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  #1  
Old 22 Aug 2002
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Garmin Etrex - is it good enough?

At £115 GBP this is a very low-cost GPS option. The larger screen of the GPS 126 adds another £80 GBP to the price.

So is an Etrex good enough - or is the 126 worth the extra money?

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  #2  
Old 29 Aug 2002
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i use a garmin etrex summit, with a built in compass but no maps at all. serves me well for local bike rides, but then i have never been RTW. you'd want the built in compass to get direction when you're stopped.
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  #3  
Old 30 Aug 2002
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It's a good unit that works well, however If you can tell us a bit about how you plan to use it we would be able to better help you.

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A.B.

OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
ShortWheelbase.com – Jeep preparations.
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  #4  
Old 30 Aug 2002
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The Striking Viking used a eTrex Vista on his Latin America trip. He said it worked great but the base maps are out of date. He also said that getting accurate maps in South/Central America was impossible gps or otherwise.

HughC
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  #5  
Old 30 Aug 2002
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To answer A.B.'s question:

I plan to use it for the Sahara - following some of Chris Scott's routes. I thought it might also be handy for Green Laning in the UK?

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  #6  
Old 31 Aug 2002
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I don’t know about the GPS base maps for Chris’s routes, but if they’re anything like the ones available for Egypt and Libya then don’t bother with GPS mapping altogether. These maps are worthless. You can save money and go for a GPS with the least mapping options and spend that money elsewhere on the bike. The etrex will suit you fine then. Although, I personably prefer the horizontal GPS like the II+ and the III+.

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  #7  
Old 2 Sep 2002
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The Etrex is a very handy and tough unit. Below follows the text of a "GPS Adventure" I submitted to Garmin, although I don't think they ever bothered to use it! I don't think you can lay the blame for poor base-maps with the Etrex.

Here's my story:

Had my ETrex Legend for six months, and am extremely pleased with it. Took it on a motorcycle tour through Italy to Sicily recently, partly with the intention of logging photograph locations as Waypoints. Unfortunately, after loading it with the location of the Colliseum after reading about the chaos of navigating through Rome, it blew out from under my motorcycle windscreen at 100mph on the Autostrada just north of Rome (don't know why, it had been OK for 1500 miles). I wasn't sure whether it was even worth stopping to look for it, but I did and was amazed to find it in one piece on the hard shoulder. I switched it on, and it initially appeared fine, but unfortunately the antenna had become loose/disconnected so it couldn't "find" any satellites. I spoke to Garmin UK, and they said that if it only needed something "pushing in" they wouldn't even charge for a repair, and if they were unable to repair it they would supply a replacement at cost (some 1/3 of retail price)! A day or two later I booked in early to a hotel as it was raining, and decided to split the unit and try and get it functional. Without any tools, I managed to split the unit and reaffix the self-adhesive antenna, and the unit was working again. Unfortunately by this time the display had developed a crack which wasn't initially apparent, so it wasn't perfect. Anyway, it was usable, and on my return to the UK I sent the unit to Garmin, who have sent me a replacement at cost.

I can offer nothing but praise both for the durability of the unit (how many mobile phones would have survived bouncing down a motorway at 100mph?), and also the generous spirit of Garmin in offering to repair or replace at cost. I would have absolutely no hesitation in buying another Garmin GPS or recommending them - First Class!

[This message has been edited by IanC (edited 01 September 2002).]
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  #8  
Old 4 Sep 2002
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Glad to hear the Etrex is tough - and it's a groovie banana yellow colour too - kule!


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  #9  
Old 30 Sep 2002
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jumping on this thread and asking one more question....

i have the etrex as well (the yello one) and when i go off road it suddenly stops like it has no power, after i switch it on again, it starts and everything is ok for the next mintues and than again shutting itself down.
seems like a power failure or maybe an auto switch off that i'm not familiar with. anyone has an idea how to stop it? anyone has this problem as well?
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  #10  
Old 1 Oct 2002
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Are you using a power cable or batteries?
If you have batteries try switching to a power cable. If you can't do that, tape the batteries together, this will reduce their bouncing around slightly.
If you have a garmin handlebar mount throw it away. Get your self a Touratech mount, or a copy that has vibration dampers in it.
If you still have trouble try mounting the GPS somewhere else on the bike.
Lastly have the unit checked out and reinforced by touratech.
-Ed
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  #11  
Old 2 Oct 2002
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thanks man,
I'm working with a power cable so batteries are not the problem. I will try to get myselt a touratech mount or similar to see if it helps.

thanks again.
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  #12  
Old 3 Oct 2002
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I mouted the standaard eTrex on my bike.
With the 12v Power/PC adaptor from garmin..
I cut of the opend the 12-3 volt regulator and modifide it to fit my bike battery.

The etrex is mounted with the touratech mount.



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http://www.crossing-africa.com .:. The Ultimate Travel on a Yamaha XT600Z

[This message has been edited by Fuchur (edited 02 October 2002).]

[This message has been edited by Fuchur (edited 02 October 2002).]
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  #13  
Old 12 Oct 2002
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Location: Auckland & Wellington, New Zealand
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I have the etrex vista, and my experience with this unit has been frustrating to say the least. (I am touring north and south america . currently in chile)

I have the touratech mount.

I also have the external power supply.

The unit I bought had a fault with the little toggle button that controls everything - it would not work in some directions sometimes and was very hard to push. But I managed to swap it for a new one (thanks to REI - highly recommended store)

The touratech mount just broke (it lasted about 30,000 km)- vibration caused a tear in the thin metal spring that holds the bottom piece - the bottom piece simply dropped off. Strangely enough the unit can still be held in place by the top piece, and vibrates a lot less now...

The power supply, be it battery or external is fickle to say the least.
There was an intermitent vibration problem with the external supply above 4000 rpm where the power would cut out, and now it doesn´t work below about 3500 rpm either ... :-(

Fiddling with cables sometimes helped the above 4k problem but now the power supply is useless.

The batteries last just 2-3 hours - and that is with genuine duracells not the cheapo batteries you usually get here in south america. and the compass switched off.

The little toggle button that controls the whole device stopped working properly after about 1 month, and only randomly will work in all four directions and will click. i.e. I cannot save my tracks because I literally cannot press the button to go left. worse still I cannot press the button to enter the track mode anyway.

even on the slowest recording mode the vistas memory for recording your tracks does not last a full day. more like half a day. so you have to remember to save your tracks 2 times a day. if you can move that toggle button that is...

That said, the functionality of the unit otherwise is awesome - especially the plotting of your route over time, and height. When you upload your tracks you get data of your travels in 3 dimensions, and although mapsource is pretty crappy I am sure that in the future you will be able to get a great 3d picture of your route.

Garmin themselves seem ok - they will "fix it so it is like new" for $125, + $25 if you are out of the USA. But they don´t have local support here is SA...
Lance
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  #14  
Old 28 Oct 2002
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I too am after a cheap GPS with no maps for a trip to Morocco, and merely longitude/latitude and altitude. If the Garmin eTrex does all this, where is the cheapest place to buy it ?? Anyone know any good deals ?

Jasper
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  #15  
Old 29 Oct 2002
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GPS Warehouse (www.gpsw.co.uk) seem to be doing good deals.
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