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Direct Sunlight = bad?

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Hey all...I got my First GPS, an Etrex Legend today. As I was showing it off to my friends at a graduation party, one of them suggested that we move away from direct sunlight which, according to him, can degrade the liquid crystals in the display.

I have heard similar things concerning laptop screens, so I imagine that there is some grain of truth to this advice. Nevertheless, I cannot imagine that Garmin wouldn't include some type of shielding in a device that is designed for hiking. Can any of y'all with models of the eTrex line (or any other model, really), comment on this?

Basically I figure that a GPS would be more robust than a laptop when it comes to outdoor use.


-Jonathan icon_smile.gif


PS: This is my first post here, so...Hi!



Delete windows to communicate freely with me.

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If an LCD display is allowed to heat up enough (e.g. leaving it on a dashboard of a parked car) then it will go black when the liquid crystal material reaches a certain temperature. *Usually* the process is reversible and the display returns to normal when the temperature comes down.


I don't think that the sort of exposure to sunlight involved in normal use will be a problem, though.

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I have heard of this happening, but I doubt it's anything to be concerned with in normal use. My GPS3+ typically rides on my dashboard between caches. It does get mighty warm. I haven't had a bit of problem. I don't leave it up there when I'm not actively caching, however.

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As mentioned above, when liquid crystal displays get too hot they tend to turn all black. Basically that's because the liquid crystal itself is melted and now it's just a liquid.


The reverse of this is also true. If the display becomes too cold it will not work either. As the liquid crystal cools it solidifies and then the screen remains blank.


In either situation allowing it to return to room temperature should return it to normal operation with no adverse effects.


if you want to learn more about how LCD's work, check this out.




I'm not lost!

I just don't know where I am.

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The LCD screen has a UV protection layer to prevent damage from direct sunlight.


LCD screens will go black if exposed to high enough heat (usually +110F) but they will always go back to clear once the temperature returns to nominal.


The main LCD concern at high +158F degree temperatures the liquid in the LCD display expanding to the point of bursting the containment (breaking glass or leaking out past leads). At those temperatures, your greatest concern is the battery leaking.

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The first time I left my eTrex Venture on the dash for any length of time (a little over a half hour) I came back out to find that it had shut itself off. I turned it on, laid it in the dash again and it did it again. Everything was fine after I let it cool down.


Anyone else have this happen?

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