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BigOpe

Need to Upgrade, but Only a Little -- Advice?

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Have been caching for 15 years with the Etrex-H and was happy with it.  Compass, little arrow, "xxx feet to cache," all I wanted.  But it's dying again, complaining about low battery every 15 minutes, and not worth finding another Etrex-H for sale somewhere (not to mention incompatibilities with newer Windows versions).  So I have to upgrade, but don't want something so fancy I can plan a moon shot on it, just something lowish-end that does what the -H did plus maybe longer cache names, maybe descriptions and hints, maps okay but I can live without them.   So what do y'all suggest from the used market, or the lower-end new market?  Spare me the lectures about joining the 21st century, please, not here to seek pity or condescension, just whatever friendly advice folks might have to offer who have worked their way up the technology ladder more than I have and can speak to the capabilities of GPS units somewhat more sophisticated than my old standby.

Edited by BigOpe

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Have a look at the Garmin Etrex 30x. I was able to buy one on sale for $220 (CDN). For what you're looking for, I think it has everything and more. A solid unit that has been my go-to GPSr while travelling and generally, the one I most often use for geocaching. I have other more expensive devices but I like it's smaller size and ease of use.

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A quick bit of googling tells me, the Etrex-H takes AA batteries.  Why do you think it's the unit that's failing - when it keeps complaining about low battery - and not the batteries?

 

If that unit lets you specify the battery type (eg Alkaline vs NiMH etc.), and if that setting doesn't match the actual type of the cells, that could explain the constant warnings.

 

But as mentioned, consider a caching app for your smartphone, assuming you have one.  There are a few to choose from, from simple to complicated.  You don't get choice with a GPS unit.

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While waiting for responses (thanks for all so far, by the way) I saw many Etrex 10/20/30 out there, new and used.  The 10 seems to be adequate but maybe already on the brink of obsolescence?, 20 looks good, 30 too but maybe overkill and an extra Benjamin for stuff I might not ever use.  Any experiences to share with those three?  How did you like them, what did they NOT have that you wanted?  Have used smart phone a few times too, by the way, but still prefer a purpose-built device.

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In re: batteries, used to get at least a couple extended caching sessions from a new pair of AA's, now almost a certainty that 30 minutes in it'll start complaining, while back at home the batteries test at 1.45v or thereabouts.  Repeatedly, not a single occurrence.

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Etrex 20 or 30. Have been using Etrex 20 for last 6 years and see no need to upgrade it. I have a smart phone too but prefer the Etrex. Trying to read the screen in sunlight on the phone is a PIA.

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Leaning toward the 20 too, but still open to inputs good/bad.  Remember, not looking for Star Wars level technology, just reasonable geocaching features and Windows 8/10/newer compatibility.  Maps nice, not essential, just give me the ol' pointy arrow and I'm mostly good.  But it's clear the Etrex H is a dinosaur.

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MsKitty uses an Etrex 20 and loves it. I use a smart phone to navigate while on the road using GDAK and then we follow the 20 and have very good results with it. I usually just leave my old GPSmap 62s in the truck because the Etrex 20 is more accurate 9 times out of 10. She likes it well enough that when her old 20 gave up the ghost a couple of years ago, she wanted another!

We use Gsak to load and work with the garmins, so windows version shouldn't be an issue as long as Gsak works on them.

We don't hesitate to recommend the Etrex 20

 

Oh yeah, a buddy uses an Etrex 20 and has logged 11,500 caches with it!

 

 

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The eTrex 20 and 30 are both good and I'll always recommend the Dakotas and Oregons if you can find one used.

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20 it is, now to price shop.  Sportsman's Warehouse has it for $200 + tax, but I can probably beat that somewhere.  Thanks for all the good advice.

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I moved this thread from the Geocaching Topics forum.

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1 hour ago, BigOpe said:

20 it is, now to price shop.  Sportsman's Warehouse has it for $200 + tax, but I can probably beat that somewhere.  Thanks for all the good advice.

 

I recently acquired an eTrex 30x (much better than a 20) from Amazon for ~$150 USD. It was a refurb unit, but you would never know it! Comes with full warranty!

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1 hour ago, BigOpe said:

20 it is, now to price shop.  Sportsman's Warehouse has it for $200 + tax, but I can probably beat that somewhere.  Thanks for all the good advice.

 

If you are OK with the ~$200 price range, a refurb/gently used Oregon 6x0 would be light years better!

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I would advise against the eTrex 10. It's so limited - I mean, it will feel like an upgrade from your eTrex H, but I don't really think it is worth it. The eTrex 20/20x and 30/30x have screens that are easier to read and can handle more data.

I know your sentiment very well - you've used this old, basic GPS for years and feel that the extra features on the newer models don't really offer anything extra. But I'll tell you from experience that once you start exploring and using them, you'll wonder how you survived so long using what you have been. Better screen visibility, paperless caching, direct GPX file interaction, maps (you'll be surprised how much this improves your experience with the GPS), a built-in compass and altimeter (if you choose a 30/30x instead of the 20/20x). If you decide to go with a 62/64/66 or an Oregon, you get a larger screen, even more storage and higher limits, unlimited geocaches, customizable buttons (Oregon 600 and newer). I know, it sounds fancy and you think you don't need it. But these things do make the experience easier and more efficient. It took me a while (and a big sale) to justify upgrading from an Oregon 450 to an Oregon 600, thinking that the new features were just cosmetic, unnecessary to the function of a GPS. But Now, when I pick up the 450, I confirm that I made the right choice.

Just... think about whether the absolute minimum is really what you want. The eTrex 20 will give you everything you ask for - a simple design with paperless caching. The 30 will add an electronic compass, which I find useful in that you can find the direction you need to travel without having to be in motion.

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