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Is Magellan eXplorist GC A Lemon?


accummings
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Hi Everyone,

 

I just purchased the eXplorist GC for my wife for Christmas from REI. We had a great time finding our first caches on Christmas day, but just tried to power it up and it would display the hourglass for about 5 seconds, then the screen would go blank. I figured we just left the batteries on and replaced them. The next power up I had a white screen with a menu at the top with "Factory, RUN, Other, and Help" menu items. None of them seem selectable, and the unit won't power off. I called Magellan support and the are sending a unit, but I'm not impressed. So much for spending some vacation time searching out caches.

 

I was wondering if anyone could share their experiences. I'm not convinced I've made a good buy, and wondering if I should just ditch this and spend my money on something else. It is a brick after 1 use (2 caches, which I didn't even get to upload).

 

There are a series of other issues with the support I received from Magellan.

1. They wanted me to return the unit before they shipped a new one - hello, your product is a brick.

2. They wanted me to pay shipping to return the unit - again, your product issue, so why would I pay to return it?

 

They did advance ship, but I had to secure with a credit card. That is annoying, but understandable as they could get ripped off. If I don't return the unit in 30 days I get charged - fair enough. The second issue they did ship an RMA label after I pointed out that it was their issue and not mine, but still. Seems like trying to nickel and dime the customer.

 

As it stands, I'm probably going to download the iPhone version of Geocaching for $9.99. It is not the ideal situation for our geocaching. If that works well, I might just return the updated unit to REI once I receive it.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Clarke

 

Clarke Cummings

"It was like that when we found it."

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have you tried to update the unit to the latest firmware via VantagePoint? It's possible that might help.

 

However, my recommendation is return your Explorist GC to REI and then go to Amazon.com or other online retailer and get the Delorme PN-40. It's superior to the GC in every possible way, plus it auto-routes, has a real magnetic compass, easy to see in the daylight, and really good maps and gives you a great mapping program for your PC also. They are about $200 on amazon right now.

 

I'm the owner of the GC and it just sits in my glovebox now due to the poor accuracy in trees and such. I use the Triton when I need a unit that does well in the woods.

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lemon.jpeg

 

is a bit different than

 

Magellan_eXplorist_GC_Front.jpg

 

I'm kidding, haha.

 

I would also agree with the post above, the Delorme Pn-40, or even the Pn-30 in my opinion is better than the GC. I got to try it out for a few days, and it didn't have nearly the amount of accuracy as my Triton did at the time.

 

If you might think of Garmin as a possible option, a Dakota 20 or Oregon 300 might be the way to go. But ultimately, if you have a PC I would still take the Delorme if you don't want Garmin

 

I almost returned my Triton, but the customer service wasn't very good, and when I asked them how long it would take to ship me a new device, they said up to 2 months. I wasn't pleased with that

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I have the explorist GC for about 3 months now and I love it. All over the forums I hear people talking about how it is not accurate. When ours beeps (telling us that we are with-in 20 feet of the cache) that is when you should pay more attention to the area around you anyway not the GPS. With the GC when it says that we have 2 feet to go to the cache it is usually dead on.

 

I think you might have just had a defective one. Even in this day products are sometimes defective right from the company (doesn't mean the product or the company or bad). If you didn't already request a new one from Magellan I would have said to bring it back to the store (never hear of REI) and just exchange it for a new one.

Edited by wolf9545
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Im the same way, i love the GC. I have the 1.6 version and it gets me dead nut to the cache, from 9'-0' constantly, and i have the alarm to go off at 100' just cause im usually on my bike. Plus im in Florida and most are in heavy to overcast tree cover and im still right on them, but a little bumpin makes it fun, makes you look, makes you aware. Just watch out for us clowns in them woods...

Edited by miked1972
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Hi Everyone,

 

I just purchased the eXplorist GC for my wife for Christmas from REI. We had a great time finding our first caches on Christmas day, but just tried to power it up and it would display the hourglass for about 5 seconds, then the screen would go blank. I figured we just left the batteries on and replaced them. The next power up I had a white screen with a menu at the top with "Factory, RUN, Other, and Help" menu items. None of them seem selectable, and the unit won't power off. I called Magellan support and the are sending a unit, but I'm not impressed. So much for spending some vacation time searching out caches.

 

I was wondering if anyone could share their experiences. I'm not convinced I've made a good buy, and wondering if I should just ditch this and spend my money on something else. It is a brick after 1 use (2 caches, which I didn't even get to upload).

 

There are a series of other issues with the support I received from Magellan.

1. They wanted me to return the unit before they shipped a new one - hello, your product is a brick.

2. They wanted me to pay shipping to return the unit - again, your product issue, so why would I pay to return it?

 

They did advance ship, but I had to secure with a credit card. That is annoying, but understandable as they could get ripped off. If I don't return the unit in 30 days I get charged - fair enough. The second issue they did ship an RMA label after I pointed out that it was their issue and not mine, but still. Seems like trying to nickel and dime the customer.

 

As it stands, I'm probably going to download the iPhone version of Geocaching for $9.99. It is not the ideal situation for our geocaching. If that works well, I might just return the updated unit to REI once I receive it.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Clarke

 

Clarke Cummings

"It was like that when we found it."

all manufacture that I have ever delt with in 30+ years in the outdoor industry have left paying shipping to the customer who is retuning the product. It is alway easier to deal with the retailer. As has been stated just take it back to REI. Foem what I have been told REI has a very libral return policy. As far as the accuracy, in a consumer grade GPS 20 feet is quite common, while a company may claim in the product info that accuracy may be 3 metere, the claim is May be. You must also consider that the person placing the cache is also using a consummer grade GPS and may be off by 3 meters, then when you are looking for the cache you may also be off by 3 meters, this totals a 6 meter error or about 18 feet. Terrian may also effect accuracy.

Edited by JohnnyVegas
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I'm not a Magellan fan, so I won't comment on that particular unit, but it does sound like a fluke that you just happen to get a bad one, and I would try to deal with whoever you bought it from. I've heard REI is pretty good about dealing with problems but I've never had to deal with them.

 

That being said, any "real" gps, such as this unit, will outperform an iphone app, or any phone app. Inaccurate coordinates are one of the top complaints from smart phone users, especially if they are using the phone to hide a cache. In the long term, you will be glad you have a real gps instead of a phone app.

 

If you want to understand the accuracy issue, study up on how the receivers work. To sum it up in a sentence, almost all "real" gps units have 12 parallel receivers, that means they can listen to and understand up to 12 signals from the satellites at a time. While technically you can determine your real 3d position with just 4, you have to remember that every time you pass a tree, metal object, most buildings, and a ton of other things, that will interfere with at least one if not more of the signals. When the unit has more than 4 to choose from, it can handle a signal disappearing. Most phones (I don't know the exact answer for the iphone) only have 1 to 4, so even with 4, if one signal goes wary, you have to wait for the gps to adjust (during that time most gps's will "guess" so they at least appear that they are still tracking). Determining your position is a matter of triangulation based on these signals. The actual signal is simply a time stamp, so when your receiver gets that signal, it can determine how long it took the signal to be received, and based on that delay, how far you are from the satellite.

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Yes, I would say it's a mixed bag but a lemon for the price. Delorme Pn-40 and Dakota 10 much better bargains for around the same price.

 

Advantages

1) Gpx file management is awesome

2) high number of geocaches that can be held in the unit

 

Disadvantages

 

1) Odometer is horribly inaccuarate

2) GC has major problems when walking slowly, updates slow

3) GC pointer arrow is horribly flawed, they should have kept the old one

4) Receiver has real problems in dense environments (Triton does well in this category)

5) Too many buttons to press around to move from cache to cache. Or to do anything else really.

6) Have to disable features in order to get unit to work right (smart arrow, logging etc)

7) Average MPH is useless, does not work

8) Map is very outdated, missing quite a few roads that were built years ago, including an interstate highway here.

9) No auto-routing

10) Very hard to see in bright daylight compared to Garmin etrex series and even the Magellan Triton.

11) Can't tell what WAAS birds unit is following or using.

12) The back of the unit rounded making it impossible to keep laying flat on a dashboard or bicycle. Garmin Etrex and Magellan triton are flat on the back.

13) No way to upload updated or different maps.

14) Inadequate user manual, needs to be a lot more detailed

15) Unit will automatically restart when disconnecting from computer

16) Fonts are too small in a number of fields on the unit

 

They would have had a winner if they kept the Magellan Triton accuracy with the visibility of the Explorist 500 series.

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That being said, any "real" gps, such as this unit, will outperform an iphone app, or any phone app. Inaccurate coordinates are one of the top complaints from smart phone users, especially if they are using the phone to hide a cache. In the long term, you will be glad you have a real gps instead of a phone app.

 

Careful, the smartphones are getting a lot better. The iPhone 4 is a "real" GPS, and it's quite often outperforming my Garmin Colorado 400t. The only difference between the two units is that my iPhone is not rugged, and my Colorado cannot get new data loaded without being tethered to a PC (or use the SD Card). Oh, and my Colorado tends to crash way more often than my phone does.

 

To the OP: Sound like your specific unit tanked and can be fixed with the return/exchange. I know several people who are quite happy with their eXplorist GC units. I'll say this - based on the firmware joy that has been the Colorado, Oregon, Dakota and the 62 series the grass isn't any greener on the Garmin side of the fence. They seem to have forgotten that the primary point of a GPS is an accurate position fix - especially on their Cartesio based units.

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if you do a search around these forums you will see alot of issues with the GC. some get fixed in short order and farily painless with support. and some have many issues as well as issues with multiple units.

we are on our 4th GC. first one returned to best buy. and then it did as you said yours did. its replacement is collecting dust right now after it did the same thing. the next one bought from target. it too did the same thing. so far it replacement is working.

there are directions on here somewhere on how to mayb get it to work again. though it never worked for me.

 

good luck with this.

 

Monty

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acummings,

 

I've not used any of the newer Magellans since the (old) Explorist, but it sounds like they've not improved customer service. Sounds just like before....if you aquired a good unit you're in luck and will have a good unit. If not, then you'll find yourself changing brands solely from the way customer support :) treats you. (Unless you like abuse and/or apathy)

 

Since purchasing Garmin and Delorme units AND dealing with both thier respective customer service departments I'll never go back to Magellan. Both Garmin and Delorme were stellar in that respect. I don't see buying another Magellan unit in the future just because of the way their CS acted in the past.

Edited by Woodstramp
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We use an Explorist GC,bought it from Magellan right when they came out We were one of the first 100 to purchase,it is very accurate,we find caches in some heavy populated WMA that are full of trees and the GC are within 8-10 ft average/we use Vantage point to D/L and transfer caches,never had any problems out of either one,Vantage point quit working about three months after we DL it/i uninstalled it and reinstalled it and has been working since then,it is possible to get a bad one so i can't see hammering the makers of the Magellan like it is no good,i would return it to REI since that is where you purchased it.I felt the same way over a yr. ago with my Garmin 60 csx/so i decided to try the magellian and as of now i give it 5 stars.. Go Magellian.com and make sure your firmware is up to date.Thats my opinion..

 

Exploring the world one cache at a time..

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I just got the eXplorist GC for Christmas. It came with the 1.6 firmware as well. It started working great at the begaining, then as I added pocket queries It started to get GPS signal degradation, speed, and lock ups. As of today, it will not boot up to the main menu. I even tried the boot to the white screen with no success. I just downloaded vantage point, but have no experience with it as of yet. It looks to be a good GPS, but I have found that these issues seldom go away. I plan to return it and give it another shot with another one before I call it a lemon.

Edited by tooljedi
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I just got the eXplorist GC for Christmas. It came with the 1.6 firmware as well. It started working great at the begaining, then as I added pocket queries It started to get GPS signal degradation, speed, and lock ups. As of today, it will not boot up to the main menu. I even tried the boot to the white screen with no success. I just downloaded vantage point, but have no experience with it as of yet. It looks to be a good GPS, but I have found that these issues seldom go away. I plan to return it and give it another shot with another one before I call it a lemon.

 

I've found too many of the same sort of problems all over the internet. Run Forrest, run...away from this model. I am sending mine back to the retailer.

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Yes it is a complete lemon since I can't get it to work in conjunction with my computer and I am getting ZERO help in rectifying the problem. I think I'll just stick with a Garmin Etrex Legend.

I found something today that might or might not help with explorist gc download problems, profile/account details/at bottom of page is your preferences/click change and then change GPS version to 1.0.1.

 

Just a thought. I can't change it for myself as mine is purely ooc.

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It still doesn't change the fact that my computer doesn't recognize the Explorist as discribed on the Magellan website because the computer says there are no drivers installed, yet I did install them.

I was having the same problem with my Garmin nuvi. When using my external usb hub my computer can not find the Nuvi, but when I use the usb port in my desk top it works fine.

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I got the Xplorist GC as a Christmas gift after using my (trusty but clunky) Crackberry Storm using Blackstar freeware. First impression: Lemon. I couldn't get the computer to recognize the device for storage, etc.

 

Found that 1) you need Magellan communicator (not listed in box instructions at all). and 2) upgrade the firmware. Mine came with 1.4, but 1.6 came out 12/22/2010, and miraculously, the computer recognized it as a drive!

 

Still working on other issues though, and will post as I can fix.

Edited by ColoradoConlins
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BAck again.

 

Certainly not the best software or drivers on the planet, but with everything uploaded, the device seems to work fine for us now. Be sure:

1) Download the Magellan Communicator and install

2) Update the driver software to the newest (1.6 as of 12/20/10). Follow all directions.

3) Close your browser window.

4) Connect your eXplorer GC back to your computer: Click on device to connect to PC. If your computer does not recognize it immediately, choose Windows Update (next) and Auto install. The software has NOT passed Windows Logo testing, SO THIS MAY TAKE 2-3 TIMES! Choose "Continue Anyway" if prompted. Be sure all windows are minimized, because you may miss this.

5) Open Windows Explorer on My Computer. There now should be a drive for "Magellan". If not, you are still hosed. Sorry.

6) Assuming success, go to geocaching.com and go Send to GPS a file.

 

NOTE: Mozilla Firefox (at least 3.6.13) will crash if you do NOT close the pop up window between downloads. My previous experience is with .LOC file downloads, so I don't know if this is a geocaching.com, Magellan, or eXplorer GC issue. Just remember to close each time.

 

HOPE That helps and good luck hunting! We will continue to use the Crackberry for spontaneous Geocaching efforts and this for planned searches.

 

Take care...

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I've had my explorist GC for a week now. I bought mine at Best Buy. I've had 6 DNF's since I bought it but I think it's me and not the GPSr that's the issue.

 

My first 4 finds were all using my Garmin nuvi 1300 in "pedestrian mode". Bought the GC and haven't had much luck locating caches when I tried using it. So I took both GPSr's with me last night to see how they compared in accuracy. Both put me at the same location with each cache I tried to find (three local caches that I had DNF'd a few days before).

 

So I think you've been simply hit with one bout of bad luck. Could be that someone else had purchased that unit and returned it to REI? Or you simply have a bad board inside. Hope the new one works out for you. :)

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I have had no problems what so ever with mine. All the DNF's that I have had, many others have had too, and it usually gets me darn close if not right on the cache. Granted it is winter and not much on the trees to interfere with the signal, but I have taken it out in pouring rain and it worked flawlessly. Most people I see who bust on the GC are people who have not taken the time to lean the device. There are tutorial videos on youtube and other places as well as peoples own guides (All it takes is typing things into a search engine on the internet). I sat and played with it for a while, learned its functions and features, like how to make the back-light stay on more then a few seconds wich apparently is an issue with people as it has to be the biggest complaint I have seen (I have mine set to two min). Amazes me how many people will poorly rate a device with out actually learning how to use it. For the money I think it is a great beginner GPSr and I am sure the issues you are having will be solved and you will be caching in no time. I wish you the best of luck, if I can be of help please send me a pm and I will do my best to help anyway I can.

Edited by PhoenixWolf
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Ive had my Oregon and Nuvi (for the car) pointing to the cache, within 10 feet, and my mom's GC, pointing the opposite direction 400 feet away. It is soooo slow to correct directions when you go from one cache to the next. The font is toooooooo small. My mom cannot read it. Sometimes we are walking down a street with a lake on one side, and it says the lake is on the other side. It is hard to get it to go back to main menu, etc. Often she has to turn it off between caches. IMO, I hate it. But maybe she just got a lemon, too?

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Well, I've never had my GC be off by 400 feet but I've it off by 70 feet before it knows you've moved. In every test I can make up, the reception of the GC is far less then that of the Magellan Triton and Garmin Dakota unless you're out in the open sky. I've posted several photos as proof of this.

 

The GC also can be a bit annoying when you have to press the click stick a dozen times to CANCEL a geocache being found.

 

Firmware 1.6 also regresses in that the GC no longer knows when it as stopped moving, which sends the arrow going wildly in all sorts of random directions. Firmware 1.4 did not have this problem. Overall, the firmware isn't horrible.

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I use my GC all the time and had switched from a Garmin GPSMAP60. I have absolutely no issues with it. Usually when I am at the GZ it says I am withing 3 feet or so. Can't ask for much better than that. Your GPS should not need to take you right on top of every cache. If you get within 50 feet you're doing good. Helps keep the fun of the hunt in the game

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BAck again.

 

Certainly not the best software or drivers on the planet, but with everything uploaded, the device seems to work fine for us now. Be sure:

1) Download the Magellan Communicator and install

2) Update the driver software to the newest (1.6 as of 12/20/10). Follow all directions.

3) Close your browser window.

4) Connect your eXplorer GC back to your computer: Click on device to connect to PC. If your computer does not recognize it immediately, choose Windows Update (next) and Auto install. The software has NOT passed Windows Logo testing, SO THIS MAY TAKE 2-3 TIMES! Choose "Continue Anyway" if prompted. Be sure all windows are minimized, because you may miss this.

5) Open Windows Explorer on My Computer. There now should be a drive for "Magellan". If not, you are still hosed. Sorry.

6) Assuming success, go to geocaching.com and go Send to GPS a file.

 

NOTE: Mozilla Firefox (at least 3.6.13) will crash if you do NOT close the pop up window between downloads. My previous experience is with .LOC file downloads, so I don't know if this is a geocaching.com, Magellan, or eXplorer GC issue. Just remember to close each time.

 

HOPE That helps and good luck hunting! We will continue to use the Crackberry for spontaneous Geocaching efforts and this for planned searches.

 

Take care...

 

I'm wondering if your issues were not simply PC issues and really had nothing to do with your GPS. Just my $0.02

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