Garmin eTrex Vista
Is this device recommended for trail riding? It seems whenever I'm on the trail (Skeggs/Soquel/Tamarancho), it shuts itself off. Or, do I need to put it on my handlebar (needs a bracket mount???) so satellite can read where I'm located? Does this mean I need to get a GPS suited for mountain biking?
Don't know much about GPS so any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks for reading.
I use the eTrex with a handlebar mount. Some places it works fine, other places it can't get good satellite reception (I have a 2 year old, not the newer sensitive reciever) due to tree cover or mountain terrain. Reception in the USA and S. America is generally better than Europe.
It's versatile, pretty light, has survived a nasty crash, and Garmin has some of the best software available. I've used it on 5 continents without a hitch. You can pick up a used eTrex on Ebay for cheap too, but you'll need to by map software, and there are many optional equipment choices to add to its versatility.
I also use specialized GPS units for marine and aerospace navigation. I often keep the eTrex in my pocket to compare to professional equipment, and I truly believe that the Garmin products are the best all around performers available.
I have an eTrex Vista and an Edge 305. The Edge is much more sensitive and provides a much better track than the Vista due to a different GPS receiver chip. I have a lot of old Vista tracks that I can't use with the Edge tracks because their quality is just too poor (no reception, large gaps, etc.). The Edge isn't perfect, but it is significantly better than the Vista in terms of accuracy, reception in difficult terrain, and size.
That said, make sure the batteries in your Vista are not losing contact when you are riding. Some places in the places you mention have both difficult reception areas and rocky sections that could result in lose of contact with the batteries. A small piece of foam, rubber, tissue, etc., between the back cover and the batteris will keep the battery firmly in place. This may not be the problem, but you should be able to eliminate it as a potential source.
The new vista CX is 1000x better than the old vista, thanks to the new antenna.
I can only compare the CX vs the 205, and the CX is better than that by miles too.
I had one problem with the CX - that is the mount came loose, though there are no longer any battery connection problems
Last edited by heatstroke; 10-08-2008 at 06:14 AM.
to answer your question, the problem is probably that the unit is loosing the sattalite signal in your pack and then turning off. get the handle bar mount and you should be good to go. if you are still having it turn off, make sure you dont have it on any power saving mode etc and if its an older model, the battery connection might be an issue as mentioned. I also has a strange issue with mine turning off after I loaded some maps on it from mapsource. after clearing them and reloading, i have not had anymore issues.
Originally Posted by heatstroke
H = the higher sensitivity chip, which came after the
C = color screen, which came before the
x = microsd memory card slot
Originally Posted by roadiegonebad
And I can attest to the difference with and without the "H". I would not recommend a Vista w/o the new chipset (H).
Originally Posted by GEOMAN
Vista is the perfect GPS for MTB
The Vista is very rugged. I had mine on the handlebars for years through all sorts of rough terrain. My bike broke more times than the GPS.
In fact, I'd say the Vista is the most rugged GPS for biking, and a good size for the bars. The Edge 305/705 are good too, but are limited in the rechargable battery time and cost a lot more for the same features.
As for power off, this happens usually from shock, and unlikely in your camelback. The power usually results from momentary loss of power from a vibration or shock. One common issue is the battery bouncing in it's compartment. Another source that usually starts up in about a year is the spring power contact between the front and rear panel. Over time, the gold contact wears out and vibration can cause a momentary loss of power. Some open the case and hard wire the contacts and solve the problem permenantly.
It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.
I use the Vista HCx with a simple handlebar mount, and it works great -- have never lost signal while riding, and the topo map detail is nice to have on the trail esp. with tracklogs downloaded prior to the ride. I do loop the lanyard around the bars a few times just in case the mount shears off, but after a year still seems perfectly solid.
I'll second that....two full summer riding season and the Vista Hcx has functioned perfectly. I wish my bike was wearing as well. It's currently out-o-action due to blown shock.
Originally Posted by BigLarry
Etrex Vista CX
I use the Etrex Vista CX.
In terms of reception, mine has been great. I've used in in canyons, deep woods, under overcast skies, between skyscrapers and have flirted with all the normal pitfalls but I have really never had any significant reception glitches. I actually ride with mine enclosed in a pocket of my pack, or in a pocket. It's actually extremely reliable even inside fabric like that.
I have noticed some wild positions of trackpoints when doing U-turns in the woods and when passing under bridges...it seems to get a bit inaccurate, but only by 10 yards or so.
I have found that for some other activities, it's not as good, like it's a bit iffy inside a moving vehicle (car or truck) unless it's near a window or the dash. It almost never works inside a building, but why would you need it to?
I used my on board a plane recently to see how far into the flight the plane was, and that worked well too! Interesting to note the speed of the plane too, and position.
If I ever drop reception while on a ride, it's almost always from something I've done -- like stopping and taking off my pack and putting the GPS pocket underneath the rest of the pack as I set the bag down "upsidedown". If I ever do this, it almost instantly recovers when "righted".
Things I really like for biking:
- long battery life (runs a whole weekend on a single charge) never dies while on the bike
- regular AA batteries
- you can enable logging to the flash card (so it automatically keeps each day in a separate file) means I can go on a trip without my computer and retain each day's activities while reseting the trip computers and such
- bright screen readable in direct sunlight
- holds a lot of maps and topo info
- with the compass and barometer turned on, it's easy to work from a stopped position (like when you pause at a junction to consult a map), ie., it doesn't have to be moving to update direction and map orientation, big plus
- altitude is really bang-on
- you don't need any software to download the tracks, it simply shows up on the desktop as a "drive"
Things I dislike:
- the track log automatically splits activities if it's turned on and off, or if you go into a shop and it loses position etc. My software is annoyed by that, and I have to tinker to recombine the parts when I do that stuff.
- somewhat limited ability to get road auto-routing working if you have maps for two countries in the unit at once, which I often do.
- only holds about 100 waypoints I think, and some trails around here are like 800km long, so it's impossible to even have anything but a partially complete list of the trailheads even, which means constant tinkering with the memory of the unit depending on where I'm planning on heading and what I want to find
- you can upload pre-planned tracks into the unit, but they have some limitations on the number of trackpoints per track, which makes really long rides hard to pre-load into the unit. At bike (not hiking) scales of distance, it's quite limited. But I don't seem to use this feature much.
- the trip odometer can be a bit inaccurate, it could jump up as much as +10-15% on certain rides. My software seems to be a sanity-check on that.
I have heard that some of these units have a loose battery compartment, and that a small wad of paper under the cover can help jam the batteries in tightly so that the unit won't shut off when shaken.
Sounds like you just need a newer gps that uses current chipset technologies.
My buddy had an older Vista and then I bought a 60CSX with the SIRFIII chipset. There is no comparison between the two in terms of reception. My 60 performs 10x better in a car, under tree cover, in canyons and I can throw mine in my camelbak and just leave the zipper open a bit and it tracks flawlessly. (Maybe I could even shut the zipper, never tried closing it all the way). He must keep his in the open. Mine even tracks 8 to 10 satellites while I'm in my living room.
The newer chipsets make a world of difference as they can make use of indirect signals much better. I.E. signals that bounce off of buildings/canyon walls, the ground, etc.
The reason it's turning off is because the AA batteries are losing contact or a split-second when you're going over bumps. This can be remedied.
The reason it's not getting good reception under heavy tree cover is because the patch antenna on that unit isn't that great.
New 2008 Fuji Outland Pro FS w/ 2008 Forge Sawback 5xx grouppo.
Yep, it's called "battery bounce".
Originally Posted by Fibula