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Colorado 300


3isamagic#
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Please help. I was given a Colorado 300 when it first came out and have been using it to geocache. For years I have left all the features alone and just geocached. For the most part I love it, but it doesn't seem very intuative. Everything was great until my caching buddy bought an Explorist 500. GPS envy (and the fact that she gets to the cache more acurately) has caused me to wonder if it is time to upgrade my unit or just learn to speak Garmin. So I dove into the machine and poked around. I think I like what I found (turn by turn instead of as the crow flies, how to mark where I put the car, etc) but I am confused at some of the features. I called Garmin but they are short staffed because of some kind of blizzad (hmmmph).

 

Maybe someone out there can walk me through a couple of questions.

 

1-I have an sd card with maps for North America. Works great for near my house but when I go to Canada...no streets. I looked at a map download for Canada and it is 200 dollars!!!! I could just buy a new unit for that money

2- There is an image gallery. But it doesn't take photos...what is the gallery for?

3-When I get to about 30 feet from the cache, it starts to change its mind. This way, no, back that way...over there, no back that way 50 feet. My friend goes right to within 20 feet and many times I am off searching the wrong area.

 

Maybe I am doing something wrong. Maybe I need a new unit??

 

Please advise as if you are explaining to a newbie....funny, I work my phone and computer just fine, but this Garmin...not so much.

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Realistically, your experience is about as good as you can probably do with the Colorado 300.

 

Newer GPS units have WAAS (digital signal correction) and GLONASS (additional 24 satellites to determine your locations with), as well as many improved functions/features for geocaching.

 

Garmin is about to release newt Oregon GPS units in the coming weeks, but at a hefty price tag.

 

Currently, the Oregon 450/550 are probably the best bang for the buck if you want a highly functional and mature GPS with firmware that has most of the bugs worked out. They can be had for US $200-$250 if you look around a little bit...

 

GPSFileDepot has tons of great maps for your Garmin GPS, some of them arguably better than Garmin maps.

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Realistically, your experience is about as good as you can probably do with the Colorado 300.

 

Newer GPS units have WAAS (digital signal correction) and GLONASS (additional 24 satellites to determine your locations with), as well as many improved functions/features for geocaching.

 

Garmin is about to release newt Oregon GPS units in the coming weeks, but at a hefty price tag.

 

Currently, the Oregon 450/550 are probably the best bang for the buck if you want a highly functional and mature GPS with firmware that has most of the bugs worked out. They can be had for US $200-$250 if you look around a little bit...

 

GPSFileDepot has tons of great maps for your Garmin GPS, some of them arguably better than Garmin maps.

 

so your advise is to upgrade? Maps look complicated. Do explorists come with preloaded street maps?

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Realistically, your experience is about as good as you can probably do with the Colorado 300.

 

Newer GPS units have WAAS (digital signal correction) and GLONASS (additional 24 satellites to determine your locations with), as well as many improved functions/features for geocaching.

 

Garmin is about to release newt Oregon GPS units in the coming weeks, but at a hefty price tag.

 

Currently, the Oregon 450/550 are probably the best bang for the buck if you want a highly functional and mature GPS with firmware that has most of the bugs worked out. They can be had for US $200-$250 if you look around a little bit...

 

GPSFileDepot has tons of great maps for your Garmin GPS, some of them arguably better than Garmin maps.

 

so your advise is to upgrade? Maps look complicated. Do explorists come with preloaded street maps?

 

Maps are not complicated at all. Many GPS are pre-loaded with varying quality maps, depending on how much money you want to spend. Garmin GPS units with "t" suffix have topo maps pre-installed, but they are not very accurate.

 

I see you are in southern WA state. You would be best served by the Northwest Topo map available here. You can even put this map on your Colorado.

 

Follow the map installation guides here for step-by-step instructions.

Edited by BMW JEDI
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Something is wrong. The unit should be very accurate, as accurate as anything made. BMW Jedi is completely wrong. If anything, they are better at accuracy than an Oregon.

 

First please check that the firmware is up to date.

 

Then learn how to use it. The Colorados still have the nicest user interface, IMO, despite the software being a bit older.

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Maybe someone out there can walk me through a couple of questions.

 

1-I have an sd card with maps for North America. Works great for near my house but when I go to Canada...no streets. I looked at a map download for Canada and it is 200 dollars!!!! I could just buy a new unit for that money

2- There is an image gallery. But it doesn't take photos...what is the gallery for?

3-When I get to about 30 feet from the cache, it starts to change its mind. This way, no, back that way...over there, no back that way 50 feet. My friend goes right to within 20 feet and many times I am off searching the wrong area.

First, I agree totally with Red90. While I now use my 62s as my main device, I still have and love my Colorado 300 and 400t. You can find free mapping for street routing and topo to supplement what you already have.

 

The image gallery is nice for loading spoiler photos or other useful photos related to seeking caches. I also load scanned trail or parks maps in .jpg format for reference in the field. You can zoom and pan to these maps.

 

And your mention of being sent back and forth seeking a cache sounds to me like you're navigating by compass (arrow). I always keep my compass disabled and follow the readout of bearing and distance and my COs are dead-on accurate. The Colorado units get better signal than the Oregon units due to the helix antenna. As Red90 advised, be sure you have the latest version firmware. Use the Garmin WebUpdater while connected to the PC to update.

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The nice thing about the internet is that anyone and everyone is an expert.

 

BMW Jedi is completely wrong. If anything, they are better at accuracy than an Oregon.

 

A very compelling argument. Allow me to retort.

 

First, I agree totally with Red90. The Colorado units get better signal than the Oregon units due to the helix antenna.

 

The Colorado, the Oregon, the nuvi, the eXplorist ALL receive the exact same signals, from the exact same satellites. It is physically impossible for the Colorado to 'get a better signal' than any other GPS. Mostly just old timers and fools believe the antique external helix antenna is superior to newer internal antenna designs. If that were the case, do you think all new GPS units would be without the external helix antenna (as they are)?

 

Not to mention, newer GPS units also have access to 24 additional satellites (GLONASS) to more precisely and quickly pinpoint your exact location, all accomplished without external helix antenna.

 

EDIT: Forgot to mention the Oregon and most newer GPS have a 3-axis compass, which does not require you to hold the unit perfectly level for proper operation, such as the Colorado.

 

Of course, this thread will undoubtedly now be flooded with GPSMap 60 series users (very old technology) proclaiming the superiority if the external helix design over current technology.

 

Fortunately (for you), you can see for yourself the results of a field test comparing the two, and decide for yourself which better serves your interests.

 

And be careful whose advise you consider. Some of us like to use facts, others.... not so much.

Edited by BMW JEDI
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The nice thing about the internet is that anyone and everyone is an expert.

 

BMW Jedi is completely wrong. If anything, they are better at accuracy than an Oregon.

 

A very compelling argument. Allow me to retort.

 

First, I agree totally with Red90. The Colorado units get better signal than the Oregon units due to the helix antenna.

 

The Colorado, the Oregon, the nuvi, the eXplorist ALL receive the exact same signals, from the exact same satellites. It is physically impossible for the Colorado to 'get a better signal' than any other GPS. Mostly just old timers and fools believe the antique external helix antenna is superior to newer internal antenna designs. If that were the case, do you think all new GPS units would be without the external helix antenna (as they are)?

 

Not to mention, newer GPS units also have access to 24 additional satellites (GLONASS) to more precisely and quickly pinpoint your exact location, all accomplished without external helix antenna.

 

EDIT: Forgot to mention the Oregon and most newer GPS have a 3-axis compass, which does not require you to hold the unit perfectly level for proper operation, such as the Colorado.

 

Of course, this thread will undoubtedly now be flooded with GPSMap 60 series users (very old technology) proclaiming the superiority if the external helix design over current technology.

 

Fortunately (for you), you can see for yourself the results of a field test comparing the two, and decide for yourself which better serves your interests.

 

And be careful whose advise you consider. Some of us like to use facts, others.... not so much.

 

I own a Colorado 400t. Newest firmware. Used it reliably for several years. Upgraded to an eTrex 30 back in December.

Observations: Antenna doesn't really matter all that much IMHO. My eTrex 30 seems to do a better job, but I attribute that to the GLONASS support.

I was perfectly happy with my Colorado for accuracy and UI.

I upgraded because the SD slot had failed and I was getting annoyed with that random track-goes-out-by-100M bug.

 

As for the OP, Topo Canada is a decent product and the only one that I'm aware of with the DEM shaded relief topo. City Navigatior isn't quite as "only game in town", there are pretty good free maps for that. If you're on a budget, I would use Ibycus Topo (free) or OpenStreetMaps (also free). You should study the Colorado Wiki it's a great resource for learning how to use the unit. The last 30M problem sounds like you did not calibrate (or enable) the electronic compass. You do need to hold the GPS level as mentioned.

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Realistically, your experience is about as good as you can probably do with the Colorado 300.

 

Newer GPS units have WAAS (digital signal correction) and GLONASS (additional 24 satellites to determine your locations with), as well as many improved functions/features for geocaching.

 

 

The Colorado supports WAAS. It always got me where I needed to go. I found several thousand caches with it and used the same caching features (field notes, paperless, etc) that I use on my Montana. And it's implementation of Wherigo was far more stable than the Oregon. My unit failed after the USB connection became loose. But I have been considering tracking down a used one for wherigos.

 

A good source of information for the unit is the Colorado Wiki.

Edited by geodarts
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The nice thing about the internet is that anyone and everyone is an expert.

 

BMW Jedi is completely wrong. If anything, they are better at accuracy than an Oregon.

 

A very compelling argument. Allow me to retort.

 

First, I agree totally with Red90. The Colorado units get better signal than the Oregon units due to the helix antenna.

 

The Colorado, the Oregon, the nuvi, the eXplorist ALL receive the exact same signals, from the exact same satellites. It is physically impossible for the Colorado to 'get a better signal' than any other GPS. Mostly just old timers and fools believe the antique external helix antenna is superior to newer internal antenna designs. If that were the case, do you think all new GPS units would be without the external helix antenna (as they are)?

 

Not to mention, newer GPS units also have access to 24 additional satellites (GLONASS) to more precisely and quickly pinpoint your exact location, all accomplished without external helix antenna.

 

 

Hmmm... By this argument, my £180 Etrex 30 (which I use for hiking) would be just as accurate as my employer's £3500 Ashtech MobileMapper 100 (which I use for resolving legal disputes at work). Both pick up GPS, both pick up GLONASS, both pick up EGNOS correction signals, and both have internal patch antennae...

 

...but there the resemblance ends.

 

The Etrex 30 isn't as accurate as the MobileMapper - not by a long way. The MobileMapper consistently achieves sub-metre accuracy - repeatable, day-in, day-out. With the Etrex, I'm lucky to get consistent 4-5 metre accuracy - still good, and more than adequate for hiking, but not for telling a landowner that their barn or excavation is in the wrong position.

 

GPS receivers (despite their low cost) are incredibly complex devices, and there are a hell of a lot of variables and compromises involved in their design and production. There is no one "best" solution. Quad-helix antennae certainly used to be more sensitive than patch antennae, but the RF front-ends of GPS receivers are generally much more sensitive than they were a few years ago. Patch antennae are generally easier to package, cheaper and more robust than quad-helix, so they usually get the nod on low to mid-price units - the better RF front-end takes up the slack. Expensive, survey-grade GPS uses much more complex antenna designs to maximise sensitivity, improve multipath rejection, and selectivity. The same kind of gradings apply through the whole signal chain, the RF "radio" receiver, and the GNSS decoder and the algorithms it runs to compute a position. The more you pay, the better the tolerances in production, the more sophisiticated the hardware, and the more accurate and stable the firmware/software it runs. This does make a measurable difference - it's what people like me (or more accurately, my employer) pay (a lot) more for.

 

When I compare my Etrex 30 with my older GPSMap 60CSx (both running the latest (non-beta) firmware, the tracklogs are remarkably similar (and I'd wager the Colorado (with the latest firmware and WAAS enabled) would give very similar tracklogs too. In my experience, the addition of GLONASS reception doesn't really give you much more in terms of accuracy, what it does give is more reliability and availability of signal in otherwise marginal reception conditions.

 

What I'm saying in a roundabout way, is that any one feature doesn't necessarily make a GPS "better". The Colorado in its day was a good unit, and it can still give good results. There are better units now available, but they're not as "better" as some would have you believe. I'd suggest you take some tips from some of the folks on here who have been able to get their Colorados to work well for them. If you try all that and give it some time and still can't make it work for you, then perhaps it will be time to upgrade (and in the meantime, the firmware on the latest units might have been ironed out a bit more).

Edited by RamblinBear
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And be careful whose advise you consider. Some of us like to use facts, others.... not so much.

Yes... I run a trail mapping project. I get to check tracklogs for the same trails taken with various GPS units all the time. Based on tracklog comparisons there is little difference with the Garmin high sensitivity receivers, at least not enough to make a definitive judgement. From actual Geocache finding with other people, I have found a SLIGHT performance increase from the Colorado over the Oregon. Under some situations the Sirf 60csx is "more stable".

 

YOU were the one saying that Colorados have bad reception. Lets see YOUR facts then.....

 

Edit: Oh, I see you have never found a Geocache...... So you have had vast experience comparing units side by side while navigating to the same location?

Edited by Red90
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YOU were the one saying that Colorados have bad reception. Lets see YOUR facts then.....

 

Actually, I never said (or typed) that. IF I had, I am sure you would have quoted it, but you did not, because I did not.

 

This is a perfect example of the empty and nonfactual posts I warn others about.

 

Edit: Oh, I see you have never found a Geocache...... So you have had vast experience comparing units side by side while navigating to the same location?

Yes, I have (hundreds), and yes I do, thank you.

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ok, Thank you everyone. I dug out all our paperwork from when we first got the unit and guess what? WE had a map program. After hours and hours of fighting with the program and the garmin, I discovered that in order to load the maps, you first have to hit a little button that looks like a wing. Then you can load the maps you need!! So now it is updated (downloads from Garmin), maps installed, and I feel much more confident with it. Thank you all for your suggestions. At the very least, if I end up upgrading, I can use this as a second unit. I will let you know how it does in the field....if it ever stops raining.....

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Yes, I have (hundreds), and yes I do, thank you.

Have you ever used a Colorado? Have you ever personally compared one side by side against other units? I have used them all and compared them all in real life over thousands of caches.

 

You did not specifically state the Colorado had bad reception, but you made it sound like it did not have WAAS and that a newer unit would give better performance.

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My only major annoyance with my Colorado 300 (yes, it has WAAS :rolleyes: ) was its terrible performance on NiMH rechargeables. It's fine with alkalines, but there's a reason I bought some nice NiMHs. Its Wherigo player is decent, and the Rock 'n Roller is adequate once you get the hang of it (and modify the menu so that the things you want are only a few clicks away). I really like the screen.

 

Edit: oh, yeah, it also freezes at "Loading maps..." after I upload GPX files from GSAK. Every time. Works fine after a power cycle.

 

A Garmin handheld without weird, persistent bugs is like a day without sunshine. :laughing:

Edited by JJnTJ
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My only major annoyance with my Colorado 300 (yes, it has WAAS :rolleyes: ) was its terrible performance on NiMH rechargeables. It's fine with alkalines, but there's a reason I bought some nice NiMHs. Its Wherigo player is decent, and the Rock 'n Roller is adequate once you get the hang of it (and modify the menu so that the things you want are only a few clicks away). I really like the screen.

 

Edit: oh, yeah, it also freezes at "Loading maps..." after I upload GPX files from GSAK. Every time. Works fine after a power cycle.

Is your firmware up to date and are you changing the battery settings? I get 12 hours on Ni-MH.

 

The rocker on the RnR accesses a lot of hidden features that allow easy access to different caching screens. Most people don't realize they are all there.

 

The freezing on large GPX files is STILL a problem on all of the Garmin handhelds, from what I understand.

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Is your firmware up to date and are you changing the battery settings? I get 12 hours on Ni-MH.

 

Yes and yes. Backlight is off, too. I'm lucky if I get three hours! Weird thing is, the same batteries work great in my old 60CSx, as well as other applications. My Colorado only likes Alkalines.

 

The freezing on large GPX files is STILL a problem on all of the Garmin handhelds, from what I understand.

 

The files aren't even that large; it froze on me with a really quick & dirty 200-cache GPX. My Montana routinely swallows huge GPX files (~4000 caches) without issue. I should try a 5-cache GPX file and see if the 300 still freezes.

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Yes and yes. Backlight is off, too. I'm lucky if I get three hours! Weird thing is, the same batteries work great in my old 60CSx, as well as other applications. My Colorado only likes Alkalines.

 

 

My Colorado 400t is happiest with Eneloop Ni-Mh batteries. If using non-Eneloop "long charge" type batteries, use ones with mAh above 2500. My Colorado ate low power < 2000 mAh Ni-Mh batteries for lunch.

 

Also make sure the GPS is set to Ni-Mh or Alkaline in Settings->System as appropriate.

Edited by northernpenguin
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The files aren't even that large; it froze on me with a really quick & dirty 200-cache GPX. My Montana routinely swallows huge GPX files (~4000 caches) without issue. I should try a 5-cache GPX file and see if the 300 still freezes.

 

Anything in the SD slot? For giggles, remove the SD card if there is one. My Colorado started acting like that when the SD went "off". It got mad that the card dismounted in the middle of the GPX load. Occasionally the maps would flip of then back on as well during normal use and that caused quite the map redraw delay. So I stopped using my SD card and the GPS was fine for a couple more years. Well, it's still fine I've just moved on to another GPS

 

 

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Yes and yes. Backlight is off, too. I'm lucky if I get three hours! Weird thing is, the same batteries work great in my old 60CSx, as well as other applications. My Colorado only likes Alkalines.

Weird. How long since you did a hard reset? I have two Colorado 300s and use all sorts of brands of batteries. I never have any problem getting over 10 hours until the batteries reach the end or their lives.

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Yes and yes. Backlight is off, too. I'm lucky if I get three hours! Weird thing is, the same batteries work great in my old 60CSx, as well as other applications. My Colorado only likes Alkalines.

Weird. How long since you did a hard reset? I have two Colorado 300s and use all sorts of brands of batteries. I never have any problem getting over 10 hours until the batteries reach the end or their lives.

 

just when I thought I understood this unit....I need to tell it what kind of batteries I am using??how??

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I did a hard reset before using it for the first time (bought it from a friend), but after updating firmware. I think in one of my rounds of trying to solve this issue, I found that my Duracell LSD NiMHs were only 2000mAh, and their voltage tends to drop quickly, even though they have plenty of capacity left. Since the 300 only has voltage to gauge remaining capacity, it assumes they're dropping off and throws the low battery flag. I disassembled my 300 with the intention of finding the voltage divider circuit responsible, but gave up. It's not a hack-friendly device. :laughing:

 

It's no longer an issue since my Montana is my main unit and its internal LiPo is more than sufficient to handle all my adventures.

 

I might try that experiment with the SD card though. It's odd that it boots every time with no issue, except the first time after loading a GPX.

 

just when I thought I understood this unit....I need to tell it what kind of batteries I am using??how??

 

It's in the settings; unfortunately I don't have my 300 in front of me. I do believe it defaults to Alkaline batteries, so if you're using those you don't have to worry about the setting.

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Yes and yes. Backlight is off, too. I'm lucky if I get three hours! Weird thing is, the same batteries work great in my old 60CSx, as well as other applications. My Colorado only likes Alkalines.

Weird. How long since you did a hard reset? I have two Colorado 300s and use all sorts of brands of batteries. I never have any problem getting over 10 hours until the batteries reach the end or their lives.

 

just when I thought I understood this unit....I need to tell it what kind of batteries I am using??how??

 

Yes the power drain between alkaline, lithium and Ni-Mh are different, and the GPS can adjust to accomodate that - mostly with determining what constitutes "low power" .

 

Garmin Colorado Owner's Manual, Page 26:

 

Go to Shortcuts>Setup>System

Change Battery Type to match what you actually put in there.

 

Garmin also backs me up on the 2500mAh or better statement:

 

 

From the Garmin Colorado Manual, Page 37:

Important Information Concerning

 

Battery Usage

 

Garmin recommends the use of premium batteries

in the Colorado for optimal performance andmaximum battery life. Premium alkaline cells,

NiMH rechargeable cells less than one-year old witha capacity greater than or equal to 2500 mAh, andLithium cells provide the best performance. Certainsettings on the Colorado can also shorten battery life.Heavy use of the backlight, 3D view mode, and TrackUp mode will diminish battery life.

 

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