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Phil Sherrod's review of the Magellan Map 410 GPS receiver.

The first thought I had when I pulled my Magellan Map 410 out of the box was "Gosh, this is a solid, well-built machine". Everything about it seems very rugged and solid.  It fits in the hand nicely and has a very solid but not overly heavy weight. It has rubber armor on the outside and feels like it could be dropped on concrete a few times without being damaged (I haven't tried this).  It almost has a military spec feel.  The fit and finish is excellent.  The function keys fit exactly in their openings with very little wobble and no binding.  They press smoothly and there is a confirming beep that can be turned on or off.  It is a classy unit.  If I was going into the jungle and had to depend on one GPS to get me out alive, I would take a 410.


The size of the unit is 6.88"x2.5"x1.1". It weighs 12 ounces with 4 AA batteries installed. The acquisition times (under optimal conditions) are specified to be approximately 15 seconds for a warm start or 1 minute for a cold start.  The update rate is once per second.  Position accuracy is listed as 49 feet RMS (with SA turned off).  The speed resolution is 0.1 MPH (or knots) and the specifications say it can handle up to 951 MPH.

It is powered by 4 AA batteries, but the instruction manual says that it can be run in emergency mode on just 2 batteries.  The manual says that 4 batteries provide about 12 hours of operation time. It has a graphical indicator of the battery charge on the primary status screen. The battery compartment opens at the bottom: two screw-down covers with rubber gaskets seal it.  The manual says it is waterproof: I believe this, but have not verified it. An optional cigarette lighter cable costs $20.

It has a detachable quadrifilar antenna at the top.  You remove it by turning it about 90 degrees and then pulling up.  If there is any part of the unit that could be subject to damage from abuse, this is probably it. But in normal operation the antenna fits snug against the body and is unobtrusive. (see the notes from GPS Nuts)  For about $30 extra you can buy a suction cup antenna and cable.  You must remove the top antenna to connect an external antenna. There is a socket for a data/power cable in the back of the unit. When not being used, the socket is filled by a rubber plug that is attached to the back so it can't get lost.

The unit is operated by 8 keys positioned around an oval rocker plate that you use for menu navigation. In addition to the up/down/left/right arrows on the rocker plate, you can also press at a 45-degree position to get up/right, down/left, etc.

The display is 1.4 inches wide by 2.5 inches high.  It has a remarkably high pixel density of 120x240. The contrast is excellent (and adjustable), and you can select two levels of backlighting for night operation.

The 410 has a 12-channel parallel receiver.  The receiver/antenna combination seems to be very sensitive. In my bedroom and office I can get a 2D-position lock about 70% of the time and a 3D lock about 10% of the time. No other GPS unit I have ever used was able to get a position lock inside a house and away from windows.  It quickly gets a 3D lock when used outside.

As an experiment, I took the 410 into a bathroom that is in the center of my house and has no windows.  I also closed the door.  Amazingly, the 410 was able to get a 2D fix about 50% of the time and a 3D fix about 5%.  I was able to improve the performance by adjusting the position and orientation of the unit.  The satellite-signal strength bargraph is very responsive which helps when trying to adjust the position for optimal response.  I would recommend the 410 for situations where weak signals may be encountered.

The basic GPS operation seems to work well.  There are a variety of screens for displaying position, bearing, course, speed, etc.  You can customize the items that are shown on many of these screens. You also can enable and disable which screens are shown when scrolling by pressing the NAV button. The Menu button is functional on every screen to select options.  I appreciate having a Quit button that you can press to quickly back out of any menu.  You can quickly mark the current position by pressing the Enter (Mark) key twice.  A system-generated name is initially shown, but you can edit the name to customize it. In addition, there is a man overboard (MOB) function.  You can chose from a variety of distance measures (miles, nautical miles, km, etc.).

There are a number of alarms that can be turned on or off individually such as anchor alarm (drifting from current position), arrival, cross-track error, GPS lock lost, proximity to a waypoint, etc.  You can set the distances that will trigger the alarms.

When at rest, the position screen automatically starts computing an average position and shows how long the averaging has been going on.  The time of day is shown to the nearest second.

In addition to the usual set of navigation position screens, the Map 410 has, of course, a moving map. Given the size of the screen, the visibility and detail are excellent.  It comes with interstate highways and major state roads built in as well as bodies of water and state boundaries. Highway numbers, state names and major city names are shown textually on the map.

I purchased the optional MapSend/Land CD with additional roads for about $50.  In addition to the CD, you need a Magellan serial connector cable that costs about $25 to run from your computer to the 410. The MapSend software allows you to select several types of items to be loaded into the 410: Local roads, small cities and points of interest such as ATM's, hotels, gas stations, airports, exit ramp services, medical facilities, truck stops, and RV service. I don't know how much RAM the unit has in it, but I was able to load the local roads, small cities, ATM's gas stations, restaurants and airports for all of Tennessee and western North Carolina.  There is no facility for adding additional memory to the 410.  It took about 20 minutes to download the MapSend data from my computer to the 410.  I used the default baud rate settings; it may be possible to increase it.

The MapSend CD includes data for all US states, so you can reload data as you travel around (if you have a computer handy). There is no additional charge to "unlock" data for any regions: any data on the CD can be downloaded at will.  This is different than the MapSend Marine CD which requires you to pay a licensing fee for each region you wish to load (I believe you get one region free with the CD).

The local road detail is decent, but definitely not in the class with serious road navigation programs such as Street Atlas USA.  For example, it has the two-lane small state road that runs by my subdivision, but it does not have any streets within my subdivision.  Many of the significant city roads are not shown.  I was disappointed about not having more small roads
available after downloading from MapSend.  However, you can look for the nearest restaurant/gas station/ATM, etc. and have it show where it is and provide a course to it.  When searching for gas stations, restaurants and other POI's, it displays a list of the closest 10 showing the name of the establishment. You can scroll down through the list and the bearing and distance indicators change instantly to show you how far away the selected place is.

There are zoom-in and zoom-out buttons for changing the map scaling.  The highest zoom-in scale is 700 feet displayed in the screen width (shown as a scale of 350 feet for screen).  There are 20 zoom-out scales going up to 1000 miles across the screen.  It takes it about 11 seconds to repaint the screen when you change the map scale.  You can use a cursor to pan around the map; it scrolls when you hit the edge.

The Map Setup menu allows you select the map scale at which various icons will be shown on the map.  You can make individual choices for many items including major cities, large cities, medium cities, small cities, various types of roads, railroads, ATM's, gas stations, airports, restaurants, etc. You can also turn off each of these icons individually.

The Map 410 has a built-in thermometer.  You can calibrate it using the setup screen, but I can't vouch for its accuracy.  It also has a built-in pressure altimeter that is coupled to the GPS altitude system in some fashion that is supposed to improve the GPS altitude accuracy.  You cannot set the barometric pressure or use the pressure altimeter separate from the GPS function (too bad).

A Sun/Moon screen displays the Sun and Moon rise and set times as well as the phase of the Moon. You can select the position and date to be used for the calculation; it defaults to the current time and position.  There is another screen that supposedly tells you the best times to hunt or fish.

You can chose between 12 coordinate systems: Latitude/Longitude, UTM, TD, OSGB, Irish, Swiss, Swedish, Finnish, German, French, MGRS and User grid. You can chose a different coordinate system for the primary and secondary navigation screens.  You can choose between 75 built-in map datums including WGS84, WGS72, NAD83, NAD27, AUS84, and CANAD.  You can choose a different map datum for the primary and secondary displays.

The retail price for a Map 410 is about $400. The going price for a new Map 410 on eBay is about $300.  You can get used units for less.

A good site for buying accessories for the Map 410 is
http://www.bikeworld.com/gps.htm

Phil Sherrod

Notes from GPS Nuts:

1.    In most situations the antenna can be left in horizontal position and provide adequate reception, but in the normal operation the antenna should be rotated "UP".

2.    More extensive review of the Map410 can be found here.

 

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