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Garmin Chirp- Geocaching Beacon

437 posts in this topic

Once programmed the first time, its "locked" to the gps that programmed it.

 

I believe it can be cleared by another Garmin device if you have the serial number of the original owner device. So if your GPSR breaks, you can reprogram with your new one, as long as you keep the old one or write down the serial number. I only have one compatible Garmin so I haven't tried it, but I saw a post describing how it works.

 

Thanks for the clarifications (and to others as well). I'll be sure to write down the serial # somewhere.

 

The manual that comes with it is quite useless.

I hope that didn't come as a surprise to you.

No, not really. It is a time honored Garmin tradition :angry:

 

Another couple of observations :

 

1. It has a little odd-shaped indentation at one of the sides, not sure what it is for. I wish there is a place to attach a wire and hang the device, but this is definitely not its purpose. I'll take a macro photo if I have any energy left after getting back from office today.

 

2. The top, black cover is slightly transparent. You can just make out some antenna traces in the PCB below. Probably to provide less obstruction to the 2.4 GHz signal?

 

3. It is a pain to remove the battery. It wedges in pretty tightly with the cover. But I just recalled something - I should try a strong magnet.

 

OK, that's one more than a couple, but I'm only on my first cup of coffee.

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This whole debacle has me pretty disappointed in both Garmin, and GS. For Garmin to introduce an item that is specifically FOR GEOCACHING (it says so on the box!) and not actually check with GS on it was blatantly stupid. At the same time, it looks to me like this is meeting more opposition than it ever should have had to with GS.

 

At any rate, I've taken my TB number sticker off of my car, leaving just the bug portion of the sticker, and replaced it with a Chirp. Anyone with a Garmin GPS that comes close to my car will know what's up. For those that don't have a Garmin, the number is on my keyring. That's my compromise.

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Hello Alll,

 

This is my first forum post and I just released my first cache and was lucky enough to place a chirp in the cache and it was published.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...d8-d8150edf0ea2

 

I only posted a message in my chirp thanking cachers for finding my first cache.

 

Looks like the chrip uses the same case as Garmin's Foot Pod.

 

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=15516

 

I think the notch is used to attach the Foot Pod to a shoe lace clip.

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2. The top, black cover is slightly transparent. You can just make out some antenna traces in the PCB below. Probably to provide less obstruction to the 2.4 GHz signal?

If one of you who has one of these little buggers already would do a quick check on propagation, it would be of interest. Do you find that there are specific orientations of GPS vs. Chirp that give better/worse signals. Whatever antenna they're using isn't likely to be truly omnidirectional. Would be interesting to know how these things behave when spun around a bit vs. the receiver.
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Did I read Keystone's post correctly on post # 108, that the Garmin chirp is Groundspeaks idea?

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...919&st=100#

 

1. Groundspeak can make exceptions to the Commercial Cache guideline. You think they're going to block their own product idea?

 

I think that was in response to the Wherigo part of the post, just above.
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At any rate, I've taken my TB number sticker off of my car, leaving just the bug portion of the sticker, and replaced it with a Chirp.

Hey, I like that idea.

 

If carried in your keychain, also serves as "how do I recognize another geocacher" (well, at least a (likely small) subset of the geocaching population).

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If carried in your keychain, also serves as "how do I recognize another geocacher" ...
Maybe I've been reading too much Cory Doctorow lately -- but I'm really not keen on carrying yet another device to broadcast my presence and identity to anyone nearby who might have a scanner. Edited by lee_rimar
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Groundspeak will make it easier to have these new devices as part of the growing repertoire of ways to find a cache.

 

Here is the current plan:

  1. A new attribute for a "beacon" will be added soon. Any caches that use a Chirp (or any future similar device) should use this attribute.
  2. If a cache owner puts a beacon in a traditional cache and geocachers have an alternative method to find it without using the beacon, then OK. I remind you to use the coming attribute.
  3. If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.
  4. Cache descriptions may mention the "Chirp" as long as the text doesn't go on and on with "overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion" as per our long-standing commercial guidelines.
  5. We do not plan to add a new cache type just for this.

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I don't think the 20.00 price is going to work for me - I try to keep the cost way down - time I spend less than ten dollars for cache container and 15.00 or so on quality swag I feel my cache needs to be a good. Another 20 for something hard to hide without discovery. I guess people will steal them and I am guessing cold temps will rob the battery. I want any GPS to find my cache and increase the enjoyment as high as possible for as many as possible.

 

However I have always wanted to continue the search on a multiple if one stage was plundered. Not willing to give up my 76CSX for any GPS.

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Here is the current plan:
  1. A new attribute for a "beacon" will be added soon. Any caches that use a Chirp (or any future similar device) should use this attribute.
  2. If a cache owner puts a beacon in a traditional cache and geocachers have an alternative method to find it without using the beacon, then OK. I remind you to use the coming attribute.
  3. If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.
  4. Cache descriptions may mention the "Chirp" as long as the text doesn't go on and on with "overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion" as per our long-standing commercial guidelines.
  5. We do not plan to add a new cache type just for this.

now that makes much more sense!

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If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.

one question here: i see the most use of the chirp as part of a multi-cache. would that have to be listed as mystery too if use of the chirp is required in order to complete it?

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Here is the current plan:
  1. A new attribute for a "beacon" will be added soon. Any caches that use a Chirp (or any future similar device) should use this attribute.
  2. If a cache owner puts a beacon in a traditional cache and geocachers have an alternative method to find it without using the beacon, then OK. I remind you to use the coming attribute.
  3. If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.
  4. Cache descriptions may mention the "Chirp" as long as the text doesn't go on and on with "overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion" as per our long-standing commercial guidelines.
  5. We do not plan to add a new cache type just for this.

now that makes much more sense!

Agree! I think it is totally reasonable.

 

If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.

one question here: i see the most use of the chirp as part of a multi-cache. would that have to be listed as mystery too if use of the chirp is required in order to complete it?

I guess MissJenn will weigh in on this, but since a multistage mystery is listed as a mystery, I'd say the mystery cache type trumps the multistage.

Edited by Chrysalides
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It is hard, but not impossible, to imagine that Garmin would have developed this product without ever having consulted the single largest enabler of the product, Groundspeak.

maybe they did consult GS and it was turned down, but they still rolled out the product and instead changed the geocache icon away from the GS icon? :angry:

 

Garmin didn't tell us about this product. We only became aware of it, by accident, two days prior to the public announcement.

 

Because we had no prior knowledge of the device being released, we have been figuring out how to make them available within Geocaching.com. We'll be supporting them as a new attribute which should be available as early as today.

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If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.

one question here: i see the most use of the chirp as part of a multi-cache. would that have to be listed as mystery too if use of the chirp is required in order to complete it?

 

Yes. It would be a mystery.

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Garmin didn't tell us about this product. We only became aware of it, by accident, two days prior to the public announcement.

I can only imagine how that went over in the great NW.

 

The new attribute/mystery-as-needed seems the best of the possible solutions, and we thank you for the quick consideration of resolution of "the problem".

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I like the final word from GS on this and look forward to the beacon attribute as well as the ability to make a puzzle cache based on this "special tool". Not sure if I'll ever make a cache that where Chirp is the only way to get the cache, but I already have a dozen ideas on where I can improve some of my existing caches and use this device in parallel with future caches.

 

The easiest implementation of the Chirp is to add it alongside existing caches. I'm surprised that the actual sales pitch from the Garmin site and media reviews hasn't made it into this thread. They never talked about the Chirp being a stand-alone stage in a geocache. All literature suggested it as being added to the cache to give additional assistance to those who can receive the info from it. Since the device transmits a radio signal, there is NO way the company can restrict what devices receive that radio signal. If the Chirp devices start finding their way into the woods in significant numbers to help with caches, then you WILL see 3rd party devices (perhaps even home-built ones) that will be able to receive and read that signal. Garmin doesn't own the radio frequency, so it is silly to suggest that only a Garmin device (because it was the first one to the market) can receive the signal. It's a flippin' radio.

 

Multi-caches... you set them up normally, but any stage where you have a physical container with the coordinates to the next stage can be supplemented with the Chirp. The device is programmed with the next stage coords and any other extra hints the CO wants to add. The Chirp is then hidden very close to the stage cache. If you have a Chirp enabled device, when you get within 10m of the cache, you'll automatically get the coords and info. For everyone else, you have to find the container, read the coords/hints inside, and then enter them manually into your GPSr.

 

This can be easily added to any existing multi-cache. The Chirp just makes life easier on people who choose to use a certain device. Just like loading a PQ gpx directly to that device makes life so much easier.

 

For traditional caches, the device can be hidden near or securely attached to the final cache. When a Chirp-enabled device user gets within 10m of the cache, they get added hints about the cache. Other users still have the final coordinates and can find the cache normally.

 

I like the idea of hiding these things separate from the actual cache container. That should prevent them from being muggled along with the cache or stolen by that small percentage of evil cachers out there. It would also be pretty important that a Chirp isn't loose in the cache as 98% of cachers won't know what it is and might trade it for swag.

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Groundspeak will make it easier to have these new devices as part of the growing repertoire of ways to find a cache.

 

Here is the current plan:

  1. A new attribute for a "beacon" will be added soon. Any caches that use a Chirp (or any future similar device) should use this attribute.
  2. If a cache owner puts a beacon in a traditional cache and geocachers have an alternative method to find it without using the beacon, then OK. I remind you to use the coming attribute.
  3. If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.
  4. Cache descriptions may mention the "Chirp" as long as the text doesn't go on and on with "overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion" as per our long-standing commercial guidelines.
  5. We do not plan to add a new cache type just for this.

 

Awesome. That should work and is very reasonable.

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If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.

one question here: i see the most use of the chirp as part of a multi-cache. would that have to be listed as mystery too if use of the chirp is required in order to complete it?

 

One option may be to have a normal multicache route.. and a chirp route?

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[*]If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.

 

Hello!

How does it look with Wherigo Caches??

greetings from Germany

coolbahia

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Thanks for the clear statements!

So I´ll need at least two beacons - one for my confluence cache @ N 50° E 9° and one for my mobile travel bug 4x4.

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The wireless beacon attribute has been added to the system.

 

wirelessbeacon-yes.gif

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The wireless beacon attribute has been added to the system.

 

wirelessbeacon-yes.gif

Wow. That was fast. I personally hope, there won't be so much caches with the chirp. Don't want to buy a Garmin.

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One option may be to have a normal multicache route.. and a chirp route?

 

Why make it so complicated? Just one route, but the physical stages that have written coords for the cacher to use to get to the next spot are simply enhanced with the addition of chirp. Thus, the folks with chirp-enabled receivers don't have to stop and find the intermediate container (followed by typing them in manually). They get the coords beamed into the GPSr automatically and just continue navigating on to the next spot. It just cuts out all the time a standard GPSr user spends typing in coordinates at each physical stage of a multi.

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One option may be to have a normal multicache route.. and a chirp route?

 

Why make it so complicated? Just one route, but the physical stages that have written coords for the cacher to use to get to the next spot are simply enhanced with the addition of chirp. Thus, the folks with chirp-enabled receivers don't have to stop and find the intermediate container (followed by typing them in manually). They get the coords beamed into the GPSr automatically and just continue navigating on to the next spot. It just cuts out all the time a standard GPSr user spends typing in coordinates at each physical stage of a multi.

 

Hmmm. Wonder how long before someone figures out a way to make a GPS based malware product using these....

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Now that GS has accepted this new geocaching mode, by adding a specific attribute, we need alternative solutions to seek for such cache.

 

So I suggest that GS managers to ask offficially Garmin to publish detailed specs of ant messaging protocole implemented in the chirp and in the gps.

 

This will be the only solution to allow 3rd parties solutions to be proposed, and thus to avoid Garmin promoting an unique and commercial solution for such caches.

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Trivial post:

Along with the software upgrade to program a beacon, Garmin also changed the geocaching icon on their devices from the cg.com icon to a different icon.

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After the big announcement I went over to REI to grab a few more:

 

Sorry. We don't have the quantity you asked for in stock.

 

We're all out of Garmin Chirp Geocache Transmitter's. You can backorder this item now and we'll get it to you as soon as it's available.

 

Backorder it is then. So much for that huge pile they were going to be sitting on. :angry:

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I have a Garmin Oregon 300 and have updated to the latest software through Webupdater, I have even check I have the latest software and the Webupdater tells me I am running the latest software. However I am still unable to see in any menu any mention of Chirp. The Gamin site says the Oregon 300 is Chirp compatible so can someone please tell me exactly where to find this chirp listed on my GPS.

 

Many Thanks

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The wireless beacon attribute has been added to the system.

 

wirelessbeacon-yes.gif

Nice, hope to find these in the Groundspeak store soon.
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Since the device transmits a radio signal, there is NO way the company can restrict what devices receive that radio signal. If the Chirp devices start finding their way into the woods in significant numbers to help with caches, then you WILL see 3rd party devices (perhaps even home-built ones) that will be able to receive and read that signal. Garmin doesn't own the radio frequency, so it is silly to suggest that only a Garmin device (because it was the first one to the market) can receive the signal. It's a flippin' radio.

 

Ah but they can patent how the signal is modulated to transfer the data and control that process on the receive end. You would be able to receive it, doing anything with it may be another story.

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Since the device transmits a radio signal, there is NO way the company can restrict what devices receive that radio signal. If the Chirp devices start finding their way into the woods in significant numbers to help with caches, then you WILL see 3rd party devices (perhaps even home-built ones) that will be able to receive and read that signal. Garmin doesn't own the radio frequency, so it is silly to suggest that only a Garmin device (because it was the first one to the market) can receive the signal. It's a flippin' radio.

 

Ah but they can patent how the signal is modulated to transfer the data and control that process on the receive end. You would be able to receive it, doing anything with it may be another story.

It was my assumption that it will only transmit after receiving a "request" or "ping". Am I mistaken?

 

Edit to add : it appears I am mistaken. It broadcasts a low powered beacon. Handheld detects that, sends a signal to kick it into high speed (relatively speaking) transmission mode.

Edited by Chrysalides
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I have a Garmin Oregon 300 and have updated to the latest software through Webupdater, I have even check I have the latest software and the Webupdater tells me I am running the latest software. However I am still unable to see in any menu any mention of Chirp. The Gamin site says the Oregon 300 is Chirp compatible so can someone please tell me exactly where to find this chirp listed on my GPS.

 

Setup>Geocaching>Enable chirp

What g-o-casher said (well, it is actually Setup->Geocaching->chirp Searching->On, but you get the idea). I have an Oregon 300 (with firmware 4.1) and it definitely works.

Edited by Chrysalides
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It was my assumption that it will only transmit after receiving a "request" or "ping". Am I mistaken?

most likely, everything else would deplete the battery very fast.

 

it's safe to assume that the chirp is talking ANT. as i understand it, ANT is proprietary, but not exclusive - it can be licensed. now it's all just a matter of what data is sent between the chirp and the receiver and in what format. unless it's somehow encrypted, it should be trivial to reverse engineer.

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It was my assumption that it will only transmit after receiving a "request" or "ping". Am I mistaken?

most likely, everything else would deplete the battery very fast.

 

it's safe to assume that the chirp is talking ANT. as i understand it, ANT is proprietary, but not exclusive - it can be licensed. now it's all just a matter of what data is sent between the chirp and the receiver and in what format. unless it's somehow encrypted, it should be trivial to reverse engineer.

An ANT development kit is available, from links provided some posts previously.

 

I wonder how chirp searching mode affects battery life on the GPSr. It would be nice to be able to enable / disable it easily, instead of Setup->(scroll down long way)->Geocache->chirp searching.

Edited by Chrysalides
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Well what about Wherigo Caches - I cant´t find them with my Garmin Dakota. Must there be an alternative method to find those caches...?

 

Good point. And what's the difference with the new UV Light Required attribute ?

Well anyone who has a UV light can find it. Its about having to buy a device specific to a manufacturer. Even Wherigo are compatible with devices other then Garmins. You don't see many, but the first device I ever saw running Wherigo was a PPC.

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Trivial post:

Along with the software upgrade to program a beacon, Garmin also changed the geocaching icon on their devices from the cg.com icon to a different icon.

I read about this somewhere else. This is more interesting/puzzling/intriguing to me than the Chirp. Garmin & Groundspeak have been pretty tight in the past, from what I've gathered - perhaps Garmin is preparing to push supporting another site heavily?

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Ha, maybe Garmin is planing to start hosting their own geocache listing service. :angry:

 

Anyone have a picture of this new Garmin cache icon?

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Heh, wow. I am no longer disappointed in GS regarding this issue. That was a really fast resolution to something that I honestly thought they'd drag their feet on. Maybe this thread jumping to 4 or 5 pages in the span of a weekend helped a bit?

 

I am still a little down on Garmin regarding their lack of communication on this though. I'll get over it.

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I am still a little down on Garmin regarding their lack of communication on this though.

 

What a coincidence. I've had that same feeling for about three years now :angry:

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...It was my assumption that it will only transmit after receiving a "request" or "ping". Am I mistaken?
You may be mistaken.

 

Power wouldn't be a problem. It's in the micro-watt range, so low that ANT suggests up to 4 years of battery life on a CR2032, sending a message every 2 seconds, 24 hours per day. (Source: http://www.thisisant.com/products).

 

That doesn't mean Chirp DOES transmit everything constantly, but that would make the most sense. It could be constantly saying "Anyone there?" and only broadcast its full sequence when something answers back. But with power consumption so low to begin with, why bother trying to spare the micro-watts?

 

Just guessing based on what I've read...

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Anyone have a picture of this new Garmin cache icon?

Just looks like the standard brown/gold Garmin geocache map icon, treasure box with gold contents, lid of box open.
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Anyone have a picture of this new Garmin cache icon?

Just looks like the standard brown/gold Garmin geocache map icon, treasure box with gold contents, lid of box open.

 

Yup, it's the same "Open Treasure Chest" icon that Garmin has used in the last 5 or 6 versions of MapSource.

 

Bill

Edited by 2Wheel'in
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Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

Chirp is designed for use with Garmin products. I do not understand the

claim that that we have misrepresented the product, as it is outlined in

the product features on the Garmin website that it has been designed for

compatible Garmin devices. We apologize if this in conflict with your

commercial guidelines, however Garmin will only be producing units,

software , and accessories for Garmin devices.

With Best Regards,

 

Robert G

Product Support Specialist

Outdoor/Fitness Team

Garmin International

913-397-8200

800-800-1020

913-440-8280 (fax) Att: Robert G, Associate #6970

www.garmin.com

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Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

Chirp is designed for use with Garmin products. I do not understand the

claim that that we have misrepresented the product, as it is outlined in

the product features on the Garmin website that it has been designed for

compatible Garmin devices. We apologize if this in conflict with your

commercial guidelines, however Garmin will only be producing units,

software , and accessories for Garmin devices.

With Best Regards,

 

Robert G

Product Support Specialist

Outdoor/Fitness Team

Garmin International

 

800-800-1020

913-440-8280 (fax) Att: Robert G, Associate #6970

www.garmin.com

 

Fairly predictable "closed shop" response IMO. Like the doomed, and unsupported Wherigo Player on the CO and OR,, I suspect it will be heading to the dust bin before long :angry:

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??? It would be really helpful to know exactly what it was that engendered that response from Garmin.

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