Garmin/eTrex series

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Available languages
Deutsch English

The Garmin eTrex series is extremely popular among OSM users and generally gives good value for its money. A lot has been written about the different devices in this series, so we were forced to move some of the descriptions to individual pages.

eTrex series

The eTrex, eTrex Venture, eTrex Legend, eTrex Summit and eTrex Vista make up this range. Colour models have a "C" after their name, and those with an "x" can take expansion memory models - good for OSM maps and Long journeys. Some of the older black & white models are capable of displaying maps although memory is limited to 1MB on the Venture, 8MB on the Legend and 24MB on the vista. Some of the higher end models (eg: Vista, Vista C and Vista Cx) have magnetic compass and altimeter.

Since the summer of 2007, there's a new range of "high sensitivity" receivers, coded with "H".

Current Models

eTrex 10 eTrex 20 eTrex 30 Yellow H Venture HC Legend HCx Summit HC Vista HCx
color display No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
can display maps Yes: basemap preinstalled, user maps incl. OSM compartable[1] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
memory (for maps) 8MB ? 1.7GB internal & microSD 1.7GB internal & microSD No 24MB internal microSD 24MB internal microSD
compass and altimeter No No Yes (3-axis) No No No Yes (2-axis) Yes (2-axis)
battery lifetime 25h 25h 25h 17h 14h 25h 14h 25h
waypoints / routes 1000 / 50 2000 / 200 2000 / 200 500 / 20 500 / 50 1000 / 50 500 / 50 1000 / 50
tracks 10,000 points, 100 saved tracks 10,000 points, 200 saved tracks 10,000 points, 200 saved tracks 10,000 points active track,
10 saveable tracks
with 500 points max
10,000 points active track,
20 saveable tracks
with 500 points max
10,000 points active track,
saveable to microSD
10,000 points active track,
20 saveable tracks
with 500 points max
10,000 points active track,
saveable to microSD
routing (turn-by-turn) No Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes
image
Garmin etrex 10 IMGP3874 smial wp.jpg
Garmin etrex 20 osm.jpg
Etrex 30.jpg
Garmin Etrex H 7262.jpg
GarminEtrexVentureHCShowingOSMMap.jpg
Garmin etrex.jpg
ETrex Summit HC.jpg
Garmin eTrex Vista HCx neu.jpg

Older Models

(Yellow) / Camo Venture Venture Cx Legend Legend C Legend Cx Summit Vista Vista C Vista Cx
color display No No Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
can display maps No POIs only Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
memory (for maps) No 1MB internal microSD 8MB internal 24MB internal microSD No 24MB internal 24MB internal microSD
compass and altimeter No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
battery lifetime 22h 18h 32h 18h 30h 32h 22h/13h 12h 20h 32h
waypoints / routes 500 / 20 500 / 20 500 / 50 1000 / 20 500 / ?? 500 / 50 500 / 20 1000 / 20 500 / ?? 500 / 50
tracks 10,000 points active track,
10 saveable tracks
2,048 points active track,
10 saveable tracks
10,000 points active track,
saveable to microSD
10,000 points active track,
10 saveable tracks
 ??? points active track,
20 saveable tracks
10,000 points active track,
10 saveable tracks
3,000 points active track,
10 saveable tracks,
750 points each
10,000 points active track,
10 saveable tracks
 ??? points active track,
20 saveable tracks
10,000 points active track,
20 saveable tracks
routing (turn-by-turn) No No Yes No  ??? Yes No No  ??? Yes
connection serial serial USB serial USB USB serial serial USB USB
image
Osm putney cycle.jpg
GarminEtrexLegend.jpg
GarminEtrexSummit.jpg
Equator on GPS.JPG

eTrex (Yellow)

eTrex H
  • WWW:
  • logger (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: no)
  • GPS: 51 channels, ( waas;egnos, )
  • Display: , Connectivity: rs232
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof




Entry level 12 channel GPS. Bigger than the newer "Geko" model. The basic (yellow) model has no base map at all and is not capable to hold a map. Runs on a pair of AA batteries.

Now has it's own Page: Garmin/eTrex_Yellow

eTrex Summit

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: no)
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, )
  • Display: , Connectivity: rs232
  • Internal: compass,altimeter Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof

Pros:

  • Not too expensive.
  • Has an electronic compass and altimeter.
  • One-handed use.
  • Suitably splashproof.
  • Supports WAAS/EGNOS.

Cons:

  • Like some other eTrex models, waypoint names are limited to 6 characters.
  • Can take a long time to acquire enough satellites to navigate, especially if you're impatient and start moving.
  • Only has a 10,000 point track memory, and saved logs limited to 750 points each.
  • Serial cable is optional.



12 channel GPS with electronic compass and altimeter, but no mapping capability. Uses 2 AA batteries; rechargable batteries suffice.



eTrex Summit HC

See Garmin/eTrex Summit HC


eTrex Legend (Blue)

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: no)
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, no )
  • Display: , Connectivity: rs232
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof




Very glove/mitten unfriendly UI.

For more on using an eTrex Legend (Original B&W version) see Blackadder's page

This unit is showing its age now and new mappers would be advised to look at the Garmin Hcx which has better reception, faster locking to location, greater accuracy, unlimited tracklog length caching and unlimited map storage ( due to internal SD card ). Not really recommended for new users as new generations HCX and newer are much improved. ( author owns a Garmin Legend and a Legend HCX )

Disappointing Base Map for world beyond USA. Very difficult, expensive to add maps. Garmin's BaseCamp software will not "talk" to a blue Legend.

The free EasyGPS... no need even to register... from www.easygps.com works with this unit.

eTrex Legend C

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: no)
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, no )
  • Display: , Connectivity: usb
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof

Pros:

  • Colour display.
  • Supports maps.
  • Relatively decent map memory (24MB).
  • Very tough, "impossible" to break.
  • Good support in many Linux programs (i.e. Viking) to download data from the device.
  • Good battery life, +20h in normal mode (low power mode exists).
  • Can be used while USB-power is connected and can therefore be powered in a car or by a USB-battery pack.
  • Good/large track memory.

Cons:

  • Difficult to send data to the device when using Linux.
  • No USB-disk support, only special Garmin USB-protocol.
  • No memory card.
  • The device have a tendency to get unstable after a couple of years. Sudden shut-downs, especially when using the buttons or in "shaky" environments, gets much too frequent.
    • Why?: The problem is because the batteries are connected to the main board by spring-loaded connectors and these get worn out.
    • Fix it!: The solution is to open the device and solder wires between the battery pack and the main board instead of the spring loaded connection. To open the device: 1. Remove the black rubber sides. 2. Cut a line along the middle of the sticky-goey clear tape around the whole device with a sharp knife. 3. Use a small, flat, screwdriver to pry the device open.



Outdated handheld GPS device. If you're thinking about buying a brand new GPS device, don't buy this one. If you're thinking of buying an old and used Legend C, be prepared for a bit of "hands-on" repairing.



eTrex Legend Cx

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: sdmicro)
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, no )
  • Display: , Connectivity: usb
  • Internal: Batteries: 2*AA
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof

Pros:

  • You can upgrade the supplied MicroSD card from the default 64Mb to more than 2Gb (firmware 3.1 needed to use maps greater than 2Gb). Daily track logs can be automatically saved to this card.
  • EGNOS capable, so good precision. Quoted 10-16 feet accuracy can be down to 6-9ft on occasion. The map screen is customisable so you can add an accuracy field to the top of the map for instant feedback as to whether you're recording garbage or not.
  • Good battery life, much longer on battery save mode.
  • Waterproof - Submersible to 1 m depth, rugged.
  • Quick first fix - 15 secs warm start, 45 secs from cold, 2 minutes for complete auto locate.
  • Satellite visibility screen means you can see immediately whether you've got a good lock if you're in an urban canyon.

Cons:

  • From Firmware 2.7 to 3.3 there seems to be an issue with the "Lock to road" feature. If enabled, it sets the current position to the nearest road. If disabled, this should be not the case, but the behaviour is just weaker. This makes the device pretty much useless for OSM, since new measurements do not add any precision, but instead result in the exisiting roads to reappear in the log. This can even be dangerous if you use a copyrighted map on the device!. References: Lock on road in osm beginners guide; Garmin support, changelog; groundspeak forum thread;another groundspeak forum thread. If you use one of the mentioned firmware versions, please upgrade.
  • Doesn't do NMEA
  • Doesn't store number of satellites or HDOP or WAAS/EGNOS status in gpx file on SD-card
  • Stores position data also if there is no satellite fix
  • Doesn't allow to access waypoints in mass storage mode
  • the adhesive with which the circumferential rubber band is fixed to the unit seems to get smeary after 1-2 years. The rubber gets loose. Some people have got a replacement unit from garmin after filing an RMA. See also this german blog entry



Comes with only a USB port for communications, and works well with Windows. Mac OS X support was added by Garmin only recently. The latest version of GPSBabel+ steps in to provide support for Mac/Linux users. Also, the unit can be put into USB mass storage mode, so you can just grab the GPX files off the data card without installing any software, which is actually easy and efficient.

Extracting GPX logs

First, you need a relatively recent firmware (since August 2006) If your software version is older than 2.50 then you need to upgrade - see the Garmin website for instructions. Then ensure you're saving tracklogs to the onboard data card. Setup -> Tracklogs -> Setup -> Save to data card

To extract GPX tracklogs without bothering with GPSBAbel, Setup->Interface->USB mass storage while connected via USB to your PC or Mac - the data card will appear as a new drive or volume. Tracklogs can then be drag 'n dropped to your computer.

Price

Approximately 180 GBP including VAT in May 2007 (ebuyer.com) ; around 155 Eur in april 2010 (eTrex legend HCx at amazon.de, Cx not available any more). Potential purchasers could consider alternatives of Venture Cx and Vista Cx.

Venture Cx appears to be identical technical specification to Legend Cx (March 2007, Garmin Website), but cheaper shop price (150 GBP from ebuyer.com) Packaged "extras" included in price differ between Legend Cx and Venture Cx, being USB data lead (essential for computer connectivity, but appears to be very standard computer lead), copy of MapSource (useful though not essential, is included with Garmin's commercial mapping software), small MicroSD card (but given how cheap these are now, arguably not worth much).

Vista Cx adds electronic compass and barometric altimeter to Legend. Barometer has its uses, particularly navigating in mountain areas if GPS signal lost (tree cover, deep valleys, etc), and as a pressure trend monitor (weather forecasting). Probably not a useful upgrade for a road and lowland footpath navigation device.

eTrex Legend HCx

See Garmin/eTrex_Legend_HCx

Exporting GPS Files

Even there comes a CD that provide a program to export Waypoints,Tracks etc. There's still a problem with Linux operating system because is hard to find but you can now with the program called QLandkarte http://www.qlandkarte.org/ that lets you export files from Garmin to your Linux computer.

eTrex Venture Cx

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: sdmicro)
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, no )
  • Display: , Connectivity: usb
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof



The eTrex Venture Cx is identical in specifications to the Legend Cx, the only difference is the colour of the case. Also, the Venture Cx does not include a microSD card or USB cable as standard. But these can be purchased separately very cheaply if required. It also doesn't include any software, but Garmin BaseCamp or MapSource can be downloaded for free.

eTrex Venture HC

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash:24MB (external: )
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, )
  • Display: , Connectivity: usb
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof



High precision GPS receiver (WAAS/EGNOS capable), displays color maps. No compass, no altimeter, no memory card slot. 24MB internal memory for map data. USB port. Supported battery types: Alkaline, NiMH, Lithium(?). For NiMH, sometimes warns about low batteries several hours before the batteries are exhausted.

Like probably all eTrexes, it comes with a glued-on black rubber protection running around the edges of the device. After being exposed to rain, glue comes leaking out from there, and the rubber protection is getting loose, although the device is supposed to be water-proof.

Software to extract track data:

  • Windows: qlandkarte, mapsource (both use garmin's driver)
  • Linux: qlandkarte, gpsbabel (note for bouth qlandkarte and gpsbabel you need to ensure that the usb permissions is correct, see this link: http://www.gpsbabel.org/os/Linux_Hotplug.html (works on Debian and Ubuntu, and might work on others as well.)

Software to upload map data generated from OSM to the device:

  • Windows: qlandkarte, MapSource (included)
  • Linux: qlandkarte
  • note: sendmap does not seem to work with this device at all. Therefore, it is not possible to use custom .typ files with this device, as qlandkarte won't upload .img files with .typ file integrated.

--Rrr 20:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

True, but you can still use MapSource to upload OSM maps to the device. It works as it should. --Sebs42 13:25, 17 April 2009 (UTC)


eTrex Vista (Silver)

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: )
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, )
  • Display: , Connectivity: rs232
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof



-- Zeb 13:59, 2 Apr 2006 (UTC): The old top of the range model before the colour (C) and colour expandable (Cx) models were introduced. Difference with the lower models is that it has a barometric altimeter. Uses a serial connection to transfer data - newer models use USB. When it detects low batteries it automatically shuts down, which can be rather irritating, especially in cold weather when it is best to remove batteries and place under armpits until warm. Need to pack the battery case to stop batteries vibrating out of contact whilst cycling.

-- Lorp 10:10, 28 Jun 2006 (UTC): I bought one in Sept 2003, and was pleased with it for a while. It feels sturdy and I was confident using it in the rain. (I shelled out for this model since I really wanted an integrated compass.) Although I used it in all weathers, I gave it only very light use overall until this year. Tracklog memory is adequate for a good day's hiking or cycling. It suffers from a common complaint in its tracklogs, in that it continues to record points even when accuracy drops off or signal disappears entirely - thus at a T-junction, tracks can head straight on into buildings, then veer back to the direction travelled afterwards. (I wish the accuracy was recorded with each tracklog point!!!) In mid-2006 I gave it more intensive use, hanging from my neck on a bike in the rain. And it performed very poorly. The batteries would keep losing contact, causing me to have to stop and wait for reboot and signal if I wanted to record tracks. Packing the battery case helped somewhat. Towards the end of that trip, the screen started to behave erratically. A few sharp jabs would sometimes cure it, sometimes not. Again very annoying and dangerous to have to do on a bike. Finally, signal strength was affected by being underneath my body; when I realized this I tried to balance it on my shoulder or throw it over my back (which was less clever since then I couldn't tell if it had shut off with the aforementioned battery contact problem). Just bought a RoyalTek RBT 2010 Bluetooth SiRFstar III, about which I'll report later.

-- DrMark 20:30 4 June 2007: Vista Cx: I bought this following the final end of my old Vista, it is a vastly better unit for not that much more money. It takes a micro-SD card so you can have a variety of maps, or a single huge one. I use a (£20) 1Gb card & the original 64Mb. It has a USB interface, & is waterproof, it's been robust so far (>6 months), including use with a bike mount. The above points regarding tracklogs are unchanged, but I find it works better in a pocket than the old Vista. It does work with osmgarminmap. The inbuilt Garmin world map is poor. The altimeter needs at least daily calibrating if you want to use it seriously. The compass is good but more sensitive to local variations than a traditional magnet one, it often disagrees with the calculated direction.


eTrex Vista C

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: sdmicro)
  • GPS: 12 channels, ( waas;egnos, )
  • Display: , Connectivity: usb
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof



The Vista C (C for colour) only has 24 MB internal memory which cannot be extended with a MicroSD card. But small OSM maps work using sendmap and maps from e.g. CloudMade (tested with Alaska —Granjow 20:43, 4 May 2009 (UTC)).

The stick at the front is a 4 way stick only. The other buttons are located at the side of the device (like for the rest of the Vista series).

Latest Firmware for Vista C.

eTrex Vista HCx

  • WWW:
  • navigator (Navigation: )
  • CPU: (OS: ), Flash: (external: sdmicro)
  • GPS: 51 channels, ( waas;egnos, no )
  • Display: , Connectivity: usb
  • Internal: Batteries:
Addresses POIs
Mass Storage mode ? Waterproof



See Garmin/eTrex Vista HCx

References

  1. Garmin Etrex 10 and user maps. Howto install user map to a device, which does not support maps