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etrex Vista HCx Micro SD Card

I see that garmin states the below limitation about the memory card:

* There is no limitation to the size of SD/microSD card used but the device will only recognize 4GB of detailed mapping
* Each expandable memory device will be able to recognize up to 2,025 detailed mapping segments

For the 4GB limit is this to imply that if I have a 32GB card with multiple maps on it I will be only able to access the map(s) that are within that first 4GB? Or does it mean that I can have multiple maps I just have to select which one for the vista to use and that map can't be more than 4GB?


  • Boyd 1953 Points
    Since you have one of the older-style units, it means that the sum total of all maps that your GPS can access must fit within a 4GB file. I believe this limit comes from the max filesize in a FAT32 filesystem.

    As a practical matter, you will never reach the 4GB limit and will waste money on a bigger card. The limit of 2025 map segments is the bottleneck for your model (newer models like the Oregon/Dakota can handle 4,000 segments).

    Just as a point of reference, Garmin's US Topo 100k is a total of about 3GB for the entire US. However, there are about 6,600 segments to the map. So you would hit the 2025 segment limit when loading about 1/3 of the US but your file would only be about 1GB.

    Segment size is determined by the mapmaker. Garmin makes a version of US Topo 100k which is pre-installed on the Oregon and they cram it all into about 450 segments for example (but you can't buy that version separately).

    But Garmin intentionally makes the segments small for their regular map products so they will be compatible with old unit which might have as little as 8MB (that's MB and NOT GB :)) of memory.
  • so then the only practical reason for having a larger than 4GB card would be simply for storage of other maps.

    Say for example I frequent east and west coasts. I could have all the maps on the card but only set (rename) those that I want to use.

    Is this accurate? (New to the etrex units).
  • Boyd 1953 Points
    Yes, you can do that. Your unit will only recognize the file "GMAPSUPP.IMG". So if you need more than 2025 segments you could have another file(s) named anothermap.img or whatever. Then you would need a computer, phone, or some kind of device to rename the files in order to switch maps.

    Kind of a pain, but I used to do it on my 60csx. The new models don't have any filename restrictions, you just need to give the files .img extensions and they are recognized. But the 4,000 segment and 4GB file limits still apply.
  • ok follow-up question about the cards.

    Was looking for one on amazon and notice that some say microSD versus microSDHC.

    One of the microSDHC ones has this listed under the specs "Compatible with microSDHC host devices;not compatible with standard microSD-enabled device/readers".

    Does this mean it will or will not work with the eTrex. I am thinking of getting the 8GB model.

    I am in the south east and most likely would only use maps that cover the Appalachian mountain range (of course not all at one time). Probably just GA, TN, NC, VA for the most of the time - until I build my own.

    So do I need to be concerned with the SD versus SDHC designation?
  • Spazmogen 0 Points
    edited January 2010
    Nope. No cause for concern.
    The unit will work fine with that card. If you use a card reader, you'll need a reader that can write to the new SDHC card.

    I just used my Garmin and connected it via USB and used mapSource to dump the Topo map to the unit.
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