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Tips on How to Use a Magellan GPS Unit

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/22/2010

Congratulations on your first Magellan GPS unit! You've made a wise choice. Now, it's time to learn how to use a Magellan GPS unit.

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    Gearing Up the GPS Unit

    You’ve just purchased your first Magellan GPS unit – congratulations! Now, it’s time to learn how to use a Magellan GPS unit. Don’t be scared off by all the choices on the touchscreen. It’s actually easier to use than you think.

    The first thing that you want to do is turn it on. Generally, you will have to go through some startup screens, and you may be required to punch in a code. Once you’re in, you’ll see a map with an arrow pointing the way that you are currently traveling. If you’re near businesses, you should also see symbols for those as well, including gas, food and the like.

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    Searching for Your Destination

    The main purpose of your Magellan is to get you to where you want to go. You can find a destination by searching for by address, category or near your location. If you do have an address for the business, it would be best to go ahead and just type it in.

    The key reason for this is that many Magellan’s do not have the latest maps or points of interest databases. If you bought an older version and chose not to purchase the latest map list, your business may not be listed in the database. Magellan will search for it, but more than likely won’t find it. And, sometimes it takes Magellan a few minutes to scan its database, especially if there are businesses with similar names. So, save yourself some time, and just input the address.

    If you will be searching for businesses on the fly, suck it up, and purchase the latest update for the points of interest database and GPS maps, especially if you are planning on traveling a lot. You will be able to easily find new businesses, restaurants and gas stations. And, while you are updating your device, go ahead and update the firmware for your model as well.

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    Potential Updating Problems

    When updating your Magellan, you may run into some update issues. Ensure that you are using the correct USB cables or downloading the correct update for your Magellan model.

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    Fastest Route Option

    Unless you really want to avoid toll roads and interstates, always use the fastest route option when getting directions to your destination. This will get you to your destination using the most direct route. If you do decide to take an alternative route, compare this route with the fastest route. If the mileage is close, you probably won’t be adding that much time on. If they are quite different, you may want to rethink this decision.

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    Over-heating Issue

    Magellan’s do have a potential of overheating after long use. This will cause the GPS device to stall or not keep up with the progress of the car or person if it’s a handheld device. Some units will even just give you a black screen. If this does happen, turn off the device, and let it sit for a few minutes or seconds.

    Then, turn it back on. This should clear the problem, and your route should still be active. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you should consider contacting the company or even returning the device.

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    Hide the Goods!

    And, here’s one final suggestion that can apply to all GPS units. Do not leave your GPS unit visible if you are leaving it in your car. For car GPS units, take down the holder. GPS devices have been the reason for many car break-ins.