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Attention: Magellan 300-500 Series Users - Help Needed!


frex3wv
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Am trying to help my brother get a good Magellan unit and he is looking at the 300, 400, 500 series.

(I have a 210).

 

If you have one - please give us info on how you like it - features etc.

 

Note: we want to make sure any unit he gets has WAAS!

 

Thanks in advance for any info and advice you can provide!

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my explorist 600 died and maggie sent me a Triton 500 as a replacement. Was not happy at first, loved my

explorist, but i have to say the triton 500 is awesome. so much so i picked up the 1500. now the 500 is my backup.

 

on a side note i loaned my 500 to my buddy (he dropped his garmin) and he liked is so much he picked up a 1500 also.

 

very accurate unit btw.

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Hi. I started geocaching using a Magellan eXplorist 500. It was really pretty easy to learn how to operate it. One thing I would suggest is the owners manual that comes with them is pretty useless. So what I'd recommend that you go to the Magellan website and download the online owners manual since it's much more detailed than the paper one that comes included with the 500. Yes, WAAS is on the 500, but I can't say one way or another on the other Magellans although I'd guess it is on them. I'd guess my first 250 finds or so where with my eXplorist 500 and it really performed exceptionally good. Just my personal opinion, but if he has a choice of a Magellan eXplorist 500 or one of the eTrex units I'd strongly recommend the eXplorist, but that definitely places me in the minority around here. Good luck sorting through all the different opinions! ;)

Edited by Michigan Cacheman
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Magellan make many GPSes and in the past, made more. At least two complete product lines are a superset of the numerical range you're asking about, (and there are scragglers outside those lines, even) so without knowing what products you're actually asking about, you're not going to get great answers. An Explorist 400 and a Triton 400 have amazingly little in common.

 

http://www.gpsfaqs.org/faqs/magellan/explorist/

http://www.gpsfaqs.org/faqs/magellan/triton

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The Triton using the latest firmware is a good geocaching unit. But the problem that doomed them was that the Triton was released to the public with horribly flawed software that had no business being out there. It crashed frequently and often. It earned a reputation that they've never been able to shake. Plus the constant changing of owners of Magellan. They've fixed a lot of the issues with the Triton but it's too late now, and it's an outdated unit compared to the Garmin Colorado/Oregon/Dakota units. If you can get it on the real cheap, it's worth buying.

 

A few other quirks

 

1) You can't use 3rd party software with the Triton. Almost everything goes through VantagePoint.

2) No auto-routing

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1) You can't use 3rd party software with the Triton. Almost everything goes through VantagePoint.

As the author of such 3rd party software (which has unfulfilled promises w/Magellan and whose code is used in VP) I'm quite aware of this. The end result is that the modern Magellans are way less useful than competing models from many, many years ago.

2) No auto-routing
/me checks calendar. It's not 2001. Street routing isn't optional.
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/me checks calendar. It's not 2001. Street routing isn't optional.

 

There are those that purchase a handheld gps for its intended purpose. And then purchase a road navigation gps for its intended purpose. The newer devices can handle either one, but only handle one "very good" based on their design.

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I've used an eXplorist 500 for several years now and I love it. Easy to use, accurate, and with DirectRoute mapping and a dash cradle you can use it for street routing too (though not with voice, of course).

Now I have a Nuvi for the car so I don't use the street maps so much, but ti's still fun sometimes to set them both to the same destination and see where they vary. I had a garmin Etrex for a brief time and I hated it. I thought it was clumsy and complicated and the arrow spun like a top when I got near a cache.

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It earned a reputation that they've never been able to shake. Plus the constant changing of owners of Magellan. They've fixed a lot of the issues with the Triton but it's too late now, and it's an outdated unit compared to the Garmin Colorado/Oregon/Dakota units.

 

gpsBlake, So if I've got this right, the Triton line replaced the Explorist line but the Tritons got a bad reputation from having buggy soft/firm ware. And so you would be recommending the Garmin C/O/D units as better for Caching. I had heard that the Explorist units had very accurate positioning and very quick signal lock up times as opposed to some of the other brands... How do the Garmin units stack up to the older Explorists specifically for Caching? What are some of the "better" features of the Garmin line?

Thanks for the info.

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I use an eXplorist 600. It is basically the same unit as the rest. It has been a great little unit. I really like the rechargeable batteries that can be installed in this line. Magellan left us hanging for at least a couple of years on the firmware, but finally made it better. The firmware issue was that the WAAS satellites changed, and there was no firmware updates to correct this. This is not a problem anymore.

 

I found some eXplorist 500s for very cheap and bought 3--one for each of my kids.

 

The problem that most people initially have with the eXplorist is the stupidly designed cable that connects your unit to a computer. The cable runs down the unit, not up. Also after a few years of use, the screw that holds my cable in wore out and no longer works. I now use a cradle that the unit and cable clip into.

 

I don't know if it would be worth it to buy this unit if you also want detailed maps. If you are going to spend that money, you might consider a more up to date model. If you aren't going to have detailed maps, then the models that accept an SD card aren't as important.

 

It is interesting to read the recent stories about the Triton. I seriously considered upgrading from my eXplorist 600 when they first came out. I'm glad I didn't--it would have been a disaster. It sounds like the firmware might be fixed enough to make the unit useful. But if I can't use it with GSAK, then I don't want it.

 

Would I buy an eXplorist unit? Yes, if I could get it very cheap. Maybe around $100. Otherwise, I think I'd go for a more up to date model. I'd probably buy a top of the line Garmin if I were to buy a unit today, but a very cheap eXporist would be a good choice if you are just starting out and need to save a lot of money.

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I really only use my GPS for caching. I've had a portable car unit since the days of the Navman hooking up to my Compaq ipaq pocket pc.

 

I will say it is hands down one of the most accurate GPS's out there. I had the chance to go out with a fellow Cacher the other day. He had the Garmin 60CSx, I had my Triton 1500. Cache for Cache my GPS zeroed in better then the Garmin almost every time.

 

Now correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the 60CSx the accuracy standard for Garmin. If the Triton can hold it's own against the reigning champ that’s got to count for something.

 

As far as software goes, if all you doing is caching Vantage Point is fantastic (it may be good or bad for other things but I wouldn’t have a clue).

 

2000 caches full paperless, with logs in under 20 minutes is a slam-dunk in my book.

 

 

Here is some interesting reading on GPS accuracy.

 

http://www.fs.fed.us/database/gps/documents/SiRFComp.pdf]Accuracy Test[/url]

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Just found a cache about 30 minutes ago right in the heart of downtown Cincinnati using my 9 year old MAP 330. I recently upgraded the firmware to a version that uses the WAAS birds - it's available from the Yahoo m330 users group free of charge. There's still some life left in that old GPS. You just need to update the firmware.

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Jumping in here kind of late, just saw the thread. I picked up a killer deal ($125) on an eXplorist 400 around Christmas 2007. It was a bundled package, that had the unit, an SD card, carry case, cable/charger, and Mapsend Topo 3D bundled with it. It has worked great for caching for me. Always very accurate, and points the way right to the cache if the given coords were accurate. I'd like to get a newer model that can do paperless caching, but I picked up an IBM c500 Wordpad (Palm 500) for $15, to store the cache info, which works for now, but a newer model would simplify things greatly. Loading up caches and maps right now for a trip next week to California, Arizona and Nevada. :laughing:

Edited by geowizerd
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gpsBlake, So if I've got this right, the Triton line replaced the Explorist line but the Tritons got a bad reputation from having buggy soft/firm ware.

Correct.

 

If your only or primary purpose in a GPS unit is geocaching, the Triton does that well. An older explorist also will do that well. If you can grab one cheap and assuming you have a PC and not a Mac or Linux, I hold nothing against the Magellen's. YOu can't paperless geocache with a Explorst but when I first start geocaching, almost no one was paperless and geocaches were still being found by the mega thousands.

 

What I do like about the Garmins is that you can use a very standard USB cable and you can plug it into any pc and it will install the drivers for the unit right on the spot. Other than initial loading of maps, I never use Garmin software at all. I use g7towin or easygps to upload, download caches.

 

All GPS units on the market have the high sensitive chip now, which in my opinion, doesn't make that much of a difference with geocaching, it won't help you find hard micros and the real margin of error is the one who of the hider who placed the geocache in the first place.

 

Bottom line: if you can grab a Magellan on sale, say a triton 500 for 99 bucks like Walmart had them a while back, I'd get it again.

 

I wish you well in any unit you choose.

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