Sunday, June 19, 2011

Elizabeth the GPS

I installed a Magellen RoadMate 1700 GPS that I picked up at Fry’s for $140. The cool thing about this GPS is that is has a huge screen (7 inch). And that is has an external video jack. I installed a backup camera next to the rear license plate. The camera is powered by the backup tail lights. The video signal is run up to the GPS unit.

When the van is put into reverse, the camera feeds the GPS, and the GPS screen switches to a nice color view of what is behind me. Nice! No more blind spot when backing up. It also makes parallel parking much easier!

I’ve named the GPS “Elizabeth” because of the voice is has programmed in it. It has a stern, humorless, female voice. I don’t know why the name Elizabeth came to me. But it did, and it stuck. Now Elizabeth tells me where to go.

Magellan no longer makes this model. In fact, they no longer make any models with a video input port. Nor, as far as I can tell, does any one else. Instead, they expect you to buy a new stereo system with integrated GPS and backup camera. So when Elizabeth dies, I don't know what I will do for a backup camera monitor.

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