Who needs Onstar?
Jan 11, 2003 (Updated Jun 8, 2003)
Review by shoplmart
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros: Accurate info, Optional accessories, Backlight.
Cons: Difficult setup and operation, No clock, Price.
The Bottom Line: Recommended for those who are extremely interested in navigational tools when driving.
For the past few years or so I have used a conventional temperature gauge in my car, limited to outside temps and inside temps only. About a year ago I decided to upgrade with a PNI Wayfinder V6000 monitoring system which adds a boat load more features, this however (like most advanced products on the market) is not without compromise; both the price and the difficulty of use rise dramatically.
Recommend this product?
You must first find a place on your front windshield to mount the V6000. The PNI V6000 is about 4" long and 3" tall so finding a place to mount the unit (via heavy duty suction cups) is relatively easy. I keep my PNI V6000 secured to the lower middle portion of my window where it does not obstruct my vision of the road. One should note that there is some painless assembly required which is described in the owners manual. From here things go downhill in the ease of use department quite rapidly.
Programming the PNI V6000 for operation was not quite what I had in mind when I purchased this navigation system. Unlike more common temp gauges/compasses available at your local automotive/hardware store which take about 5 minutes to setup, the PNI V6000 takes some serious planning.
From having to go online to get your declination angle, to accessing the latitude and longitude coordinates of your house just to work the compass, the PNI V6000 is not the most user friendly product on the market. To use the altimeter you must first know the elevation of your house or drive your car to a known elevation and set the altimeter to that height ( I don't know of very many people who know the elevation of their home or their local Rays Food Place). The only features that actually require no hassle are the inside temp gauge and the barometer.
Ok, so the PNI V6000 is not the easiest device to set up, so is it worth all the hassle? I have always enjoyed weather, especially the sometimes dramatic changes in climate when driving from town to town, through different altitudes etc. The PNI V6000 has been an educational devise that has also added to the fun factor when I drive my car on long trips. The main reason why I purchased this product was the altimeter. It seems like I'm constantly wondering what elevation I'm at when I'm taking road trips through the Rocky Mountains, the PNI V6000 gives me a pretty good idea, being off target usually only by 5-30 ft. The digital temp gauge is also a excellent feature. It is always interesting watching how temps will rise and fall with elevation changes and (locally) distance from the ocean. I especially like the backlight feature at night which allows the system to stay lit at all times so you don't have to constantly push a button to view the displays as you do with conventional systems. The only downside here is that this requires (included) a 12 volt plug in adapter which can obstruct vision, and make the dash look cluttered.
The system (so far) has been pretty accurate, other than a few problems with the compass, altimeter and constant inaccurate weather forecasts. The digital compass will go haywire at times, giving an accurate direction and then switching to an off the wall direction readout without warning, this is usually very short lived and the compass will go back to providing an accurate reading. If you don't constantly re-set the altimeter (at least once per day) it gives inaccurate readouts. For example, if I go two days without re-setting the altimeter it will say my house is located -120 below sea level, when I'm actually about 500 feet above sea level. The weather forecast feature is sort of a joke, and I have never actually relied on it to provide me with accurate weather forecasts. The system goes off of barometric pressure, so if you open your window when driving on the freeway the forecast can change from "SUN" to "RAIN." This can also happen with slight altitude changes (as little as 50ft).
Features of the PNI V6000:
* Uses patented magnetic sensor technology. This system incorporates the same type of technology used in Military digital compasses.
* Altimeter: This displays the current altitude in feet or meters.
* Barometer: Displays barometric pressure and up and down trends.
* Weather forecasts based on 24 hours of barometric pressure data.
* Temp gauge: Indicates inside or outside temperatures, with an ICE alert feature when the temp drops below 38 degrees.
* Declination adjustment allows for true or magnetic north readouts.
* Bearing point stores compass heading in memory.
* Automatic shut-off when the magnetic field has not changed within 10 minutes.
* Programmable backlight auto shut-off.
* Photo sensor
* Distortion indicator alerts you when there is magnetic interference.
* One year warranty.
Price and Availability:
The PNI Wayfinder V6000 can be purchased through the PNI Corporation at www.pnicorp.com for a whopping $139.00. I have never seen the PNI V6000 for sale at any online store other than at Costco.com where I purchased mine for $59.99.
The PNI Wayfinder V6000 is an excellent navigational/meteorological device that is not hassle free to use. My final recommendations for this unit go out to anyone who is not satisfied with your everyday automotive compass/temp gauge that is willing to make the compromise of having to do the work and pay almost 5 times the price for more accurate readouts.
-Thanks for reading!
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