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GeoEvaldass

Choosing which Garmin GPS to buy

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Hello everyone. It's getting kind of frustrating to use only my smart phone for geocaching (battery life, GPS accuracy , etc.) and I was thinking about getting myself a dedicated GPS unit. I've read some reviews, guides and what I have right now is 3 choices. They are all made by Garmin: Oregon 700, GPSMap 64s and Montana 610. Montana seems to be a little bit bulky, so I would like to hear other people opinions on these Garmin GPS devices. 

I'm leaning towards first two models, but I'm not sure which one should I choose, so I hope to get some help from you guys. Thanks! :)

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Wouldn’t have said it a month ago, but I’d rather a 66 than any of those now :D 

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3 minutes ago, _Art_ said:

Wouldn’t have said it a month ago, but I’d rather a 66 than any of those now :D 

 

+1.

 

But if you can not waiver, the Oregon 7x0 is far superior to the GPSMAP 64.

 

I have all three of these models.

 

The GPSMAP 66 is the on I use every day.

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I agree with the others, though I'm still using a functioning GPSr from when the Dead Sea was just sick.

I'd first try to trade the other 2/3rds for hers.  If yes, she'd realize she got a great deal. 

 - If not, I'd have a GPSr with way too many bells n whistles than I really need.

If two 60csx' ever die, I'd grab a 66 faster than a speeding ticket.  :)    There may be a 68 by then...

If you are only considering those three, many we know who have the 700 series are happy with them.

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I like GPSs that will fit in my back pocket. My Garmin etrex 30 will, while my phone won't fit. That's a consideration I make.

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In terms of signal and accuracy, any of these models will perform the same. Between the Oregon and the Montana, I'd go with the Oregon. It has a nicer screen and customizable buttons and unlimited geocache capacity. The 64 is nice if you prefer buttons to a touch screen, but the 66 gives you a better screen and some extra functionality. The 66 is worth it for the higher resolution screen alone (over the 64. It's the same pixel pitch as the Oregon screens). Between the Oregon and a 66s, you'll be happy. Just decide if you like buttons or a touch screen.

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I agree on the 66.  I have one now for 5 months and love it.  Kept my old 60CSx thinking I would also use it at times but I don't think I have turned it on once in the last 4+ months.  I like buttons so have never owned a touch screen model, but I have hiked and geocached with a few people who use the Oregons and they all were happy with them. For some reason I have never encountered anyone with a Montana model.

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I‘ve had them all. Still have the Montana for cycling, love the bigger screen and weight doesn’t matter when mounted. But it’s too big and heavy for carrying around. I loved the 64 for the buttons, but it has a smaller screen than the Oregon, so I sold the 64 and bought a 700. Wasn’t too happy with it, I prefer buttons. Sold that one as well and bought a 66 shortly after it was released, and it’s perfect for me. Buttons, and screen as large as the Oregon-screen. Using it for 5 months now and haven’t had any trouble yet. 

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I'm leaning more towards 66, but it looks quite big. For those of you who use it - is it comfortable to use, carry arround, maybe use on a bike, etc.? And I would like to ask about the antenna on 66 - does it add any accuracy? I'm thinking if the accuracy of both 66 and oregon 700 are pretty much the same, then oregon would be more to comfortable to carry in a pocket for example. On the other hand ,it looks that 66 has more features. Both of these units prices are same in my country.

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They both use the same screen. Accuracy is virtually identical even though they use different antenna types. The GPSMAP 66 may be slightly more accurate when positioned vertically, while the Oregon may be slightly more accurate when positioned horizontally, but neither will show any advantage over the other in this regard. The Oregon 7x0 is certainly easier to fit into smaller pockets, while the GPSMAP 66 will always be exposed in most pockets. They both include a lanyard and carabiner, which is how I usually carry mine. As they are both the same price for you, the GPSMAP 66 definitely has a few more features over the Oregon 7x0, so you will have to decide if they are worth the added size and lack of touchscreen. You can find some additional information for each unit here. Good luck!

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I like having the feature to geotag photos.

I also don't like having to carry a large bulky device.

Would like a touchscreen if it is responsive.

Not sure if GNSS is the same on all devices.

I've been leaning towards the Oregon, but wish for a camera in the eTrex models.

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The eTrex models won't get a camera because they are designed to be introductory budget models. Honestly, the cameras on these devices aren't that great, but I suppose if you're going out into extreme terrain where you don't want to risk breaking your phone (which also geotags photos) or a dedicated camera (some newer models can as they come with GPS chips in them), I understand the allure of having everything in a waterproof and shockproof body.

Thus if the price tag of the Oregon 750 is giving you pause, you'll have to decide for yourself whether it's worth the extra price for the camera. Some like the camera for its flashlight ability. For me, it's not. But I always have my phone and/or a headlamp or flashlight with me when I'm geocaching. And I like to record my tracks on adventures, so I simply sync the track with the time stamp on photos from my DSLR in order to geotag them. And for those times when I use my phone as a camera, well, phones have the same GPS hardware in them that most dedicated handhelds have, and they can tag location information directly to the photos.

The oregon is great. Since the 600, the touch screen is capacitive, much like your phone, so the screens are very responsive (sometimes too responsive), and the user customizable buttons are probably the best feature of these models over the 66, Montana, or the eTrex. 

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So I bought GPSMAP 66st at the end and so far I'm very happy with it, except there is one strange thing with it. Sometimes when I select a geocache to navigate to (in order to later navigate to geocache page and find details about it) and after some time spent cycling to that cache, I press the power button to wake it up and I can see that navigation for some reason just stopped. So then again I have to navigate to geocache page, found a geocache and start navigation to it. Is this some sort of bug?? 

 

Also is there a way to see details about geocache without starting navigation to it?

One more thing: is there a way to see attributes on my GPSr? I checked *.gpx files that I download and saw that there is a <Groundspeak:attributes> tag with various attributes, but I couldn't find that information on my GPSr.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Evaldas2 said:

So I bought GPSMAP 66st at the end and so far I'm very happy with it, except there is one strange thing with it. Sometimes when I select a geocache to navigate to (in order to later navigate to geocache page and find details about it) and after some time spent cycling to that cache, I press the power button to wake it up and I can see that navigation for some reason just stopped. So then again I have to navigate to geocache page, found a geocache and start navigation to it. Is this some sort of bug?? 

 

EDIT: Sounds like  GPSrChive > GPSMAP 66 > Common Issues > Bug #40

 

Which firmware version is your GPSMAP 66 using?

 

1 hour ago, Evaldas2 said:

Also is there a way to see details about geocache without starting navigation to it?

 

Yes:  GPSrChive > GPSMAP 66 > Pages > Geocaching > Geocache List > View Geocache

 

1 hour ago, Evaldas2 said:

One more thing: is there a way to see attributes on my GPSr? 

 

Yes, but only after you export the geocache data from GSAK using the Garmin Export Macro with Attributes included in a dummy first log.

 

1 hour ago, Evaldas2 said:

I checked *.gpx files that I download and saw that there is a <Groundspeak:attributes> tag with various attributes, but I couldn't find that information on my GPSr.

 

Garmin currently does not support Geocache Attribute information, even when present.

 

See: GPSrChive > GPSMAP 66 > Common Issues > Requested Feature #7

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached

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I had the 66st and thou it's nice I'll take my Montana any day. A few ounces doesn't matter and the size is nothing much different then the 66st length wise anyway. Screen is much brighter,track is much more pronounced on the Montana.

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6 hours ago, capt caper said:

I had the 66st and thou it's nice I'll take my Montana any day. A few ounces doesn't matter and the size is nothing much different then the 66st length wise anyway. Screen is much brighter,track is much more pronounced on the Montana.

 

I have three Montana GPSr. They are great for the Side x Sides, but too slow and feature limited for any other use.

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On 5/27/2019 at 12:25 AM, Atlas Cached said:

 

I have three Montana GPSr. They are great for the Side x Sides, but too slow and feature limited for any other use.

 

i use it for hiking and snowmachines. great for both still. I tried the 66st but sent it back. screen sucked too small track lines and not bright when you need it. 

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I think Montana is the only larger display in a handheld.

 

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6 hours ago, _Art_ said:

I think Montana is the only larger display in a handheld.

 

 

I do like the screen size and resolution of the Montana, I feel it is perfect compromise for it's intended use.

 

I have requested Garmin build/design the next Oregon series to incorporate similar screen but with multi-touch and to have new features introduced in GPSMAP 66 series. The housing needs to be smaller than the current Montana, as much as possible. And no android OS. That would be a great GPSr for me!

 

Of course, I am not holding  my breath!

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On 5/29/2019 at 6:12 AM, Atlas Cached said:

 

I do like the screen size and resolution of the Montana, I feel it is perfect compromise for it's intended use.

 

I have requested Garmin build/design the next Oregon series to incorporate similar screen but with multi-touch and to have new features introduced in GPSMAP 66 series. The housing needs to be smaller than the current Montana, as much as possible. And no android OS. That would be a great GPSr for me!

 

Of course, I am not holding  my breath!

I don't think the Oregon or Montana run an Android OS. The Oregon's screen, as it is, is great. I'm guessing the reason it hasn't been enlarged to cover edge to edge is to preserve battery life. The Montana uses an extra battery to help power that larger screen, and that adds to the bulk and weight.

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51 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

I don't think the Oregon or Montana run an Android OS.

 

No, they do not, but the Monterra did. Don't want that again!

 

51 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

The Oregon's screen, as it is, is great. I'm guessing the reason it hasn't been enlarged to cover edge to edge is to preserve battery life. The Montana uses an extra battery to help power that larger screen, and that adds to the bulk and weight.

 

I would love to see an 'In-Between' GPSr. The Oregon is still slightly smaller than I like, and the Montana slightly larger!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The chassis size of the Montana could be slimmed down in a redesign. But as far as screen size goes, there's not that much room for something intermediate. The oregon, though... there's quite a bit of wasted space on that glass since it covers more area than the screen. I would love to either seen the screen enlarged such that it reaches edge to edge, or the chassis reduced such that the screen reaches edge to edge. As it stands, it looks like screen technology from 2008. But then, no one has ever accused Garmin of being at the forefront of technology design. I mean, they only just NOW decided to adopt the micro-USB port when the rest of the industry is abandoning it for USB-C.

Edit: I think their decision to switch to micro-USB is misguided. That port is way less durable than the mini-USB A that they had been using.

Edited by Mineral2

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2 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

The chassis size of the Montana could be slimmed down in a redesign. But as far as screen size goes, there's not that much room for something intermediate. The oregon, though... there's quite a bit of wasted space on that glass since it covers more area than the screen. I would love to either seen the screen enlarged such that it reaches edge to edge, or the chassis reduced such that the screen reaches edge to edge. As it stands, it looks like screen technology from 2008. But then, no one has ever accused Garmin of being at the forefront of technology design. I mean, they only just NOW decided to adopt the micro-USB port when the rest of the industry is abandoning it for USB-C.

Edit: I think their decision to switch to micro-USB is misguided. That port is way less durable than the mini-USB A that they had been using.

 

I read the C port on the 66 has been loosening. I believe it was at Gpsrchive issues. Also again the Montanna has a better brighter screen from a type of backlight that the Oregon 700 doesn't. Which in dark or low light conditions shines so much over the 66.

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3 minutes ago, capt caper said:

 

I read the C port on the 66 has been loosening. I believe it was at Gpsrchive issues. Also again the Montanna has a better brighter screen from a type of backlight that the Oregon 700 doesn't. Which in dark or low light conditions shines so much over the 66.

 I'm curious about that. The Montana has the older screen that dates back to the Oregon 450/550 - that is, I don't recall anything being updated with the 610/680 models that suggests the screen to got an upgrade. I believe it's still backlit with the old method of using a small fluorescent bar. The Oregon 600/700 have an LED backlit screen which is just beautiful and bright in all lighting conditions, though it's bright just using the reflective layer with the backlight off during the day.

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4 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

The chassis size of the Montana could be slimmed down in a redesign. But as far as screen size goes, there's not that much room for something intermediate. The oregon, though... there's quite a bit of wasted space on that glass since it covers more area than the screen. I would love to either seen the screen enlarged such that it reaches edge to edge, or the chassis reduced such that the screen reaches edge to edge. As it stands, it looks like screen technology from 2008. But then, no one has ever accused Garmin of being at the forefront of technology design. I mean, they only just NOW decided to adopt the micro-USB port when the rest of the industry is abandoning it for USB-C.

Edit: I think their decision to switch to micro-USB is misguided. That port is way less durable than the mini-USB A that they had been using.

 

Oh man.... Don't get me started. Adopting the Micro-USB is the biggest single mistake Garmin has made in a long, long time.....

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1 hour ago, capt caper said:

 

I read the C port on the 66 has been loosening. I believe it was at Gpsrchive issues. Also again the Montanna has a better brighter screen from a type of backlight that the Oregon 700 doesn't. Which in dark or low light conditions shines so much over the 66.

 

There is no USB-C port on the GPSMAp 66, it is a micro-USB port. And yes, it is horrible...... and not serviceable.

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34 minutes ago, Atlas Cached said:

 

There is no USB-C port on the GPSMAp 66, it is a micro-USB port. And yes, it is horrible...... and not serviceable.

I have a Samsung phone with a micro-USB port and I charge it via that port everyday and for the last four years. The port's fine. Why would the 66s port be any different? 

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I would vote none of the above.

I own a 60 CSX, 3-62S, 1-64S, an Oregon and a slew of older Magellan's and have used most all others in the field with fellow cachers. The 60 series cases( 62 on up ) are covered with a rubberized covering that when exposed to sweaty hands will literally shred to pieces ( my old faithful is held together with tape )...my wife who doesn't sweat has a unit holding up fairly well......I've seen units that looked like they were dragged 10 miles through briars.

A few years ago I decided to try a GPSmap 78S......this unit is marketed as marine but it is a 62S in a MUCH better case. The case is hard plastic with thick rubber on the side edges and covering the battery and ports......the buttons are on top making them much easier to operate esp. when driving. I removed the firmware and replaced it with 62S software 6.80 which has performed so well in my 3- 62S units. I see these are running about $239.00

Anyone wanting a unit for trail or boat should check this one out.......even if there were no rubberized coating issues I would still much prefer the 78S.

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4 hours ago, luvvinbird said:

I have a Samsung phone with a micro-USB port and I charge it via that port everyday and for the last four years. The port's fine. Why would the 66s port be any different? 

 

Your Samsung phone is not a dedicated GPSr, nor is it used like one. Nor is the micro-USB port positioned perpendicular to the body of the phone, putting the connection under more duress while in use. If it had been implemented differently on the GPSMAP 66, it may have been a more robust solution, but as it stands, my least favorite 'feature' of the GPSr.

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1 hour ago, BAMBOOZLE said:

I would vote none of the above.

I own a 60 CSX, 3-62S, 1-64S, an Oregon and a slew of older Magellan's and have used most all others in the field with fellow cachers. The 60 series cases( 62 on up ) are covered with a rubberized covering that when exposed to sweaty hands will literally shred to pieces ( my old faithful is held together with tape )...my wife who doesn't sweat has a unit holding up fairly well......I've seen units that looked like they were dragged 10 miles through briars.

 

I always wondered how those got to looking like that. So far, none of mine do....

 

1 hour ago, BAMBOOZLE said:

A few years ago I decided to try a GPSmap 78S......this unit is marketed as marine but it is a 62S in a MUCH better case. The case is hard plastic with thick rubber on the side edges and covering the battery and ports......the buttons are on top making them much easier to operate esp. when driving.

 

The case also floats, which might be useful to know.

 

I am not a fan of the buttons being above the screen, as this causes the screen to be partially obstructed by the rest of my hands when operating them. Maybe I just have big hands...

 

1 hour ago, BAMBOOZLE said:

I removed the firmware and replaced it with 62S software 6.80 which has performed so well in my 3- 62S units.

 

The GPSMAP 62 series and GPSMAP 78 series both use the same identical firmware.

 

1 hour ago, BAMBOOZLE said:

I see these are running about $239.00 Anyone wanting a unit for trail or boat should check this one out.......even if there were no rubberized coating issues I would still much prefer the 78S.

 

Also, no need to pay extra for the GPSMAP 78SC as it only adds internal 'Coastal' mapping. The GPSMAP 78, 78S, and 78SC all have internal micro-SD card slots for adding your own maps, and the "S" units have ABC Sensors (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass).

 

I recently purchased a refurbished 78S from GPSCity for less than you posted and the unit I received was as good as new.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2019 at 4:05 PM, Atlas Cached said:

 

There is no USB-C port on the GPSMAp 66, it is a micro-USB port. And yes, it is horrible...... and not serviceable.

Thanks I have a 66st coming tomorrow to check out. 

Edited by capt caper

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2019 at 2:49 PM, Mineral2 said:

 I'm curious about that. The Montana has the older screen that dates back to the Oregon 450/550 - that is, I don't recall anything being updated with the 610/680 models that suggests the screen to got an upgrade. I believe it's still backlit with the old method of using a small fluorescent bar. The Oregon 600/700 have an LED backlit screen which is just beautiful and bright in all lighting conditions, though it's bright just using the reflective layer with the backlight off during the day.

 

I had a 66st while back and turned the screen up high on a cloudy day outside. Also my 680T was at hand. Big difference. I re orderd  the 66ST for the wife so I'll compare again but I know these units enough that I nailed it the first time that cloudy dark day.

  I'm hoping the quad helix antenna works better then the Montana while it's in my shirt pocket.  When I travel light without a pack.  With the pack the Montana is set out from my body and in a holder on a thick shoulder pack strap that gets it away. Seems the body blocks or effects the barometer or gps elevation as my elevation graph shows spikes but not wearing the pack. The track is perfect after 6 hrs in the woods and mountain revines,etc. Just the elevation data. Not sure if the mileage is perfect but the track recorded every three seconds shows perfect tracking. No spikes.

Edited by capt caper

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I have used a Garmin GPSmap 62s for a long time, and because I intended to go on a powercaching vacation, wanted a 2nd GPS unit in case of problems, so recently got a new Garmin GPSmap 64st, which I like a lot.  I had considered the Garmin 66 but read about some glitches with it on the reviews.  I get everything I need from the Garmin 62 and the 64,..the 62 has more detailed topos but overall I think the 64 is better, has more space so I can store more pocket queries on it.  

I would like to see Garmin make its InReach devices geocaching-friendly. One currently cannot load geocaches into them.  

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4 hours ago, FiveEyes said:

the 62 has more detailed topos

The detail of the maps will depend on what maps you install. However, installing the same map on the 64 and 62 should give you the same level of detail. The updated topo 100k map on the 64 should have the same level of detail as the one that came with the 62, if not more. Check that your map settings are the same on both devices.

 

 

4 hours ago, FiveEyes said:

I would like to see Garmin make its InReach devices geocaching-friendly. One currently cannot load geocaches into them.  

I doubt this will come to fruition. The inReach devices serve a very different purpose for a very different audience (yes, there is some overlap) with the main function being SMS-satellite communication. Sure, the higher end devices have a screen and a map and can do some basic GPS navigation. And while I do expect that at some point, Garmin will sort of merge the devices with their handheld lines from a software perspective (they're still kind of glorified DeLorme devices), don't get your hopes up if Garmin doesn't add geocaching functionality. 

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I have been caching since 2005 and purchased a number of Garmin GPS units, 301, Etrex Vista, GPSMap76Csx, 62s, and recently the all new, all singing, Geocachers recommended 66s.  What a disaster!  I have spent hours setting this up to work in a user friendly manner.  I have downloaded many single Caches using GPX files  and also Lists from Geocaching.com.  However, while Lists incorporating UK Caches work fine, any caches from Mainland Europe i.e. Spain, Italy, Switzerland etc, are not available when selecting 'Find', although the associated waypoints for parking etc, are available.  All I get is 'Try adjusting parameters'  The unit has been returned to Garmin who cannot replicate the problem, they returned it to me without even trying a factory reset.  It transpires that Garmin cannot actually log in to Geocaching.com as they do not have a username!  No wonder they cannot replicate the problem.

Yesterday, I returned my GPSmap66s to the supplier and received a full refund.

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2 hours ago, Stag Ramblers said:

 However, while Lists incorporating UK Caches work fine, any caches from Mainland Europe i.e. Spain, Italy, Switzerland etc, are not available when selecting 'Find', although the associated waypoints for parking etc, are available. .

You shouldn’t have returned the unit, as this is not a bug. The 66s, as well as the Oregon 600 & 700 series, doesn’t  show Geocaches in the list that are approximately 200 km and more away from your current location. They are on the unit, You can see them on the map when moving the cursor to the location. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Stag Ramblers said:

I have been caching since 2005 and purchased a number of Garmin GPS units, 301, Etrex Vista, GPSMap76Csx, 62s, and recently the all new, all singing, Geocachers recommended 66s.  What a disaster!  I have spent hours setting this up to work in a user friendly manner.  I have downloaded many single Caches using GPX files  and also Lists from Geocaching.com.  However, while Lists incorporating UK Caches work fine, any caches from Mainland Europe i.e. Spain, Italy, Switzerland etc, are not available when selecting 'Find', although the associated waypoints for parking etc, are available.  All I get is 'Try adjusting parameters'  The unit has been returned to Garmin who cannot replicate the problem, they returned it to me without even trying a factory reset.  It transpires that Garmin cannot actually log in to Geocaching.com as they do not have a username!  No wonder they cannot replicate the problem.

Yesterday, I returned my GPSmap66s to the supplier and received a full refund.

 

Sounds like you may have had a filter active....

 

1 hour ago, Henne1312 said:

You shouldn’t have returned the unit, as this is not a bug. The 66s, as well as the Oregon 600 & 700 series, doesn’t  show Geocaches in the list that are approximately 200 km and more away from your current location. They are on the unit, You can see them on the map when moving the cursor to the location. 

 

Yes, it was most likely user error and they should not have given up so quickly....

 

As is the case with many things in life, most of the issues you hear about are actually not issues at all, but rather due to new users not taking the time to learn how to use the unit.

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached
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1 hour ago, Atlas Cached said:

As is the case with many things in life, most of the issues you hear about are actually not issues at all, but rather due to new users not taking the time to learn how to use the unit.

Where is this range limit documented? I read the documentation that came with my 66st cover to cover, and I don't remember this being mentioned.

 

2 hours ago, Atlas Cached said:

Yes, it was most likely user error and they should not have given up so quickly....

I'm not sure how you can call it a user error when a feature does something so surprising that the user can't figure out what's going on, even with the help of Garmin.

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Al Garmin units do this.  It has been this way for as long as I remember.

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16 minutes ago, Red90 said:

Al Garmin units do this.  It has been this way for as long as I remember.

Then I wonder why Stag Ramblers isn't used to it. Anyway, that doesn't help me: I've only had my 66st a few months, so it really makes no difference to me how long it's been like that when it isn't documented.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, dprovan said:

Where is this range limit documented? I read the documentation that came with my 66st cover to cover, and I don't remember this being mentioned.

 

GPSrChive has this information in [Pages > Geocaching > Geocache List], and much, much more.

 

Also, see FAQ 37.

 

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, dprovan said:

Then I wonder why Stag Ramblers isn't used to it. Anyway, that doesn't help me: I've only had my 66st a few months, so it really makes no difference to me how long it's been like that when it isn't documented.

 

Do you drive?

 

Did you have to read your car owners/operators manual cover to cover before you were able to successfully operate the vehicle?

 

Do you own/use a smart phone?

 

How many apps on that device?

 

Do you need to read any manuals before you use any of those?

 

8^)

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached

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3 hours ago, dprovan said:

Then I wonder why Stag Ramblers isn't used to it. Anyway, that doesn't help me: I've only had my 66st a few months, so it really makes no difference to me how long it's been like that when it isn't documented.

 

Well.  You can either ask questions, accept help and learn or simply continue to complain.  The second option really does nothing production than to perhaps make you feel better.  It would also prevent you from wasting time and effort return units.  The people here know more about how they function than anyone, including Garmin support.

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