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Everything posted by jmundinger

  1. I'm more interested in getting to the bottom of this issue than I am in busting on Garmin. I shared the post for three reasons: 1. This topic has gotten some attention on this board and this was a new piece in the puzzle. 2. Perhaps someone who knows something more about this technology than I (it wouldn't take much) could offer some explanation. 3. Share the suggestion with others in case they wanted to try it and then discuss the results. I also sent Garmin a follow up, more or less the same thing that I said in here. I received the following reply: It only cost 30 minutes of battery life to try this suggestion. If it works, great. If it doesn't, I'll have more information to share with Garmin as they continue to work on the issue. And, if this really is the solution and I didn't try it, I'd feel pretty foolish.
  2. The problem is the opposite, i.e. the odometer is showing a decided shorter trip than the track log. The speedometer behaves erratically when moving at slow speeds (somewhere around 2 mph - not an unusual speed when hiking). When the speedometer quits recording, the clock for moving time stops and the odometer quits recording - resulting in the discrepancy. Based on the track logs that I have downloaded to quad maps, the track log seems to be correct.
  3. As part of the on-going conversation that we have been having concerning the discrepancy between the odometer and the track log that seems to occur with the H series Garmin eTrex units, I should add this one to the mix. I sent Garmin tech support an email in which I indicated that I had performed the update; described the erratic behavior that I had observed with the speedometer/odometer while hiking; and, provided the odometer and track log data. I received the following response: Thank you for contacting Garmin International, I would suggest performing an auto locate on your unit. 1. Press the menu key (button on the left hand side of your unit) from the satellites page and select use with GPS off. 2. Press the menu key again and scroll down and select new location, then select automatic. 3. Take the unit outside, let it set stationary for 25 minutes to acquire the necessary almanac data. I'm trying it because that is what he suggested, but I sure don't understand how that solution equates with the problem.
  4. Well, let's keep our fingers crossed that Garmin gets the bugs out of the H series before this transaction is complete.
  5. but if i enable "low speed odometer" , Garmin could prevent to reset it independently I had a chance to check mine some more over the weekend. This time, I noticed that the speedometer was erratic at speeds below 2 mph and, when the speedometer quit, the odometer also quit. Sometimes, it would take the odometer awhile to start again once I picked up the pace. When I finished the hike, the odometer read 3.6 miles, compared to a track log of 4.5 miles. The track log was right on the map (including a short trip behind a conveniently located tree). I reported the issue to Garmin, but have not yet seen a response.
  6. Jennifer - my first GPSr is an eTrex. If all you need is a basic GPSr, it is a very functional unit. However, I agree with the suggestion to consider the eTrex H, especially if you will use it in places where the view of the sky is compromised.
  7. I think you would like on of the Garmin mapping handhelds in the H series. Those have a more sensitive receiver. Thus, they are more accurate and are less prone to lose the signal while you are on portions of the trail with a restricted view of the sky. You also want a unit that comes with a USB cable. If you have the subscription version of GoogleEarth, the GPSr will communicate directly with it without additional software. The unit will also communicate directly with USAPhotoMaps - a program that downloads maps and photos from the TerraServer site. You can get it at jdmcox.com.
  8. I think you will like the eTrexH. The receiver is more sensitive than its predecessor - the eTrex - and, thus, will work better in situations where the view of the sky is impaired. This unit will not be as accurate as the more expensive units in the eTrex series because, based on what I saw in the owner's manual, it does not have WAAS capability. Also, it does not appear to have the capacity to average waypoints. So, if you intend to use this unit to hide caches, you should consider plotting several waypoints for each hide. You can then evaluate each in a mapping program and select the plot that looks best.
  9. I've done a couple of caches with mine since the updates and have not noticed any problem. Have you calibrated the compass? Is the compass turned on? If the electronic compass is turned on, what settings are you using to switch between a bearing defined by the compass and one defined by the direction in which you are moving? One other thing you might try is hunting up a couple of benchmarks - preferably ones in locations with a full view of the sky. That should give you some sense of your unit's accuracy.
  10. It was/is a speed related issue. With firmware version 2.30 (and, earlier,) the Trip Computer on the Vista HCx (and, presumably the other units in the new H series) did not function properly with a slow pace. If you look through the old threads on this issue, some people said that the threshold was 2.2 mph. Another poster suggested the threshold was 2.2 kph. With my unit, the problem occurred for sure below 1.5 mph and the threshold might have been variable between that speed and 1.9 mph. Since I installed the updated firmware, I have not experienced the problem. I have tested the unit on a 1 mile trek up a hill to retrieve a couple of caches; a 2 mile stroll in my neighborhood; and, a six-mile bike trip. Based on the way my GPSr performed prior to the update, I should have seen the problem on the two walks. But, in both cases, the odometer conformed with the track log. I hadn't tried the GPSr with the bike prior to the update, so I don't have a comparable experience. However, the trip did involve some stop and go because I was in traffic and I also stopped for a couple of errands along the way. Yet, the odometer and track log were consistent for that trip, too. Freeday has also updated his GPSr and it seems that his experience with the update has not been as positive as mine.
  11. Prior to the firmware update, my Vista HCx would have been noticeably wrong after walking a mile. That degree of error seems to have been corrected. Environmental issues will affect all of the consumer grade GPSr's, not just the new H series Garmins. And, the higher sensitivity receiver has reduced the influence of environmental issues on accuracy.
  12. Thanks. As I said, your experience with the update is different from mine.
  13. I assume that you have installed both of the recent updates. I understand what you said about your experience. Based on the two times that I have worked with my Vista HCx since installing both updates, it appears that I am not having the issues with the odometer that I had with it prior to the updates, i.e. my experience is not the same as what you reported.
  14. I just ran a few errands on my bicycle and decided to track the ride with my older GPSr, a Legend C, and my Vista HCx. Admittedly, this was at bicycle speed, not a hiking pace. But, I did have to make the typical traffic stops. Plus, the errands involved a couple of stops along the way. The odometer for the Legend read 3.6 miles for the trip and, at the end, it was not acquiring satellite data - it had been working up to the time that I got on my bike after the last stop. The odometer on the Vista HCx read 5.6 miles. I downloaded the track log from the Vista - it was at 5.5 miles. By the way, the reason that I upgraded was to have a more sensitive receivers for those situations in which the Legend can't "see" the satellites. Based on my experience since installing the new firmware for the unit and the chipset - one short hike and one bike ride - I'd say that the unit is trip computer in my Vista HCx is performing within a range of tolerance that is reasonable to expect for a consumer/recreational grade GPSr.
  15. I'd put it somewhere in between the two choices that you offered and sort of depends on how you intend to use the unit. The geocache feature distinguishes caches from other waypoints. When using the "find" function, you are then able to search from a list of just geocaches rather than sorting through all of the waypoints. When using the "go to" function to hunt for a cache, there is a "found it" option on the compass page that you can then use to log the found cache in the unit - it notes when you found it and changes the symbol from a cache to a found cache. As a general suggestion, I have an older Legend C and just purchased a Vista HCx. One thing I have noticed is that the owner's manual for the older models was more complete than the manuals that are provided for the newer models. So, if you purchase a Venture HCx, I'd suggest that you go to Garmin's website and sort through the discontinued models for the Venture C and then download the user's manual for that unit. The user interface on the two units is the same - the older manual will give you a more complete description about how to use all of the features.
  16. The one test that I have done since the update indicated that the odometer and the track distance were the same and, on that particular hike, they would have been noticeably different if I had not done the update. Theoretically, I agree with you. But, consumer debugging seems to be the standard for most technology. At least it's a lot easier to update my GPSr than it is to do the operating system on my computer. In this particular matter, I'll at least give Garmin credit for getting on the issue quickly - although the people who write their responses to email requests for technical support when the problem is a system issue could use a refresher in customer service. Part of the problem here is us - we all want bigger, better, faster, more and we wanted it last week. Evidence for that is abundant here in this forum - myself included. Look how quickly several of us jumped on the HCx series. How long have many of us wanted a faster, more accurate handheld mapping unit that holds the signal when the view of the sky is impaired. Garmin tried to serve that need - we were a little too impatient and they were a little too quick to market. At least an issue with the trip computer is not quite like lead paint on children's toys. The problem can be corrected and Garmin gave it a reasonable shot.
  17. I hope to do some more checking with my Vista HCx over the weekend, but I my initial experience with the recent upgrade has significantly improved my satisfaction with this GPSr. Clearly, 2.30 had a bug in it and Garmin, imho, has done a lot to correct the problems with that bug in 2.40. I think it is important that we remember the context here - we are talking about a consumer grade GPSr. It is a unit that functions well, but with an established margin of error. As near as I can tell, the Vista HCx that I own is now functioning within the margin of error that comes with the product's description. If you need something more accurate than that, perhaps you should consider spending several thousand dollars for a survey quality instrument and the software necessary to calculate the correction.
  18. Thanks for the explanation and for the links. This has been interesting/helpful. In looking at the links that you posted, I assume that the software can be used to determine when the most accurate results are possible. But, the software does not have the capability to actually calculate corrections. Are those assumptions correct?
  19. Are you saying that the problem with the unit not recording tracks or accumulating odometer when traveling less that 2.0mph is fixed? I read about that here http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=173260 and it's seriously put me off from buying a new HCx till I hear differently. I have not had problems with the unit not recording tracks. I have had issues with the odometer not recording when moving slowly (actually, based on my experience with the unit, the problem was when traveling less than about 1.5 mph, based on the speed recorded on the trip computer page - someone in on of these threads said it was 2.2 kph, not 2.2 mph and that would be consistent with my experience.) Anyway, the odometer problem seems to have been resolved. Based on my short hike - it was about 1 mile round trip - I did not have the problem and, there were a couple of short, steep pitches in the hike when the odometer would have stopped had it not been working properly. When I downloaded the track, it's length corresponded with the data from the trip computer and I noticed that there were several slow legs in the track log - confirming that the odometer would have stopped recording had the problem not been resolved.
  20. I had a chance to take a short hike this afternoon. The trip computer seemed to perform the way that it is supposed to.
  21. I asked this question of Garmin. They advised me of the compass page issue in 2.30, but never did ask the related question. If the compass is left on, how often does it have to be calibrated? Does the calibration hold when the unit is turned off, or does the procedure have to be repeated every time the unit is turned back on?
  22. Thanks for the heads-up. When I went to Garmin's site, I saw 2.30 at both the downloads page and at the HCx page. But, WebUpdater showed 2.40 and I'm installing it as I type this.
  23. Mike - the eTrex HCx series will do everything that you are looking for in a GPSr, except accurately record the distance walked when you are moving slowly. And, if you have the track log set to record set to "auto", the track log will have the distance, as well, you just won't be able to see it on the unit while on the trail. I don't have any experience regarding the track by distance vs. track by time vs. auto tracking issue - I have always used the auto, which is the default setting for that feature. The HCx is a little smaller than the CSx. The unit is also less expensive. Unless an accurate odometer is a priority issue for you, I'd go with the HCx (but, I also have a bias for the eTrex units because I am familiar wiht them).
  24. There are three "bottons" on the bottom of the Mark Waypoint page. "AVG", "MAP", and "OK". Select "AVG". The screen will change to the Average Waypoint page and the unit will start averaging the waypoint for the unit's current location. When I do this, I usually set the unit down and then let it run for a minute or two. On the Average Waypoint page, there is a button for "SAVE", which you can use to stop the averaging and the screen will then revert to the Mark Waypoint page. At that point, select OK and the averaged waypoint will be saved.
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