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Everything posted by RamblinBear

  1. In the UK, you're probably best off talking to a company like Positioning Resources (www.posres.co.uk), Korec (www.korecgroup.com), or Surveying Equipment (www.sccssurvey.co.uk) who would be able to advise you as to what kind of kit would best meet your requirements.
  2. Garmin eTrex 30 here. Garmin GPSMap 60CSx before that. Generally happy with the eTrex 30 - minor bugs still, but most are workaroundable.
  3. Not much information on that one at all. The only information I have found is: $GPDBT - Depth Below Transducer on this page NMEA sentence information If you scroll up that page you might find some information to help you interpret the syntax of that particular sentence. From what I can see the NMEA strings all begin with $GP*** (6 characters in total) whereas the string you have is only $GP** (5 characters) which leads me to suspect that the source you got it from missed off a letter!
  4. I'm with Northernpenguin on this - I've had my etrex for a while now (bought it about 4-5 months after first release) and I find the construction quality to be just fine - better than my old 60CSx. I don't pamper it or baby it at all. I just put a screen protector on it and it was good to go. The software on it still has a few bugs, but it's way better now than it was when they first came out.
  5. In my experience (having it enabled on my old Foretrex 101, GPSMap 60CSx, and now Etrex 30), having WAAS/EGNOS enabled makes no detriment to the performance of the receiver, and it can be a benefit. Living in the UK, it sometimes surprises me in which situations I do pick up EGNOS and in which I don't - and it doesn't always follow expectations. Recently, in a fairly deep valley in the Lake District, I got an EGNOS fix pretty quickly, and yet sometimes up on the top of the Black Mountains (a dissected high moorland/mountain plateau) I don't get an EGNOS signal that quickly. I work on the basis that the performance/battery hit from having it enabled is negligible so I have it enabled. Certainly, having GLONASS enabled makes a big difference in terms of reliability of getting a position fix at the outset - but that's a different issue. In my working life, I have the pleasure of regularly using a professional-grade GNSS receiver (for public rights of way work), which picks up GPS, GLONASS, and WAAS/EGNOS, and will report statistics on its position quality (HDOP, age of correction signals and standard deviations of Lat., Long., and Height). The manufacturer's specifications give an accuracy of generally better than 0.5m RMS under good conditions with WAAS/EGNOS enabled (and I routinely see better than that out in the field). What I can tell you is that on that machine, the difference between having EGNOS on and not is like night and day - if the receiver is of sufficient quality, you will see a big improvement in accuracy with EGNOS/WAAS enabled. What I can also say from using that machine is that EGNOS (which has satellites in the southern sky - as seen from the UK) can be somewhat sensitive to obstruction from the south - i.e. from high land-masses, tall buildings, deep forest, and this is something which I have to be mindful of when conducting surveys. I suspect it is this feature which may give rise to Sussamb's observations and reservations about it. To be brutally honest, with the consumer-grade chipsets which Garmin will be using in our devices, WAAS/EGNOS may make a bit of a difference, but in most situations, it's not going to be as apparent as on the pro-grade equipment. The question is do you want an Etrex 30 for about £150 (and 140 grammes), or a Spectra Precision MobileMapper 120 for about £3500 (and 620 grammes)?
  6. With the latest firmware I think the GPSMap 60Csx will accommodate cards up to 4GB. The Talkytoaster maps are quite small in file-size (about half a Gig for the UK) so you shouldn't have any problem. They're OK on the 60Csx - I've used them (they're excellent, given that they're free - and regularly updated), but personally, I prefer the look of the TopoGB maps. My wife has the Talkytoaster maps on her eTrex 20 and gets on fine with them.
  7. You're not alone. Several users on this forum have reported the rather poor durability of the lettering on the buttons of their 62s. Many have said that their old GPSMap 60s were much better in this regard. Let's hope the 64 is better.
  8. I suspect it would be possible to turn individual GNSS systems on or off in the software - much as you can turn on or off the GLONASS and WAAS signals in the new eTrex receivers. No IC sockets involved - I think all the chips used in modern, mass production GPS receivers use surface-mount devices with tiny balls of solder fusing onto pads on the printed circuit board - the term "pin-compatible" is still used, though, as a legacy from the days when chips were commonly packaged that way (some still are).
  9. ST Microelectronics have announced the development of a new Teseo III chip which will be able to receive and decode the Chinese BeiDou signals as well as GPS, GLONASS, WAAS, EGNOS,and QZSS. The press release is HERE They state there will be a version which will be pin-compatible with the Teseo II chip, so enabling fitment into devices originally designed to use the Teseo II - with the necessary firmware revisions. I don't imagine we'll be seeing a BeiDou compatible Etrex any time soon, but the prospect is certainly interesting...
  10. Hi, As far as I know, the Monterra uses L1 only, as well as being able to access the Russian GLONASS signal and WAAS satellite signals (though as you say WAAS won't work for you in Brazil). I would imagine that the best accuracy you can reliably hope for would be about +/-5 metres - regardless of what it says the error is on the screen of the device. You'll have to pay quite a bit more than the price of a Monterra to get sub-metre accuracy. It all depends on what level of accuracy (and repeatability) you need for your surveys. If you do need better accuracy, then you'll need to look at devices like the Ashtech MobileMapper 120 or the ProMark 120, or some of the Trimble or Topcon devices - but make sure you're sitting down before you look at the prices.
  11. I got my wife an eTrex 20, with the free TalkyToaster maps - she loves it. It's pretty easy to learn the basics, but there's quite a lot to dig into to set it up just how you want once you get more familiar with it. I have the eTrex 30 - adds barometer and altimeter, magnetic compass, and ANT+ connectivity for heart-rate and cadence sensors. Both are good - with some limitations (the processor is a bit slow and screen re-draws are a little sluggish). Magellan GPSR's are available, but they really don't seem to have the same mapping support or user-base behind them.
  12. Also, the Etrex 30 has ANT+ technology embedded, so you can use it with compatible heart-rate and bicycle cadence sensors. In many ways, it's quite a bit more versatile than the 20. Depends if you'd use/want those features enough to justify the extra cost.
  13. If you want lower cost than the familiar brands, then these people might be able to fit the bill - they are gaining quite a good reputation. CHC navigation I've no connection to them, and I've no idea what their distribution is like in your part of the world. Could be worth taking a look though.
  14. The newer GPSRs from Garmin - the eTrex 20 and eTrex 30, as well as the Oregon 600/650 series have support for the GLONASS signals too, which will help give you a better (ie: more accurate) satellite lock in difficult reception conditions. The Oregons might be a little above your ideal price bracket (not sure about pricing outside the UK), but the eTrex models should be within it. The downside to the eTrexes is that there are still a few bugs in the firmware (though less and less) and they are rather slow in redrawing maps - though still remarkably powerful compared to your old Magellan. There is really no comparison between a good, modern GPSR and one of the older units such as you have.
  15. The latest firmware udates for the eTrex 30 have improved the compass significantly with regard to calibration. I have the 30, so I probably would say it was better (for my needs) I find the altimeter/barometer useful and very accurate. I do use the electronic compass (sometimes), and I also sometimes use the ANT+ connectivity to link the eTrex 30 with a Garmin heart-rate chest-strap so I can observe my heart-rate data when I'm cycling (and after on my PC). The 20 doesn't have ANT+. Very much horses for courses, though. There's no point in paying for features you won't use, or find entertaining to have.
  16. qckeke, Bienvenu! Le Garmin eTrex 20 (et le 30) est un tres bon GPS pour faire des geocache.
  17. I've upated my eTrex 30 to 3.10 without issues - so far.
  18. Perhaps Garmin value their Icelandic customers...
  19. I use a generic one. As I recall, the original supplied by Garmin is woefully short anyway. You shouldn't have any problem so long as it's of reasonable quality
  20. I use a 3M Vikuiti screen protector on my Etrex 30. It's very clear and has a hard coat, so is inherently scratch resistant, as well as providing a "sacrificial layer" over the Etrex's screen. I got mine from a company in Germany - Protectioonfilms24.com. I've had mine for over a year now, and it's still good.
  21. I had this issue the first time I re-calibrated my compass after upgrading to v3.00. All I can suggest is to take it slow and persevere. It is worth it - the calibration of my compass has been rock-solid since then, and very accurate when compared with my Silva sighting compass.
  22. You'll be lucky - GB Discoverer maps supplied on a card are locked to that card which you can put on any compatible Garmin device - but you can't put the contents onto another card and have your Garmin read them off that card, not without using some rather "dodgy" software to create an unlock file for that card. Each card has a unique ID which is used to lock the mapping to that specific card. Conversely, if you download the mapping, you can copy it to any card you want, but it will be locked to the specific Garmin device you registered it to, as you have to register that device's ID when you download the mapping. It's basically designed to prevent you making unlimited copies of the mapping which could then be run on any device. One way ties your mapping to a potentially corruptible memory card, the other way ties your mapping to a device which you may want to upgrade in years to come (and then you'll have to buy new mapping). [Rant] In marketing terms, it's called a cash cow - you milk it for all it's worth. Personally, I think it's high time Garmin put some resources into a more flexible licensing approach which reflects that many of their customers have a number of devices they'd want to share the mapping across, or upgrade their device(s) but keep their mapping that they've already paid good money for. However, what I suspect they'll do is carry on as they are until such time as the free OSM sources become so good and encroach on their market share so much that they have to offer something more flexible and competitive. Sorry. [/Rant]
  23. Inside the battery compartment of my 600t it says made in Taiwan. There is also a track recorded from April 2nd that shows GPS coordinates of Garmin in Taiwan. I guess they were testing it at the factory But agreed, Taiwan and Thailand are much better at this stuff than the Chinese. Lots of computer equipment like hard drives are made in Thailand. Please, can we get away from these pseudo-nationalist/racist generalisations? I have seen no evidence that goods manufactured in China are inherently worse made than those made elsewhere. That's not to say that I haven't seen shoddy Chinese goods - of course I have, but there are plenty of countries manufacturing poor quality goods - if you go looking, and regard price as your main purchasing criterion. I have recently bought a Panasonic Lumix GH3 camera - £1000 worth of camera - made in China. The build quality of that camera is, simply, superb - easily on a par with any of the Japanese-made cameras I've owned in the past. It's much more down to the quality control and production management systems that are employed in the factories, be they in Guangzhou, Osaka, New Taipei, or Kansas. As to what chipset is in the new Oregon - it won't be the ST Micro Cartesio as that is a GPS/WAAS only product. It might be the ST Micro Teseo II which is used in the new Etrexes, but if it is, I think it would have to be paired up with an additional graphics/system processor as the Teseo II is pretty slow in that department (certainly as implemented in the Etrex). My guess would be that it's a new one chip solution - but it'd be nice to know for sure.
  24. Etrex 30 works well for me too. Enabling GLONASS will have an almost negligible effect on battery life (in my experience) and it brings several benefits - it enables a faster acquisition (fix), and in many instances, it will increase accuracy (particularly in areas of restricted sky view). Given that many pro-grade survey GPS units are GLONASS enabled, I don't think the likes of Topcon, Trimble, Ashtech, or Leica would be providing the facility if they thought it would degrade accuracy of their (very expensive) devices. It might well be that the Etrex's implementation of GLONASS is less sophisitcated than Leica, Topcon or Trimble's (in fact, I'd put money on it) but there is little inherent in the GLONASS system itself which will make it significantly less accurate than using GPS alone on the Etrex. The stats. for GLONASS are slightly less accurate than GPS - when using high-grade receivers, but you'd be unlikely to observe that much difference with the rather basic receiver in the Etrex. The Russian Federation are also carrying out a significant programme of improvement of the GLONASS ground segment to improve accuracy over the coming few years. Sweeping statements such as "GLONASS does not improve accuracy" or "GLONASS sucks" mis-represent the true situation and do not really help prospective purchasers make an informed decision, in my view. I hike, cycle, motorcycle, and very occasionally cache, and the Etrex 30 meets my needs very well. It's not perfect - but with each firmware release, it is getting better, and (I have to say it) it is my GPS of choice in preference to my old GPSMap 60Csx.
  25. Having now read the article... It seems this is more akin to Seiko's Sapphlex crystals where a thin layer of Sapphire was fused onto a thicker, supporting substrate of hardened mineral glass, so you get the surface hardness of sapphire combied with the toughness of the underlying toughened glass. Could work quite well. You have to wonder, though - given that phones and GPSRs become obsolescent in a relatively short period (and therefore have relatively short lifetimes - as a generality) just how necessary is an uber-durable screen?
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