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Delorme - upgrading to PN-40 - is SE worthwhile?

KenDCollins 0 Points
I hike and backpack with Boy Scouts and was an early adopter of the PN-20; and I still like the security of its map/photo details. I'm trying to decide if I should spend the bucks to move up to the PN-40 - since the slow refresh speed of the 20 is very frustrating. I'm looking for some advice, please:
1- Are there other brands with superior model GPSs that I should consider for hiking if data detail is one of my most important criteria? (For back roads navigation, I use the Topo 7 running on a car PC, displayed on a large LCD monitor custom-mounted in our van).
2- Since for holding the data for each particular hiking trip, I don't seem to need the full capacity of my 2Gb external SD card, is there any advantage to spending the extra money for the PN-40 SE option with the 8Gb of internal memory? (If I could have all my map data running from the internal memory would that make it run at an even faster speed?)
3- Does the SE version suck noticeably more battery power?
4- Has Delorme fixed the incredibly debilitating shortcoming of not being able to do trail routing recalculations onboard the device?

Thanks for any comments back. :?:


  • Tim 1482 Points
    1) Probably not due to the multitude of mapping types available for the PN devices... DeLorme topo, USGS topo, aerial photography, etc.

    2) On the PN-20, the maps loaded much faster when they were in the internal memory versus the SD card. On the PN-40 the difference is pretty much non-existent between internal and SD.

    3) There isn't any difference in battery power between the PN-40 and PN-40SE.

    4) No, you still cannot create a trail route on the device itself. You can only create direct routes and road routes on the device.

    When picking between the 40 and 40SE, it really comes down to two considerations. A) Map management... I purchased the SE so that I could keep all of my frequently used maps in the internal memory (about 7 GB) and then just use the SD card for infrequent trips. I could certainly put it all on SD card without much headache, but just decided the other method would be more convenient for me. From a financial standpoint the SE rarely makes sense. B) For the largest storage possible. With a 32 GB SD card you could have a 34 GB device with the 40, or a 40 GB device with the 40-SE.
  • Tim,
    Not having to spring for the SE for my light usage makes the upgrade a bit more palatable. (Although, when I get on the $29 unlimited data plan, I might be wanting much more data on the device!)

    I hope Delorme might add trail routing through a firmware update soon.

    Thanks for your help,

    Happy GPSing

    Ken :)
  • Tim 1482 Points
    I hope Delorme might add trail routing through a firmware update soon.
    I wouldn't count on it. That was supposed to be an option on version 1 of the PN-20. But it didn't make the cut and no longer seem to think it is a priority.
  • Tim,

    You might be right about Delorme's low priority for adding trial routing. I do remember their tech support folks promising that a long time ago.

    Thanks for your thorough follow-through answers - unfortunately, they have now landed you another question - if your still game to help:

    Do other hiker GPS's have that good onboard trail routing capabilities? Since we are always on well mapped/marked trails, the reality is that I mostly justify carrying the PN-20 in case of some emergency that might involve off-trail travel. But the heavier usage of the unit is definitely just looking up the answer to what I get asked by one of the boys about every 15 minutes: "How much farther to go?" Even after a dozen trips' lessons learned and tricks that I have worked on, it seems like with my trying to make reality corrections to the daily routes on multi-day trips once we are actually hiking them, sooner or later I accidentally hit the recalculate button and overwrite/lose all the pre-downloaded trail route calculations! That idiot mode of not being filed-adaptable to changing scenarios is very frustrating and brings on ridicule comments about how my high-detail GPS cannot even tell how far it is along the trail to the next junction!

    Here's a new thought for me: Maybe I should buy someone else's competent trail routing GPS to use regularly and carry my old PN-20 for the rare occasion where we might need some more detailed non-pre-planned navigation information.
  • Tim 1482 Points
    At this point I don't know of any device that actually will calculate a trail route on the device itself. Everything is point to point.

    Are you running the latest firmware with your PN-20? If not, there are some new features related to route handling that make it much less likely to recalculate what was a trail route forcing it into a direct route.
  • Yes, I have the latest updates and I hardly ever accidentally recalculate any more. The tough issue is still pre-planning the daily stop/camping locations on multi-day trips. Once that we deviate from our pre-hike plan, the pre-loaded daily route calculations become useless measurers of daily hiking progress. My current work-around is to create hundreds of waypoints along the trail routes, but even with those in memory, it is very tedious to try to build distance-accurate new routes in the field. (At the ends of our hiking days, my son falls sound asleep in our tent while I stay up madly pushing buttons on my love/hate PN-20 just trying to setup a route for the next day!)

    Best Regards,

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