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Etrex Venture NOT for GeoCaching!!!


WalstonFam
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Did my first cache with my new Venture...Garmin really let me down with this little "treasure"! The previous posts about the reception of these units are HUGELY understated! I barely got under light tree cover and the unit bugged out. icon_mad.gif First is leads me right up to where it thinks the coordinates are and then suddenly it says that I am 100ft away in some other direction! (Neither places were even 100ft from the actual cache) icon_mad.gif (Worth noting: the unit was in normal mode with WAAS off) Maybe it would work good if the cache was in the desert! icon_rolleyes.gif

 

This piece goes back tomorrow!! I am really contemplated jumping ship and getting a Magellan Sportrak!!!! icon_eek.gif

 

Of course this is free advice and my opinion.

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I was debating between a Venture, Legend, Sportrak Map or Pro as my first GPS. I ended up getting the Pro. I liked the look and size of the Garmins but when I went to check one out, the salesman and I went into the parking lot with it under cloud cover and could not lock on a single satellite. I drove down the street to check out the Pro and it worked great. Has been very accurate under tree and cloud cover. I have been very impressed. However, it is my first GPS so take that into consideration.

I bought mine off of eBay. Paid $239 including shipping. I think you just missed out on a Father's Day $50 rebate if you get a Sportrak and Mapsend Streets. I didn't want to wait for the Map to come out so I bought the Pro. Has plenty of memory for me.

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I picked up my Venture about 4 weeks ago. I haven't experienced that kind of jumpiness. Have you uploaded the latest patch (v2.31), this might help?

 

I've only experienced once, something like what you had happen but it wasn't the Venture that was wrong. It was my second cache hunt, a multi-cache. The second set of coordinates where found in the instruction from the first cache. I followed the Venture to those coordinates, but there wasn't anything there like the instructions said there would be. icon_confused.gif Gave up and came back the next day and we found the cache. It was around a tenth of a mile away from the coordinates given. I happened to run into another cacher who was on the same hunt and we compared readings and concurred that the coordinates that we got from the first cache were just plain off. Now he had the base model Etrex (the yellow one) so we weren't comparing a different makes. But on all my other caches, my Venture hasn't let me down. It's taken me right to the cache everytime.

 

If you minds made up, I've heard good things about the SportTrak. Otherwise, check the revision of the firmware and give the Venture another chance. icon_smile.gif

 

Good Luck

 

FINALLY!!! Something useful I can do with that Geography degree. :-D

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Yes, there are units with better sensitivity than the eTrex series.

 

Yes, you can use an eTrex for geocaching (I've found 40+ myself, with an eTrex Vista).

 

Yes, if you get pissed off on something, even because you haven't learned its pecularities yet, you are likely not to trust that particular thing any longer... icon_rolleyes.gif

 

Anders

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... and haven't had too many problems with it. I've found 20 caches in the woods and in the desert, and it's always been reliable (when the coordinates are right!) It does get buggy under heavy tree cover. When that happens, I stop, let it stabilize, and use a compass to take bearings. Also, you need to make sure that your in bearing mode rather than course mode, which will steer you back to the line you're supposed to be on, rather than directly to the destination. If your pointer is offset in the middle, you're in course mode. Course mode was the reason I missed my first cache. I'm sure that other devices have their own pecularities as well. Doesn't the SporTrak have auto-averaging that has caused problems with some people?

 

I usually use my Venture in battery saver mode. I don't live in an area where WAAS is of any help. The only thing that I've had a problem with in my Venture is the use of the map screen. If you accidentally "grab" a waypoint with the cursor, and put it down without moving it, it is actually moved. Depending on the screen resolution, picking it up and putting it down without "moving" it can actually move it 1/4 mile or so. I've done that with caches, but thankfully never with the waypoints I've used to mark the car. icon_smile.gif

 

Personally, I'm saving up for a MeriPlat with MS Topo, but I'll keep the Venture as a backup (and to train the kids).

 

Before you jump ship, why not try it on another cache?

 

-Craig/TeamCNJC

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I've been using my Venture since last November, including in dense forest and in canyons, and the only time I've had real problems is when I've been in a canyon with dense forest. But then thats part of the challenge! Otherwise I love my Venture. I have noticed that it does help if you keep it horizontal (like on your shoulder on a shoulder strap). I'm sorry you've been having problems - maybe send it back to Garmin and ask for a replacement?

 

Groover

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I did my first few caches with a Garmin GPS II that is about 6 years old. After comparing notes with other geocachers, I realized that I was fighting obsolete technology, and got a Venture. My first two caches with it put me within five feet. The II would lose its fix if you said "tree" but the Venture so far has been doing fine. There may be better units, but the Venture has convinced me that GPS's are more than a toy requiring a perfect constellation to work.

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I also tried the ETREX route and was sorely disappointed. When my trusted Garmin GPS 12 started to flake out intermittently, I didn’t even think about anything but a Garmin. The Vista I bought was great unit with lots of features, razor sharp display, and super small and rugged, I thought I had found the ultimate Geocaching unit. Unfortunately the receiver sucked, my old GPS 12 blew it out of the water. It would probably be great for general backcountry travel, but I could tell it was not going to cut it for Geocaching. Sure was glad I purchased it from REI. Returned it no questions asked. Jumped ship and bought a SporTrak PRO even though I have had some bad experience with Magellan units in the past. So far its been great, not the ultimate by any means but a fantastic all around performer. Still would like to try the GPS 5, sounds like a great unit, although I have some reservations about subjecting it to some of the places I go due to the high cost.

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We had a geo cachers get togeather, a while back, at a park with a lot of tree cover. We split into teams, hid two caches then went hunting. My team had four e-trecs(three yellow and one venture) and two magellans (mine is a meridian) the e-trecs were all over the place 100-300 ft off, and had trouble keeping a lock on even three sats. The Magellans had lock on seven to eight sats the whole time, AND found the cache. The Venture owner said his next GPS will be a magellan.

1pilot

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We are new to this and just picked up the eTrex Legend yesterday. In 2 days we got 11/12 and the Legend got us within 5 feet of every one. The only one we didn't get to was due to parking problems.

 

Paul & Suzanne

Your Mileage May Vary

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Something doesn't add up. How are coordinates determined by hiders using the etrex series. If they're so bad, no one would be able to find those caches. It seems that whatever methods the hider uses to determine the orignial coordinates should be used by etrex people looking for the cache.

 

Alan

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I still think that there is one thing that's more important than anything else: Practice!

 

If you start using a unit, and it doesn't work the way you thought immediately, it could be that you haven't understood the thing, rather than the thing itself.

 

I consider what my eTrex (yes, one of these!) says as something any measuring instrument would show, not as being the truth. More than 20 years of experience with electric and electronic measuring and data sampling has taught me, that there are two different values with any instrument: What it says and what it means.

 

As soon as you measure anything more complex than ordinary DC voltage with a multimeter, you have to start asking yourself if this signal can be correctly interpreted by the instrument you use.

 

Measuring the position with a GPS receiver is very much more complex, and requires thinking by the user to the same degree. I was baffled several times by my eTrex in the beginning, but quickly found that some practice, like navigating to known positions, taught me how to interpret the indications I got from the instrument. Since the GPS is a complex instrument, it bahaviour is also more complex than, say, a thermometer.

 

This doesn't rule out that there are other units, that may be much better (I haven't tried any other), but I still think that an eTrex can be very helpful, once you learn how it works.

 

Anders

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Hmmm...well...after I hit the 20 year geocaching experience mark...THEN I will go get an Etrex! icon_wink.gif But for now, I will gleefully enjoy a GPS unit that can receive data from the Sats under a few leaves! icon_cool.gif

 

And BTW, I did apply the latest software updates before I went out "hunting". Didn't help much!

 

Also FYI, I got the Sportrak Map + 12V car cable for $172 off Ebay! Pretty decent. icon_biggrin.gif

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I have the yellow Etrex and the Etrex Vista. Actually the Vista is my brothers but anyways... I can attest to the bad reception with the Vista. It takes forever to get be rdy to navigate unlike my yellow Etrex which takes 30 secs or less. The yellow etrex performs much much more efficient under trees and bad weather. While I was looking for a geocache under heavy trees, my yellow etrex worked like a charm while the Vista continually said poor signal, need clear view of sky. The yellw etrex is great for geocaching and backpacking and lots of other stuff, it has the most bang for the buck. Or go for the sport trak which has the same memory as Vista and supposidly works way better!

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I've had a Vista for a short time now, and am still getting used to the various aspects of geocaching. I've had mixed experiences... it's let me right to caches sometimes (even in some tree cover), while other times no matter what I did it said I should go in the other direction.

 

I have to agree that a lot of this is tweaking settings (compass off vs. on, WAAS off vs. on, battery saver mode or not, etc.). I try not to get too frustrated. I realize that there will be times I probably need to use the compass along with the GPS to figure out where I am and where I'm going. I also need to figure out how to change settings so that I get better readings under trees and such.

 

I'd say use the thing for awhile and spend time getting to know it before you give up on it so quickly. I also would think that WHERE you live/play also plays a big part as to how well it can lock onto certain satellites, right?

 

Jeff

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I have a merigreen that I got in early June and it has worked excellently from day one. It was easy to use and after a small amount of time with the manual the operation has become intuitive. There are some deep places with heavy cover here in North Central PA and I have never lost the lock on the satelitesor even been down to 2D. All I have ever done to the unit is upgrade to the latest software release obtained from the Magellan site.

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I see so many comparisons of the Magellan Gold, and the like, to the eTrex series. I think it's a totally unfair comparison.

 

I see the eTrex line as the "works good and is incredibly small" line, and others like Magellan's Gold and Platinum as comparing more to Garmin's 76 and gpsmap 76 line. I've owned a Legend (and my son has a yellow eTrex) and they've worked great. But there's no doubt that my GPSV and GPSMAP 76 blow them away for reception. They're MUCH bigger, and have a different (BIGGER!) antenna!

 

I have always used Garmin, but I would never say Magellan is bad because I didn't have good luck with their cheap model.

 

If you want better than average reception get a BIG GPS FROM EITHER BRAND. It'll work better than a small one! But it won't fit in your pocket as easily!

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I just picked up a venture a few weeks ago and it seems to be working just fine. Seems pretty stable and works well under light tree cover. For the price, it seems like a good unit. The water-resistance of the etrex series is a nice bonus too.

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I've found over 200 caches with mine everything from 1/1's in the desert to 4/4's on mountains or under thick tree coverage. Only places I've really had problems are narrow gorges and in the Old growth forests of the NW but once I got out of my car there I could pick up sats fine. Don't get me wrong I'd love a V and I'm sure I wouldn't go back once I had one, but there's nothing wrong with the venture

 

"...Not all those who wander are lost..."

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Really a good trades person never blames their tools icon_biggrin.gif. Half the problem in some cases is an over expectation of what the system is reliably capable of and understanding just how to make the most of what it does provide.

 

Anders called it practice but experience is possibly another term.

 

Cheers, Kerry.

 

I never get lost icon_smile.gif everybody keeps telling me where to go icon_wink.gif

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We have two of these bad boys and have no problem with them. I mount one in my Jeep even. I haven't noticed radical jumpiness in accuracy. Heck, I'm only trying to get within 20 feet or so anyway and I can figure it out from there. We love the Venture - low cost, lots of features, high battery life, etc, etc.

 

Here is how I mount it in my Jeep. This is with a softtop on so the only view of sky is from the windshield and the side window. I usually get 20 feet accuracy or better driving like this.

 

gps_1.jpg

 

-----------

Bill

Jeeps Only!

http://www.jeepsonly.com

------------------------

 

[This message was edited by JeepsOnly on July 28, 2002 at 11:18 AM.]

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I believe and have been told by other geocachers that the reason for the ETrex's poor reception performance is down to the antenna. The ETrex series only uses a patch antenna. This was chosen for its small size, low cost and ability to pick up a signal whilst the unit is horizontal. The Garmin GPSMap 76S which I use has a quadrilfilar antenna which are more expensive to manufacture, operate best with the unit pointed at the sky and unfortunately larger than the patch antenna in the other cheaper/smaller models. Quadrifilar antennas do, however, have far superior reception particularly in areas with a very weak signal. In conclusion, and no offence meant, you get what you pay for.

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quote:
Originally posted by Anders:

quote:
Originally posted by Kerry:

 

Anders called it practice but experience is possibly another term.

 


 

Well, Kerry, practice eventually leads to experience...

 

Anders


 

So does that mean the experienced should practice first icon_biggrin.gif

 

Cheers, Kerry.

 

I never get lost icon_smile.gif everybody keeps telling me where to go icon_wink.gif

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