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Didjerrydo

I Drowned a Colorado 300!

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While showing a customer in our store a Colorado 300, I did a little demonstration that I've done many times in the past with other Garmin handheld GPS units. We have a small goldfish pond at the front of the store into which I dipped a Colorado 300 about a foot deep for around 10 seconds. I brought the unit out and pushed the power switch to find it totally dead! The screen flickered a few seconds and quit.

Upon removing the back, I found water inside the unit. I removed the batteries and SD card then used a dust removal product to blow out the card slot and battery compartment as thoroughly as I could, but to no avail.

This amazed me to discover that this unit, that is supposed to withstand a 1 meter submersion for 30 minutes, leaked from this quick dunk! Previous models never had a problem with this. As a matter of fact, in dealing with Garmin handhelds for over 15 years, I've never seen a single unit with water damage and we've sold many,many units over the years which have been used very hard. A co-worker here has a 60 CX which mounted on his motorcycle and rides in pouring rain and has never had a problem with water! Upon closer examination, it seems like the opening in the back where the latch engages with the body is the problem. It's wide open for water to enter. This oversight in the unit's design seems unbelievable!

I called Garmin and told them what happened and they said to send it in for replacement, but said that I shouldn't have done this and that the unit should never be submerged whatsoever. Apparently the Colorado units don't have the water resistance, let alone waterproofness ,as stated in the specifications, of other Garmin handhelds. Anyone with a Colorado should be aware of this and realize that the "IXP7" rating apparently doesn't mean much and is certainly not meant to be taken literally!

Edited by Didjerrydo

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Upon closer examination, it seems like the opening in the back where the latch engages with the body is the problem. It's wide open for water to enter. This oversight in the unit's design seems unbelievable!

 

Anyway to get a image of the area you suspect. I can't believe they missed a major feature like that. This is disappointing. Just today I looked at the Colorado and 60CSx and thought WOW, the form factor on the CO is nice but at what price. Maybe your unit is a 1 out of a million that has this problem. thanks for sharing.

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@'Didjerrydo'

 

This is very serious but not surprising. I've not seen one close up but my gut reaction is that the whole unit including the software was designed for the 'bling' factor rather than usability. I have read the manual in detail and it made my eyes bleed. They've actually gone backwards with regards to entering comments, I mean selecting a letter from a wheel of letters consecutively? this is a moden version of the original eTrex method.

 

Seeing as Garmin will replace it, you have nothing to lose and in fact a lot to gain, by giving another one a 10 second dunk or a couple of minutes seeing as that is well within the 30minute time frame, which in itself must have a safety factor built in.

 

In fact I would say you have a duty to dunk another.

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While showing a customer in our store a Colorado 300, I did a little demonstration that I've done many times in the past with other Garmin handheld GPS units. We have a small goldfish pond at the front of the store into which I dipped a Colorado 300 about a foot deep for around 10 seconds. I brought the unit out and pushed the power switch to find it totally dead! The screen flickered a few seconds and quit.

Upon removing the back, I found water inside the unit. I removed the batteries and SD card then used a dust removal product to blow out the card slot and battery compartment as thoroughly as I could, but to no avail.

This amazed me to discover that this unit, that is supposed to withstand a 1 meter submersion for 30 minutes, leaked from this quick dunk! Previous models never had a problem with this. As a matter of fact, in dealing with Garmin handhelds for over 15 years, I've never seen a single unit with water damage and we've sold many,many units over the years which have been used very hard. A co-worker here has a 60 CX which mounted on his motorcycle and rides in pouring rain and has never had a problem with water! Upon closer examination, it seems like the opening in the back where the latch engages with the body is the problem. It's wide open for water to enter. This oversight in the unit's design seems unbelievable!

I called Garmin and told them what happened and they said to send it in for replacement, but said that I shouldn't have done this and that the unit should never be submerged whatsoever. Apparently the Colorado units don't have the water resistance, let alone waterproofness ,as stated in the specifications, of other Garmin handhelds. Anyone with a Colorado should be aware of this and realize that the "IXP7" rating apparently doesn't mean much and is certainly not meant to be taken literally!

 

Now that must have been an awkward moment! LOL. I imagine the customer wasn't too impressed either. But the good thing is that Garmin did agree to exchange it with you but it still doesn't cover the hassle of having to package it up, zip down to the post office, and mail it back to Garmin.

 

My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself. I must say that I'm starting to really regret this purchase as firmware isn't going to fix all the issues that this unit has... I purchased this one to replace my discontinued GPSmap 60C, knowing full well that it would have some quirks, but I still expected the high quality of materials used to construct this GPS to be there. The Garmin name used to mean something.

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"My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself."

 

In that case it would be illegal to advertise it as IXP7

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I think it's becoming fairly obvious that, despite all the pre-release hype, the Colorado is a total POS. I'm glad I never got one, and I feel sorry for anyone who made the mistake of buying one. Looks like Garmin has entered the "we're going to rely on our name, rather than the quality of our product" phase. Pathetic.

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I think it's becoming fairly obvious that, despite all the pre-release hype, the Colorado is a total POS. I'm glad I never got one, and I feel sorry for anyone who made the mistake of buying one. Looks like Garmin has entered the "we're going to rely on our name, rather than the quality of our product" phase. Pathetic.

 

Good judgement for not owning one. If you are thinking of getting one, don't let these types comments deter you. If it has the features you desire and in the price range you're looking at, then go for it. I have one and it's absolutely awesome! It's got a couple kinks, but that will get fixed soon enough. Garmin seems to be well aware of the issues and even more importantly they desire our respect and value our opinions and are seem to be deticated to fixing the issues for us.

The second day I owned the thing, I accidently dropped it...hit a rock and slid into the creek. My heart stopped for a minute, but the Colorado was perfectly fine.

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Yeah...there is a gap in the cover...but did you actually notice where the rubber seal was? Yeah...around the batteries. So the inside cover can fill up and you'll be fine as long as it doesn't get into the battery compartment. Keep the rubber o-ring and inside of the cover clean and free of debris. I wonder about the SD card port tho....hmmm. It is surprising to hear you drowned the unit tho. Did you check the seal. The cover sliding on and off has had me worried about it actually sealing on that rubber o-ring.

Edited by victorymike

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I've tried hard to be open-minded about all the really stupid post-release problems with the Colorado, but this drives the last nail in the coffin for me. I'm keeping my 60CSx and Garmin can keep the Colorado. I refuse to beta test a product I paid for.

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... Apparently the Colorado units don't have the water resistance, let alone waterproofness ,as stated in the specifications, of other Garmin handhelds. Anyone with a Colorado should be aware of this and realize that the "IXP7" rating apparently doesn't mean much and is certainly not meant to be taken literally!

It's advertised as IPX7 on the Garmin site. If it doesn't meet that strict specification then they're guilty of false advertising, no matter what Garmin says you "shouldn't do"! Given the expected use of this unit, that's just dumb. The more I read about the problems the more it seems the Colorado is something Micro$oft would deliver, not Garmin! :)

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I think the IXP7 is for accidental exposure to water. Since you did it on purpose, that isn't covered. :):anibad::huh::) (j/k)

 

--Marky

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It's true there's a big hole in the back cover, but it's also true that it's outside of the sealed area. The rubber seals are supposed to work against the back cover, to make the card and battery compartments water resistant.

The fact that it died makes me wonder if the back cover was properly in place, or perhaps skewed in some way?

While I haven't been swimming with mine, I've had it under water for cleaning without any harm, so far.

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Yeah...there is a gap in the cover...but did you actually notice where the rubber seal was? Yeah...around the batteries. So the inside cover can fill up and you'll be fine as long as it doesn't get into the battery compartment. Keep the rubber o-ring and inside of the cover clean and free of debris. I wonder about the SD card port tho....hmmm. It is surprising to hear you drowned the unit tho. Did you check the seal. The cover sliding on and off has had me worried about it actually sealing on that rubber o-ring.

 

I'm also not so sure that some water didn't enter under the rubber upper "deck" because there seemed to be water coming out of that area also, but look at the strange configuration of the area on the back of the body just below the battery compartment. Looks to me like water can get directly into the innards through the cover's latch and these holes!

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Didjerrydo, are you going to dunk another one? Because if you are not then I do not see how you can sell them with a clear conscience. If you yourself are not sure about the ipx7 claims then how can you recommend it?

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I think the IXP7 is for accidental exposure to water. Since you did it on purpose, that isn't covered. :):anibad::huh::) (j/k)

 

--Marky

No, IPX7 is quite specific:

 

"Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion)." [My emphasis]

 

To get an IPX7 rating, you are supposed to test for it (NOT just assert that it should be OK), and to advertise a product as having an IPX7 rating implies that it will withstand such immersion. Of course, it is also implied that the user will maintain and assemble the unit correctly, and I offer no comment on this because:

 

1) I haven't ever handled a Colorado, and

 

2) I don't know anything about the specifics of this instance of water ingress

Edited by julianh

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Hey, can this problem be fixed by a firmware revision?

 

The Colorado sounds like a real clunker, despite what certain beta testers/unapologetic shills would have to say about it. After reading Didjerrydo's report, I will never, ever buy one of these things in their current form. I don't know what the problem was with the way the 60CSx battery compartment closes. Perhaps they changed it so they could shave a few pennies off the production cost without regard to how it would affect the quality of the product. This thing has some great features in theory, and the implementation might even approach some of what is advertised [1], but is the reality worth the present cost? I don't think so.

 

I guess Garmin is yielding the handheld trail receiver market to Delorme. Garmin's latest handheld product seems to be little more than eyecandy to take money from the gullible.

 

[1] As opposed to the Triton, which is an epic failure.

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Didjerrydo, are you going to dunk another one? Because if you are not then I do not see how you can sell them with a clear conscience. If you yourself are not sure about the ipx7 claims then how can you recommend it?

 

I think I'll just honestly tell customers about this experience and warn them about how easily the unit can be damaged by water. If they are willing to take this risk and be somewhat protective of it, then fine.

In the past, I've always bragged on Garmin's good water resistance. Surely they will rework this unit to correct this issue if they're going to tout it as their super-duper, rough & tough, all round outdoor handheld!

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...but look at the strange configuration of the area on the back of the body just below the battery compartment. Looks to me like water can get directly into the innards through the cover's latch and these holes!

As far as I can see, these holes don't penetrate all the way into the compartment where the electronics are housed. To me, they seem to be one of these kind of designs that are typically done in molds, to allow a good fill factor and quality of the plastic part made in the machine.

 

I just tried mine in a pool. Not any very deep one, but still. Water did enter under the rubber cover, but not inside the battery or card compartments. No difference to the functionality of the unit either.

But it's obvious that it's important that the cover is completely seated on the unit, not left a bit down. On my Colorado, I can close the latch when the cover still has about a millimeter of possible movement left. That may cause problems with the sealing, as it's the cover against the rubber/plastic seals that makes up the water resistance. Dirt sitting on the seals, or inside the cover, are other potential risks here.

 

Unless it's the gold fish?

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I think the IXP7 is for accidental exposure to water. Since you did it on purpose, that isn't covered. :yikes::unsure::anibad::unsure: (j/k)

No, IPX7 is quite specific:

I guess you missed the smilies and the "Just Kidding". My post was just a joke. :cool:

Edited by Marky

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I just tried mine in a pool. Not any very deep one, but still. Water did enter under the rubber cover, but not inside the battery or card compartments. No difference to the functionality of the unit either.

After looking at mine closely, this is what I'd expect. The areas under the cover that are outside the two areas sealed by the rubber gaskets will get wet, but it shouldn't cause any harm. I think the unit in this case may have been defective, or the back was incorrectly installed (which I doubt though, it doesn't seem possible to me to latch the back without it being in the proper position). I personally think you (the OP) would be doing your customers a disservice telling them that the unit does not meet IPX7. That's just my opinion though.

 

--Marky

Edited by Marky

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I just tried mine in a pool. Not any very deep one, but still. Water did enter under the rubber cover, but not inside the battery or card compartments. No difference to the functionality of the unit either.

After looking at mine closely, this is what I'd expect. The areas under the cover that are outside the two areas sealed by the rubber gaskets will get wet, but it shouldn't cause any harm. I think the unit in this case may have been defective, or the back was incorrectly installed (which I doubt though, it doesn't seem possible to me to latch the back without it being in the proper position). I personally think you (the OP) would be doing your customers a disservice telling them that the unit does not meet IPX7. That's just my opinion though.

 

--Marky

 

Actually, wheather it meets the IXP7 specs or not isn't what I'm talking about here, it just seems to me that if a unit floods that easily, there's going to be big problems down the line for Garmin.

As far as the back not being fully "seated" I made sure it was fully pushed up onto the unit as far as I could get it prior to my ill-fated demonstration. I can see where if it wasn't, water could get up into the card slot because the O-ring wouldn't be seated around the mouth of the slot. Clamping down the clasp should fully seat this O-ring around this area anyway.

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Here is the full description for the second digit of IPX7. The first digit "X" means that there is no tested rating against dust.

 

7: Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Code

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Clamping down the clasp should fully seat this O-ring around this area anyway.

No, it doesn't. I tried that, and found that as it's spring loaded, it's possible to close it with the rear cover missing one millimeter up to the fully mounted position.

This is probably to allow for some dimensional variation, maybe due to temperature and/or manufacturing tolerances, but as a user, you are best keeping an eye on this. Perhaps they'll figure out some other design in the future, but currently you have to check that.

Now I understand it didn't help in your case, so there must have been some other issue with that unit.

 

IPX7 is a rather "lean" requirement, as it specifies a static condition only. The device under test is very slowly submerged down to the specified depth, where it's left in steady state for the stipulated time. If you move it under water, the dynamic pressure will easily outrank the static pressure the standard requires. So it's not like it's supposed to support swimming or diving down to one meter below surface.

 

Still, it shouldn't get soaked as fast as happened to your unit, of course.

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My experience with IPX7 and the Colorado...

 

I was washing the screen with mild soap and water under a light flow of tap water. I was doing this before placing my screen shield over the LCD window. I opened the battery cover afterwards and found water had penetrated into the SD card slot. I ejected the card and found water had almost made it to the contacts.

 

Anders said that the battery cover has some play. It does, and where I think is the most vulnerable is the SD card slot where it would make sense that if it was just slightly down or not seated correctly water could slip through. The battery cover makes contact with the battery compartment seal shortly after installation but the SD card seal only closes when the cover is fully in place.

 

IMHO the battery cover implementation is rather poor. It just seems like a poor design overall. Its definately a dirt/sand/water trap and obviously doesn't seal at least part of the time.

Edited by yogazoo

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My experience with IPX7 and the Colorado...

 

I was washing the screen with mild soap and water under a light flow of tap water. I was doing this before placing my screen shield over the LCD window. I opened the battery cover afterwards and found water had penetrated into the SD card slot. I ejected the card and found water had almost made it to the contacts.

 

Anders said that the battery cover has some play. It does, and where I think is the most vulnerable is the SD card slot where it would make sense that if it was just slightly down or not seated correctly water could slip through. The battery cover makes contact with the battery compartment seal shortly after installation but the SD card seal only closes when the cover is fully in place.

 

IMHO the battery cover implementation is rather poor. It just seems like a poor design overall. Its definately a dirt/sand/water trap and obviously doesn't seal at least part of the time.

 

I think you nailed it there. The card slot O-ring is the weak link here I believe.

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Good judgement for not owning one. If you are thinking of getting one, don't let these types comments deter you. If it has the features you desire and in the price range you're looking at, then go for it. I have one and it's absolutely awesome! It's got a couple kinks, but that will get fixed soon enough. Garmin seems to be well aware of the issues and even more importantly they desire our respect and value our opinions and are seem to be deticated to fixing the issues for us.

The second day I owned the thing, I accidently dropped it...hit a rock and slid into the creek. My heart stopped for a minute, but the Colorado was perfectly fine.

 

I don't know if I agree with the statement that if it has the features and price then get one. All of these comments are valid including the original poster's. If this unit is advertised as IPX7 then a quick dunk in the water should have no effect. My advice is the opposite. Look at what others are saying and if you see a consistent pattern of poor quality and misrepresentation of advertised features then avoid the product at all cost.

 

Garmin may well indeed work out the kinks, but while they do I will keep my money in the bank rather than letting them have it with no guarantee of making the product work as advertised.

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Many have suggested using vasoline on the slides to make it easier to get the cover off. I would also suggest smearing a thin coating on the o-rings. I used to clean pools, and we always coated all of the o-rings on pumps and such with vasoline. Even under considerable pressure in a pool pump it will stop almost all leaks.

I have vasoline on my o-rings, and I had my CO operating underwater (in the sink) for about ten minutes with no problems. There was water under the cover when I took it out, but none in the battery compartment or SD slot.

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Actually, wheather it meets the IXP7 specs or not isn't what I'm talking about here, it just seems to me that if a unit floods that easily, there's going to be big problems down the line for Garmin.

One isolated failure doesn't mean big problems down the line. Frequent failures would though. It sounds like at least two people have had issue with the o-ring seals that have responded so far. I'm not going to speculate on if this an issue or not, but I'll certainly be keeping my eye on this trend. I'm also going to do as others suggested, put some vasoline on the o-rings to give them a little "help".

 

I do agree that the design in generally isn't great, and will very likely be a dirt trap.

 

--Marky

Edited by Marky

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If I was in the warranty dept, I'd say that vasoline invalidates the warranty.

 

I'd suggest keep the units dry until Garmin come up with a replacement battery cover.

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My experience with IPX7 and the Colorado...

 

I was washing the screen with mild soap and water under a light flow of tap water. I was doing this before placing my screen shield over the LCD window. I opened the battery cover afterwards and found water had penetrated into the SD card slot. I ejected the card and found water had almost made it to the contacts.

 

Anders said that the battery cover has some play. It does, and where I think is the most vulnerable is the SD card slot where it would make sense that if it was just slightly down or not seated correctly water could slip through. The battery cover makes contact with the battery compartment seal shortly after installation but the SD card seal only closes when the cover is fully in place.

 

IMHO the battery cover implementation is rather poor. It just seems like a poor design overall. Its definately a dirt/sand/water trap and obviously doesn't seal at least part of the time.

 

Many have suggested using vasoline on the slides to make it easier to get the cover off. I would also suggest smearing a thin coating on the o-rings. I used to clean pools, and we always coated all of the o-rings on pumps and such with vasoline. Even under considerable pressure in a pool pump it will stop almost all leaks.

I have vasoline on my o-rings, and I had my CO operating underwater (in the sink) for about ten minutes with no problems. There was water under the cover when I took it out, but none in the battery compartment or SD slot.

 

In response to the suggestion of smearing any sort of grease or lubricant on the o-rings...

 

Before my tap water incident I coated my orings with a light coat of silicon lubricant, the kind that comes in a spare tube with the pump style outdoor water filters for hikers (Katadyne). I always coat the o-rings of my flashlights to improve the seal and keep the rubber from drying out. I applied the same logic to the Colorado but the seal leaked anyway. I may not have had the battery cover seated "properly" as discussed in this thread but the cover was latched. Poor design?

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I'd suggest keep the units dry until Garmin come up with a replacement battery cover.

 

Doubt that will happen. Hopeful, but doubt it.

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God I love my eTrex Legend CXs tight fitting battery cover. Used it in pouring rain and dropped it in two puddles and a fountain. Still ticking.

 

I was playing with a Colorado at REI and was appalled at how poorly the battery cover seated to the body. It reminded me of the cover on my old eTrex (the greenish see through one - Venture?) I bought a ruggedized aftermarket cover for that one as it was flimsy.

 

New products should never backstep on innovation...

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I've heard of similar things happening with Map 60CSXs and eTrex units. I suspect there might be issues with individual units from time to time. I wouldn't use a single example to paint an entire line of units. Now if it happens to the replacement unit, then perhaps there is a problem.

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Just an FYI - to carry the IPX7 rating, the device needs to be certified - they can't just say it is. Certification comes from UL (Underwriters Labrotories) or ITACS (International Testing and Certification Services). Therefore, we probably have some quality control issues. However, their support team should not be saying "you should not be dunking it". That's like buying a Jeep and the dealer telling you not to drive in the mud.

Edited by Source_GPS

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I've heard of similar things happening with Map 60CSXs and eTrex units. I suspect there might be issues with individual units from time to time.

 

Indeed. I've personally seen a 60CS getting water in.

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However, their support team should not be saying "you should not be dunking it". That's like buying a Jeep and the dealer telling you not to drive in the mud.

Exactly -- that was what I found so stunning in the original post. Not that an individual unit might have leaked, but that the customer service rep was saying that Didjerrydo should not have dunked it as part of his sales demo, and that the Colorado should never be submerged in water for any amount of time, ever.

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I think the IXP7 is for accidental exposure to water. Since you did it on purpose, that isn't covered. :anibad::unsure::unsure::cool: (j/k)

No, IPX7 is quite specific:

I guess you missed the smilies and the "Just Kidding". My post was just a joke. :yikes:

Yes, I saw your icons, but I thought they applied to the second sentence. I was responding to your first sentence, that "IPX7 is just for accidental exposure".

 

(No offence taken, by the way. - hope I haven't caused any.)

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However, their support team should not be saying "you should not be dunking it". That's like buying a Jeep and the dealer telling you not to drive in the mud.

Exactly -- that was what I found so stunning in the original post. Not that an individual unit might have leaked, but that the customer service rep was saying that Didjerrydo should not have dunked it as part of his sales demo, and that the Colorado should never be submerged in water for any amount of time, ever.

 

If I were selling to a customer face-to-face, I would do the same thing. That unit should perform to its specs - in this case it failed. Again, probably, quality control but their answer is just unacceptable.

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...I Drowned a Colorado 300!...

 

That's a bit extreme. If you want to put it out of it's misery a sledge hammer would be much quicker and more humane. Do they have a shock standard?

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I have read all the comments and replies to comments about this issue and have several comments:

 

If you'll carefully read the OP's initial post, there is something missing: Didjerrydo does not demonstrate that they are aware of 1) how this unit was designed to remain watertight or 2) what areas of the unit are to remain void of water. There is no mention of the O-rings, their placement, or their condition upon immediate examination. It remains unclear exactly where the OP saw water and conjecture on where the failure occurred.

 

This sentiment is almost immediately repeated by Geocaching-Geckos who states "My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself." This shows that the public is not understanding what needs and what does not need to be watertight AND how this particular unit is designed to meet those needs.

 

It has been demonstrated through various posts (first mentioned by victorymike) that there are two main areas that are to remain watertight. There is an O-ring around the battery compartment. There is an O-ring around the card slot. To keep these two areas completely dry the back needs to be properly aligned to the unit, the back needs to slide completely along both rails. The latch most close completely and without hesitation.

 

The area around the latch is clearly open and has no O-ring to prevent water from entering beyond this latch. If the unit has been completely submerged, you will see water around both seals. When the back is removed, care needs to be taken to insure that water that may have entered through the latch does not fall into either the battery compartment of the card slot.

 

Unfortunately, being designed to keep water out, the reverse is also true. Any water that immediately surrounds the card slot will be able to flow over and past the O-ring the moment the back is removed. Since the back in on tight and is slow to detach from the unit, water has ample time to flow into the card slot. Also, since the internal area of the card slot has no O-ring, water can easily be wicked past an inserted card or flow freely to the contact area. As mentioned in more than one post, since the back appears to have play and (no one has yet mentioned this) since the latch itself does not provide positive pressure to seat the back firmly on the unit, any failure of this O-ring to form a complete seal will result in water entering the card slot and potentially damaging the unit.

 

Clearly, this appears to be a weakness of the design and engineering of this unit and needs to be re-evaluated by Garmin. I feel that they also need to supplement the owner's information supplied with each unit and educate the owners what the potential risks are and why they occur.

 

Some patience and sense needs to be used while evaluating this unit. Flying off with emotion caused by initial misunderstanding isn't going to helps it's or our cause, IMHO.

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I have read all the comments and replies to comments about this issue and have several comments:

 

If you'll carefully read the OP's initial post, there is something missing: Didjerrydo does not demonstrate that they are aware of 1) how this unit was designed to remain watertight or 2) what areas of the unit are to remain void of water. There is no mention of the O-rings, their placement, or their condition upon immediate examination. It remains unclear exactly where the OP saw water and conjecture on where the failure occurred.

 

This sentiment is almost immediately repeated by Geocaching-Geckos who states "My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself." This shows that the public is not understanding what needs and what does not need to be watertight AND how this particular unit is designed to meet those needs.

 

It has been demonstrated through various posts (first mentioned by victorymike) that there are two main areas that are to remain watertight. There is an O-ring around the battery compartment. There is an O-ring around the card slot. To keep these two areas completely dry the back needs to be properly aligned to the unit, the back needs to slide completely along both rails. The latch most close completely and without hesitation.

 

The area around the latch is clearly open and has no O-ring to prevent water from entering beyond this latch. If the unit has been completely submerged, you will see water around both seals. When the back is removed, care needs to be taken to insure that water that may have entered through the latch does not fall into either the battery compartment of the card slot.

 

Unfortunately, being designed to keep water out, the reverse is also true. Any water that immediately surrounds the card slot will be able to flow over and past the O-ring the moment the back is removed. Since the back in on tight and is slow to detach from the unit, water has ample time to flow into the card slot. Also, since the internal area of the card slot has no O-ring, water can easily be wicked past an inserted card or flow freely to the contact area. As mentioned in more than one post, since the back appears to have play and (no one has yet mentioned this) since the latch itself does not provide positive pressure to seat the back firmly on the unit, any failure of this O-ring to form a complete seal will result in water entering the card slot and potentially damaging the unit.

 

Clearly, this appears to be a weakness of the design and engineering of this unit and needs to be re-evaluated by Garmin. I feel that they also need to supplement the owner's information supplied with each unit and educate the owners what the potential risks are and why they occur.

 

Some patience and sense needs to be used while evaluating this unit. Flying off with emotion caused by initial misunderstanding isn't going to helps it's or our cause, IMHO.

 

To me,your response is very condescending but to each his own. Your point does have some weight but you could maybe have put it a little different. Bottom line, the unit has issues, and for the unit to have a IPX7 rating you should not have to be so methodical in removing or installing a cover for the batteries and SD card, and possibly compromise the integrity of the watertight compartments. I mean these units are ment to be used by people, of all ages and should not have any special training to put a lid on. The owners manual should be enough. Hope Garmin will be more in tune to what needs to be, and not what they simply want to give out.

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I have read all the comments and replies to comments about this issue and have several comments:

 

If you'll carefully read the OP's initial post, there is something missing: Didjerrydo does not demonstrate that they are aware of 1) how this unit was designed to remain watertight or 2) what areas of the unit are to remain void of water. There is no mention of the O-rings, their placement, or their condition upon immediate examination. It remains unclear exactly where the OP saw water and conjecture on where the failure occurred.

 

This sentiment is almost immediately repeated by Geocaching-Geckos who states "My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself." This shows that the public is not understanding what needs and what does not need to be watertight AND how this particular unit is designed to meet those needs.

 

It has been demonstrated through various posts (first mentioned by victorymike) that there are two main areas that are to remain watertight. There is an O-ring around the battery compartment. There is an O-ring around the card slot. To keep these two areas completely dry the back needs to be properly aligned to the unit, the back needs to slide completely along both rails. The latch most close completely and without hesitation.

 

The area around the latch is clearly open and has no O-ring to prevent water from entering beyond this latch. If the unit has been completely submerged, you will see water around both seals. When the back is removed, care needs to be taken to insure that water that may have entered through the latch does not fall into either the battery compartment of the card slot.

 

Unfortunately, being designed to keep water out, the reverse is also true. Any water that immediately surrounds the card slot will be able to flow over and past the O-ring the moment the back is removed. Since the back in on tight and is slow to detach from the unit, water has ample time to flow into the card slot. Also, since the internal area of the card slot has no O-ring, water can easily be wicked past an inserted card or flow freely to the contact area. As mentioned in more than one post, since the back appears to have play and (no one has yet mentioned this) since the latch itself does not provide positive pressure to seat the back firmly on the unit, any failure of this O-ring to form a complete seal will result in water entering the card slot and potentially damaging the unit.

 

Clearly, this appears to be a weakness of the design and engineering of this unit and needs to be re-evaluated by Garmin. I feel that they also need to supplement the owner's information supplied with each unit and educate the owners what the potential risks are and why they occur.

 

Some patience and sense needs to be used while evaluating this unit. Flying off with emotion caused by initial misunderstanding isn't going to helps it's or our cause, IMHO.

 

You make some valid points, however what the original post also states is that the submerged unit was dead upon being removed from the water and an attempt to power on. Regardless of how Garmin designed the case to be watertight, it isn't - or as I stated earlier, not in this case (no pun intended). Perhaps this design flaw leaves its watertight rating in a questionable state as the full cover does not allow pressure to be equally and firmly distributed around the perimeter of the cover as in other models.

Edited by Source_GPS

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This sentiment is almost immediately repeated by Geocaching-Geckos who states "My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself." This shows that the public is not understanding what needs and what does not need to be watertight AND how this particular unit is designed to meet those needs.

 

Some patience and sense needs to be used while evaluating this unit. Flying off with emotion caused by initial misunderstanding isn't going to helps it's or our cause, IMHO.

 

I also took your response as very condescending and wasn't impressed with it at all. I am fully aware where the watertight seals should be. I don't believe my Colorado 300 would fair any better than Didjerrydo's did, as the seals appear to defective on my unit. That said, are you suggesting that I dunk my GPS just to see if it dies like Didjerrydo's? That would be a really stupid move on my part.

 

I think I have demostrated extreme patience and common sense in evaluating the Colorado 300, my point was that firmware isn't going to fix all the issues of poor workmanship that plaque the Colorado series.

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This sentiment is almost immediately repeated by Geocaching-Geckos who states "My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself." This shows that the public is not understanding what needs and what does not need to be watertight AND how this particular unit is designed to meet those needs.

 

Some patience and sense needs to be used while evaluating this unit. Flying off with emotion caused by initial misunderstanding isn't going to helps it's or our cause, IMHO.

 

I also took your response as very condescending and wasn't impressed with it at all. I am fully aware where the watertight seals should be. I don't believe my Colorado 300 would fair any better than Didjerrydo's did, as the seals appear to defective on my unit. That said, are you suggesting that I dunk my GPS just to see if it dies like Didjerrydo's? That would be a really stupid move on my part.

 

I think I have demostrated extreme patience and common sense in evaluating the Colorado 300, my point was that firmware isn't going to fix all the issues of poor workmanship that plaque the Colorado series.

 

Geocaching-Geckos,

 

I'm sorry. I really am. I must have misunderstood what you wrote.

 

In the Geocaching-Gecko's post, they state "My Colorado unit doesn't form a watertight seal either, there is a noticeable gap between the battery cover and unit itself."

 

From what you wrote, you imply that the watertight seal comes as a result of the battery cover meeting the main case of the GPS unit.

 

My 400t must be built differently than your 300. On mine, the seals are underneath the case and are not sealed by the case itself. I too have a "noticeable gap" between the case and the battery cover, but this has nothing to do with the seals underneath. Had this gap been .125" around the battery cover, as long as the latch secures the cover, both seals should be engaged.

 

After I washed my unit for the first time and I removed the battery cover, I saw soap bubbles approaching, but not passing both black rubber seals. I carefully wiped off the bubbles and replaced the case. The seals did what they were supposed to do and appear to work well. I don't feel the need to submerge my 400t and test it like others might. Why submit it to an unneeded risk?

 

As for others feeling that I was consdescending: Hey. I'm sorry. :D

 

I don't believe I said or even implied that someone was a dummy. I simply said that there were statements lacking that lead me to believe that people fully understood the design of this unit. Their statements appeared to be driven by emotion instead of statements of fact. If that is condescending, someone needs to come up with an emoticon that means "I'm pattin' your butt like you're my favorite center (and I'm your favorite quarterback)" and all will be forgiven? :D

 

Here's the bottom line (pun intended):

 

$600 is a LOT of money to shell out for a GPS, especially in today's messed up world.

 

If the unit fails to consistantly meet a required standard and is repeatedly returned to Garmin, they have a problem that will need to be resolved.

 

I bought my unit from REI. They have a wonderful refund policy. If my unit leaks 23 months from now, I'm covered bay-be!

 

I am really sorry that some people's units are having problems. I own the same unit as they do (more or less) and have the same concerns about quality. I really don't want to see your unit fail or my unit fail. Either way, it's not good.

 

I still think that a calm, informed attitude is best in evaluating these issues, but if you don't ... more power to ya!

 

Oh, as far as the Garmin Colorado being plagued by poor workmanship ... I think your choice of words is interesting here. So far, I don't see a plague of any sort. Poor choice of words or exagerated, emotional response not withstanding.

 

This is the same issue as the Colorado 400t eating NiMH batteries. This was never the case, but boy was the forum in an uproar for days because some off-brand battieries were only lasting a couple hours during (what I thought was) an unreasonable test of performance. Garmin graciously and quickly fixed this issue with 0 Colorado owners needing to send in their units for repair/replacement. :D Now, this is a non-issue.

 

Now, what's going to be the next crisis? :D My Garmin carabiner failed. It no longer closes freely, but the spring is still in good condition. This could cause me to lose my GPS. Have other's had this problem??? Ironically, the same night I bought my Colorado, I also bought two locking Bison carabiners. :: found it/installed it :: Man does that look nice! Now, lets hope that my belt loop doesn't fail or Magellan will be in a big lawsuit! How ironic will that be, eh?

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Upon closer examination, it seems like the opening in the back where the latch engages with the body is the problem. It's wide open for water to enter. This oversight in the unit's design seems unbelievable!

 

Anyway to get a image of the area you suspect. I can't believe they missed a major feature like that. This is disappointing. Just today I looked at the Colorado and 60CSx and thought WOW, the form factor on the CO is nice but at what price. Maybe your unit is a 1 out of a million that has this problem. thanks for sharing.

I had other problems with mine and took it right back to the store, but I was really wondering about thet hole too. the only thing that I thought about it was the waterproofness only aplied to the electronic compartment, and not the battery compartment.

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Yep - Checked out my 400t and no leaks; both rubber seals/o-rings look good; one around the SD card slot, and one around the battery compartment. The seals will have to be checked often - I think I'll order some extras just in case. I'm thinking about using some waterproof grease on both o-rings/seals. I don't expect the latch to keep water out. My back cover fits snug. Rider

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Clamping down the clasp should fully seat this O-ring around this area anyway.

No, it doesn't. I tried that, and found that as it's spring loaded, it's possible to close it with the rear cover missing one millimeter up to the fully mounted position.

This is probably to allow for some dimensional variation, maybe due to temperature and/or manufacturing tolerances, but as a user, you are best keeping an eye on this. Perhaps they'll figure out some other design in the future, but currently you have to check that.

Now I understand it didn't help in your case, so there must have been some other issue with that unit.

 

IPX7 is a rather "lean" requirement, as it specifies a static condition only. The device under test is very slowly submerged down to the specified depth, where it's left in steady state for the stipulated time. If you move it under water, the dynamic pressure will easily outrank the static pressure the standard requires. So it's not like it's supposed to support swimming or diving down to one meter below surface.

 

Still, it shouldn't get soaked as fast as happened to your unit, of course.

I knew this would come up. The same is true for watches. In actuality the unit should be designed to withstand use in a rainstorm, or even being dropped into a creek/puddle. By these standards even the added pressure of hitting the surface of the water would excede the test.

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