This section will describe a typical WorldNav 3500 GPS installation, using the BMW F800GS Test Mule.
The small WorldNav 3500 Cycle GPS Quick Installation Guide included with the documentation provides simple step-by-step instructions for mounting the GPS on a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle and then installing the Bluetooth receiver on a helmet.
The mounting kit is complete per se, but the pieces are larger and more complex compared to other mounting kits I have used.
There are three main components: the handlebar bracket that mounts clam-shell fashion using two M6 x 20 mm hexangular head bolts, a pivot socket with thumbscrew, and the RAM-Window ball mount and module carrier assembly.
Mounting the 7/8 in. bracket to the bars was easy.
But due to the complex shape of the bracket it was impossible to find enough rotational space for it and the pivot socket assembly to provide a relatively level and viewable position with the GPS module mounted, at least not without removing some already-installed accessories.
Slipping back in time…in checking out the kit components I had noted the ball mount plate was mounted to the carrier with four small bolts and nuts in the AMPS hole pattern template.
Laying one of my spare RAM-B (one inch ball) mounting plates (PN RAM-B-347U) over the holes confirmed that the pieces could be exchanged — thanks to RAM and industry standards.
With the smaller 0.75 inch or 19 mm ball plate removed and the larger 1.0 inch RAM-B plate mounted to the carrier using slightly longer M4 x 13 mm bolts, replacement Nylock nuts and medium strength thread locker, a simpler and more space efficient RAM solution is readied.
With the replacement ball plate fitted, an existing handlebar U-mount (PN RAM-B-149U) nestled beside the left hand-guard bracket could now host the system. A short (2.38 inch) mounting arm (PN RAM-B-201-A) completed the handlebar mount assembly.
Placing the GPS module into the bottom of the carrier and then pushing it back will lock it securely in place. The top of the carrier has a plastic tab with two grips; the tab locks into the detent on top of the module housing.
A small thumb screw located on the back of the carrier should be engaged to provide additional security.
To remove the GPS module, unlock the thumb screw then squeeze forward and upwards on the rear-most top grip and pull the module out of the cradle.
There is no way to actually lock the module into the cradle to prevent it from being taken, but from a mounting perspective, the snap-in pressure fit approach is secure.
Accordingly, the WorldNav 3500 becomes another power-seeking device facilitated by the multi-faceted Dispatch 1 — the current provider of power for all things accessory on the F800GS.
A Dispatch 1 accessory lead is quickly prepped for use with two red Posi-Tap connectors (more)that are then mated to the positive and negative lead wires of the WorldNav power harness.
Activating the appropriate switched outlet port on the Dispatch 1 and firmly pushing the very small tactile power switch that is discretely located on the top left of the GPS module results in the welcome screen being displayed. Done, and done.
WorldNav 3500 Cycle GPS – The Bottom Line Ratings
Simple packaging with everything bagged correctly and conveniently without package-opening frustration or waste.
Compared to many newer navigation devices this is almost retro-style – but it still works. The shape is simple, the sunshade appreciated and it is easy to handle. Very light weight.
The mounting assembly pieces are not representative of what is available from industry and what should be used. The rest of the kit is very well done and seemingly up to the task of withstanding use and abuse.
Easy access to removable media and USB port impacts certification, but greatly facilitates use in other ways and I think it was a worthwhile tradeoff.
Features and Performance
Despite its styling, small screen and operating system issues, the WorldNav 3500 GPS serves up a pretty good list of features through its application suite and tools.
Not having to remove the battery door and not having to disconnect the USB cable to use the device, but still have it trickle-charged are great features.The two piece quick-disconnect harness is another plus, especially over most other GPS installation kits.
The clunky and (cheap) mounting assembly detracts. On the offset, being able to use a standard American Mobile Phone Standard or AMPS 4-hole pattern mount is good – lots of options.
The assembly has a relatively small profile. The navigation module fits snugly into the cradle or carrier. The harness is robust, easy to use and easy to hide away as desired.
Setup and Configuration
Once past the mounting issue, getting the system up and running was painless. Working through the applications and tools pays off. The Bluetooth is absolutely foolproof, as it should be, given the proprietary one to one implementation.
If not for memory, horsepower and application issues this assessment would be higher. The WorldNav 3500 GPS has the potential to soar, but errors and time-outs generate a sense of frustration at times.
The navigation application although being pretty menu intensive shines. Once the functional layers are sorted out, the system can be manipulated without much effort and without many error messages. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the media applications.
The E-book reader is just plain limited and while the Video player is fully featured, its performance is severely hampered by display limitations and processing horsepower. The system-specific Bluetooth headset receives single channel audio seamlessly.
Audio output is quite consistent across the applications and languages. A real limitation is that the WorldNav cannot be used with any other Bluetooth headset.
Ease of Use
Reading the setup, hardware, and software manuals is the key to exploiting the system fully.
The screens and various menus are not as intuitive as the typical Garmin zumo unit, but understanding the basic principles and applications of a GPS helps in adapting to the TeleType approach, proven by many commercial and private users.
And speaking of screens, the small low-resolution touch screen is a detractor. It is difficult to activate small icons and it is difficult to view the screen under many conditions.
No matter the learning curve, the navigation software is a mature application that has a lot of power, even if the core system does not.
The 330 or 1000mAH battery (the specification is listed differently between the manual and the website) is good for anywhere from one to three (+) hours, depending on use of course.
Charging is quick, typically within 60 minutes. Having the ongoing “charging” option via USB is always good for dismounted use.
Timeouts and general fault errors bring the WorldNav 3500 GPS down in this category as well. Outside of these non-trivial issues everything else works just fine and the robust construction approach is likely to result in long life.
Maintenance and Support
Other than adapting a RAM-B mount no other maintenance has been conducted, even after getting moved between three different motorcycles so far.
The TeleType support site is minimal, although the FAQ pages have provided some help in answering questions. I have sent two queries to TeleType so far, neither of which have not been answered…time for some phone calls, especially regarding any possible firmware or map updates.
Dollar-to-dollar to what are (or were) its two closest competitors — the Garmin zumo 220 and the now-discontinued TomTom Rider 2nd Edition — the WorldNav 3500 GPS comes in somewhat lower.
But feature-to-feature and given overall reliability, the WorldNav 3500 GPS system falls somewhat short. It has strengths in critical areas and weaknesses in what could be classed as non-critical areas that should not be overlooked.
As a dedicated GPS device, the system represents value, but in considering its shortfalls, all of which could and hopefully will be addressed, a conscious choice has to be made. I’m on the fence for this one.
The WorldNav 3500 GPS is a really good first effort that reflects the experience and abilities of the parent corporation in a very positive manner.
But by the same token, the system has some core problems that very much detract from the versatility and usefulness of this motorcycle GPS system.
The processor is seemingly overwhelmed, not unusual for this type of device.
Also, the issues I have observed, including the requirement of using the WorldNav Bluetooth headset and no connectivity with existing Bluetooth intercom systems need to be addressed if the system is to be evolved, which from my perspective would be a good thing.