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Magellan Handhelds - A Dying Breed?


skramblr
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I've seen a russian site do some messing around with the Meridians, with their own firmware, and that sounds interesting. The Magellan Meridians are really good for this capability to be hacked, but I can't remember the russian site.

I think you mean the Underground Explorist site. They have some neat things...or maybe you mean www.msh-tools.com .

 

I agree that this is one of the cool things about Magellans; there are some user modifications possible that make the units more useful. I've been having fun adding tracks as a trails layer to Mapsend maps with AddMagMap.exe. This applet makes it pretty easy to do.

Edited by embra
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I've seen a russian site do some messing around with the Meridians, with their own firmware, and that sounds interesting. The Magellan Meridians are really good for this capability to be hacked, but I can't remember the russian site.

I think you mean the Underground Explorist site. They have some neat things...or maybe you mean www.msh-tools.com .

 

I agree that this is one of the cool things about Magellans; there are some user modifications possible that make the units more useful. I've been having fun adding tracks as a trails layer to Mapsend maps with AddMagMap.exe. This applet makes it pretty easy to do.

 

Loading Trails into the Mapping, is a big need for me, and this would take a load off of the GPS, as far as bogging it down with so many tracklogs.

 

I was thinking of getting Garmin to come out with a Trail Loader, but that may be hard to accomplish.

 

If I can do this easily on an eXplorist XL, then it would be neat, but of course a 60Cx is alot easier to carry.

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Yer welcome. Be advised that it's a little rough around the edges yet...when I tried to do a restore to original it resulted in a condition where I had to re-install T3D to get it able to start up (I think if you backup mapsend.ini you might be able to re-use that file to get it going without a full re-install).

 

That being said, I was able to add tracks just as the examples showed.

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Magellan Handhelds a dying breed??? I have the old reliable Magellan GPS 315 bought about five years ago, this has been a tough little unit. I first bought it to track how many miles I was traveling when trailriding my horse, also tracked the speed we were gaiting - kinda fun! I dropped it, left it outside for a year at a time in the horse trailer and it keeps ticking!! I recently pulled it out when I started Geocaching and presto! It still works like a charm. I have thought about buying a newer unit, but why? This does everything I need for geocaching.

 

Does anyone who has this older unit use it to download files on caches from the website? Is that possible with this old B/W unit?? Would love some instructions.

 

swiftknollfarm :D

 

 

popcorn.gif

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How much is a 60csx going for.... maybe time for a change.

 

Lee :tired:

 

REI has them for $499. Not the best price, but their return / exchange policy more than makes up for it. Without it I would have been stuck with a barely functioning Explorist 600. What a mistake it was to get rid of my Megellan Platinum, although I'm quickly growing mighty fond of the 60CSX.

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Unfortunately, you are correct. I wish they would get the message. I like the products but its going down hill fast. They won't get the message until sales plummet and then it'll be too late for them. I'll stick with my Plat till it dies (hopefully no time soon :tired: ), then we'll have to see.

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I talked to someone there today and he said he never head of the problems, like the firmware slooooow updates and features not working. These people are clueless. I said "If they are selling there product for Geocaching, and they do not listen to the Geocachers and it does not work, why not take the words Geocaching off the box and stop promoting geocaching".

 

I have not got passed the tech support yet. Still trying for software department. That might be tomorrow's fun.

 

So, if they have not heard of the problems, I guess we should let them know.

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Unfortunately, you are correct. I wish they would get the message. I like the products but its going down hill fast. They won't get the message until sales plummet and then it'll be too late for them. I'll stick with my Plat till it dies (hopefully no time soon :tired: ), then we'll have to see.

 

I'm not willing to plunk down for the explorist until Magellan fixes their customer support issues. So... my Plat will have to be pried out of my cold dead hands if garmin doesn't come up with a 3-axis compass.

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All this i recognize for a long time also in Europe.

the Internet makes us one family

 

I have a 60cs and i also had a meridian color which i sold and bought a 60csx.

 

The meridian color having the sd card and longer reception then the 60cs could not give more added value in geocaching;

you had reception were the cs lost it but most of the time 35m out of poisition and slower.

and very bad sight with sun.

And the routering only shortest way in direct route.

 

searching the internet for what people do for nice things

Garmin you get added value things and magellan is for solving problems

 

One of the reasons, it may look strange, could be that you won't get a print screen from a Magellan only a photo.

When starting with GPS you can come in a new world and for writing manuals is not an Oscar yet.

Never will be, i think.

So when there is something to be told about magellan it always looks rather amateuristic were Garmin had g7towin and Ximage.

I wrote a 180 page story about the 60cs etc series and tried it for the Meridian color. Try taking a picture.

People learn most things with their eyes.

 

An other very stupid thing is putiing your name in the gps? Why would people want that dear mr Magellan?

In Garmin you do this and for a Magellan this is a operation desert storm.

 

Loosing the basemap is not something for people wihout gpsbrains; it happened to me as well uplading new firmware; i touched a wrong button were "erase" came round the corner. Not knowing the consequenses.

With a simple "yes" the job was done.

Sending it to magellan it was fixed and later on after my degree in Magellan i could do it myself.

My comment on this is that the wrong doors are closed and the wrong ones are open to enjoy the gps and preventing from not wanted things.

The solution removing the basemap in new magellans comes from somebody who does not belong in the company.

What they need is a good customer service who can comminicate inside the company.

What we see is a manager with a brand tied to a chair.

Garmin learned quick from their customers wanting things a Magellan could.

But the guys from Magellan are no marketeers.

Point could be that Garmin has a ceo and Thales is a mother with a ceo.

Thales also does some things in the defence industry in France.

 

Big point is if Magellan gets out of the competition who jumps in the hole?

Tom Tom makes everything for the road.

You see Garmin fight them on that issue but outdoor?

 

Maybe the cellphone gets so good that the type of outdoor gps we have now will disapear?

Who nose.

But i hope Magellan stays a good competitor. We need both.

Edited by dusee
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I talked to someone there today and he said he never head of the problems, like the firmware slooooow updates and features not working.

 

I won't name names or titles here, but I've had direct contact with several high-ranking Magellanites through the years. Given half a chance, I've filled their ear with my experience as a geocacher (hey, I have dozens of finds) as a tech guy (I've answered a few questions for their users here, the yahoo groups, and via my reviews/FAQs) and a customer. So while the "someone" you spoke with may have never heard of these issues, I'm confident that the Royal Magellan has definittely heard the message that their customers are ont he edge of a mutiny.

 

Whether they're listening is, of course, a different question, and part of the point of this thread.

 

As for the firmware being open and having hoardes of programmers descending upon it to fix it, , I'll say "good luck with that". I dig open open source - I'm one of the few programmers in these forums that can boast somewhere over a half million users of his "product" - but I'll say confidently that the entry ticket for an embedded system like that is prohibitive for more than a very few number of programmers. Notice the degree of activity on the Rhamponix effort. (Which I don't partcipate in as it reminds me too much of my day job.) There aren't swarms of geocaching programmers lining up to reimplement the firmware.

 

Heck, the contribution (code, doc, support, time, cash) rate on GPSBabel is under 1% and it has a much lower entry cost...

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As i may comment on this Robert.

 

What you do and can do with programming a gps deserves a lot of respect.

For me you are mr Magellan. changing sides is a bad thing for Magellan having such a true fan and promotor

This is what i tell people in Holland when they ask me what to do. Garmin or Magellan

i say when Robert lipe mr Magellan himself changes sites this means you buy a dead duck, that won't fly any longer.

Will problems be solved in the future......

Most people buy first and stay looking afterwards if they made the right choice or are confronted with problems they could have known after some research on the internet.

 

But this is all a bridge to far for 99,9999% of the users.

Yes it gives you satisfaction having it done; but in the end it had to be standard on the gps to give you the best satisfaction.

 

Yes a lot of people like to have new things to play with, but the good thing about Garmin is; this is what you get and if you have ideas we will listen.

 

For the 60cs series they mis-used us and came with the other improvements on the x-series.

So we bought twice.

On the other hand the service can be so good that you forgive them.

 

That all together makes customer satisfaction.

 

And last but not least one of the founders mr Min Kao is still in charge.

I mailed him after having a difference with one the brandrepresentitives and the next day was a different ball game.

 

May be you should start a new brand or take Magellan in a buy out.???

Edited by dusee
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:tired: Food for thought from an owner of both Magellan and Garmin GPSrs ...

 

I travel a lot as part of my job. For that reason, I bought a Magellan Map 330 when they first came out, and later, a Magellan Meridian Color. In their time, they both were great for traveling ... best on the market. Think about it. Magellan has had an SD card in the MeriColor for years. Garmin just came out with one.

 

When I started geocaching however, the Magellans didn't cut it. The Map 330 needs to be plugged in to a 12vdc outlet as it's a significant battery hog (as many as 5 sets of batteries in a day!) and the MeriColor has a bad overshoot problem. For those reasons, we bought a Garmin 60C last summer. Despite its traveling limitations, the 60C has become our primary GPS. In terms of geocaching, the 60C beats the Magellan product line hands down. Trying to be unbiased here, it's not as easy to use at routing, doesn't have an SD slot (I know the new 60CXs do), and unbelievably, doesn't have the accuracy of my old Magellan Map 330. But again, out of 3 models from the 2 major manufacturers, Garmin provides the most useful geocaching features.

 

Having said that ... have you looked at the Yahoo Garmin 60C/CS and 60CX/CXS forums lately? My point is "there is frustration everywhere." I haven't dug in to their financial records, but I'm guessing the public handheld market is relatively small for both Garmin and Thales. Their market (and profitability) is likely in the military and commercial segments. Put differently, it's unlikely our little geocaching market is going to cause the big elephants to dance ...

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yes, there is frustration everywhere

 

having said this, reading about it being a potential customer..... it is not said for just a brand but for the use of geocaching.

 

When a other brand add's a button to solve geopuzzles by itself i would, could......... must buy something else.

 

but for the moment i am very happy with the 60csx

Edited by dusee
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Well I went ahead and bought a XL and it's already in the shop for basemap issues. I call tech support to keep track of the RMA and it's 45-77minutes on hold each time. Athough I have only owned Magellan units in the past, its only because I thought they were the best option for what I wanted to do. But I think this will be my last Magellan unless something really changes in the company.

 

I hate to say this, but Magellan really reminds me of Commodore. Fantasic hardware engineering, screwed up by the rest of the company.

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Actually, I do watch the Garmin yahoogroups. I'm their customer, too. You may not have recognized my name on the posts - there I go by "robertlipe". :-)

 

Neither product line nor company is perfect. It's perhaps subjective but to me the amount of long-term despair seems very different in the two crowds.

 

The tunnel and altitude problems are the only ones that come to mind as generating a lot of traffic on the lists for the x series. Fix those and the lithium problem and a lot of the grumbling goes away. Sure, there are some wish list items, but they never promised an alarm clock, that the icons would be unchanged, or file-based waypoint management, so it's hard to ding them for that - and that's for a product line that's been in the field for under two months.

 

Garmin has an active and public beta program. Feedback from those betas is often incorporated into the releases. Sometimes, a new release will make it through QA that does something naughty. Count on a new release within a low number of weeks. Releases have descriptions of what changed. Magellan's inability to tell us what changed in a firmware release makes me wonder if they have enough engineering process control to know what changed.

 

Contrast this to the Magellan groups where a large percentage of the posts (despite the FAQs, sigh...) are well known firmware issues that have been reported to Magellan hundreds of times. Whaddya mean it's OK for firmware updates to render the unit "broken" requiring a > $100 trip for repair? "UNIT CONTAINS NO BASEMAP" and "STARTING DOWNLOAD" are well recognized phrases on the forum. The final update for the m330 is missing files and is almost guaranteed to "break" the model for all but the most determined user. A depressing percentage of the clicksticks in the explorists are already needing repair. The backlight on the Mcore units still acts crazy, Mapsend itself has received only minor changes since the turn of the century, the units won't keep time, the street routing is clumsy, their update policies are insulting, and so on. Even what should be mechanical respins get lost in the machine - Why didn't the Explorist XL and 210 get revved to include the fixes released in December (after nearly a year on the market of customer howling) for the [456]00's?

 

Contrast map update policies. Mapsource updates are frequent and free. Map data (City Select, City Navigator) are annual and recently reduced to $50-$75, depending on the product. That's about 1/2 the street cost of product replacement. The first real update to DirectRoute since '03 has apparently been released. I say "apparently" since there was no press release and existing owners were not notified. It adds support for writing maps to SD cards which is nice since they've shipped SD capable units now for about four years. Oh, and the upgrade price is higher than street price of DR2.0, but we can't compare it street price of DR3 since apparently it's not sold through dealers yet.

 

Individually, any one of these problem could probably be forgiven. But when you couple that to reports (we had one this week) from users on hold with support for over five hours in one week before talking to a human that then seemed to go out of their way to be unhelpful and a widely observed downward trend in helping their existing customers, it's increasingly hard to have faith in them as a _company_.

 

It's very frustrating to me as they've gotten a lot of things right through the years but the long-term inattention to detail has cost them a lot of good will.

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I won't name names or titles here, but I've had direct contact with several high-ranking Magellanites through the years. Given half a chance, I've filled their ear with my experience as a geocacher (hey, I have dozens of finds) as a tech guy (I've answered a few questions for their users here, the yahoo groups, and via my reviews/FAQs) and a customer. So while the "someone" you spoke with may have never heard of these issues, I'm confident that the Royal Magellan has definittely heard the message that their customers are ont he edge of a mutiny.

 

Whether they're listening is, of course, a different question, and part of the point of this thread.

That is the entire issue, are they listening and at this point they don't appear to be. When I got my first Magellan 3 years ago the company was pretty reasonable and updates were ongoing. That changed real fast and the decline has been very steep.

 

I think they should think that there customers are not just at the edge of mutiny but are past that point and starting to leave never to come back. Bad policies on licensing, poor firmware releases and confused map updates (yes GPS Central has Directroute 3 as well but you'd never know it from the Magellan site) and, as you say, inattention to detail have brought them very close to the point of no return.

 

I too hope they turn things around but that has to happen in a few months timeframe at most.

 

JDandDD

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I realize you guys are talking about the higher series GPSr units from magellan. But i recently bought the explorist 210 and its done amazing. I tend to perfer to connect it to my laptop for street navigation so i dont mind not having the bigger screen offered by merdians but the explorist 210 has functioned flawlessly thus far its even taken a few respectable falls. I'm crossing my fingers that i dont develop any problems.

 

ganlet

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... But report an actual bug - it can take years for them to fix it (example: Street routing erasing your track file - broken in 2003 - fixed in 2005!).

This bug is still not fixed for the SporTrak series! The current firmware (V 5.34) is almost 2 years old and I guess there will be no further update. B)

 

Cornix

 

+1

 

Sad, so sad. I'm still stuck at firmware 5.12 which despite its warts is the last one that doesn't have a fatal flaw.

 

Its not like they just have a problem with QA with all these bugs. They just don't seem to care. At all.

 

-Joel

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Heres the deal. Magellan is a small portion of Thales, the parent company. Thales manufactures much more electronics than handheld gps units, as a result their focus is not limited to McToy locators. As they delve into other areas, they focus on whats really making the bucks, and gpsr's ain't it.

 

Last winter I was repairing a GE digital flouroscopy system and found that the optics assemble needed to be replaced. It's made by Thales for GE and lists for around $50,000.00. How many gpsr's do they need to sell to generate that kind of revenue?

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Cheaper GPS units, means less money for customer suppport. <MY GUESS

 

Magellan has NO extended warrenty service, that they can make some money with, to apply toward customer support.

 

People buy cut-rate GPS units and accessories on ebay, cutting into Magellans profits.

 

The market has been saturated with some good GPS units, that sell as USED, cutting into NEW unit sales.

 

One way for Magellan to make some money, is that people could buy a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th GPS unit.

 

The problem with buying NEW all the time, is that this tends to be a very throw-away society.

 

I wished there was a way to just send GPS units into Magellan, for upgrading chipsets and software in the GPS units, instead of throwing away, and buying a new one, but of course the hardware seems to be designed to brake in a short time with heavy use, like click-sticks, backlights, and broken buttons.

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Not long ago I saw ads on Magellan's website promoting some sort of trade-up program. Not quite what Geoff had in mind, but you do get rid of your old GPSr and get a new one. Couldn't find any info about that program, though it is referenced here.

 

I did find that Magellan actually does offer a 2-yr extended warranty, but you have to buy it within 90 days of the original purchase of the receiver.

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wow :lol: and to think i was planing to get a magellan as my first gps. this has certainly changed my perspective. :rolleyes:

 

Based upon this perspective, as well as other comments on the board, I chose a Garmin over a Magellan. The theme of the thread is spot on: for Thales, the handheld GPSr market is not a big deal, thus there is little incentive to develop, produce, and maintain high value/quality products.

 

What really convinced me was a look at Thale's website and investor relations page.

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What really convinced me was a look at Thale's website and investor relations page.

I haven't followed this whole thread but wish i would have paid it more notice before. According to Wiki Thales has not owned Magellan since 2006 and Magellan is currently owned by private investors.

 

Is this information incorrect?

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What really convinced me was a look at Thale's website and investor relations page.

I haven't followed this whole thread but wish i would have paid it more notice before. According to Wiki Thales has not owned Magellan since 2006 and Magellan is currently owned by private investors.

 

Is this information incorrect?

Yes.

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What really convinced me was a look at Thale's website and investor relations page.

I haven't followed this whole thread but wish i would have paid it more notice before. According to Wiki Thales has not owned Magellan since 2006 and Magellan is currently owned by private investors.

 

Is this information incorrect?

Yes.

Magellan started as an independent company. It was once owned by Orbital Sciences Corporation, which purchased it in 1994. In 2001, Thales purchased the Magellan division of Orbital Sciences for about $70 million and the Company became known as Thales Navigation. Five years later, private equity firm Shah Capital Partners and other investors purchased Thales Navigation for $170 million and the company was officially renamed Magellan Navigation.

 

I guess Thales did OK, they buy Magellan for 70 million and sell if five years later for 170 million. Not a bad return.

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Well i just got done reading the entire thread and what wiki reports seems to be the same as what other users have said. What is incorrect about it?

Mea culpa. I misread your post as "is this information correct?" I apologize and of course, you are correct.

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Oops. My bad.

 

This is an interesting tidbit from the Shah Capital page:

 

Our investment thesis is based on the very strong Magellan brand, continued strong growth in the market for navigation devices and the transformation of the product development, marketing and operations of the company. The company has been faced with a rapidly changing business model in past years as the consumer products market has grown to become the driver of revenues. This change has caused a need to respond to short product life cycles and high-volume manufacturing and sales. SCP will reshape the business so that its product offerings are matched with the needs of this fast moving consumer market and supply chain is flexible and cost efficient.

 

BTW, Orbital is another great company...if anyone needs a rocket, that is. And they have one of the coolest stock certificates around.

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Well my experience with Magellan has been really good. I own a explorist 600 and 2 car navigation systems the Roadmate 760 and the Roadmate 6000T. I have no complaints about any of the units. As for the 600 has never failed me on the trail and I have never lost my basemap either. Maybe just lucky.

 

I also own a garmin 60CSx which my better half uses while geocaching and she loves the garmin.

 

In my opion to each their own, everyone has their own opinions. I for one have never had a problem with magellan product over many years owning various ones.

 

Storm180

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I own a Magellan Sportrak Map. It was a Christmas gift (from my wife at my suggestion) when I started caching five years ago. I did the research and it seemed a better buy than Garmin at the time.

 

I bought a few shares of Garmin stock a little while ago because as a company they seem solid (not just in comparison to Thales). Their products, marketing, and partnering just seem sharper than Magellan and I suspect that the gap between the two companies will only widen. If my Magellan ever breaks, I'll probably replace it with a Garmin.

Edited by CacheNCarryMA
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I think the Meridian Platinum was the best Magellan ever made, at below $400, and I had one.

The problem I had with it, was no place on the GPS to attach a wrist strap, except for the data/power cable mounting hole. I liked the big screen on it, and it had the best electronic compass of any GPS I used.

 

MY experience:

 

I always liked buying GPS units when they first come out, so I ended up with a few bad experiences with magellan:

My 4000XL 12-channel had a bad case, that would dump the batteries on the ground sometimes, and you had to remove the batteries to use any attachment like Data/Power cable or antenna.

 

My ColorTrak had a bad case, with the keyboard fallen-in and the data/power connector on back fallen-in too, and my replacement ColorTrak had the same problem also.

 

I had the GPS 315, and it was a neat simple unit, but it's accuracy was not the best.

 

When I had the Meridian Platinum, I did not have any way to convert the track data on the memory cards, to what I could use on my PC, but It was a good GPS.

 

The SporTrak Color has a funky screen on it, that turns purple when turned OFF, and sometimes hard to read unless I set the Contrast to %70.

 

- - - - - - -- - - - - - ---- - - - - -- -- ----

 

The Items I need in a GPS could be obtained with a Forerunner on my wrist, and I've seen several Magellan owners with a wrist type GPS, since the magellans do not cut it for outdoor fitness, with an accurate Trip Odometer at hiking speeds, and no Trip Timer(elapsed timer). I never liked the unsegmented tracklogs of the Magellans, I like the Garmins that start a new track segment each time you power off and on the receiver.

 

The eXplorists are good for Geocaching, and storing tons of stuff on the card, but I've seen people lately with eXplorist units that take along time to access the tracks in memory, so I'm wondering if people exceeded the limit of 5 tracklogs in main memory.

 

I'm now going to avoid the eXplorist XL because they are not designed to use the Rechargable NiMH batteries, but I still think the eXplorist XL is a better mapping choice for when out in the car, it beats having to lug around a laptop that could get stolen from the car anyway.

 

I think that the companies are headed toward a burn-out, and Garmin may burn-out at some point, but they make a bit of money on the Aviation units, Boating units, and Car units.

 

EDITED some errors

 

Not sure who told you the explorist XL will not use the Rechargable NiMH batteries? I use mine for geocaching on a regular basis with rechargables. No problems at all to this point.

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I don't know the history of Magellan. I assume they were an independant company that became very successful. The owners either got tired of the company or saw dollar signs when approached by Thales and sold. What typically happens is the parent company moves in its own managers and changes the philosopy of the company. Employees get upset and quit and the knowledge base dwindles. Customer service becomes what has been described. Profits fall, accountants take over and start cutting "non-essentials" like help lines. The customer base gets smaller and the parent company sells to keep its profits up. The second owner now has a mess to contend with and unless they have the understanding that it needs to make available help to its disgruntled customers, they too will end up with a loss and the company will die.

Customer service departments typically get large when the product lines grow and there is a long history for the company. They get expensive to run but are very necessary if the product isn't disposable. The best product ever made that stomps all the competition will become disposable if there is no product support.

I think that may be Magellan's fate.

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Well my experience with Magellan has been really good. I own a explorist 600 and 2 car navigation systems the Roadmate 760 and the Roadmate 6000T. I have no complaints about any of the units. As for the 600 has never failed me on the trail and I have never lost my basemap either. Maybe just lucky.

 

I also own a garmin 60CSx which my better half uses while geocaching and she loves the garmin.

 

In my opion to each their own, everyone has their own opinions. I for one have never had a problem with magellan product over many years owning various ones.

 

Storm180

I dont think many people have an issue with Magellan hardware. It is the lack of customer service and this includes updates of firmware and known issues.

 

If your units begin to have a problem and you contacted CS- then you may understand why people get upset with them.

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I had no problems with their CS last year when the membrane ripped on the toggle switch on my exp500 within a couple of minutes of calling their 800 # I had an RMA and the address in Fort Worth Tx.

I sent the unit off and within 2 weeks the unit was back in my hands looking like new, plus they sent another li-on battery to me.

You always hear the bad but you very seldom hear the good.

I've been in these forums almost since the beginning and a lot of the problems whether it be Magellan, Garmin, or Lowrance, has been operator error.

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I have a Explorist 400 and have no problems with it. I found it real easy to learn (even easier after reading the reference manual that installs on your computer). They hold the signal really well, even without the SIRF III chip. I really like the shape, it molds to your hand, and the buttons are well placed.

Ever consider that the lack of firmware updates means that they got it right the first time? Or that customer service isn't as great as other companies that get praised, because they don't have as many problems and failures that occur so often that their customer service already knows the answers? B)

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personaly i think magellan is still ahead on many features and so is garmin im just amazed at the high prices of garmin though. what garmin needs are more channels, stronger rubber, cheaper maps and units, i would love mp3 and since i use my gps for biking i see the spedometer on the garmin 60cx is a little slow. and when will they make satilite photos for maps that goes for both of them it would be nice to know where the un mapped swamps are. The two companies should come together and make an incredible unit but thats never going to happen.

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