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ambeer

My adventures with Garmin Map 64 st

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A couple of months ago I decided to return to geocaching. I was never big on numbers. Urban areas, crazy micro in a middle of parking lot, hieroglyphic inscriptions plus Chinese cipher etc are not my game.

I prefer long hikes in wild area.

My 60CSx was my trusted companion. Two maybe three years ago Geocaching.com refused to recognize my machine. Famous “Comunicator” problem. I was unable to load caches automatically. Updates did not help at all. My browser, Firefox was not supported. Explorer worked some time but later it also refused to cooperate.

About month ago my computer finally died and I bought new machine with Windows 10. Hey, why not to make some geocaching comeback ? So I bought Garmin 64st map. Results are:

Good, bad, ugly and funny!

Good: Nice machine, very accurate, screen readable in sunlight, battery life not perfect but I squeezed almost 9 hours ou of it on fresh set of alkalines... and unfortunately that is all for this category.

 

Bad : Preloaded caches... Why? Every geocacher knows that many caches have short shelf life. They were preloaded months ago , a year ago, two years ago ? That's a big difference. Was this a strange move to bolster this hobby? I have serious doubts. Many people were probably disappointed looking for something long gone. They were rather discouraged than encouraged. I am really surprised that Geocaching.com allowed Garmin to make such move.

Lack of comprehensive manual... 64 st map is very confusing and complicated. Simplicity of 60CSx was needlessly sacrificed. Manual is a joke. This machine must be a nightmare for first time user . Many menu items are simply bragging points. For geocachers and other average users they are mostly irrelevant. Why not to post comprehensive manual on line ??? Am I asking for too much? I don’t think so.

 

Ugly: Very ugly in fact. Cache management: You cannot delete cache in the field. You must be connected to Basecamp. So am I suppose to carry my laptop with me ? Please, it is a nonsense. But wait it goes better. Two days ago I tried to use Basecamp to delete some caches and mark some as found. I was greeted by wonderful message: “Error connecting to Garmin server. Would you like to try again ?” I did it again and again. Without success. I have to admit that Garmin politess makes me laugh and cry at the same time. :) My particular machine was quite stubborn and “swallowed” two caches without a warning. I was too frustrated to look after them.

I don’t want to speculate but some quirky behavior and abysmal, overly complicated, counter intuitive user interface may be dangerous or even deadly in some situations. Especially if we are talking about nautical environment.

 

Funny: Preloaded free topo maps: For geocachers topo maps seem be a very useful addition, however their accuracy is sometimes on a funny side. I live in Buffalo, NY state area. They mark railroad line in my neighbourhood. Sure,  it was there but over 60 years ago!!! It seems to me that Garmin found some old, free maps, added some proprietory data ( often obsolete, like long gone gas stations) and loaded this stuff without even checking for accuracy. I can live with it.   Great Lakes did not move much in last 60 years, glaciers are gone,  but it gives you a glimpse into their corporate culture.

Garmin Customer Support: It is really cruel joke. They are never at fault. Do you remember Firefox issue? Message is : “Firefox does not support this plugin”. ( the same excuse like 3 years ago!!!) Well, maybe because plugin is obsolete and can not work with Firefox. Oh, but now it is a problem with Windows 10 64 bit version. Microsoft newest browser is also not supported ! So once again you are relegated to Microsoft Explorer. In general,  in order to make Garmin software work you MUST mess with YOUR computer and remember !!!! There is no guarantee that it will finally work. Turn off your antivirus, turn on your antivirus and firewall , reset your browser, stay on one leg for 10 minutes singing opera arias and reciting Declaration of Independence and maybe just maybe …..and remember if not it is always Firefox, Windows, YOU... and Martians

Basecamp software: It looks like Windows 3.1 programmer was working from his mommy basement on weekends.

 

I dont know what happened to GARMIN. I will probably try to send my 64 map back to Amazon.com.

This wonderfull message “Error connecting to Garmin servers” was probaly the last straw. Or maybe I send for a replacement ??? I don’t know. Maybe I have defective unit ???

My humble question :

Is there any way to connect my trusty 60CSx to garmin.com ??? Even under Explorer ( because you know , Explorer does not work properly with Windows 10 ! Microsoft is guilty not Garmin :) ) my device  60 Csx is.... “not found”.:(

Ambeer

PS . Does anyone have similar problems????? Maybe it is  me ???

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ambeer

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You can still use the 60csx with a cache manager such as GSAK. Otherwise, no, the "send to GPS" feature is effectively dead.

I wouldn't send the 64st back just yet, though perhaps you might want to exchange it for the cheaper 64s without the topo map and install your own topo map from www.gpsfiledepot.com. Keep in mind that Garmin's maps are only as up to date as their data (mostly supplied by Navteq), and some of that data comes from public USGS sources. Old roads, or railroads in your case, may not always be deleted in a timely fashion, which is why the map thinks there is a railroad where none currently exists. Even the free maps, which are often based off of OpenStreetMap data may not have removed some of these old objects. It does depend how active OSM community is in your area. All maps are for reference and should not be taken as absolutely accurate. Even USGS quads sometimes show trails in the wrong place, or trails that are no longer maintained.

You don't need Basecamp to load or delete geocaches. GPX files can be written directly to the 64s by putting them in the Garmin/GPX folder on the device. You can do this individually using the "save as GPX" option on cache pages, or in bulk using pocket queries. With geocache limits having been lifted, there's no real incentive to delete your finds from the GPS, though if you're going to load caches one at a time, be aware that there are still limits on the number of .gpx files you can have on the device. This makes pocket queries a much more useful method for installing and managing caches on your GPS. Plus, you can configure your pocket queries to exclude your finds, effectively removing them each time you run and update the PQ. It's true that you can't remove a geocache in the field, but you couldn't on the 60csx either unless you were loading them as waypoints. It's advised that you load them as points of interest (POIs) on GPS units that don't support paperless caching so you don't max out your waypoint limits. Also access to descriptions, etc.

Last, but not least, you can use a cache manager such as GSAK to download your pocket queries, as well as download and update caches via the API, keeping a database locally. You can then bulk export tens of thousands of caches in the GGZ format (save in the GGZ folder) for better performance.

The error that you're having marking geocaches as found has to do with Basecamp once connecting with Garmin's now defunct Opencaching.com. You can't log your caches from basecamp. Instead you can mark them as found on the GPS and upload field notes / drafts to geocaching.com to then log your finds. Or log them via GSAK.

The 64 series are a very popular set of GPS units, and many people use them without much problem. Don't give up yet.
 

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12 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

[...] the "send to GPS" feature is effectively dead. [...]

No, that's wrong. The Garmin Communicator still works:
Firefox ESR 52.4.0 (32-Bit) | Garmin Communicator 4.1.0.1-signed

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Most of those things are simply because you do not know what you are doing.  If you would like help figuring it out, let us know.

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Hello !

 

Thank you very much for answering ! You motivated me ! Sorry for late answer but I had a lot of work this week.

Several points to consider:

1) I still cannot connect to Garmin Servers. Why? It is still a mystery

2) I loaded GSAK. And….. I am  happy as a clam. I still have to fully understand GSAK user interface but everything is moving in right direction. 64 connected without problems.Finally I can mange my caches.

3) 60CSx did not wanted to “talk” to GSAK. I installed new Garmin GPS drivers and it is working!!!!

It is a Veeeeery Goood news.

4) I am really gratefull for your answers. It was my first post on this forum. And YES Mr. Red 90 I really dont know what I am doing but am slowly getting better :D. I knew about GSAK but you know, Communicator made my lazy....

As I said before I was occasional user. I like this hobby but I simply do not have enough time. I know that “hard core cachers” may consider this a heresy ...but… I still believe that for occasional user Garmin communicator is probably the best way of loading caches. Especially if you have 60CSx.

5) Yes, Communicator is still working but now I probably will not use it. GSAK is much better.

6) This forum delivers more real help than Garmin “help”.

7) I understand people loading hundreds of caches to their device. I am not going to do it. My personal preference is: quality over quantity.

8) I also noticed that in the last 2-3 years this hobby is moving a little bit slower. I my area ( western NY State) we have some excellent caches slowly sliding into oblivion. Especially multis are vunerable to neglect. Owners are non responsive and maintenance is non existent. Do you notice the same things in your place ?

9) If you ever going to my area let me know. We have several nice nature preserves and they deliver nice geocaching.

10) I will consider premium membership. It is not really about money. It is about time.I do not have enough time but i have two GPS receivers.

Greetings
ambeer

 

Edited by ambeer

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42 minutes ago, ambeer said:

7) I understand people loading hundreds of caches to their device. I am not going to do it. My personal preference is: quality over quantity.

8) I also noticed that in the last 2-3 years this hobby is moving a little bit slower. I my area ( western NY State) we have some excellent caches slowly sliding into oblivion. Especially multis are vunerable to neglect. Owners are non responsive and maintenance is non existent. Do you notice the same things in your place ?

7... I agree, and that's why I still load caches manually to my 60csx.  I simply add a note, hint, or part of a helpful log to a notepad, and I'm good.   :)

8... I believe most see a "change" in the hobby.  Most states we've visited see the same, with owners no longer playing (their caches slowly being archived for maintenance), and an inundation of nondescript containers with the only redeeming quality being a find.

 

ETA...  9 ... We pass your area most every Fall for salmon/steelhead fishing.  Sounds like fun !

Edited by cerberus1

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I still don't know what "Garmin servers" you are trying to connect with. Basecamp works locally, though there is a limited cloud storage option through your My Garmin account. Maybe the quirk is with the windows version of Basecamp, because there are no problems on Mac.

I'll add one bit - you'll get more out of your 64s and GSAK with a premium membership. Think about it.

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I have a GPSMAP64S and use GSAK. Once I got over the intimidation of all the stuff it can do, I did figure out the basic loading of cache info onto my device. I did pay for my GSAK and am happy to support it. As for the device, I am in love with it. I use it more than any of my other devices, one even being a bit newer ;) Hang in there. It is worth it. (ps-I have never used Basecamp)

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1 hour ago, Tumbleweedeb said:

(ps-I have never used Basecamp)

Basecamp is useful for all non-geocaching activities. For example, after a hike, I'll transfer my track over to basecamp and clean it up before sending it to my favorite activity tracking service of choice.

I will aso draw tracks along trails when planning hikes in order to have a better estimate of distance and elevation. It's nice that Basecamp will also export data directly into Google Earth.

I also maintain a list of important waypoints, including trailheads and parking areas as well as features I might utilize for routing.

So, it's great for organizing and managing waypoints, tracks, and routes. It's less useful (or nearly useless) for managing geocaches.

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OK I like this, I was not aware. I don't spend time educating myself on stuff I don't find immediate use for, so I had missed all these uses. This I like. I am doing hikes where fitbit doesn't get altitude and crazy roadtrips into seriously weird places, so this is good. I am a data geek, I was missing this from my life :) Thank you for making me aware of this <3 <3 <3

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11 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

Basecamp is useful for all non-geocaching activities. For example, after a hike, I'll transfer my track over to basecamp and clean it up before sending it to my favorite activity tracking service of choice.

I will aso draw tracks along trails when planning hikes in order to have a better estimate of distance and elevation. It's nice that Basecamp will also export data directly into Google Earth.

I also maintain a list of important waypoints, including trailheads and parking areas as well as features I might utilize for routing.

So, it's great for organizing and managing waypoints, tracks, and routes. It's less useful (or nearly useless) for managing geocaches.

This works in reverse, too. You can set waypoints and draw tracks (GE calls it create path) in Google Earth, export to KML and import into Basecamp.

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Send the 64 back and get an Oregon 7x0. It has direct wireless connection to Garmin and Groundspeak. It will load caches directly without need to connect to a PC, ever! It even updates itself wirelessly! Best geocaching GPSr currently available!

 

More info here.

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