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Well my guess would be if its in 3' or less of water you have 30 min. to find it....if its in 10' you better start diving and cross your fingers that

A) you can find it

:) it still works


Either way I would remove the batteries immediatly and allow it to throughly dry out before powering it back up.


"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there." Yogi Berra


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Sometime a while back on the old forums, someone posted the actual specs for the different waterproof labels. Things such as pressure and direct spray and stuff like that. It was good info, and I don't even know where to start to look. Someone with a better memory might be able to find it and post a link.



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Originally posted by halldorr:

I just purchased a Garmin eTrex Vista and it says waterproof to 1 metre for 30 minutes. Just how waterproof are these things?


If it happens to drop into a river I'm around, should I start hyperventilating or am I ok? icon_smile.gif


That means a few drops of rain won't hurt it. But submerge it and it'll fill with water. That is unless Garmin has made some changes. Open the battery compartment. Will the compartment cover keep water out. If not water will strainght inside to all the electonic goodies.


Good luck



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The IP classes are defined in the IEC 60529 standard. Check this site for a simple explanation.


The first digit concerns the protection against solid objects, the second against water.

IP 00 means no protection whatsoever, while IP 68 means completely sealed against dust and waterproof. Some industrial grade sensors (inductive, photoelectric etc.) have this rating.


Garmin doesn't specify the protection against dust, but rate the unit as IP X7. The "7" means that the unit must not be harmed by an immersion to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. But it's calm water we are talking about, not streaming as it could be in a river. Streaming water can create a dynamic pressure that is a lot higher than the static pressure created by depth alone.


Specifically, the eTrex series have the IP X7 rating for the electronics, but not for the battery compartment. So if you go swimming with your eTrex, it may very well short-circuit the batteries in their compartment, but the electronics inside are still protected.




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Any idea how the testing is done specifically ?


i.e. do they throw a bunch of em into 1m of water for 30min. and if even one still works claim that it is IPX7 i.e. they take the BEST results or do they take the worst ?


I figure the specs don't mean too much unless the testing process is clearly defined as well.


Best policy is still to keep em dry!



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Also, I've noticed the rubber gasket around the edges seem to be held with some kind of glue. I see this in the section where the rubber flap for the data connector is as I keep opening and closing the flap each time I connect the data cable.


With use, I believe this rating would become IP 00 ! As I am sure the gasket will start to leak over time.

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The Vista's rubber gasket appears to be for fall protection only - it does not seal the unit as it's externally mounted. While the connectors would be exposed to water, like the battery compartment it's a separate section that's sealed from the internal electronics.


Of course I try to keep the unit dry anyway. You never know. icon_wink.gif



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WHile I might not like the reception on the etrex line up, I have to tell you, these things are VERY durable. I had to reach a cache on an island, however, I didn't have a boat to take. Since I evaluate these things as a part of my web page, I decided to put it into my pockes and do the 200+ meter (about 230 yards, or 2.3 football fields) swim.


I got out and my Vista was still working like a charm. I found my cache and put the Vista back into my zippered pocket in my shorts and swam back. That was a few months ago and the Vista is still tracking those sats.


WHen I planted my newest cache this weekend, I wound up swimming about one mile with both the Vista and the Navitrak (www.navitrak.com) GPS's - I rinsed them off and this morning they were still functioning just fine. THey both sustained brutal torture this weekend... my Nikon Nikonos underwater camera broke and they did not.


Would I recommend that you do this to yours? No... the only reason I do so is to report this stuff on my site. Well, that, and the fact that I don't have a boat icon_wink.gif .


But if you had to make some kind of water crossing, I would say that your Garmin would be up to the task. icon_razz.gif

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Originally posted by pizzachef:

I'm not trying to downtalk the Garmins, but my Magellan floats. I even tried it...the battery compartment is watertight, so it traps a little air, which I guess provides enough bouyant force even with batteries in it.

I don't know the depth/time ratings though



The rating is IPX7 for Meridians, same as the eTrex family. For some reason, TY's green almost floats (rides a few inches under the water in my pool). My Vista definately does not float, though it has been wet well beyond the 30 minute, 1m rating many times.



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A personal experience: my Garmin GPS V and I went for an unintentional swim in Sacramento's Lake Natomas while on a hunt for the Luck of the Draw cache. Result - wet batteries, but the unit itself works fine! It was under water for four or five minutes while I worked my way back to a less slippery part of the bank and out.

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