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Angry at Garmin - Their false advertising will ruin your unit!

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My second Etrex has fried. Garmin is a RIPOFF company.


The basic Etrex is marketed as being "waterproof". Then, when you look for more detail on HOW waterproof, they say "Submerged to 1 meter for 30 minutes." NOT true. My first etrex fried when it got wet. I allowed it to float in a freshwater lake (reading elevation) for about a minute, and it never worked again. Still under warranty, so returned it and they sent me another (refurbished) one.


Months later I took the refurbished one to the shore, and again let it float on the surface. Figured my original one just didn't get properly sealed or something, right? WRONG. In under a minute it fried too. Called Garmin, and they said since it was no longer under warranty I have to pay $59 to have it replaced. She also explained that "This is an electronic piece of equipment. Didn't they tell you the last time not to get it wet?" !!! I read to her the statement on their own web site, that "The eTrex is completely waterproof so it can take an accidental splash or dunk in the water and still continue to perform." She then expounded on the "IPX7 standard" and said the water had to be completely still - "not moving". (Of course, that's nowhere in their marketing or anywhere else on the web site.) Then she said that "it should not be put in salt water because that will ruin it."


So, they've taken my $59 because of their false marketing. BEWARE.

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"The eTrex is completely waterproof so it can take an accidental splash or dunk in the water and still continue to perform."


Sounds like you voided the warranty by intentionally putting it in the water. Besides the elevation could have been taken a few inches above the water and still been as accurate as the Etrex will get.From my experience with them the elevation feature is not the accurate any way.


Maybe you should write the Garmin company and suggest they market it as water resistant and not waterproof.


Another suggestion is to buy from a store like Wal-Mart and take it back and they will usually exchange it.


Just my two cents worth.

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Nothing in the warranty precludes you from using it in the water. In fact, I asked the very same Garmin rep whether, if I take the replacement unit they are sending me, sink it 12 inches into a bowl of water, and it fries, Will they replace it under warranty? And they said Yes.

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How about some common sense? First off, you said you have a basic eTrex, which means it can only calculate altitude using a GPS fix (no altimeter). You'll be very lucky if the accuracy is within 50'. So what the heck was the point of floating it on water? Did you really think the difference between that and just holding it was going to make a difference?


And then, after pointlessly destroying you unit, you get another one and proceed to do exactly the same thing again.


The battery case is not watertight. If it accidently gets wet, you're supposed to immediately remove the batteries and allow the unit to dry. I've not heard of anyone who did this that ended up with a damaged unit. My guess it that you attempted to continue to use the unit while the battery case had water in it.


If you're looking for sympathy, you're barking up the wrong tree.



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So, they've taken my $59 because of their false marketing. BEWARE.


I am going to hold my tongue on what I want to say.


Wyatt W.

No, I don't own garmin GPSr, and yes I have been up all night. Also I thought the etrex sank?


Update: I think I was wrong about sinking, I went to garmin web site and got the specs. It says the unit weighs 150g and is 4.4"x2.0"x1.2" inches which is 10.56 (11)cubic inces (convert to cubic centimeter is 173.05 ) then divide mass/volume and I come up with a density of .8667 (.9) and this means it is less dense then water and should float.


The probability of someone watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of your actions.


[This message was edited by phantom4099 on January 23, 2003 at 09:21 AM.]

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Just a little trick (or common sense) to waterproof a gpsr unit and it only costs about 3 cents. Place it into a Ziploc bag and seal the bag. In the sealed bag, the gpsr will float, will still get a good signal and it won't get ruined by the water. I have used this technique many times when bringing my gpsr in a boat, raft, crossing a stream or going geocaching in the rain. Works great!

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Reminds me of a friend 100 years ago in high school who cut his finger off feeling under a running lawn mower. They were able to re-attach the finger. The next summer, he was describing how it happpened, and, you guessed it, he did it again. They didn't bother to reattach it this time.


Garmin probably has this person's name at each Rep's desk warning not to let this person buy another GPS.


Half of the people in this world have IQs over 100. The other half don't hit it collectively. This thread reeks of troll, but I can imagine people who would actually try this.


Visit the Mississippi Geocaching Forum at


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Reminds me of a couple, who returned their Nikon camera to the shop.

-This camera isn't working.

-Did anything particular happen to it.

-No, well, there is sand in it.


-Yes, when we go to the sea, we bury the camera under the sand on the beach, so that nobody can steal it from us. But they are supposed to take that, aren't they?


They weren't. But he didn't do it twice... icon_rolleyes.gif


Besided, Garmin's marketing isn't incorrect. They refer to the IP 67 marking (or IP X7, since they don't specify resistance to dust), and anyone who is a professional in the field of electric system design and similar knows that it takes IP 68 for a unit to withstand bathing. Otherwise, it's able to take heavy splashing.



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IEC 529 specs

IPX7 is the current rating of most GPSr's, be they Garmin, Magellan, or lowrance. Still, like was mentioned above, often that doesnt include the battery compartment. The Garmin 76 series is designed for marine use, and seals pretty well. The garmin III/V doesnt seem to. The Magellan Sportrack series also seems to seal the battery compartment very well, better then the meridians I've seen. (although ClayJar assures me he dunks his merigold regularly while hydrocaching, with no ill effects) Haven't used an extrex, so I can't comment there.


Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

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Originally posted by Cache Canucks:


I know that my Acura has airbags...


...but I'm not about to drive into a wall to see how well they *really* work.



I don't know if this will cheer you up or not. But a number of years ago someone stole my Acura. So this thief and his buddy are having a grand old time with my car driving around Brooklyn for a week and then smashed into some poor fellow. They were really speeding with my car as they went through the intersection according to witnesses.


The cops called me down to the stationhouse where they had the car towed. The car was totaled! I looked inside and both air bags had deployed. Witnesses said after the accident they saw two guys in the front seat jump out of the car and run away. The follow they hit had his back broken.


Unfortunately the seatbelts worked too good in this case.



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Originally posted by MikieP:

For what it's worth, I went for an accidental swim while hunting a cache on a lakeshore here in the Folsom, CA area. My GPS V worked just fine after the dunking - all I needed to do was dry the batteries.


it wasn't when you were placing Northside3, that would have been one heck of a dunk.


My wife says put a coordinate on it and I'll find it.

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Originally posted by Renegade Knight:

I thought they say they are waterproof to specific standards. Which is to say as waterproof as the standards require.

Exactly. If you read that standard carefully, you'll realize that it means "can be under water for a while, under very laboratory-like conditions".

Converted to everyday life situations: If you happen to drop it in a pool and get it out of there quickly, it will live.



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Hi all,


I don't know if this person is trolling, really. Maybe he thought the first unit was defective, and that it should have been waterproof. By all accounts, when I shopped GPSrs, I knew we'd be using them for kayaking and I wanted to make sure it was waterproof. Forgive the occasional morons like myself, but I grew up understanding that waterproof meant waterproof. I do, OTOH, understand what waterresistant means. A waterproof watch is waterproof. You do not need to put a plastic bag around your wrist to go underwater. icon_wink.gif I agree with the initial poster wholeheartedly - it is darn misleading. Especially when you have supposedly "experienced salespeople" at REI that tell you it can indeed go underwater with the X7 rating. That's why it's an X7, and not less, isn't it? Heck even in REI's product information sheet, which I went and found, it states watertight. Now come on, and am I the only one that thinks watertight means water can't get in?


If these units are not waterproof meaning they are "safe" from water, especially when they give you a TIME AND DEPTH at which they are water"proof", then they should absolutely be sold only as watertight. If I was the poster, I'd slap 'em right into small claims, just on the principle of the matter. I have many radios. When they say watertight I know they can't go underwater. When they waterproof, I expect it to be waterproof. Same with my watch. My boots, etc.


Isn't this sort of like "air-tight?" It would be a shame if an "airtight" cabin on a passenger plane wasn't "really" airtight, no? Similarily I think watertight should be just as true to definition.


Okay, all said and done, may I recommend the Voyageur waterproof phone/GPS case? Now, it says it's "waterproof and it floats" and I'll bet there'd be some might ticked of fellow geocachers here if it said all this, yet ruined their GPS because it wasn't really waterproof, eh? icon_wink.gif


BTW, the case is $22 at REI, in case anyone is interested. It uses the same "roll-down" technology that "drysacks" do for kayaks, and it does indeed float.


Okay, now that I've gone and defended the original poster, I would have to agree with most folks that you just don't do it on purpose! icon_wink.gif Especially to get an altimeter reading, but I won't digress any further on that. icon_wink.gif I still think instead of paying $59 for a replacement, I'd spend $15 on a small claims filing. Heck, if you lived close enough to me, I'd guarantee your win in court or I'd buy you a new unit myself, just to prove a point of principle. icon_biggrin.gif A judge would not expect a buyer to be aware of scientific meaning beyond the advertisement of waterproof at XX feet for XX minutes. That's a defininte case of misleading information to the average person which is why you would win. Otherwise, any ruling would set a precedent for, say, watchmakers to make the claim "waterproof" if indeed it only meant "splash and rain resistant."


Hey, if I wasn't on duty I'd be out placing caches, so go easy on me! icon_biggrin.gif


If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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Originally posted by GRANDMASTER CACHE:

A judge would not expect a buyer to be aware of scientific meaning beyond the advertisement of _waterproof at XX feet for XX minutes_. That's a defininte case of misleading information to the _average person_ which is why you would win.

Which in such a case is the same as saying that the average person is more stupid than average.

Still, it may work in the US. The american legal system is infamous in the whole world for it's absurd activities regarding legal actions concerning activites of the utmost stupidity, that went wrong somewhere along the line. Which of course doesn't exactly encourage people to think for themselves.


Try seeing it from the other side. If you don't specify the depth and time, then hardly anything is waterproof, unless it's solid. If you bring even a nuclear submarine deep enough, it's likely to crack.

I do agree that the "average people" may not understand the difference between static and dynamic conditions under water, but still every "average" person I've met knows that a watch, that claims to be waterproof to 3 atm (30 meters) can be kept on when cleaing up in the kitchen. But not when you go swimming. For that you need something like 10 ATM, which is equivalent to 100 meters. In spite of the fact that you may never go deeper than a couple of meters. Why? Because as soon as you move in the water, the hydrodynamic pressure on one side of the device will be much higher than that caused by the static pressure only.


In my opinion, it's very kind of Garmin to replace any device that's been spoiled due to the immersion in water. They could just as well refer to the specification, and say that you exposed it to more water pressure than we stated that it can take. Or it would not have leaked.


Personally, I happen to be a professional in electric systems desígn, so I consider myself above average when it comes to the IP rating. That has been used here in Europe for 20 years or so, when it comes to the environment specification of electrical material. I wouldn't expect anything with a marking less than IP 68 to live immersed for any time more than a few seconds. Still, I've used my Vista near the water on several occasions (and under the water briefly, when things didn't go as expected) and it endured. As one could expect.


As a summary, I think Garmin is correct. The unit can most probably withstand the water pressure as specified by the standard. Then some common sense, or in lack of that, some initiative to make sure what not just "waterproof" but "waterproof according to IEC 529 IP X7" really means, could be expected of the user. Don't forget that they do state what standard it's tested against, so everybody is able to inform themselves about what that really means, without having to throw the thing in a bowl of water, to find out the hard way.



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Wow, ya caused me to do some research. LOL I'm still standing firm... Why? Because, for example, on the Magellan STPro box it states as follows:


*Large high-contrast LCD display

*Packed with maps (32MB capacity)

*Lightweight (6.1 oz)

*Rugged & Waterproof - it floats

*Accurate to 3 meters (WAAS)


On the back it echos the "rugged and waterproof" and states in parens, "IEC-529 IPX7"


Now, in your world this might be considered "average." But for us dumb-dumbs who consider ourselves to be at least average, this means absolutely nothing. In fact, we probably think this is the standard set that tests, and holds accountable the claim of "waterproof." If you did a poll here, precious few people would claim they had a rat's patootie what "IEC-529 IPX7" meant before they got a GPSr. Well, precious few compared to the average majority anyway. icon_wink.gif So, when I as a consumer read "Rugged and Waterproof - It floats" I don't think I should have to take any sort of lingual-diagnostics course to correct my train of thought that waterproof means waterproof, and water resistant is not waterproof. So they should have put water-resistant on the package - which is why they would lose the lawsuit hands-down - it has nothing to do with a "spilled hot coffee can I sue you" type lawsuit. And even according to the standard of time it can be in water and depth failed the original poster to this thread. What about those obviously incorrect claims? All these GPSrs need to re-think the way they advertise "waterproof" unless and until most of the population understands that waterproof is meaningless as an advertisement and you must instead comprehend the "XX" ratings - At the very least they only have the legal protection to offer "water resistant" in what we know as "common terminology."


Now, icon_biggrin.gif for the watches. Before me I have my Timex Expedition - it says WR 50M. It never came off my wrist both swimming in the lake and surfing in the ocean. No "pressure leaks" in this baby! icon_biggrin.gif And I can assure you I did plenty of "side to side" motions in the water - I didn't lay still as a lily on the surface. icon_wink.gif


Next to that is the Casio - water resistant to 100M I bought it specifically to use surfing and it never failed me for years. On my wrist is a Swiss Army rated to 166F.


Not one of these watches has ever failed me before. The only reason I stepped from the Casio to the Expedition was the Indiglo. I then stepped to the Swiss Army because it had rotating bezel. So as far as watches go, nobody I know that has a similar watch ever worries about taking it off when swimming.


I am not about to fear putting my hand in the ocean when wearing any of these watches.


ANYWAY, (we both must be rambling today, eh? icon_biggrin.gif ) this would be far from a frivolous lawsuit. As much as the folks here will eschew their knowledge of the rating, if enough are honest they will say they were indeed surprised when they found out their GPSr could not in fact go in the water. I've read enough angry threads in the past. Plain and simple, if it says waterproof, it should be, to the depth specified. Otherwise it should say water-resistant, followed up with bold type: DO NOT SUBMERGE. That's a no-brainer, the way I see it.


So what gives? The companies use that as an allure to buyers, much as SUV ads brag about the "ruggedness" of their "beastly" SUVs when most of 'em don't even have a posi rear-end and couldn't find their way up a decently loose hill. icon_wink.gif My 4x4ers will back me on this one.


So, the GPS folks boast "waterproof" because people desire to have a beast that can "go anywhere, do anything and be waterproof" even if they never have the intent on dropping it in the water. In fact, few folks here would do such a thing to their precious little jewel. Knowing this, the companies choose to advertise it to compete/attract new buyers, and weigh the odds that they get more in new sales than they lose in replacing the oddball unit that actually DOES try out the water every now and then. While this isn't "electrical engineering" it's pretty basic economics, even to this dummy. icon_biggrin.gif


Which is why Garmin would send a unit out in a heartbeat if challenged - because they market deception just like so many companies around the world. icon_wink.gif




If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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Originally posted by GRANDMASTER CACHE:

Wow, ya caused me to do some research.

That's good. It makes the world wiser. icon_wink.gif

ANYWAY, (we both must be rambling today, eh?

I expected that. In your profile it says "I'm a writer". icon_biggrin.gif

So, the GPS folks boast "waterproof" because people desire to have a beast that can "go anywhere, do anything and be waterproof" even if they never have the intent on dropping it in the water. In fact, few folks here would do such a thing to their precious little jewel. Knowing this, the companies choose to advertise it to compete/attract new buyers, and weigh the odds that they get more in new sales than they lose in replacing the oddball unit that actually _DOES_ try out the water every now and then. While this isn't "electrical engineering" it's pretty basic economics, even to this dummy. icon_biggrin.gif

I agree 100%. I was a little provocative in my previous post, just to add some gas to the flames. After all, if you want to be seen in church, it's a good idea to stand up in the bench.


There is a lot of marketing inflation in words like "rugged" and "waterproof", to mention a few. It's like in the car ads, where "Fair running condition" really means "Bring a tow truck, or you'll not get it home".


From this thread, I think there are two things that can be learned:


1. These things aren't diving equipment. If you put them in the water, rescue them as quick as you can.


2. Someone will always try everything to the limit. Although at least some of these eTrex units (manufacturing tolerances) most certainly will withstand the IEC 529 test (which is carried out with the utmost care), one can not be sure that every one of them does.


So Garmin probably considers it worth taking the risk that a few users will dare drowning their units, and then the people at Garmin just sigh, shake their head and replace it. If they on the other hand wrote water resistant on their packaging, and Magellan and the others state water proof (even if they are no better), it may cost Garmin more in lost sales than the replacement of a few dead units cost them.


Finally, I hope you agree with me that there is nothing that is just waterproof. It all depends upon how deep you want to go, right?


At whatever level you are, compared to the average, I also think you agree with me that the impact of the water pressure is very different when the water is splashing at the unit (diving, surfing) rather than perfectly static (laboratory conditions). Right?


Even more finally, I hope you don't mind the replies, even if I'm provoking you a little now and then... icon_wink.gif



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...and lawyers make a lot of money off of them.


Hoorah for Garmin for not sending IEFBR14

another free eTrex after stupidly ruining his second unit!


If there is writing on the box, don't ignore it. If the box says "waterproof to IPX7 Standard", don't just completely ignore. You're an idiot if you think those words aren't there for a specific reason. If you don't know the definition of "IPX7", then look it up; don't just ignore it.


It takes about ten seconds to type those words into Google. Then, however long it takes for you to understand the concept is up to your own comprehension skills.


Two words: Common Sense.


Ignorance is no defense. If I were the judge in a similar lawsuit, I'd dismiss it almost instantly. If you can't recognize that there might be differences between a laboratory test and real world conditions, there's little hope for you.


However, if the product was misrepresented like it is on this web page by saying "They are truly waterproof.", then I'd say he had a claim against them, but not the manufacturer.


[This message was edited by CreagerStone Family on January 24, 2003 at 08:22 AM.]

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Sorry, CS Family... Floating a GPS unit per IPX7 isn't "complete ignorance" when Garmin itself wrote in a letter:


GARMIN has worked diligently to make our marine products waterproof, and to put in place processes which would produce

waterproof products in a production environment. On a low cost product, this is no small task to undertake.


We have succeeded in making new products such as the GPS 12XL waterproof, and this product is now certified waterproof under IEC IPX (level 7), which means waterproof under full submersion to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.


Now, I'm not sure what part of 1 meter I may be mis-reading, but I also don't think the original poster to this thread said he was sinking his GPSr, no? A lot has transpired, maybe I lost track of what he said... Maybe he was an "idiot" and sunk it with a rock tied around below one meter.


You think the quote is made up? I suggest (as did you) icon_wink.gif to do a "search" on google and you shouldn't have any problem with Garmin "claiming" these units can indeed be submersed (and they don't mention a "lab") icon_wink.gif for up to thirty minutes.


I would also point out that the problem (as Anders has alluded to) that when something is "waterproof" there is the issue of pressure. Garmin claims to have addressed this issue by implementing in all it's IPX7 units a membrane which is intended to allow air out of the unit (so the keys don't pop out or the unit cave in in different atmospheric pressures) and at the same time keep water out of the unit. No doubt it is this membrane failing, which is why Garmin warranties against such failure. You'll note, that Garmin doesn't call anybody and idiot for believing in the stated fortitude of their GPSr ratings. icon_wink.gif


As Anders and I have agreed on, there is a method behind their madness, and that is the benefits of advertisement vs. the cost of backing up said advertisement in case of failure.


You also claim that anybody can "look up" the details of IEC-529 IPX7 as though there might be something in fine print that suggests any "idiot" will clearly see that these units are not waterproof "quite as stated." Indeed, the crux of the rating is as follows:


Level Definition

0 Non protected, No special protection

1 Protected against falling water Equivalent to 3-5mm rainfall per minute for a duration of 10 minutes. Unit is placed in its normal operating position.

2 Protected against falling water when tilted up to 15 degrees. Same as (1) above but unit is tested in 4 fixed positions - tilted 15 degree in each direction from normal operating position.

3 Protected against spraying water, Water spraying up to 60 degrees from vertical at 10 liters/min at a gage pressure of 80-100kN/m2 for 5 min.

4 Protected against splashing water. Same as level 3 but water is sprayed at all angles.

5 Protected against water jets Water projected at all angles through a 6.3mm nozzle at a flow rate of 12.5 liters/min at a gage pressure of 30kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters.

6 Protected against heavy seas. Water projected at all angles through a 12.5mm nozzle at a flow rate of 100 liters/min at a gage pressure of 100kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters.

7 Protected against water immersion. Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.

8 Protected against water submersion The equipment is suitable for continuos submersion in water under conditions which are identified by the manufacturer.

*Note: IEC 529 level 7 is designated "IPX7" and is equivalent to JIS 7. The position of "X" being left blank indicates that the unit has no special mechanical protection.

*Note: Garmin typically uses the IEC-529 spec for the design spec for water protection level for their line of GPS equipment. Marine rated GPS equipment is usually tested to IPX7.


Now, I'm not lost on this "fine print" one bit. Perhaps this might sway your "legal opinion" of what would get "tossed out" in court? My legal experience doesn't make me hiccup one bit that any competent judge would fail to see where floating a unit at above 1 meter for less than 30 minutes at the SEVEN level rating would cause failure. I understand a certain loathing for lawyers, but I suppose it works both ways - Plain, stated English that is twisted and warped to alter it's definitive meaning often brings about lawsuits to ground the "interpretations" of those people who might otherwise fail to comprehend plain English - which in this case lends no doubt that there is a defined difference between splashing water, spraying water, water jets, heavy sea and immersion.


I would ask that you apply your own words (since I won't resort to the name-calling):

however long it takes for you to understand the concept is up to your own comprehension skills.


Lest you think "immersion" is different in the standards than "submersion" as used by Garmin themselves, I'll also offer that something that is immersible is something that is capable of being totally submerged in water. (I didn't resort to a 10 second search on Google, either - that's from Webster's Universal Encyclopedic Dictionary.


So, my friend, despite your despise, icon_biggrin.gif a judge would not dismiss such a case. Even you stated,

Ignorance is no defense. If I were the judge in a similar lawsuit, I'd dismiss it almost instantly. If you can't recognize that there might be differences between a laboratory test and real world conditions, there's little hope for you.


I won't say there's little hope for anybody (rather harsh, wouldn't you say?) icon_wink.gif but nowhere did I read in the specs that it was laboratory splashing, spraying or saltwater. Those specs are for the "real world conditions."


It's ironic to call somebody "stupid" when in all reality they are the ones with the clear understanding of the warrantied item. icon_wink.gif p.s. you're right about one thing - it does only take 10 seconds to type the words into Google. Of course, one must then read the material, icon_wink.gif and then I suppose if there's any argument about the "comprehension" that would be brought to light. I fail to see any discrepancies in the rating system, and Garmin (for that matter) doesn't either - which is why they've replaced every unit under warranty. icon_wink.gif




If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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I would like to throw-in my $0.02 worth of input. This morning I changed the batteries in my dad's Garmin eMap and was surprised that the battery compartment was just like that on a TV remote control and was not even really water resistant? Are the eTrex units the same way?


I have a Magellan Sportrak Map and the battery compartment on it is sealed with an o-ring and must be unscrewed to be removed. Magellan claims the Sportrak will float, and I have no reason to doubt that. I wouldn't, however, sumberge it but can see how it would remain somewhat imprervious to water should it just fall in a lake or stream since it has an o-ring on the battery compartment.


I am curious exactly how the eTrex is sealed in the compartment of the battery. Does anyone have any pics they could share?





If you hide it, they will come....

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We have no way of knowing for sure whether the unit was gently placed upon the water, dropped in quickly, or left there. As someone (Anders?) pointed out in another post from awhile back, real world vs. scientifically controlled laboratory can be a whole other ball of wax as unknown forces can be introduced. Did he remove the batteries, dry the compartment, and replace the batteries? Hmmm, there's no mention of it.


You can bet your last dollar that Garmin doesn't tie a rock around it and drop it in a tank. In fact, I'll bet $100 that Garmin has paperwork to prove that their units do in fact meet whatever standards they claim.


Care to take me up on it?


It's really quite funny. Take a piece of electronic equipment that is inherently not designed to be used underwater, float it on water, ruin it, then blame someone else because in an unqualified opinion, the unit should have been able to take it.


Once again, two words: Common Sense


Most people do not float their eTrex on water...I wonder why???????


The law is chock full of the legal definition of "competent" which is not really how common English uses the word. I am fully competent to perform my job and inspect my safety harness daily, however I am (thankfully) not considered a "competent" person by OSHA for the annual inspection because I haven't received that specific training.


I'm quite sure the question of "What made you think you were competent to interpret IPX7 standards?" would be raised.


Sure, you can have a lawyer rail on and on about one word until the jury loses sight of the real problem. It happened with a rigging hardware manufacturer (Crosby Group??). Their hardware used to say "Safe Working Load N Pounds" . A few years back, it changed to "Working Load Limit". When I asked someone about it, I was told that some manufacturer was sued because one of their products failed...when overloaded close to three times beyond rated capacity.


The Plaintiff actually won because their lawyer kept saying "But the product says 'safe'."


So, once again, someone was an idiot and found someone else to blame.


Take Garmin to court and lets see how this works out!


"b..b..bb...but their AD says..."

Fine. I'll play the other side of the fence: Let's assume that their advertising is a bold face lie.


After ruining two units, he still gave them another $59.


What's that old saying?


"Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice.....

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I have a mount on my ATV for my Legend. Two weeks ago, I went riding along a creek for the day. Knowing I was going to be crossing that creek, and perhaps floating the creek, I put my Etrex in a Ziplock, then into the mount.


YES, I read where is said "waterproof", but my daddy raised me to only believe half of what I read.


Later that day I SUNK my ATV in the creek. My cylinders got water in them, my Legend stayed high and dry.


Come on folks....think for yourselves. Be smart, be PROACTIVE. Think things through.


No wonder today's society is just a bunch of whining tittie-babies....


My .02 cents, and I am back quiet....


Counter Fit Cache


...or is it really me????

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In my opinion, based on 30 years of IT experience in the insurance industry, the courts would view the claim of "waterproof" through the eyes of the "average consumer".


The courts have held (both in the technology industry and the insurance industry) that the "average consumer" is not qualified to know about today's technology and therefore relies on the claims of the manufacturer. All insurance policies in Massachusetts (and perhaps other states) must now be accompanied by a "plain English" translation that the average consumer can understand.


A judge would view "waterproof" as the average consumer would.


In a larger court with dozens of lawyers, perhaps Garmin could successfully argue their point (I doubt it), but in Small Claims Court Garmin would lose.




Of course, I still think it was a dumb thing to do.


EDIT: typo


[This message was edited by geospotter on January 24, 2003 at 03:56 PM.]

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I have personally lost an eTrex that sank to the bottom of a muddy pool when it slipped from my pocket. (Yes, I was an idiot and had it in my breast pocket as I bent over to look into the pool.) icon_smile.gif


Also, a good friend took his along as he rode SeaDoos with some friends. He tossed it to one of the other guys who fumbled. It sank right to the bottom of the lake.


Perhaps the previous density calculations don't take into account the batteries? Or maybe I just have experience with really dense eTrexes, eTrexii, eTrex, uh, whatever the plural for eTrex is...



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Okay, I looked around the internet for battery weights and conversions and such... I haven't done much of this since High School physics, so correct at will!


If each AA alkaline battery weighs .85 oz (24.1 grams) then two would be 1.70 oz (48.2 grams). This gives us an actual weight of 198.2 grams for the eTrex with batteries.


Density calculation then comes up as approximately 1.15, which will sink the little buggers.


Yes? No? Maybe?

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I'm quite sure the question of "What made you think you were competent to interpret IPX7 standards?" would be raised.


Now, play fair. icon_wink.gif I quoted the exact specs (didn't just refer someone to a "10second search on google" as though I knew something they would find out. Those IPX7 don't leave much to be "interpreted," do they? 1 meter is pretty definitive. icon_wink.gif water? I'm not strugging with that word, either.


In case you haven't noticed amongst the peer community some of these units do work as claimed, and some do not. Garmin would lose much sales to Magellan if they only met up with "water resistant." Eventually, they'll nail the bugs out, but until they do they'll replace the occasional unit when it fails within the terms stated in plain English on their advertisement, and the rating.


p.s. Not everybody is an "idiot" for relying on the stated guidelines. You must not drive a car, because seatbelts are only "intended" to provide safety, eh? Only and idiot would believe that, huh? icon_wink.gif Testing and rating standards are put into place specifically to do just that: Provide a minimal standard. That's why Garmin says 1 meter. Not more than 1 meter - but immersible for 30 minutes (not 3 days) at 1 meter.


I think attorneys are around just as much for people who can't understand plain English without feeling like they need to find ways to interpret/comprehend the simplest, purest of statements... For me, it doesn't get any easier than IPX7. icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif


If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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Originally posted by loyalp:


If each AA alkaline battery weighs .85 oz (24.1 grams) then two would be 1.70 oz (48.2 grams). This gives us an actual weight of 198.2 grams for the eTrex with batteries.


Density calculation then comes up as approximately 1.15, which will sink the little buggers.



not quite. this from garmin says that 150grams is the weight with batteries installed. so the density as calculated by another poster is about 0.9. also the link shows what garmin claims to be the 'waterproofness' of their units. so as a question, what about the magellan? the manual simply say waterproof. to get information about the standard/rating you have to go to the web site or tech services.

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Since the company spells out exactly standards the durability is rated for, gives examples of the practical limits of those standards online, in manuals, and in the one sheet print add I see at REI, happily replaces the unit under warrantee even when it is used in bizarre and pointless ways, I'm not sure I understand what the beef is.


Let me see if I can apply the same reasoning:


Since the measurements cited are pointless and inaccurate, should the US Government and assorted contractors be held liable because the technical limitations of the GPS sat. system don't meet the original poster's understanding based on a one paragraph blurb?



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The Magellan's have the same rating. Their o-ring system looks to stand up to the rating. It's not a glued on strip around the unit, but instead an actual gasket which should never need to be loosened. That does not mean I can't see it possibly wearing (most things do) and possible tearing - but because of the compression design holding the two pieces together - the gasket being the contact point - it seems as solid as one would get from a two-piece unit.


On the eTrex, as I recall there is a little gasket that pops out to connect to the serial cable? I'm not 100% sure, but I recall this to be the design on our Legend. That I could definitely see wearing/tearing. I didn't like it. The STPro utilizes contact points and a screw-on connecter. For a quick waypoint upload, I just hold the connector to the back and don't bother screwing it on.


If Costco had more of these units on the shelf I would absolutely volunteer mine up for a test - and have no problems returning it if it didn't meet up to the advertised capabilities. After all, the place for it to fail is in my sink, not at the lake. icon_wink.gif Hey, accidents do happen, and one does not have to be an "idiot" to desire to simulate an actual situation. Enough of you have dropped your GPSrs to render the term "idiot" innappropriate. I had a T6400 Motorola slide out of a pocket on my fishing vest and plop right into the lake in June. Instant failure. But I dried it all out and after 2 days "recovery" it has been fine since. My point is that this could very well have been my GPSr, and I'd have been ticked if it didn't meet the specified tolerance for use. It doesn't say standards of MISUSE.


I've read some VERY well regarded geocachers and posters on this forum who DID do testing, and not a single one of you called them an idiot; rather, I'll bet you hung on their "experiments" with much curiosity because some folks like others to be first to try the meat. icon_wink.gif I, too, wondered why these guys would dunk a perfectly good unit in their sink - repeatedly - but I had no problem helping myself to their observations. icon_wink.gif


I think that's what this is really about - there's no animosity (or at least there shouldn't be) among us. Nobody is an idiot for using their unit within the advertised claims. Rather, I think there's a lot of curiosity as to "why" these are rated waterproof if they're really not. How many of you would call a person an "idiot" if they wore their waterproof watch to the lake? icon_wink.gif See? That's an electrical piece of equipment.


I think the jist of the matter is that, as Anders and I discussed, Garmin loses far less replacing a unit that fails than they do by selling them with a rating that makes Joe Outdoorsman "comfy" thinking they've got a waterproof unit - even though the vast majority would never want to drop it or use it in/on water. If they fell to "water resistant" then (even though people still wouldn't dunk 'em) folks would flock to the Magellan units just because "if it's waterproof it's gotta be better."


Again, I've posted the actual ratings - there should be no lack of understanding between sprays, splashes, drips or immersion up to 1 meter. Garmin uses a purge type gasket inside the unit so the unit can "breath" without taking in water. A good example is the purge on the waterproof storage box REI sells which is more expensive, but next to the Otterbox. Their claim is waterproof. That means you can put your valuables in it, and it can take a dunk. If your stuff is damaged - why shouldn't you be allowed compensation?


As these units progress, they will work out the bugs and design flaws. At our consumer level, we will see units meeting the standards set forth. But as it is now, Garmin doesn't have much liability (just the cost of the unit) if their claims fail. The unit isn't going to cause you personal damage if it fails - after all, they go to extremes to ensure that you do not rely on the unit as anything more than a "navigational aid" icon_wink.gif They know where to cover their booty, and where to make an unweighty claim. A toy that fails under warranty needs only be replaced; there's not likely any tort to be assigned.


Some of these Etrex's do perform as claimed, and some do not. I'm curious about the Magellan, but not so curious that I'm gonna use it to navigate my full bathtub. icon_biggrin.gif Would I get it replaced? Certainly. But it's just not worth the trouble.


And hey, I just must toss in one more defense for the poster - who, by the way, is leaving me high and dry and needs to defend himself unless he's either abandoned the group for being called and idiot or feels I'm doing a fine job for him. icon_wink.gif But, if my watch for example, said waterproof and it failed me one time - why would I not think it was just a bad unit? Of course I'd try it a second time. If your car is a lemon, and is returned under the lemon law, do you not drive the new (2nd) car because the first one failed you? Conversely, if you are a "floater," and you like to "float" your eTrex to try to shave a foot or two off the 50+' of inaccuracy icon_biggrin.gif and the first one fails - why shouldn't you think it was just a bad unit, and return to your "floating" ways? icon_biggrin.gif


"Fool me once" would only apply if the unit said only "water resistant" and the guy pulled a boner and thought it was water proof. icon_wink.gif Lots of you have sent a unit back for repairs, under normal use. If you're not "violating" IPX7 standards, why is that considered "abnormal" use? Hey, whatever "floats" yer boat, friends! icon_biggrin.gif


BTW, Garmin doesn't mince words when they claim their units are waterproof. Now, what's in it for me if I DO challenge 'em in small claims, CSFamily? icon_wink.gif You surely don't think you can offer an "I can't lose" proposal to me, do you? You've gotta put something on the table for my efforts - I don't go around "proving" stuff to folks just so they can shrug it off and walk away. icon_biggrin.gif That "fool me once" comes into play, here. LOL


But I see you're in Sin City. Tell ya what - I'm going to place a cache in Beatty (that's not too far north of ya) and I'm going to place a special gift for you in it (actually, two of 'em). I'm going to save one of our last BigM's Prehistoric Cache Locators (our current sig. item) and our Zydeco CD - just so there's no animosity. I'll even wrap 'em up with your folks' name on it so the other cachers will leave it for ya. While the discussions can get lively, there's no bother calling anyone an idiot. We can agree to disagree, fair enough?


If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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WOW - I just checked back here and found what a fire I started. In my own defense, I feel compelled to clear up a few items.


#1 - my initial posting was to warn others who might wish to use their Etrex according to published allowances, so they might avoid the hassle I've experienced. It was not to 'gain sympathy'. Don't need sympathy. Actually, I don't even LIKE sympathy.


#2 - I haven't given them the $59 YET, but likely will because I have accessories for it and don't want to re-buy them.


#3 - on the first fry I was NOT trying to find my 'absolute altitude', which is very unrealistic with this unit, or any other with no barometer and not even DGPS. To further embarrass myself, I was trying to measure the RELATIVE difference at the surface of the water versus the tree branch I had just jumped from [NOT holding the GPS]. (It was about 30 feet). YES - I could hold it a few inches above the water. YES - those few inches would make no meaningful difference. YES - I let it float 'because I thought I COULD.'


#4 - on the SECOND fry, I was INTENDING on swimming out a few hundred yards to a GEOCACHE that's underwater. http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?ID=20440

Get it? NO - I did not plan on swimming down below one meter - I intended on letting it float on the surface once I got to the vicinity while I swam down to the cache. However, I didn't get that far. While putting on my fins in waist-deep water, the unit went blank and never came back, EVEN AFTER drying out the battery compartment. In just seconds, the unit became saturated with moisture, evidenced by condensed beads on the inside of the display.


#5 - The Etrex [fully loaded with batteries] does not float, according to reliable sources. That's why I bought a BodyGlove neoprene case for it when I first bought it. The case DOES float, even when fully loaded down with a GPS and batteries.


As has been mentioned by others, I have used this unit WELL INSIDE the limits given by Garmin. I did NOT sink it the FULL METER, in some campaign to prove its tolerances. I didn't leave it submerged for 29 minutes. Didn't even come close to the parameters that are supposedly allowed. Guess I am "stupid" for believing what I was told by the manufacturer. I'm still going to that underwater cache, tho. I'll carry the next GPS in a ziploc bag inside a ziploc bag. Oh, and, I've owned many "waterproof" watches over the years, and they all withstood swimming.

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Thanks for rejoining the thread! icon_wink.gif Yes, quite the brimstone, eh? icon_biggrin.gif


FWIW, I think your useage is hardly to be ridiculed. Just because some folks buy something but never intend to use it in all advertised situations does not mean others don't. I think it's awesome that you were going to the underwater cache! And I think it's absolutely legitimate to think you should be able to use something that claims to be "waterproof" within the stated tolerances.


That said, for what you are doing I would suggest ix-naying the ziploc bags and dropping the bones on a durable dry bag, like the Voyageur.


Further, I wouldn't hesitate to copy this entire thread and email it to Garmin - it would be good relations for them to honor their own claims. I understand the warranty period elapsed, but a new "start date" should have been instated with delivery of the new unit. Just a thought. I'm thinking you just got an employee who likes conflict - because there have been cases where Garmin has been a real trooper and swapped out dropped units with no charge. I do hope you spend the time to email them this - and I for one, would like to know their reaction.


If I got really ticked at Garmin for not honoring their product specs I would probably go buy a unit, and keep exchanging them until I got one that performed as advertised. Any Target, Walmart, REI or SportMart would offer up a revolving door exchange policy because they, too, would see it as product failure.


Now, here's what I would do if I were you: Email Garmin, and copy/paste this thread - fair enough, they get both sides of the issue. While you might get more bees with honey, you get more flies with poop - so give 'em both sides of the racket. icon_wink.gif


Tell them you are aware that there's a bit of difficulty with their units be waterproof as advertised, and that you now understand this - but didn't before. Instead of spending $59 on a new unit, or buying/exchanging them until you find one that is waterproof as advertised within the specs of course, you would gladly accept your unit repaired/replaced and you will instead invest the repair money on a good waterproof bag so that everybody is happy. Garmin would much more appreciate a "Garmin has great customer service thread" than an "angry at Garmin" thread.


I honestly can't see Garmin working with you since they've worked with plenty of out-of-warranty customers just to maintain a solid relationship. After all, Garmin knows that if you are happy with their product, chances are you'll be buying from them when you upgrade to that autorouting VDeluxe, eh? And if you're not, you're likely to "cross over" to the Magellan side. icon_wink.gif


I just hope you get your GPSr satisfactorily back in working order so you can go bag that underwater cache! You've paid for the product, so they've gotten your money - now you should get what your money paid for - plain and simple. That others don't go near the water doesn't mean you shouldn't. But explain that you'll not expose your GPSr to the bare-naked water without a good bag ever again. Fair compromise.




If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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p.s. Yes, you would need the GPS to perform as advertised for that cache! What a blast that cache seems to be. But I'd be out there with a raft, myself - and that's where I'd keep my GPSr! However, those less fit than you shouldn't be envious! icon_biggrin.gif That's a perfect 5-star across the boards. (actually, I am envious. icon_biggrin.gif ) free-dive to 20"??? Maybe in my younger years! Have fun!


If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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Sounds like you've had some bad luck. My old yellow eTrex got dropped in a stream once by my daughter. It took us about 20 minutes to find it as it floated quite aways downstream before washing up on a gravel bar. There was a little water in the battery compartment but the receiver itself remained dry. It also got dunked transfering gear from the boat once again without trouble.


Just to see how they work for myself though I took my Legend and dropped it in the sink (It's well over a year old and out of warranty). It bobbed right to the surface and floated for a full 15 minutes even though I kept pushing it back under. (Batteries in it were Rayovacs NiMh's, the unit floats vertically with a half inch or so above the surface) I then opened the battery door which had very little water in it. I next filled the battery compartment with water and dropped the receiver back in the sink. It bounced off the bottom and slowly sank back to the bottom of the sink. I then dumped/wipped the battery compartment out and the unit fired right up with no evidence of any moisture inside the receiver.


Deciding to check out the sportrak as well, I dropped it in the sink. It too floats vertically, with maybe a quarter inch sticking out of the water. (You don't want to drop either receiver out of the boat in a chop or they'll be hard to find as they're only marginally boyant, and float pretty deep) When I pulled it out there was a very slight fog on the inside of the display glass which appeared to be from mositure condensation from the air inside the unit. When I opened it up, I saw no evidence at all that any water had gotten into the unit, even though is has small stress cracks at two of the screws.


Overall, I'd say the units should easily handle any normal accidental dunkings.


As for using the this forum to help you out in your dealings with the manufacture, I doubt it will help. I tried using the opinions on ruggedness from the sci.geo.sat.nav newsgroup when I cracked the display on my Sportrak. The only response I got was any physical damage to the unit I had to pay for.


For what it's worth



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It can be hit and miss, but several folks have used forum posts to communicate with the manufacturer. And wise manufacturers sift through the manipulative posts and those that actually deserve some merit. Some folks think they "listened" when they sent in posts discussing desired upgrades (latest thread regarding "wish list" for Magellans comes to mind). icon_wink.gif


And some folks do get equipment replaced - again, so much depends on the "human" at the other end of the line. Those folks having ever served in a management position where they make decisions that affect the "bottom line" can understand and appreciate that often the decision draws from how a situation is presented.


If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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I'm with you Grandmaster Cache. If it says 3 meters for 30 minutes it had better be able to do that. The margin of safety is on the manufacturers back. If the guarantee it at 3 meters for 30 minutes they should test it for more.


Speaking of watches. I had a casio that was rated to 100 meters. It had an altimeter/depth gauge on it. I took it scuba diving to 100 feet. I know it wasn't 100 meters, but it's a lot more than the swimming standard I was reading about. The watch held up with no problems. Too bad I lost that watch. icon_frown.gif


My point is that if they make the claim, then they should back it up.

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I'll not go on debating this issue with Grandfather - or was it Grandmaster? - or he may fall out of this rocking chair. But it's interesting reading; Me, not knowing English that well, like to read your quite verbose posts.


However, from some post one may get the impression that the rubber band around the edge of an eTrex unit is what makes it waterproof - as proof as it now is. Thís is not the case. The rubber band is there to have something nice to grab, and to make the unit look rugged, I would assume. But even if the rubber falls off, which it does now and then, on some units, that will not affect the units ability to withstand water. There is yet another sealing under the rubber.


The battery compartement of an eTrex is water resistant enough to keep water out when just splashing the unit for a short moment. The bypass of electrical power into the innards of the unit is done in such a way, that the metallic conductor is sealed against the encloseure of the unit. So water shouldn't come in there.


Yet another post remainded me of the membrane they obviously put into the unit, to prevent if from blowing up when you go up in the Rocky Mountains. That sounds like a very likely piece to break down, and then let water come in.


Now, I must admit that I do use my Vista in ways that some people perhaps would consider validate me as a complete fool, too. I did take it with me on one tour, swimming on my back out to an island. I was wearing a wetsuit and fins, so I didn't have to roll over and dip the unit, but it did of course get some splashes.


I've also made a quick test in my sink to see if it could float (I didn't know back then). It sank but survived. But I was quick to take it up again, of course.



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Nah, what makes ya think I'm in a rocking chair, Lars, er, was that Wanders?? icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif Ya'll are confusing me with those little units now.. I give up. Some sink, some float, some pass the X3 rating, some the X7. Some people think one meter means "splashes." icon_wink.gif I give up. icon_biggrin.gif It's been real! Egads, I'm just looking at my CD burner which says "burn" proof. I don't believe it. But I'm not gonna be an idiot and try it out. I'll just let it sit there. icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif


If you hide it, they will come.

Grandmaster Cache

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I haven't got a clue as to what exactly waterproof means, but it looks to me like if you get water in it while it's under warranty they replace it, if it's out, you're out of luck. Seems to be about the same with all products. I think I may own the same casio watch discussed earlier. Mine started leaking enough to fog up after a few years and no, they won't repair it for me. It works like a charm though so I still use it, just not for swimming. My boat outdrive started leaking water a couple years ago and I couldn't talk mercruiser into fixing it either, even though it was only a year out of warranty. Personally I don't think it's great, but seems to be the way it's done.


I ramble here though, as a result of the recent discussions I have been playing with my receivers in the water a fair bit, and have come to the conclusion they're both reasonably waterproof. My statements earlier about the eTrex floating though were probably misleading. It will float every time if it's in the case. Out of the case, if the rubber is dry it will sometimes trap air in the seam around the battery compartment and float. Most of the time though it just sinks, and once the rubber gets wet it won't float again. (The Grandmaster is very correct in saying you need to grab it quick if it comes to the surface) I don't think you should try and put the receivers in the water though unless you have to. The eTrex battery compartment may eventually fill with water, and the sportrak traps water in the keypad area that will probably take me days to get out. I also notice that my sportrak fogged up when I took it out in the cold caching earlier today, so I somehow may have gotten a little moisture into it. (Probably when I opened the better door to check for water)


Here's a couple pictures for now. I'll post some info about it on my webpage in the near future.






For what it's worth



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i think they should back up what it says on the package. how do you interpret your "bumper to bumper" warranty on your vehicle? waterproof and water resistant are two fairly defined concepts in the realm of commerce. manufacturers shoudnt be using the common definition to sell something and then when being called on it whip out industry standard to avoid a claim. i noticed when the i finder series came out it was not advertised as waterproof and came with a zipstyle bag. i shelled out $150 bucks more for the garmin 76 over the ifinder in large part because of the waterproof/floating feature. i sail a catamaran and keeping anything dry is impossible. i also kayak. im gonna be pissed if my unit falls into the water and poof its ruined. i dont expect it to hit the water at 50mph and not get damaged but if i choose to lay it on the surface of the water i expect it to function just like it says it will on the box and manual. (not withstanding the drying of the battery well). gps dont just live in cars and long walks in the woods and the manufacturers know it. seems like they tilt marketing to the units "go anywhere/ go anytime" when that is not what they mean. good grief how hard is it to really waterproof the things anyway? an o ring and some nitrogen gas? watches have been doing this for years.


did we find it?

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Early model Magellans like the 315 and 330 USED to have a rating of IPX2 or IPX3 (I forget now). When the Meridian line came out, they were rated at IPX7. Around that time, they also changed the ratings on the early models to IPX7 as well. I seriously doubt Magellan redesigned the early models when they were releasing the new Meridians and Sportraks. I'm guessing they too felt the need to make the marketing claim of waterproof, even if they had to eat a few units.

PS. I too bought the 76 because it seemed to be the most waterproof unit at that time, and mine also sees use on the water in a canoe and a waverunner. I still never felt the need to push my luck. GPS goes into a ziplock, and when I'm not using it, the GPS in ziplock goes into a small tupperware. The tupperware goes into a small collapsible cooler. The kind that holds a sandwich, ice pack, and a soda, and thats about it. I also put my wallet and keys (in a ziplock as well) and stuff like that. The cooler isn't totally waterproof, but when its zipped, very little water gets in. Makes it easy to grab everything of value if i beach/dock somewhere, and easy to spot if it goes overboard.


Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

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Early model Magellans like the 315 and 330 USED to have a rating of IPX2 or IPX3 (I forget now). When the Meridian line came out, they were rated at IPX7. Around that time, they also changed the ratings on the early models to IPX7 as well. I seriously doubt Magellan redesigned the early models when they were releasing the new Meridians and Sportraks. I'm guessing they too felt the need to make the marketing claim of waterproof, even if they had to eat a few units.


the hardcopy of the manual for my '98 mag 315 says 'waterproof' and the magellan techs that i spoke with did say it was 'waterproof' and floated. mine has been in the drink several times and with no adverse affect. however now that its out of warranty would magellan replace it if it leaked and fried? no, and why would they? the difference in the rating and the manual claims is simply advertizing. who really cares what the ipx rating is and why? if it survives a dunking then its waterproof.

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