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Winter Caching


kidcobalt
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Has anyone come up with a practical way to keep the GPS unit operating and accessable in cold weather.

 

As they tend to do the batteries lose there power in the cold. After an half-hour or so snowshoeing my etrex is useless until I put it under my shirt to warm it up and then it loses contact with the sats.

 

Any ideas.

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Has anyone come up with a practical way to keep the GPS unit operating and accessable in cold weather.

 

As they tend to do the batteries lose there power in the cold. After an half-hour or so snowshoeing my etrex is useless until I put it under my shirt to warm it up and then it loses contact with the sats.

 

Any ideas.

 

You could always saran wrap a handwarmer pack to the back side of the unit!

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Has anyone come up with a practical way to keep the GPS unit operating and accessable in cold weather.

 

As they tend to do the batteries lose there power in the cold. After an half-hour or so snowshoeing my etrex is useless until I put it under my shirt to warm it up and then it loses contact with the sats.

 

Any ideas.

 

I used to be able to carry my Map 60 in an outisde pocket of my messenger style geocaching bag and the antennae would stick out of the side by the flap so it stayed locked on. A chemical warmer placed in the pocket would have kept everything warm but I never did that, I just carried lots of batteries.

I carry my new GPS in a case and sling the case under my coat. I take it out near the start of a hunt until ist gets a lock and then place it back inside my coat, afterwards it locks on pretty quick when I take it out.

Perhaps an Otter Box or a Pelican Case with a clear lid and enough room for a chemical warmer inside. The boxes have a lanyard so you could still sling it around your neck and the case would add an extra layer of protection for your GPS.

 

How do you carry your shovel? ;)

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You might try an external antenna. I've done that for stealth purposes in the past, cold batteries aren't a problem in Florida. Keep your GPS inside your jacket and the external anntenna outside. works great, never loose the lock. Good luck and stay warm!

 

This is just a great idea.

 

I hid a cache once that needed the finder to complete an ALR which was getting a signal inside a shopping mall through a glass roof. I managed to get the coordinates using an external antennae. I took a small flat piece of metal, put it under the shoulder of my coat and then connected the magnetic antennae outside of my coat. My GPS went into my inside pocket and then I just went and sat near the glass roof until I had a good set of coordinates.

 

Very helpful suggestion and much better than mine because it solves the OP's problem and they get an external antennae which is a nice thing to have when driving.

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Has anyone come up with a practical way to keep the GPS unit operating and accessable in cold weather.

 

As they tend to do the batteries lose there power in the cold. After an half-hour or so snowshoeing my etrex is useless until I put it under my shirt to warm it up and then it loses contact with the sats.

 

Any ideas.

 

You could take another set of batteries with you. Keep them some place warm like a pocket. Then swap them out when the batteries in the GPS unit get to cold to work. Placing the batteries you took out of the GPS unit in to your pocket to warm up. Then repeat as necessary.

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Has anyone come up with a practical way to keep the GPS unit operating and accessable in cold weather.

 

As they tend to do the batteries lose there power in the cold. After an half-hour or so snowshoeing my etrex is useless until I put it under my shirt to warm it up and then it loses contact with the sats.

 

Any ideas.

 

You could always saran wrap a handwarmer pack to the back side of the unit!

The problem with this idea, is chemical handwarmers needs air to work - which the saran wrap keeps out. A better way is to use a 3x3 or 4x4 bandage taped over the handwarmer over the battery compartment. This allows air in and insulates a little as well (and helps the fingers of the hand holding the GPSr).

 

On a related note: I mounted a belt clip to my hiking pole (using zip ties) so I can keep the GPSr out handy when hiking/snowshoeing - just lift the pole to see the unit.

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Lithuim disposable batteries are a good choice in cold weather. They aren't affected as much by the cold. They aren't cheap, but are worth it if you spend time outdoors in winter.

 

Check your user manual before using those! The manual of the Garmin 60cx specifies never to use them. I believe that's because they give a bit more than 1.5V when new, which is bad for electronics not designed to take higher voltages.

 

Luckily, the 60cx has a good enough antenna to not lose satellite signal under my winter coat, so its easy to keep it warm, sliding it out to check position every once in a while...

 

Added : Otterbox and Pelican cases are rigid waterproof cases that come in various sizes, often used to protect electronic devices

Edited by The red-haired witch
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Lithuim disposable batteries are a good choice in cold weather. They aren't affected as much by the cold. They aren't cheap, but are worth it if you spend time outdoors in winter.

 

I always use lithium batteries in my Vista Hcx. Never had a problem, never fried my gpsr. It's the only thing that will work consistently during cold weather.

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I hang my old eTrex around my neck and then wear my coat over it. Even when we were snowshoeing though narrow mountain valleys we would keep reception and the GPS would stay warm. I would think the new eTrex with H capability would be able to hold reception as well.

Edited by XC_Tracker
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Check your user manual before using those! The manual of the Garmin 60cx specifies never to use them. I believe that's because they give a bit more than 1.5V when new, which is bad for electronics not designed to take higher voltages.

 

I see my etrex has settings for "alkaline, NiMH, or Lithium"

 

Was going out today, but it hasn't stopped snowing since Friday and being a glass wearer its a pain, (Should try contacts again I guess)

Edited by kidcobalt
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Has anyone come up with a practical way to keep the GPS unit operating and accessable in cold weather.

 

As they tend to do the batteries lose there power in the cold. After an half-hour or so snowshoeing my etrex is useless until I put it under my shirt to warm it up and then it loses contact with the sats.

 

Any ideas.

 

You could always saran wrap a handwarmer pack to the back side of the unit!

I use an easier method. TOE WARMERS!!! They are slightly less expensive and have adhesive to keep them from moving.

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My 76CSx runs all day on a pair of NiMH batteries without any cold related problems. Of course I always have a second set of NiMH tucked in an inside pocket and also keep a set of lithiums for emergency backup in my gear bag or pack.

 

When not activley being used, I just slide the GPSr into the breast pocket on my coat with the screen facing forward. It keeps sat lock through the coat the whole day. Was just up in the mountains on an all day snowmachine ride the other day and had the GPSr in my coat pocket, powered on, the entire day. Pulled it out to check locations a couple dozen times throughout the day and it was always ticking along just fine with the outside temps around zero. When I got home and downloaded the tracklog, it had perfectly showed every twist and turn I made throughout the day (including the 3 future geocache hides that I spotted along the way).

 

That said, I don't have a GPSr mount on my current snowmachine, but have used them in the past and got best results with an electric "thumb warmer" element stuck on the back of the GPS mount and wired to the electrical system. So, if you were going to have the GPS out and away from your body the whole time (not sure why you'd need to do that) then the hand or toe warmer pad idea should work well.

 

Also, do NOT use alkaline batteries in the cold. They just don't work. Use NiMH rechargeables as they do pretty good in moderate cold or lithiums for extreme cold. And as mentioned, you can't use new lithiums in the newer releases of the 60CSx due to a voltage regulation problem. The "fix" for that is to drop the lithium batteries into an incandescent mini flashlight and run them for a few minutes to drain the voltage off a bit. Put them immediately into the GPSr from the flashlight or the high voltage spike will rebuild. Or buy a 76CSx (or others) that has a volatge regulator for the lithium batteries built in.

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Lithuim disposable batteries are a good choice in cold weather. They aren't affected as much by the cold. They aren't cheap, but are worth it if you spend time outdoors in winter.

 

Check your user manual before using those! The manual of the Garmin 60cx specifies never to use them. I believe that's because they give a bit more than 1.5V when new, which is bad for electronics not designed to take higher voltages.

 

Luckily, the 60cx has a good enough antenna to not lose satellite signal under my winter coat, so its easy to keep it warm, sliding it out to check position every once in a while...

 

Added : Otterbox and Pelican cases are rigid waterproof cases that come in various sizes, often used to protect electronic devices

 

Hmmm...can't honestly say that I have checked the manual for my 60cx regarding the use of lithium batteries, but we have been using them for over a year now without any problems. We were constantly changing batteries with alkaline type batteries. One problem with lithium batteries though is that when they go dead they don't mess around. Better have an extra set standing by (which is a good practice no matter what type of battery) because once those lithium batteries start to go, they crash fast.

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Any ideas.

I haven't tried it, but a person could rig a pair of dummy wooden batteries with contacts to install in the GPSR, the contacts connected to an extension cord that goes to a D-cell battery pack in your warm pocket. You wouldn't have to worry about the bigger cells running down so soon either.

Edited by Don&Betty
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Any ideas.

I haven't tried it, but a person could rig a pair of dummy wooden batteries with contacts to install in the GPSR, the contacts connected to an extension cord that goes to a D-cell battery pack in your warm pocket. You wouldn't have to worry about the bigger cells running down so soon either.

 

It'd be a good day to test that theory, D&B!!! Winter storm warning tonight, 10" of snow and all!!! :blink: KAboom and I are going caching anyways, I like snowy nights, it's quieter and seems more "comfortable" to me!!

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Lithium disposable batteries are a good choice in cold weather. They aren't affected as much by the cold. They aren't cheap, but are worth it if you spend time outdoors in winter.

 

The Lithium's are also lighter and provide more power than standard or NiMH batteries. I have used lithium's in mountaineering in my 60csx (and now PN-40) in temperatures down to -20 F. I also always have a spare set inside my coat for a quick swap. They are pricey but well worth it when you venture into low tempertature and spend long periods out.

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I have an etrex vista HCx how do I attach an external antenna?
You shouldn't have any satellite lock problems through you coat with an H series Garmin. Mine would find & keep a lock in the basement of a 2 story building! Unless your coat is made of lead, you'll be ok w/out an external antenna. Not that there's a connection point on that unit, anyways.
You could take another set of batteries with you. Keep them some place warm like a pocket. Then swap them out when the batteries in the GPS unit get to cold to work. Placing the batteries you took out of the GPS unit in to your pocket to warm up. Then repeat as necessary.
I've done this, it works well. My HCx was always great abut reacquiring satts when powered back up, too.
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Check your user manual before using those! The manual of the Garmin 60cx specifies never to use them. I believe that's because they give a bit more than 1.5V when new, which is bad for electronics not designed to take higher voltages.

 

The 60csx will protect itself against high-voltage by shutting itself down.

 

I can confirm that the 60csx will shut down automatically if I insert a fresh set of lithium AA batteries. The solution is easy. I usually use the lithiums when it's really cold out (because I am a cheapskate, I use NiMH rechargeables in all cases). I have found the cold reduces the voltage enough that the 60csx won't shutdown. If I need to start in mild conditions but then expect it to get very cold, I have found I can put the lithiums in a flashlight (or another GPS) for just 30 seconds. This will lower the voltage enough that the 60csx is happy with the voltage.

Edited by WolfgangStiller
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Found a setting for for Lithium batteries on my etrex HCx use them now.

 

Also found out when I wear layering clothes my last layer is a nylon shell to cut the wind. I hang the Vista around my neck letting it hang under the shell. IT STILL GETS THE SIGNAL FROM THE SATELLITE-AWESOME.

 

Got caught in a major snow squall and was able to use back track to get back to my car.

 

Impressive.

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Check your user manual before using those! The manual of the Garmin 60cx specifies never to use them. I believe that's because they give a bit more than 1.5V when new, which is bad for electronics not designed to take higher voltages.

 

The 60csx will protect itself against high-voltage by shutting itself down.

 

I can confirm that the 60csx will shut down automatically if I insert a fresh set of lithium AA batteries. The solution is easy. I usually use the lithiums when it's really cold out (because I am a cheapskate, I use NiMH rechargeables in all cases). I have found the cold reduces the voltage enough that the 60csx won't shutdown. If I need to start in mild conditions but then expect it to get very cold, I have found I can put the lithiums in a flashlight (or another GPS) for just 30 seconds. This will lower the voltage enough that the 60csx is happy with the voltage.

 

Maybe this is a feature/problem with only the 60csx? We have never experienced our 60cx shutting down after installing fresh out-of-the-pack lithium batteries even in warm, dare I say HOT!!, gulf coast weather. We swear by lithium batteries and feel they are well worth the extra cost.

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