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Colorado Accuracy


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I recently upgraded from a Magellan Meridian Color to a Colorado 400t. I am still getting used to the differences between the two. The question that I hope someone can answer for me is. When I go to the satellite page and see the GPS Accuracy; what kind of numbers should I expect? My Magellan did not have a screen that I can remember that showed the accuracy in feet like that. Any information I can get would be greatly appreciated.

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Just realize that it is ESTIMATED position accuracy. Don't treat it like its a law. Basically it tells you how well the receiver is picking up satellites and if it is using a good variety of healthy ones. Generally within 22 feet is what mine says when I actually happen to notice.

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10-15 ft??????????

 

Where in the heck are you buying these units at?? I've had two and the best I could get was 50-60ft. And even then it jumped all over the place.

 

I've been very vocal about having to return my units - not because I don't like the 400t, but because I really want want one that works as well as some people claim.

 

Where in the world are you guys (and girls) buying these units from??

 

I really want to know.

 

Is it the part of the country I live in (Charlotte NC) and maybe the particular satellites I'm picking up?

 

Tell me where you are getting them and I'll order oen right now.

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I ordered mine online at GPSnow.com. I generally get 10-12 feet, and less if I set it down and leave it for a while. Once it has been on and outside awhile, even when moving around it stays within 15 - 20 feet. It could easily have something to do with satellite constellation, also. My previous model would show greater accuracy, but was not near as accurate with 5 ft showing as my Colorado is with 15-20' showing... if that makes sense. :D

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10-15 ft??????????

 

Where in the heck are you buying these units at?? I've had two and the best I could get was 50-60ft. And even then it jumped all over the place.

 

I've been very vocal about having to return my units - not because I don't like the 400t, but because I really want want one that works as well as some people claim.

 

Where in the world are you guys (and girls) buying these units from??

 

I really want to know.

 

Is it the part of the country I live in (Charlotte NC) and maybe the particular satellites I'm picking up?

 

Tell me where you are getting them and I'll order oen right now.

 

Check to see if the "Lock on Road" setting on your unit is set to 'true'. I had the same problem on my 60 CSx, and that's what it turned out to be.

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10-15 ft??????????

 

Where in the heck are you buying these units at?? I've had two and the best I could get was 50-60ft. And even then it jumped all over the place.

 

<snip>

 

Is it the part of the country I live in (Charlotte NC) and maybe the particular satellites I'm picking up?

GPS satellites are not geosynchronous. The particular satellites which are overhead vary by location, date and time. Position accuracy varies according to the number of satellites your receiver can see, as well as their relative positions. This is what people are referring to when you see the term "constellation".

 

That said, if you are consistently seeing 50-60 foot EPE (estimated position error, as reported on the satellite page of your Colorado after it attains a lock and has had a minute or two to settle out), there is something wrong.

 

imajeep points out one possibility, which is that your current profile has Lock on Road enabled. This could definitely result in an apparent location which does not match reality. I am not, however, sure that it would affect the EPE you see on the satellite page. (This setting causes the unit to assume that you are really on the nearest road, not exactly where the receiver would otherwise put you. This is really bad on a Colorado 400t with just the topo maps installed because road positions on the topo maps are notoriously inaccurate.)

 

Also, some posters have reported OCCASIONAL problems with high EPE. In addition to high EPE, the unit shows an incorrect position (relative to known landmarks or a previous track). This occurs infrequently and with no obvious cause. Power cycling the GPSr clears up the condition. It is important to note that this is not a persistent condition. That is, the unit does not always have high EPE. Instead, it goes from low EPE/accurate position to high EPE/inaccurate position for no apparent reason. Turning it off and on returns it to normal operation. This does not sound like what you are seeing, but it's worth mentioning.

 

Finally, EPE does depend on the quality of the current contellation and on environmental factors. In particular, heavy tree cover an cause higher than normal EPE. So can situations which promote mutli-path reception. For example, you will see higher EPE indoors even near a window (assuming you can get a lock at all). You will also see higher EPE in dense urban areas, where there are a lot of large buildings which can reflect the signal. And in non-urban areas near large bluffs, in deep valleys, and so forth. Again, though, if you consistently see 50-60 foot EPE in a variety of different situations, at a variety of different times, there is something else wrong.

 

It is not unusual to see the EPE change over time, especially when you are moving. Even if you are not, the constellation changes over time -- which also causes the EPE to change.

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Another thing to bear in mind... there is a setting in the setup to enable WAAS (Wide Area Augmented System) or EGNOS on our side of the pond! This lets the GPS pick up a signal from a geostationary satellite or two which corrects the normal signal. On my Vista I get best accuracy of 5feet. On the Colorado it is 9 feet. But please note the GPS has to be able to see these satellites which at my lattitude of 52N are about 25 degrees above the horizon. A few buildings or trees and you've had it!! The further north you are the harder it may be to see them.

 

I put a description of the European WAAS called EGNOS and how it works here. It is the same for the USA but of course I'm not sure which satellites you'll get or the ground station locations. I'm sure someone over there will know!!

Chris (UK)

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That said, if you are consistently seeing 50-60 foot EPE (estimated position error, as reported on the satellite page of your Colorado after it attains a lock and has had a minute or two to settle out), there is something wrong.

Do the Colorados have a "Battery Save" mode? On other Garmins (e.g. the 60CSx) numbers like this almost always arise when people have put the unit in the battery save mode, not realizing that this significantly degrades the accuracy of the unit. I've downloaded and looked at the 400 manual, and don't see it mentioned in the setup, so they may have done away with it in the Colorados. In that case this may be some other issue.

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That said, if you are consistently seeing 50-60 foot EPE (estimated position error, as reported on the satellite page of your Colorado after it attains a lock and has had a minute or two to settle out), there is something wrong.

Do the Colorados have a "Battery Save" mode? On other Garmins (e.g. the 60CSx) numbers like this almost always arise when people have put the unit in the battery save mode, not realizing that this significantly degrades the accuracy of the unit. I've downloaded and looked at the 400 manual, and don't see it mentioned in the setup, so they may have done away with it in the Colorados. In that case this may be some other issue.

Not that I have been able to find.

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I took my new Colorado 300 and my trusty 60CSx out on some local wooded trails this afternoon. I had both units strapped side by side to my sternum strap and I have to say the discrepancy between the two units is horrendous. I have been on these trails many times before and the 60CSx tracks are pretty typical of what I have seen in the past so I have to believe the accuracy of the Colorado is really bad. I also marked some WP's on along the trail and there are some points that have more than 150' difference between the two units.

I have found several caches along these trails with my 60Sx, based on the track logs I see it looks like it would be nearly impossible to find those same caches with the Colorado.

Below is a picture of a portion of the two tracks, the brown track is the 60CSx and the white is the Colorado. IS THIS NORMAL?

 

2e40b370-965d-4e83-89a9-5d2d944a65b4.jpg

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What you are seeing above looks a lot like the issue described in this thread. I just completed a week worth of testing and I'm pretty sure what is causing this inaccuracy with my Colorado is the use of backlighting.

 

Where you using backlighting on your Colorado during this trip?

 

I'll post some pictures tomorrow showing the difference in accuracy I'm seeing with backlight on and backlight turned off but it is striking.

 

GO$Rs

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What you are seeing above looks a lot like the issue described in this thread. I just completed a week worth of testing and I'm pretty sure what is causing this inaccuracy with my Colorado is the use of backlighting.

 

Where you using backlighting on your Colorado during this trip?

 

I'll post some pictures tomorrow showing the difference in accuracy I'm seeing with backlight on and backlight turned off but it is striking.

 

GO$Rs

I'm not sure wheter the backlight was on or not but it is highly likely because if found it very difficult to see the screen w/o the backlight on.

Next outing I will make sure the backlight is off and see what kind of difference it makes.

Thanks-

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We went out caching today in some pretty dense woods and the Colorado was all over. It behaved almost as if the compass was on. One minute I was 20 feet from the cache, the next minute 60 feet. Had to pull out the hiking compass and use it to figure out which way north really was. With a clear shot at the sky it was much more accurate. Still went 8 for 8 including a couple of micros that were pretty tough, but I think my old iFinder Go2 would have done better. Got a couple of more caches in the same area to get later on -- will take the other GPSr and compare.

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Hmm I have been thinking about getting a colorado 300, mainly because I already own the topo 2008. The accuracy thing seems to be pretty serious. I might wait before buying one so they can work this problem out. I would hate to be caching and have to reset it all the time.

 

When I first read the posts I thought maybe weather issues, but it seems there are alot more people who are having the same problem.

 

Any advice from other owners out there, should I wait or buy it now. I currently use a Garmin 60CSx and a Magellan Explorist 600 but I wanted to get the colorado 300 because sometimes I have non cachers come with me and I give them a gps to borrow and try to get them into the sport.

 

Storm180

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Wait! You do have the best available yet, the 60CSx.

 

The best in YOUR opinion. My Colorado functions just perfectly for me, and is on par if not better than my friends 60CSx. It all varies based on individual models and experiences.

 

To the OP, You have to judge for yourself. try to find an REI or store that has one you can play with, or find an online site with a good return policy. (for example, Walmart.com has them, and you can return it to your local store if you don't like it!) Take everything here with a grain of salt. There are dozens of people here spouting hate on the Colorado, who have never even HELD one let alone own one, so just be aware that not EVERYONE knows what they are talking about and spit a bunch of junk they "read in the complaints page" Not to say that some folks don't have legitimate beefs, I am just saying not to listen to any one particular person or thread on the subject.

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Wait! You do have the best available yet, the 60CSx.

 

The best in YOUR opinion. My Colorado functions just perfectly for me, and is on par if not better than my friends 60CSx. It all varies based on individual models and experiences.

 

To the OP, You have to judge for yourself. try to find an REI or store that has one you can play with, or find an online site with a good return policy. (for example, Walmart.com has them, and you can return it to your local store if you don't like it!) Take everything here with a grain of salt. There are dozens of people here spouting hate on the Colorado, who have never even HELD one let alone own one, so just be aware that not EVERYONE knows what they are talking about and spit a bunch of junk they "read in the complaints page" Not to say that some folks don't have legitimate beefs, I am just saying not to listen to any one particular person or thread on the subject.

 

I am ready to pull the trigger on one. I have demoed one at REI and Sportsman Warehouse and I like the unit. Then I started reading about the accuracy issue and made me think. The ones I demoed for a few minutes did work like they should but that is not usually when there are issues. It happens after you have had it for awhile. I am one of those people where it really irks me when I am out and my gear does not function as it should and I have to spend more time messing with it then having fun. Garmin is a good company and I know if there is a problem they will fix it. My 60CSx has never let me down and I am hoping for the same experience with the colorado. Just wanted to get peoples opinion if I should wait for the new firmware or just bite the bullet now and wait to upgrade. I know I will get one eventually, when is the only question.

 

Storm180

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I like seeing others opinions. Before I bought my 400T I had the 60CSx and loved it. Well, after using the Colorado now for 7 weeks I have found it to work as well as and in some places better than the 60CSx. There are days where the 400T has better Sat accuracy. I love the paperless cachaing. Both units are extreme good....the difference is in the eye of the beholder. I can't say that one is BETTER than the other because they are DIFFERENT for different purposes. My self, I like the Colorado better because it does more. For caching it is the best that I have used. For auto routing in the auto mode, it is MUCH BETTER than the 60CSx. Just my opinon. Steve :huh:

Edited by stroute
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I took my new Colorado 300 and my trusty 60CSx out on some local wooded trails this afternoon. I had both units strapped side by side to my sternum strap and I have to say the discrepancy between the two units is horrendous. I have been on these trails many times before and the 60CSx tracks are pretty typical of what I have seen in the past so I have to believe the accuracy of the Colorado is really bad. I also marked some WP's on along the trail and there are some points that have more than 150' difference between the two units.

I have found several caches along these trails with my 60Sx, based on the track logs I see it looks like it would be nearly impossible to find those same caches with the Colorado.

Below is a picture of a portion of the two tracks, the brown track is the 60CSx and the white is the Colorado. IS THIS NORMAL?

 

2e40b370-965d-4e83-89a9-5d2d944a65b4.jpg

 

I’m not that familiar with the Colorado. What kind of antenna does it have? If it’s a patch type antenna, it may get it’s best reception horizontal face up. If a patch antenna, and if it was attached in a way that it could be facing in toward your body at times, it may have been getting very poor reception at those times…just an idea to explore.

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I’m not that familiar with the Colorado. What kind of antenna does it have? If it’s a patch type antenna, it may get it’s best reception horizontal face up. If a patch antenna, and if it was attached in a way that it could be facing in toward your body at times, it may have been getting very poor reception at those times…just an idea to explore.

 

It's a quad helix antenna like the 60csx.

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Food For Thought

 

A big part of the "problems" that some Colorado owners are having seems to be that the owners with poor units OR poor understanding of their units are posting "issues," while other Colorado owners are very pleased with their units and are having few or no issues with their units. These guys generally don't post "look at how great this unit works" posts with comparisons or tables of data (except for this happy owner). Instead, they are scratching their heads and wondering why these disappointed Colorado owners aren't calling Garmin for advice and returning their units after further explanation fails to solves certain issues.

 

I am not saying that half the Colorado owners are daft. I am saying that I have it very hard to believe that there are multiple Colorado owners who have returned 3 to 4 units where they are all defective. It's much more probable that these guys are having the same issues with multiple units because of an incorrect setting and/or a misunderstanding.

 

I think there is a widespread belief by a small percentage of forum posters that the Colorado has major issues. This "following" is giving the unit an increasingly negative stigma. For all we know, these people are competing unit company employees trying to get a rise from the lot of forum readers, convincing them that Garmin Colorado is, as has been sung here, "not ready for prime time."

 

There IS a problem and it IS widespread, but its this posters belief that the problem doesn't not lie with the unit itself.

 

Think about it. Have you ever read a post by one of these owners who returned their Colorado 400 four times where they explain what the issues were with each of these units? I have not. Is it the same problem? (We assume so, don't we?) Is it a different problem? (What's the chance this would ever happen?)

 

As far as I know, Garmin is still shipping their Colorado units. If the problems were this widespread, would these units still be available? No. Garmin would have a full recall of these units AND have stopped shipment of existing units.

 

I'm not saying that there aren't users out there having problems. I am saying that it is more likely that the problems arise from not understand how these units work OR are fabrications designed to keep cachers from buying these units.

 

If your Garmin GPS, regardless of model, is having issues with accuracy, you need to return your unit and get your money back, but only After calling Garmin directly and asking them to walk you through possible solutions.

 

If your Garmin GPS, again regardless of model, is having issues with any other area, you need to follow the same steps above.

 

Regardless, if you post "issues" on the forum, you need to supply information and data. Tell us that you have the unit set to NiMH batteries. That you have the latest software revisions installed. That you have called Garmin and sat through a troubleshooting session with them AND that you are still having specific problems (state these clearly and specifically) with your unit. [This is my humble opinion and not necessarily that of the next several posters.]

 

If we continue to see posts like I have described, we need to ask ourselves if these posters are ones with real unit problems, ones with real learning curve issues, or fabrications designs to give potential buyers the wrong impression about these units.

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I am no employee of anybodies. I have had the following and fully used them! first yellow etrex, First Vista, 60cs, 60csx and 305. I have had little if any problems with these.

I have persisted with ONE 300 and am still having problems!!

I have made a number of calls to Garmin support to no real avail.

Now just tell me how we dedcide whether or not you are a Garmin employee?

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I am not saying that half the Colorado owners are daft. I am saying that I have it very hard to believe that there are multiple Colorado owners who have returned 3 to 4 units where they are all defective.

 

I have had a number of Garmin GPS's in the past and they have all worked as intended straight from the box. I admit that I find the way certain things are implemented on the Col 300 strange but on the whole its pretty straight forward.

 

Now explain to me.... I walked through Kensington Gardens in Hyde park, London then along Kensington High Street as far as the exhibition centre. Keeping a constant check the Col 300 showed I had a error circle of 10-15 feet. It was locked onto 9 sats all showing the small 'D'. I was using the 'Recreational' Profile.

 

I exported this track into Google Earth and saw that I spent the whole walk along Kensington High Street walking through the buildings on the opposite of the road an average of 106 feet from my actual position. This isn't unusual, all of the tracks I've made have huge inaccuracies. My Garmin Forerunner 305 dosen't have this problem nor does my Garmin Vista.

 

Go figure!

 

Just because you have a 'good' unit it doesn't mean that others have as well. Garmin needs to sort this out.

 

Bedouin

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Food For Thought

 

A big part of the "problems" that some Colorado owners are having seems to be that the owners with poor units OR poor understanding of their units are posting "issues," while other Colorado owners are very pleased with their units and are having few or no issues with their units. These guys generally don't post "look at how great this unit works" posts with comparisons or tables of data (except for this happy owner). Instead, they are scratching their heads and wondering why these disappointed Colorado owners aren't calling Garmin for advice and returning their units after further explanation fails to solves certain issues.

 

 

While I'm sure the situation you described happens if you read through a number Colorado threads there is some very useful working going on to try and characterize real problems with the Colorado. Given that most of us only have one unit, not a particularly good statistical sample, why shouldn't we try to characterize these problems in a forum like this? Especially when Garmin has been less than helpful for those of us who do call and report the issues.

 

Take the position error problem described in this thread. I've personally called and emailed Garmin 4-5 times on this issue, provided them with data and images to describe the problem and exactly under what conditions I see it. I've asked, is a problem with my unit or a general issue? I've received no more response than "we are looking into it".

 

My next step is to appeal to the group here to find out if other owners are seeing the problem. It turns out that there are. It also turns out that HCx owners who happen to have the same chipset are also seeing very similar problems. While Garmin may be aware of this, they certainly aren't sharing this with customers.

 

Many of the returns I've heard of are legit issues. Again, I'm sure some are user error but to suggest that resets, freezes, time of day being off during power up, USB ports that don't work, broken gaskets are somehow all user errors is also unfair. There are real issues here with the hardware and is the single biggest reason why I recommend people wait on their Colorado purchase. I can live with most of the software shortcomings at this point but if I have a 50/50 chance of getting a bad unit why not hold off a few months?

 

GO$Rs

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I think that poor performance from the hardware & from the user each have valued

discussion here.

in sorting a new product one addresses these issues on two fronts, one by the manufacturer

w/soft/firmware updates as well as w/hardware where necessary. The other by the user &

manufacturer with concise manual and interaction between the two parties. These(this)

forum(s) can be a benefit to these processes if availed correctly. All that's needed

is for ALL parties to PAY ATTENTION, describe issues succinctly, and then decide what

and where the issues are. Resolution can be had where no one has to take a defensive

stance. Delorme seems to see this, and it SHOWS!

 

Norm

Edited by RRLover
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