New owners for Merlin

It’s a sad day for the family as a small but significant piece leaves home, no not Chloe going to Uni but the sale of Merlin.

Dodge 50 renault s75 leaves for a new home
Saying goodbye to the manor

Merlin in the morning fog.
Times are changing and it’s time for another young family to enjoy Merlin.
Woking gets a big overland truck to frighten the locals
I hope the Howe family have a lot of adventures in him and their kids love him like ours did.
So many memories…..💌

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We all know that sisters and brothers assume that anything the other sibling has is fair game and cunning techniques are used to uncover the location of the new must have piece of clothing is hidden, now having two daughters it is usually items of sorry cloth and facial chemical paint etc that you would think is fair game ,however  in my master plan of having daughters who are into motorsport the items that are kept next to the bed while they sleep are a little different to the normal teenage girl.



That’s Chloe’s pit,

Zoe keeps all hers in the boot of here car securely.locked up, not from little sister but away from me , 😣  surely some mistake.



I am sure the lads down the pub love the eau de WD40 aroma on Chloe while Zoe is partial to a dab of ep90 behind the ears.


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GPS How things move on …..

 But at a slower pace now.

Its time to upgrade the navigation of the Beady world,

Here a brief history of navigation by GPS in the world of Beady and a conclusion for 2017.

  On an off road trip to the recently freed country of Romania early in the 1990’s , we purchased a Magellan NAV 1000 Trailblazer, this was amazing, at last we could pin point ourselves on a map to precision that was almost as accurate as what we had before when we had no map . i.e. useless.

 The Trailblazer was like most tech stuff in its early days, you had to be dedicated to use it, but without early adopters this stuff would struggle to get going.

My First GPS in 1993 we paid a lot for it.

The Magellan was a mean looking bit of kit it , but if you powered it on and didn’t  set the time and location it would take 24 hrs to get a location, on batteries you would never get a fix before they died.

the screen was high res for the day and featured

100 waypoints

1 route

2 data screens

and 1 pointer screen that would show you your track.

Basic location was enough, the Trailblazer UK version also did 10 digit OS coordinates.


the Unit was chunky and you felt you had value for money, there was no base maps just a digit readout, so unless you had good maps to locate yourself it was of little use.

And as for the 10 digit OSGB grid refs well  anyone who can’t plot their location on a OS GB map shouldn’t be allowed outside without  adult supervision.

There where however two good feature of this unit that have stayed on into the modern world the first is the aerial, turn it around and it  detached then using a standard coax cable with BNC connectors it could be relocated to the roof, great for in cars and using the Cig power socket made a very useful unit.


Magellan Trailblazer GPS with external Aerial
The aerial was movable to the roof even on these early versions which helped lots.

The second feature was a NMEA output over RS232, we used this along with a early Aero 33mhz colour laptop to do mapped realtime tracking in our range rover on our race across the desert following the Dakar 1995 from Granada to Senegal, we used a scanner that self powered itself across maps and we where light years ahead of everything else, but things had to move on as it was slow and tedious to use in a moving car.

Then  in 1999 we purchased the amazing Garmin eMap with built in maps, memory cards and a position fix that was incredibly quick for the day.

Garmin eMap with the Dakar 2009 route to the docks, in its car stand.


The screen was 120×160 pixels , waterproof but the MAPS was the features that made it great.

I still have my eMap and it still works perfect although the memory cards @ 128mb do not hold much useful mapping  and I remember waiting ages for Garmin’s software to send the maps to them over RS232 at a whopping 9600bps , oh how the nights just flew by, but still back then it was worth it, when there was no Google earth or any other real mapping available I had world maps from Garmin and a screen with a pointer on it. coupled with the new trick Australian software called Oziexplorer it was a great combo.

The button layout still persists to this day on Garmins and so does the paged menu system.



     The World goes smartphone mad…..


Microsft rule with Wince programmable phone in 2003
Microsoft innovate and the world takes four more years to catch up.



in 2003 I got my first smartphone, way ahead of all of you.  The HTC SPV E100 was the first phone you could program and it used  Windows mobile CE a difficult process but again amazing for its time and way ahead of the rest of the world , I started to write the worlds first vehicle diagnostics on a phone  ( note to self : patent my ideas ), soon on the orange network the faster SPV E200  came out and was perfect for our race cars. It had a serial port and I used it with a gps to do some very early mobile mapping in 2003, but what I wanted was a built in GPS ,  HTC back in the noughties where very innovative before they went boring and Android, remember the amazing HTC diamond ??,  I didn’t have to wait too long until  HTC delivered what is now the familiar form factor of the touch screen smartphone to arrive in the bland but technically great HTC Trinity sold by Orange in the UK, with WiFi and Bluetooth a memory card slot this was the first of what we all take for granted now.

DAKAr race car diagnostics in 2006 .First smart phone with built in GPS
Trinity ( a name to make all nerds horny , think Matrix films ❤  )


From then on it was a yearly upgrade cycle of speed and performance until the HTC mini, when running Oziexplorer you had a formidable GPS mapping tool, full fat internet and WiFi decent storage and a great program to navigate with.

HTC mini and Windows Mobile  professional 6.5, the pinnacle of Windows mobile until WIN10

although this was in 2007  effectively the final consumer version of WinCe, Google Android used the interface and still run it today, which shows just how good microsoft where with the format.

Beady race Dakar waypoint for south america
Oziexplorer WinCe is still updated by Des Newman

If you want to know what Oziexplorer is then look here

for use by drunken australians in thier ute's
Oziexplorer website


It is very powerful software, don’t be fooled by the dated GUI interface it works and as with all powerful software needs some practise but then its very good.

after this version of win mob  Microsoft foolishly tried to emulate Apple with a walled garden ‘you cant mess with the simple features we supply attitude’ and Windows phone slowly died with Win8 and 8.1

but at last the world has overtaken the smartphone era and the moved to the small computer with a phone that is Windows 10 UWP, where all windows applications (apps to the dumb) work on all platforms with Win10, except Oziexplorer ☹ well Des may write it again although I doubt it.

While away off roading in the Dordogne in 2017  I tried Oziexplorer on a WIN10 Surface with a Garmin GLO Bluetooth GPS, the results weren’t great, especially when the Bluetooth connection decided to not connect again and again then not at all.

So what now.

well this showed me after year of using dedicated GPS units with there amazing reliability that there is still a place for them in conjunction with mapping software like Oziexplorer, the internet maps on Oziexplorer are great , the ability to swap between diferent providers of maps and your own at the same location is great.

download your waypoints and routes to the GPS and with the memory that’s huge you can have the maps and even custom maps on the dedicated GPS, with battery back up when all the other systems are crashing the unit will still point the way.

In between I have used most GPS’s on our Rally raid trips, I have made routes and tracked progress with ever better Garmins and better laptops with Oziexplorer.

So which one will I upgrade to, well it has to be only one doesn’t it? 😜 if you know you GPS’s .

The successor to the legendary Garmin 276

beady dakar GArmin 276C
Legendary 276C GPS a big brick of a unit



——  welcome to the 276Cx

2017 Garmin 276Cx

Just need to convince Milly that I need this or I will just get lost.  £700 GBP isn’t soooo bad is it?  😇.







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