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Explorist Bug List (updated)


D0T-C0M
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Well I was driving home getting a tan from my eXplorist last night as it sat on the dash and I thought of another "would be nice" feature:

 

Why not reverse black and white pixels on the screen at sunset so this thing isn't quite so overpowering at night? Garmin did it with nroute and I found it works well. Just something that 'would be nice'.

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... although... the other night after a Johnny Clegg concert in San Diego, I was looking for a small cache somewhere near a wooden platform on the marina. I had no flashlight, and I couldn't find the silly mint tin. So I set my screen to the brightest setting, and used it as a flashlight. It's pretty darned bright, and the good news is that it let me see and find the cache.

 

Parsa

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Had my own delightul rave out at Magellan support today about lack of 'supported' Win98 connectivity for the Explorists. After hanging up after at least 45 minutes on annoying hold I called back and left a message for a callback. Much to Thales credit I received a call back within an hour I think. Why not just answer the original call in a timely manner(I was tempted to let the phone on hold to see how long it would take bit had other things to do and recall another thread that mentioned a 5 plus hour hold I think) - I really did not expect a call back today. The newbie support person, it was quite obvious, put me on hold to check about my question. He assured me that it could not be done(although I sort of knew it could) and confirmed it with a 'support guy that had been with the company for at least 10 years'. Oh well - that set me off - poor guy...

 

A quick google had a possible solution. I struggled a bit but managed to get things talking using a Roadmate 500 file of all things.

 

I STILL WISH THE EXPLORIST HAD AN OPTION TO EMULATE A MERIDIAN/SPORTRAK - screen for screen as well as simple things like projections.

 

Thanks for the listen!

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I wonder if I should wait for the eXplorist XL, get the 500, or get the non-existant Garmin handheld GPS with SD-Memory card ???

 

I looked at, and played with an eXplorist 500 that Scook had at the Metroparks Picnic and Geocaching Event. The exp 500 seemed real nice, but the Diagonals did not work as well as the UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT directions on the clickstick. It was a bit firm though in the UP position but it still worked.

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The diagonal cursor movement is pretty good on 3 of 4 directions with my 500 joystick, but one of them is pretty hard to hit right. That said, I never even noticed it until someone mentioned it as a flaw...moving down and over in two movements is very nearly as efficient as combining the two.

 

I can't help noticing, though, that this is another in a list of things that I find myself defending as "It's not really that bad." Better to have things work without workarounds, trivial or not.

 

As far as the XL/500/GarmnSD question, hope you have the luxory of a few months waiting time with two big maybes in there. As you saw, the 500 is quite a bit smaller than the Meridian-sized XL will be, but the larger display of the XL might be tempting. But if Garmin steps in I bet they'll grab up one big bunch of SD-related market share.

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.moving down and over in two movements is very nearly as efficient as combining the two.
for most values of "very nearly", pythagorean disagrees; there may be as much as a 100% click penalty or a 60% distance penalty. :-)

 

Better to have things work without workarounds, trivial or not.
I agree. I'm tired of excuses. "It only crashes when you type fast..."

 

But if Garmin steps in I bet they'll grab up one big bunch of SD-related market share.
I'll throw in some more "ifs". If Garmin produces a competing unit with SD and if that unit has a receiver that's harder to confuse with "broken", and if Magellan can't fix the problems above and the processes that allowd them to happen, I'd have to say that Magellan's share of this market will (deservedly) plummet.

 

They could be 0wn3d. The recepie for claiming that business seems pretty clear.

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Today a reputable tech site contacted me in regards to the issue we have compiled here. they want to write up a review on the explorist line. I declined to comment further on the issues we are having only because magellan has contacted me indicating that most of the issues would be resolved in their next firmware update. Being the fair person that I am, I will give magellan the benefit of the doubt that they will address them in the near future. I do reserve the right to reconsider my position. I really wish they would bring out a beta program like they did on the german forum and really crush these issues. At least I would feel like we are contributing instead of being left out in the dark with no information or feedback from magellan.

 

I agree that if Garmin comes out with a SD card capable GPS they will crush magellan under the current situation.

 

PS Magellan??? knock knock are you out there??? testing 1 2 3 testing. yooohoooo!!!

Edited by D0T-C0M
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Garmin just adding a memory card is not enough, it depends how they implement it. The file management system on the eXplorists is a big step up from the Meridians and I think they did a good job. This includes the USB and Folder arrangement on the internal and SD card memory. Without being hooked up to a computer, you can move files from one memory to the other, rename, combine, create new folders, etc. You can also save a waypoint to any file, whether that file is active or not. You can do things like view the vertical profile of any track or route file in any folder (they do not have to be active.) You can also create a route from any track file directly, without making the track active. Fun stuff.

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D0tC0m, you're kinder than I'd be. As a reader, I'm much more interested in reviews of what a product is than in what it might be in the future. I'd be disappointed in any review of the product that skates over these things on the promise that some future version might address them. If anyone had actually seen this version and confirmed that these things were fixed, I'd certainly make an allowance for "the next version contains fixes for..." sidebars. Until then, it remains in my mental folder of bigfoot sightings.

 

I agree, EScout, there's more to it than sticking a socket on the bus. It's not like there's anything on your list that isn't generally well understood in the industry, but there are certainly plenty of wrong ways to implement it. Garmin has demonstrated UI expertise, so I doubt it's an unsolvable problem for them if they wanted to do it.

 

I suppose we're drifing OT here, though...

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I would like to add the following re my Explorist 600..

 

Major issues - 1 and 4

Minor issues - But VERY Annoying

- 1 - I can't understand why you have to enter secret menus to calibrate your thermo??? !!!

- 2 - The Geocache s/w is absolutely useless !!! The amount of info store and number of caches stored should be address - especially as there is an SD card with stacks of room ???

- 3 - an easy fix i would think

- 4- enough said

- 5- this has gotta be an oversight and should be an easy fix

- 6 - as per 5

- 7 Aghhh = particularly annoying - though if you keep only th eactive track, it is pretty good, that is, as soon as you save a track, get it onto your pc and delete from the unit... though, surely the unit has to only read the track that is currrent ??? No idea why it is sooooooo slow with a couple of tracks saved but VERY annoying - PLEASE fix

- 9 - Yep.

 

Enhancements

Certainly would like to see the above addressed though the following would be nice too.

7 - sounds terrific

8 - would be nice too

16 - yep !

17 - This is a given i would think

18 - YES !!! i would like 4 screens on the compass screen and not just too - probably even fit 8 on there !!!

20 - yep

22 - PLEASE

23 - YES

24 - yes

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eXplorist 600

 

Major: 1. This has only happened a couple of times for me and I suspect that it has something to do with the USB handshake between the unit and the PC. Most times though, my unit shuts itself off and I have to turn it back on.

 

Minor: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6

 

Priority Enhancements: 1, 5, 8, 11, 13

Enhancements: 2. 3, 4, 14, 17, 20, 23

 

Concern!!!! The cable for power and data is too lightweight for geocaching. The constant bending and twisting and screwing and unscrewing between uses (many times in a single day for me) has already created one defective cable for me within three months. It put me in a situation that I could not use my eXplorist for a geocaching tournament because I could not charge the battery and had no spare batteries. I sent the cable and unit back to Magellan. They replaced the cable but never gave me any details. I will now have to purchase the swivel base and leave the cable connected to it to ensure this doesn't happen again.... but why should I????????!!!!!

Edited by Trail Buzzards
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I have been waiting for three weeks now to get my replacement cable. In the meantime, so as not to be stuck without my gps, I am charging it with a battery-pack made out of four rechargable NiMH batteries via a construction from Fischertechnik. If you know the right contacts on the GPSr and connect one contact with +5 volts and the other contact with the 0 volts it should be charged in two or three hours.

 

Regards,

 

Arjen

 

PICT0001.JPG

PICT0002.JPG

Edited by arie1
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Arei1 your post is very informative please start a new thread to continue the discussion on your battery project. I would like if at all possible to keep this thread running to post bug descriptions and bug reporting

 

Thanks bud

Edited by D0T-C0M
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I noticed this weekend while plotting a new trail that when you change between detailed maps, ie topo map to DR map I lose all my satelite locks. Its just a little annoying that you have to wait to resume a decent sat lock after switching maps. Would this be considered a bug? Maybe there is a perfectly good reason why this happens but I cant think of one off hand.

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A few of my adds:

 

Caching and having to switch from 'Street to Street' Routing from Map NAV screen to the Compass Screen it's very cumbersome to have to rechoose the Cache again on a 'Point to Point' route - it should be automatic,,

 

Secondly when on any NAV Screen you should be able to Read the Details of the 'GOTO Point' rather than zooming in on it from the map to click it or to Menu it in with 5clicks,,, I just want the Cache Details made easy,,

 

Third - More Characters in the Hint.

 

Lastly have 4 customizable fields rather than 'Two Data Fields' !!!!

 

Thanks

brbo

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I don't have the time to write and you don't have the time to read all I have to say about the Explorist series.

 

It's almost like the inoperable Trailblazer XL I got ten years ago. Magellan swore there was no problem and spent two weeks tweaking my unit, even letting their head engineer take it home over a weekend to make sure it worked right. When I got it back it never got a lock while burning four duracells in an hour... They did refund my retail purchase price though. Nice, but not confidence building...

 

They live in some fantasy world, those Magellan engineers and I don't think we'll ever get their attention until they file bankruptcy. Incompetence? I don't think so. I think it's more a matter of having senior designers and engineers that haven't ventured outside the lab for a dozen years or more.

 

I can just imagine the conversations at headquarters... "What, you want to include features common people might use? Never! Our customers are loyal and will take whatever we give them."

 

Today's GPS market is much different from what it was ten years ago when we would take what we could get.. They haven't kept up, though some innovation has reared its ugly head in spite of themselves. It must have been some junior engineer who had the audacity to improve things but eventually got fired for intimidating the seniors.

 

It's obvious Thales isn't listening and your insistance on trying to get their attention is a waste of time. Give it up, move on and wait for Garmin or Lawrance to give us what we really want. Magellan, even though they have nice, waterproof hardware is a sinking ship.

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Hi,

 

Here is my review of the Explorist 500 and some comparisons with other GPS units. If this is considered offtopic I will be happy to move it.

 

I bought the Explorist 500 a week and a half ago and it seems to be working almost perfectly. I say almost because when I mark a POI with the cursor the altitude gets set to the current altitude rather than the altitude on the topo map. Other than that I have no issues with it and am quite impressed by its accuracy. In the last month I've purchased a Garmin Legend, a Lowrance iFinder Pro and an Explorist 500. I returned both the Legend and the iFinder Pro because I was not satified by their spotty accuracy and difficulty in getting WAAS locks. I wasn't happy with not being able to return to within 30 feet of the rosebush in my front yard with either the Legend or the iFinder Pro and having them point in the wrong direction half of the time. In my mind, all the features in the world don't make up for lack of accuracy in a GPS.

 

In contrast, the Explorist is very accurate ( I can often return to a marked POI a day later and have the reading be only 3 or 4 feet off instead of 20 to 40 feet with the Legend or the iFinder Pro). The directional arrow on the Legend and iFinder Pro would start randomly wandering when I got within 20 feet of a waypoint (or POI in Magellan-speak), not so with the Explorist until you are within a few feet.

 

Furthermore, instead of occasionally showing me that I'm driving a half of a mile off the highway (and from where I was when driving the other direction on the same highway) like the Legend or iFinder Pro, the Explorist is dead on or nearly so. Instead of my tracks having occasional large random jags in them while hiking under tree cover like the Legend or iFinder Pro, the Explorist shows me not only where I've actually been, but is accurate enough to tell me which side of a street I'm walking on (when using the Topo USA 3D map).

 

The iFinder Pro got a WAAS lock twice for about one minute during an entire week of use and often both the Legend and the iFinder Pro could not get reported accuracy better than 80 or 100 feet when walking whereas the explorist is usually between 10 and 30 feet and has a WAAS lock most of the time when I'm out of doors (I'm in Utah so the WAAS satellites aren't always visible).

When driving the Explorist usually reports 30 to 70 feet accuracy, the Legend was a bit worse but occasionally lost signal altogether and the iFinder Pro usually reported between 80 to 800 feet. I know, I know the reported accuracy doesn't mean a whole lot, but losing a signal is bad, and reporting 800 foot accuracy doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

 

I haven't had any of the reported problems with maps or POI files becoming unusable or locking up the gps unit. I do have two large (about 240 megabyte each) topo maps loaded on a 1gb SD card. However, since I've only had the unit a week and a half I might be changing my tune on that any day now.

 

Battery life seems so, so -- not as good as the Legend and nowhere near as good as the iFinder Pro, but passable. With the other two I could use two 2500 mah AA-batteries whereas I'm stuck with the 1300 mah li-ion battery in the Explorist. Extra batteries for the other two are cheap, but will cost me about $20 for a 1100 mah cell phone battery that reportedly works decently for the Explorist.

 

Featurewise the Legend was hands down the best, with an extremely usable interface and tons of features and options on the screens, the iFinder Pro was not as good but still very good. I would say the Explorist is just passable with just what you need, but no more. However, one nifty feature that it has that the other two don't is the ability to show an altitude plot of a track or route.

 

Searching for POI's on the Explorist is a real PITA unless I'm just totally missing something. How am I supposed to know if something I'm looking for on the topo map is an "area" or a "locale"? Its just plain weird that I can't search for a place name without knowing what random category Magellan has put it in. The iFinder Pro was clunky but I was able to figure out how to use it in about 3 tries. The Legend search just worked the first time I tried it.

 

Returning on a track took about 4 hikes to figure out on the iFinder Pro, talk about a weird interface. Every time you backtrack it makes a route (but doesn't tell you about that) reverses it and puts you on it. The upshot is that eventually you have dozens of routes in your route file, some of them having the same name. Finally the iFinder Pro doesn't store altitude data in its track files. Both the Legend and Explorist are much much better at backtracking a track. The Legend is more flexible in that it asks whether you want the whole track or some portion of it (like since you've turned it on the last time, or the last day's worth of track). I think the Explorist is more straightforward to use when backtracking, but this takes several more key presses to accomplish than with the Legend. However, as noted above, my tracks are much much more accurate with the Explorist that either of the other two. When I rehike a trail, my tracks are either on top of each other or nearly so with the Explorist, whereas they wandered quite a bit with the iFinder Pro and Legend.

 

All three screens are very good in their own ways: the Legend has really great resolution, the iFinder Pro is very big and the Explorist is color, and easier to read in the daylight. I would pick the Explorist first, then the iFinder Pro with the Legend last since the text, while clear, is just too small to read when you are hiking or driving. The color screen of the Explorist makes all the difference when all you can spare is a quick glance at the screen.

 

The iFinder Pro is really too big to be considered "pocketable" and isn't set up to be used with one hand. Both the Legend and the Explorist are pocket sized and are easy to use with one hand. The Legend might be a bit hard for a lefty to use one-handed, the Explorist is pretty symmetric.

 

Both the Explorist and iFinder Pro have a SD slot. Both are a PITA to get to. The only way to access the iFinder Pro SD card with a computer is to take it out. The Explorist has a USB interface that plugs in to a computer and allows you to see both the internal and SD memory as external flash drives (but not simultaneously). The Legend has only a clunky serial interface, bleah.

 

The file system on the Explorist is very flexible allowing one to be able to categorize maps, tracks , POIs etc. Furthermore, unlike the iFinder Pro, one can choose which POIs are shown. With the iFinder Pro after you pull in a file of waypoints from the SD card I see no way to "unload" them.

 

I was able to use both the Explorist software with my Mac. In fact, I can run the Mapsend Topo USA 3D using Virutal PC with no problems (except I don't get the 3D view on the Mac since VPC doesn't support Direct3D). I can create maps, send them to the Explorist, transfer POI's, routes and tracks with ease using my Mac. However I've heard the NMEA works on the Mac with the Legend and the iFinder Pro, but I haven't had any luck with the Explorist. On the other hand, I could just buy a $60 dedicated gps reciever for my laptop so I'm not too concerned about that.

 

I didn't try the addon maps of either the Legend or iFinder Pro, but I will say that the Mapsend Topo USA 3D map I bought for the Explorist is fantastic. It's accurate and has every place that I can think of listed on the map. Summer chlldrens camps, ravines, springs, trail heads (though not marked as such) are all there as are flats, ponds and just about any describable physical land feature or named place is on there, exactly where it is supposed to be. Topo lines are plentiful and accurate. Roads and addresses seem to all be there and are accurate. However things like restaurants are hilariously out of date. Some of the info is at least five years old. It only has about 2/3 of the gas stations. Cloverleafs, over/underpasses and other complicated intersections are reproduced in exquisite detail on the map. Believe you me, there are some doozies in Salt Lake (where they used the "plan it while you build it" scheme to finish the freeway before the 2002 Winter Olympics) and the ones I tried were all exact -- my position was shown accurately on the cloverleaf while moving. New subdivisions with roads but no houses seem to be reproduced faithfully also. Its funny that some parts of this map are so much more up-to-date than others.

There is a routable street map available for the Explorist, but not for the Legend or the iFinder.

 

My family took the Explorist geocaching and it worked very well -- we found the first 3 we looked for. It's dedicated geocaching features are nice but leave lots of room for improvement. No editing geocaches, no descriptions, hints limited to 50 characters, no place for cache size are a few of its shortcomings.

 

Here are some features/fixes that would improve the Explorist:

 

0) Fix the altitude bug with cursor marked POI's.

 

1) The ability to turn the backlight completely off (it doesn't need to be on when I'm not looking at it). Heck I would mind even turning the screen itself off just so long as the unit keeps recording my track data.

 

2) Make the search feature more intuitive and get rid of all of the stupid categories on the topo map ( how often will I be looking for an "arroyo" for goodness sake?)

 

3) One more user screen with user selectable fields.

 

4) Make it possible to measure the distance between two points neither of which are the current position.

 

5) Change the interface so that hitting "mark" twice marks a POI (waypoint). Right now its mark, enter, enter.

 

6) Show the upcoming part of a route or track on the compass screen.

 

7) Be able to turn portions of a track in to a route instead of the entire track.

 

8) Be able to edit the color/pattern of a route or a track.

 

9) Improve the geocaching features. Allow geocache editing. Include the full description field (I have lots of space on my 1gb SD card) and hint field. Include fields for all of the standard fields on geocaching.com (such as cache size). Allow me to mark a cache "found" or "mine". Allow me to choose which caches are listed or shown on the map depending on these fields (like a pocketquery).

 

Hope you find this interesting,

 

Gconner

Edited by gconner
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Here is a direct copy and paste from the European Thales rep that emailed me yesterday. He wanted me to post this for all to read.

 

Hello you guys!

Believe it or not, for me it was a great pleasure to read every single post of this topic.

Because it is my job to look for Bugs. In general for me it was a real pleasant suprise, to realize that

we have the same aim, which is to improve the quality of the eXplorist units.

I personally thank every single of you for the efforts.

I was able to put a lot of your enhancements to our internal Bug Tracking system, so that they are directly arriving the responsible engineers.

Currently we are betatesting the eXplorist XL units, in such a case all kind of enhancements from elder units will be checked very carefully. So that there is a great chance that your enhancements will be used to improve the firmware of the eXplorist units in the near future.

In general for me it is a question of "fair play" to invite you all to help us as beta testers. (Sorry D0T-C0M and all you other guys from Northern America. We are only able to consider volunteers from good old Europe. If necessary contact me and I will provide you the details of our betatest department in the US.) In the moment we have a large amount of possible volunteers for betatests, so that I think that it will be not possible to consider new volunteers in the near future.

But if you have something to report you can contact me and I will forward all kinds of issues to the responsible engineers.

BR

Martin Klitscher

betatestemea@thalesnavigation.com

+493075763472

Edited by D0T-C0M
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Dot-com: thanks for sharing that note. Thales doesn't often seems to keep their cards close to their chests; it's good to hear that they are aware (and maybe even appreciative) of the feedback.

 

GConner: Great review. I especially appreciate when someone is able to make comparative observations. I think you described the strengths and weaknesses of the 500 well.

 

Two suggestions that your review triggered for me: (1) search for SNN5595 on ebay and you should find batteries for under $10. (2) Use of the swivel mount in the car hooked up to the 12v PSP adapter sold at WalMart (under $10) will keep the battery charged sufficiently that you should rarely have to switch batteries. The mount also keeps the cable attached so you can just click the GPSr in and out without having to screw the darn cable in and out.

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Since yesterday my eXplorist is doing some sort of 'soft reset'. With backlight dimmed the screen becomes a bit darker and then comes on fullbright and the unit starts reloading the map and looks for satellites again. At least it looks like it lost it satellite lock for a short time. Furthermore, if this 'soft' reset happens when calculating a street to street route it gives the message 'can't calculate a street to street route, calculate point to point route instead?'. The message is a translation from Dutch. It also happened that the unit just skipped calculating a route after this reset.

Another thing I just discovered is that after turning of the electronic compass the heading field in the map screen keeps on changing when turning the gpsr-unit. I suppose that this should not be happening when the compass is switched of, the gpsr is not displaced and I am even inside my house, without a satellite lock.

This heading thing doesn't bother me that much, but this 'soft reset' does. I have to go to Iceland next week to take soil and watersamples in the right spot and then I don't want to be bothered with a constantly resetting GPSr. I cleaned the battery-contacts and did a standard-reset, but the problem has not yet disappeared, I believe.

 

Regards,

 

Arjen

 

Version is 5.1.61

Edited by arie1
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gconner:

Good comparison. Thanks for the effort.

 

Some comments:

Comparison of the Legend C would also be interesting.

 

Regarding the battery, consider the total power and the numbers look better. Multiply these out and compare. 1300 mAH at 3.7V compared to 2500mAH at 2.4V (1.2V of the AAs times 2.)

 

Embra's suggestion of the swivel mount is a must have. Makes charging and interfacing much easier.

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I wish I could have the ability to see both my current position coordinates and the geocache coordinates at the same time. Because it is often easier for me to hone into a target using the coordinates and match my location to the geocache. I hate having to go back and forth to the POI and then back to my location. I really wish I did not have to write down the geocache coordinates hold a piece of paper when I am getting close to my target.

 

This might sound a little tedious when compared to some of the more sophisticated comments above, but I am a simple geocacher and the simpler the better. Magellan has not made their product very user friendly and that is one the most important things to me. I am not a big tech person and I just want something that is strong on capability but also easy to use.

 

I have experience problems wth my E500 taking a very long time (as long as three minutes to give me my 3D location. It has been taking a long time (up to a couple of minutes) just to save my current track. I am glad I found this thread because I was about to contact Magellan to see if there was something wrong with my unit.

 

My boys are in their late teens now and they are looking into getting GPS's for when they go on their longer hikes. They were disappointed when the lithium battery only lasted for about 11 hours or so. The ability to buy AA batteries at a local store is a very nice benefit. Especially when you do not want to carry the added weight of the recharging stuff. Not to mention, where are you going to recharge it anyway. For those trips that are longer than a day the lithium battery limitation makes Magellan a pretty useless choice. If anyone knows where I can get a battery pack that will attach to my E500 I would be very pleased to hear from you.

 

There is no elevation changes along the way unless you input a waypoint. I find this very important. I like to know my average ascent and descent between waypoints when I hike. This is one of those duh moments.

 

Just a note for Magellan: My two boys are looking at GPS units for their backpacking trips next summer and they have said they are going to be looking at the other makers. They have heard some of my complaints and how I am not sure I made the best choice. I don't intend to be ragging, but Magellan needs to understand that bad publicity will hurt a product more than good publicity will help a product. I really hope Magellan is listening to this thread. If they are not, well it will be their loss. One other thing, I really hope Magellan understands is that people really hate it when they feel they have made a bad choice. Especially when you consider the cost of one of their top of the line products like an E500 or E600.

 

If they would fix these bugs and enhancements they would really have a product that would be very difficult to beat.

 

Thanks for the thread. I really hope I did not ramble too much for all of you.

 

CAStarman

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Quick note -- I've noticed the Track log feature is faster on mine if I go into it right away at power up (not waiting for sat lock or map to draw). I then save / clear my old tracklog for the upcoming geocaching day and the tracklog menu is responsive all day. I suspect the slowness may occur with a large / maxed out tracklog.

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I'm a Garmin addict through and through, but recently purchased an eXplorist 600 for my girlfriend. The number of features for the price made it worth a shot, particularly the ability to use SD cards.

 

Overall, I still greatly prefer the interface on the Garmin. Keep in mind that I do design for a living, but I found the interface to be not only non-intuitive, but ...well, ugly. That handwriting font looks very amateurish, and the opening satellite screen looks like it was drawn in MacPaint. Blech.

 

Anyway, A few things of note:

 

She has been unable to get either her home machine running Windows 98 or another computer running Windows XP Home to see the GPS. We've followed all of the directions about hooking the cables up in a specific order, but no luck (Windows XP saw the USB device but didn't know what it was, even though we had installed the drivers). For now we're using an SD card reader, which probably works faster anyway.

 

Why does DirectRoute limit you to making regions that are 64 MB in size? She's now having to save regions onto her 256 MB SD card state by state, which is kind of lame.

 

It took forever for the GPS to make initial lock. After waiting 20 minutes and only getting one satellite we finally reset the GPS and told it exactly where we were. It took about another 30 minutes before it had locked onto enough satellites to give a 3D position. By comparison, my Garmin got its initial lock within about 10 minutes. I hope to God she never has opportunity to take her GPS to another state. (Also, oddly, my Garmin locks onto more satellites and gives a higher reported accuracy than her Magellan). Is this normal, or could there be a problem with her unit? The manual indicated initial lock should only take a few minutes, and said it would start asking questions if it took longer than that. It didn't.

 

That being said, she loves it. It's small, it's fidgety (she loves solving problems), and most importantly, it's hers. For me, I'll stick with Garmin. Although I'll envy that little SD card every time I see it. :P

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the 64MB limit can be bypassed by modifying an ini file in mapsend, sorry I don't remember which one or what setting to change. MAybe someone can point him into that direction. The limit is there because the older meridian series were limited to 64MB map chunks and the software wasn't made for explorists. I am not sure why Thales doesn't supply patches to update the mapsend products to support their newer hardware, they would rather have us use the conversion manager crap and/or force us to buy the v3 direct route software that has explorist support built in. I personally find this to be a slap in the face after purchasing over $300 CAN for topo canada v1 and direct route v2 both of which are obsolete (only 4 months old) now that v3 DR and 1.5 topo canada is out.

 

As far as your windows machines not connecting make sure your data cable is running down the back side of the GPS and not upwards. That has been a common issues amounst new users.

 

IF you want to discuss this further might I ask you to start a new thread as I would like to keep this one for bug discussion/reporting. Thanks bud :P

Edited by D0T-C0M
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Hello all,

 

Now I am logged in and able to address to you personally (thank you DOT-COM for this thread and also for to post my message!)

First of all I have to correct a misunderstanding from my message. As I said:" So that there is a great chance that your enhancements will be used to improve the firmware of the eXplorist units in the near future." Of course I meant the firmware of all explorist units, which will be offered to downloadin the near future.

As you surely can imagine I am only a small light in the whole machinery and so I am not able to deliver you any kind of support or information about our marketing and public relations policy. All I can offer are some realistic things. Please let me explain. I am creating the documentation of our european beta tests, which means I am able to forward Bugs and Enhancements directly to the responsible engineers.

I really spend a lot of time to analize every of your enhancements very carefully and a lot of them were forwarded until now. I must say for me it was a great pleasure and a new way of looking for Bugs. Once again I want to thank every single one of you for this effort. (The issues which were posted by gconner will be surely forwarded within the next week)

As I said for us (our departement) it is a question of "Fair play" to offer you the possibility to become a beta tester. Because I think that is also for you a great thing to test a new device and to give us your personal opinion directly. Please understand that I am not allowed to offer any address details in this thread, so if you are from the Americas contact me and I will provide you the address details of my N/A colleagues.

Of Course I understand that there is a lot of frustration. But as I said I am able to offer you a realistic thing. So please help me to improve these units.

 

BR

Martin Klitscher

betatestemea@thalesnavigation.com

+493075763472

 

Please remember, it is not so long ago that you've sent e-mails to irrelevant deadlink e-mailadresses with the hope that great "Thales" comes from the sky. I am not the great "Thales" but I hope that you realize that I will read your posts very carefully and that my aim is simillar to yours, which means to improve these units.

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Carstarman:

For using in the field, I recommend getting used to the Goto function for your waypoint. As for the spare battery, there are past topics on this subject: a usable replacement is the SNN5595B.

 

The ability to save multiple tracts, and convert them to routes is a good feature of the eXplorists. The vertical profile will work on the active track and any saved track. For field work, you should get the software Topo 3d. Using these maps loaded into your eXplorist, you can get a vertical profile from any route, both those you create (with 2 or more waypoints) or convert from any track. I have found the elevations on the maps to be very accurate.

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Embra, EScout, D0T-C0M and Tadpole,

 

Thanks for the encouragement.

 

Embra, you are perfectly correct about the battery price. About two weeks ago, when I bought the unit, all I could find were offers for $.99 with $14.95 shipping (so $20 was $16 rounded up). However, immediately after your comment I went on eBay and purchased two for $18.95 (shipping included). You you were right, about $9.50 per battery when bought in quantities of two. I will be looking into the swivel mount, do you have a link to a vendor with a good price?

 

EScout, you are right about the power being AMPS* VOLTS. However, my point (which I failed to make) was that if Lowrance was rating the iFinder at 12 hours battery life with normal alkalines then with 2500 mAh NiMH bats it would last a lot longer than the 17 hours which Thales claiming for the Explorist. Similarly with the Garmin (only the numbers will be larger). The other issue, which I again failed to explicitly state, is that I can buy 8 2500mAh NiMH batteries at Wal-Mart for $19. Four complete sets of batteries for $20 good deal. Now I don't know much about bleed-down, or battery memory, or duty cycles of batteries so the Li-Ion may still be more than worth the price.

 

CaStarman,

 

I'm not sure what you mean about the elevation not changing unless you set a waypoint. My Explorist 500 keeps track of the current elevation in the current track, on the location screen and on the two customizable (if you so choose). Go to the elevation profile screen to get the elevation info you ar looking for. As for battery life, I'm wondering if you are making sure that the backlight is set to "low". If so, only 11 hours of battery life would cause me to start a warranty request for a new battery. As for locking, I get a 3D lock *in my house* in about 40 seconds. I just checked it on a "warm" restart. After turning off to back on I got a 20 foot 3D lock in 18 seconds. Maybe my unit is weird. Now on a cold restart *in my house*, I've had it take quite a bit longer (say a minute and a half) to get a 3D lock but never 4 minutes -- that would definitely have me jumping up and down. It's a bit quicker to lock outside, but not that much. Now if you are deep in a canyon and under some trees (like I was yesterday) and turned the unit on for the first time in a few days and it was searching (in the wrong place) for satellites, I can imagine it might take awhile. In that case I would do a restart to speed things up. I guess I don't understand why you need a piece of paper, maybe you don't like the compass screen?

 

Best,

 

gconner

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Tadpole and all,

 

Here's another "bug" I found just today. If you are on the map and click on a geocache icon, select it from the generated list, and then (while you are on the geocache description page) click <goto>, it *does not goto the geocache*. It instead wants to goto the cursor position, which may be quite a distance from the actual cache. I say that this is a bug because it is a completely different behaviour than when you get to the geocache description page by pressing <menu> then selecting "pts of interest" and then selecting the geocache from the list. In this case pressing <goto> has the expected behaviour of doing a goto to the cache. My reading was about 50 feet off on a cache this afternoon and my friend (with an Etrex) went right to it. When we did actual coordinate readings my explorist was exactly dead on. Why was the compass page wrong but the reading correct? Well that was because I had chosen the POI off of the screen by clicking on it, selected it from the list, and when on its description page, clicked <goto>. I hadn't noticed that I had "goneto" the middle of a parking lot 50 feet away.

 

One real annoyance here is that to actually goto a geocache you find on the screen you need to leave its description page, and remembering its name, select it through the menu system. This can be quite tedious if the cursor is far away from the current position -- one might have to scroll through quite a long list of caches to find it. This is totally different than other POIs which, when you select them from the screen, have a goto button on their description page.

 

In conclusion this is a "bug" for three reasons. It is unexpected behaviour, it is behaviour that makes it quite difficult to accomplish a task that comes up quite often, and it is behaviour that is inconsistent with behaviour of parallel objects on the same device.

 

I'm not sure to whom at Thales to forward this. Feel free to forward it to them if you know how.

 

Best,

 

Greg Conner

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EScout

 

Thans for pointing me in the right direction. I appreciate it.

 

Qconner.

 

What I meant was there is no way to look at the average ascent or descent of a days hiking. Explorist needs to have a way to look at a track and then let you know what the cumulative increase or decrease is for either the day or between wayponts without having to do the math manually. To spend the battery tiime at the end of the day or just after finishing a particular leg of the trip (when you are out in the field) in order to see just what the elevation change was is a big waste of battery life and time. If there was a screen or a way the unit could tell you what the elevation change was for the track you did that day (or just finished) that would be really nice. Or if I just finished going up 800ft. in the last 45 min that is great to know too. For those who profile their trips such a feature like this is very useful. Right now, if I want to know what the elevation change is going to be I have to make a way point, or write my current elevation down on a piece of paper, and then make a second note when I get to my particular destitation. The only thing is, I don't always know where to mark my beginning point. Quite often I get to a point in my hike and I really want to know exactly how much elevation change I just experienced. It is not the current elevation that is a problem.

 

Sorry if I was confusing.

 

CAStarman

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okay... "let out a frustrating sigh" i am a new owner of a magellan explorist 400. and i am not new to GPS, my last unit was a Etrex legend. My biggest problem is transferring files from the geocache manager to the memory (internal or SD). when i call up the file, it's there, but i cannot for the life of me make it a GOTO waypoint. i get to the very end of the file which is SD/Geocaching/Corridinate(the file i downloaded)i select the file, i press enter, and nothing. I noticed that the file is saving as a .gs file, but doesn't it need to be a .LOC or a .GPX file? i've read the referance manal many times, and magellan isn't to clear on using the geocache software that comes with it. i like the unit, but it has become one giant headache to figure out how to use files i save to it. do i need to convert the file in the conversion software that came with the unit? if so, how the hell do i use it? no mention anywhere that i have to convert files from the geocach program? like i said i really like the unit, but if i can't get the dadgum thing figured out, i'm going to exchange it for another garmin, seems like a real pain to deal with. any information would be greatly appricated :)

 

PS. and why can't i format the SD card using the unit? i read that other magellans can format the card? i don't have the option to do so :o:):)B)B)B)

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As I said for us (our departement) it is a question of "Fair play" to offer you the possibility to become a beta tester. Because I think that is also for you a great thing to test a new device and to give us your personal opinion directly.

 

BR

Martin Klitscher

betatestemea@thalesnavigation.com

+493075763472

 

I would gladely beta test the XL for Magellan, but not if I need to lay $450 down. They should send us free units.

Edited by geotrouvetout
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I have a really good one.

 

I wanted to buy a car charge adapter for when I am on the road or camping or whenever. So I went to the Magellan website and looked it up. I found it and ordered it along with some other stuff. Well, when it came and I finally figured it out, I laughed for five minutes and then I got kind of pissed off. Magellan does not make a simple charger that goes from the car port to the back of the E500 (or any of the other GPSr's in the Explorist line). You have to disconnect the USB cable that comes with the unit from the back of your computer, and plug that into the charger and then plug that on to the GPSr. HOW STUPID!!! I have to climb under my desk and unplug the USB and then have the extra wire hanging around and then when I get home I have to climb back under the desk and plug it back in. I mean Come on guys. This is one of thoses "gotta minute" moments. What were the engineers at Magellan thinking? I guess they thought they would "kill two birds with one stone" but guys, make a charger that simply goes from the car to the GPSr that I can keep in my car all the time, that does not have the extra USB cable hanging out the end, and that is about two feet shorter. I guess there are those who use their laptops while driving but I gotta believe there are plenty of people who just want a charger withoug the USB cable and the long length that would make it worth adding it to the Explorist line of accessories. I might be wrong but it seems right to me.

 

Not to worry. I did find what I am looking for at Boxwave. They have the simple car charger along with all kinds of great stuff for the Explorist line that makes life a bit easier and less messy. They even have a AA battery pack that will recharge the Li-Ion battery when I am in the back coiuntry for several days or even weeks. I am always coming across a store that sells AA batteries when I am hiking and that makes life so much easier. It actually makes my E500 more than just a GPSr for Geocaching. I like Geocaching but I also like to take weeklong hikes. Without a way to recharge the battery in the backcountry the Explorist line is useless. I am not trying to rag, but gee, lets think a little. I like my E500 and a simple car charge plug is not too much to ask for, is it? You know what is funny, I would have paid more for a Magellan product. But now I get to throw the Magellan plug into a box and wait for my Boxwave unit to come. This is not rocket science here - this is pretty simple stuff guys.

 

Check out the Boxwave website, it has some stuff for the Explorist line that Magellan does not not make available to it users.

 

CAStarman

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