of a mile and you are there. But the PC Miler Navigator wanted me to turn right! If this were unfamiliar territory to me of course I would have turned right and it would have headed up a winding road towards town. A legal truck route but still, the opposite direction I needed to go to reach my destination. Not sure what it wanted me to do after that because I ignored it and went where I knew I needed to go.
I plan to test it a little more in my car (Where it can't get me into trouble) but I will probably drive to the nearest Petro Stopping Center and return it. At this point I wouldn't recomend it to anyone. Too bad. I really had high hopes that this would be the one.
My quest continues.
PS: There is an option to set it to display the direction of Mecca. WTF?
PSS: When trying to set my home time zone to Eastern I had to scroll through a long list of mostly middle eastern countries.
WTF? All we need here is Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. I could see going one extra zone East and West. I think you can get into the Atlantic time zone in Canada. And I guess they have trucks in Hawaii that might be beyond Pacific time but that's about it.
Hello again. Sorry my previous and first ever post was so long. At the end of my post I pointed out some features in the PC Miler Navigator that are obviously geared towards Muslim drivers. I know that there are some Muslim truck drivers out there and that's fine. I don't mean to insult anyone.
But I am not Muslim and I believe that the majority of truck drivers are not.
I am a NFL fan. I'll bet many times more drivers are NFL fans than Muslims though I acknowledge that it is possible to be both.
Where is the setting to point to Canton, OH?
Or when you say Mecca did you really mean the Iowa 80 Truckstop? Didn't think so.
My point is I wish ALK Technologies would have spent more time and energy getting the POI database updated and getting the truck restrictions correct etc. and less time adding features that will appeal to only a tiny fraction of potential users of the product. At least in this country.
I had one of the Beta test units back in march of this year and sent it back with all the things you have listed.
Wonder if they just reboxed the one i had and sold it.
We should expect much better from ALK.
It wont take long for word to get around that it's a POS
Glad you tryed it .Now i don't have to.
It sounds to me like they completely ignored any advice from from Beta testers. Did they rush it to the market to try to cash in on the Christmas shopping season?
If so that was a mistake. This is not a gift item. It is a tax deductable Trucker's tool. If it works right.
I was a little skeptical about the price. It's too cheap to be any good. The Truck 11 software alone sells for $199 without a GPS reciever. For another $100 bucks we'll through in a GPS device?
You get what you pay for.
The truth is I would easily pay $1000.00 for a rock solid device that actually gave good truck usable routes.
Here is my dream device.
1. Rugged device with 4.3" screen.
2. Solid suction cup mounting that stays put.
3. Easy to quickly remove/remount the device for times when you feel it might attract the attention of thieves.
4. Accepts high capacity SD storage cards to play mp3 music, audio books, display digital photos etc.
5. Option for XM and or Sirius radio. The device would act as the display and control surface for the satelite radio with other hardware mounted in the truck. Ability to be permanent or temporary install depending on your situation.
6. FM transmitter that is actually usable. Possibly with direct connect to the antennae like some XMs have.
7. An aux input to allow the use of any external audio device. Voice prompts can override this audio or not. User selectable.
8.Bluetooth connectivity for cell phone.
9. Ability to input a starting mileage and have the device record mileage at state lines, and on / off toll roads.
10. Better yet, the ability to run DDL or something like it while taking full advantage of the GPS capabilities for milages and locations.
11. Able to print logs and trip reports via Bluetooth or USB.
12. Connection to internet via Wifi and or cellular connection. Able to send/receive email messages and send logs/trip reports.
13. Able to get weather report along route and give warning of poor conditions ahead.
14. Constantly updates truck restrictions including temporary ones due to construction. Might even be willing to pay a monthly fee for the updates and weather service.
15. Complete POI database that is also constantly updated. Ability to do detailed search for hotels with truck parking, Truck stop with scales, truck wash, tire service etc.
16. And last but certainly not least, extremely accurate GPS with accurate and complete truck specific routes that apply to the type of truck you tell the device you are driving. 53' trailer, various types of hazmat, over dimension/weight load etc.
17. One more thing. In case you jump into a different truck for a quick trip, the built in speaker should be loud enough to hear in the noisiest truck. You may not want to fool with the FM direct connect for a short trip but still want GPS guidance.
If Garmin, ALK, and DDL could somehow team up I think the device I just described could be a reality. It might cost $1500.00 but I'd still be the first in line to get one.
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