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Garmin DriveSmart 61 screen problems?

I just got a Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S and this unit is acting a bit odd, I'm wondering if anyone else has encountered these issues and if they're known problems/features I don't understand, or what. Right now I'm assuming I have a defective unit that needs to be exchanged.

First it intermittently it acts like someone is pressing the speed field/button while I'm driving and nothing is near the screen. I thought maybe this was some speed warning thing, but even when I was stopped it was happening. I could see the pressed button animation flickering. When that's happening I can't keep the map displayed because it keeps going to the speed data screen.

Second, when I have it out of the car and I'm plugging it in to my computer or a USB charger it constantly complains that "this cable can't charge" the device and suggests I use one of the cables that came with it (which I am).

There's also some oddness with getting it to recognize an SD card but from what I've read it seems like that's fairly normal for recent Garmin units.

Thanks,

Brian

Comments

  • sussamb 780 Points
    What oddness about recognising the sd card? Only issue generally is folks use a 64Gb card or larger, which isn't FAT32 formatted by default, which is what is required.

    However the other 2 issues don't seem right, I suggest you take it back to the retailer and explain the issues.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    edited June 23
    I got one of these devices this winter. Just a couple days ago I had the same problem where it switched to the trip computer screen all by itself. My hands were nowhere near the screen. I thought it was very strange, but that is the only time it has happened. I assume this is some kind of firmware bug, although I suppose it could be a hardware problem.

    The other issue with the message about not being able to charge frequently happens when I plug it into the computer. I think the message is bogus, and it actually is charging. I was using the Garmiin cable that came with the unit. This has been mentioned here in the forum by others, and I also noticed that people were complaining about it in user reviews on Best Buy's website. So I wouldn't worry about it.

    I have only tried a SD card a few times with mine and it seemed to work fine. What kind of maps have you installed on yours and why are you using an SD card? IIRC, the 61 has about 14gb of internal memory so you should not need a card unless you've installed several maps.
  • Markarian421 181 Points
    Boyd, did it switch once or continuously? Once mine started it wouldn't stop until I shut it off. But that does make it sound like it might be software instead of hardware.

    I have a 64gb card, I haven't really installed anything yet but I usually end up installing several maps and custom POI lists. (It's been a while, I'd slowly stopped using my old nuvi and was using my phone instead, but the large screen is nice.) The first time I installed the card it said it needed to be formatted, then there were two other messages, one about the card being damaged and I don't recall the other one. I plugged the card into my computer and reformatted and tested it and it seemed fine. I plugged it into the drivesmart again and again got the format message, and then it didn't seem like it was seeing the card anymore. Again I reformatted it with the PC. The third time, same message about reformatting, but that time it seemed to work, at least I could see the card (and that the card had been renamed "GARMIN") when I plugged the drivesmart into the computer.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    edited June 23
    It only happened once and when I returned to the map screen it was fine.

    You should not use a 64gb card because Garmin devices use the old FAT32 filesystem that doesn’t support volumes that large. You will need to use special software to format a 64gb card, and anyway this is WAY beyond what you could ever actually use an a Garmin automotive GPS.

    The fact that you could see the card when the GPS was connected to the computer doesn’t mean that it will actually work. You probably formatted the card as exFAT and that works fine on your computer but isn’t readable on the GPS.

    However, I think there is some weirdness in the SD card firmware on the 61. Now I remember that I also got a message about needing to format a card when I inserted it. At first I thought I’d previously formatted it for the Mac, but I checked and it was a card from another Garmin GPS. I reformatted it anyway and then the 61 didn’t complain.

    Now the only reason I was using a card was to test the performance of my DriveSmart with a very complex map that I made - https://boydsmaps.com/boyds-visual-map-of-the-mid-atlantic/ The 14gb of internal memory should be enough for most people.
  • Markarian421 181 Points
    edited June 23
    The owners manual for the 61 says it supports up to 64gb cards:

    Installing a Memory Card for Maps and Data

    I formatted it FAT (not ExFAT) following Garmin's directions here:

    Formatting a microSD/SD Card

    I decided to go ahead and exchange it, I'll see how it goes with the next one, I've got some smaller cards around that I can try as well.

    How did it do with that map? It's slow enough with the normal map (compared to my phone for instance), I'd think it would really struggle.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    edited June 23
    Interesting, I didn’t think you could format a 64gb card as FAT32 without third party software. Perhaps this is something new in Windows 10 (I still have my PC on Win 7 since I only use it for making maps with old software).

    My map is certainly slow to render on the DriveSmart 61 and only works in a limited zoom range. But I like using it because it’s different - I have it enabled along with City Navigator. Anyway, “it is what it is”.... and it’s free. :)

    No question that any newer smartphone is much more powerful than the DS 61. However I’d say it’s the fastest Garmin Automotive device I’ve used. My map basically chokes all the others.
  • sussamb 780 Points
    edited June 23

    I formatted it FAT (not ExFAT) following Garmin's directions here:

    Formatting a microSD/SD Card

    Note though that FAT is for cards 2Gb and below, FAT32 is really the default these days. As Boyd suggests, Win10 didn't use to offer a FAT32 format, and still doesn't appear to on my Win10 system, but in any case it sounds like you formatted it FAT, which is not really correct.

  • alanb 429 Points
    edited June 23
    You can format FAT32 in WIn10 (or Win7 for that matter) if you do it from the command prompt and include the File System switch (/FS:). Example:
    FORMAT H: /FS:FAT32
  • Markarian421 181 Points
    I'm on a mac (although I have Win 10 installed as a virtual machine) but the card is formatted FAT32. In macOS the options appear as FAT or ExFAT when you format but it's actually FAT32 or ExFAT. Interesting thing though is that when I plugged it back in to confirm that, and then started to reply here, the card vanished. I tried a few times and the card initially appears and then vanishes. I'm going to blame the card at this point. My lucky day.
  • sussamb 780 Points
    alanb said:

    You can format FAT32 in WIn10 (or Win7 for that matter) if you do it from the command prompt and include the File System switch (/FS:). Example:
    FORMAT H: /FS:FAT32

    Nice one, does that work with any size card?
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    edited June 24
    That is interesting. But the point is, nobody needs a 64gb card in a Garmin automotive device, it's massive over-kill. Only exception might be if you have a device with a driving camera and need space to store the video.
  • alanb 429 Points
    sussamb said:

    alanb said:

    You can format FAT32 in WIn10 (or Win7 for that matter) if you do it from the command prompt and include the File System switch (/FS:). Example:
    FORMAT H: /FS:FAT32

    Nice one, does that work with any size card?
    I believe so, although I don't have any large capacity cards to test with.
  • mike41 18 Points
    I have an SD card in my device. I put it in when I purchased the device. So far no usage of the SD card nor a problem with the device.
  • privet01 195 Points
    I just got a DriveSmart 61 lmt-s also, the one that's edge to edge display. I do get the message about the cable cannot charge the device at this time. However it appears to be a temporary thing because after it goes into mtp mode it is charging. Albeit very slow.

    I suspect that these devices use quite a bit more power and especially with the gigantic screen, Wi-fi and Bluethooth sucking battery that the unit simply uses more power than your PC will supply through the USB port. So they are just letting you know that under the current conditions, the battery will eventually be used up. When the device goes into MTP mode, the screen is low power and perhaps the Wi-fi and Bluetooth are not transmitting. So there is now enough power to also charge the battery.

    Likewise, when I'm connected to the PC but not in MTP mode I sometimes see a red battery symbol which I assume is when the battery isn't charging, but other times I see the more expected partial battery with the lightning bolt next to it. It is very slow to charge though on the PC.

    USB 1.0 and 2.0 specs only provide for .5 amps of output on any pin. USB 3.0 provides for .9 amps of out put with a provision for a charging current of 1.5 amps for certain dedicated charging ports which I doubt include the Garmin.

    I have not looked to see if the Drivesmart 61 has a USB 3 port. I'd be surprise if it is since Garmin is so slow to adopt new tech. So to me that seems to explain the message. The 12 volt Garmin power adapter for your car puts likely puts out at least 1.0 amps if not considerably more.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    Some interesting points about USB - thanks! I did not test it, but had the impression the interface was faster than USB 2.0. I was copying big files to my 61 while working on the map I mentioned above and it seemed to go faster than my Dezl 760 (a 2013 device).

    Enjoy the DriveSmart, I think Garmin did a pretty good job on this one at a price that’s much lower than previous top of the line devices. It does have its quirks (like the stupid driver alerts and display of favorites) but every Garmin model has had its share of issues. ;)
  • truckinguy 115 Points
    edited July 1
    I agree for once with Boyd..Ha..and love this unit. I have gotten use to the alerts and find them use full. Changes take time to get use to.
    I have no issues with either of my 2 61-S Drive Smart units. I use them all the time for work . They work flawless always have. No SD card issues.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    I have also gotten used to the alerts - but don't find them useful. It's summer now, school is out for months but the stupid alerts constantly warn about school zones. 8-|
  • mike41 18 Points
    The interesting part of the alerts are the ones for curves and deer crossings. In VA.WVA and PA they are useless, Deer crossing alert is not reliable. Many signs are on the roads and do not appear on the device. These states have many deer crossing accidents. The curve alert is almost always on as there are very few straight roads in parts these states. I am sure other states gave similar issues.
  • truckinguy 115 Points
    edited July 3
    I always slow down in the summer around school zones as well. I drive many miles a year so I'm use to and aware of zone alerts. Some schools have camps or other functions.
    Don't worry folks..they'll drop the alerts and come out with something else to ruffle our feathers up.. still nice not to have any more maps jammed in and around my vehicle..being I service customers all over I had many..
  • mike41 18 Points
    I want to compliment Garmin 61LMT. I have Apple Car play on a vehicle. I have Apple, Google. and Waze current apps loaded on my phone. Garmin directions and overall simplicity of the Garmin is super compared to Car play.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    edited September 27
    That compliment is well-deserved. However... Garmin had the StreetPilot app for iOS which was basically the same as the DriveSmart or Nuvi. So what did they do? They discontinued it a few months ago. My app still works on my phone, but if I decide to update to the new version of iOS, I'm sure it will be gone. I wasn't able to install it on the new iPad I got this summer either.

    So... thanks for nothin' Garmin. X(
  • I updated to iOS 12 and I still have the Garmin app. However it was broken and non-functional when Garmin announced they were discontinuing it. Part of that announcement said they would continue to support the app for two years I think? I'm sure Apple or Google required that to keep it in the app store. When they fixed it and released the new version, it was a bit of a stripped down version though with some of my previously purchased extras no longer supported. I haven't really used it since.

    Around the same time Apple made some announcement about greatly increased app support for CarPlay, and I wondered if that was what made Garmin decide to pull the app. Maybe just as the bad marketing decision we're all assuming, or maybe for some obscure licensing reason since they work on some head unit navigation systems. I just rented a car with CarPlay and have to say it was really nice to have Apple Maps, Google Maps, or Waze as the "built in" navigation. Maybe Garmin didn't want the app to be able to do that for whatever reason? I can't see why not, they'll sell a lot more apps (even at $50) than they will stand alone units, and that would be a cheap (for them) way to get Garmin navigation into many more vehicles. But then this is the same company that initially decided not to make either an iOS or Android app but instead to make their own phone and get everyone to buy that. And we all have Garmin phones now, right? (Does anyone else even remember that there was a Garmin phone?)

    Back to my original post, I've had my replacement DriveSmart 61fow a while and put at least 4k miles on it now with no repeat of the problems I had in the original post (other than the charging messages when I connect it to anything other than the in car power cable).

  • mike41 18 Points
    Just to continue my compliment to Garmin. I am not a fan of using a phone for GPS. The other phone functions constantly interrupt the Gps directions examples-text messages, calls, and weak cellular data signals. The other disappointment on Apple car play is the Waze, Google maps are used but the on-screen prompts are still the Apple version. The Garmin is a dedicated device without the interruptions. In addition, the photo-realistic interchanges are a nice travel aide. I do think there is still a market for a Garmin device but I am concerned Garmin might be leaving the market.
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