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Garmin Montana 650

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Sunday I spent part of the afternoon doing some geocaches with the new Montana. A few observations.

 

1. The screen is really great! I can actually see this one.

2. The GPS seems to be really stable. No jumping around as you approach the cache location and accuracy is as good or better than any GPS I have used to date (60csx, Oregon 450t, Colorado, PN40)

3. Did I mention the screen. I am impressed!

4. Maps - I loaded up CN NT and downloaded some Birdseye Satellite views and they really show a great improvement on that new screen.

5. I did have one slight issue, on one of the go to sequences it listed the distance to the cache as 1,946.7 miles, but that was wrong. It still took me there but the distance to number was wacky. It did not happen again, but something to watch for.

6. The tracks seem to be very smooth both for driving and walking.

 

My compass did calibrate successfully to completion and I had no POI proximity issues.

 

I used the Garmin GPS Export GSAK Macro and had no difficulty loading just over 5000 caches. Many of the functions are quite intuitive. It appears that the Garmin User Interface is the best yet.

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My compass did calibrate successfully to completion and I had no POI proximity issues.

 

What version of firmware is in your Montana? Mine is *supposed* to arrive this morning and I am wondering if I should update to the latest firmware (is that 2.50?) or leave it alone?

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If you have proximity poi's, that might be the reason.

You can backup you gps (always do( or make a copy of the profieles folder, after the reset put the profiles folder back.

Normal poi's are no problem I have thousands also.

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What version of firmware is in your Montana? Mine is *supposed* to arrive this morning and I am wondering if I should update to the latest firmware (is that 2.50?) or leave it alone?

 

GO ahead and update. Version 2.5 is as stable or more than 2.4. Here's hoping a new update is released this week. Two of the main issues I can't wait to get fixed are:

 

1) The cameras Low Light Mode actually does something.

2) The 3D view sometimes places your arrow in a location it's not. Sometimes several blocks away. Hmm

 

 

I found a feature this morning. If you hold down the back arrow or "X" regardless of where you are in the menu system it will take you back to the Main Menu screen. You can be deep in the setup menu somewhere and this is handy for jumping back to square one.

Edited by yogazoo

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I found a feature this morning. If you hold down the back arrow or "X" regardless of where you are in the menu system it will take you back to the Main Menu screen. You can be deep in the setup menu somewhere and this is handy for jumping back to square one.

 

Excellent discovery.

 

Thank you.

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I found a feature this morning. If you hold down the back arrow or "X" regardless of where you are in the menu system it will take you back to the Main Menu screen. You can be deep in the setup menu somewhere and this is handy for jumping back to square one.

 

If I recall correctly, my Oregon 450 did the same thing, as does my Nuvi 1690.

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[if I recall correctly, my Oregon 450 did the same thing, as does my Nuvi 1690.

I don't know why but I never discovered this on my Oregon 450 and I have never owned a nuvi. Chalk it up to the density of my brain cavity.

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5. I did have one slight issue, on one of the go to sequences it listed the distance to the cache as 1,946.7 miles, but that was wrong. It still took me there but the distance to number was wacky. It did not happen again, but something to watch for.

I had that happen as we approached Williamsport, PA this weekend. I was in automotive mode in the cradle and the time to destination was about 18 minutes. When I swapped to distance it listed 2339 miles. It stubbornly refused to bring this number down and when I reached just a mile or so away, it still showed 2300+. We made a turn and changed geocaches so I never did find out what it was when I was next to the cache. It only happened that one time. (FW 2.50)

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When using the geocaching dashboard, is there a way to change the number of decimals in the distance? I was hiking this weekend and had the geocaching dashboard up and the distance was only in tenths of a mile. It would be useful to get this like the compass where the distance is measured in hundreths. It's hard to tell if you're getting closer when it doesn't change from "0.7" for a long time.

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UPDATE on the SHIPPING DATE for the RAM-MOUNT MONTANA HOLDER

 

My order for the Montana Ram-Mount Montana holder (part #: RAM-HOL-GA46U) has not been shipped. In fact, Ram-Mount shows that the item is not yet available. I called Ram-Mount and I was informed that they made an error stating that it was available on their web site. The estimated date of availably is 27 August.

Edited by Barrikady

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That's funny I found the X or arrow feature also this morning, maybe a wireless software update???? :huh:

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info on battery life, got about 13 hours recording a gpx track with light off and the lithium battery! not bad.

I'll have to try with 3 eneloop XX

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info on battery life, got about 13 hours recording a gpx track with light off and the lithium battery! not bad.

I'll have to try with 3 eneloop XX

 

That's about what I got with the Li-Ion too. I got 15 hours with the screen in "Battery Save" mode (dark). I was recording a track set for time at 1 second. I woke the screen up about three times per hour during the test.

 

One thing about the Montana is that battery conservation measures really go a long way. If you have the backlight set on 100% and you're constantly playing with the screen, your bound to see lousy numbers.

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Got my Montana 600 this morning. Updated to 2.50 (after making a full backup of the device). Loaded Topo 2008 on it and a bunch of geocaches and went out geocaching.

 

I love the display. I hated the display on the Oregon 450, but this one is great. I have WAAS enabled and it seldom produces the kind of 8-9 foot "accuracy" numbers my 62S did, but nonetheless it gets me to the caches very accurately. I only had the LI cell about 50% charged when I left home and after about 3 hours it was down to 25% but still working fine. I popped in 3 Powerex 2700mAh cells fresh off the charger and continued on.

 

It did abruptly power itself off three times in three hours. All three times I was on the home screen, geocaching profile, hit the down arrow and POOF, black screen. Works fine after it comes back up, but that will need to be fixed. I think I recall some other folks having that problem too.

 

I will have more to say about it in the future, but my initial impression is that this is by far the best GPS I have owned, and I have owned 15, all but two were Garmins.

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Got my Montana 600 this morning. Updated to 2.50 (after making a full backup of the device). Loaded Topo 2008 on it and a bunch of geocaches and went out geocaching.

 

I love the display. I hated the display on the Oregon 450, but this one is great. I have WAAS enabled and it seldom produces the kind of 8-9 foot "accuracy" numbers my 62S did, but nonetheless it gets me to the caches very accurately. I only had the LI cell about 50% charged when I left home and after about 3 hours it was down to 25% but still working fine. I popped in 3 Powerex 2700mAh cells fresh off the charger and continued on.

 

It did abruptly power itself off three times in three hours. All three times I was on the home screen, geocaching profile, hit the down arrow and POOF, black screen. Works fine after it comes back up, but that will need to be fixed. I think I recall some other folks having that problem too.

 

I will have more to say about it in the future, but my initial impression is that this is by far the best GPS I have owned, and I have owned 15, all but two were Garmins.

 

Thanks for the review and comments... I really enjoy reading you all's experiences with a unit I'm wanting to buy...

 

What kind of accuracy is it getting?

 

These things shutting off like this really concerns me... The fact that we're ok with it only shutting of 3 times in a few hours make me think we don't have high expectations of the device....

 

Several folks have mentioned this... I don't mean to sound to critical, but the dang thing is brand new, it should not be shutting off unless you hit the off button or the dang battery is dead...

 

I really want to upgrade from my Colorado (want not need), and as much as I want to love this device, I'm not ready to plunk down 700 bucks to replace a 400-500.00 unit that works fine with a one that shuts down randomly... hmmmm...

 

Maybe I'm just making excuses since I don't have the money to buy my new toy yet... :)

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These things shutting off like this really concerns me... The fact that we're ok with it only shutting of 3 times in a few hours make me think we don't have high expectations of the device....

I don't have high expectations of Garmin getting it right within the first year of so. Past experience has been pretty indicative. On the other hand, I have confidence that Garmin will get it right eventually.

 

So this works out well for you. Wait a year for them to get the bugs out of the firmware, while you save up the money, and wait for the price to drop :)

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Garmin's software/firmware dev team seems really good at coming up with cool features, but they are really bad and slow at testing and fixing bugs.

 

Cool new features sell hardware. Fixing bugs and testing COSTS money that they don't want to spend.

 

Seems it's always been that way with Garmin.

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What kind of accuracy is it getting?

 

I think the best I saw today was something like 13 feet in conditions where it had a clear, unobstructed view of the sky. Under those circumstances my 60cxs and 62s would typically show 8 or 9 feet. It isn't really "accuracy" though, it is "Estimated Position Error", see here for a discussion:

 

http://edu-observatory.org/gps/gps_accuracy.html

 

These things shutting off like this really concerns me... The fact that we're ok with it only shutting of 3 times in a few hours make me think we don't have high expectations of the device....

 

I'm not OK with it. I intend to complain to Garmin, I just haven't had a chance to yet.

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OK, I just filed a report on the shutdowns with Garmin. I specified that I have the latest 2.50 firmware installed, but I betcha the first response I get from a support person there will tell me to download and install the latest firmware. ;-)

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OK, I just filed a report on the shutdowns with Garmin. I specified that I have the latest 2.50 firmware installed, but I betcha the first response I get from a support person there will tell me to download and install the latest firmware. ;-)

 

Did you use the generic customer support email to report the bugs or did you send it to Oregon.beta@garmin.com?

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Did you use the generic customer support email to report the bugs or did you send it to Oregon.beta@garmin.com?

 

I used the generic support form. It hadn't occurred to me to report a Montana production release bug to the Oregon Beta team. Is that what we're supposed to do?

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Yes, somehow the Oregon.beta software team found out that I had bought the Montana and sent me an email asking me to report any crashes to the Oregon.beta@garmin.com address (I think they may actually monitor these forums because it was sent on the day I received my unit and before I had it registered). They apparently don't have a Montana.beta email address set up yet.

 

My theory is that most of the handheld units are updated by the same "team" of people anyway.

Edited by yogazoo

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These things shutting off like this really concerns me... The fact that we're ok with it only shutting of 3 times in a few hours make me think we don't have high expectations of the device....

I don't have high expectations of Garmin getting it right within the first year of so. Past experience has been pretty indicative. On the other hand, I have confidence that Garmin will get it right eventually.

 

So this works out well for you. Wait a year for them to get the bugs out of the firmware, while you save up the money, and wait for the price to drop :)

 

You make good sense!!!!

 

One of the many reasons I love this place.... You guys always have sage advise for sure!!!

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Garmin's software/firmware dev team seems really good at coming up with cool features, but they are really bad and slow at testing and fixing bugs.

 

Cool new features sell hardware. Fixing bugs and testing COSTS money that they don't want to spend.

 

Seems it's always been that way with Garmin.

 

i'm a developer ( italian )...a software like the Montana "Operating System" is not hard to test...i think it's a quick-release releated problem ( Garmin need to develop the 1st AllInOne product before other resellers ), not a testing budget problem i beleave..they spend time after the release as it happen with other products :(

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i think it's a quick-release releated problem ( Garmin need to develop the 1st AllInOne product before other resellers )

 

Don't know about that, it's not like they have any competent competition. Garmin clearly owns the handheld GPS market.

Edited by michaelnel

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i'm a developer ( italian )...a software like the Montana "Operating System" is not hard to test...i think it's a quick-release releated problem ( Garmin need to develop the 1st AllInOne product before other resellers ), not a testing budget problem i beleave..they spend time after the release as it happen with other products :(

 

Don't know about that, it's not like they have any competent competition. Garmin clearly owns the handheld GPS market.

 

Well that is actually not true. The competition comes from the Mobile Phone markets. About half of my colleagues use their iPhone or Android for caching. Some use just a basic or old Garmin and the mobile phone in addition. I think Garmin needs to speed up if they want to keep the marked share.

WWERNER

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The competition comes from the Mobile Phone markets.

 

OK, I would say you are probably right there. I don't think cell phone hardware is very good compared to dedicated GPSRs, and I don't think they perform anywhere near as well (especially under cover), but people generally are pretty technically inept, and if the mfg says it has a GPS in it, that's good enough for them.

 

I agree the cell phone threat is very real. Way more significant than any competition from the likes of Magellan or Lowrance.

Edited by michaelnel

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>>batterie life

i had similar results:

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.co.nz&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www12345678.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/laufzeitladezeit/&usg=ALkJrhjPCUg8JzdaO-7-rzyVm4No5qD8jw

 

The PowerSave-modus is very useful.

On the Oregon, the PowerSave-modus did not make any difference for me.

Edited by freeday

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>>batterie life

i had similar results:

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.co.nz&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www12345678.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/laufzeitladezeit/&usg=ALkJrhjPCUg8JzdaO-7-rzyVm4No5qD8jw

 

The PowerSave-modus is very useful.

On the Oregon, the PowerSave-modus did not make any difference for me.

 

Thanks Freeday! That is a great link.

 

Wow, almost 20 hours of use with the li-ion battery! Of course it's with battery save mode on and light off but that's great. I would suspect that with batt save mode on and using the light for minimal uses Garmin got the claimed 16 hours just about right.

 

Where's the Montana Wiki? How can we get one started? The germans are way ahead of us regarding Montana info.

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Regarding the lithium battery... does it have to be charged with the supplied charger, or does it charge (slowly) when connected to a PC via USB? I figure it probably doesn't charge on USB because it would take too much current, but maybe someone knows for sure.

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I have another question regarding power. My old 60Cx could be set for different action when external power was lost, ie, stay on, shutdown or prompt for desired action. This feature is missing on the Oregon and I cannot for the life of me figure out why Garmin would have dropped that feature and replace it with a prompt screen that defaults to shutdown if you don't respond in time.

 

How does the Montana do when external power is lost? Is it programmable like the 60Cx?

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Hi guys, is there a way to save (or move/copy) the gpx track on the microSD?

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Save your track in trackmanager, look/remember the name.

Connect the Gps to an Usb

Windows explorer

goto your SD if not exist, make a folder Garmin, in the forder Garmin make a folder GPX

goto GPS, folder Garmin\Gpx

Select the track you just saved

Ctrl C

Slide your mouse to the Sd > Garmin\Gpx

2 Click

Ctrl V

 

If the track is actually in the Sd Gpx you can delete it from the Gps Gpx folder

Edited by splashy

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new issues...i've found today

 

i've made a drag'n'drop 42 gpx files inside GPX internal directory; i need to sort by name but it's impossibile, i think it use Last Edit Date..or Creation Date ( i've edited all the files today for name fix .. dadgum! )

when i move all the gpx-files from Main List to "Archive"..after 3-4 "archive" procedure montana crash....and store files with abnoraml characters ( windows can't delete these files, i must use Dos command delete *.* inside Archive )

 

i've send system.xml to new montana support : MontanaBeta@garmin.com

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Thanks for that, but that's not really a Montana wiki. That's the Oregon / Colorado wiki who has grudgingly given permission to have a Montana-specific discussion area.

 

I would love to have a Montana wiki that is very similar to the Oregon / Colorado one, with all the buglists, and versions info, and all the tips and tricks that are on that one. I have never set up a wiki, and I suspect that getting it populated with all that info would take a large community effort. I bet the Oregon / Colorado one has been around since the Colorado was the hot new product and has developed over the years into what it is today.

 

But to paraphrase the old proverb: "The best time to start a Montana Wiki is six months ago, the second best time is now.".

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I just got an email from Garmin, they want my system.xml file to work on the shutdown issue. They also said:

 

"PS: If you send email to MontanaBeta@garmin.com we get it a little quicker"

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Scott seems to be on a vacation, he made this available for now.

He says he found some issues on the Montana and I understood he will make a real wiki when back.

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Does anyone else that has City Navigator find that it takes a racoons age to query for stuff while moving? I tried to find a fast food joint on my way across town today and that little green wheel kept spinning and spinning under a blank screen. 5 minutes later I pulled into a Wendys and turned my confused unit off. Hmm.

Edited by yogazoo

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I haven't tried it with the Montana yet, but I often just gave up on the 62S with CN 2012 ever finding any kind of restaurant. It would just go away and never come back. I never reported it, guess I should have.

 

In contrast, my old CN 2010 in my Nuvi 1690 is VERY responsive for stuff like that.

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Does anyone else that has City Navigator find that it takes a racoons age to query for stuff while moving? I tried to find a fast food joint on my way across town today and that little green wheel kept spinning and spinning under a blank screen. 5 minutes later I pulled into a Wendys and turned my confused unit off. Hmm.

Yogazoo,

 

I have CN installed on my Montana 650. I haven't searched for POI's while moving... but I do have a thought.

 

Is your Map Speed set to Fast or to Normal? (Setup->Map->Fast/Normal) If it's set to Normal, may I suggest you switch it to Fast and see if there is a difference.

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Some confirmed (Garmin Prod Sup) v2.50 bugs:

 

  • Random Shutdowns. . .
  • Bad Distance to Destination readouts in Activities other than Automotive
  • Custom Shortcut's to Setup functions not working.
  • Track Manager: Track->Show/Hide on Map. Multiple Tracks displayed on map can disappear - can occur when Navigating a Track and Stopping/Starting Navigation repeatedly.
  • Changing Profile while Routing does not recalculate the route even if the routing parameters are set different. . .
  • Motorcycle Profile map settings not sticking: changing profile from Automotive to Motorcycle - CNNA maps Disabled even though the Motorcycle Profile defines CNNA as Enabled.
  • Voice Navigation Prompts: Only English Jill will provide full Navigation speech prompts.
  • Placing Montana in Automotive Mount should change Activity Profile to Automotive by default - not working.

 

I had additional bug reports but have not been able to verify v2.50 fixed them yet.

 

Cheers,

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Does anyone else that has City Navigator find that it takes a racoons age to query for stuff while moving? I tried to find a fast food joint on my way across town today and that little green wheel kept spinning and spinning under a blank screen. 5 minutes later I pulled into a Wendys and turned my confused unit off. Hmm.

Yogazoo,

 

I have CN installed on my Montana 650. I haven't searched for POI's while moving... but I do have a thought.

 

Is your Map Speed set to Fast or to Normal? (Setup->Map->Fast/Normal) If it's set to Normal, may I suggest you switch it to Fast and see if there is a difference.

 

Even if I'm standing still the search still takes about 1.5 minutes. If you have city navigator 2012 try searching for a "Food and Drink" category. It doesn't matter which one but lets say "All Categories" and see how long it takes to return any hits.

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Does anyone else that has City Navigator find that it takes a racoons age to query for stuff while moving? I tried to find a fast food joint on my way across town today and that little green wheel kept spinning and spinning under a blank screen. 5 minutes later I pulled into a Wendys and turned my confused unit off. Hmm.

Yogazoo,

 

I have CN installed on my Montana 650. I haven't searched for POI's while moving... but I do have a thought.

 

Is your Map Speed set to Fast or to Normal? (Setup->Map->Fast/Normal) If it's set to Normal, may I suggest you switch it to Fast and see if there is a difference.

 

Even if I'm standing still the search still takes about 1.5 minutes. If you have city navigator 2012 try searching for a "Food and Drink" category. It doesn't matter which one but lets say "All Categories" and see how long it takes to return any hits.

I don't have that time delay. I have a Montana 650 and CN NA 2012.10.

 

I followed your parameter request and it took 8 seconds in "Food and Drink," "All Categories," to find a restaurant, after I typed in the name of the restaurant. I tried it again using a name of a different restaurant. That took 7 seconds.

 

BTW, I tried it a third time using "Normal" Map Speed and there was no difference in the speed of the Montana locating the restaurant name for which I was searching.

Edited by Barrikady

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