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Should I continue shopping or buy this GPS as my First?


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Shopping for my first GPS machine, I feel tied - between FEATURES and PRICE.

 

I have found a GARMIN DAKOTA-10 unit at a "reasonable" price with a GARMIN DAKOTA-20 that is twice as expensive and a list of higher-priced GPS machines that are far outside my budget-range.

 

Does this "older(?)" GARMIN DAKOTA-10 still have useable features that are valuable today or should I have to save more money to buy the newer (and much more expensive) unit in aim to stay updated?

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The Dakota 20 isn't any newer than the 10. They're the same, only that the 10 is lacking some features that the 20 has. Notably this is an SD card slot, which is useful if you want to use a larger amount of maps, electronic compass and wireless transfer between units (which includes Chirp capability).

 

That being said, the price difference should probably not be as much as you describe. If you look around you may be able to get one of the other one cheaper.

Edited by dfx
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It depends on the price and your budget.

 

The Dakota 10 is entirely adequate for geocaching. It does not have :

 

  • Chirp detection / programming capability
  • Electronic compass (shows direction when you're not moving)
  • Barometric altimeter
  • External memory card support
  • Wireless transfer of waypoint with another wireless capable Garmin unit

Out of the list, I'd miss external memory card support the most. It is useful if you want to load lots of custom POI or maps.

 

Other price points for you to consider : the Oregon 450 occasionally goes on sale for $250-ish. The Magellan eXplorist GC retails for about $150.

Edited by Chrysalides
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You can save a few bucks by skipping the electronic compass. Just buy a 5-10 dollar liquid filled pocket compass. You should always carry one anyways. If the batteries die in your GPS, the electronic compass is worthless, as is the GPS.. You will be very glad you have a pocket compass. Just dont do what I did and clip it "the compass" to a lanyard with a metal "iron" clip. It threw off my compass a LOT. I now use a lanyard with a plastic clip. I wonder if using a metal clip can throw off the reading in an electronic compass? I have heard of people having trouble keeping the electronic compasses calibrated.. Might be the metal clip on the lanyard.

Edited by chachi44089
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I know it isn't required but once you use a GPS with one you won't want to go back. In my case I would spend the extra money but in the end you can't go wrong either way.

 

I strongly recommend buying a unit with electronic compass for geocaching... Not having the compass can make narrowing in on ground zero REALLY tough.

 

Don't too much stock in the necessity of an electronic compass. Everybody has their own way of doing things, some prefer it, some don't. Like Chachi, I'd recommend a separate "backup" compass is you're out in the boonies. About the only time I've used a compass on a cache would have been for one or two mystery caches that gave azimuths for stages of a multi.

 

You can zero in on a cache just fine without a compass but watching your track on the map page. In fact, I always do it that way.

 

If you can grab one with a compass, that's great, but don't think you really have to have one.

 

One of the places that has had the $250ish Oregon 450 that Chrysalides mentioned is Cabela's, so keep an eye on their sales!

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There are two reasons to carry a compass. One is if you are hiking and need it to navigate. The other is just when caching so you dont do the "bumble bee" dance when finding a cache.

 

For Geocaching I think the compass helps out a lot and is worth it to add as a feature (but not if its too much). For hiking/navigating I would defanetly recommend on a magnetic compass. I would never go hiking relying alone on a GPS compass. Like chachi said if your batteries die you really are in trouble. For this reason alone keeping a small magnetic compass in your bag is a necessity.

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You can save a few bucks by skipping the electronic compass. Just buy a 5-10 dollar liquid filled pocket compass. You should always carry one anyways. If the batteries die in your GPS, the electronic compass is worthless, as is the GPS.. You will be very glad you have a pocket compass. Just dont do what I did and clip it "the compass" to a lanyard with a metal "iron" clip. It threw off my compass a LOT. I now use a lanyard with a plastic clip. I wonder if using a metal clip can throw off the reading in an electronic compass? I have heard of people having trouble keeping the electronic compasses calibrated.. Might be the metal clip on the lanyard.

 

How do I get my $5 compass to point towards the cache? Mine only points north.

:rolleyes:

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Like chachi said if your batteries die you really are in trouble. For this reason alone keeping a small magnetic compass in your bag is a necessity.

 

Not to be too beligerent, but if you only have one set of batteries, you prolly didn't think of the compass either. I know, the GPSr could break. But without a paper topo map, (which I have yet to carry since leaving active duty) I'm not sure what good a compass will do you if it does. I'm on my 2nd GPSr so far (and both have been bought solely for geocaching...PN-30 and an Oregon 200). My next one will in all likelihood have a compass. But, as has been often said, once you are within 25 feet or so, you should consider yourself at GZ, and put the GPSr away anyhow. We're nearing 600 finds, and have not used a compass for 5 of them so far. (My phone has an electronic compass in it. I think I've activated it twice looking for caches so far.) A compass is really a matter of preference for caching. If you do other outdoor activities, you should plan, and equip yourself accordingly.

 

Later!

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Like chachi said if your batteries die you really are in trouble. For this reason alone keeping a small magnetic compass in your bag is a necessity.

 

Not to be too beligerent, but if you only have one set of batteries, you prolly didn't think of the compass either. I know, the GPSr could break. But without a paper topo map, (which I have yet to carry since leaving active duty) I'm not sure what good a compass will do you if it does. I'm on my 2nd GPSr so far (and both have been bought solely for geocaching...PN-30 and an Oregon 200). My next one will in all likelihood have a compass. But, as has been often said, once you are within 25 feet or so, you should consider yourself at GZ, and put the GPSr away anyhow. We're nearing 600 finds, and have not used a compass for 5 of them so far. (My phone has an electronic compass in it. I think I've activated it twice looking for caches so far.) A compass is really a matter of preference for caching. If you do other outdoor activities, you should plan, and equip yourself accordingly.

 

Later!

I would not leave the house to venture into the unknown with one set of batteries "at least not on purpose", let alone without a compass..You might forget a compass, but not me. Its not about using a compass to find a cache, its about using one to know direction if the gps fails..You really missed the point.. I am surprised that you do not know how to navigate with a compass "without a paper topo map" considering you were active duty military.. Good luck with the i-phone and gps when the batteries are dead.. I quote " If you do other outdoor activities, you should plan, and equip yourself accordingly".. I may not have 600 caches, but I am smart enough to know that I may be in a situation where daylight a batteries might be running low..And if that happens....I will have my compass, and you will have nothing..I guess its you choice.

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Like chachi said if your batteries die you really are in trouble. For this reason alone keeping a small magnetic compass in your bag is a necessity.

 

Not to be too beligerent, but if you only have one set of batteries, you prolly didn't think of the compass either. I know, the GPSr could break. But without a paper topo map, (which I have yet to carry since leaving active duty) I'm not sure what good a compass will do you if it does. I'm on my 2nd GPSr so far (and both have been bought solely for geocaching...PN-30 and an Oregon 200). My next one will in all likelihood have a compass. But, as has been often said, once you are within 25 feet or so, you should consider yourself at GZ, and put the GPSr away anyhow. We're nearing 600 finds, and have not used a compass for 5 of them so far. (My phone has an electronic compass in it. I think I've activated it twice looking for caches so far.) A compass is really a matter of preference for caching. If you do other outdoor activities, you should plan, and equip yourself accordingly.

 

Later!

I would not leave the house to venture into the unknown with one set of batteries "at least not on purpose", let alone without a compass..You might forget a compass, but not me. Its not about using a compass to find a cache, its about using one to know direction if the gps fails..You really missed the point.. I am surprised that you do not know how to navigate with a compass "without a paper topo map" considering you were active duty military.. Good luck with the i-phone and gps when the batteries are dead.. I quote " If you do other outdoor activities, you should plan, and equip yourself accordingly".. I may not have 600 caches, but I am smart enough to know that I may be in a situation where daylight a batteries might be running low..And if that happens....I will have my compass, and you will have nothing..I guess its you choice.

 

FWIW, I always have three sets of batteries on hand whenever I set out into the wilderness. If necessary, I can pull the set out of the camera.

 

I am not ashamed to admit that I have no idea how to navigate with just a compass, even if I have a map. The darn thing points always points north. My GPS points towards my car and has a visible track back to it. If I zoom in close enough enough, I'll only make it 50' down a side trail before I realize that I have made a wrong turn.

 

I've managed to hike 1850 miles in the last five years, using just screen shots of Google Earth, traced tracks from Google Earth transferred to my Garmin, and plain old common sense.

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LOL. Thanks for the reply. I know very well how to use a compass. I can just as easily gauge the general direction of north, by looking at the Sun, and looking at my watch. If I am in unknown terrain, without a map, a compass gives me nothing I don't already have. If I'm in terrain I do know, I prolly won't really need a compass. In 600 finds, we have been out in the middle of nowhere on several finds, and I've been stranded without a navigational tool once, when the wife took the GPSr and walked off while I was getting my boots back on after a creek crossing. LINK My phone had an electronic compass, but with no knowledge of what was in any direction, knowing what direction "the unknown" was in wasn't really helpful. I have used a compass to find ammo cans in the arid deserts in Southern California, swamps in North Carolina, snow in Virginia and double canopy Jungle in Okinawa, Japan. (Marine Corps infantry for over 4 years. And, I carried a $10 Silva compass on my body every time I went to the field back then.) However, since I didn't really know any of the terrain I was navigating through, I needed a map to navigate. Even if your GPSr doesn't show you the map, it is still using the grid from it to direct you to a point. Unless you can database the entire WGS84 geographic coordinate system (or what ever coord system you use....) in your head, and calculate on the fly where you are going, you'll likely need a map as well for your compass to benefit you in strange terrain, any more than looking at the Sun will do. (And, I have used the Sun method to navigate. During patrolling exercises, our escape azimuth was due west until we hit a road. Something came up, and we were directed to use the escape azimuth and return to camp. My naviguesser was new, and required some guidance to get us out of the woods. :D ) Again, I'm not trying to be too much of a jerk. And, if having a compass by itself makes you feel safe, by all means, carry a compass. My original point was if it doesn't occur to you that your batteries might die, it prolly doesn't occur to you to carry a compass either. But, like I said above, unless you know the terrain (what is in each direction.....), a compass without a map does little that common sense and a limited amount of knowledge of nature won't do. Hope this makes more sense. Thanks again for the reply.

 

Later!

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Hmmm, hijacked topic! How long can you wait? There have been some great sales on Oregons which will give you bigger screens and in the newest better visibility in sunlight. I would definitely get a garmin that takes an sd card so you can load it up with free maps. You don't need an electronic compass but a 3 axis compass REALLY makes things easier! A dakota 20 with that is the minimum I would suggest just to keep your blood pressure down. :P Let me know if you need any more help setting your maps up on a garmin you buy.

Ken

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You can save a few bucks by skipping the electronic compass. Just buy a 5-10 dollar liquid filled pocket compass.

A standard compass does not perform the same function as the electronic compass when caching. I mean - you COULD use a Silva and a calculator to obtain the bearing and distance to the cache, but .... The electronic compass on these units gives you a bearing and distance to the target while you are stationary with no calculations required -- the unit does all of that work for you.
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I have heard of people having trouble keeping the electronic compasses calibrated.. Might be the metal clip on the lanyard.

No - as you'll find in numerous threads here and elsewhere, it's the fact that the compass chip in a Garmin unit is voltage sensitive and they are not providing secondary voltage regulation for that component. As the battery voltage drifts down with use during the course of the day, recalibration may be necessary. If you do recalibrate with a lower voltage and then slap in a new set of cells, you'll have to recalibrate again since the voltage is now higher than before. I resolved that problem with Powergenix NiZn cells. Just about dead flat discharge profile, so no issues of voltage drift during a caching day. Shame they never caught on with the consumer market -- lack of good marketing or marketing budget, evidently. They're back to making automotive batteries now, but I bought up a bunch of them and a pair of chargers while they were still available. Might even still be able to get them at Amazon.
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Do you have a mobilephone with GPS?

 

Try Geocaching Live at Live.geocaching.com it's for free. Full function, if you're a premium member.

 

I have been using this for 1½ year, and it works great. It works online or ofline as you wish. On the homepage, you can download a program that rip maps for offline use (you don't have to buy maps). When you've found a cache, you can mark it as found, and upload to the server, and finish logging at at home(gain, no paper).

 

You don't have to plan caching. Just start up this program, and search for nearby caches.

 

Some talk about battery life. After 4 hours my phone used 50-60% (SE Hazel)

GPS-precision says 1-6 meters.

 

Love paperles geocaching

 

I won't go back to an "ordinary" GPS.

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I won't go back to an "ordinary" GPS.

Do you also place caches? If so, when you mark a waypoint, for a new cache, is your application capable of performing a statistical average of the location, or just a snapshot? I have come to understand that even the gc.com application does not use best practice in this regard, recording only a single measurement instead of the equivalent of "Waypoint Averaging".
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How do I get my $5 compass to point towards the cache? Mine only points north.

:rolleyes:

 

Is this a serious question? :rolleyes:

 

Your compass can "point" in ANY direction. North is only the reference. You pull the TO bearing (in degrees) off your GPS and dial it into the compass bezel. Now, turn yourself to put the red half of the needle over the hollow orienteering arrow, aka "red in the shed". Now you are pointing straight at the cache.

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How do I get my $5 compass to point towards the cache? Mine only points north.

:rolleyes:

 

Is this a serious question? :rolleyes:

 

Your compass can "point" in ANY direction. North is only the reference. You pull the TO bearing (in degrees) off your GPS and dial it into the compass bezel. Now, turn yourself to put the red half of the needle over the hollow orienteering arrow, aka "red in the shed". Now you are pointing straight at the cache.

 

Ok, How do I get my $5 compass's needle to point towards the cache? Mine only points north.

And of course it was not a serious question. It was to illustrate the added benefit of using a GPSr to find geocaches as opposed to using a $5 compass.

 

Also, why do I need to do all that with a compass when my GPSr is already pointing at the cache and also telling me how far away it is?

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Forget it then. You blew your wad at "it wasn't a serious question". :rolleyes:

 

Plus, since you keep referencing caches, geocaching is just a game...not a matter of life and death. If the GPS broke/failed, 99.9% of us would just pack it up and head home, mag compass or not...

Edited by sviking
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