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Old 07-26-2020, 01:10 PM   #1
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Notes on the new Garmin RV 890

Hi everyone,

As part of getting our new-to-us Allegro Open Road 32SA ready for the road (at some time we hope ;-) , we purchased a Garmin RV 890 GPS unit. I'd like to offer some observations on this new unit.

To see Garmin's listing, go to: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/705997. They don't give this thing away, but Navigation is important to us first-timers.

In no particular order, some random features we have observed:
  • It is fast; common operations like scrolling, routing, searching are real smooth.
  • It's Big, about 7 3/4" in Android mode, and about 8" in Garmin mode. Easy on older eyes.
  • It has a responsive, sensitive screen. It's easy and quick to click on something or pan and zoom the map.
  • It has many POI databases, not ALL, but many.
  • There is WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, the first for updating maps, the second for communicating to a companion app on an Android. Plus you can plug it into a PC (MAC) with a USB cord and access some of internal memory and so BaseCamp can upload the built in maps.
  • It claims to have custom RV routing (height, Propane, etc.) as well as road-ahead warnings (e.g. sharp curve, although there are many false-positives for that); We have not tested that.
  • It can communicate with Garmin BaseCamp and presumably many other GPS friendly apps that are Garmin protocol friendly.

While using it at home and for a short trip, I have noticed the following:
  • It is real persnickety about the GPX file format it tries to import.
  • When doing an import from the Garmin Drive app, it is difficult to tell if there were import errors or not. The 890 may hang with a "Waiting..." screen. You may have to power cycle the 890 to see if the import went OK.
  • If it imports GPX tracks (e.g. as exported from RVTW), I have not been able to find them. Most of the time I tried to import an RVTW GPX file, the 890 hung and needed re-booting.
  • The 890 and the Garmin Drive app have difficulty re-establishing connections. You might have to re-boot the 890 and/or purge the Drive App cache, force stop it, and re-start it. A couple of times I was able to transfer a GPX file from the app to the 890, while the weather and traffic button said you must connect to the app (i.e. it thought the two were disconnected.)
  • There is no indication of what happens in a GPX transfer except that for many of the tries, it went OK and the 890 did actually have the new route or waypoints. One asks: were there errors? If so, what? was it a duplicate route, route waypoints, etc. In one case a dupe route and route waypoints were not imported (presumable because it was a dupe?), but extra stand alone waypoints were imported.
  • The 890 has two modes: Garmin Nav app and Almost Android. The android side has a few apps such as: a file manager, browser, music, clock, etc. The Garmin side is an evolved version of all it's vehicle device navigators. Common operations such as "Back" are very different from mode to mode.
  • Someone at Garmin must like to type, as I saw no Copy/Paste operations in Garmin mode.
  • I used the android and the Drive app rather than BaseCamp which often seems to do what it wants, not what you want.
  • Thus, importing GPX routes and waypoints from PC to 890 for us goes like this:
    • Copy the well formatted GPX to a tablet/phone with Garmin Drive on it
    • Use MyFiles in the device to select the GPX file and if lucky, an option will pop up to open the file with Garmin Drive
    • In Garmin Drive, again if you are lucky, select "Send to 890"
    • In the 890 (and in the Drive App) you might see the status of the copy, maybe not.
    • If the GPX file was good, and you don't see the new route in the 890, power cycle the 890
    • Then you might see the route in the 890 Trip Planner
  • The route import magic only happens if you have a well-formed GPX with Garmin headers. I could not find a way to get this from RVTW and had to write a small conversion PC app to do this (more on this in another post)
  • When doing a Trip Plan in the 890, you need to fill in the last waypoint with the checkered flag on it in order to enable the Save button. For me, the checkered flag had no indication it was required to do a Save (actually "Next" in the Trip Plan Wizard) or it was scrolled out of site. A bad UI. I had to call Garmin to learn about the Checkered flag.
  • BaseCamp can import tracks in a GPX file from RVTW, but sending then to 890 hangs the 890.

Like many folks, we use RVT to do planning, often at a high level, and do not need its sometimes weird routing, although we do take note of it to compare to other apps. We needed to move the Waypoints from RVTW to the 890.


I was able to build a workflow for us, shown below, that I'll explain in detail in another post:
  • Create a trip in RVTW
  • In RVTW, export it as an excel file
  • Convert the excel file to a normalized format (more on that in another post)
  • Use a purpose built PC app (that I wrote and will make available) to create a GPX file from the normalized Excel file
  • Import that GPX file into the 890 using the Garmin Drive app
  • Now in the 890, you can see the waypoints as Saved POI, or see the whole Trip in Trip Planner -> Saved Trips and you are ready to go.

This workflow may work for other Garmin Devices (predecessors to the 890) and I'll write more about that in another post.

I do like the 890 because of the large, bright screen, the speedy interaction, and the ability to use past (like 20 years ago) experience with the NAV UI.


Sorry for the long post.


fwiw,
Paul
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:39 PM   #2
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I have a Garmin 770 and my workflow is as follows;
1. Create a multi stop trip in RVTW.
2. Export in GPX format.
3. Open BaseCamp and import the trip
4. Convert from the imported tracks to routes.
Now this is important: BaseCamp will adjust the route to match the Activity Profile you have selected. This may alter the route and not respect the drag points you used in RVTW. However, if you look closely the track you downloaded from RVTW will show beside the route as a light gray line in BaseCamp exactly as created in RVTW with all the drag points. This makes it easy to create turn points or via's to make the route match the track.

5. Adjust the routes in BaseCamp as necessary by creating via's if desired.
6. Export the routes to your Garmin Device.


This usually works without issues.


Just know that even though you created the route in RVTW and downloaded it to BaseCamp and created via's, your GPS may not follow the route you created because it still follows the avoidances you set in the GPS.


You can however download the trip you created in RVTW and import it to Google My Maps and it will show in My Maps exactly as created in RVTW, as long as you don't add a driving directions layer.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:00 AM   #3
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Nice write up. We just got an 890 and like it. Like you I was surprised with a “sharp curve warning” on an interstate.

I interested in your app, keep us posted please.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:41 AM   #4
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Hello. Thanks for taking the time to evaluate the 890.

BUT...

Please send your useful comments to the Garmin Support team. It is MUCH MUCH more productive to tell them, so that they can send the issues to their engineers. Other than some tips and guidance, no one here can address or improve the negatives.

They are great with support, and truly want to improve their units.

I know, I was on the beta-test team for the 890.

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?co...997&tab=topics
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:20 PM   #5
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I will put that on my To Do list.


tnx,
paul
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Old 03-21-2021, 05:21 AM   #6
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What would be really handy is if RVTW provided and option to only export waypoints in their gpx. Then the 890 could do what we bought it to do, and you could use the GPS feature of RVTW as backup if desired.

For now, I retype the waypoints into the 890. It ends up being much faster than trying to pull them out of Basecamp.

I asked them to put this on their feature list.
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Old 03-21-2021, 06:13 AM   #7
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I haven't found a way to easily download an RVTW route to my Garmin GPS either. So I download my RVTW route to Google My Maps. Google My Maps does not change the RVTW route to comply with My Maps routing engine as long as you don't add a "driving directions layer".

Even if the RVTW software engineers developed a way to download your RVTW route to your GPS, your GPS will use it's own routing engine and parameters to create a new route from your origin to destination which may not be the same as the route you downloaded.

In practice I download the route created in RVTW to My Maps and display it on a tablet located next to the drivers seat and easily viewed while driving. I compare the GPS created route with the route displayed on My Maps and pick the one I like, before I start driving. I will change the GPS route to match the displayed route on my tablet if I like that route better, but many/most of the time they are the same. The beauty of My Maps is you can add layers like fueling stations, state campgrounds, or just about anything and that displays on your route. It's the only mapping software I know of that will do that.
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Old 03-22-2021, 10:03 AM   #8
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RVTW Exporting is clunky, to say the least.

It's definitely on their radar, but it wouldn't hurt to give them a FEEDBACK for this request. You can do that from within RVTW or their App.
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Old 03-22-2021, 10:18 AM   #9
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Interesting pros and cons post. I’ve used mine over about 6000 miles and it works for me but I don’t import or export or even know what gpx and that other file stuff is. I will say that while there are some minor “false positives” on turns and hills, the warnings are either useful or inconsequential. As for rig size and height, haven’t had any problems but wouldn’t rely on it as the final authority. One thing I don’t like is the audible instructions - it says “turn here” too soon and could cause you to make a wrong turn if your aren’t paying close attention. Google maps does a better job on this item. Im probably underutilizing mine, but I bought it for the libraries of camp grounds, rest stops, gas stations, POIs and the screen size. So I’m satisfied.

I also really like the magnetic quick-disconnect mount. That was a surprise bonus and I added a dedicated 12v outlet under it so it always has power. Very nice design on the mount.
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Old 03-23-2021, 05:24 AM   #10
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I agree. It can mess you up if not paying attention especially if there is another turn between you and the turn you need to take. I have google maps running on my phone will look at it when I get the turn ahead instruction from the Garmin if the turn isn't clear to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.Wold View Post
One thing I don’t like is the audible instructions - it says “turn here” too soon and could cause you to make a wrong turn if your aren’t paying close attention. Google maps does a better job on this item.
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Old 03-23-2021, 05:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayfarer2021 View Post
I agree. It can mess you up if not paying attention especially if there is another turn between you and the turn you need to take. I have google maps running on my phone will look at it when I get the turn ahead instruction from the Garmin if the turn isn't clear to me.
I run both too - google maps on my ipad, and I leave that on satellite view so I can see the roads and surrounding areas, not just a map. Between the two I do pretty well, but sometimes they are both either wrong, or suggesting a less than desirable route. I’ve pretty much given up on the factory in-dash nav.
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Old 03-23-2021, 08:54 AM   #12
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This is copied from another thread. Fwiw.
........

Like the OP, I was never able to import the GPX file output from RVTW into the RV890. The phone -=> RV890 path is very fragile in terms of communications and content. I don't think the RVTW GPX file contained with some header sections that the 890 expects.

At any rate, I was able to write a little app to convert the RVTW exported Excel spreadsheet into a GPX file the 890 could read.

The help file is located at:
http://www.findwaterfrontbar.com/Docs/OtherHelpText.htm

If you can't read it, go to findwaterfrontbar.com, ignore anything there, then go to the help file.

The password is: RVTW_To_GPX.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:08 PM   #13
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I just returned my 890, what a pain in the A$$ to use! Add to that that it's maps are not up to date, for example, it shows the loop 202 as ending just west of I-10 south of Phoenix while it's been completed for nearly two years. Strangely enough, my nearly two year old Garmin BBT600 that came in our rig shows it completed, as does pretty much every other mapping software. I'd be curious if any of you 890 users show 202 completed? My maps are up to date according to the unit.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mspenc45 View Post
I just returned my 890, what a pain in the A$$ to use! Add to that that it's maps are not up to date, for example, it shows the loop 202 as ending just west of I-10 south of Phoenix while it's been completed for nearly two years. Strangely enough, my nearly two year old Garmin BBT600 that came in our rig shows it completed, as does pretty much every other mapping software. I'd be curious if any of you 890 users show 202 completed? My maps are up to date according to the unit.

That’s interesting you had an older unit that was more current.

I have a suspicion that it’s because Garmin changed their map source system to HERE! Mapping so that they could get away from the expensive licensing terms of the older mapping.

Frustrating for sure.

As to the “USE” of the 890, my guess is it’s all due to the fact it’s built in on an Android tablet…And we all know what a headache android systems can be!

I, too, would prefer to have a standalone proprietary-based GPS since I don’t want to have the other features that require the android system; such as back up cameras, lane departure warning, weather, Internet, etc.
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