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Etrex Vista Users-help


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I never had that problem with my Vista. The arrow was often more accurate than my friend's GPS Map 60CS.


When you have it on that page, what are the settings? Is the arrow a solid arrow, or is it broken? One time I had mine on a setting that gave me a somewhat-broken arrow and the arrow didn't work as well then.

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Two things. You have to calibrate the compass every time you change batteries. The compass is a 2-axis compass only.


I have a Vista-C and the compass should be more or less the same. The first problem (calibration) is a small annoyance and IMHO hardly worth mentioning. You change the batteries, select calibrate from the menu, put the unit on the table and turn it clockwise 2 times ... done. The second issue is more severe. It means that every tilt of the GPS unit will cause it into a wrong direction. As little as 2 degrees tilt can cause as much as 5 degrees off in display.



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you definitely have to be very fussy about recalibrating the compass frequently.  it's amazing how easy it is to forget to do this with each battery change on a long day!

One just has to make it "one" procedure in the mind. But thinking of it, you are right. Comparing this simple 5-step process:


* open compartment

* take out batteries

* put in new batteries

* close compartment

* recalibrate


with this very similar 6-step process:


* open zipper

* take out best friend

* pee

* put back best friend

* close zipper

* wash hands


The number of men failing to perform such simple and logical set of tasks in a reliable fashion proves that recalibration of an electronic compass after changing batteries is just asking too much. :rolleyes:



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... 1 open zipper

2 take out best friend

3 pee

4 put back best friend

5 close zipper

6 wash hands...

Nice list. Most guys miss the step between 2 and 3. Aim. Half the guys skip#6.


As for the compass when I used a Vista it was screwy. It would point to one side of the cache when I was in compass mode. Then when I'd move it would point at the cache like it should. When I'd stop the compass would kick back in, and it would point at one side. It was about 15 degrees off (a guess) which matches the declination though I'm not sure that means anything with a GPS compass.

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I know this thread is talking about a Garmin Vista (with electronic compass) but I wonder if there night be some confusion between the Bearing Pointer on the Navigation page and the compass. I have a Venture and I don't know how the Compass is displayed on the Vista.


As for the Bearing Pointer, which looks like a compass display, it is supposed to point at the destination (while you are moving). It gets confused if you are standing still. Even if I am moving and I am close to the destination it jumps around. I believe that if you are inside the accuracy of the unit the Bearing Pointer is not reliable. I am going to start switching to the Satellite page and watching the coordinate information to match up with the destiination. This info is more stable and I think it will be more reliable...........NS (no smiley)

Edited by azkoby
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...I believe that if you are inside the accuracy of the unit the Bearing Pointer is not reliable...

This is true. If you are close enough to the waypoint to be within the error of the GPS it gets erratic because your calculated position jumps around relative to the waypoint and it points all over. You have two choices here. Look for the cache since you are close enough to look. Or find ground zero. The way I've used with a lot of success is to move the GPS and watch the distance display while ignoring the pointer. If I try Right, Then Left, then Front, and Back the distance will tell me which way I need to move. Of course while I'm doing this someone else finds the cache...

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