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Posts posted by gitarmac

  1. Simple test for anyone who wants to find out just how consistent their GPSr is:


    Ideally, first download the Trimble Planning Tool, and notice how the number of satellites and DOP will vary over time at your location.


    Go to a known fixed location - preferably a benchmark with known accurate coordinates, but your mailbox will do. Wait a couple of minutes for your GPSr to "settle" (yes, it does matter!), and record the coordinates. Use a coordinate format which allows the highest inferred precision - UTM is good, because it will report your location to 1-metre precision in both E-W and N-S directions. Also, make a note of the EPE and number of visible satellites as reported by the unit, and make a note of the number of satellites and DOP as reported by Trimble Planning Tool.


    Go back and repeat a few hours later the same day - try to choose a time when the Trimble Planning Tool reports a significantly different number of satellites and DOP to your first visit.


    Repeat again later the same day.


    Repeat the above series of tests the next day ... and the next .. and the next. (Note - if you check the Trimble Planning Tool, you will see there is general tendency for the number of satellites and DOP to be more or less repeated on a 24-hour cycle. For the most meaningful results, you should NOT repeat the exercise on a rigid 24-hour cycle. 9:00 a.m. on 11 January is going to be ROUGHLY the same as 9:00 a.m. on 12 January is going to be ROUGHLY the same as 9:00 a.m. on 13 January ... but 9:00 a.m. 11 January is probably going to be quite different to 3:00 p.m. 11 January.)


    And now here is the clincher - to qualify as a meaningful scientific experiment, there has to be a prediction:


    All of your position records taken at times of day when Trimble Planning Tool shows a low DOP are likely to be quite tightly clustered around a common location (the centroid of which SHOULD correspond to the true location) - say plus or minus 3 metres in any direction if you have a modern high-sensitivity GPSr, good sky visibility and limited multi-path at your location AND the reported EPE at these times will probably be quite low (perhaps 3- 4 metres?)


    Your position records which are taken when Trimble Planning Tool predicts a high DOP are likely to be scattered over a larger distance (although note that some will probably still be "spot on"!) AND the reported EPE will probably be higher.


    When someone completes this exercise and can show that their unit consistently gives a fix within 2 metres of a single location at all times of day or night, I will be truly impressed! (Because it can't happen, according to theory which underpins the whole GPS system!)


    (P.S. Of course, the easy way to collect data is to set your track log to record your position at regular time intervals - say every 10 minutes - then set your GPSr in a fixed location for 12 hours or more. You can then download the track log and see how much the recorded position moves around as the satellite positions change.)


    dadgum, that's a lot of work! My brain hurts!

  2. I lost my vista hcx, and replaced it with another vista hcx. The first one was factory refurbished, but you wouldn't have known it, it even had the screen protector if I remember correctly. I had to do an update and reset but after that it worked fine. There was a backlight flickering problem but it never got any worse and I got to where I didn't notice it. It was considerabley dimmer than my venture but I figured that's why the batteries lived longer.


    The new one is as bright as my venture, and still has a long battery life. Haven't noticed any flickering either.


    My new one has a flourescent orange lanyard, and a reflective cord lanyard. Also has a caribeener on the garmin lanyard. I may put a floaty thing on it as well.

  3. I have the venture hc and the vista hcx. The vista has the electronic compass so it doesn't bounce when you stand still. This has proven invaluable when trying to show people directions and stuff on the gps.


    They have high sensitivity recievers too, which is much improved over the old ones.


    It will also hold maps, with it's little memory card. Oh you say you don't want them, that's because you have never had them! I see you are in NC. You can get free topo nc maps from gpsdepot.com!! Or you can just use the southeastern us one and meander through the states!! We dont' have mountains in this area, I had a blast when I went to hotsprings this past fall!


    I only mention this because your budge allows it and you sound like you are using an antiquated gps that loses it's signal in the woods.


    This will not stop the bounceing when you reach your destination but still cool things to have. There are other models, and brands. Lowrance makes a model that has a good following.

  4. Has anyone considered running this issue past Garmin support?

    Yes. They sugggested I perform a hard reset. I haven't yet done so because it will delete all my waypoints and I'm skeptical that it will work. But I may yet have to, in order to convince them that there's a real bug.

    backup your gps with mapsource or easygps. Then you can send you stuff back to the gps when you are done resetting. I back mine up regularly. That enables me to save more tracks as well. I have differant "tracksets" depending on where I am going.


    I have not noticed this date error phenomena with any of mine, I didn't think they could make date mistakes!

  5. When I got my first Oregon, I quickly realized that I was going to need the backlight ALL the time for the unit to be usable. So i went for the NiMhs and that is all I use in my GPSRs anymore. I still use Energizers in my headlamps, but I rarely have to change the batteries in those, since I don't turn them on unless I actually need it to find a cache. I can usually get about 8 hours from a charge on the Energizer NiMhs, and then I just swap them out with the two other sets that are always charging in my car. I can't understand why anyone would use anything but rechargeables in a GPS, but maybe some folks have way too much money. In any case, Being able to just leave the backlight on without worrying about how much batteries cost is so worth it, and it's good for the environment, as well as infinitely more convenient. If I can ever find a rechargeable that gives good brightness to my headlamp, I'll use them there, too, but so far, they just don't cut it.

    I use rechargables in all my headlamps, I like being able to use them as much and as long as I want. I use both eneloops and sanyo 2700's and they both work good. My headlamps are the princeton tec apex (130 lumens!), princeton tec quad, and pretzel tikka plus.

  6. I added a factory refurbished vista to my collection last fall. I had (and still have) a venture at the time. It was awesome!! After I called to trouble shoot some buts which required udateing (you would think they would have done that at the factory).


    I used the clip and button with my venture, but I got a case for the vista. I used a button on it for awhile but it would break or come unscrewed. Wierd cause I never had a problem with my venture. We were hunting a few weeks ago during what around here is considered a cold snap, and I got a doe. She went about 20 yards into a dense undercover and briars. There was a good blood trail so I plowed through the briars to follow it. I lost my cell phone (and almost my jacket) in the process.


    I actually went back in and found my phone. I had to clip the gps to my pocket because I had no straps at the time to attach it to. In retrospect it was a dumb idea. We had to finish dragging to doe out of the swamp with a game cart and somewhere along the line I lost my gps, the vista.


    We have scoured the area to no avail, in spite of knowing the .5 mile stretch it lies. It must be buried in the mud that now covers the road. So I ordered another. I just got it a couple days ago!


    This vista is much brighter than my other one. And I have not noticed a flicker. There is some slight play when the computer cord is attached. The plug looks to be tight, just to look at it and touch, but when the cord is attached there is play. I thought about putting crazy glue on a toothpick and run it along the edges but thought that would create more problems than it solves.


    In the interim I have been using the venture and am amazed at how quick it goes through batteries. I thought the old vista was made dim for the purpose of battery longevity but the new one seems fine.


    I havn't had it turn spontaneously off when I touch a button while it's starting like the old vista but I hadn't purposly tried to reproduce the effect.


    Every GPS I have ever purchases had had some kind of bug or defect. My first one was a rino that did not get all the channels, it simply hissed when it was on them. I probably should have just overlooked that channel but I sent it back. I got a legend or venture next. It would turn off by itself, when I needed it to be on. It was practically useless.


    I quit geocaching then and didn't need one to hunt so I did without. Then the hc recievers came out and there was a sell in the paper and I got a new one, the venture hc. If you use it with gps off, you have to turn it all the way off, if you try to select gps on, it will lock up so you have to remove the batteries to make it work again.


    It also had old version OS and I had to update and do a hard reset to get rid of a few bugs that I can't remember. This one has a wiggly plug. Does anyone ever get a perfectly working gps?


    We still go back to try and find the lost one, I have hope we will see it when the water level drops. Hunting season is over and we use this as an excuse to hang out in the woods. We are going back today to plot a part of the club we avoided during the season. Why do they make the case black and gray!!!! I wish it were bright yellow like the venture!! I tied an orange lanyard and a reflective lanyard to the case on my new one. The one on the gps is the stealth black one it came with.


    Wierd about the differant brightnesses. I read in a differant thread where someone else noticed the same thing.

  7. I have a garmin vista hcx and venture hc. I just recieved the vista as a replacement for THE ONE THAT I LOST 2 WEEKS AGO!!!1!!1 I lost it while hunting!!


    Before I lost it I installed maps from gpsdepot.com. I have the nc, ga, and se one. All was well. Then while I was on a trip attempting to switch the maps in the venture (it doesn't hold much) I had some kind of glitch and mapsource said "my seusa map" had an error or something. I didn't have the web to research or reinstall the seusa maps like it wanted. When I got home I eventually figured out I could not use mapquest at all. It won't even start up because it doesn't like the maps or something.


    I don't know what it doesn't like actually. I didn't really need it till now, since both my gps's were configured for the area I needed. Well now I have a new gps, a shiny new vista, and I want to load those maps on it again.


    I uninstalled all the maps.


    Then mapquest didn't like the trip and waypoint manager.


    So I uninstalled that. It still thought there was bad maps and would not start.


    I uninstalled and reinstalled trip and waypoint manager from the CD, hoping I could start from scratch. It still will not work!!! it says there is a problem with the mapsource installation and to reinstall it again.


    I am hesitant to jump throught the hoops again without finding out if something else is going on. Is there a way to get mapsource to work again? Can I install the maps without it? I did not uninstall every bit of garmin software from my computer (communicator and updater) because they are working and I don't want to have a totally useless gps because I cannot comunicate with it.


    I don't understand, everything worked fine till november when I tried to update my venture.

  8. thanks for the thorough answer. I feel much better now.


    BTW: with all the talk about rechargable battery brands you might want to check out this link:




    Paticularly like that they publish their test protocols. Was supprised the enloops didn't make the list.


    That's a pretty old list.


    I have several brands and there is no doubting the eneloops do hold their charge, and do work in the things I put them in. I have to top off my other brands if I want to use them as spares, and even then they only are fully charged for a short while.

  9. Yeah, don't ruin good batteries with a crappy charger, it's not worth it. I have both those chargers, I use a lot of batteries.


    I have found that the eleloops work just as well as the high cap ones, so I think I will get more of them. I also mainly use them for back-up.


    I use batteries in my headlamps and cameras too. I like to use my stuff the way it was meant to be used! So if I want to go on a night hike with my 130 lumen headlamp at full blast the entire time, I do it and bring spares! If I want to leave my gps on for the entire week I am gone I do that too!


    I heard about the new even longer lasting eneloops but cannot find them.

  10. I have had this happen as well. I cannot reliably duplicate the problem, it seems to have to do with timing, kind of like the other poster said.


    It seems like every unit has some kind of bug or another. My venture is awesome, but if I use it with "GPS off" selected, then try and turn it on using the option of turning it on, it will lock up and I have to take the batteries out to fix it. I have to turn it off, then back on if I use it in gps off mode.

  11. I use both eneloops and some other brands. I have both the maha and lacrosse chargers. It's worth it to me because I use a lot of batteries, I use them in my headlamps and cameras in addition to my gps's.


    I started getting higher cap batteries because I also concluded my stuff might work better with those. Most of mine are sanyo 2700's.


    Truth be told they both seem to work the same so far, the only differance is if my spare batteries are going to be the 2700,s, I have to fill both my chargers up to top them off. I usually use the eneloops as spares. I will probably purchase more eneloops in the near future.

  12. I'm having a similar problem with my GPS unit. I have an eTrex Legend (the one with the clear blue case, I know, I really should upgrade, but they take abuse so well) and I need to upgrade the firmware to take care of the WAAS bug problem. I downloaded the Garmin USB driver package and started it up. I got to the point where you turn on the unit, then plug it in and wait for windows to see it. The "New Hardware Wizard" popped up and Garmin tells you to just make it proceed with the "automatic" search and install option. But then, for me, that option doesn't work. Windows just tells me that it couldn't install the device, and the Garmin package tells me it couldn't complete. I have the unit on and the data exchange setup to "GARMIN" like the instructions say. No dice. Any ideas?


    I have had a lot of trouble with both garmin communicator, and mapsource. For awhile, communicator was telling me I needed the latest version, which I had. Reinstalling it seemed to help but sometimes it seems like i have to install multiple times or something. It will work for long periods on end, then for no apparent reason, it will not "see" my gps. Then I have to jump through hoops. I don't remember exactly when I do to make it work again but I eventully do. Right now it's working.


    On vacation I needed mapsource to transfer maps to my venture. For some reason it decided, since I did not have the interweb, or my CD, to find fault with the maps I wanted to transfer, in spite of my transferring the maps just fine only days before.


    It's always something. I wish garmin was as successful in making software as some of the third parties.

  13. I back mine up. I use easygps instead of mapsource because unlike mapsource, easygps actually works consistantly.


    If you have a handheld gps, or any gps for that matter, it doesn't really make sense NOT to update it. Gps's aren't really a buy it and forget it item. Software, satillites, and data change, the unit needs to be updated to work properly, weather it shuts off or not.

  14. Here is an example of what I mean. You can't seem them very well but there are waypoints too. You can zoom in and out and move the map around on the website. I use windows snip-it to take a screen shot when I want a hard copy.






    opps, forgot to add the image.

  15. Consider getting a factory refurbished model and save yourself some money. They come with the same warrenty, in a shiney new box, just like new.


    Make sure you get one with a high sensitivty reciever. Then learn how to use the features. A lot of folks get a gps but don't practice with it till they need it.

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