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Everything posted by toddm

  1. No trackback, it can't do the simple task of hiking into a location, and have the unit navigate the same track in the reverse. This also means for every track I want to load to the unit and have the unit navigate me along, I have to load two tracks one for each direction. No waypoint averaging. I've done the testing in comparison to survey gear, waypoint averaging gives more accurate and consistent sample locations in comparison to not using waypoint averaging. No way to adjust map settings from the mapping screen, yes you can do it from the menu but it takes longer and is a cludge. No heading when using the mapping pointer, there are times it's much easier to move to an area of interest with the pointer on the map and then use a compass to navigate a heading to that location. Also no way to search POI's or Info from a map pointer location. Screen dimness, it's difficult to see in many light conditions, it is possible to see, but it's much harder to see than the etrex screens due to dim backlight and the higher resolution screen not being as bright in reflected sunlight. This is more of an annoyance, and probably more of an issue as I'm used to an etrex or 76 with much brighter screens. Runtime......it's flat out not acceptable for field work, many field days are 12-15 hours in the field, that's 2 if not 3 sets of batteries in the colorado, every day, plus backups. It's not realistic to charge 6 batteries every day in the field doing work. An etrex line can go 2 full field days on a single set. I'll admit the car nav is nice.
  2. It's simple really, the Colorado as it stands right now is great for geocaching, and seriously lacking for navigation and working in the field. So if you are interested in geocache its as good as is currently on the market. If you want to navigate tracks, and do field work with it, the 60/76 and even etrex line is far superior
  3. My guess is garmin is pretty swamped, in the past I've seen a turn around on ?'s of about a day or two tops, lately it's been pushing if not over a week. Now that there are a lot of colorado units out there my guess is they are swamped with questions, problems, complaints, etc. If for no other reason that in the past the user manuals were pretty complete, the manual for the colorado is a joke, and a bad one at that. It's a quick start guide at best. if you want a direct email is techsupp@garmin.com but if my experience is any indication don't expect a quick reply. I've heard phone wait times are way up as well, but if you need answers fast that's the best option.
  4. Yep call garmin I had this problem on a 76 and it was out of it's 1 year and garmin still took care of the problem. The battery compartment is really really tight when using some of the larger capacity rechargeable batteries.
  5. Right now after seeing the beta update details for the new firmware I'm not holding my breath that garmin is going to add any features, all they did with the beta firmware is fix bugs. While this happened a lot with the 60/76 x series we were getting firmware updates there almost weekly, it's been nearly 2 months since the last colorado update so I'd have expected a lot more. As others have said, and my sentiments exactly it may be a great unit for geocaching but for field use and navigation it's unacceptable. That simple lack of being able to hike in somewhere then use that track to navigate out is reason alone not to take it into the field, add to that waypoint averaging not being there, and the inability to move the pointer on the map and get a bearing to that position from current. Coupled with horrible battery life, and a very poor backlight, and waterproof issues on some units. Now if garmin could address those things, add a trackback feature, waypoint averaging, bearings to a pointer location, not to mention being able to search for POI's from a pointer location, give us the option for more backlight similar to what we get when connected to an external power source, they would have a reasonable unit for field use. I've compared field sample location data using and not using waypoint averaging and have found that when using waypoint averaging with a average time of 5-10min yielded significantly better locations when compared to Trimble data. It's still not perfect, but it's on average more accurate than without. However, even wtih those fixes battery life is a serious problem. For those of us in the field 12-15 hours a day, that's 2 maybe 3 sets of batteries per day, where an etrex unit not only has all the features needed, but runs 2 field days on one set of batteries. I'd say if I don't need features added in the next firmware update after the upcoming one (now in beta) then I'll dump mine, because it's not field worthy as it stands.
  6. Interesting, garmin did not address their track problems or features that are not included that should be for a field worthy unit such as waypoint averaging and getting headings to a point on the map page. Frankly I expected a lot more as it's been nearly 2 months since the last update. Looks like garmin intends this to be a cache toy and not a field worthy unit. I figured with all the complaints on tracks and waypoint averaging those items would be included, especially with how long it's been for this firmware update.
  7. I've been riding with one. Overall pretty good unit, I've ran into a couple problems though so far. First on bumpy mountain biking rides, the center "enter" button gets activated, which changes the map from current position to pointer, and from bike 1 to bike 2 screens while riding. I don't see this issue on the road bike. Also and worse, the unit freezes repeatedly while trying to navigate a course. I've had it happen every ride I've ride to have it do a course, with courses I've downloaded and those I've made from the unit itself. The other issue I've had is you can download tracks to the unit, and they get put in the where to menu of "saved rides" the problem here is when you try and navigate the track, the unit only brings in random parts of the track, leaving out others or drawing strait lines between parts of the track that should have data. I thought it was a track point issue but I've tried tracks as low as 200 points with the same issues. I would also say the track that it shows on the map is so thin and hard to see that I don't think you could ride back along it if you had to, walk with the unit very close to you maybe, but never ride. The course and saved ride track lines are wide and easy to see. Battery life seems good, backlight is very bright, similar to the etrex series. I'm going to see if REI has a replacement unit and see if it has the same issues. I did go to the latest firmware as well, same issue.
  8. It depends, I've found the compass navigation page on the colorado as you have found very confusing and almost impossible to follow. I wonder if it might be that the unit is trying to navigate you from track point to track point and if those points are very close together or there is any lag, or worse both, it would make for chaos on the display to try and follow. I've also seen the unit I played with that seemed to want to navigate you to the end of the track, not along it. The way the colorado deals with tracks is just a cludge, on the one hand when you save the active track being able to set start and end points is a great feature. However the problem is with no trackback you have to save 2 tracks with opposite start and end points if you want to navigate along them both ways. Also the inability to see other saved tracks is annoying at best, esp. if you have a lot of tracks in a small area representing different trails. The easiest page for me to follow a track used to be the "highway" style page that would I guess be similar now to the automotive view of the colorado. Which of course also is not available on the colorado. Right now the colorado is nice for caches, but for navigation, and accurate field work, it can't touch the etrex/60/76 series. Hopefully garmin will add the functionality needed, but I would not hold my breath.
  9. It's a crapshoot in my experience. In certain places the GPS signal elevations are very good, in others they are way off. On average over time though the GPS signal elevations are probably more accurate. The problem with using the barometric altimeter is that if a weather front comes through it will throw things off. I've seen those vary by a couple hundred feet just sitting on my desk for a day if weather comes in or leaves. Over short periods of time with stable weather using a survey benchmark or sea level itself and a barometric altimeter is more accurate in many cases than the GPS signal, but only if the weather is consistent and you calibrate at least daily. For most people that's just not feasible, so the gps signal elevations are the best bet for less hassle. Altimeters are really much better suited to recording ascent and descent data than keeping a true record of your actual exact elevation. Also there is the chicken and the egg issue. I've seen topo maps off a couple hundred feet from survey benchmarks as well, so if you are looking at gps signal elevation and comparing it to a topo map, there is always the question of if the topo map is wrong, or the gps signal is wrong. Basically it's not an exact science, at least not in our consumer gps units. I've come to the conclusion that if I let the unit autocalibrate as Red90 suggested it keeps me generally within +/- 200' of actual elevation.
  10. That is true, every other USB cable I have puts the colorado into USB mode, only the garmin 110v and 12v colorado cables seem to power the unit. Even the older garmin usb 12v cables do not work. My guess is they scrapped the charging idea because there's no way for the unit to tell if it has rechargeable batteries in it or not, so they don't want people trying to charge alkaline batteries. My guess is you won't see that feature until/if garmin goes to a built in only lion type battery. Nice way for garmin to get everyone to buy new cables and the car kit.
  11. It seems that while garmin has added a lot of geocache features to the colorado it has lost some very basic and important navigation features such as trackback and as Malibooboo points out the ability to use the pointer to get a distance and heading to a point on the map, average a waypoint for increased accuracy, etc. So while the Geocache people seem happy with the unit, those of us that use it for field work and navigation are less than impressed. It will be interesting to see what future updates bring, but in the past the focus has been more on making functions work, than adding features, so I would not expect garmin to add a LOT of features to the unit, more likely work out the bugs on current features. As it stands right now, there's no way the colorado would go with me into the field to do work compared to my simple etrex legend hcx. However, no one knows till the firmware updates come out. I'd guess we have not heard much because most of the issues have been pretty well hashed over and until a new update comes out, the info is pretty well out there.
  12. I don't buy the fact they want new software out because there are cracks out for the unlock codes.....software always gets cracked and it happens pretty fast. Garmin did this to themselves by their pathetic current unlock terms. You never saw any crack software for garmin until they started doing the single unlock codes for $130 software and then not allowing discounts for extra unlock codes or any discount for software upgrades etc. I've heard the navtec excuse before, I don't buy it. On that note while I have had some pretty crazy routes selected for me by city nav 2008, I have never had it route me the wrong way up a one way, or onto oncoming traffic, etc. However, I'd also bet if a potential safety issue is why garmin is pulling the software, I'd be willing to bet the rep that told you that is probably looking for a new job, and a memo issued not to mention that to customers anymore. That way garmin avoids a recall and thousands and thousands of free updates/etc. when panicking customers start calling worried about being routed in an unsafe manner. They just mask the issue with a new version and vendors are mysteriously out of product for awhile. You would never tell a customer that you were pulling software due to safety issues when in reality it was due to an unlock code issue and cracked software.....that's like telling someone not to use their water due to drought not to use their water because it is contaminated with nuclear waste.
  13. Be interesting to see if Garmin pulls current units from resellers and/or issues a recall to the current units, if there is that big of a problem.
  14. It's a good question, It's interesting that if you bring the track into mapsource then save it as a .gpx the HR and Cadence data are lost. This messed with me for awhile because I could not figure out where my HR and Cadence data was from my tracks that I brought into mapsource and saved as .gpx files. If you take the .gpx from the colorado itself, the Cadence and HR data should be there in the format gps_dr gave, at least that's how it shows up on the 400. The problem is right now no one's software supports it. If you bring the .gpx into motionbased or sporttracks or ascent you get the track data such as position, time, speed etc., but no HR or Cadence info even though it's in the .gpx file. Hopefully they will fix this issue down the road, I was told by garmin that the colorado would be supported by garmin connect for HR and Cadence data, but it would not be till late May at best when garmin rolls motionbased into connect. I had sent the people at Ascent a .gpx file with my HR and Cadence data in it, so that may be the file he's referring to. I contacted SportTracks as well if the wanted a .gpx file to work the colorado into their software, but they never replied, could be they are already in the process of doing so.
  15. The background helps in some light conditions. I've found that in average light the white background works nice, in direct sunlight the black background actually has more contrast on some screens. However, on either background it still is much more dim than say the 60/76 series or the etrex series. Even in the truck today when it was on battery power with full backlight I could see it, but it was anything but bright, on 12v power it was much brighter and easy to see. That's fine for the truck, hiking it's not bad, usually you can tilt or change the direction of the screen to make it readable under most light conditions. On the bike you don't have that option, and in many light conditions it's just not bright enough to see at a glance compared to the etrex or edge models.
  16. This may not be possible due to hardware/lack of voltage from the 2 AA's but if garmin allowed the user to set the backlight as bright on battery power as it goes when it's plugged into a 12volt adapter in the car no one would be complaining about how dim it is. Of course battery life, which is already not very good would be even worse, but it would take care of the screen darkness issues, even with the 2.4 update and fresh nimh batteries the backlight on the 12v adapter is much brighter.
  17. I use a macbook pro, but I run a windows XP shell if you will on it, which is what I do all my garmin stuff with until garmin get's their mac software a bit more polished.
  18. I read the manual. If you think that's the issue I'm having, you did not understand my post, so don't go throwing around RTFM. First of all I'm pretty sure a hard and soft reset would do a current track clear. In addition, my problem was not with the current track at all but saved tracks downloaded to the unit. Interestingly it seems to be tied to using an Windows shell under Mac. I think it may have something to do with how the program handles bringing the gps into and more importantly out of the XP shell. Basically if I delete the files in XP then "disconnect" the gps from XP so it then by default shows up in the Mac OS, then eject it from the mac, it does not work. It's like the unit defaults back to it's old files when done that way that it initially backs up when it first connects to the computer. If I Just hook the gps up to the mac and delete them from Mac and eject it, the deletion holds.
  19. Nope doesn't work, First of all, the only thing I have in the Garmin/GPX folder is: Current.gpx and Position.gpx and neither of those files contain the tracks I uploaded. I even tried replacing all files on the unit with a backup, no luck, still there The unit still sees the track data, I can pull them up, but I can't even get mapsource to see them if I try to download tracks from the unit.
  20. Hey guys, as per another thread I tried uploading more than 20 tracks using mapsource to the Colorado and it worked. The problem is, I can't get rid of them now, I tried looking in the archive etc. folders and for .gpx files but there's nothing with those tracks in them. I tried a hard and soft reset, still there, they have the right track data. Even more interesting is if I connect to mapsource and try to get the tracks back from the unit, it says there are no tracks but the current track.
  21. The 3D mode seems like kind of a gimic to me, mostly because you can't really navigate by it. You cannot see or change any detail of what is shown on the map and routes are so thick on the 3D view that I don't think you could reasonably use that screen for navigation. Also in reality the 3D view quality is pretty poor. That may be a factor of too coarse of DEM data, or not enough algorithm or hardware power to do enough interpolation/smoothing. I believe you need the topo 2008 data to get the 3D view to work.
  22. Yep the Colorado may down the road be a great unit but for now it's just not impressive. The fact the display visibility is very poor compared to older units is a huge problem, a gps is of no use if you can't see it. Worse yet the backlight is not bright enough to make a difference outside when you can't see the screen unless it's very dark out. I don't care how good a .jpg looks on it or how big the screen is when I can't see it outside. Runtime is poor, but acceptable with intermittent backlight use and hopefully will improve with future firmware changes. You cannot reverse a track......this is like the most basic and simple function every gps should have. You should be able to hike into a location, and have the unit navigate you back out. The colorado does not do this effectively, you can reverse your current track but you cannot reverse any saved tracks. This means if you want to do an out and back hiking trail, you have to save two tracks to the unit, one for each way. I have to believe garmin will address this one, but who knows. I do like that you can change the start and end point when saving a track though, that is nice. You also cannot average a waypoint, this is an important feature for anyone using their GPS that wants more accurate waypoints. Garmin continues to drop the ball on the data cards, kneecapping it's users with a limit of 20 tracks, 50 routes and 1000 waypoints......not to mention the colorado cannot save tracks to the data card now. This is just unacceptable esp. with no trackback feature this now means you can get at most 9 out and back trails saved to the unit. You guys think you need more than 1000 cache's well for those of us that bike and hike think of being limited to only 20 or 50 of them. No highway type navigation page, this was ideal for following tracks or routes on the bike or hiking. The auto nav page is really nice, but trying to use the compass page to follow a track/route or using the map is just not nearly as nice as the highway page. On the plus side the auto navigation view is very nice in the car. The compass blows, other companies can get 3rd axis compasses to work, I have to believe garmin could if they wanted to. As it is the compass is best turned off. A nitpick the unit does not sit well on a table, and it slides around on inclined surfaces. It sits in the hand very well but since the back is hard plastic with no rubber and rounded, it does not lay anyway well. Little functionality with the HR or Cadence units, and it does not appear to use the speed sensor at all so you can't use it for indoor training. Also currently it seems no software supports reading of the HR or Cadence info from the .gpx files. This will probably change with time when garmin rolls motionbased into connect. Also the unit does not allow for any real cycling/hiking data. You get cadence and HR and that's it, you get no zones, no averages, no min/max etc. Not nearly enough for anyone serious about training. No multiple data pages, we can now access like 40-50 different data types on the trip page, but you can see at most 8 at a time. They should allow multiple user customized trip pages so you can get more data at a glance. This would be easy to do and it's been requested for years of them. You cannot power the unit from the usb cable included. So you have go buy another USB cable to do that. You would think they could program it so that it could use both as a connected to computer and also as a gps powered from the usb. I suppose it makes them more money cause they can sell you extra cables and also their special auto charger, since any normal mini-usb charging cable won't work. Of all those if they fixed 3 things I'd be happy, and there's no way they can. The Visibility.....this is tops, if I can't see it outside, what is the point of having it The trackback, if it can't navigate back to where I started hiking, again no point in taking it with. The waypoint averaging, for field work being able to average an accurate waypoint is essential. The last two they can fix, the first one I don't think so. All I can say is I hope the edge 705 is visible outside or I won't be buying one of those either.
  23. Nice, I did not have the patience to try this but it's nice to see that someone did attempt it and it now answers the question that you in fact cannot buy say a 8 gig card and put all of topo 2008 and city nav on the card and have the 300 use the data. To some people that's not a big deal, in fact I can put the western half of the US of topo 2008 and city nav in about 1.5gig, but to some, myself included it would be nice to load all of topo and city nav into a unit and never have to mess with uploading and changing maps, that alone may be worth the $100 price difference to some.
  24. Yeah I played with one a lot with different backgrounds, in full sun the black background seems best, in other light white seemed better. The bottom line is, while the screen may have more resolution, and be larger, etc. etc. it sucks to see compared to older units. The backlight is useless outside because it's not nearly bright enough to make any difference, and if it was the runtime would be so bad it also would be useless in the field. All I can say at this point is I hope they did not use the same type of screen on the edge 705, because that will make it pretty well useless for cycling, as the colorado is impossible to see on the bike for me unless it has full sun on the screen (meaning you can only see it when you are riding with the sun above and to your sides) or it's dark out, in cloudy conditions or medium brightness forget it. I'd trade the resolution in a heartbeat to get the same screen as the etrex hcx lineup has. It's backlight is bright enough you can see it help in full sun, it makes the unit readable in all light conditions. Because frankly, a gps unit with a screen you can't see to use is just dead weight, and really expensive dead weight at that.
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