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View Full Version : Using an iPad for GPS in 2007 and Later Sprinter


Davydd
03-19-2012, 09:45 PM
I had a spare leather protective case for an iPad that I received from TD Ameritrade, my online broker, as some kind of appreciation gift that I found to be perfect for mounting to the dash of our Great West Van Sprinter Legend Class B RV. My original Apple brand case for the iPad 1 would work too but I plan to give my old iPad with the Apple case to our daughter and use the New iPad for a GPS in the spare case. The cases are sleeve cases with a flip over screen covers. That is a popular design and there could be other brands that would work just as well.

First, I bent the screen cover so it would lip over and form fit on the dash. Then I applied a couple of pieces of industrial strength velcro like so.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/Davydd_2006/Class%20B%20RV%20Camper%20Van/IMG_0542.jpg

The dash has a tray above the radio. On the back side of the tray I applied the corresponding velcro strips which are invisible to view when inside the cab.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/Davydd_2006/Class%20B%20RV%20Camper%20Van/IMG_0545.jpg

The iPad slips in from the top, rest flat with the dash and covers the radio. This shows the Tom Tom GPS app (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tomtom-u.s.-canada/id326075661?mt=8) in the 2D view.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/Davydd_2006/Class%20B%20RV%20Camper%20Van/IMG_0547.jpg

This is the more traditional 3D view one would normally use while driving.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/Davydd_2006/Class%20B%20RV%20Camper%20Van/IMG_0546.jpg

You can lift the case to access the radio controls.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/Davydd_2006/Class%20B%20RV%20Camper%20Van/IMG_0548.jpg

On the Sprinter dash there is an identical tray shape in front of the passenger over the glove box. I added velcro strips directly in front of the passenger seat so the iPad could be used in that position as well. All in all about a $5 investment in velcro was all I needed. The new iPad is thinner than the original iPad so slips in and out of the case with ease.

PS. To use an iPad as a GPS you need a cellular enabled version with the assisted GPS. A wifi only iPad will not work. In the case of the Tom Tom GPS I referenced you can use it without a cellular service. It has its own pre-loaded data and maps just like a typical standalone Tom Tom GPS. However, you do need the assisted GPS which only comes with cellular iPads.

Aqua Puttana
03-19-2012, 09:57 PM
...On the Sprinter dash there is an identical tray shape in front of the passenger over the glove box.
...
Great idea. Re-use, re-purpose, recycle!!:thumbup:

One caution. Make certain your passenger side additions don't interfere with the airbag system or become a missle/blunt instrument if the airbag deploys. vic

ronmoak
03-19-2012, 11:23 PM
PS. To use an iPad as a GPS you need a cellular enabled version with the assisted GPS. A wifi only iPad will not work. In the case of the Tom Tom GPS I referenced you can use it without a cellular service. It has its own pre-loaded data and maps just like a typical standalone Tom Tom GPS. However, you do need the assisted GPS which only comes with cellular iPads.

Actually there are several standalone Bluetooth GPS units that work fine with the iPad. You'll need to install a seperate GPS app.

I use one instead of subscribing to 3G. Plus with a seperate GPS unit you still can track your location when outside cellular service.

Ron

Davydd
03-20-2012, 12:49 AM
Actually there are several standalone Bluetooth GPS units that work fine with the iPad. You'll need to install a seperate GPS app.

I use one instead of subscribing to 3G. Plus with a seperate GPS unit you still can track your location when outside cellular service.

Ron
Can you be more specific rather than just generalities? One example would do.

ronmoak
03-20-2012, 02:02 AM
I use the following GPS receiver Dual XGPS150A iPad GPS (http://www.banyanpilotshop.net/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=dual-xgps150-ipad-gps) and the CoPilot nav app.

It worked well last summer on a trip through SE Oregon with no cell signal for hours.

Ron

Davydd
03-20-2012, 03:22 PM
Ah! I see. I didn't know about that unit. So, basically if I understand you would still need an app with the built-in maps and app to do the turn by turn voice navigation which I think only CoPilot and Tom Tom currently do and take full advantage of the iPad screen. The Dual XGPS unit I take it would then enable the app to work on a wifi only iPad? I don't see why you would need it if you had an iPad + LTE unit that had built-in GPS. So, we are talking a trade off of $100 vs. the iPad + LTE premium of $130 over the wifi model, thus a savings of $30. The difference is you would have two devices to deal with instead of one and you would not be able to the option to subscribe to a cellular LTE service to use the internet on the road.

BTW, you don't have to subscribe to the cellular service to use CoPilot or Tom Tom on the iPad + 3G model. You just need the assisted GPS as they call it that the iPad wifi models don't have. The assisted GPS works fine.

OrioN
03-20-2012, 04:00 PM
I've melted the glue on everything that has been inside the top console from sun heat. I'd be leery of the velcro adhesive holding. I'd use snaps.

If fact... as soon as my asus transformer infinity arrives this month (shameless plug: http://eee.asus.com/eeepad/transformer-infinity/features/) , and since I have the console cover... I will make or modify a pouch that has nylon webbing strap to fit under the lid and attach the snaps.






.

wayneskid
03-20-2012, 04:00 PM
PS. To use an iPad as a GPS you need a cellular enabled version with the assisted GPS. A wifi only iPad will not work. In the case of the Tom Tom GPS I referenced you can use it without a cellular service. It has its own pre-loaded data and maps just like a typical standalone Tom Tom GPS. However, you do need the assisted GPS which only comes with cellular iPads.

You might want to consider the BadElf, a nice small (1" X 1.3" X .3") 66 channel GPS receiver that plugs into the 30 pin connector on an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. You don't need cell service to use it and it's works with a wide variety of apps including a number of vehicle navigation apps. Check it out here: http://bad-elf.com/
Wayne

Davydd
03-20-2012, 08:30 PM
Wayneskid,

That could work too. That would be a similar solution in cost to what Ronmoak mentioned, so the same things would apply about what apps you need to use. Kind of moot for me as I already bought my new iPad Verizon LTE version because I might give a go of making it a hotspot wifi base as well to service two iPhones, another iPad and a laptop. Already in our preliminary travel plans for this year I've figured out neither Verizon or AT&T is going to give us coverage everywhere but the two combined will keep us in touch with the internet most all the time. Our iPhones are AT&T.

Davydd
03-20-2012, 08:39 PM
I've melted the glue on everything that has been inside the top console from sun heat. I'd be leery of the velcro adhesive holding. I'd use snaps.

If fact... as soon as my asus transformer infinity arrives this month (shameless plug: http://eee.asus.com/eeepad/transformer-infinity/features/) , and since I have the console cover... I will make or modify a pouch that has nylon webbing strap to fit under the lid and attach the snaps.
.

I went with way more holding power than I needed with the Velcro. What you can't see in the photo is the cover flap can be simply weighted down and hold the iPad just as easily. I experimented with that idea and a tension bar wedge as well. At this time I don't want to add any attachments that will cause permanent change until I've given it a good trial. I may go back to using my iPhone 4S or my old standalone GPS.

Davydd
03-28-2012, 05:12 PM
I gave the iPad Tom Tom GPS a complete test driving from Minneapolis to La Crosse, WI and back this past weekend without cellular enabled and it worked flawlessly over 350 miles of driving. You can drive all day without using any cellular data against your limits and plugged in to 12V it will stay charged. The Tom Tom GPS app turned out to be much more versatile on the 10" screen than the typical 3.5"-5" standalones. The same data was intact for finding POIs such as restaurants. There are options for Garmin, Magellan and CoPilot apps if in time I get frustrated and want to try something else. So, if you already own an iPad this is a less expensive way to go over a standalone unit even if you have to buy a GPS like the Bad-Elf for a wifi only iPad.

I'm mostly familiar with Garmin but I think I like Tom Tom better. If you don't like the route Tom Tom lays out for you, you can alter your criteria. It will also give you alternate routes with the same criteria. While driving you can switch between 2D and 3D views. 2D can be set so direction is always up on the screen or can be set to true north. You can see your whole route in a map view and zoom in for detail. You can also bring up a turn by turn direction list. The 10" screen just gives you a lot of information and it is easily readable at a glance.

I like Tom Tom's maps. There is one difference from Garmin. Garmin often, not always, included private roads and parking lots in campgrounds and parks. I noticed Tom Tom in the places I have tried so far does not show roads in parks. I don't know if this is universal everywhere or not. I noticed this in a lower tier priority county park. One technique we use is to set our longitude and latitude location at a campsite if we are going out and coming back in the dark. I can do long. and lat. with Tom Tom but wonder if it will be able to direct back if no roads.

glasseye
03-28-2012, 06:32 PM
FWIW, I use a cheap notepad computer and a USB GPS patch antenna with Microsoft MapPoint.

jmgasior
03-29-2012, 11:22 PM
are you talking abt a 10 in netbook,with a regular keybd,thanks

gary 32
03-30-2012, 07:21 PM
http://www.wimp.com/dadipad/