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Etrex Vista Spontaniously Shuts Down


genophylus
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I've had a Vista for about four months and really like the features. However, when using it for more than a few hours, it will turn itself off. I find this quite frustrating, especially when I wait through the boot and acquisition process six or seven times in a day.

 

Below are what I hope are most of the salient points related to this issue. Any feedback or suggestions are most welcome.

 

- The shutdowns occur more frequently, but not exclusively, when the signal is weak or diminished by trees.

 

- The shutdowns occur more frequently, but not exclusively, when the unit is hanging on the neck lanyard rather than held horizontal in my hand.

 

- The shutdowns occur more frequently, but not exclusively, when the batteries have been in use for two to six hours.

 

- The shutdowns occur more frequently, but not exclusively, when I am walking. It does occur at rest. It has never occurred while in use in a moving vehicle.

 

- I use alkaline batteries and the shutdowns have net seemed affected by the brand I am using.

 

- The powersave feature is turned off in the setup.

 

- The firmware has been upgraded. I have also performed a hard reset at the instruction of Garmin support staff.

 

- I have sent the unit back to Garmin for diagnostic testing and had it returned with a clean bill of health. The problem continued to occur.

 

Another behavior, which may be related, is that the signal strength and number of satellites acquired at any given times is nearly always less than my older yellow Etrex unit.

 

I am hoping that the vast pool of knowledge and experience here in the forums will shed some light on a solution.

 

Thanks in advance for your comments.

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I've noticed my Vista shuts down on occassion, but never while I was actively using it. Sometimes if it's been hanging at my side for sometime, or sitting upside down on the seat of my car.

 

I wonder if it shuts off automatically if it doesn't received a signal for a certain period of time?

 

It will also shut itself off when the battery is low, or if I drop it. Check your battery contacts. Maybe that's the problem?

 

What level of software are you using? I know one geocacher who upgraded to the latest and said it has a lot of problems, including diminished signal strength and accuracy.

 

"Au pays des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois"

 

[This message was edited by BrianSnat on June 21, 2003 at 05:41 AM.]

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Could be the batteries disconnecting from the contact even for an instant due to bouncing or jerkinging. Some batteries are slightly smaller than others. Check and make sure the springs are keeping the batteries in tight. another thing to try is to fold over a small piece of aluminum foil and insert it between the battery and contact to see if that makes a difference.

 

Good luck. Let us know how your resolve it in case others have a similar problem.

 

Alan

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Thanks for the replies.

 

Software version is 3.20. I loaded this at the suggestion of Garmin.

 

Garmin is sending new battery contacts to try out, so I will post the results of that.

 

One addition ... this weekend, although I never used my car power cable, I got several instances of the message "External power removed. Shutting off in xx seconds." Stranger and stranger.

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Since I loaded version 3.20, I've seen it turn off once, for no good reason.

Usually, it has been the battery contacts when I had shutdowns in the past, but not with my latest Vista (Garmin has replaced it twice due to display problems).

This latest one has a different design of the springs in the battery compartement. Seems better.

 

Anders

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I have one suggestion about using the car power adapter and the display stating that it was going to turn off in "xx seconds."

 

Background:

I just recently bought a combo sync/power adapter cable(eCombo_i38), so that I can sync between my iPAQ and my Vista. This cable also plugs into the cigarette lighter. I was getting those same messages on my Vista about it going to power off in "xx seconds."

 

Solution:

What I discovered as the problem was, when my Vista was plugged into the cable the voltage to the Vista was dropping down to 2.8 volts. This isn't sufficient to power the Vista. I had to remove a diode in the cable assy. This allowed the power to remain at over 3 volts while under load.

 

As for the power spontaneously shutting off, this appears to be a common problem. Mine has done it once in the two weeks I've had it. The majority of the people I know have seen this occur when there is a sudden shock to the unit. It happened to me and to my uncle during a bike ride, when the unit was attached to our handlebars and we hit something that jarred the bike.

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The only time I have had mine shut off when not jarred was when I was flying and trying to get a signal out a little window. It would try for a while then just shut off. I inquired with Garmin if they had incorporated an auto shut down after a period of time without a signal and they indicated there was no such feature.

Paul

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I've had the shutdown problem on and off. Finally I just bent the battery connection prongs out a bit further, and that seems to have fixed it. I think the general consensus in this and other threads pointed to a battery connection issue...

 

Charlie

"One should never begin a journey by heading in the wrong direction."

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My eTrex Vista has done that to me once.

It flashed a message on screen saying it had lost external power and asked if I want to run on internal batteries.

Well I was on internal batteries to start with. I don't even have an external power adapter.

I answered yes anyway and it continued working for about 30 seconds and then shut off. It did this about three times in a row.

 

I suspect it was because it was too hot. It was sitting on the dash of my car and it was getting quite hot so I shut it off for a while and cranked up the AC. It hasn't done it again since. I suspect the heat caused a voltage drop in the batteries or it caused a CPU glitch.

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I've also had my eMap give me the warning about losing external power and start the 30 second countdown even though I was running on internal NiMH cells. Usually it would recover on its own but sometimes it reached the end of the 30 sec. countdown and turned off.

 

Heat was definitely a factor since the unit was inside a clear AquaPac waterproof pouch in full sunlight on a hot day. Dousing the pouch exterior with water or putting it under my kayak deck restored normal operation.

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Maybe it's switching of because it's too hot inside.

The evista has a temperature sensor.

You can see the temperature on the display by:

1) Turning off the unit

2) Press the joystick and the power on button for 3 seconds until the informations are shown.

3) Leave by pressing the power off button for 1 sec.

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My Etrex never has shut down on me. I did though reading through here bend the battery contacts out as it was discussed earlier.

 

As far as the external power loss and shutting down in XX seconds. I found that my adapter had a fuse inside of it and it was loose in there. Again I monkeyed around and got it to work.

 

murph

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It could be a firmware problem.

ie: If a watchdog timer circuit is not tickled and it times out, it will cause a reset.

 

It happens on Nokia phones all the time, and the blame battery contacts (which may be true in *some* cases), but I have seen them really crash and trash....just before a reset

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Thank you to all who replied. I have new battery contacts and a new case back now. I am going to bolster the contacts from inside the fold to increase contact pressure. Should I encounter further shutdowns, I will note the unit temp at startup. (Thats a neat trick I hadn't known.) Should this fail, I will ocntact Garmin for an older firmware or perhaps another trip to the factory.

 

Again, my thanks to all of you.

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Genophylus

 

It's not just the Vista. My Legend shuts down the EXACT same way that you describe with your Vista. The other day I had it shut down three times on me during a very bumpy bike ride with it dangling from my neck AND there was a weak signal. It's never happened in a moving vehicle. Can't explain it but it does not bother me too much because it isn't very common.

 

Dave

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I just had an *interesting* experience with my Vista. The other day the screen went blank. I hit the power button briefly, as if turning on the backlight, and the screen went BLACK, but with the backlight. No amount of fiddling with the buttons or click stick would revive it, so I emailed GARMIN. They want $125 to fix it, which seems a tad steep, so I went back and tried a few tricks. I was still able to download firmware (even though the screen was completely useless) so I downloaded an earlier version of firmware that hadn't given my any problems in several months use. On reboot the screen was still black so I gave it a whap in my palm and what do you know, it came back to life. I immediately suspected the battery terminals, because if I whapped it again it would go black. After tightening the terminals and cleaning the batteries it seems to be working just fine. But I'm going to start carrying my yellow as a backup....

 

Moral of the story - don't be too quick to send in your $125!

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quote:
Originally posted by ZingerHead:

I just had an *interesting* experience with my Vista. The other day the screen went blank. I hit the power button briefly, as if turning on the backlight, and the screen went BLACK, but with the backlight. No amount of fiddling with the buttons or click stick would revive it, so I emailed GARMIN. They want $125 to fix it, which seems a tad steep, so I went back and tried a few tricks. I was still able to download firmware (even though the screen was completely useless) so I downloaded an earlier version of firmware that hadn't given my any problems in several months use. On reboot the screen was still black so I gave it a whap in my palm and what do you know, it came back to life. I immediately suspected the battery terminals, because if I whapped it again it would go black. After tightening the terminals and cleaning the batteries it seems to be working just fine. But I'm going to start carrying my yellow as a backup....

 

Moral of the story - don't be too quick to send in your $125!


It's not your batteries. That's not consistent with the problem. It's the connector to the LCD that was loose. It's a known problem.

 

3608_2800.gif

"Don't mess with a geocacher. We know all the best places to hide a body."

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I had a similar problem with my eTrex. One of the battery contacts is a spring that weakens after time. When bumped slightly, one battery loses contact long enough to shut down the unit. After getting a replacement GPS and having the same results, I changed battery brands. I was using Eveready, I am now using Duracell. I was told by a Garmin tech that some brands of batteries are shorter, I didn't believe him at first. He was right, the Duracell batts fit more snugly than the Eveready, and last about 10 times as long.

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