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MUCH MORE THAT JUST A GPS (The Rand NcNally RVND7710 cont.)

November 3, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

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RV’ers take note – this thing is much, much more than just a typical GPS.

My Garmin Nuvi is an excellent GPS product.  It always finds an address and routes me there.  But, it lacks many of the extended features offered in the Rand McNally RVND7710 specifically designed  for folks driving RV’s.

At first, I was disappointed in the RVND7710.  The address interface was unfamiliar to me and I could not get the docking software to recognize my serial number or access the full manual.

But (always a but) I quickly discovered that everything I needed to learn and remember about the operation of the RVND7710 was right in front of me programmed into the unit and accessible under TIPS, TUTORIALS and FAQ that appear as an operator option immediately after the unit boots up.  I absolutely did not need an online or printed manual – it was all programed into the deice!

Thankfully, the RVND7710 also includes an AC power adapter.  This allowed me to “play” and learn how the unit operates from the comfort of my Lazy Boy recliner while facing the fireplace rather than in the cab of a cold vehicle.  NICE!

What really blew my mind was that the RVND was able to lock in on 4 satellites and pinpoint my location inside without a clear overhead view of the sky.  I have never encountered a GPS device that would do this.  I do not know what type of antenna the RVND has built in, but it is awesome!

OK – more about the RVND and how it surpasses the typical GPS device.

Boot-up image of the RVND7710 shows clarity of 7" HD display

Under the RV TOOLS icon that appears on the main menu you can set the type, height, length, weight, width, and number of bottles of propane you carry before you begin any trip routing. This means you will not be sent down any routes that may block your passage or result in a ticket.  No more dead end roads, toll roads, ferries, U-turns, low RR crossings, bridges or tunnels to worry with (per your selection).  You describe your vehicle and the resultant routing will take you away from the selected obstructions. We are driving a 62’ long, 13’3” high, 8’6” wide, 33,000# rig with at least two 30# propane tanks – this feature is a true blessing!

But wait!  There is more: On the RV TOOLS menu screen you have a selection for RV LOGS, CHECKLIST and TRAILS.  The CHECKLIST selection is really cool.  It takes you to a screen where you may use any one of eleven categories of items all RV’ers need to go through before hitting the road, setting up or breaking camp preparing their  tow vehicle, RV, pets, equipment and more.  Each category can easily be customized for your preferences so any items or steps you take that might not be on the default list can be added. Sure, you can do this with a notebook, pencil and printed checklist for a much lower investment – even have it on a laptop computer.  But, convenience and location of the checklist as part of the RVND says a lot. This is a great addition to the provided software and I will use it on every trip to be sure I have not forgotten something (which I often do).

There is even a function that lets you create a “breadcrumb” trail.  Let’s say you are in a campground or have followed a rather complicated route to get to a campground.  Rather than redoing the entire routing in reverse to get out or back, simply leave a trail that has all the coordinates and routing to quickly give only the preferred segment of your route and return you to your campsite quickly and safely.  Again, fantastic if you sometimes “forget” which turn to make  on unfamiliar roads.

The RVND7710 lacks some features that I had come to like on my Garmin.  In particular, the Bluetooth function that provided a no-hands connection to my cell phone. I will miss that nice feature.  The inability to create a slide show of favorite photos, store and play music selections, or even video is not something I will miss in the RVND7710.  While my Garmin will allow all of this, I never used those options.  But, hey, there is no rule against having TWO GPS enabled devices in operation at the same time – I can actually keep them both and use each feature I want without interfering with navigation on the other.

Finding a place to mount the 7710 was not as easy as I anticipated.   It’s size can easily create a blind spot if improperly mounted.  Of course, all of the other visual aides in the cockpit of the Volvo VNL670 have previously captured a lot of the available real estate in the driver’s view line.  I opted to mount the 7710 high – about where a inside rear view mirror would go, if we had one.  This was made possible by the massive, easily positioned, structurally sound, suction cup monitor mount provided and the awesome antenna reception – even under the  shadow of the Volvo’s outside sun visor.  The long DC power cord easily reached a power outlet in the cabinet above.

STAR = 7710 mount, 1=right blind spot camera monitor; 2=rear of truck monitor; 3=rear of camper monitor; 4=Garmin Nuvi "Trucker" GPS (still there for the Bluetooth/Phone feature)

There is much, much more about this amazing device I want to share.  But, it will have to wait until I write another blog.  Perhaps I can tell you more about the DASHBOARD, QUICK PLANNER, WARNINGS, CAMPGROUND DIRECTORY, ROAD ATLAS AND SELECT FISHING SPOTS as I become more familiar with their functions.  There is so much to this device that it may take two or three more postings to share all of its capabilities.

So far, the RVND7710 looks like a winner for a GPS device designed for the RV community.  This is number 6 in my search for a GPS unit that satisfies my specific needs.

Please, understand that I am not trying to sell the RVND 7710 to anyone or even convince you to go out and purchase one.  My links from the RVND7710 to Camping World as a retailer are mearly a suggestion for finding a discounted retailer.  I only want to share how I perceive the functions, purpose, and operation of the device for my particular needs.  Your needs and perception may be quite different from mine! If you take the time to read the hundred’s of on-line reviews on the 7710 and little brother 5510 you will find issues from one user that are not present with another.  As they say – “Different strokes for different folks.”

If it only had voice recognition so I could talk back to it – sort of like the human GPS that sits to my right in the passenger seat and also tells me what to do and where to go.

HAPPY CAMPING TRAILS TO ALL!

Comments

4 Responses to “MUCH MORE THAT JUST A GPS (The Rand NcNally RVND7710 cont.)”
  1. Jim C. says:

    Is there a possibility that the Rand 7710 might come out with some sort of dash mount? My 7′ Garmin has that & it’s great. Thank you for your coverage & input on this device.

  2. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Randy,
    You are explaining this de’v'ice (there is a ‘v’ in the word) very well.. IF ONLY THE MAPS ARE CORRECT
    it will be REALLY GOOD.. I always wonder about RM maps after using them for many years and getting
    in tight spots because of them… Yours is the first review I’ve seen on it.. Chris Guld has started to
    review it, but haven’t gotten all of hers.. With all of the GPSs out there and the expense of them it’s nice
    to have someone like you & Chris explaining HOW THEY WORK!!! THANX!!!

    Have a safe trip on: Smooth roads, under clear blue skies, with balmy breezes!!!!!!!!!

  3. Professor95 says:

    Jim,
    I do not know if RM will come out with a dash mount or not. But, I see them as a company responsive to consumers. Maybe if we just ask enough?

    butterbean,
    The accuracy of the maps remains to be seen. Knowing map data sources for all GPS devices come from the same companies, I would think it is at least as good as others. What I am REALLY interested in is how well it does in routing based on the RV type. As with any GPS, frequently updating maps is important. Unfortunately, it appears Rand McNally’s updates for the RVND7710 after one year will have a cost. I think Garmin was smart to offer FREE lifetime map updates with their top tier GPS units. For the price of the RVND7710, lifetime map updates should be included. There is an option where RV’ers can enter new road info or contradictions and they will go back to RM when you DOCK your unit to an Internet connected computer. This should help improve accuracy of RV routing..

  4. MrOAK says:

    I own the RM 5510 and have pluses and minuses about it. First My first one stopped working because the key firmware file went missing. Fortunately a Camping World store replaced it for free. Yeah to Camping World! The user interface is really different and not intuitive. It’s very important to view the hints and tips or you will stumble with the interface for a while. There are a ton of extra functions that can work out well for traveling with your RV. Today I learned how to look at what services are available on the upcoming exits. Although it did not have as much data as the Next Exit book (or as accurate) it was easy to use. I also found that you can click on a service that you wanted to stop at and it will insert it as a via point on your trip. How cool. My wife loved how easy it was to mark the next Dairy Queen for a soft serve stop.
    I also learned how to set up my own checklist for leaving an RV park. We have used a paper based checklist to remind ourselves to put down the antenna and many other items. I entered this list on the GPS unit and you can check the items off. If you miss checking an item it will tell you that the checklist is not all checked and allow you to review the missing checkmarks.
    We also like the volume of the voice instructions as well as the speaking voice. I do not misunderstand the instructions any where as often as I did with my Garmin. Important in a noisy gas engined RV.
    I do not like the mount at all. I don’t like and do not use suction cups on the windshield. I use this GPS in both my car and my RV. Since GPS units are very often stolen (I have had one stolen), leaving it on the dashboard is not a good thing to do. Undoing a suction cup every time you stop and park is a pain. I jury rigged my unit on a bean bag dashboard mount that I used with my old Garmin. It’s not pretty but it works.
    I agree that paying every year for map updates on an expensive unit is excessive.

    Generally I am happy with the unit but it does have short commings.

    Jim

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