Suggestions for Mounting a Palmtop & GPS in a Car

Warning: It is extremely dangerous (and probably illegal) to use a Palmtop device whilst driving. All but the most basic key operations should be completed before you start moving or be made by a passenger whilst the car is in motion. Also never attempt to look at a computing or navigation device whilst driving unless it is securely fastened in a location near the dashboard so that you can glance at it AND keep your eye on the road. Viewing your palmtop or laptop whilst it is lying on the passenger seat is just asking for an accident.

Notwithstanding the above warning, it's pretty pointless having a lot of expensive kit to perform moving-map unless you make the best use of it. It is also my belief that viewing your position on a continuously-updated map is much safer than trying to find your way in unfamiliar territory with a paper map, especially if you're on your own. Here is how I solved the problem without spending a lot of cash:-

I found this vacuum-attached notepad in Halfords. Cost was around £7 UKP. It has a locking mechanism which allows the pad to be positioned at any angle and turned over. I then attached some heavy duty self-adhesive Velcro fasteners (also from Halfords) to the base and matched these up with the cloth counterparts on the underside of my Psion Series 5.

You might think that this can loosen and fall off (it has after several days left on !) but if you ensure that the window and sucker are clean before application and reattach every day you intend to use it with the palmtop, you will probably find -as I did - that it's perfectly safe for even the longest trip (but don't blame me if it isn't <g>)

Arrange the palmtop so it is easily viewed alongside existing instrumentation and doesn't obscure your view of the road. The dashboard may help to alleviate the load on the lockable ball-joint. You can even use some more self-adhesive Velcro on one edge and part of the dash for added security if desired.

GPS positioning will depend on the overall dimensions but some models like the Garmin 12 are not that fussy about being close to the windscreen

The GPS is attached direct to the centre dash using Velcro. I've also seen some quite neat mobile phone holders that would do the job. Halfords have one that clips into the air vent but it's a bit pricey at £10 UKP.

One thing I did find inadvisable is to stick the Velcro directly on the dashboard near the screen. Heat build-up in the car due to direct summer sunlight can melt the adhesive - I know; it took ages to clean off !

Last updated 16 February 2000

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