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post #1 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Garmin 550 Questions

Howdy all, Well my buds and I are heading up to Alaska next summer and I am in the middle of setting up the strom for the ride. I am down to the nice to haves and in the market for a GPS so I know which one to ask Santa for! After much debate I have settled on the Garmin 550 and have a few questions to folks out there that have one or know much about it.

1. Do you use the XM Radio and what additional stuff is required to use it besides the subscribtion fee?

2. How do you listen to the XM Radio?

3. How do you listen to the MP3 player? Headphones? BlueTooth? (Not sure how all that works)

4. I live in Montana, will XM work in Canada and Alaska?

5. What do you not like about the Garmin 550?

Thanks!
Bill
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 01:16 PM
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I don't have XM radio myself. I do know an antenna and subscription are required for the 550. I use headphones for MP3. Volume was too low on the Bluetooth earphones I tried and Bluetooth is mono on the 550. Also, the batteries would run down on the earphones before I had a full day's ride in.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general-...nicknames.html

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post #3 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 03:41 PM
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I had a Zumo 550 and it worked well, but it is pretty dated in the GPS world for what they charge. The bluetooth is Mono, earbuds are needed for stereo. The mount is OK , the tourtech is $$ but better. They use SD cards most are using mini sd cards and the screens are better as well with much better resolution. The only thing I can really say was really good was it seldom had any glare.

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Last edited by happypuppy; 12-04-2010 at 04:29 PM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 03:45 PM
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XM stops at the US/Canada border.

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #5 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcgee View Post
XM stops at the US/Canada border.
???

Doesn't it work anywhere the satellite covers? Canada, yes; Alaska, not much.

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post #6 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTRider View Post
???

Doesn't it work anywhere the satellite covers? Canada, yes; Alaska, not much.
Nope, service stops at the border. Pain in the butt.

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #7 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 05:50 PM
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Satellite beam coverage is distinct. Though the satellite is visible from both countries, the beam pattern is adjustable. I am familiar with how DirecTV beams cut off very near the border.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general-...nicknames.html

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at https://www.stromtrooper.com/informat...-you-have.html
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 06:49 PM
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I have the 550 and 665. Wouldn't buy a new 550 although it's a good unit.

And I wouldn't rush to purchase. Droid and other smart phones with GPS are kicking their ass and I bet they'll repackage/reprice after xmas. They are already starting to offer free map upgrades on some new models.

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post #9 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 07:23 PM
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Don't the phones have to be in a service area to display maps? Wouldn't waterproofing, screen size and mounting with a charging dock be issues?

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general-...nicknames.html

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at https://www.stromtrooper.com/informat...-you-have.html
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-04-2010, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
Don't the phones have to be in a service area to display maps? Wouldn't waterproofing, screen size and mounting with a charging dock be issues?
Yeah, the biggest problem for using a phone as a GPS is data coverage area. There are a lot of places in New England where the phone tells me I have 3G coverage, but it takes forever to do anything, even simple tasks like polling mail servers.

And like Dana, I wouldn't buy a 550 now. It was very good for its time, but is much slower than the 66x series and has inadequate internal map storage space for the latest maps. I sold both of my 550s.

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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