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Garmin fights against odometer bug - and still has big problems


freeday
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Yesterday i informed Garmin that the odometer-bug still exists with the new firmware.

 

I just got an reply:

 

...

Thank you for contacting Garmin International,

 

I'd be happy to help you. The engineering team has been notified of

this issue. The track log will show the correct distance.

 

Please let me know if there's anything else I can help you with.

 

 

 

With Best Regards,

...

Edited by freeday
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In another thread here, someone said that he or she was embarrassed by the few "griefers" complaining about this bug. Sorry, but I think that someone who purchases a hand-held GPS unit that's marketed for use "On the Trail" should have a reasonable expectation that the unit accurately registers speeds and distances at the speeds at which it is most often used. I don't especially care if my automotive, TTS GPS is inaccurate at 1.7 mph, because I usually drive at a higher speed than that. But I do have a reasonable expectation that my hand-held GPS should accurately record distances at normal hiking and walking speeds.

That would be me. I don't disagree that it's a bug and needs to be fixed. I'm embarrassed by the people that make such a huge stink about a really minor bug and imply that the entire unit isn't worth buying because the odometer doesn't tell you how long of a slug trail you left.

A handheld gps which is designed for use "On the trail"...

39 percent difference ...

minor bug....

 

@SiliconFiend: What is a bug for you if that is a really minor bug with 39 percent difference. :D

This bug is on the order of "the radio is stuck on the easy-listening station" as opposed to "the brakes failed".

More akin to "I can't get my front-end aligned or my tires balanced on my Toyota Tacoma, and the

dealer says "Tough luck, we've done everything corporate will let us do, sorry we don't have the right tools!""!

 

Norm

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In another thread here, someone said that he or she was embarrassed by the few "griefers" complaining about this bug. Sorry, but I think that someone who purchases a hand-held GPS unit that's marketed for use "On the Trail" should have a reasonable expectation that the unit accurately registers speeds and distances at the speeds at which it is most often used. I don't especially care if my automotive, TTS GPS is inaccurate at 1.7 mph, because I usually drive at a higher speed than that. But I do have a reasonable expectation that my hand-held GPS should accurately record distances at normal hiking and walking speeds.

That would be me. I don't disagree that it's a bug and needs to be fixed. I'm embarrassed by the people that make such a huge stink about a really minor bug and imply that the entire unit isn't worth buying because the odometer doesn't tell you how long of a slug trail you left.

A handheld gps which is designed for use "On the trail"...

39 percent difference ...

minor bug....

 

@SiliconFiend: What is a bug for you if that is a really minor bug with 39 percent difference. :laughing:

This bug is on the order of "the radio is stuck on the easy-listening station" as opposed to "the brakes failed".

More akin to "I can't get my front-end aligned or my tires balanced on my Toyota Tacoma, and the

dealer says "Tough luck, we've done everything corporate will let us do, sorry we don't have the right tools!""!

 

Norm

Are you spying on me? How did you know I have a Tacoma? Anyway, that isn't the response Garmin has given. They made a stab at fixing it and it improved the problem, but still didn't fix it completely. As freeday quoted from Garmin, "The engineering team has been notified of this issue." (By the way, freeday, I do appreciate you following up with Garmin on this.) Based on Garmin's responsiveness in the past, I believe that if this problem can be fixed in software, it will be. A nice option might be a checkbox to allow you to use the tracklog points as the basis for the odometer.

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In another thread here, someone said that he or she was embarrassed by the few "griefers" complaining about this bug. Sorry, but I think that someone who purchases a hand-held GPS unit that's marketed for use "On the Trail" should have a reasonable expectation that the unit accurately registers speeds and distances at the speeds at which it is most often used. I don't especially care if my automotive, TTS GPS is inaccurate at 1.7 mph, because I usually drive at a higher speed than that. But I do have a reasonable expectation that my hand-held GPS should accurately record distances at normal hiking and walking speeds.

That would be me. I don't disagree that it's a bug and needs to be fixed. I'm embarrassed by the people that make such a huge stink about a really minor bug and imply that the entire unit isn't worth buying because the odometer doesn't tell you how long of a slug trail you left.

A handheld gps which is designed for use "On the trail"...

39 percent difference ...

minor bug....

 

@SiliconFiend: What is a bug for you if that is a really minor bug with 39 percent difference. :laughing:

This bug is on the order of "the radio is stuck on the easy-listening station" as opposed to "the brakes failed".

More akin to "I can't get my front-end aligned or my tires balanced on my Toyota Tacoma, and the

dealer says "Tough luck, we've done everything corporate will let us do, sorry we don't have the right tools!""!

 

Norm

Are you spying on me? How did you know I have a Tacoma? Anyway, that isn't the response Garmin has given. They made a stab at fixing it and it improved the problem, but still didn't fix it completely. As freeday quoted from Garmin, "The engineering team has been notified of this issue." (By the way, freeday, I do appreciate you following up with Garmin on this.) Based on Garmin's responsiveness in the past, I believe that if this problem can be fixed in software, it will be. A nice option might be a checkbox to allow you to use the tracklog points as the basis for the odometer.

The Tacoma issues are real, Toyota has "made a stab at fixing it, and improved the problem" as well,

even though they acknowledge through TSBs, the problem continues for many . . . with no resolution in

sight (factory alloys, please be warned).

Now back on topic, current trends have jaded my views and I'm wishing ya' all good fortune in

getting some solace from Garmin (at least a GPSr doesn't cost $30K), but 'don't hold your breath'!

 

Norm

 

Hint: Lug-centric balance works better than hub-centric, but nothing fixes it, nothing!

Edited by RRLover
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.... A nice option might be a checkbox to allow you to use the tracklog points as the basis for the odometer.

YES, that would be a nice solution for me !!! :laughing:

 

You could also give it a name like: low speed odometer (ON/OFF) (useful to enable this function under 5 km/h)

Edited by freeday
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.... A nice option might be a checkbox to allow you to use the tracklog points as the basis for the odometer.

YES, that would be a nice solution for me !!! :D

I could see that being messy to implement, given that the user can clear the tracklog and odometer independently of each other.

but if i enable "low speed odometer" , Garmin could prevent to reset it independently :mad:

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but if i enable "low speed odometer" , Garmin could prevent to reset it independently :D

 

I had a chance to check mine some more over the weekend. This time, I noticed that the speedometer was erratic at speeds below 2 mph and, when the speedometer quit, the odometer also quit. Sometimes, it would take the odometer awhile to start again once I picked up the pace. When I finished the hike, the odometer read 3.6 miles, compared to a track log of 4.5 miles. The track log was right on the map (including a short trip behind a conveniently located tree).

 

I reported the issue to Garmin, but have not yet seen a response.

 

AllTopo.jpg

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I had a chance to check mine some more over the weekend. This time, I noticed that the speedometer was erratic at speeds below 2 mph and, when the speedometer quit, the odometer also quit. Sometimes, it would take the odometer awhile to start again once I picked up the pace. When I finished the hike, the odometer read 3.6 miles, compared to a track log of 4.5 miles. The track log was right on the map (including a short trip behind a conveniently located tree).

 

I reported the issue to Garmin, but have not yet seen a response.

 

AllTopo.jpg

 

I have experienced the same problem. The two last hikes I did registered at 8.2 miles, and 10.3 miles on the track that I saved, but the odometer was way short on the distances at 6.3 miles and and 7.8 miles. The trail that I hiked has a lot of steep hills where your walking speed falls below 2 mph. I noticed that once my speed feel below 2 mph, the odometer was not counting. I have firmware version 2.40 on my HCx. I also have called Garmin about it, and the tech support person I spoke to did indicate that Garmin IS aware of the problem and that they are working to hopefully fix this in a later update of the firmware.

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......

I also have called Garmin about it, and the tech support person I spoke to did indicate that Garmin IS aware of the problem and that they are working to hopefully fix this in a later update of the firmware.

That sounds great :D:mad::o

So i am sure, Garmin will solve the problem.

It is important that different people report that problem - so Garmin knows that not only some of us need a correct odometer t low speed.

 

Thanks to all who are reporting this bug to garmin.

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.... A nice option might be a checkbox to allow you to use the tracklog points as the basis for the odometer.

YES, that would be a nice solution for me !!! :D

I could see that being messy to implement, given that the user can clear the tracklog and odometer independently of each other.

It wouldn't be all that bad. If the track log were cleared, the odometer could just save the distance to that point and add it to the distance from the new active track. Actually, it could be even simpler than that. All it would have to do is to add the change in distance to the odometer every time a track point is logged. If the odometer were reset, it would just have to make sure to log a track point (if it had a fix, otherwise log it as soon as a fix was obtained). That implies tighter integration between the track log and trip computer, though, which were probably written by different software teams or at least different people, I would guess.

 

The current odometer implementation is pretty stupid, really. Warning: calculus terms ahead! The speed shown is the derivative versus time of your position. The odometer is then integrating that derivative to get back to... a distance! Which of course leads to errors. I'd like to see the speedometer operate separately from the odometer, or at least have the option to do that. I know that while staying in one place your track log can still wander around, so that would annoy some people. Hence the option.

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There are far too many issues with linking the trip odometer to the tracklog, if you start thinking about the consequences a bit.

 

You can disable the track log, so that it will not record at all. Which would become a special case, or the trip computer odometer would freeze.

You can set the track log to stop recording when the log is full. Which would become a special case, or the trip computer odometer would freeze.

You can set the track log to record at different intervals, which would affect the characteristics of the trip odometer.

 

The speed shown in the trip computer is not just the derivative of distance over time. The doppler effect on the satellite signals is used as well in that calculation.

 

These units aren't at all as simple as it may seem, when just looking at the outside.

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......

I also have called Garmin about it, and the tech support person I spoke to did indicate that Garmin IS aware of the problem and that they are working to hopefully fix this in a later update of the firmware.

That sounds great :mad::laughing::D

So i am sure, Garmin will solve the problem.

It is important that different people report that problem - so Garmin knows that not only some of us need a correct odometer t low speed.

 

Thanks to all who are reporting this bug to garmin.

Dezember 2007

What about the solution of the odometer bug? :mad:

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Dezember 2007

What about the solution of the odometer bug? :unsure:

 

I really like the Vista HCx, but the low speed thing keeps me from buying one...I wish they would get it figured out, or at least say they cant if thats the case. I was looking at the 60CSx also, but need to decide soon, since the $50 rebate is over on 12/31...

 

Maybe I should shoot them an email saying that, and asking what they recommend for an accurate low speed GPS...

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I'll chime in here.

When you are walking 12 kilometers, just how often do you lose satellite lock in the dense forest? You never know so that's one reason the odometer is wrong.

A better experiment than walking a known distance is to drive a known distance. Have your GPSr where it will never lose lock, and by all means speed up to 100MPH before going under overpasses, LOL. Well you probably wont lose a lock but you will lose a few satellites for a few econds but that will not have an effect.

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I'll chime in here.

When you are walking 12 kilometers, just how often do you lose satellite lock in the dense forest? You never know so that's one reason the odometer is wrong.

A better experiment than walking a known distance is to drive a known distance. Have your GPSr where it will never lose lock, and by all means speed up to 100MPH before going under overpasses, LOL. Well you probably wont lose a lock but you will lose a few satellites for a few econds but that will not have an effect.

i did a lot of testing - believe me, the odometer still has 5% difference. :laughing:

 

As garmin also produces gps for the trail - it should also work with lower speed.

If a car-gps does not work correct at lower speed - i should be fine.

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......

I also have called Garmin about it, and the tech support person I spoke to did indicate that Garmin IS aware of the problem and that they are working to hopefully fix this in a later update of the firmware.

That sounds great B):laughing::D

So i am sure, Garmin will solve the problem.

It is important that different people report that problem - so Garmin knows that not only some of us need a correct odometer t low speed.

 

Thanks to all who are reporting this bug to garmin.

Dezember 2007

What about the solution of the odometer bug? :laughing:

I am amazed how people like to sweat the small stuff. I am just wandering how the HELL you did hiking before GPS? Did you trail measuring tape after you? Did you steal ball of yarn from your grandma and then measure how much you ‘walked in the woods’.

What is the dadgum problem? Why is so important to know that you walked 431 meters or 434 meters? Do you measure every gram of food you eat? Do you breathe in the bag and measure how much air you spend a day. Get some psychiatrist help and leave us alone.

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it is improved - now it shows 5% more (odometer) than in our real world

 

What 'real world' is this then? As others in this, and other threads have pointed out, there is no single 'correct' answer to how far you have travelled. The distance as measured by your track log (which is highly dependent on what settings you have chosen) is an approximation, as is that measured by the odometer, they're just using different techniques.

 

An analogy I always use is that of fractals. Mandelbrot, who discovered these, wrote a paper entitled "How long is the coast of Britain" .. at first look a simple question, but as you look at it more carefully you realise that the answer depends on the scale with which you look at the problem. If you measure it using a map measurer and a 1:250,000 scale map you'll come up with one answer, if you walk the coastline with a GPS hugging every inlet and cliff edge, you'll get another, much larger answer. Basically, the closer you look, and the more detail you take into account, the bigger the answer, there is no 'right' one, only the one that fits your specific purposes.

 

It's the same with track logs. If you set your track log to take one point every 15 minutes or 1 mile, it'll give a very different answer than if you'd set it to every 1 second or 3 feet, say. If you could measure every single little meander down to inch level accuracy you'd get yet another answer which would be higher still than the default track log settings would tell you. Which one is 'right'? Who knows.

 

FWIW my ancient etrex Venture also used to display a reading that was between 5 and 10% higher than what the track log told me, but the kind of terrain I walk over means I'm very seldom walking in anything resembling a straight line for more than a few seconds at a time.

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I am amazed how people like to sweat the small stuff. I am just wandering how the HELL you did hiking before GPS? Did you trail measuring tape after you? Did you steal ball of yarn from your grandma and then measure how much you ‘walked in the woods’.

What is the dadgum problem? Why is so important to know that you walked 431 meters or 434 meters? Do you measure every gram of food you eat? Do you breathe in the bag and measure how much air you spend a day. Get some psychiatrist help and leave us alone.

I am sure, you can give me an excellent address :laughing:

 

back to topic:

your odometer is ok?

is there a difference between saved track and odometer on slow speed with YOUR gps?

Edited by freeday
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There is a Science Fiction story called The Marching Morons. It's about a totalitarian future where someone from our age wakes up. The people there are so happy that their cars can go 200 MPH, all the odomoters go up to 300MPH. But it's fake, a speed of 55MPH for us is 'displayed' as 200MPH. They just can't figure out how far is something and how fast is something and possibly can't tell time either.

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I have collected lots data from my Garmin GPS units and found that the odometer is consistently in error. When I inspect results from only first-class tracks with good satellite contact, I find that the odometer reads an average of 6% too low (range about 2% to 12%). I have published these results at www.rambler-info.org.uk/gps/geko.htm together with my opinion of what the problem is and what might best be done to mitigate it. Garmin say "I will forward your suggestion to the appropriate channel" but nothing more has happened in more than a month. (May 2008)

 

With the evidence I have collected, it looks as though the odometer software probably has a routine for removing "off-track" points (eg false points recorded while in wooded areas) but the routine is also rejecting sections of the genuine track. I suggested to Garmin that they might add an extra a simple "join up the stored points odometer". If we users then displayed both odometer values on our GPS units then we would know that the real track length lay somewhere between these two values.

 

Gordon.

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I have collected lots data from my Garmin GPS units and found that the odometer is consistently in error. When I inspect results from only first-class tracks with good satellite contact, I find that the odometer reads an average of 6% too low (range about 2% to 12%).

Gordon.

 

Most results I have seen with the new firmware in the HCx models show that the odometer now reads too high, not too low.

 

See for example:

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=181731

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I have collected lots data from my Garmin GPS units and found that the odometer is consistently in error. When I inspect results from only first-class tracks with good satellite contact, I find that the odometer reads an average of 6% too low (range about 2% to 12%).

Gordon.

 

Most results I have seen with the new firmware in the HCx models show that the odometer now reads too high, not too low.

 

See for example:

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=181731

 

Sorry, I should have stated here that my data were obtained with Garmin Gekos 201 running current (2.70) software. Of course the details are on the website.

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