Author Topic: Do I put my Garmin HCx into USB drive mode before transferring maps to it?  (Read 4689 times)

The manual doesn't make any mention of this and Mapsource itself is rather vague: how do I ensure maps are sent to my card rather than to the device memory?



I don't recall any setting for this: I just did it.

As I managed to get the whole of the UK on I guess it worked.  Does the HCx actually have any built in memory for maps?

Chris S

No - I transferred the maps using Mapsource. Assuming you have a micro SD installed, it can save them there.

Dunno. The choice I get when about to transfer is to the device (whether that be internal memory or card I do not know) or to separately listed drives, one of which can be my card in the device, if I set the device to USB drive mode.

Chris I am using Mapsource but I have a choice of destinations for the data. Do I just send to device or do I need to have the device set as a drive (ie. transfer mode, where you get the PC and USB cable image on screen?)

What I really want to know is can I do it the quick way and just send the maps to the card when I have the card in a card reader rather than in the HCx?

Oh excellent, just when I was thinking of asking for a GPS forum  :)


No. If the card is in the HCx, you just connect it up to your PC and upload the route/waypoints/track into the Unit.

Think of it like an iPod, with route info replacing MP3s.

I can't see how sending the maps to the card when it's in a reader will be any faster than doing it this way?


If you have a large card (e.g. 1GB) then just do it once, for the whole of the UK.  It'll take a while (30 mins?) but it's then done and you don't need to do it again.

I going to transfer about a gigs worth. I am doing this with the device acting as an external drive but I not convinced that's correct :gulp:

We shall see...


I don't recall any of this external drive stuff.

Chris S

Me neither - just hook it up and select the Send Maps check box on the transfer dialog. As said already - you only do this bit once. Or twice if you later add the contour overlay.

Will do. I do have a tendency to make things more complicated than necessary...

Here is another question: on the basemap my location triangle has a circle around it - is this some kind of distance marker? How do I get rid of it?


Will do. I do have a tendency to make things more complicated than necessary...

Here is another question: on the basemap my location triangle has a circle around it - is this some kind of distance marker? How do I get rid of it?

This shows the accuracy of the signal... try looking in "setup map"

Thanks Maladict. OK so maps are on fine. I got Googlemap to automatically create a little test route for me. I used GMaptoGPX to create a .gpx file. I put it in a text document and saved it as a .gpx file. I opened it with EasyGPS and loaded it to my device where it appears as a series of 14 or so waypoints. I then thought I'dmake that into a route so I uploaded into Mapsource and selected all the waypoints and converted them into a route. So far so good. I then transferred this route back to my GPS. I (*sigh* hhheeeventually found this route on my device whereupon it looks as if it will guide me along that route. The route looks roughly similar to what was on the PC so that's ok.

Now that seems to me a tad inefficient  ;D - how can I streamline the above process, i.e. going from a Googlemap automatically created route to a route on the HCx?

And another query - I do RTFM first  ;D - how do I set thestart-up backlight level? At present the screen is dark when first turned on, I cannot see where to alter this parameter.

What backlight switch off time is advisable, 1 minute? Also, I assume even if the backlight is off that it lights up if a turn is approaching? 


Use bikely to generate the routes - it saves direct to GPX.

Also try using MapSource to generate your routes.  I am not familiar with the best way to do this, but you can simply draw the route in there and then transfer it.

The method I use is:

- draw a track in TrackLogs
- as I arrive at each turn I create a waypoint (numbered 001 START onwards)
- save file
- convert to GPX
- load to MapSource
- generate routes from waypoints

This gives a track and route which makes it a bit easier to spot going off route from a glance at the screen in map mode.  The conversion steps sound like work but they are simple compared to the work of plotting a 200+ route.

If you have MapSource I'd use that to plot the route myself.  I prefer using TrackLogs but it's rather not cheap.

Chris S

I use Mapsource for plotting routes. It's just fine. Make sure you download the latest version from Garmin - they did a whole host of improvements not so long ago.

Mapsource saves files as .gdb, you'll have to do a "Save As" to save as .gpx. Mapsource will also transfer to your Garmin and receive back the tracklogs afterwards if you are interested in them.

You can also get hold of a utility called WinGDB which converts routes to tracks and tracks to routes in a gdb file. Note - the WinGDB I have only works with version 2 gdbs; one of the Mapsource updates bumped the format version to 3 which won't work with WinGDB, but you still have the option to Save As a version 2 gdb in Mapsource.

You See... others are right to a point - GPS is basically easy, but there are many subtle nuances to trip you up and ways you could be doing things better. I've had one since last November, and I'm still learning how best to use it - and you can bet I'm using it in a different way to others.

By the way - don't send any routes to Maladict - he complains endlessly if/when they go wrong ;)

*runs away from Maladict*


  • Playing with a big steamy thing
I also use mapsource, but I got a "cheap" version from Flea Bay that did not include any sort of Autorouting.  I updated this by getting a free download called "metro gold"  ( I will try and find the URL if you are interested ).  This converted mapsource to instruct the HCx to allow Autorouting .  There are advantages and disadvantages to this but I generally find that the good outweighs the bad.  FidgettBuzz uses the same system and I am sure he is happy with it.

Chris S

Yes, I got the autorouting patch, but a bit of a waste of time as I don't use autorouting - at least not on Audax rides.

However, autorouting was v useful the other week when I was somewhere new, and needed to find the nearest railway station and a route there.

I always use off road navigation when audaxing, but use a saved track of the log which paints a nice bright green copy of the route on the moving map.