Tag Archives: road angel


I suppose I am OCD about some stuff, probably quite a lot of stuff actually!!

Anyway, since I’ve had the Road Angel I’ve also been using a Griffin PowerJolt in the car. It’s a true 10 watt USB Charger giving 5 watts per port which packs quite a punch. I’m tempted to swap him out for a Scosche Dual USB Car Charger which really does kick some ass pushing 12 watts (2.4A) but so far I’ve had no problems.

The idea for the PowerJolt was so I can run the Road Angel Gem+ and a TomTom at the same time using USB charging cables or run the Road Angel Gem+ and charge a SmartPhone or BlueTooth headset without switching cigarette lighter adapters all the time…less clutter.

The next problem and the reason for this post was the mess of cables now hanging around in the car so I set about running a charging cable directly up under the Road Angel location on top of the center console through the dashboard.
This turned out to be quite an epic as the ICE had to be pulled out and disconnected, Center Console partially out, ashtray, lighter facia and Glove Box all out just to run the USB cable.

It looks neat and tidy though so I am happy with no more OCD twitches…

Road Angel Diaries – 2000 miles in…

So…I’ve done another thousand or so miles since getting my Road Angel Gem+ that I wrote about in THIS POST and THIS POST and I must say its developing into a Love Hate relationship.

One is its annoying habits is refusing to startup, which at first got me raising a ticket with their Helpdesk who advised I needed to do a reset on the device.

I figured this was an isolated incident but now know this is a regular ‘feature’ of the Road Angel Gem+, so much so that I now carry around a spare Nokia SIM Key on my car keys as the reset ritual is becoming a regular thing:

This little thing is perfect for doing a quick reset and gets used at least once a week 🙁

The other annoying thing about the Gem+ is its database accuracy, or lack of. For a £160 device that you then need to add a £69/year subscription to I would expect 95% accuracy at least but sadly this is not the case.

There are camera’s that have been around for months that it does know know about, there are road speed areas that have been around for years it mis-categorises, i.e. telling you a 30mph zone is in fact a 40mph zone so word of caution do not rely 100% on this device or you could get punished

Here’s a shot of the beanbag mount I mentioned in my last Road Angel post , I need to run the cabling inside my center console at some point but this at least saves any tell tale mounts being on display when you leave your car unattended.

Road Angel Diaries – First 1000 miles

So I’ve done the first 1000 or miles with my Road Angel Gem+ here’s some initial feedback, useful if you are looking at buying one of these units 🙂

The battery life truly sucks if the screen is on full brightness and when I say sucks it does not last the stated 2.5 hours. True you can set it to Auto Brightness but in reality the display is barely readable, the solution – run it in Hard Wired Mode (direct into cigarette lighter/charger). I always spend more than two hours a day in a car so running this off just battery power is not an option…

Set it to Auto Power On/Off, this works really well. As soon as you turn the keys in your ignition the cigarette lighter gets power and the Road Angel fires up. When you turn your car off a motion detector spots the lack of movement (combined with the loss of power) and the Road Angel shuts down.

Buy one of these to mount him on: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005OV8ND6/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The sticky mount junk the Road Angel comes with means ‘permanently’ having the mounting base on your dash saying “Hey car thieves, there’s probably a Road Angel hidden in this car”. With the Decrescent ‘Bean Bag’ thing instead you can just stick this in your glove box/center console storage out of sight.

Set Single Beep (Audio Options) to Single instead of Loop (default setting), otherwise you will want to kill yourself after driving past your first Speed Camera. ‘Loop’ is like some 1970’s Space Invaders game when the aliens are REALLY low on the screen and doing that manic/demented scream thing in a really tinny tone. They have managed to get reasonably good quality ‘voices’ for the camera alerts (similar to TomTom) so quite why they fell back to nasty Low-Fi squawks in the final approach to a camera/blackspot is anyone’s guess.

The Adding New Locations feature is good in principle but I’m yet to be convinced it works as advertised. The idea is if you come across something new or wrong (perhaps a Speed Zone they have incorrectly identified with the wrong speed) you can then make a change, it stores this in your unit and later on:

When your ROAD ANGEL Gem updates, these new locations will also be downloaded to the central database, and can then be verified by the ROAD ANGEL team for possible inclusion in future updates

I’ve been adding the same ‘wrong’ 40mph zone every night for a week and it has neither kept this change on my own unit or downloaded my revision….go figure!!


More comments in another 500 miles maybe…

Forgive me Father for I have sinned…

Just to set the scene….I am NOT what we call here in the UK a Boy Racer, I don’t tear-ass around racing people and ripping my tyres up like a testosterone filled kid but every once in a while I seem to screw up just a bit and get caught going ever so slightly faster than I should.
So in the UK we can have up to 12 Penalty Points on our Drivers License and after you hit the magic 12 you get banned from driving for 12 months (usually). There’s a bunch of different stuff you can do to accumulate these points, the more serious, the more points and if you want to see the full gamut then take a look here

So I managed to collect two of these guys over the last five years on something called an SP30 (Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road) and each time they fined me £60 ($99 in February 2014) and presented me with 3 points – So I had 6.

The points stay on your license for 4 years after which they get removed so my current two are in an overlap kind of situation and the oldest of the them is due to come off in September, but here’s the kicker…

01:01 AM a week or two ago I am driving back from a Monster Magnet gig and fail to spot an Average Speed Check Zone….I cruise through 95% of it at the required legal speed of 30mph but hit the gas in the last 100ft and boost the car to 44mph, blissfully unaware I had just triggered one of those new Siemens SafeZone Camera’s that are starting to spring up around the UK.

A week later the letter dropped through my letterbox and guess what, I had got another SP30 but this time the fine was £100 ($166) and I now had 9 points on my license, scarily close to 12 and Game Over.

I now have to drive like an old lady for at least the next six months until 3 points come off my license and make NO MISTAKES and to make sure I splashed for a Road Angel Gem+

This gizmo is connected by GPRS permanently and gets live updates every few minutes about EVERY single camera location in the UK and for total backup has a built in Laser Detector (not that you can survive such things really…) and this guy will squawk, holler and flash at me when I’m within 500ft of any camera, just in case I am not paying attention. So its a bunch of money to save my bacon for being such an asshole in the first place.

I may post up some further stuff about the device later in the year if its worthy of mention…

Road Angel Gem+

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