One of the first things I found when trying to create a track that I could use on my Zumo XT was that there isn’t any easy way to do it, the Garmin Explore web interface is good for managing your assets (waypoints, routes, tracks, etc) and works ok for creating easy point-to-point tracks/routes but isn’t great for more complex track creation.
After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found that the following workflow works best for me when I’m mapping out a new trip.
What I’ve found is using Google Maps works best for me when mapping out a route that is along roads, even when they are back country dirt roads, as long as Google Maps shows them when you zoom in you can use it to create your track for your Garmin Zumo XT (or any Garmin that syncs with Garmin Explore) and I’ve found using Google Earth works best for creating an off-road route.
Creating a on-road route
The first thing we need to do is create a Google Map that we can save
On the top left of the page click the “+ CREATE A NEW MAP” button
This will open what looks like the normal Google Maps page with a few differences
Click the “Untitled map” title on the top left and name your map
Click the add directions icon that is under the search bar
This will create a new “Untitled layer” that says “Driving” with a “A” and “B” section
You can now set the “A” (starting location) and “B” (next stop location)
After you’ve added a “B” location you can add more stops and it will map them out for you
Now lets say you don’t like the route it has chosen for you and you would prefer to take another route, you can drag the route line to the route you want to take you just have to make sure you are zoomed in enough to see the road you would prefer to take
After you’ve mapped out your route you can save it as a KML file that can be imported into Garmin Explore, to do this click the 3 vertical dots next to the title of the map and select “Export to KML/KMZ”
On the Export popup select the layer you want to export, don’t do the entire map, keep the other checkboxes unchecked
Click the download button
To import it go to the Importing section blow
Creating an off-road route
You can use Google Earth Pro to create on and off-road maps but I prefer to use it for off-road routes.
Open Google Earth
Create a new folder under My Places by right-click on the “My Places” folder, selecting Add -> Folder
Name the folder
Select the folder
Click the “Add” menu and select “Path”
With the path dialog open click on the map where you want to start from and then start clicking at each point on the map you want the route to take you
You can create multiple paths and export them all and individual tracks
To save as a KMZ file, select the folder or path you want and click the “File” menu “Save” -> “Save Place As…”
Name it what you want and select “Kmz (*.kmz)” as the file type to save as
Save the file and move to the Importing section below
Importing into Garmin Explore
Now that we have a KMZ file we can import it into Garmin Explore and then sync with your Garmin GPS device
Last week I noticed that my high/low beam switch on my Sicass Multi-Function Bar Switch wasn’t working correctly. The high beam would be a low beam with the tail running light on and the low beam would be a low beam with the tail running light off. I contacted tech support at Sicass describing my issue and their response was “… it sounds like the rocker for the lights took a direct hit and broke the pivot points …”. Due to the unit being out of warranty I took the thing apart to see if it was something I could fix and what I found surprised and disappointing me.
The unit has two rocker switches in it, one for controlling the lights and the other for controlling the blinkers. The rocker switches are badly designed with a small plastic pivot on each side that is used for the switch to pivot between settings.
After taking it apart I verified that the issue was the switch pivots were popping out causing the connections to be incorrect. The pivots are so small and I can see that they could easily get worn out causing the unit to no longer function correctly.
After looking it over I decided that drilling out the pivot points and running a small bolt through would be a much better solution/design.
First, take the device apart, it is pretty easy but one thing to watch for is that the horn button has a spring and if you are not careful the horn button and spring will go flying, which happened to me. If this happens to you find a mechanical pen or pencil and some of them have a spring in them that will work, I had to try three different types before I found one that worked.
Next, pull the rocker switch out and then drilled out the pivot points with an M2 sized drill bit. Then put the switch back in and run an M2 bolt through. I used some thread lock and finger tined the nut down and that seemed to do it.
After verifying the fix worked and the lights were working correctly I had to put it back together. One issue I came across while putting it back together was due to the size of the bolt head and nut it no longer fit correctly in the case. I cut out two sections on the case to make it fit.
I removed the small tab
I cut out a bit of the case that sticks out
After getting it back together and mounted back on the bike everything worked as expected and it is now stronger than its original design.
The Miggo is a product that was funded by a Kickstart campaign and is described as follows:
“Serves as a camera strap which morphs into a compact and padded camera carrier”
Sounds kind of nice, no?
I thought it sounded nice so I backed the campaign and like most Kickstart campaigns forgot about it. A few months after I backed the campaign, about 8, I received my black Miggo Strap and Wrap and here are my impressions.
My first impression was that it is well built and seems like it will hold up to the test of time. It did seem to be a bit balky, but in my opinion that is necessary to be able to pad the camera.
My impression after testing it on my Canon 6D and my old Canon 350D, both of which had a Canon 24-105mm f/4L lens on, is that it was NOT designed for professional or larger DSLR cameras, it just didn’t fit well on my Canon 6D.
Easy to install.
Protects the back and top screens while it is wrapped up.
Fits over the shoulder when the strap is adjusted for smaller lens like the Canon 35mm f/2 IS
Not designed for larger DSLR cameras, it works well on my old Canon 350D but only kind of works on my Canon 6D.
The pouch for the lens cap only works if you are running a lens with a cap size around 52mm, professional lens which normally have a lens cap size of 77mm+ will not fit.
You have to take the strap off and change the mounting screw position for different size lens.
I would recommend a Miggo if the following sounds like you: You have a smaller DSLR cameras, you don’t change lens very often and/or you keep you camera in a hand bag or other such bag, otherwise I would go with something from Peak Design.