Author Topic: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?  (Read 4536 times)

New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« on: November 24, 2016, 11:43:10 pm »
Thoughts?  The HCx I've been regularly using failed today - refusing to turn on after changing the batteries ( including different fresh batteries). My 'spare' Etrex is permanently stuck on the wrong year/month/day.  I think it's time to stop buying discontinued etrexes off ebay.

What's the best/least worst option now?

I generally download and follow tracks only for rides/audax.  Not so keen on a touch screens (I think).

Please do feel free  to point me to some good previous advice on threads.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Oscar's dad

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Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2016, 05:43:00 am »
The E20 or E30 I think. The units themselves are better but the way they work isn't. Annoying.

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2016, 08:29:43 am »
Yes, thinking of the Etrex30; though I guess this may only be available s/hand now.  Think I read somewhere 30X screen is not much of an improvement - text too small(?)

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 08:32:22 am »
Yes, thinking of the Etrex30; though I guess this may only be available s/hand now.  Think I read somewhere 30X screen is not much of an improvement - text too small(?)

Its been a few years since I transitioned from the HCx to the E30 (I have an E20 too).  Like yours my HCx just died.  I can't remember the exact reasons I concluded the E30 was not an overall improvement, I just remember feeling disappointed.  That said I have got used to the E30 now and all is well  :thumbsup:

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
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Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 09:35:49 am »
Yes the E30x screen is a bit dimmer (when not backlit) than the older E30 - and lines are a bit thinner and map text is a bit smaller which is a mixed blessing, often a good thing but sometimes not.  If you can live with the dimness and your close eyesight is good, then the E30x display is actually much more pleasing.

I'd contest the assertion above that the new Etrexes are 'better'.  But they are what we have as the best option of their type, so there it is.  Certainly the case feels stronger and the mount is much improved.
My review, based on virtually the first E30 to enter the country:
http://www.aukweb.net/gps/e30-review.pdf

A bug that I hadn't noticed for that review, but which seems to afflict all these E20/30/x models, it that occasionally you switch it on and it just seems to lose all the GPX information you've loaded into it.  This is a fairly serious drawback, although it rights itself after power-cycling once or twice (in other words the GPX isn't actually lost, it just goes AWOL occasionally).  I have 3 of these E models, and they all do it, and i've read other reports as well.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 11:19:09 pm »
Thanks o'd and ff.  I'll give the e30/x a good look.   Re. a dimmer screen, a 200km is the longest ride I'm realistically likely to do (for the time being), so I can afford some backlight for extended periods. 
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Phil W

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2016, 07:40:54 pm »
I use an E20 for audax and for nav and recording a track I find it great. As to the size of the map text, well that depends on the mapping you use. Some maps have the text set to a larger size.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2016, 08:00:22 pm »
Thanks o'd and ff.  I'll give the e30/x a good look.   Re. a dimmer screen, a 200km is the longest ride I'm realistically likely to do (for the time being), so I can afford some backlight for extended periods.

I made some measurements on my e30 recently:  At lower brightness levels the backlight only adds a few percent to the overall power consumption, but this increases exponentially as you crank the brightness up.  At full brightness it more than doubles the power draw from the battery.

Therefore, you can run it continuously at minimum brightness for night riding if you're so inclined, but if you need it at high power to improve contrast in the wrong kind of daylight, it's best to use it sparingly.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Phil W

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2016, 08:51:24 pm »
Thanks o'd and ff.  I'll give the e30/x a good look.   Re. a dimmer screen, a 200km is the longest ride I'm realistically likely to do (for the time being), so I can afford some backlight for extended periods.

I made some measurements on my e30 recently:  At lower brightness levels the backlight only adds a few percent to the overall power consumption, but this increases exponentially as you crank the brightness up.  At full brightness it more than doubles the power draw from the battery.

Therefore, you can run it continuously at minimum brightness for night riding if you're so inclined, but if you need it at high power to improve contrast in the wrong kind of daylight, it's best to use it sparingly.

Lower brightness levels, approx where is it on the bar? 20%, 40%?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2016, 10:36:39 pm »
I find the first step up from zero is perfectly sufficient once it's dark, except that one seems not to work as the battery voltage drops.  Therefore, the second step is my preferred night time backlight level.  I suppose that's about 10%.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2016, 10:56:39 pm »
Thanks.  Seems I have a bit of a reprieve...  :)  Thought I would see if there was an obvious battery contact fault in the unit that has just failed, and it turns out that +ve spring contact on the rear battery compartment plate had cracked through completely.  Fortunately the teminals plate just slides out and I had a good condition spare* plate which did the trick.  So unit is back in operation for the moment.

* from my 'spares' HCx, which is partly the left over duff bits from my HCx units no1 & 2, where the above unit (no 1&2 hybrid) now has all the functional bits....
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Pingu

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Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2016, 11:41:35 pm »
I find the first step up from zero is perfectly sufficient once it's dark, except that one seems not to work as the battery voltage drops.  Therefore, the second step is my preferred night time backlight level.  I suppose that's about 10%.

Me too also.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2016, 10:13:19 am »
As to the size of the map text, well that depends on the mapping you use. Some maps have the text set to a larger size.

Whatever the size of text embedded in the map render, or set in the GPS menus (which have a lot of options for tweaking map text sizes) - it will be slightly smaller on an E30x than on an E30.  The difference isn't great, and as far as map text goes, smaller is better.  Where I find it less good is that lines (eg, roads) also appear thinner, due to the increase in screen resolution on the newer models.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Phil W

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2016, 05:34:52 pm »
In other words map text size and road size are a non issue on the new devices.  Plenty of map choices out there where the text and road size are easy to see on the E20, E30 devices etc.

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2016, 03:00:49 pm »
I've recently retired my Etrex Legend HCx after upgrading to Windows 10 on my PC.  The USB connection to the Etrex needs the Garmin Communicator plug-in, which W10 does not like.  I did manage to fool W10 (and Firefox etc.) but communicating with the Etrex became very flaky, and I kept getting security warnings on the PC. Clearly, it was do-able, but the "flashing lights on the PC were clearly showing that this was old technology at the end of its life.

So, I bit the bullet and, against my better judgement, bought a used Edge Touring Plus (£120).  My better judgement likes the idea of removable AA batteries and the Edge does not have that facility. The battery life is supposed to be 17hrs (Garmin would say that, wouldn't they.....), but I seem to get 10 to 12.  That will be OK for me though as I don't do audaxes that take that long (yet..).

The Edge is good, it's the simpler of the Edge range, does turn by turn, records all the ride data and shows the elevation profile (not necessarily a good idea...).  It takes a micro SD card and any map you care to load up.

I did think about the newer Etrexes (20 or 30) but they seem to be going out and I wasn't keen to stay with an obsolete model. 

I think the Edge Touring is a good substitute for my old Legend (now relegated to walking duties).  If the battery life becomes a problem I'll get a USB backup (about £20 I think).

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2016, 04:59:45 pm »
I've recently retired my Etrex Legend HCx after upgrading to Windows 10 on my PC.  The USB connection to the Etrex needs the Garmin Communicator plug-in, which W10 does not like.  I did manage to fool W10 (and Firefox etc.) but communicating with the Etrex became very flaky, and I kept getting security warnings on the PC. Clearly, it was do-able, but the "flashing lights on the PC were clearly showing that this was old technology at the end of its life.

So, I bit the bullet and, against my better judgement, bought a used Edge Touring Plus (£120).  My better judgement likes the idea of removable AA batteries and the Edge does not have that facility. The battery life is supposed to be 17hrs (Garmin would say that, wouldn't they.....), but I seem to get 10 to 12.  That will be OK for me though as I don't do audaxes that take that long (yet..).

The Edge is good, it's the simpler of the Edge range, does turn by turn, records all the ride data and shows the elevation profile (not necessarily a good idea...).  It takes a micro SD card and any map you care to load up.

I did think about the newer Etrexes (20 or 30) but they seem to be going out and I wasn't keen to stay with an obsolete model. 

I think the Edge Touring is a good substitute for my old Legend (now relegated to walking duties).  If the battery life becomes a problem I'll get a USB backup (about £20 I think).

Interesting.  I've been wondering about the potential havoc wreaked by W10.  Does anyone use Etrex 20/30/x with W10?  Once our old Dell Inspiron  running W7 fails, it will be 'upgrading' to W10 time...
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2016, 06:03:12 pm »
I'm using Win 10 but I only copy GPX files (and map files) to my E30 and E30x using a file manager, so this is pretty OS-independent anyway, all it needs is for basic USB transfer to work.
However I've had no trouble connecting my older Vista HCx in its native 'Garmin' mode and transferring maps and routes using Mapsource, which is pretty old software but installed without complaint. I used this only the other day to generate an up-to-date OSM India map on the Vista, which I then copied back to the hard disk, re-named and added to the new Etrexes.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2016, 06:24:49 pm »
I'm using Win 10 but I only copy GPX files (and map files) to my E30 and E30x using a file manager, so this is pretty OS-independent anyway, all it needs is for basic USB transfer to work.
However I've had no trouble connecting my older Vista HCx in its native 'Garmin' mode and transferring maps and routes using Mapsource, which is pretty old software but installed without complaint. I used this only the other day to generate an up-to-date OSM India map on the Vista, which I then copied back to the hard disk, re-named and added to the new Etrexes.

The plug-in problem only cropped up when I had to do a full re-install of my laptop.  So, new versions of Firefox etc. and W10.  The comms with the Legend had been fine up to that point.  W10 really did not like me trying to re-load the Garmin Communicator plug-in.  Without having to do a full clean and re-install of my laptop, I'd presumably have carried on using the Legend. 

pdm

  • Sheffield hills? Nah... Just potholes.
Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2016, 06:45:32 pm »
I'm still sticking with the Vista HCx....
Win10 running Mapsource is fine with it but then I use Virtualbox under Linux to run Win7 and/or Win10 - usually Win7 - for the rare windose only programs I need... OSM works fine with Mapsource and OSM maps to fit on the uSD card for the Etrex are updated and downloadable every  6 months.
Cheap and it all still works!

fuaran

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Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2016, 07:11:05 pm »
The Garmin Communicator plugin is discontinued, it probably won't work with any modern browser - either on Windows 7 or Windows 10, or Linux.
The Communicator plugin is mostly replaced by Garmin Express. Though not sure if that supports any of the Etrex models?

I think its easier to not bother with Garmin Express. Just use BaseCamp for transferring stuff to and from the Etrex.

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2016, 08:27:37 pm »
.... Garmin Express. Though not sure if that supports any of the Etrex models?
It doesnt support the HCx generation.  But I'd probably carry on using Mapsource (or Basecamp, or even direct file transfer) even if I got a new E20/E30

Phil W

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2016, 08:30:33 pm »
All express seems to support is updating the etrex firmware. File transfer is either direct or via other software such as Basecamp.

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2016, 10:42:39 pm »
I'm still sticking with the Vista HCx....
Mine was very good. Unfortunately it's done a disappearing act. I'm pretty convinced it's round the house somewhere, but who knows where? :-[

Happily, an Edge Touring Plus appeared for my birthday. It's certainly easier, not having to worry about which map to load, or cut down GPXs to less than 500 points. I'm pleased with it. But I'd happily use the HCx if I could only find it...

Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2016, 08:53:08 am »


I did think about the newer Etrexes (20 or 30) but they seem to be going out and I wasn't keen to stay with an obsolete model. 
Sorry, I don't understand your concern about "obsolete". The beauty of an E20 or 30 over a smartphone is that it is self contained, uses standard batteries and, thank god, has no wish to become part of the "internet of things". And surely you will always be able to connect it to your computer in usb remote drive mode? I connect mine to a PC, android tab, and chromebook. The rest of the time is mercifully, triumphantly unconnected. Or have I missed something?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: New Etrex - post Vista HCx options?
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2016, 02:27:45 pm »
I'd agree with that.  USB-storage and GPX files aren't going to disappear within the expected lifetime of the device, so it'll only be obsolete in the sense that newer models might be better.  If it does what you need, it'll continue to do what you need.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...