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My Garmin etrex Vista (5 year old b/w unit) has just developed two problems. First, the screen occasionally displays dancing verticle lines making the display unreadable, unless I tap on the screen which can make the lines go away. Second, the rocker switch has stopped responding to the helm, making selecting submenus impossible.

 

I've ordered up a new etrex Vista HCx, but need to know if the old unit is good for anything except using the case as a cache container. Can it economically be repaired? Anyone want it for parts?

 

- Fat Freddy

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I just replaced my Vista (the same you a have). I've had some issues with it in the past. You may want to perform a master reset by doing the following:

 

Power up the unit, and while it is starting up, hold down the page button and the enter button (the stick). It shoudl give you a warning that you will lose data, so if that is fine with you, hit okay.

 

If you still have issues, do the super master reset: while starting up, hold down page, find and enter. There will be no warning, just keep holding until it restarts. This fixed a host of problems I had with the vista, for a while anyway.

 

I still liked that unit, but the Oregon 300 just spoils me.

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Tried that - problem is the reset won't work because the enter button/stick does not work.

 

I just replaced my Vista (the same you a have). I've had some issues with it in the past. You may want to perform a master reset by doing the following:

 

Power up the unit, and while it is starting up, hold down the page button and the enter button (the stick). It shoudl give you a warning that you will lose data, so if that is fine with you, hit okay.

 

If you still have issues, do the super master reset: while starting up, hold down page, find and enter. There will be no warning, just keep holding until it restarts. This fixed a host of problems I had with the vista, for a while anyway.

 

I still liked that unit, but the Oregon 300 just spoils me.

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At the suggestions to see if it is user-repairable I disassembled the unit and discovered the ribbon cable connectors are secure, and the switch in question is a microswitch soldered to an IC board - probably a proprietery part, and beyond my scope of expertise to replace.

 

It was an interesting experiment, though, and now I know how it comes apart, and how it is waterproofed.

 

While apart I did "exercise" the click stick (Garmin's nomenclature) and then reassembled everything. I turned the unit on and, at least for now, everything is working fine. I think I scared it.

 

As long as it keeps working I'll use this as my backup unit, but will put it through its paces in the next few days to see if it stays problem-free.

 

Thanks for the encouragement to take it apart. Good learning experience for me and perhaps a fix to a transient problem.

 

- Fat Freddy

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EDIT after realizing you already disassembled:

 

Yep - ribbon cable is an easy fix - your symptoms on the screen sound like a slightly loosened ribbon - easy fix - be careful removing the surround and seal tape so you can reuse.

 

I have an eTrex Legend that has issues with the joystick as well. I've found on my unit that a firm press of the search button (raised large button on the left of the unit) resolves joystick problems on my unit. Sometimes it won't act up for weeks after that, sometimes 20 minutes later it acts up again, but that hard press fixes it right up.

 

Wife still carries it with us when we go out caching.

Edited by andynshe
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While apart I did "exercise" the click stick (Garmin's nomenclature) and then reassembled everything. I turned the unit on and, at least for now, everything is working fine. I think I scared it.

If you break the unit down again spray some deoxit into the switch before exercising it. Works wonders.
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