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GPS and cold weather


partimcmpr

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I just purchased my first gps, a Garmin Etrex Vista HCx. I am still getting a feel for how it works and have a question about the screen in cold weather.

 

I went out today to take pictures of the snow fall in Atlanta. I took the Vista out to see how the reception was with the snow and clouds. However, when I turned the unit on, the screen was very faded looking. I was a bit surprised, though I know some screens do not work well when cold. The specs say the Temp range is 5-158 degrees Farenheit. :huh:

 

I would be interested in other people's experiences with units in cold weather, especially those similar the the Vista HCX.

 

Thanks!

David

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Actually had the same problem today with my HCx. Out in the "winter weather" in Charlotte. Screen was very pale gray at start-up. I did exactly as StarBrand mentioned, powered off and on and it was fine. Hasn't happened since. We've actually had colder days than today so i don't think it is the weather either.

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I have used my Vista (old black and white one) for 4 or 5 years now have haven't really had a problem. I can say that I've used it in abnormally cold weather - winters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and the mountains in Virginia. The only thing is sluggish performace when it's really cold. If that's true about the new Vistas, it may influence my upgrading decision...

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Keep looking on this forum - that is a known bug with some of the new Vistas. Garmin has replaced some and promises a fix. Nothing to do with the cold according t several. Quick fix is to power it off and right back on as I understand it.

I recall having read a thread last week about folks leaving their unit in the car overnight in cold weather and having a problem with a faded screen until it warmed up. When they kept in in the house overnight there was no problem. I'm pretty sure that Garmin's were involved.

 

I tried finding the thread for you, but no dice.

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Keep looking on this forum - that is a known bug with some of the new Vistas. Garmin has replaced some and promises a fix. Nothing to do with the cold according t several. Quick fix is to power it off and right back on as I understand it.

I recall having read a thread last week about folks leaving their unit in the car overnight in cold weather and having a problem with a faded screen until it warmed up. When they kept in in the house overnight there was no problem. I'm pretty sure that Garmin's were involved.

 

I tried finding the thread for you, but no dice.

 

Describe a "washed out screen". When I first power on my HCx in Massachusetts, the screen is relatively dark. After it's on, I tap the power button once and then toggle the joystick up so that the screen is set to its highest brightness. Always works great. I have yet to have to power down and then back on again. A few weeks ago when I was logging power poles, it was 2 degrees F and it performed like the champ that it is.

 

Maybe I'm not seeing the problem.

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I was out in 8 degree weather today with my 60CSX. A few times the screen seemed washed out. It was also very hard on my rechargable batteries. I switched them out twice. The unit also shut itself off twice. I've never had these problems before. But that was the coldest its been here in a long time.

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Here is a link to the other thread: http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=181197

 

Read it all the way through.....

 

Shame on me - I should have searched first! :)

 

This is exactly the same problem I am having. I will monitor the behavior of my unit a little closer and will call Garmin to add my unit to the list. I will also post a 'me too' to that forum soon.

 

Thanks for pointing me to the link.

 

David

 

PS. A big T H A N K Y O U to all those that monitor and post answers here. It is very helpful to those of us just getting started.

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My Vista always comes on with the screen dark. But you don't need to toggle the brighness level. Just double click the power/backlight button. The first time it will show the brightness slider at zero and the second push brings it to the level of brightness it was at last time.[

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I have not noticed any problems down to zero Fahrenheit. Below zero, I see very sluggish performance and screen freeze if taken out of my pocket for even a few minutes. Another cacher showed me a trick that works in the cold. Take two hand warmers and a few rubber bands and wrap them around the back and sides of the Vista HCx. This will add a little warmth to the battery compartment which will translate into just enough internal heat to keep the display from freezing up. My wife also made me a GPSr cozy into which I can place a few hand warmers and my GPSr. She even included a plastic window in the design. Unfortunately, the cozy is made of 'Hello Kitty' scrap fabric and..ummm....well.....that won't do. Therefore, rubber bands and hand warmers it is until my wife comes up with an improved cozy model.

Edited by 3 Hawks
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I just purchased my first gps, a Garmin Etrex Vista HCx. I am still getting a feel for how it works and have a question about the screen in cold weather.

 

I went out today to take pictures of the snow fall in Atlanta. I took the Vista out to see how the reception was with the snow and clouds. However, when I turned the unit on, the screen was very faded looking. I was a bit surprised, though I know some screens do not work well when cold. The specs say the Temp range is 5-158 degrees Farenheit. :D

 

I would be interested in other people's experiences with units in cold weather, especially those similar the the Vista HCX.

 

Thanks!

David

Just picked up a new Summit HC, and I am having the same problems. Took it out over the weekend in about 25F weather, and there was almost no screen contrast at all. Had a buddy with an older Cx unit with me, and he was having no problems at all. Whatever they're saying, it's definitely a temperature issue. I can put it in my pocket for a minute or two to warm it up (no power switching) and it seems to recover.

 

Might need to talk to Garmin about this one, too.

Edited by ecanderson
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Have a similar problem with the Etrex Legend HCx

 

If I push the zoom-in-button very quickly 15 times or so the screen becomes washed out and the Legend "freezes" but sometimes it is possible to switch it off. Otherwise I have to remove the batteries. If then I switch it on again the screen is still washed out. I have to take out the micro-sd-card and have to change the zoom-level, then everything is fine again.

 

This occurs only with inserted micro-sd-card and seems to occur when the unit changes from one level of the map-img-file to the next. Occurs with NiMH and alkaline-batteries, software 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 and also at 70°F or 80°F. The Legend HCx has been exchanged by Garmin UK twice, all three units showing the same issue.

 

I use Metroguide Europe 9, Topo Germany and the map of Hungary from turistautak.hu. Garmin UK blames the freeware-map of Hungary and states that I loose the warranty by uploading non-garmin-maps to the Legend!!! But I have the same problem if I use only Metroguide.

Edited by fluorescent2
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Have updated my Legend HCx to firmware 2.60. Before the update I never had the issue of the faded screen in cold weather. Now I have! Temp 50°F - 10°C. Again only with inserted micro-SD-card.

 

I have not had a problem with my screen since I originally posted this question. I just did the software update as well. I will keep an eye out on screen at startup and post updates if I have the problem.

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