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Experience with Bad Elf GPS for iDevices
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Posted 7/16/2017 08:04 (#6128709)
Subject: Experience with Bad Elf GPS for iDevices

Southern Minnesota Between Freeborn & Wells
There was an earlier post concerning improving the GPS situation with iDevices. There are different categories of devices to do this. One is a cable which will allow one to utilize the output from a high end GPS device that you may already have in your tractor and input this signal into the iDevice. Another is a standalone device that utilizes Bluetooth to get its signal into the iDevice. These are standalone and they have their own display which displays basic information. Yet another is a device that literally plugs into the lightning connector on a current iDevice. This style gets its power from the iDevice but has a connector to charge the iDevice.

I ordered and received one of this last type through Amazon. This was a device from Bad Elf.

It arrived as expected yesterday and I played with it some on both my iPhone 6 and iPad Pro.

It did require downloading their free app from the Apple App Store. This has a couple of different screens. One shows basic information such as lat/lon, heading, altitude etc. The other shows a map with a pin for your current location. I tried the device first with my iPhone. It did seem to work as advertised. I tried driving to a location with it not installed so the app showed my position as determined with the GPS from the iPhone itself. The location was quite good. When I plugged in the Bad Elf device, the location was more precise.

One of the things that disappointed me right off was that the charging cable that allows one to charge the iDevice through the Bad Elf used the Micro connector. To their credit they did supply me with a new USB to Micro connector. It would have been much more desirable that the Bad Elf device had used a lightning connector. I do have some USB Micro cables around from some old cell phones but this means keeping track of yet another set of cables.

I next tried using the Bad Elf with my iPad Pro. This would be my main use for the device to use with Ag Leader's AgFiniti App to more precisely locate spots while checking my fields. Right off the bat there was a problem. I have a nice Otterbox case for my iPad Pro. Due to the design of the Bad Elf product, the Otterbox prevents it from plugging into the lightning connector. In order to use the Device I had to remove the Otterbox case.

In reviewing the Amazon website, I could have purchased another cable that is a lightning male to female that would allow the Bad Elf to plug into the iPad with the Otterbox case installed. This would work but involve using a USB to Micro port cable to the Bad ELf then the lightning to lightning cable to the iPad.

Since I didn't have the lightning to lightning cable I temporarily removed the Otterbox case for testing. Again I needed to download the Bad Elf app from the App Store. Again it did seem to improve the GPS position with its own app and also AgFiniti.

One thing I have noticed is that the iPad Pro does need a hefty charging arrangement. I had to buy a HD lighter to USB adapter to get the iPad Pro to maintain a charge while in the tractor. This was using the USB to lightning adapter. I used this adapter to the Bad Elf USB to Micro connector to test charging the iPad Pro through the Bad Elf device. It showed that it was being charged but yet the percent battery life indicator value decreased during use. I am of the opinion that the Bad Elf device does not pass enough current through to maintain or charge the battery.

With these negative experiences, I am going to return the device to Amazon. Amazon is very good in these situations but I will charged the return shipping costs which seems fair. Their website allowed me to print out a return shipping label making the process fairly painless.

In summary, I'm not saying that the device is a bad product. It may serve some users well in their situations. The combination of the Micro port, the charging uncertainty and the need to remove the Otterbox on the iPad lead to my decision to return it. In fairness to Amazon, the reviews I read later did explain the need for an extension with certain cases.

Edited by tedbear 7/16/2017 08:27
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