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Everything posted by toddm

  1. I'd say it depends Garmin seems to have improved the nimh battery level indicator if you will. Also you now have the option to keep the unit from automatically turning the backlight down as the batteries get to about 2 bars left, at the cost of runtime no doubt. That is a mixed bag though, first of all after awhile the unit still decides it cannot support backlight and shuts it "off". Which is fine, I'm pretty sure the 60/76/etrex do this. One issue is it does not turn the backlight "off" it turns it down to like 20% which is silly. Because even in a pitch black room 20% is barely visible but it's certainly chewing up battery life. As to total runtime, I doubt there is much garmin can improve with firmware updates here, electronics drain what they drain, they may be able to alter certain things that reduce power consumption but I don't think we are going to see a huge improvement. However that may compromise other things such as accuracy, or the frequency of position updating so it's give and take. On thing that might help is I know my 76 has a "battery saver" setting, I believe all it does is reduce the sampling rate. It seems the colorado updates every second, but it might help a lot with runtime if they could have a battery saver setting that updated every oh 3 seconds. That's a lot less screen redrawing and iterations. I use it a lot hiking or on long road trips where I know I don't need instant turn by turn navigation for long periods of time and it does seem to increase runtime significantly. However, the bottom line is, the colorado is a battery hog, it should not be that surprising since it's only rated to run 15 hours. With many users finding that they need to have the backlight cranked up you can figure about half the stated runtime. On the unit I was playing with using new 2650 duracells, I was getting about 7-8 hours of runtime with the backlight at 75%, which is the minimum in my opinion you need it set at to make a difference unless it's really dark out. Pretty much half what my 76csx will do and close to 1/3 what my etrex will do with similar backlight and system settings. That is with waas on, and the compass on. I think the bottom line here is we are paying a runtime price for a big screen with a lot of resolution, probably to support the image viewer function. That's not a feature to me unless garmin makes it so you can use georeferenced image to navigate with. Frankly I'd much rather have the etrex screen, it's capable of a bright enough backlight that it's actually visible in almost all daylight conditions where the coloroado is very hard to see in anything but direct sunlight, and the backlight even on 100% is not much help. In fact compared to my etrex HCx set 2 positions from no backlight is as bright as the colorado at full backlight. Again my guess is garmin did this for runtime if you could get 2-3x brighter backlight on the colorado it probably would not run 4 hours. It would be interesting to see what garmin has changed about how they test runtimes. I say this because the 76csx is only rated for 18 hours, but my unit will run oh 14-15 hours on the same set of batteries with the same level of backlight as the colorado, and my etrex rated at 25 hours gets near 20 hours. It's interesting that the colorado with backlight can barely last 50% of it's stated battery life. Hopefully garmin can do some things to really increase battery life, but I would not hold my breath. On the plus side for uses like hiking, you can use the backlight at full power but use a 15-30 second backlight timer feature and you are likely to get probably close to the rated runtime. However for biking or driving where you would want to see the unit pretty much the whole time, runtime is very poor. In a car it's no big deal to get a car kit and plug it in. On the bike that's not an option. In the field for actual navigation and field work, you simply can't beat the etrex hcx line, it runs 20 hours so a person does not have to worry about a battery change more than once a day, carry one spare set and you are good. If i were to use the colorado in the field I'd have potentially 2-3 battery changes a day, that's more hassle than I'd want to deal with. It also means instead of charging one set of batteries a day I'd have to charge 2-3 sets, which means a larger charger and more charging time and more hassle. While the colorado is a new format......I'm not really seeing much in the way of ground breaking features, in fact it has much less user adjustability than the older units. I don't geo-cache so I really can't comment on that, but as far as navigation, and marking accurate waypoints, frankly it's a step backwards in features and function than the older units. You have no waypoint averaging, no ability to use georeferenced images, half the runtime, no trackback feature, the unit is much harder to see out in daylight, the new text entering method while I like the rocker wheel format, it takes much longer than the older style, and we are still kneecapped with 20 tracks and 50 route limits. Garmin continues to drop the ball by not allowing more functionality with the data card. I can slap a 16 gig card in a colorado, but I still can't have more than 20 tracks, and with no trackback feature, that's at most 9 out and back trails, that's just unacceptable.
  2. When will you get off this stupid 20 track / 50 route limits on your gps units and eliminate these limits and use the data card. 3rd axis compass is a good one too, it can't be that hard other companies do it successfully.
  3. Yeah I know people that work for navteq, I'd be willing to bet garmin's contract is big enough that if garmin put their foot down navteq would give to keep the contract, if not then garmin should start looking elsewhere for a provider
  4. That's what I figured, ya know garmin might not take so much heat on their software policies if they offered a reduced price for additional unlock codes.
  5. This may have been covered but I could not find it using the search. Can a person take the data from the pre-loaded cards and move them to a larger card? My guess is no but I thought I'd ask. It just seems like a waste to tie up the entire memory card with maps, but I suppose that's why they sell the dvd. On that note, how much does garmin charge for an extra unlock code for city navigator? is it the full $130 or is it cheaper just to buy an extra code?
  6. Now if you could georef those images and use them for nav as well they'd really have something.
  7. Probably because the unit sees the headers as the same identical mapset. I tried the same thing with the same result. However if you use topo 2008 dvd it shows up as a separate map, but with a slightly different name. On that note, do any of the utilities to combine segments preserve DEM info?
  8. The real issue is what the capacity limit/map segement limit of the colorado? Also I have yet to hear if anyone has successfully loaded 6 gig of maps onto a 8 gig SD card and used it on the 300. (4 gig for topo 2008 and 2 gig for city nav). Certainly you can have 2 gig of a mix of topo and city nav, however no one seems to know yet, if you can buy say an 8 gig SD card for the 300 and load the entire topo 2008 on it (about 4 meg) and the entire city nav (about 2 gig) and if the 300 will work with that much map data. This could be a problem in two areas, first of all total map segments, I think topo 2008 is like 6000 segements if you load the whole thing (not to mention it takes like 25 hours to load onto a card. City nav is not so bad. I seem to remember the 60/76 series had like a 2000 segment limit. Mapsource will not allow you to put more than 4 gig on a card at a time. If not and you want the entire topo 2008 and city nav on a unit without messing with it, the 400t would be a significant advantage because it comes preloaded with topo 2008, and you can get all of city nav on a 2 gig card. It just depends on if you want the entire thing installed, or don't mind doing 2 gig at a time. For what it's worth, I never really needed more than 2 gig of topo and city nav on my 76csx at any one time, however it would be nice to have both loaded for the whole US and just not worry about having to mess with it in the future. Loading a lot of the topo 2008 data takes a LONG time, on my macbook pro it's still a overnight process to load a few states worth of it, and I think the estimate I got was like 12 hours to load the whole US. In addition the 400t I tested out had 1 gig of free space in addition to the topo maps, meaning you could get what half the US of city nav on it without even having to buy a card (though in reality a 4 gig card is what $30-40) so it's not a big savings.
  9. For years now I've been using heavy duty clear packaging tape for screen protectors. It won't take as much abuse as some of the thick hard plastic screen protectors, but in my experience even on the gps I use in the field it provides enough protection the screen stays safe. That and for $5 you can have a lifetime worth of it, at least until you have to start taping other things
  10. I have not heard of anyone doing that successfully either. I'm sure to garmin it's not a problem it's a feature. Just like having only one unit allowed per $130 city nav software disk. The 400t has the feature that you get the entire topo 2008 on the unit and can still put the entire city nav on an SD card and have both in their entirety on one unit, with only having to buy city nav. Of course if you want to work with topo on the computer then you get to buy topo 2008 too. It does not sound like there is a way to put topo 2008 and city nav on say an 8 gig sd card on a 300 and get them to work. It's the same for their other SD card maps, you pay $200 or so for city nav on an SD card, and you can use it on any gps......but you can't use it on the computer, and I'd bet most of us do our trip planning.routing on the computer. You can have eas of use for one or or the other, but garmin knows if you want it for the machine and the gps you have to buy both. The other option is to simply buy the 300, and a 4 gig card, and load 2 gig of topo 2008 and city nav onto it, as that seems to be the restriction, 2 gig total on a card. Topo 2008 is just about 4 gig total, and city nav is like 2 gig total, but you can get half the US of both onto a 2 gig card (at least the western half, I have no use for the eastern half, but it probably takes up more room with all the big cities).
  11. The csx units did have a lot of issues when they first hit the market, some that were not addressed for a few firmware updates, such as it not being able to re-aquire satellites after going through a tunnel etc. I encourage everyone to email garmin and ask for the trackback feature added to the colorado, this a key gps feature for any unit, the most basic $100 units have this feature. When garmin first game out with the gps12 this was their huge feature, that you could hike into somewhere, and use the gps to get you back by reversing your track on the way in. What is a gps for if not to get you back from somewhere that you got lost along the way. It does allow for reversing of routes, but the unit does not store a route as you move with it, it stores a track. I certainly understand the colorado is not a 60csx, and won't have the identical feature set, but not having the ability to reverse the track you hiked in on to get yourself back out, is a serious screw up at best. Yes you can mark a waypoint of your car etc. and then have the GPS route you strait back to it, but more than one person has died walking off a cliff etc. blindly following a strait line course from a gps unit at night. This is why having the ability to retrace your exact track into where you are only in reverse is key.
  12. Actually the Faq does not really. It does not address if you can put two sets of map images on a 8 gig card and if those will be used by the colorado properly. For example while I realize you cannot have more than a single 4 gig image file. Could you install a 3.5 gig worth of topo 2008 as one image file, and then install another 2 gig of city nav as another image file on the same card as Jotne mentioned and get the colorado 300 to use both map sets at the same time? If not, then the 400t with it's 4 gig of internal space becomes an advantage if a person want's a lot of maps on their gps
  13. No doubt that's my bad, I simply meant whatever the latest version of metroguide is
  14. Interesting, I know you can't complile more than 4gig of maps on mapsource but could a person load say 3 gig of topo 2008 and then put say 2 gig of city nav on an 8 gig SD card and use it on the Colorado 300? The 400t starts to look a lot better if you can't use more than 2 gig of maps on the SD card with the 300, because it comes with topo preloaded, and I think the entire city nav will fit under 2 gig. Though I guess in all honesty I never had a problem getting more than enough topo and city data on a 2 gig card on my 76csx.
  15. Has anyone that has converted their metroguide 2008 software to auto route had a chance to compare the maps and autorouting with CN 2008?. I like the idea of not having to buy $130 of software with every gps, but if there is a big difference in the map detail or usability I might do it anyway.
  16. with new 2650 duracells and 75% backlight brightness I get about 8 hours in the unit I'm playing with. Not very impressive since my 76csx will push 14+ and my legend hcx about 18 on the same batteries. Perhaps garmin can enhance this a little with software updates but I'd doubt much. For hiking it's not that huge of a deal, as I could easily use the 30 second backlight timer, but for cycling having to mess with the backlight on the bike would be annoying. For car use, definitely going to need the auto adapter. Using the cycling and HRM sensors will probably pull some power as well to monitor them, not sure haven't tested that. Compass on, backlight timer off, backlighting at 75%, clear view of satellites, tones off, track recording on. Batteries and chargers are a big issue as well, for example all 2500 mah batteries are not created equal and most of the energizer/duracell chargers you get are junk. A good charger like a la crosse or maha these days is less than $40 and in the case of the la crosse it will tell you measured battery capacity for each cell, so you can see how difference batteries compare, and if one cell is dropping off over time. The also charge and monitor each battery separately instead of in pairs, and you can adjust the charging current, do discharge and conditioning cycles etc. I have resisted this for awhile now but I have a la crosse on order because I know enough photo guys who get significantly better results from their batteries with a good charger and they can keep tabs on when their batteries start to loose capacity. I also ordered some power 2700 batteries to test in comparison to the duracell 2650's as the maha batteries have a impressive reputation, it will be interesting to see how they compare in measured capacity. I may have to try some of the power2000 2900mah cells as well.
  17. It's not so much about the length of my rides, however I've heard at the 305 did not last anywhere near as long as it's 12 hour rating, more like 6-7 hours. If the 705 goes the way of the colorado and it only gets 5-7 hours of battery life with the backlight on while cycling that to me is a pain, cause I will have some rides longer than that, and those are probably my most important rides to make sure i have data on. A 1 hour ride around here I could care less about, but a 6 hour ride in Moab I want data for, or a 100 miler on the road. There are also a lot of trip days we do 2 rides a day, 3-4 hours in the morning and 3-4 hours in the afternoon/evening I'd rather not be forced to recharge my bike computer between rides. Also I do a lot of my biking out camping, etc. I'm not at a hotel every night to make sure I recharge my bike computer daily. It's much easier to carry a few spare AA's already recharged. If the 705 can truly get ~12 hours of function while reading a wireless bike and HR sensor, and with backlight on "if" needed in daylight conditions great it probably will not be a big issue, but since the 305 was a disappointment in this area, and the colorado seems to be getting about half it's stated life with a backlight on, I'm skeptical. My other issue with internal lion batteries......a year or two from now when they are getting half their runtime, the unit has to be sent in and the battery replaced, usually at a large expense. Worse yet as time goes on you are always loosing runtime, with a AA unit it's easy to buy a couple new rechargeable AA's for a few bucks when the old ones loose their performance. I guess if you buy new stuff every 6 months that's not an issue but there area already a lot of reports of 305 units getting no where near the runtime they did when they were new. Good marketing, it promotes people buying new units but not a feature in my book. I don't mind the lion propriety battery pack, but at least make it user removable so people can carry a spare and easily replace it down the road.
  18. I had a question "answered" by garmin the other day on the 705 and at that time they said 705 units had already shipped to REI's last week, but as of yesterday my local REI or their web page does not show them. I wonder if they are going to do the REI only thing for awhile with the 705 as well. So it could be the person at Garmin told me wrong information too. I can't really see garmin adding too much cycling function to the colorado, just because then no one would buy the edge. My big complaint about the edge is it's lack of AA batteries, at the very least a removeable lion battery so a person can carry a spare, and I will certainly check one out before buying. The colorado is not without it's problems as well and I will check that one out also. Concerns for me with the colorado are unit water resistance, runtime...it seems like a lot of people are having to use the backlight in outdoor conditions and I've read really poor runtimes with the backlight on.....so if I can only get 5-6 hours of runtime with a set of AA's using it on the bike, that's really not much better than having to recharge the edge every 10. The real appeal for me with the colorado was if it had a more cycling function I could replace my cycling computer, my etrex I use on the bike, and my 76 that i use hiking and in the truck with one unit. Maybe the next colorado version will get there or even this one with enough software updating.
  19. Oh well, looks like I'll probably go for the edge 705 when it comes out. I don't need all the fitness features of the edge such as being able to race a digital partner etc. but I do want more ride data than just a current HR, speed, cadence. I'd want averages, max/min, and the ability to bring them up in a graphical overlay. While garmin may add those features with software/firmware down the road, I've learned before that you cannot count on garmin to add features, they may, or the may not, but to me if it's not in the unit now, I will not assume they will add it.
  20. Has anyone had a chance to use their colorado unit with garmin's HR or Cycling units? I was interested in the new edge 705 but since the colorado also works with HR/Cycling units I was thinking that might be a better way to go, because I hate the fact that the 705 is lithium only. I guess part of my question is how much fitness function is there with the colorado, if anyone has had a chance to check out how much of the data you can evaluate, and if you can get a graphical ride report that would give speed/cadence/alt/HR/etc. Thanks Todd
  21. With the cost of microSD these days, I would buy the CD and load what you want onto the microSD card. Not only is the cost much much cheaper, but then you can put all the map types you want for the area you want(topo, bluechart, city navigator) on a single card only having card space limit what you put on. For not much more than the cost of one topo microSD (you need 12 to cover the whole US) you can buy the whole US on CD and then get a 1-2gig microSD card to load maps onto. IMO it's a great marketing from garmin, because it would be almost $1000 to get the whole US topo one card at a time. Where the whole US on a CD is $120 and every topo map for the entire US, AL and HI will fit on a 2 gig card that's probably another $50. The bluechart microSD cards are even worse, they are $160 to over $600 a pop and it appears as though you'd have to buy a ton of them to cover the whole coastal US. It appears as you get the whole americas (all of US, canada, S. America) for about $160 on bluecharts CD. To get the preloaded microSD versions to cover that much you'd spend well over $1000, just the 2 cards that have the majority of the east and west coasts are $1000, plus you don't get alaska, HI, the great lakes, gulf of mexico etc. In other words, get the CD/DVD versions and buy large capacity blank microSD's and load what you need onto blank cards. You could have the entire US Topo, Bluechard, City Nav, and a couple 2 gig cards for less than $500 that way
  22. Sadly I don't think garmin has any interest in this. It may be as others have said the auto units are all they are putting their work into right now, certainly that market is booming. Since the unit can write and read to the card it should be a simple firmware adjustment to get and save waypoints, routes, tracks to the card as well. The issue here may be lag time. It may be the unit is too slow to read/write to the card in real time. However it can log tracks to the card without any problems so it should also be able to read tracks from the card without lag issues. I emailed garmin about this a couple times, and it was obvious from the reply that garmin thinks that having the ability to upload an active log to the unit (only one at a time and only from a computer to the unit) is more than enough functionality for tracks. This to me is a joke, having only 500 points on a track is a joke, it costs around a mile of trail lost on longer trails (30 miles or so depending on how strait the trail is) So now every time I want to have an accurate trail, I have to run back to my labtop and upload a new active log, or deal with largely inaccurate reduced tracks. It may also be that garmin is holding this feature out for the next generation. However I wholly agree, having the ability to store and retrieve waypoints from the card would be great. Also being able to save, and retrieve routes, without any point limits aside card space would be great, the same with routes. Let us put them on the card, and bring what ones we'd like to the unit to use, or have the unit access them realtime from the card, as it must already do with maps and active tracklogs wrote to the card.
  23. If you do go for the venture cx, since your legend is much much newer than mine they might get the same reception. If possible it might be best to get the venture, compare them in the field then return the legend if it doesn't get as good of reception. Take care Todd
  24. If I'm driving or mountain biking, track up I want to know what's coming and my general direction isn't all that important because I'm locked into where the trail/road goes anyway. Now if I'm off in the middle of nowhere, off an established trail, say doing some geo mapping, and I'm only checking my gps ever once and awhile to locate/compare my position to a topo map or aerial photo, then north up since I orientate myself and my topo map/aerial photos to north before trying to pinpoint my location. That's what we need, a handheld gps that also takes georeferenced aerial photos. Well okay I take that back, we need one for less than a couple grand, since they already exist.
  25. How old is your legend? I have a I suppose it must be 4-5 year old legend that I've had for awhile as I just use it on the mountain bike. I just replaced it with a venture cx unit recently and the reception is noticeable better. There are places now that I can get a signal with the venture that I could not with my older legend. Side by side testing has confirmed the newer venture cx seems to have better reception than my older legend. I had an older 76s which was a good unit but the reception was not much better than my legend, though the newer units may have better hardware in them as well. On that note though if you want the best reception save up for one of the units that use the sirf III chip. It's reception blows away any of the etrex units even my venture cx. Also keep in mind that the garmin 72 is not a mapping unit where your legend is a mapping unit. So if you used the mapping functions of your legend that may be a consideration. If you wanted some mapping features the 76 model would be more comparable.
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