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Old 06-02-2015, 02:17   #1
woc
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GPS backup

Has anyone used the "Bad Elf Pro GPS for iPad" . If so, does it show the boat position on the Navionics chart app?
It seems a well priced gadget to back up the iPad built in GPS or as a stand alone position display with long batterie life
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Old 06-02-2015, 03:00   #2
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Re: GPS backup

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Originally Posted by woc View Post
Has anyone used the "Bad Elf Pro GPS for iPad" . If so, does it show the boat position on the Navionics chart app?
It seems a well priced gadget to back up the iPad built in GPS or as a stand alone position display with long batterie life
I don't see the point if your iPad already has a GPS. The iPad dying is more likely than it's GPS function dying on its own leaving a working iPad.

If you want a backup GPS with a display of the position, get a Garmin or similar handheld.
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Old 06-02-2015, 03:04   #3
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Re: GPS backup

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I don't see the point if your iPad already has a GPS. The iPad dying is more likely than it's GPS function dying on its own leaving a working iPad.

If you want a backup GPS with a display of the position, get a Garmin or similar handheld.
My thoughts exactly. What's wrong with the iPad's own GPS?
If you are afraid getting water splash just get a waterproof case for the iPad.
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:01   #4
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Re: GPS backup

There is some logic to have this gadget. The iPad built in GPS is assisted meaning that it looks for " first time fix" through cell towers or wifi.
Without these signals it can take some time to get a fix on the iPad and I have experienced this on extended offshore cruises.
The gadget is very popular with pilots most of whom carry Ipads.
I do have Garmin handheld in my ditch bag but value any gadget that works with iPads and the Navionic apps.
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:15   #5
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Re: GPS backup

Yes the GPS assistance is used to get the position faster which is no help offshore, but is the time lag really a problem.

I suspect that you will find that it is popular with pilots because at the speed they are travelling, then it is important to them to get a gps device that acquires quickly and refreshes quickly. So for them it is better to by the BE and an iPad without GPS.

If you already have a GPS equipped iPad and all you do is sail, then I still don't see the point.

The Navionics should be able to work with the BE as I'm pretty sure people with GPSless iPads can use it. The only way I know you can turn off the GPS (I assume it is turned off) is to go into flight mode.
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:39   #6
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Re: GPS backup

Agree with the difference of a pilots needs and sailboat. I am less concerned with the speed of getting a fix than the outages I have experienced on the iPad GPS.
Being the belt and suspenders type, short of the expense I don't see a downside to having it.
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:50   #7
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Re: GPS backup

I bought the Pro+ model when it first came out last year. It allows up to five devices to connect, so my idea was to use it with Navionics on my LTE iPad but also use it with other devices that don't have built in GPS. It didn't work out well. There were huge problems with the device crashing. On several instances it was completely unresponsive and wouldn't reboot until the internal battery died. Bad Elf eventually fixed that issue with firmware upgrades, but another problem persists. The bluetooth connection with iOS devices is unstable. The connection drops out several times a day. The only way to re-establish a dropped Bluetooth connection is to reboot both the Bad Elf and the iPad (or iPhone, ITouch). This is a major PITA and not something you want to deal with on a device you're using for navigation. Bad Elf technical staff made a heroic effort to find a fix for the problem, but ultimately said they couldn't do anything about it (it's an Apple problem) and offered me a refund.

If the Bad Elf actually worked reliably, there would be another important benefit to using it with an LTE iPad. When you sail out of LTE signal range, the iPad wastes a lot of battery power searching for a signal. There's also significant power spent on GPS reception. By using an external GPS, all radios except Bluetooth can be turned off on the iPad. This should greatly improve the iPad's battery life.


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Old 06-02-2015, 05:13   #8
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Re: GPS backup

Excellent feedback from an actual user. Many thanks. I have seen similar reviews from earlier models but also indications that the problems you experienced have been resolved or at least improved on.
Interesting comment about the beneficial effects on iPad battery life if external GPS signal is available.
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:48   #9
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Re: GPS backup

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there would be another important benefit to using it with an LTE iPad. When you sail out of LTE signal range, the iPad wastes a lot of battery power searching for a signal.
Just turn off the cellular function on it if out of cell range - no power used for that function.

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Old 06-02-2015, 11:01   #10
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Re: GPS backup

As far as I know, on iOS devices, you can't turn off the cellular radio without also turning off GPS.
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Old 06-02-2015, 11:04   #11
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Re: GPS backup

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As far as I know, on iOS devices, you can't turn off the cellular radio without also turning off GPS.
I must have two special ones.

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Old 06-02-2015, 11:16   #12
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Re: GPS backup

Its true this is an Apple problem; their implementation of bluetooth stack is not standard. At least it wasn't with the 5-series phones and maybe the earlier ipads. I don't know about now.

I have not used it but they do make a plug in version that should short cut the bluetooth problem.

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Old 06-02-2015, 13:21   #13
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Re: GPS backup

While apples gps uses cells to assist in time to first fix. Equally without such cell Assit it functions as well as any other GPS l
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Old 07-02-2015, 02:04   #14
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Re: GPS backup

No experiences with the Bad Elf, but I use the Dual SkyPro bluetooth GPS.
I use iSailor as the Nav app on the ipad. I leave the GPS inside, and bring the ipad to the helm.
I also have an Anker 24W dual USB car charger, which allows me to charge the both GPS and the iPAD at the same time.
Works perfectly for me, no problems at all.

Before anybody asks, no my ipad does not have native GPS or cell.

I also use this setup in my car, with TomTom.

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Old 07-02-2015, 02:51   #15
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Re: GPS backup

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Originally Posted by woc View Post
Excellent feedback from an actual user. Many thanks. I have seen similar reviews from earlier models but also indications that the problems you experienced have been resolved or at least improved on.
Interesting comment about the beneficial effects on iPad battery life if external GPS signal is available.
I also don't see the issue with battery life. It's always great on the iPad's. It's not like you are hiking away from civilisation making charging a challenge.

I think the reason you want it is so you can tell everyone that you have a "Bad Elf" on board.

I tried using an iPad at the helm on the first couple of seasons with my boat. The iPad was a pile of of rubbish. At first I had it in a waterproof case with an anti-reflective screen cover and I could see jack **** on both sunny and light overcast days. After that I dumped the cover and still struggled with the reflections even when trying to use the bimini to shade it.

I got fed up and bought a proper MFD GPS for the helm and a kindle for reading. The iPad stays in the cabin now.
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