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Want opinon from Colorado owners


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All,

 

I've been using GPS in my car for years (Garmin Quest owner) and have been introduced to Geocaching and love it. I need a handheld GPS and like everyone else who's willing to take the time and read through all the threads I'm left with the Colorado 400T, Vista HCx or the GPSMAP 60CSx. I've actually used the Vista HCx and right now, for me I think I like the Colorado or 60CSx better. Obviously the paperless caching is what really draws me to the Colorado... After reading 100+ threads I want to make sure I understand the limitations/problems with the Colorado that would affect me and what I want to know from Colorado owners is:

 

Has the battery issue been improved with the latest beta firmware? I've seen posts saying the battery life is improved however no quantifiable numbers - how much better is it?

 

If I understand the wandering issue, do you know when it is happening (which I believe I've seen exactly the same thing on the Vista I borrowed)? If I know the unit has lead me astray and has lost accuracy causing me to power off and back on I could live with this issue for Geocaching until Gramin fixes the problem (I hope they can).

 

For mainly (90%) geochaching, have I missed any other 'deal breakers' with this unit? I read a bunch of issues, some I don't right now understand because I'm not in the field needing this GPS to do some work for me.

 

Lastly, and perhaps for me the most telling, for those of you who have the Colorado with the new firmware, do you use the unit? My Quest is a dinosaur but it still gets me everywhere I need to go and still gets me out of trouble with relative ease... it has quirks but I work within the limits of the unit...obviously nothing is perfect. Many of the posts say they need a backup unit, many say once they've used the Colorado they wouldn't want to go back to a 60Csx. For me it has been hard to reconcile the posts to know if the posters with the "I can't use it without a backup" posts are using the older firmware.

 

Sorry for the long post... thanks for your time and responses.

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With the latest software you can expect to get 8-12 hrs of operation if you use good quality (>2500mAh NiMH) or Lithium batteries. From my experience battery life is not nearly as good with Alkaline batteries.

 

The Colorado position error is still the biggest issue in my opinion. It happened to me again yesterday while out caching. I happened to notice it (GPS accuracy > 50') so a power cycle took care of it. It is not always obvious when it is happening, but GPS accuracy is a pretty good indicator of the problem, if I see it more than 30' then I usually power cycle the unit.

 

It is still hard for me to recommend the Colorado because of the position error issue and the number of people who still seem to be getting units with hardware problems (ie. frequent resets and freezes, USB failures, bad Rock'n'Rollers, etc). If you go into it assuming you might have to swap a unit or two to get around the hardware problems, you can live with the position error problem and you are a geocacher who really wants the paperless caching features then the Colorado is a good choice.

 

GO$Rs

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All,

 

I've been using GPS in my car for years (Garmin Quest owner) and have been introduced to Geocaching and love it. I need a handheld GPS and like everyone else who's willing to take the time and read through all the threads I'm left with the Colorado 400T, Vista HCx or the GPSMAP 60CSx. I've actually used the Vista HCx and right now, for me I think I like the Colorado or 60CSx better. Obviously the paperless caching is what really draws me to the Colorado... After reading 100+ threads I want to make sure I understand the limitations/problems with the Colorado that would affect me and what I want to know from Colorado owners is:

 

Has the battery issue been improved with the latest beta firmware? I've seen posts saying the battery life is improved however no quantifiable numbers - how much better is it?

 

If I understand the wandering issue, do you know when it is happening (which I believe I've seen exactly the same thing on the Vista I borrowed)? If I know the unit has lead me astray and has lost accuracy causing me to power off and back on I could live with this issue for Geocaching until Gramin fixes the problem (I hope they can).

 

For mainly (90%) geochaching, have I missed any other 'deal breakers' with this unit? I read a bunch of issues, some I don't right now understand because I'm not in the field needing this GPS to do some work for me.

 

Lastly, and perhaps for me the most telling, for those of you who have the Colorado with the new firmware, do you use the unit? My Quest is a dinosaur but it still gets me everywhere I need to go and still gets me out of trouble with relative ease... it has quirks but I work within the limits of the unit...obviously nothing is perfect. Many of the posts say they need a backup unit, many say once they've used the Colorado they wouldn't want to go back to a 60Csx. For me it has been hard to reconcile the posts to know if the posters with the "I can't use it without a backup" posts are using the older firmware.

 

Sorry for the long post... thanks for your time and responses.

 

On the battery issue I can get 12-14 Hours using 2700MaH powerex batteries. My 60 CSx get 16-17 hours on the same batteries.

 

The drifiting issue, I have read about also but I have yet to experience it. My colorado is about a month old and has the 2.51 firmware on it. I have been out quite a few times since I have gotten it and have not seen that issue.

 

As for the paperless caching this is a great feature for the colorado, and I can leave my pda at home. There are some limitations though which I am sure they will update with firmware such as specific notes instead of just found, unattempted, etc. For example if I wanted to log a coin or TB as discovered I would normally type the number into my pda.

 

The colorado has alot of promise and if they develop it right I feel that it will go from a good geocaching device to a the ultimate geocaching device.

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As other posters note, NiMH rechargeables are fine. Alkaline performance remains inadequate (3-5 hours a pair). I have raised the alkaline issue with Garmin tech support. Their response was "we fixed the NiMH issue." Since Garmin does not recognize it as a problem, I would not expect alkaline performance to ever improve. I have no experience with lithium disposables.

 

Although I have tried to duplicate it, I have never personally experienced the location error problem. I don't know if this means that there is also a hardware element involved in the problem, or if it means I am just lucky (or unobservant). There is speculation that this issue is related to the chipset firmware (currently 2.60) since the problem has also been reported with HCx units using 2.60 chipset firmware. Some HCx users report that downgrading to 2.30 chipset firmware makes the problem disappear but reintroduces other problems fixed in 2.60. In any case, this downgrade does not appear to be an option with the Colorado. But if the downgrade does fix the problem, there is hope that a subsequent release of the chipset firmware will also fix the Colorado.

 

As far as I have seen from other posts, those users who want a "backup unit" for the Colorado are concerned exclusively with the location error problem. I don't think the desire for a backup is related in any way to firmware version since the location problem occurs across all firmware versions (except possibly the very earliest 2.30 chipset firmware).

 

I do use the Colorado regularly for caching. I have not seen any other issue which would cause me to personally consider carrying a backup. Or going back to my venerable GPS III+. I also do not know of any deal breakers with regard to the Colorado and caching. It'll be different from your current unit. Some things will be better and some will be worse. But on the whole I suspect it's an improvement.

 

g-o-cachers does have an excellent point about the hardware problems, though. I don't know if this has improved with units manufactured more recently. But several people have posted indicating that they went through up to 3 returns before getting a working unit.

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I have had mine about a month. It replaced my V which was taking longer and longer to find Sats. My Colorado 400 so far has been working flawlessly and battery issues seem to be no problem here so far with the Lithiums I use. As for the location error I have not experienced this problem yet and hope not to.

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With the latest software you can expect to get 8-12 hrs of operation if you use good quality (>2500mAh NiMH) or Lithium batteries. From my experience battery life is not nearly as good with Alkaline batteries.

 

The Colorado position error is still the biggest issue in my opinion. It happened to me again yesterday while out caching. I happened to notice it (GPS accuracy > 50') so a power cycle took care of it. It is not always obvious when it is happening, but GPS accuracy is a pretty good indicator of the problem, if I see it more than 30' then I usually power cycle the unit.

 

It is still hard for me to recommend the Colorado because of the position error issue and the number of people who still seem to be getting units with hardware problems (ie. frequent resets and freezes, USB failures, bad Rock'n'Rollers, etc). If you go into it assuming you might have to swap a unit or two to get around the hardware problems, you can live with the position error problem and you are a geocacher who really wants the paperless caching features then the Colorado is a good choice.

 

GO$Rs

 

ok... i've been using the colorado for a little while now.... read all the stuff on here before i bought

one, and bought it anyway. paid a bit more at REI than i'd of paid buying it online, but if i have a

problem with it, REI is a mile away, and they'll exchange it, so that was worth the additional cost to

me. i *would not* buy one online. some people have had to go thru 3 or 4 of the suckers to get a

good one. how much frustration is $40 bucks saved worth?

 

my initial thought on battery life have met the test of time, and while it seemed to be ok on battery

life, upon reflection, the alkiline battery life sucks. it'll burn out in 4 hours or so. maybe lithium cells

would be better, but i've just come to the conclusion that i need to put fresh batteries in before i go

play with it, or bring a change of batteries with me.

 

or both.

 

truth be told, i am not thrifty on my backlight settings. that's my part in it, i accept it's a good size

screen, and backlight is gonna do the electron suck. costco sells batteries cheaply.

 

putting it in perspective, compared to the cost of fuel driving around geocaching, it's a bargain. :-(

if i'm having a cow over 39 cents worth of battery loss, i obviously haven't filled my gas tank lately.

it's a good day when you can find diesel fuel for the work truck around here for under $5.00 a gallon.

 

as for the accuracy, it varies, but some of that is trees and whatnot. it'll jump from saying one distance

to saying another, and hunt around. it's usually pretty good, however. as i am new to this hobby,

i have no experience to compare it to.

 

it's a hand held device, that has commercial constraints. if we look at a lietz total station, used in

survey work, they will resolve to a quarter of an inch or so..... it's amazing. it's also 30 pounds,

and takes 5-10 minutes to resolve that closely.... it also is $35,000 US. how accurate can you

afford to be?

 

i'd say buy one, from someplace like REI, and use it for a blit, and if you don't like it,

bring it back for your refund. quality control on them seems a bit spotty, based on what

i've read, but i'd say if you get a good one, you'll be happy... just my opinion.

 

FulThrotl

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I get about 9 - 12 hours on a pair of Energizer batteries with no backlight use. Much better with the latest firmware then before. I have never seen the "drift" issue at all so can't really comment on it but I know a few other owners that have seen it. Pretty sure that will get corrected in a future update.

 

I would not use the unit as an in-car nav unit as it just seems a bit awkard with the controls for that use. Feels nice in the hand thought.

 

Still - all in all, I love my Colorado and do recommend it.

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I have had my Colorado for about a month. I have not seen the accuracy issue either. It has always taken me right to the cache. Even in the trees. My Colorado came loaded with version 2.6 of the firmware and version 2.5 of the software. My accuracy is usually in the 3 to 8 meter range. I think the highest I have seen it is around 14 meters although I am not always watching it. I carry it in case on my belt. The case has a flap that goes over top of the GPS. But the tracks are pretty much always on the road/trail that I am on. In the truck it is mounted to the window.

 

I just replaced the Alkaline Duracells I had in the Colorado after about a month. That was maybe 8 hours of geocaching. I power the Colorado off the vehicle power cable (cigarette lighter) if I am driving between caches. Works great saves batteries. Quite often I am hiking or riding my mountain bike to find caches. But these are usually less than two hour trips. I figured I may as well try some NiMH so I went down today and bought some and a charger. I will try and keep track of the time I put on them and post my results. I live in a small town and had a limited selection of batteries and chargers to choose from. So I went with Duracell 2650mAh rechargeable batteries and Duracell Mobile Charger. Probably not the best but it was not that expensive either. The charger will also run off the cigarette lighter so if I am out camping I should still be able to charge my batteries. As long as I get a day of geocaching out of a set I will be happy. I always carry spares just in case.

 

The paperless geocaching features are great. I no longer have to pack my pocket pc. It took me a bit to get use to the Colorado. I had always used Magellan before and have had a GPS since 2000 when they opened up the satellites to the public. It is a vast improvement over my Magellans. I think my Colorado is great and I hope I never see that accuracy problem.

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Well...in the course of a month, I bought all 3 you're considering.

I ordered a 60CSx from Amazon.

The next day REI put the Vista Hcx bundle on sale so I bought that.

I used them side by side for a couple of weeks.

The 60 did slightly better in bad conditions, under tree cover, but it wasn't enough to make me keep it so I held onto the Vista.

Then the problems the Colorado people were having started on my Vista the day I returned the 60 (on the way home from the UPS store I had my first major location error that was corrected by a power cycle).

After another week with the Vista and some bad 'paperless' caching experiences, I took the vista back to REI for a refund.

I bought a 300 from ActionGPS because it was $150 cheaper than REI.

It came with the 2.6/2.4 versions. (maybe 2.5, I'd have to check)

It worked perfectly for 2 weeks before I started having any problems with it. Then suddenly my battery life went from several days of my 'typical' use (I pretty much take it every time I leave the house even if I'm only walking to the corner store) down to 2-3 hours before they go dead. I have the backlight set to 15 seconds and don't use it all that much.

I haven't hooked it up to the updater yet to see if I have the latest and greatest versions.

Oh...and I've had the location error a couple of times while out caching, corrected with a power cycle. And one that I noticed from the tracks...I have several tracks for a common route I drive that are pretty much on top of eachother...but I noticed the last time that there is one old track there that is several hundred feet off from the others. There are no roads where that track is and the line perfectly mimics the others just way off to the side.

 

With that said...I'd still go for a Colorado hands down over the others.

They all seem to be having similar issues...but the upside and future potential of the Colorado are HUGE!

 

Even

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I have a gpsmap60csx, vista hcx and colorado 300 (the 2. colorado - the first one had bad reception.)

the colorado 300 has good reception under clear sky.

but the colorado has big problems under heavy tree cover. (up to 200 meters !!!!)

At this time i do no longer use it - waiting for update.

Currently i only use the gpsmap60csx - it has excellent reception even under heavy tree cover.

 

vista and colordao need a firmware update urgently!!! - both have a mediatek chip...the gpsmap has a sirf3 chip

 

the last official colorado-fw-update was 4 months ago - a long time for a unit that is already 6 months on the market.

 

So do not buy gps with mediatek chip until garmin will bring a solution for this bug.

 

Before buying a colorado - PLEASE read these bug-lists carefully:

http://www.milvang.no/gps/Colorado-300/iss...ver251beta.html

http://garmincolorado.wikispaces.com/Issues+List

Edited by freeday
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I have a gpsmap60csx, vista hcx and colorado 300 (the 2. colorado - the first one had bad reception.)

the colorado 300 has good reception under clear sky.

but the colorado has big problems under heavy tree cover. (up to 200 meters !!!!)

At this time i do no longer use it - waiting for update.

Currently i only use the gpsmap60csx - it has excellent reception even under heavy tree cover.

 

vista and colordao need a firmware update urgently!!! - both have a mediatek chip...the gpsmap has a sirf3 chip

 

the last official colorado-fw-update was 4 months ago - a long time for a unit that is already 6 months on the market.

 

So do not buy gps with mediatek chip until garmin will bring a solution for this bug.

 

Before buying a colorado - PLEASE read these bug-lists carefully:

http://www.milvang.no/gps/Colorado-300/iss...ver251beta.html

http://garmincolorado.wikispaces.com/Issues+List

 

I was under heavy tree cover last week and had no issues what so ever. My accuracy showed better than my 60CSx. Must be lucky I guess

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I was under heavy tree cover last week and had no issues what so ever. My accuracy showed better than my 60CSx. Must be lucky I guess

Curios - there are some guys which have the bug (or is it a feature)?

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=184158

http://www.naviboard.de/vb/showthread.php?t=29135

 

do you have 2.51b ?

 

Remember: accuracy is NOT the same as a location error

I had for example 10 meters accuracy but had a position error of 183 meters !!!

01.06.2008_15:24:47_error-colorado-300-99.jpg

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I have had my Colorado for six weeks now and I must say that I am most impressed. Read the manual and follow the instructions and this machince rocks. I do have one issue though. When I download a geocache and view it on the gps I get the message that I must be a premium member to view the details. I have been a premium member for better than four years now. Can someone give me a clue to resolve this annoyance?

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I have had my Colorado for six weeks now and I must say that I am most impressed. Read the manual and follow the instructions and this machince rocks. I do have one issue though. When I download a geocache and view it on the gps I get the message that I must be a premium member to view the details. I have been a premium member for better than four years now. Can someone give me a clue to resolve this annoyance?

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How are you downloading caches to the Colorado -- are you using the Send to GPS button?

 

Check here and make sure Groundspeak still thinks you are member here.

 

You must be logged into an account with a premium membership when you hit the Send to GPS button.

 

Aside from that I would double check to see if you have the most up to date version of Communicator.

 

GO$Rs

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Cough up $30 for another year. They make it insanely hard to find the link from geocaching.com. So just start here: http://store.Groundspeak.com. It may take a day or two to update your membership again. Groundspeak is not exactly cutting edge when it comes to e-commerce...

 

Edited to add: Unless you really do want to pay via PayPal. In that case, I believe you actually do have to find your way in via the geocaching.com site. Start on the main geocaching.com page, not from your account page.

Edited by twolpert
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