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Thread: Take Me To GPS School

  1. #106
    Senior Member wardsgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    Take some time to explore the menus to see what is there. You will find both what there is to control as well as how to control it. (And, of course, practice with the features that seem useful to you.) As CaptCaper noted, hiking GPSes are all pretty similar and once you become comfortable with one model the next one will be much easier.

    I often run the GPS solely for the tracklog and trip computer. (Think of it as a super pedometer--however instead of counting steps, it records how far and how fast you went.) Many here save tracklogs from their hikes.

    The tracklog has a mode (the default, IIRC) of saving only the last 10K points. As new ones are generated, the oldest ones are discarded. So you can just leave it on all the time and only download a track to your computer if it is particularly interesting. There are several settings for how often to record a track point--start with "auto" "norm" (also the default, IIRC) which should be good enough for most purposes*. (The GPS can save at most 1/second, but the more often you save points, the less time and distance can fit in the 10K tracklog. There is a separate option where you can save daily tracklogs on the memory card.)
    * With these settings, the 10K tracklog is big enough to store several hikes.

    BTW, you can also load tracks into the "named tracks", so you can load a prerecorded track for guidance in the field. See http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...rails-data-GPX and http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...acks-for-NH-4K for info on Forrest Service recorded trail tracks. I view them in MapSource or BaseCamp more often than I use them on my GPSes.

    <quick editorial>
    IMO, one should learn how to navigate on one's own without the use of prerecorded tracks. However, they can still be useful in certain circumstances.
    </quick editorial>

    Earlier, you noted that GPSes eat batteries. Yep--they do. One good solution is to use NiMH rechargeables--over the long run, they will be much cheaper than single-use batteries*. (Rechargeables also have the advantage that you can always start with fully charged batteries...) There are multiple threads on the topic (search away...), but a good place to start is the Maha MH-C401FS charger http://www.mahaenergy.com/mh-c401fs/ with a bunch of Eneloop NiMH batteries http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-BK-3.../dp/B00JHKSN5I (Note: these are just reference URLs--both items are available from a number of sources.)
    * I typically hike with NiMHes in my GPS (AA) and headlamp (AA or AAA) and NiMH or lithium spares in my pack.


    Doug
    Interesting about the tracklog and trip computer... I'm going to investigate that further.

    Do you think the recharged batteries are as powerful as fresh non-rechargeable batteries? They never seem to last as long. My son has a NiMH rechargeable battery supply and a charger (for his X-Box).
    AMC Adopt-A-Trail Program Region Leader Emeritus: Pemigewasset 1993-2005 Southern Presidentials 2005-2017
    Trail Adopter: Webster Cliff Trail

  2. #107
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardsgirl View Post
    Do you think the recharged batteries are as powerful as fresh non-rechargeable batteries? They never seem to last as long. My son has a NiMH rechargeable battery supply and a charger (for his X-Box).
    Yes--they are in the same ballpark when new and fully charged.

    NiMH batteries come in a variety of capacities and qualities*--the higher capacity cells often have a short service life. (The recommended 2000 mAh Eneloop cells should be pretty reliable.) I measured up to 22 hrs in a 60CSx in a normal operating mode with the 2000 mAh Eneloop cells at room temp. (See http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...tery-lifetimes.)
    * I also tried some cheap Chinese cells that had a ridiculously short service life. Junk.

    NiMH cells do wear out and there are ways to abuse them that reduce their capacity. A good smart-charger is important (the recommended MH-C401FS is a good workhorse*) and the GPS is designed to shut off before the cells are at risk from damage. (Some other devices may not protect the cells.) Sometimes the capacity can diminish over time and usage and a "rejuvenation cycle"** or two can restore them. I am still using 8 of 12 GP2000 2000mAh cells*** that I bought in 2003. Several sets of other model cells have worn out and been discarded in the same time span.
    * The "high" charging rate is best for the cells.
    ** A rejuvenation cycle is a complete discharge and recharge cycle, one cell at a time. Some advanced chargers can do it automatically as well as measure the capacity of a cell. A rejuvenation should not be needed more than once or twice a year.
    *** Unfortunately no longer available, but highly rated in general and for their ruggedness in 2003. The old cells may not have as much capacity as when new, but I still get 10 or more hours out of them in my 60CSx.

    Doug

  3. #108
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardsgirl View Post
    So much info! I've gotten quite far by just taking all of your advice sentence by sentence. It's funny that every button I press on the GPS gives me other menus with multiple options. It's just going to be a matter of figuring it out to give me what I want. Right now, I cannot conceive of any scenario whatsoever where I would want to save a track, route, waypoint, etc, but who knows? That could change someday!

    Ahhh! That GPS CITY YouTube channel! Thanks for that! Good thing it's a slow week at work
    I'd save them as you might want to go back on a snow day and the trail be gone..you can use the track you saved by sending it back into the gps and if needed follow it. My son and I trade them. I trust his tracks. Also you can see them in Base Camp and or go back and look at the data in them ..to see how long or total ascent etc.

    Easy and free to save..and don't take any mb's at all. You can always delete or edit them at some point.. for now save them and put them in a folder in Base Camp after hikes just in case you change your mind. I save then install them into National Geographic Topo State series to see the exact trail also use Google Earth.

    I bet you save a lot in the future.. if your a avid hiker and use the gps often you would. One example is I take the exact summit of a mountain I'm going to hike from NG or BC and send it to the gps before and when at or near the summit area you can be sure you are at the summit..many mt's don't have good markings...happened to me this winter... got up there and no sign's etc. long story shortened we bush wacked a bit using the symbol/waypoint on the gps map to the true summit.. when we got there there was more folks who had been there.

    Also the waypoints will show in the waypoint menu with bearing and distance.. we use that to see what mountains for sure and distance we are looking at from other summits.. I have all my favorite summits I like in there... Garmin has them as well in the Geographic Points menu..under land features but my custom waypoints/summits installed shows my favorite summits with out lot's of other clutter..like many small hills,etc. that will come with the Geographic search function.

    You don't want to see my Automotive files from GPS use..Ha... saved trips to Fla...Smokey Mountains, Bad Lands, Black Hills, Yellowstone, Utah Nat Parks... many other places... special routes I made and saved with stops to do or needed. I've got many great ship wrecks and Lobstering and fishing spots around the Cape and Islands as well...saved of course..

    Get a Garmin soft carry pouch and mount it on the left shoulder pack strap. Extra batteries can be set in the bottom of the case Near the cross chest strap area. In can stay warm,protected and easy to reach all day with good signal acquisition. Pouch like this....http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Carryin...+monterra+case

    I had that MH-C401FS charger a while ago....Doug mentioned but I found one I like better..and have been using it for a couple of years with no issues. It is digital and has options you can use... top quality...
    https://www.lacrossetechnology.com/bc700/index.php
    Last edited by CaptCaper; 04-19-2016 at 07:42 AM.

  4. #109
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    I had that MH-C401FS charger a while ago....Doug mentioned but I found one I like better..and have been using it for a couple of years with no issues. It is digital and has options you can use... top quality...
    https://www.lacrossetechnology.com/bc700/index.php
    I also have a later model LaCross charger as well as several other chargers. I chose the MH-C401FS as an easy to use, good, reliable charger to start with. It is my workhorse and I only reach for the LaCross when I want to test or rejuvenate some cells. I also didn't wish to derail the thread away from basic GPS usage--there are a number of previous threads on chargers.

    BTW, there have been reports of some of the LaCross chargers overheating and possibly catching fire. I don't recall which--you might want to search around to see if the BC-700 is one of the models at risk.

    Doug

  5. #110
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    I also have a later model LaCross charger as well as several other chargers. I chose the MH-C401FS as an easy to use, good, reliable charger to start with. It is my workhorse and I only reach for the LaCross when I want to test or rejuvenate some cells. I also didn't wish to derail the thread away from basic GPS usage--there are a number of previous threads on chargers.

    BTW, there have been reports of some of the LaCross chargers overheating and possibly catching fire. I don't recall which--you might want to search around to see if the BC-700 is one of the models at risk.

    Doug
    It was the BC09009 charger that recalled. I've been using my 700 for years now..always plugged in and charging one or another type...no issues.

    I have a Black MH C401FS sitting in a drawer if anyone wants it..just shipping of $6 and it's theirs.

    The 700 is simple enough..just drop the cells in. Comes defaulted with the cool charge cycle. When their full the display shows full and keep them on trickle. The manual is very easy to follow with pictures to refresh or fast charge.
    Last edited by CaptCaper; 04-20-2016 at 03:24 AM.

  6. #111
    Senior Member wardsgirl's Avatar
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    Just a little update! I brought my GPS on a recent hike of the AT in PA!

    I have it pretty well figured out and a pair of batteries lasted me a full week without even making a dent in the available juice.

    It was awesome to know how far it was to the next shelter, when I reached the top of a hill and would begin a descent, where a spring bubbled!

    I even figured out how to find different points of interest on the trail and, more importantly, my distance from them! Knowing where the shelters, road crossings, trail junctions, and more would be encountered gave me a great deal of confidence and an energy boost that propelled me to the next feature of my hike.

    This GPS is doing everything I wanted it to do!
    AMC Adopt-A-Trail Program Region Leader Emeritus: Pemigewasset 1993-2005 Southern Presidentials 2005-2017
    Trail Adopter: Webster Cliff Trail

  7. #112
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardsgirl View Post
    Just a little update! I brought my GPS on a recent hike of the AT in PA!

    I have it pretty well figured out and a pair of batteries lasted me a full week without even making a dent in the available juice.

    It was awesome to know how far it was to the next shelter, when I reached the top of a hill and would begin a descent, where a spring bubbled!

    I even figured out how to find different points of interest on the trail and, more importantly, my distance from them! Knowing where the shelters, road crossings, trail junctions, and more would be encountered gave me a great deal of confidence and an energy boost that propelled me to the next feature of my hike.

    This GPS is doing everything I wanted it to do!
    Nice.... you'll know and do much more as you go. One nice thing is to make a summit list from the Basecamp and send it into the gps. Just click with the waypoint tool on the summits you want and save them into Base Camp in a list.
    I have over 100 summits and ski areas from NY VT NH ME so when were having lunch we can figure out without a doubt a summit that is in the distance. The waypoint manager will house them after you send them. When opened it will show the bearing and distance to them. i.e. Mt. Whiteface NY 95 miles 260 deg magnetic North.
    You can access the built in Land Features (summits) in the Garmin's ( Where To/Geographic Points/Land Features..)but they only show a few and will show many many smaller ones nearby that clutter up the display so you won't find ones out much distance from your spot. On a clear day you can see near 100 miles as you know and it's nice to know what's the distant bump barely showing on the horizon,etc.

  8. #113
    Senior Member wardsgirl's Avatar
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    And now, out of the blue, a blast from the past, another GPS question!

    I have used my Garmin GPS MAP64s for 5 years! (see above!)

    I hike every weekend, and then some, and I have never done anything with the GPS, except to illuminate the white arrow to find the answer to the question "How much further to x?" No tracking, no routing, no planning, no nothing, except the white arrow.

    Sadly, my unit went flying out of my hand last week. The back popped off, the batteries flew out, the SD card and the silver SD card door went bouncing down a ledge.

    Fortunately, I was able to find all the pieces and reassemble the unit. However... now, when I turn the unit on, I can see roads on the display screen, but I can no longer see topo lines or trails.

    Can anyone take a guess as to what might be wrong?

    A trip to numerous Garmin videos and tutorials seemed to indicate that I needed to download something called "Garmin BaseCamp" to my computer. I did so, and I attached my unit to a computer for the first time in 5 years (very lucky that I found the cord to it!). Now, I am instructed to 'format' the SD card. A popup warned that this will erase the info on the card. I didn't dare do that, so here I am, looking for help.

    Is there something I'm missing? Do you think my SD card was damaged in the tumble and needs to be replaced? Is there some setting that got disrupted in the accident? Do I simply need to purchase a new SD card? I asked the folks at REI (where I purchased these things), but alas they were as helpful as they were in this thread from 5 years ago. Any help will be very appreciated!
    AMC Adopt-A-Trail Program Region Leader Emeritus: Pemigewasset 1993-2005 Southern Presidentials 2005-2017
    Trail Adopter: Webster Cliff Trail

  9. #114
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    I suspect it's possible the SD card was damaged. It's also possible the internal memory was damaged, although seems less likely. You can try popping the SD card into another reader and see what's on there. I'm also happy to help in person, drop a PM.

  10. #115
    Senior Member wardsgirl's Avatar
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    I don't have a different reader, hmmm...

    Looks like a housecall may be necessary.

    Thanks, neighbor!
    AMC Adopt-A-Trail Program Region Leader Emeritus: Pemigewasset 1993-2005 Southern Presidentials 2005-2017
    Trail Adopter: Webster Cliff Trail

  11. #116
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are seeing the basemap rather than the topo maps, which are presumably on the SD card.

    SD cards are pretty robust so it may have survived the fall.

    (I don't have a 64, so I can't give you exact instructions-just guesses based on my GPS.)
    1. Check to make sure the SD card is mounted properly.
    2. Check the menus to see if the GPS sees the topo maps, and, if so, enable them.
    (map display) > menu > setup maps > (perhaps menu again)

    Doug

  12. #117
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    It sounds like you are seeing the basemap rather than the topo maps, which are presumably on the SD card.

    SD cards are pretty robust so it may have survived the fall.

    (I don't have a 64, so I can't give you exact instructions-just guesses based on my GPS.)
    1. Check to make sure the SD card is mounted properly.
    2. Check the menus to see if the GPS sees the topo maps, and, if so, enable them.
    (map display) > menu > setup maps > (perhaps menu again)

    Doug
    I think Doug is making a really good call here. Your maps on SD card might be fine but as SD card fell out, your GPS possibly decided that your topo map was no longer available, and now it just needs to be re-enabled for display. Here are the instructions from GPSMAP 64 manual:

    Map Settings
    Select Setup > Map.

    Orientation
    Adjusts how the map is shown on the page. North Up shows north at the top of the page. Track Up shows a top-down view with your current direction of travel toward the top of the page. Automotive Mode shows an 3D automotive view with the direction of travel at the top.

    Guidance Text
    Sets when the guidance text appears on the map.

    Data Fields
    Customizes the data fields and dashboards of the map, compass, elevation plot, and trip computer.

    Map Information
    Enables or disables the maps currently loaded on the device.

  13. #118
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Btw, the battery door is usually holding up really well (at least on all Garmin units I had so far), so I wonder if the lock is working properly on yours? It should click as as you turn the lock tab.

  14. #119
    Senior Member wardsgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys!

    I've looked at the Setup for maps and it's got all these oddball options: Austria, Grand Canyon, Switzerland, Mont Blanc, etc... I have never seen or used any of these before.

    The only normal-ish sounding one is "Worldwide DEM Basemap NR"

    I have enabled everything available and still no topo lines or trails are visible.

    Also, oddly enough, it is burning through batteries. I used to only change the batteries maybe once a year- keep in mind that I only ever use the device for a few seconds at a time to check how far I am from an intersection, summit, lean-to, etc. But I have had to replace the batteries twice in the week since it was damaged... weird.
    AMC Adopt-A-Trail Program Region Leader Emeritus: Pemigewasset 1993-2005 Southern Presidentials 2005-2017
    Trail Adopter: Webster Cliff Trail

  15. #120
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardsgirl View Post
    Thanks, guys!

    I've looked at the Setup for maps and it's got all these oddball options: Austria, Grand Canyon, Switzerland, Mont Blanc, etc... I have never seen or used any of these before.

    The only normal-ish sounding one is "Worldwide DEM Basemap NR"

    I have enabled everything available and still no topo lines or trails are visible.

    Also, oddly enough, it is burning through batteries. I used to only change the batteries maybe once a year- keep in mind that I only ever use the device for a few seconds at a time to check how far I am from an intersection, summit, lean-to, etc. But I have had to replace the batteries twice in the week since it was damaged... weird.
    In mapsetup your Topo which ever one you have should show. i.e. Topo USA or NorthEast Topo etc. Austria,etc are demo maps from garmin. DEM basemap is what it say's basemap. Limited data. Some roads,etc. Which is installed on the unit directly. Your card seems to either be not installed right,trashed or the unit is damaged and can't read it.

    If you were in Northern NH I could help you reload as I have a couple of TOPO programs on PC that I send to my SD cards and unit itself (non locked). If the unit was trashed that can be found out as well.

    So If I can do it I would think in your world there would be others to get you straightened away.

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