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Old 10-19-2015, 10:04 AM   #1
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Don't waste your money on Rand McNally GPS

I am going to do a long enough post to include specifics but the gist of this post is to keep anyone else from wasting money on a Rand McNally GPS until they update or fix their maps and routings.

• I have used GPS units for years. I decided on the larger Rand McNally (RM 735..the Good Sam version of the 730) because it had a specific RV routing mode and because Rand McNally is associated in my mind over the long term with maps.
• I bought the unit about June and proceeded to learn to use it on RV mode. I was getting routings that did not make sense such as taking me off main roads to travel narrow winding ones that were neither shorter nor quicker. I put it on car mode but this continued.
• I spent a lot of time and actually used google maps to make a document containing screen shots with explanatory notes as to why it just seemed their “algorithms” were wrong. I sent this attachment to an email address I got off the GPS.
• Received back a reply that there wasn’t enough information and to call them so I did. The technician was adamant that I use the RV setting and he went through the settings with me to make sure I had them right. I proceeded to use it on RV setting.
• In the meantime I had tried to find the answer to this question and couldn’t find it: “On a multi-point trip, I want to be able to see the turn by turn directions for the entire trip before starting out. How can I do this? I am only getting those for the first "leg". Again I received an email telling me to call them. The answer is simply that this can’t be done so that’s really all the info. I needed. Why did I have to call? Just answer it.
• I am now using the GPS on RV mode and have felt it is sending me on some dangerous routings. Two examples: (1) It sent me down a mountain with hairpin curves and not wide enough for two full sized vehicles to pass. At the bottom of the mountain was a VDOT sign saying this road was not recommended for tractor trailers, etc. (2) I had decided to check out a campground I was thinking about going to ahead of time....thankfully. The GPS did not recognize a major interstate so I was surprised when I began to merge into five lanes on just my side. The exit number was correct and I should have been sent straight across from the ramp to the state road I needed but instead I was given a series of right turns onto tiny, gravel, residential roads that google doesn’t even show as roads to get me back to taking the correct road. Finally it had me turn before the campground onto a little road that dead-ended without a cul-de-sac and I would have had to back a quarter to half mile out. At that point it became so confused that it locked up and wouldn’t turn on/off or give any directions. I had to use my phone to get me back to my current campsite and after hooking the GPS to the computer, it finally unlocked.
• Again I took screen shots and sent info to RMsupport and again I was told to call. So I did and when I asked the young lady if in fact there was any way she could get this information to those who do the software, she honestly told me she couldn’t. Yes, she thought her superviser could but she was on the phone. Would she call me back? She took my info. and I never heard from her.
• Yes, I know there is a “tell Rand” section on the GPS and I am using it but there is no way to know if anyone actually even looks at it. My fear is that they are just using the GPS users to update their maps which means that the users will always get stuck without correct directions.

I am stuck with a GPS that is un-usable for RVing. No way am I going to follow it in areas I don’t know. My goal in doing all of this (doing reviews is time consuming!) is that maybe enough people will see/share that Rand McNally will either have to fix their software or the rest of you won’t lose several hundred dollars buy buying from them.

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Old 10-19-2015, 10:22 AM   #2
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:25 AM   #3
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I am an IT professional and I agree that tech 'support' is atrocious for any modern gadget. I wasted several hours trying to get a router to work after reconfiguring it. It turned out that it won't work when you change those settings...

My folks and my boss both bought into GPS several year ago. I found no use for it!

Trying to hear a voice from the dashboard that is often wrong, misleading and short of information is worse-than-useless!

Any good map/directions can be had from Google and others. Then print a detail map for the last few miles/turns. Works great!

Having the phone number of someone at the destination is a great safety. One time, I was too many hours on the road and I thought I had made a wrong turn. Five minutes later I KNEW I was closer than I though.

I feel that using a 4G tablet to get information is much better than bad advice from a GPS.

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Old 10-19-2015, 11:24 AM   #4
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Any time you are making your decisions TOTALLY based on a GPS output, you will have a conflict, at some time. We had a GARMIN prior to the Rand McNally 7725 that we picked up in the beginning of the year.. Oh, and don't forget MS Streets and Trips before that. We have been using MS Streets and Trips to validate the GPS routing, prior to leaving for the trip. Works out great. Also carry one of those antique books with drawings of the state/federal highways (Maps), but have yet needed to pull it out.

So with the GARMIN, I was being instructed to make a turn into the Corps of Eng CG, on a road that led to a farmers barn. The actual road was about 500 feet farther, but the correct road had big signs, so we did not make the turn as requested by the GARMIN. The routes were almost always correct. We update the GPS maps/software, prior to our planning, for best results.

We have had 2 Rand McNally 7725 GPS's, the first one kept showing my house about a 1/4 mile in the Gulf of Mexico, When I am about 200 yards (on land of course) away from the gulf. It turned out that there was an issue with the firmware (could not install a new version), according to Support, and they gave us a new one and it has worked fine. Also (the original 7725) had an issue with recalculating if you decided to take another route (home to 275) and it would just keep telling us to turn around, even though it was set for recalculate route.

The replacement 7725 has been very good so far. Told us of low clearances, nasty turns. Like I said, we always compare the GPS route to that of MS Streets and Trips (MAP/route).

Would I purchase another Rand McNally GPS? YES! Would I purchase another Garmin GPS, probably yes, but would find someone that has one and try it out.

We have been using them for the last 15K camping miles.

No matter what you purchase, ALWAYS VERIFY, for happy traveling.

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Old 10-20-2015, 07:06 AM   #5
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We recently bought a new GPS and stuck with Garmin. Mostly for familiarity. It is great but I still have my good old road atlas to verify.
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Old 10-21-2015, 04:37 AM   #6
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I guess me being a new camper, I take a lot of precautions because I know GPSs are quirky. I did get me one of those ultra lager atlases and I review my route with the atlas. That gives me an idea of what roads I'll be staying on. I then use Google maps on the phone for specific directions and ETA.
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:30 AM   #7
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I wish that a GPS would find gas stations that can accommodate large truck and RV combo units and be correct not just where stations are located. My combo is just under 60 feet so I’m as long as a semi. When I want to fill up I need a station that has the pumps not facing you into the station. Since I switched from a diesel truck to gas this has been an issue.
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:58 AM   #8
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Definitely a problem Rod I have a diesel and always go back with trucks . Most pumps for gas always point toward the station and is impossible to get in and out.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:15 AM   #9
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And here's something you don't always think about when planning a route (via GPS or maps) - altitude changes! For instance into Yosemite ... quote from a friend: "from the north via 120 you have to pull over 6k feet at Crane Flats and then drop 2500 ft. to the valley floor vs. south via 140 coming out of Mariposa it's not as high 2800 ft. at midpoint and then pretty good grade to the Merced river and the valley floor."
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:37 AM   #10
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Gotta say, I love my Garmin. My family loves to travel to locations that are outside our norm. So it is pretty routine for us to be in locations where we have no clue what the local roads are like.

In our old 21ft TT, I did not mind what we calleed our GPS adventures. We saw many areas of North America that were off the beaten path. That rig was small enough that I could get it out of most any jam.

Two years ago my bride bought me the Garmin RV model to go with our much bigger second RV. It does a very good job of keeping us to major routes and I have never encountered a situation with it that was unsafe or resulted in me being trapped on a dirt road/one way. It gives me a visual display of ramps when I am approaching and clearly labels exactly what lane I need to be in. I also have it set up so that it displays the next available fuel, food and rest stops. With a press of a button the display switches to provide direction of travel and elevation.

The unit is not perfect, I would like to be able to control routing a little more effectively and as others noted I wish I could have it tell me which fuel stops are RV friendly... But I would not be caught without it!

I will also add... The GPS is ideal for helping out on spontaneous day trips and when travelling through the mountians GPS signal is great, your C-phone turns into a fantastic paper weight.


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