Jump to content

vista HCX drift picture

Recommended Posts

I know this has been going on for a year with multiple threads. but after looking for a few mins I didn't see one of the old ones, so here is another one, with a good pic to show the people that still don't know what the drift issue is.


last week I hiked for 9 days in a row. and it only happened once. so I'm not overly disappointed. but still it shouldn't have done it at all. here is a pic of the track. (more track top and bottom were edited out to make it clearer). the track on the right is the correct one and the first track on the way up the trail. the left track is the way out the following day after camping. (gps was off all night). at the bottom left of the track, I noticed the drift while hiking, turned the GPS off and on, and it put me back in the loaction of the right hand side track. (this part edited out)


the drift at the bottom is 400 feet. as you can see, the position simply continues to drift out of place and get farther and farther off track even though the GPS accuracy was showing fine. It would probably continue to get a lot worse then 400 feet had I not reset it.


I am using 2.70 / 2.60 software on the GPS right now. it was pretty slow hiking (2-4km/h) and in tree cover. but not enough to ever lose sats durring this hike.


are other people still having drift issues? and what software are you currently using to prevent it?


I thought this was a really good examply of the drift as you can see it track every corner ect of the trail, just not in the right place. the track is 2.9km long (2 miles or so) and took an hour.



Edited by Smac999
Link to comment

When I experienced drift, it looked different from that. Here is one typical example




But, as you described, once the drift occurred, the unit was off by a few hundred feet - I don't think it would have continued to get worse, it just wouldn't get back on track without a reset.


I am currently using 2.80/2.50 and have yet to experience the drift issue with that configuration. I briefly tried 3.0/3.0, but didn't like the look of the track log, so I reverted. That said, I suspect updating to 3.0/3.0 would still be a much better option than 2.70/2.60.

Link to comment

I tried many different firmware / chip software combinations. The latest was 3.0/3.0 and still have the same issues.

I read on one post that the 260/230 combination was better then others so I put that on my vista HCx yesterday evening. I will take it out for my daily hike with my dogs later today and see if this is any better.


If not, I might be saying goodbye to my vista HCx. I can't stand it anymore.

And it's taking to much of my time trying to fix this.

Link to comment

Unfortunately, this happens with virtually all consumer GPS units, with the offset like you display being more pronounced with the newer, higher sensitivity units than it was with the older units. I've found it to be rare in flatter terrain, quite common in terrain such as canyons. My guess is it has to do with a combination of multipath, and some sort of guessing built into the filtering the unit uses for data. The first unit I had that behaved this way was my sportrak map, but my vistaC does it too, to a lesser extent, and my PN-40 does it too.


If you're interested in building trail networks, TOPOFusion has some interesting capability to combine multiple tracks of the same trail, and do some filtering to hopefully make your "Map" more accurate.

Link to comment

I thought this was a really good examply of the drift as you can see it track every corner ect of the trail, just not in the right place. the track is 2.9km long (2 miles or so) and took an hour.



What fascinates me about these tracks is their precision, albeit at an offset.


I've experienced a similar offset with my Colorado (Same Mediatek chip?) and the only thing I could pin the offset on, was the car hood. I placed the GPS on the hood to acquire the satellites while I but my boots on. My best guess was the metal caused a multipath. I now set the GPS on a rock or stump, no problems.


In your case that "cause" does not fit. Clearly the perfect consumer GPS is still not here.

Link to comment

If not, I might be saying goodbye to my vista HCx. I can't stand it anymore.

And it's taking to much of my time trying to fix this.


try 2.8/2.5 before you give up on it!


The comment about "multi-path" is probably the correct explanation for what is happening. That said, I have yet to experience the issue with the combination of 2.8/2.5.

Link to comment

I've seen tracks like this on my Vista HCx. Same shape, but offset by hundreds of feet. I'm using the latest and greatest updates, although I don't remember the version numbers.


I love the unit, except for this glitch. Also, it seems to still have a problem at low speed navigation (anything less than about 8 mph on my bike) - the speed jumps all over the place. I wonder if the two issues are related.

Link to comment

I bought a Vista HCx in September 2007 to compare with the GPSMAP 60CSx which was the

first Garmin GPS I had owned which could reliably make satifactory satellite connection under heavy

forest cover.

Surprisingly the cheaper Vista HCx (which used a MediaTek chipset instead of the SirfStar3 in the 60CSx)

exhibited equivalent good sensitivity under forest cover.

However, on my first trip up to Buck Creek Pass (Glacier Peak Wilderness - Washington), the Vista HCx

drifted off to the wrong side of the canyon (an obvious error of almost 1000 feet). At the same time

my 60CSx was displaying a location which agreed with the topography. This condition persisted for

about 20 minutes until I turned the Vista HCx off and back on which restored it to a location within a few

feet of that given by the 60CSx.


[ later edit - I just wanted to add this. During the time my Vista HCx was wandering off by about 1000

feet, it was reporting full connections with the same set of 5 or 6 satellites as the 60CSx and was claiming

a similar error estimate of under 30 feet. So this problem is not simply one of limited connectivity but

perhaps rather one of aggressive or reckless hardware/software engineering regarding the multipath

problem. The bottom line was that the Vista HCx did not appear able to be self correcting once it

became confused. Not the kind of behaviour which would qualify it as reliable. So it is worrisome to

hear that the revised 60CSx is switching to a MediaTek chipset. By the way, I do not use the "lock on

road" feature - ever. ]


I still carry both the Vista HCx and 60CSx on all my trips. Although I have only witnessed the "drift"

problem on that one occurrence, I tend to leave the HCx turned off and just use the 60CSx, even though

the 60CSx battery life is not as good. I am willing to lose a bit of battery life to gain more confidence

in location reliability. I really like the 60CSx. I have read in some recent Groundspeak forum

postings (use search term MediaTek) that garmin is soon switching to a MediaTek chipset for the

60CSx. It might be a good idea to get a 60CSx with the SirfStar chipset while you still have a chance.

Then again, perhaps the looming 60CSx uses a different MediaTek chipset which doesn't have the

drift problem - but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. I'll call Garmin Tech Support tomorrow to

ask, but they wouldn't admit to this "drift" problem for the HCx back in 2007 and I don't know whether

they are still in denial. [ I called today. No longer in denial, but still not any light shed on the issue,

and the fellow I talked with is going to try to dig in to the issue a bit more. ]

Good Luck.

Edited by redneckruss
Link to comment

Many people disagree about this, the Gps has no clue where we are he thinks to know according to the receiver data, if the receiver data is not complete (3d) he still gives us a trackpoint, not always being the right location.


This is happening all the time, but most people have it as a door to door navigator being locked on the road, being in the wild and showing the trackdata on a topo shows the data as it is.


If you really cover the receiver at on side the given location shift more to the other, being in a canyon or highrise shows this, as does the these maps, look at the topolines and look at the tracklines.


On the second map the gps has been unlocked for e while, when it locks again it makes a straight line between the last trackpoint and the first new locked point.


I have many tracks if you show them on the topo they are way of, still if I go to the actual place I can blindly follow the track from beginning till the end.

Edited by splashy
Link to comment

Early on I was very active in reporting this drift issue. I continue to try the new updates in hopes that Garmin has finally figured it out, but in the end I always end up reverting back to 2.60/2.30. Using this combination, I have not experienced a single drift issue (track log is good but the odometer is off). Once you accept the fact that Garmin will never be able to fix this issue, you will either settle on a version combination and stick with it or return your unit if you are still lucky enough to do so.


Don't even waste your time talking to Garmin about this...been there and they refuse to acknowledge this problem exists! Good luck!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...