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Everything posted by toddm

  1. If it's a big chunk of data going through the card reader is a LOT faster, It took nearly 50 minutes to do about 450 meg through the unit, and right around 10-11 minutes to do the same through the card reader. Considering about 5min of that in both cases is indexing the maps going through the card reader is seriously faster, on the order of about 900% faster for the data xfer. Usb 1.0 bad. My guess is you will see their next unit have usb 2.0, as people start getting 1-2+ meg cards and it takes hours to transfer data to them, they are going to get a lot of feedback to get faster xfer's I'd bet. Thankfully if you use the card reader you can get around it, but most average users probably won't know that, and some cards do not come with the adapter to use them in a standard SD slot.
  2. I do like the foretrex 101 for a no frils get your butt out and back gps unit. In fact for biking or hiking I'm tempted to get one when I just want the ability to get back from where I am at, and if needed give coordinates in an emergency. It would make a great light compact hiking unit. The 101 is the only unit of the foretrex/forerunner/edge series I'd buy, and you can't beat the cost. I really really wanted to get a edge 305 for my bike, it could replace my HRM and GPS in one unit, but I won't use anything in the field that has a non-replaceable battery, and for that matter will not take a standard battery (AA, AAA etc) something that can be found in the middle of no where. A few hours of runtime is not enough if you get seriously lost or want to use it for a week of backpacking or biking, so to me any unit with a lion battery that cannot be replaced or does not have a serious runtime (an order of magnitude more than they have now), is useless in the field. Even using a proprietary spare lion battery system is expensive with the non-replaceable lions when you need to replace them, most lion's only are good for about 500 charges, then you have to send the unit in to get the battery replaced by garmin, no doubt at a significant cost. At least give the user an option to use AAA's or something along with a lion rechargeable pack if you want, or worst case let them use an external battery pack similar to what the ipod does.
  3. In reality a lot of the problems or issues brought up with the "x" units are not that big of a deal, they are things that some might find very important but most probably don't. The reception improvement of the "x" series is probably worth all of the issues and a few more. After all if the gps can't get a signal to tell you where you are, all the features in the world are useless. I think it's important users bring up these issues though, both by emailing garmin and on the forums, because someone who is looking at upgrading or a new gps might find one of those issues very important, even if many users don't. Also if garmin does not have feedback on those issues and what people want, they can't fix or add features with the firmware updates. I would not be worried that you made a mistake, all you have to do is turn on your new gps in some interior room of your home where your old gps could never get a lock and watch the new one lock in to justify the new purchase. Are there issues and things garmin can improve on, certainly.....should some of them been addressed before the item hit the market....probably, but with firmware now it's easier for companies to make changes after they put a product out.
  4. While some of the comments do seem overly negative, there really is a lot lacking in the "x" series, and I would bet that it would not be long till garmin would bring out a fresh new unit from the ground up, not just a updated old model. I would take the other position and bash those people that defend garmin to the death, insulting and just generally being rude to another poster who finds fault with the product. Just slamming a poster by saying "well if you don't like it give it to us" is just a useless waste of bandwidth. As for the battery life, I'm fine with that; I'll take better reception and give up a little battery life any day. While I may not care much that the garmin does not give an elevation profile along a route, I can see where that would be very useful in some situations, if they say it calculates elevation for a route, it should do it, not just run a strait line from A to B and show that elevation. Usb 1.0 is pathetic, usb 2.0 has been out for 5 years. You are going to see a lot more complaints on this as people get 1-2gig microSD cards and it takes them a couple hours to download maps to it. The electric compass they charge $50 more for is a joke, it's way way way too sensitive to tilt. Sure I always have a sighting compass with me, but if you are going to charge extra for it and make a whole model just on it as a feature (and the altimeter)......it should work better than it does. The alarm clock I could care less about, same with the pressure plotting, but I'm sure some people do, it's obvious that because of the new chipset the unit is not able to do anything while it's off, so any plotting or alarm/time features are not going to work. Not being able to change the color of routes should be a given, esp. since they have the feature for tracks. Also using spare card memory to use for tracks/routes/waypoints should be a given. The option of having a couple user customizable screens that are just data similar to the trip computer page should be a no brainer. Along with allowing smaller data fields as the older units did. The wandering problem is an issue for sure. And for the record I've never owned any GPS units but garmin. It was a worthwhile overall upgrade for me in my situation, because I gained, autorouting, the memory card function, a color screen, and most importantly the amazing upgrade in reception, and some other stuff, for a reasonable price. If I was coming from a 60cs or a 76cs I would have waited for the next generation. The unit is still great overall, and I am pleased with my purchase, but it seems garmin might have pushed them out the door too fast. I wouldn't give them an F, but I wouldn't give them an A either. I'm sure some of these things will be fixed with firmware updates and new generations of product, after all if they gave us everything at once, they couldn't get us to buy a new unit every year.
  5. I'm not sure if this answers your question, but I am able to plug my transflash/microSD card into the SD adapter, put it in a card reader, and mapsource will recognise it. You just pick out your maps like you normally would and use "transfer to unit" and it will recognize the card and let you send maps to it, but no waypoints, tracks or routes.
  6. I know when I bought my 76s I didn't get color because I figured I didn't need it. However after using the unit for awhile, the first thing I noticed was that tracks and routes are often very hard to see on the maps, also in the city the routes are pretty well impossible to pick out from streets. So while I didn't really need the "pretty" color screen the grayscale screen makes following routes very hard. It was probably my biggest regret in my 76s. So that is one advantage to the color screen that I did not consider when I was in your position. Now if garmin would just let you change the display color of the route instead of just maroon/red.
  7. That really is too bad, I'm sure garmin will probably change that with time to compete with other units. I'd be willing to bet the only reason we are seeing the "x" series basically 2005 models with memory cards is because garmin was loosing significant sales to memory card capable units, and was in a rush to get something out to make up the market share. The memory card feature is great, however poorly implimented it would seem (not usb 2.0, cannot use card memory for tracks / waypoints / routes, etc) but the biggest and most important feature for a gps it's ability to get and hold satalites is amazing, but everything else pretty much falls short of improvement. The menu is lacking features, there is the wandering problem, cannot access the memory card from the unit, battery life has fallen off, the electronic compass is poor, lack of display options, etc. It would appear to be a product they rushed out the door in many areas. It would be a really nice feature if the unit could access the memory card space to use for tracks, this would allow nearly unlimited track points, which would result in much more accurate track/trail mapping as you could use many more points on a particular track, especially if that track covers significant distance. I know I have done trail mapping on longer mountain bike trails and if you are trying to map out 20-30 miles of twisty singletrack 10,000 points isn't near enough to represent the actual trail, it has to be done in smaller sections. Not to mention then if you had two "x" units all you would need to do is swap cards between the units and you have have all your waypoints, routes, tracks, maps etc. ready to go. However when it comes down to it, the reception alone makes it a worthy upgrade, and I myself was able to not only get the reception advantage but move up to the color screen, usb access, autorouting, and unlimited memory (although poorly implimented) so for me it was worth it, and i'm certainly not unhappy about the purchase. However if I already had a 76cs or even a 60cs that both have reasonable memory capacity, usb, and color screens I would have probably waited for their next generation units. Not having usb 2.0 is really unforgiveable in any usb product in 2006, if you tried to release a digital camera, memory stick, external hard drive, or an ipod or other mp3 player that used usb 1.0 people would laugh at you, or beat you with a stick after they bought it and found out.
  8. While it does take mapsource some time to compress and index the maps (about 4 minutes for 450 meg), if I plug that 512 meg card into a usb 2.0 card reader and transfer that 450 meg of maps it takes a total of 10-11 minutes, as compared to 50 some minutes going strait to the gps with usb 1.0. Bottom line, garmin should have made their usb stuff 2.0, again there's no excuse for a usb product in 2006 that is going to be transferring data on these types of total file sizes not to be usb 2.0 aside a failure on the manufacturers part. As for a fast computer, if you want to see a fast windows machine, run 3.11 or 95 on a 3ghz computer with software from 10 years ago. It might not be very stable but it would be fast. I'm not saying companies build in overhead to enourage frequent updating of hardware, that would be wrong.
  9. Just for giggles I left my 76csx on overnight averaging a waypoint, and in the morning it was still reading an accuracy of around 3' and it was off at least 8' vertically.
  10. It does take nearly an hour to load up say 450 meg of maps, granted you don't have to do it often but lets face it as larger cards come out people are going to want to load 1-2 meg into units and that's going to take 2-4 hours. You may not have to do it very often but it certainly would not be any fun. It does seem that garmin should have stepped up to usb2 by now, however looking at how long it took to get usb in their gps units period we are probably lucky we are still now downloading on the serial cable. However usb2 was introduced 4 years ago, any new usb device should be set up for usb 2.0. Here's another interestin question....does mapquest erase the card everytime you do an upload? I ask this because for giggles I started uploading 450 meg or so to my 76csx for to get an idea of the time it would take. However I already had 300+ meg on a 512 card in the unit, I never got a card full or not enough free space etc. message so does mapsource erase the cards map data everytime you load up new maps? If it doesn't erase the old data, it begs the question which data do you loose, does it delete enough existing data to fit hte new data, or does it leave some of the new data off?
  11. I've found that having garmin tell you "no" means nothing in what they will actually do. It was not 4-5 months ago that I emailed garmin asking if they had any plans to do a memory card based unit in the future, as while I wanted to shift from my 76s to a color unit there was no way I was going to do it until they had memory card ability. I was simply told they had no plans to do anything in the future with memory card ability. This does not really surprize me since they probably are not allowed to release any product changes or even updates until they are offically announced. So just because they tell you no, doesn't mean it won't happen.
  12. Very interesting, were they trying to evaluate isostatic rebound or a orogeny event of some kind? I know this is done a lot for those types of evaluations but as Photobuff said pretty expensive equipment is used for it and days worth of data consolidated. It would also be interesting to evaluate different algorithms and see how they fare with long term data in a consumer unit, but I believe it would be hard to get anything in the mm range. At some point it becomes exponentially hard to reduce the error factor even a small amount. When you really start to evaluate all the variables in such a project, gravity and magnetic anomalies, original sources of error in benchmarks, climatic conditons etc. the measuring units error factor, etc. it's amazing they can get within mm's with any equipment. It would be interesting to see if even some of the top professional gear could really give repeated results of finding the same spot within mm's from year to year.
  13. Not sure what the best way to deal with that is. I have scanned in maps before and used GPStrackmaker software to georeference the map and make tracks/trails from it. The accuracy is okay, but not super. I would say when I did this on a lot of moab utah trails that they were generally within 100-150' of the actual trail. This sounds like a lot of error but if you are dealing with a 1:100,000 map the thickness of the trail on the map is practically that much. It's probalby going to be hard to beat the accuracy of programs with built in maps/trails. The other option that would probably get you better results, though I have never tried it this way, is to use like ArcGis software to bring in dem or drg and aerial data that is already georeferenced. The problem here is we are talking about a program that costs thousands of dollars, and I've used it for a lot of things but never making trails/routes and then trying to transfer them to the gps so I'm not sure if that's even possible but I'd bet it is, if it won't do it on it's own someone has probably wrote a script for it.
  14. My 76csx does this as well. It seems the only way I can get it to go away is if I recalibrate the compass. The compass will work without recalibration in that it indicates direction, but the sight and go feature is unavailable. It would appear that you have to recalibrate the compass every time you turn the unit off and on if you want to use the sight and go feature. Probably as an assurance of accuracy, although with the units oversensitivity to being tilted in even small amounts it's kind of silly.
  15. In general for gps applications as I understand it, the 3 axis units are much better at dealing with you tilting the unit and still giving a accurate compass reading. From what I have heard Magellan uses this system. Garmin uses a 2 axis electronic compass in it's gps units and if my 76csx is any example it's very sensative to tilting the unit even small amounts. A small tilt of 1/4" on my unit will throw off a reading by +/- 10 degrees or more. 1/4" sounds like a lot but realize that's 1/8" at the front and 1/8" at the back that's pretty easy to do, and if you are trying to sight something up or downhill the measurements will be way off. My 76s seemed better at this, however it included a warning on the screen if you had the unit out of tilt, the 76csx does not have such a warning.
  16. Yep, it would certainly seem for a feature they charge an extra $50 for it does not perform very well in actual use. It may well be that with further practice and getting an idea of a couple tricks or references to make sure it's level accuracy can be increased a lot, but it should not be that hard. It's capable of being very accurate and repeatable if it's held perfectly level, but that's not an easy task. I can tilt my brunton 8099 that 3/4" of an inch and get errors in the 2-4 degree range, and that's so much tilt it's hard to sight with it. My brunton geo transit is even less touchy 1-2 degrees tops with enough tilt it's almost too much to even use it as recommended. Of course it also costs nearly what the 76csx does. I suppose garmin figures it gets you in the ballpark, and it's not designed to take highly accurate sighting measurements. If they built in a little more resistance to tilt error though it would be a killer feature.
  17. I did some more testing today, and I think the main issue is the units over sensitivity to tilt. If I calibrate it on a flat table by turning it in circles instead of myself turning holding it, then leave it on the table and sight an object say out the window, it's within a couple degrees of my other compasses that have sighting functions, certainly acceptable. The north also points as my other compasses do if you have the unit on the table, but it's hard to resolve small angle differences that way. The problem is that if you change the tilt of the unit lets say 1/4" total (the front going up 1/8 and the back down 1/8 or vice versa), which is easy to do when you are trying to sight something with it handheld, you can easily get +- 15 degrees from from what it should be. Most likely minus since that's the error for having the front tilted too high, and is the tilt you would have to sight something that is above ground or to see the sight marks. In fact if you really want to make it angry try going about 3/4" inch and my unit would easily vary 100 degrees. I realize that electronic compasses like to be held level but this seems extreme to me. Just for an example, I sighted an object that was ~255 deg (254 on one unit and 255 on another, probably a declination adjustement dispute) For giggles I took 10 readings spaced over the first part of today to try and get a feel for my repeatability of my measurements, trying very carefully to make sure I have the unit level. Doing so I could keep the error to about +- 7 degrees but that's still pretty bad if you ask me. If you tried to do a rough trianglulation on a map using two measurements that were both off 7 degrees the result would be pretty ugly even for a rough ballpark. I realize it's not a transit compass but I don't belive my 76s was that touchy with the compass and small amounts of tilt, or it may just be that the level warning on the 76s kept the error down.
  18. Anyone else with a 76csx or 60csx had a chance to try and check the accuracy of the electronic compass? I played with mine a little yesterday and the average seemed to be about 20 degrees off using sight and go, after multiple calibrations in two different areas. I used a bruton 8099 and a brunton geo transit to check it against which were consistantly within 1 degreee of each other and multiple readings taken. It seems consistantly off, in that repeated measurements are consistant. I'm going to test it out a little today in a couple new areas but if that's all the better it can do that's pretty unimpressive. The other thing I noticed is that the unit seems really sensitive to tilt, I had a 76s and it's compass seemed pretty good but I never did check it as far as using the sight and go feature. I also don't remember it being this touchy to tilt, we are talking a +- 10 degree difference if the unit is tilted 1/4" from level which could be easy to do in the field, especiallly without a "hold level" warning. The 76s also had a warning screen if you did not have the unit level and I don't see this on the 76csx either. I will test it out some more today and see what I get.
  19. As someone else said it's important we email garmin and let them know the features we want to see added or changed. The best way to get garming to make changes is to have people tell them they want them. I know I have sent an email to garmin on the 76csx asking for some changes such as: - option for smaller data boxes, ala the 76s (3 in a row, instead of only 2) - change the "night" backround from blue to black - allow the user to change the color of routes on the map as you can with tracks - show some information on the data card, and add ability to get a file list and delete functions - give the user 1 or 2 fully customizable data only pages, similar to the trip computer page no doubt there are others, but everyone should make a point to email them their recommendations, they may be reading the forums but it's still important they get actual feedback from users sent to them.
  20. I just picked up a 76csx and I have a pretty old version of metroguide v4.02. I've looked at garmin's site and the software information at least that I can find is hard to understand what the differences are and what the best option is for the 76csx unit? They seem to show a new version of metroguide, city select, and city navigator...... Anyone care to give me any info on the differences and which would be the best choice? Thanks in advance Todd
  21. Umm so is and ipod. Anyway, I really don't have a problem with the internal batteries. My Dell DJ 30 has non replaceable batteries and I just throw it on the charger after each use. No big deal. That's true but I don't use an ipod to navigate or keep my ride data, which I consider slightly more imporant than listening to music. Also on that issue actually there are several alternative power options for the ipod, you can get AA power and lion rechargeable units that will give you an extra 20 hours or so. I also like to keep ride/trip/hr data, and on many of our bike trips there IS no charger unless you bring something solar with on the trip. Certainly we have maps and compasses with as a backup, but that's not the point. It might be fine for someone that just wants a gadget to play with or does local training rides everyday, but if that's the case why would you need a gps unit anyway, a simple cyclocomputer will keep all the data you need and it's battery lasts for months if not years. It's pretty useless in the field on actual outdoors trips unless you stay in a hotel every night so you can recharge it daily.
  22. I don't know about everyone else, but I just cannot fathom why companies would put a non-replaceable rechargeable battery in a product like a gps, and I would never purchase one unless they can get the runtime so high it's not an issue. Case in point, the new garmin 205/305 that are gps/heart rate/cycling computer units for biking. I was very pumped when I first heard about these because I generally have a HR monitor and a GPS on my bike when I'm out biking esp. if I'm biking in a non-local area. I would have really liked to have been able to get the same setup with just one unit. I was already looking for my checkbook to order one when I saw the 305 had the new sensor and had wireless speed/cadense and HR functions. The deal breaker for me, and it was the same problem I have with most the forerunner units. The internal lion battery, so you can't use a common replacement battery, and you can't even carry a spare lion battery. So I spend $400 on a gps, hr, cyclocomputer, and it only works for 12 hours, which in reality is probably 10 or less hours knowing how battery life is quoted, which is not even 2 full days of riding at best on a mountain bike trip, after that it's just a hunk of plastic on my bike that does nothing. I realize you don't get much better life out of say my 76csx but I can carry a couple spare sets of AA's and it will run for a few days. I'm sure it saves them some product space and such, and for an ipod or something that's a pure luxury fine, but a gps unit is something that's meant to be used in the field, why make it so you are forced to recharge it every day with no other power options. I suppose a person can pack a solar panel setup to charge it, but it just seems silly. Even the forerunner units, I know the gps takes a ton of power, but I can't imagine having to plug my cycling computer or polar HRM in every day I used it, it would drive me nuts. I may put up with it on my ipod, but never on something like a gps.
  23. Very interesting about the church glass, I did not know that, learned something new, or old I guess! I've never heard of anyone in ND, MN, SD getting in trouble for it, it's probably something you'd have to contact the DMV for in each state and ask. However, I wouldn't be surprized if just about every state has a law against putting anything in the windshield area that could "obstruct the driver's view" so I'd guess in just about every state if they wanted to be unreasonable they could give you a ticket for it. I wonder if they didn't do it as a work around to try and eliminate radar detector use, or to keep people from mounting dvd players there. As far as blocking your view I suppose it is a factor but not much more than a rear view mirror or big parking permit people tend to hang from their mirrors, especially if you keep it off to the side. I think the worst I've seen on that area is lately I've been seeing people driving on the interstates with a portable dvd player on the dash so they can watch movies while they drive.
  24. Another vote for the large RAM mount suction cup, the thing is never going anywhere. If your vehicle experiences something that dislodges the RAM mount, what happens to your gps is going to be the least of your worries. We use it in utah all the time on the trails and I've never even seen it think about coming off, for two weeks it stays sucked to the window in a wide variety of temps and terrain. I wouldn't be surpized if that thing would hold a person's weight. The bean bag unit is a nice idea but there's no way it would stay on my dash, and I'm not about to glue something to it, and with our winters up here I've found out before that those glues don't like -20 in the winter and 100 in the summer. And as for glass, all glass is amorphous (which basically means it has no crystalline structure and gives a ambigous patter under x-ray diffraction analysis) and natural volcanic glass such as obsidian (lava cooled so quickly that it did not have time to form structure) is a solid. Opal which is basically a hydrated amorphous form of quartz is as well. However window glass is a liquid technically and it will flow at standard conditions. If you look at very very old stained glass windows in churches they are noticeably thicker at the bottom, so I'm told anyway. Of course for all intensive purposes even window glass is a solid, ask any bug that's hit your windsheild
  25. I'd like to see them give a little more room in that compartment, it's probably because the battery companies are pushing the size limits to get more capacity, but the new 2500 mah AA's are REALLY tight in my 76csx where my older say 1700mah AA's fit just fine, doesn't seem to matter on manufacturer either. My 76S and legend are the same way after awhile those contacts get squished pretty bad.
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