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HaLiJuSaPa

When did Magellan and Lowrance stop making handhelds? Also question about Garmin Forerunner 405/410

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Posted (edited)

Hello all.   Go back about a decade or so and I was all over these forums.   But it has been awhile (those "little kids" with Grover in my profile picture are now 17 and 15!   And except for one post in 2017, I haven't been on here in almost 6 years).   Something I noticed today brought me back for now.

I started caching in 2005.   The first few years, I used a Lowrance IFinder GO, simple but cheap.   Then for many years I used a Garmin Forerunner 305, yes you had to download waypoints one by one, but I liked the convenience of having it on my wrist.   Well after several years it finally broke about a year ago and I have been using my smartphone with the Geocaching app (a Galaxy S7 Edge, now a Galaxy S9 since September).

 

GPS technology in smartphones has improved to the point that it's quite usable for caching (a couple of years ago before the S7 Edge I tried it on an LG G Stylo phone and it was awful and unreliable, don't know if iPhones were that bad then), but I wonder about the possibility of breaking my phone when hiking (although I use a pretty high end Otterbox case).   So I decided to look into another Forerunner (more on that later) and into a handheld.   What I discovered:

1) Although still pretty old technology, I noticed that the Forerunner 405/410 is more like an actual wristwatch size.   How well is it for caching?  I have seen forums where some complain that you can't even download waypoints 1 at a time like you could with the 205/305, but I am more interested in if GPS reception is the same or better than the 205/305 and if it has a similar interface (i.e. compass rose and distance) for finding caches to the 205/305.

2) I was shocked to see that Lowrance and especially Magellan doesn't make handhelds anymore (except for the Australian market which is as far as you can be from where I live without going into space).   It looks like Lowrance stopped a long time ago (anyone know when?) and my guess with Magellan (could not find an absolute answer) is sometime in early-mid 2017.   What happened?   Is Garmin just that dominating or did smartphones become so good as a replacement for a handheld GPS that the market for them has shrunk to almost nothing?   Is there anyone besides Garmin who makes handhelds (I have nothing against Garmin obviously, just hate seeing "monopolies").

3) I see many decent Magellan handhelds are now on eBay for under $100, sometimes as low as $30.   Is it worth getting one vs. continuing to use my smartphone for caching?

Any answers on this would be much appreciated, thanks.

Edited by HaLiJuSaPa

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You're going to get a wide array of answers. Although I love using my GPS, you'll do just fine using your smartphone and there's really no need for anything else.

But, if you are a GPS nerd, as some of us here are, I'm going to suggest going with a Garmin handheld for the reasons that: Magellan users are becoming more and more scarce (Lowrence users, even more of an endangered species) - thus you'll find help and support for Garmins more readily than you will with other brands; Paperless caching - GPSrs that came out post 2008 are designed with geocaching in mind. They natively read GPX files which let you read descriptions, hints, and other attributes of the cache, log them and upload the logs as field notes/drafts to the website. The latest models even connect directly to geocaching.com if you are on a wifi network, or connected to your phone's 4G connection through Bluetooth. Geocaching isn't really built into the watches. Some have made it work, but between a watch and a handheld, I'd choose a handheld.

So to answer your questions:
1. while I don't have experience with the forerunner watches, I can't imagine them being the best suited for geocaching.
2. I'm not sure what happened to Magellan, but they never managed to capture the market share that Garmin did and I suspect that it became too costly to continue making and supporting their handheld line.
3. Whether it's worth getting an old used Magellan is up to you. Personally, I would look for a Garmin over a Magellan because even the older models still have some software and mapping support. But regardless, look for one from a generation with paperless caching. But as often as you are geocaching, I think you'll find your phone to do the job just as well.

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Lowrance is still active in marine use.

Magellan still has some market share in PNDs (dash top units for auto nav) and in some niches like golfing. They seem more popular in Europe than the U.S.

 

Both have pretty much given up on the outdoor and geocaching market, and others entering the market never got traction, leaving one manufacturer. 

 

Fitness devices and loggers seem to have more competitors standing.  Even in fitness lines, Garmin is leading the market share.

 

The market has changed a lot for both outdoor and auto nav. The pervasiveness of phones really shook up the market.

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3 hours ago, robertlipe said:

Lowrance is still active in marine use.

Magellan still has some market share in PNDs (dash top units for auto nav) and in some niches like golfing. They seem 

Fitness devices and loggers seem to have more competitors standing.  Even in fitness lines, Garmin is leading the market share.

 

According to one site Garmin is a distant 6th to Xaiomi, Apple and Fitbit. 

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Since the OP has expressed a desire to have a wrist-based solution and has an Android phone, you might also look at a smart watch instead of a fitness tracker for your wrist. Currently on Android, Locus Map supports both Android Wear and Samsung Galaxy watches. I have a Galaxy S9+ paired with a Galaxy S3 watch, running The Locus Map phone and watch apps. Basically, I select a cache or waypoint on the phone, select "Guide" and it shows my position on the map with a bearing line and distance as you would expect. Put the phone away and look at the watch and it duplicates that display on the watch screen. The watch app also lets you Start/Pause/Stop track recording. And it will run concurrently with a fitness tracker app on the watch. I just thought I'd mention another alternative to what you're looking for. 

 

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Magellan actually stopped producing handheld GPS units a couple of years ago, what they have been selling since 2014 is excess stock. Only the NEW Explorist GC/x10 series works well with geocaching these days as you can simply cut and paste gpx into those units. But even with that, the maps on the Explorist are very old (around 2008 is the mapping they used) and zero support from Magellan and geocaching.com itself. I think what did in Magellan is having multiple owners and outsourcing all their development and support to 3rd party companies, then cutting off the contracts with those companies. Magellan still makes car GPS units, which in itself is quickly dying out. 

 

Basically the market for handheld GPS units has dried up with Garmin being the only one left due to smartphones being so easy to use for geocaching now. As someone posted, it's all about fitness apps now and there are a lot of competitors for those. 

 

 

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I'll eat crow on that one easily enough, GeoTrekker26. I was thinking of devices that come from companies traditionally associated with GPS so I should have couched that more carefully.  Sorry about that.

While there are Fitbits that have GPS, for example, I don't think I've ever had a single person ask about them in GPSBabel-land, while Garmins that make up new fields in the .FIT come around regularly. Maybe that location data stays totally in their apps or Strava or whatever.

Magellan has just had a rough life. While they were a leader at the very beginning of GPS, they went through a series of corporate sales with each generation seemingly replacing everyone in the company that knew anything about the products currently being sold and replacing them. Some generations (Map330/Meri{Gold,Plat,Green}, x10) were good. Some (Explorist x00, Triton) were not well received or were too late. GPSBlake's point about outsourcing the development would explain a lot about how they wound up with ARM-based products that shared bugs with Dragonball code, for example. 

The usage of the three Magellan formats in GPSBabel is so low that I've considered dropping them. It's been years since we've seen any evidence they're being used and we keep doing mechanical maintenance work to keep them alive for no clear reason... So if you're a geocacher using Mapsend, the Explorist x00, or the Meridian of the serial + SD card age, please pipe up. Honestly, watching the struggles in one of the Yahoo groups for that era of products, it was such a stretch to get those Windows 95-era products to work on Windows 7 that there just can't be many of them that aren't basically a sealed system at this point.

I _do_ wish that someone would build a unit that'd give Garmin some competition. Given what we've seen in cell phones in the last ten years, and I do understand economies of scale in electronics, I still think of the TI-84 every time I pick up a new Garmin...that'll take 4 minutes to boot if you touched the GPX files since it last booted.
 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the responses.  I think I will stick with my smartphone, possibly adding a smart watch to it.   My past concerns were reception and accuracy (which is why I used the Forerunner, as someone noted, especially recently, my caching has been little enough that I'm not too concerned about downloading waypoints).   I technically still have the old IFinder Go if I really wanted to use it, I just find it cumbersome.

Edited by HaLiJuSaPa

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Can someone out there help two seniors who used to enjoy geocaching and are now having problems downloading (or is it uploading?) information to our old trusty Garmin GPS 60. We were used to going online, finding a geocache we fancied searching for, then clicking download and all the necessary info went straight to the GPS.  Geocaching.com doesn't seem to work as we were used to it.  I don't know what a GPX file is or what to do with it.  Are we hopelessly out of date? Or is there a simple answer. We only have 1 smart phone between us and don't really know how to use that.  Any help would resally be appreciated. Thank you.

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44 minutes ago, Two old crabs said:

Can someone out there help two seniors who used to enjoy geocaching and are now having problems downloading (or is it uploading?) information to our old trusty Garmin GPS 60. 

  Are we hopelessly out of date? Or is there a simple answer.

 

Maybe sounds too simple for you folks, but I've loaded cache coordinates manually to my 60csx since starting.  Takes less than two minutes each.

 - I've taken notes for each cache on a small notepad since starting too.  I've never used PQs, gpx files, or even "send to gps".

We became pm years ago only for notifications, and now stay pm to help the site remain free for long-time basic members.   :)

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Maybe sounds too simple for you folks, but I've loaded cache coordinates manually to my 60csx since starting.  Takes less than two minutes each.

 - I've taken notes for each cache on a small notepad since starting too.  I've never used PQs, gpx files, or even "send to gps".

We became pm years ago only for notifications, and now stay pm to help the site remain free for long-time basic members.   :)

Wow. Cheers to you. With 2766 finds, that's a lot of numbers to type into your GPS. And I assume that there have also been some DNFs in there as well, so even more numbers and time spent entering them. But hey, if it works.

But just for comparison, it takes less than two minutes for me to bulk load 8000 caches, so... it's ok to utilize technology to automate repetitive functions. You have your reasons for making more work for yourself, but it's not for everyone.

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3 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

Wow. Cheers to you. With 2766 finds, that's a lot of numbers to type into your GPS. And I assume that there have also been some DNFs in there as well, so even more numbers and time spent entering them. But hey, if it works.
 - But just for comparison, it takes less than two minutes for me to bulk load 8000 caches, so... it's ok to utilize technology to automate repetitive functions. You have your reasons for making more work for yourself, but it's not for everyone.

:D

I only enter caches I'll do.    There's no way to bulk load 8000 caches with D/T that is correct, and condition not an issue.   

By loading caches individually, I only go after caches that have little issue (other than a CO's  incorrect cache size).

I'm not wasting time going for caches not there, nor any that are lab experiments from lack of maintenance.  It's less work actually.    :)

 

Still OT,  but in line with who I responded to,  who stated they're not too tech-friendly,  there's not much simpler than that...

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23 hours ago, Two old crabs said:

Can someone out there help two seniors who used to enjoy geocaching and are now having problems downloading (or is it uploading?) information to our old trusty Garmin GPS 60. We were used to going online, finding a geocache we fancied searching for, then clicking download and all the necessary info went straight to the GPS.  Geocaching.com doesn't seem to work as we were used to it.  I don't know what a GPX file is or what to do with it.  Are we hopelessly out of date? Or is there a simple answer. We only have 1 smart phone between us and don't really know how to use that.  Any help would resally be appreciated. Thank you.

I use EasyGPS to get caches loaded onto our GPSs.

Download the cache to the computer

Open the cache(s) in EasyGPS

Plug in GPS and then send to GPS

 

Very easy and it works for an old Legend, a 76CSx, and a 64ST

 

I hope this helps

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3 hours ago, k1w1t1m said:

I use EasyGPS to get caches loaded onto our GPSs.

Download the cache to the computer

Open the cache(s) in EasyGPS

Plug in GPS and then send to GPS

 

Very easy and it works for an old Legend, a 76CSx, and a 64ST

 

I hope this helps

 

Do you get all of the cache information using that method?

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2 hours ago, Red90 said:

 

Do you get all of the cache information using that method?

To my knowledge just the coordinates. The 64st is a very recent acquisition and I haven't delved that deep into it yet.

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You don't *need* EasyGPS for the 64st. You can download GPX files and drop them directly into the GPX folder on the device. It's older devices such as the 60(c/s/x) and the older eTrex Vista and Legend models that don't read the GPX file format directly and don't have mass storage mode that require software to convert and load the data to the GPS.

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17 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

You don't *need* EasyGPS for the 64st. You can download GPX files and drop them directly into the GPX folder on the device. It's older devices such as the 60(c/s/x) and the older eTrex Vista and Legend models that don't read the GPX file format directly and don't have mass storage mode that require software to convert and load the data to the GPS.

I haven't tried doing it directly. I have to load the same caches onto all three devices so it's easier for me to use EasyGPS

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Use Basecamp then.  It will work with all the devices and put the caches on correctly.

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Are we sure Basecamp works with the etrex lgend? I thought Basecamp only worked with mass storage models.

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10 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

Are we sure Basecamp works with the etrex lgend? I thought Basecamp only worked with mass storage models.

 

My understanding is that it does not need mass storage, but it needs to be USB (not serial), so depends on which Legend model.

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Basecamp works with my old Legend HCx, the 76CSx, and the 64st. I just recently used it to install maps onto all three. I also found that for loading caches that EasyGPS is easier for me to use. To answer a question above EasyGPS also transfers all the cache data.

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On 1/14/2019 at 9:53 PM, Atlas Cached said:

So?

Are you not curious as to why?
I just started this hobby, and I've been using Basecamp for all of less than 10 days, but I see some small issues in the program.
It would be nice if they kept it going with updates/features/improvements.

 

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2 hours ago, Jevus said:

Are you not curious as to why?
I just started this hobby, and I've been using Basecamp for all of less than 10 days, but I see some small issues in the program.
It would be nice if they kept it going with updates/features/improvements.

 

 

Ah, well then, you are just getting your feet wet where others have already drowned.

 

BaseCamp is excellent data management software for your Garmin GPSr. It certainly does still have bugs, and older versions were arguably more functional than the final 4.7.0.0 release. But it is today, and always will be fully functional with the GPSr devices it was designed to work with.

 

BaseCamp just celebrated its 10 year anniversary a couple days ago (Introduced January 14, 2009). I assume, with many name brand software titles all going to cloud based platforms (due to customer demand), that Garmin is following a similar path with the newly released Explore app.

 

Which version of BaseCamp are you using? With what devices?

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Unfortunately, it's not clear that the Explore app and service will ever be compatible with "older" GPS models - I say that in quotes because at this time, even the Oregon 700 family is exempt from connectivity with the app, and the web-based service won't be functional without a functioning communicator plugin. Well, I suppose that's not entirely true - a web interface could work directly with the mass storage devices without a plugin. But we'll see.

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The freeze of Basecamp will be a downer for MacOS users. Current Basecamp is a 32-bit app. The final versions of High Sierra complained a bit about 32-bit apps, but Mojave (the current version) will be the final version of MacOS to support 32-bit apps. Mac users relying on Basecamp (and any other 32-bit apps remaining) will be in a bind starting this fall, or whenever Mojave's successor ships.

MapInstall, MapManager will share this trait. Garmin WebUpdater supports two architectures: i386 and Power PC - and Power apps haven't been emulated since 10.6 or so and it's tough to imagine anyone running a G3 or G4 these days.

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Ah crap. For now, I'm still running an older Macbook Pro and left my OS at El Capitan because I'm not sure my machine will handle Sierra, High Seirra, or Mojave. I expect I'll be upgrading to new hardware soon, and I hate to have to worry about how to manage my GPS data which is currently in Basecamp.


On top of that, the Explore app and web service is only available to the latest generation of devices - and I mean latest. It seems to be built for the inReach devices, and other devices that can communicate with an inReach. Maybe that's the direction Garmin is trying to head - integrate the handheld line with the inReach devices, but I (and I'm sure many others) would prefer that the inReach service be integrated with their current lineup of handhelds.

I suppose we might get lucky and Garmin will put out a 64 bit version for us Mac users (and maybe for Windows users too), or Garmin has something else up their sleeves. I mean, we did get an update to Basecamp to comply with the EU digital privacy laws when they could have just pulled the program altogether.

Edited by Mineral2

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