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What is going on?

In last 6 weeks I returned three brand new Garmin devices: two Montana 680T and one eTrex touch 35. First Montana did not charge battery more than 91%, it turned off at 40% battery, sometimes it has frozen. Same for second Montana which cause problems from the first second because it was not able to load geocaching files. Worst was eTrex 35 which stopped to respond on "Map" icon after two days. It also frozen when using "back" option in Map menu.

So does somebody know what is going on? Statistically this cannot be coincidence. Is Garmin one of the companies which lost themselves like a hiker in the middle of dark night with Garmin handheld unit in his hands?

Is there any handheld unit which is known to function at least 90% of what it should function? Now I am afraid to buy any Garmin device of course. On the other hand I need it and I am pretty satisfied (sometimes freezes, etc.) with 10 years old eTrex vista but it cannot accept sd card larger than 2 GB. I need handheld unit for Topo Europe Map (or sdria Route) and for Europe City Navigator.

And lastly: which devices are used by "serious people" like professional climbers or those whose life depends on orientation (expeditions in wilderness, etc.? I cannot believe that they use Garmin. It sounds like using Windows in airplanes with 400 passengers on board where in case of troubles the pilot would get a note on the screen "file error No. #, please contact your ISP or start troubleshooting in Start menu"

Any comment deeply appreciated. Thanks.

Comments

  • Boyd 1960 Points
    edited February 4
    I don't know what is happening in your case. I would only observe that if this were a common problem we'd be reading about it all over the internet. And I haven't seen anything like that.

    I think Garmin is pretty much the "only game in town" unfortunately. Magellan has gotten a lot of negative feedback over the years. They could be better now, but there are very few people who use them. DeLorme used to be highly respected but Garmin bought them and discontinued their regular GPS line.

    There's a company called TwoNav that makes handhelds. Have never seen one but I have used their software on Macintosh, Windows, iOS and Android. It seems very nice.

    Then there's memory map. Have not used one of these, they look cool but are rather expensive.

    Most of the market is moving to smartphone apps, I think there will be very few dedicated devices in a few years. You can buy a rugged waterproof Android phone for $100 or less and there are plenty of inexpensive apps to choose from. You can get cases with external batteries and solar chargers, etc. Not sure if those would work for you... I don't meet your definition of a "serious person". ;)

    Doubt that I'll buy any more Garmin devices, have spent thousands on them over the years. Just last week the power button broke on my Montana 600, I bought it in July 2011 but it hasn't seen very heavy use. Was always happy with it over the years. Could see about getting it fixed but not really very interested at this point. I use my phone, but I don't do long hikes anymore.

    I wish they had something new that could get me excited, but they just don't. The GPSMap 276cx looks kind of cool but has gotten a very negative response. There was a nice in-depth review where the author recommended it. He got such an angry response from disappointed buyers that he eventually had to change his review and say he didn't recommend it. I'd be willing to give it a chance, but not for $600 - that's ridiculous. And it is really only suited for vehicles and not handheld use.
  • samogps 3 Points
    Thanks for your suggestions. I will definitely check TwoNav. Using a smartphone during navigation is highly non-practical to me. I want to hold something in my hand when I am driving and searching right address. I use smartphone in protection case, difficult to explain what i mean but I would never even think about using a phone instead of gps handheld unit. yes, once when in need, but not systematically.

    Your response (explanation of some details) is completely in agreement with my opinion. Briefly, we live in hysterical times, where color of maps and shape of buttons is far more important than reliability of devices. These are so complicated and full of non-tested software that they simply cannot work reliably in practice.

    So it is take it or leave it. I feel stupid to give Garmin let's say 500 eur for their toy (nothing more than a toy !). and it is worse from year to year.
  • sussamb 786 Points
    As Boyd suggests I suspect you've been very unlucky. You don't say where you bought these devices and I guess that could be an issue? I've bought many Garmin devices over the years and all with one exception have worked perfectly and continue to do so. The exception was due to a software issue which was quickly addresses by Garmin.
  • samogps 3 Points
    Ok, thanks for your consolation. However after three low hits it is hard to get on feet again. Now I am curious and would like to hear more about what you started, please. Namely it seems it matters where the device was bought.

    I do believe in theory of conspiracy in certain limits. I have always believed that certain countries are considered as third class countries and definitely Slovenia (my country) is among them by my modest opinion. Despite of the fact that we are current European champions in basketball, and that engineer of Boeing 747 has Slovenian roots I believe the goods sold or sent here are sup-optimal in general.

    First Montana was bought in the hypermarket in Slovenia, 50 km away from Garmin dealer. I returned it to Garmin dealer and they gave me back different unit with different serial number and with practically same fault(s). They even did not turn it on because I had troubles from the very beginning because it did not load geocaching files. Of course i returned the unit (it did not charge more than 91%). Third unit was bought on amazon.de. After two days of practicing in our apartment it stopped to respond on "Map" icon.

    Any reasonable explanation? Does Garmin has two production lines (one for first class people and one for third class ones)? Do they (like almost whole world) consider Slovenia (when they do not mistake it for Slovakia or Slavonia of course) as Sub-Saharan country, despite of the fact that it is practically in the middle of Europe? I would really like to hear some opinions how it is statistically possible that I got three faulty units of three purchased ones. Thanks.
  • Chris_Sav 119 Points
    edited February 5
    Not as bad but some will remember I played satnav ping-pong with Garmin a year ago.

    The 680T I finished with only charges to 99%, should not be but I live with that.as it's fairly insignificant.

    The 50LMT-D had the battery become disconnected and gives the occasional very strange routing. The battery is next to useless for route planning and you have to connect it to power to route plan (I'm not a basecamp fan and don't like over using the fragile looking USB socket)

    Favourite unit of mine at present for bike/walking is the second hand Monterra I bought recently, battery life and sunshine readability are better than the 680T in my view.
  • Boyd 1960 Points
    Your favorite unit is one that was ridiculously overpriced, a huge failure for Garmin and was discontinued some time ago. That speaks volumes in itself! >:)

    Aside from all my Garmin criticisms, something odd is happening to @samogps . You really should not have that many problems. Garmin simply wouldn't survive as a company if these problems were common.
  • samogps 3 Points
    my first Montana 680T charged to 99% in first charge. In second it dropped to 93% maximum. At third charge it reached 91%. then i took it to dealer and i received replacement (which behaved similarly).
  • Boyd 1960 Points
    edited February 5
    I don't know how much faith I would put in those numbers. They are just estimates calculated by the device. Go out for a long hike and use it under real-world conditions, then see how long it actually runs. With the screen brightness on full, battery saver turned off, display time-out at one minute, my Montana 600 only ran 4 hours or so on the rechargeable battery when it was new (IIRC). Of course you can use more conservative settings to get longer run times.
  • samogps 3 Points
    my consideration was: for 600 eur i want my brand new device to work without issues and evident signs of malfunctions. I can accept malfunctions after some time but not for a brand new device. Every cell phone for much less money has a working battery indicator in my experiences (I am aware that such indicator is not a laboratory measurement equipment). My device turned off at ca 40% of battery which means that something was wrong (of course it was) or battery indicator is useless. I understand what you want to say but i do not see any reason why device just stopped to work when a second before it happened the battery was at 40%.
  • sussamb 786 Points
    edited February 5
    Certainly something isn't right. My Montana shows 100% after charging and won't switch off til the battery is depleted. With the supplied battery I was generally getting about 12 hours but as Boyd points out it depends on how it's set up.
  • samogps 3 Points
    Your favorite unit is one that was ridiculously overpriced, a huge failure for Garmin and was discontinued some time ago. That speaks volumes in itself!
    i assume you speak about eTrex 35?

    I ordered GPSMAP 64s yesterday and expect it here in couple of days. I wonder what will go wrong this time. If it will, it is definitely the last gps handheld device in my life and I will start to use my android phone.
  • sussamb 786 Points
    edited February 6
    No, he means the Monterra.

    I've had 3 handheld Garmins, been very happy with all of them, and still have two. Your experience is unusual.
  • Boyd 1960 Points
    eTrex 35? LOL, that is one of the cheaper units in Garmin's line-up and it unless I've missed something major, it hasn't been discontinued and isn't a huge failure. :))

    Yes, I was talking about the Monterra, Garmin's Android based model that sold for $800 and was something they would like to forget ever existed (just like the NuviFone, their disastrous attempt at an Android cellphone). Sounds like @Chris_Sav got a good deal, and after all these years apparently they have finally shaken out most of the bugs. But a lot of others weren't so lucky.
  • samogps 3 Points
    my eTrex 35 was not so cheap in comparison to GPSMAP 64s which is on the way to me in this moment. I paid for first one ca 220 EUR and for second one ca 250 EUR. Thanks to both for explanation about Monterra, I did not have a clue.
  • Chris_Sav 119 Points
    edited February 6
    Off topic here but the Monterra I bought was under £200 for a unit that had only been out of the box for its first seven days! and still had the original software. I could not believe it when I looked at the tracking, the seller did not even have a battery for it, minor expense!. The Monterra works on my USB 3.1 ports which the Montana still refuses to do without protest and about ten attempts to disconnect.
  • Boyd 1960 Points
    That's a nice deal! Have you tried any other Android apps on it, like OruxMaps, Locus Map, BackCountry Navigator, etc? I suspect the very low resolution screen on the Monterra could be a problem with third party apps. But it would be cool if you could have a choice. This is why I initially thought the Monterra was a good idea. But just like the NuviFone, Garmin wasn't seriously committed to it.

    Looking through their lineup again, the GPSMap276cx is really the only product that interests me. And, putting aside all the issues, $600 is just way too much for me. At $300 I'd be tempted, but that ain't gonna happen. I think a 5" screen is a minimum for me, having been spoiled by tablets, big phones and even their own Nuvi and Dezl units.
  • Chris_Sav 119 Points
    edited February 28
    There's a software patch for Montana battery reporting issues now available
  • samogps 3 Points
    Lol. Is Montana first Garmin's product? i guess not. so I cannot believe such things are coincidental. after so many years and after so many products they have problems with software which controls battery ?
  • Boyd 1960 Points
    I don't know... Apple has had some problems with battery software too. :O)

    www.apple.com/iphone-battery-and-performance/
  • samogps 3 Points
    yes i know and that is so sad. to me this is not a progress but rather neurotic and unnecessary changes of things which worked in the past.
  • sussamb 786 Points
    Never had issues with my Montana or Etrex 20.
  • samogps 3 Points
    this is interesting and supports my hypothesis that Garmin sells their certain products on certain markets. More precisely, not optimal products on not optimal markets.
  • Boyd 1960 Points
    I think you need to qualify that @sussamb - IIRC, you have a Montana 600 which is also what I have. At least on this site, the complaints about USB mode and battery charge were for the next generation of Montana (680?).

    Never had any real problems with my Montana 600 and the rechargeable battery pack still holds a respectable charge while all my Nuvi's of similar age will only run about 15 minutes on battery. The power button broke on my Montana last month though - the actual pushbutton inside is OK but the covering cracked and fell off. I think I've had it for at least six years, it was one of the earlier ones.
  • sussamb 786 Points
    edited March 1
    It's the 650 but similar to the 600. Missed that folks were talking just about the newer version.
  • samogps 3 Points
    ok, it is about 680. But still .... problems with battery charging in 21st century? I thought these problems were solved in 19th century or in the 20th at the latest.
  • Boyd 1960 Points
    That is true. Nobody had problems charging their GPS batteries in the 19th century.
  • samogps 3 Points
    ... or even 3,000 years before in ancient Egypt ? :) I guess GPS battery is not different than any other battery in the world? I wonder why should something go wrong in charging battery after let's say 25 years of cell phone era ... I know it is easy to criticize but this particular Garmin's problem is ridiculous.
  • truckinguy 115 Points
    edited March 3
    I own 2 680T's... one for my hiking and one for my snowmachines.. Love them... no issues using them with pc win 7 or battery life. Hike all day in below zero conditions in the mountains and they last long..
    So look at your setup,hardware,updates,etc. And I still don't agree with Boyd... these will never go away.. Cell phones are cheap garbage compared to these units. And my 61s Drive Smart... and I own a Note 8...piece of junk compared to my Garmin units in function and hardware build.
  • samogps 3 Points
    edited March 3
    i took my 680T to Garmin and they were not able to fix battery issues. Finally I got rid of it and now i have 64s.
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