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Disappointed in Colorado 400t


schmidtbaby
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Went Geocaching today and experienced a lot of variability in readings. On all three caches, I would experience the typical scenario. ... It would say go 50 ft. straight ahead. I would walk ten paces then it would say that I was going the wrong direction. So I would turn around, etc,. It would never resolve to the right position.

 

What accuracy should a unit like this provide ?

 

On the way back, (we bike riding my speed) and my speed would be 3mph and then would jump to 6 mph. I never used my 60cx and my 60 scx that much, but I don't remember that much inaccuracy.

 

Luckily purchased it at REI, so I can take it back.

 

Tell me this thing isn't that bad???

 

I tried both WAAS and Normal.

 

I have the latest (not the beta revision that came out a few weeks ago)

 

:P:lol:

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Did you have the compass turned on (or turned on and not calibrated?) If so, try disabling the compass.

 

GO$Rs

 

I never calibrated it.

 

Should I ? How do I turn it on or off?

 

Do you have a 400( or 300) Is it accurate?

 

Does the Beta driver help?

 

I have a 76CSx with that compass on it and the description you gave of caching with it was exactly what I experienced also. When I turned off the compass it became a very good unit, very stable and worked very well. From what I can see and have heard that compass is the problem with your unit.

 

Ron

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Should I ? How do I turn it on or off?

 

Do you have a 400( or 300) Is it accurate?

 

Does the Beta driver help?

 

Yes. I would recommend for geocaching (and most other activities) that the compass be turned off. Other people have provided the setup options to disable the compass. If you do use the compass you need to calibrate it and hold the unit horizontal in order for it to work. I only use the compass when I need it. I calibrate it (which turns it on), hold the unit level, take a bearing and turn it off. Very much the same way I used my 60cs compass.

 

Your question about accuracy is a bit loaded. I have seen other issues with 400t accuracy but my feeling is that you are probably not seeing that issue, try disabling the compass first and see how that works.

 

I would recommend downloading the beta 2.51 software. It isn't going to help or change this particular issue but it does fix a number of other issues and hasn't introduced any new problems.

 

GO$Rs

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This is a common issue with units that have an electronic compass. It can be caused by a couple of things. Most importantly you need to calibrate the compass everytime you change the batteries. Even when you do that it can act nutty at times and sometimes re-calibrating will resolve this. On my 60CS I can enable/disable it by simply holding down the Page button. I leave mine enabled most of the time. If the arrow starts acting eraticly, I'll turn it off. I agree with the others that you should turn it off and update your firmware to get your new GPS dialed in. Once you verify that it's performing fine then you can add the other variables like the compass back in to see the true effect of those.

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Don't Panic!

 

Seriously. I think most posters here are rushing off the cliff and into the sea.

 

I would do the following, in this order:

 

- Install a fresh set of batteries.

 

- Verify that the batteries installed are the type the unit thinks it is using.

 

- Calibrate your electronic compass in an area with no electrical lines, no iron, no magnets, etc. This includes large belt buckles, other batteries, your cell phone, PDA, etc.

 

Also, learn to hold your GPS unit level while searching for a cache, etc. WHEN you are relying on the compass for direction. Learn what the unit does and when to use those features. When you're in an area where you need better reception, point the antenna to the sky and make certain the antenna isn't blocked in any way. For some reason, we all raise the unit above our heads, like we're waiting for lightening to strike. (It's never struck me, yet!)

 

You might also get an average quality compass and use this along with your GPS unit. Learn what bearing and heading is, magnetic North, and use the two together.

 

Remember: when you are at ground zero, the bearing will become a random number (your compass needle may swing around) since your GPS may think that you're close and all around the posted coordinates. During these times, it might be better to look around and get a sense of what your compass headings are (where is North, etc.), take the time for your GPS unit to settle, and determine where GZ seems to be. Dropping something on the ground (a rock, a stick, your backpack, etc.) to indicate your initial ground zero might be helpful. DO NOT follow the arrow at ground zero. Peole (myself included) will use this as the basis of silly stories about silly geocachers if you follow your "arrow" like a grasshopper.

 

Learn to "arrive" and identify the area where you are going to be searching.

 

Realize that you may just not be there yet! It may take several minutes for your GPS to determine exactly where you are relative to where you want to be.

 

Remember: If you change your batteries and/or if you might be in an area with magnetic disruptions, Recalibrate Your Compass.

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You make it sound like most Geocachers are GPS neanderthals. I just took my Colorado back to the store today after trying to work with it for about a month. I had this location error problem along with several others which I can't live with. I'm glad there are many people out there who are happy with the device and are willing to wait for a better product in the future. I for one am not willing to pay $600 for a device that doesn't perform as advertised. I am not being paid to beta test the Colorado, I leave that to the other capable owners.

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You make it sound like most Geocachers are GPS neanderthals. I just took my Colorado back to the store today after trying to work with it for about a month. I had this location error problem along with several others which I can't live with. I'm glad there are many people out there who are happy with the device and are willing to wait for a better product in the future. I for one am not willing to pay $600 for a device that doesn't perform as advertised. I am not being paid to beta test the Colorado, I leave that to the other capable owners.

 

I don't believe early man had GPS units. No satellites, eh?

 

Look, the GPS unit in question could have a problem, but until other things are investigated, YOU DON'T KNOW. He could take back the unit, but a new unit will most likely have the same issues.

 

As for what I described, I had to learn to do that. I wasn't born with a GPS in my hand. I guess I was born a "neaderthal." As for what you describe ... you're clearly not a sutible Colorado owner. Guess you should buy something else!

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I have a 76CSx with that compass on it and the description you gave of caching with it was exactly what I experienced also. When I turned off the compass it became a very good unit, very stable and worked very well. From what I can see and have heard that compass is the problem with your unit.

 

Ron

 

I experienced this problem as well. Here I thought finding a gps with an electronic compass was the way to go and now I find out it is the problem. Is this simply a software based problem or is this something all electronic compass based gps's encounter?

 

I found that I had to go back to the 'list geocache' page and redirect to the cache to get a correct reading several times on a cache. Once I did that it gave a total different direction and distance. I was on the side of a steep hill in the woods and wouldn't have been able to move enough to get my direction from the sattelites.

 

So should I only use the electronic compass at a dead stop? Or even then? I'll test it both ways tomorrow.

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I have had my Colorado 3 days and spent some time today trying it out. I get full load and signal lock in 30 seconds each time. Each of the 3 caches I got today I was led to the 1 foot mark and did not have to move from that spot as I found the cache. I walked into the thick of the national forest tonight and never lost signal or compass and found my way back exactly to my waypoint I set to make sure I didn't get lost coming out.

 

So far I am impressed with this and have not regretted it, even through the learning curves.

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I have had my Colorado 3 days and spent some time today trying it out. I get full load and signal lock in 30 seconds each time. Each of the 3 caches I got today I was led to the 1 foot mark and did not have to move from that spot as I found the cache. I walked into the thick of the national forest tonight and never lost signal or compass and found my way back exactly to my waypoint I set to make sure I didn't get lost coming out.

 

So far I am impressed with this and have not regretted it, even through the learning curves.

Edited by Delthius
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I just got my colorado too and love it. I just uploaded the 2.51 firmware, but was using 2.4 for some geocaching yesterday. It was dead-nuts accurate, even in heavy pine trees.

 

I DID do a compass calibration, which takes all of 1 minute.

 

Several things I did notice however....

 

If you are using the compass it really needs to be extremely level. I would stop, level it, and let it "settle". It would then give me an accurate reading. Then I would continue. Walking and looking at the compass wasn't a good mix -- it would swing about, etc.

 

Hope this helps.

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You make it sound like most Geocachers are GPS neanderthals.

 

It's Neandertals.. not Neanderthals..

Neanderthal is at least as correct, and probably more so. Look it up in a dictionary. It is often pronounced as if it were spelled Neandertal because the word is German. In German, the th is pronounced as t. It comes from the Neanderthal valley near Duesseldorf, where evidence of Neanderthal man was first found.

 

If you intend to correct others, you had better be correct. And if you plan on criticizing bad writing in forums, you're going to be very, very busy. :)

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You make it sound like most Geocachers are GPS neanderthals.

 

It's Neandertals.. not Neanderthals..

Neanderthal is at least as correct, and probably more so. Look it up in a dictionary. It is often pronounced as if it were spelled Neandertal because the word is German. In German, the th is pronounced as t. It comes from the Neanderthal valley near Duesseldorf, where evidence of Neanderthal man was first found.

 

If you intend to correct others, you had better be correct. And if you plan on criticizing bad writing in forums, you're going to be very, very busy. :)

 

shhhh - you will wake up "Team CowboyPapa" !

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Here I thought finding a gps with an electronic compass was the way to go and now I find out it is the problem. Is this simply a software based problem or is this something all electronic compass based gps's encounter?

 

 

Garmin uses a 2-axis electronic compass. The 2-axis is the biggest problem. You must hold it almost perfectly level to get an acceptable reading but that is the about the worst position to hold the unit for optimum satellite reception. The GPS is picking up a lot of erroneous deflected path signal. You must do what I call “rock to baby”. First calibrate the compass at least once a day. Then hold the GPS vertical to get your best position then stop, hold the GPS very horizontal away from any metal or magnetic forces to get your heading. Now if you do this repetitively for several minutes you might eventually trip over the cache. I might be exaggerating a bit but I find it a whole lot easier to just turn it off. I’ve had several Magellan GPSr’s with 3-axis electronic compasses that operated flawlessly. I always used those 3-axis electronic compasses but I turn the Garmin 2-axis off.

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I use the electronic compass and find it very helpful. But you have to calibrate every time you change the batteries and then once in a while in the field.

 

While holding the GPS level isn't the best for signal, I have never noticed a significant change in accuracy due to it not being vertical.

 

Once you are within about 10-15 stop looking at the GPS and look around.

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I just got my colorado too and love it. I just uploaded the 2.51 firmware, but was using 2.4 for some geocaching yesterday. It was dead-nuts accurate, even in heavy pine trees.

 

I DID do a compass calibration, which takes all of 1 minute.

 

Several things I did notice however....

 

If you are using the compass it really needs to be extremely level. I would stop, level it, and let it "settle". It would then give me an accurate reading. Then I would continue. Walking and looking at the compass wasn't a good mix -- it would swing about, etc.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I have chosen not to update to 2.51 yet as mine is working great right out of the box with 2.4. I am hoping they get out a non-beta version soon but figure why fix what is not broken. Of course this could be cursing me and I will have a melt down on my first big geocaching trip to MA next week.

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I have chosen not to update to 2.51 yet as mine is working great right out of the box with 2.4. I am hoping they get out a non-beta version soon but figure why fix what is not broken. Of course this could be cursing me and I will have a melt down on my first big geocaching trip to MA next week.

 

The biggest problem with 2.40 is certain descriptions with illegal HTML code cause the unit to freeze or reboot. This does not happen in 2.51

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I received my 400t this afternoon, has version 2.30 on it. So far I've run a first pocket query, moved the 100 closest caches to the device, and used it to make my first find. The users manual is still in the bag! Great site, great FAQ from g-o-$ers. I'm in the same spot as Delthius though, I know I need to apply the new firmware but am really not looking forward to it. Serial # is 18z0064nn. Any thoughts on this?

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I received my 400t this afternoon, has version 2.30 on it. So far I've run a first pocket query, moved the 100 closest caches to the device, and used it to make my first find. The users manual is still in the bag! Great site, great FAQ from g-o-$ers. I'm in the same spot as Delthius though, I know I need to apply the new firmware but am really not looking forward to it. Serial # is 18z0064nn. Any thoughts on this?

 

Well, I would visit here first. http://garmincolorado.wikispaces.com/

 

I think the first thing you probably should do is install the Garmin Web Updater software. I did this, connected the 400t to the computer via the usb cable and ran the updater. It walks you through the steps to get non-beta v2.4 uploaded. Once you upload the firmware, unplug the 400 from the PC, and turn it on. It takes a couple of minutes to update. Once it does, you're ready to go.

 

If you want to upload the 2.51 beta, you can follow the link on the website link above, download and run the executable while your unit is attached to the PC. Afterwards, unplug from pc, turn the unit on, wait for it to update, etc.

 

Hope this helps.

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I really think 2.51 is a very safe upgrade. It has fixed a bunch of issues, added some minor features and hasn't introduced any new issues from what I can tell. It's just a matter of downloading the exe file and following the directions.

 

GO$Rs

 

I have been reading many complaints of the gps not being as sensitive and taking longer to lock on after 2.51 was installed...have you had this problem g-o?

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I have been reading many complaints of the gps not being as sensitive and taking longer to lock on after 2.51 was installed...have you had this problem g-o?

 

I believe that the long lock issues are related to the time loss issue. It is possible that Garmin put something in 2.51 to further workaround the issue (they put some changes in 2.4). If this is the case and you have a unit that has this problem you might see slower lock times.

 

GO$Rs

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I have been reading many complaints of the gps not being as sensitive and taking longer to lock on after 2.51 was installed...have you had this problem g-o?

 

I believe that the long lock issues are related to the time loss issue. It is possible that Garmin put something in 2.51 to further workaround the issue (they put some changes in 2.4). If this is the case and you have a unit that has this problem you might see slower lock times.

 

GO$Rs

 

I hate to give up a good thing, I am getting full load and lock in under 30 seconds with 2.4. I am afraid if I update I may go backwards in response time and sensitivity.

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You can always downgrade, but in the end if you are happy with 2.4 definitely stick with it. The biggest two things 2.51 fixed were freezes when reading certain geocache descriptions and it also seems to have fixed the navigation to geocache issue.

 

Old firmware versions are here if you need to downgrade.

 

GO$Rs

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You make it sound like most Geocachers are GPS neanderthals.

 

It's Neandertals.. not Neanderthals..

Neanderthal is at least as correct, and probably more so. Look it up in a dictionary. It is often pronounced as if it were spelled Neandertal because the word is German. In German, the th is pronounced as t. It comes from the Neanderthal valley near Duesseldorf, where evidence of Neanderthal man was first found.

 

If you intend to correct others, you had better be correct. And if you plan on criticizing bad writing in forums, you're going to be very, very busy. :)

 

Ok, both can be correct. 3 years of anthropology is still drumming in my ears. The taxanomic name is Neandertal. Homo neanderthalensis or (Homo sapien neanderthalensis) was found in Neander [Tal] Valley. It was changed from thal to tal in 1901, though the rules of taxonomy make you keep the 'th'. Using a dictionary is like looking at encyclopedias and wikipedia. If the word is German, it technically should be spoken as such. You say Versailles as if it were French, rather than Ver-sayl-lees..

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Taking my second 400T back. It is not accurate. I really want this unit to work, but I can't get within 50 ft. of a Geocache and it can't resolve itself any further. It says within 10 feet and then reverses itself and says go 30 ft. the other way.

 

Compass is off.

 

I would like to feedback as to what kind of accuracy to expect with Geocaching. I had a 60scx for a few months and found a few caches. We tried finding 3 easy ones today and couldn't find any.

 

Wan to hear from other owners - I'm getting 60 ft. accuracy with WAAS on, compass off and after 2.51 download. I remember getting 5-10 ft with the 60c. If I'm getting 60 ft, no wonder I can't find anything!!!

 

Is this normal????

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