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My Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT is driving me insane. Can I order a paper manual for it?

I've had a TomTom for about 15 years, which is likely causing some of the difficulty I am having operating the Garmin. I got used to the TomTom way of doing things, and I can't figure out how to do the same things with the Garmin. My wife and I have 2 cars, and when the 15-year old TomTom finally stopped holding a charge, it was time for a new GPS.
I thought it would be fun to try a different brand, so I bought a 50 LMT. I've had it for about 4 months, and now I find myself choosing to take my wife's car because it still has the TomTom and I can rarely figure out how to get the Garmin to take me where I need to go.

Is there a way to change the order it wants me to put in the address? On the TomTom, you put in City, then street, then number. If you don't have the number, you can just put in the street or pick the CrossRoads button and put in an intersection, or you can choose City Center. How do you do that on the Garmin? It asks for house number first. If I don't have it, do I put in a hyphen? Leave it blank? Then it asks for a street. Then for some reason, it starts its search at that moment. It searched in New York state, Quebec, and Ontario. I live in Ottawa. I do very occasionally have to drive to NY or Quebec, but searching every single time in those destinations is a waste of time. It makes much more sense to ask me the city (or province / state) first. Is there a way I can change the order?

We recently visited my brother-in-law who lives on a farm outside a small town. The locals all know the farm as "the McKay farm on Gunn Road". Even the post office delivers mail to "McKay Farm, Gunn Road, Abbotsford". The township assigned street addresses years ago, but no one uses them. There are only 8 farms on Gunn Road, so if you can get to Gunn Road, you can find your way to the farm. I tried every way I could think of to have the Garmin get me to Gunn road. I couldn't do it. If I put in a hyphen to start, it searched for a hyphen in the address. If I left the number blank, it started its search with only Gunn Road as the criteria. After a long search, it found dozens of Gunn Roads, all of them in New York State. Then I tried Gunn Road Abbotsford, after a long search it said there were no results. Then I tried just putting in Abbotsford, and that actually found another road in the town (Abbotsford Road, Abbotsford), but that is about 20 KM from Gunn Road, it would take me to the other side of the county. Finally my wife pulled out her paper map from the globe compartment and smugly directed me the old fashioned way. Not only did I end up super-frustrated with the Garmin, but now I have to put up with hearing this story to my relatives over and over, with the older generation all thinking it was the greatest story ever told.

Another complaint. With the TomTom, if I was sitting on a congested road, I could touch the screen, select Change Route, and elect to not drive on the road I was on. The TomTom would dutifully compute another route. Also, if I was nearly at my destination, and wanted to put in my next destination, I touch the screen, select Change Route, and then New Route. On the Garmin, if I touch the screen, it goes into some weird zoomed mode with no controls. Then if I touch it again, it is not a toggle so it take me to a Coordinates screen with a big green GO. If I hit GO, it recalculates a route but not the one I am on. How do I get it to simply avoid part of a route? Why does it go into zoom mode? Can I turn that off?

When I arrive at my destination, the Garmin switches into camera view with this pink circle. The circle slowly disappears as I approach. But then I can rarely discern which house is the destination. Is there a way to turn off the camera at the end, and instead just put a big arrow on the screen pointing at the house in question?

Lastly, can I order a paper manual I can keep in the glove compartment? The PDF is not good enough, if I print it out, I end up with full sized sheets. I want a small manual to tell me how to do basic things. I find the UI counter-intuitive (admittedly because of my long experience with TomTom), and I can never find any of the options I am looking for. For instance, how do I add a Favourite? I made it to my brother-in-law's farm (see above), and wanted to add a Favourite. I found the Favourite option, there is no ADD A FAVOURITE option that I could see. I just wanted to select "My current location" and have it add that, but I could not figure out how to do that.


  • One additional thing I forgot. I have found the Garmin defaults to distant destinations rather than picking the one closest to me. For instant, recently I wanted to go to 1300 Ontario Road. That is a very common road name, but the top choice was 467 KM away in New York State. The one I wanted was 4th on the list of options, exactly 11.6 KM away. Why in the world would it pick the distant one first? How can I tell it, "always choose the nearest one to me." ?
  • alanb 557 Points
    edited December 2018
    For the address search, try this:
    Select Where To?. Tap on Searching Near, select A different City, and type in Abbotsford. Select BC.
    Now select Address. When it prompts for house number, just press Done. For Street Enter Gunn. This will give you a list of 20 or 30 addresses that have "Gunn" in the street name. If you want to narrow it down further, type Gunn Rd for the street name.

    Garmin devices normally search from your current location. If it is returning distant destinations instead of a local destination, you may need to try the "less is more" rule in your search criteria. Try putting in less information. For example, instead of typing Gunn Road, just type Gunn. Sometime the abbreviation (or lack of abbreviation) can cause a search mismatch.

    For the manual, one thing you could consider is downloading the manual to your phone, so you can pull it up and view it when necessary.
  • Ned 15 Points
    For finding addresses, I find Voice Command useful.
  • Thanks for the replies. For Voice Command, so far I have only managed to have it pull up a very basic menu of options. I would love to get it working so that I could say, "Voice Command, 1300 Ontario Road" but that is not the way it works. It seems to only allow me to say a number (1 to 5), none of the options lead to a search.

    For the "less is more" rule, I tried just putting in "Gunn" and the Garmin thought about that for nearly a minute. Then it came back with a long list of destinations no where near me. The nearest was hundreds of KM away. I would like to remove Quebec and NY entirely from the search, is there a way to do that?

    I'll try the Searching Near option, although I have to be honest, it seems like it will take twice as many taps to get it to select the correct destination as the TomTom if I have to tell it to search near Abbotsford, Ontario to start. It would be great if when I tapped Where To the first question was the town rather than the street number.
  • Ah, as to manual on the phone, yes, I have that already. I would prefer a paper manual I could flip through because my phone is old and somewhat laggy (6+). I'll end up sitting there impatiently trying to look up how to do something while my wife is pulling out a map.
  • Boyd 2045 Points
    edited December 2018
    My DriveSmart 61 has the manual built into the device. Is the DriveAssist 50 different? Press Apps > Owners Manual to view it.

    But for paper manuals, LOL, you are ten years (maybe more) too late for that! Garmin used to make excellent paper manuals but those days are long gone. LONG gone. The manual for my StreetPilot 2620 was a work of art, very thick with high quality glossy paper and color photos. It covered every little detail. That was 2003. Happy 2019!!! \:D/

    But seriously, Garmin automotive devices are really very simplistic and there aren't a lot of advanced things to learn. Typically, if you can't figure out how to do something after spending a few minutes trying.... then it just can't be done. ;) I understand it can be disorienting to switch devices, but you will learn everything pretty quickly.

    OTOH, if you actually prefer TomTom, have a look at the TomTom GoMobile app that runs on iPhones and Android. It is really quite nice and you get lifetime maps of the whole world that can be permanently installed on the phone, so no data connection is required on the road. They give you 50 free miles/month to evaluate it for free.
  • Yeah, too bad the old manuals are gone. I am not looking for every detail, just the basics. If I could summarize the massive wall of text above :
    1). How do I switch the search so that it asks for town/city first? Asking for street number followed by street name isn't good enough. It constantly picks destinations hundreds of KM away over ones within 20 KM.
    2). How do I turn off zoom mode when you touch the screen? That seems like a wasted option, it makes much more sense to me to have it come up with options such as "Change Route", "New Route" when touching the screen.
    3). How do I turn off searching NY state? I want to limit all searches to Ontario, unless I specifically request NY.
  • alanb 557 Points
    Is Abbotsford Ontario unincorporated? I can't even find it on Google maps, let alone on my Garmin. For the occurrence of Gunn Rd in Ontario, I find only one listed near the city Avonmore. If I set my Garmin device to search near for Avonmore, then search for Gunn Rd, my Garmin finds one address … 16300 Gunn Rd, Avonmore, ON.
  • Boyd 2045 Points
    @alanb already explained how to change the default search location. The default should be displayed at the top of the Where To screen, such as "Searching near: New York, NY". Tapping that will allow you to change.

    I don't know of any way to change the order of town/city/street (unless I don't understand your question). If you tap Where To > Address, it will always ask for the house number first.

    I don't understand the zoom question or the part about camera views and pink circles. I have never used a Garmin device that has a driving camera. With a regular Garmin automotive device, it does not "zoom" when you touch the screen. There should be a setting to turn of auto-zoom, but this controls whether the device automatically zooms closer when you approach a turn. You should be able to disable that with Settings > Map and Vehicle > Auto Zoom.
  • @alanb - I should have been more clear, I was using Abbotsford, Ontario as an example, I made up the name of the town in order to not actually post information about my brother-in-law without his consent. Old habit, I work in computer security. I saw him last night, the town is actually Avonmore. The experience, however, was exactly as described. My wife is still quite happy with herself after guiding us to our destination using a paper map.

    Also, I don't think my Garmin is working properly. I had a look at the "Searching Near" option. On the default screen, it is correctly set to Ottawa, Ontario. If I then search by using the Search box at the top of the screen, it cannot find Gunn Road, or Gunn, or Gunn Rd, in Avonmore. I touch the "Searching Near" option, and change it to Avonmore. It correctly comes up with 2 selections, one in Ontario (Avonmore, ON) and one in California, (Avonmore, CA). I select Avonmore, ON. I again put in Gunn Road, then Gunn, then Gunn Rd. 3 different searches, it can't find any of them. Then I go back to the main screen, change the Searching Near back to Ottawa, and click on ADDRESS. As soon as the street number screen comes up, I can see "Searching Near" has now changed to NY, QC, ON. I didn't change it, but it is clearly different than the default screen. I put in blank for street address, and Gunn for the street name, and it finds me hundreds of Gunns in upstate New York. I put in Gunn Avonmore, it says it can't find anything with that name. How can I get this POS working properly? I am so frustrated, I have offered to swap it to my neighbour for his old TomTom. He laughed and told me to just keep hacking away at it.
  • Boyd 2045 Points
    edited December 2018
    OK, this is a dumb question but I have to ask.... Are you sure your device actually has a map of Canada installed? Here in the US, they are selling some inexpensive Garmin automotive units that only have US mapping. That might cause a problem like you describe. The premium devices have full North America maps however.
  • dare978devil 6 Points
    edited December 2018
    Hi, yes. I have been using it for 4 months. It can find addresses in Ottawa if I put in the full address. For instance, Where To? - Address - 1300 - Merivale, will find 1300 Merivale Road in Ottawa and successfully direct me there. What I am finding is that it won't find roads it should be able to, such as Gunn Road in Avonmore. And I know that Gunn Road is actually in its maps because I had the Garmin on as my wife was directing me with the paper map. When we got close, I could see Gunn Road listed on the Garmin. I just can't figure out how to find it when doing a Search.

    90% of the time, the Garmin is working as intended. However, that is only when I have the full address, and when it is somewhere near Ottawa. Once I have to find directions to somewhere farther away, I am having difficulty. I freely admit my actions are biased towards the TomTom way of doing things having had one for 15 years. But I am somewhat astounded that I am having so much difficulty getting the Garmin to do something which should be so simple.

    Here is another example. I took my kids to Open Skate at a local arena I have been to dozens of times. I remembered the arena was on Percy street in Ottawa, it is called McNabb Arena. I tried to search for "McNabb arena", no hits. Then I tried just "McNabb" and it came back with all sorts of McNabbs all over Ontario, Quebec, and NY. One of them was McNabb Recreation Centre, which is the correct one. However, I had to scroll through the list to select it. On the TomTom, I just put in McNabb arena, and it finds it in Ottawa without presenting me with selections in a 500 KM radius. I believe the main problem is the order in which the Garmin searches. The TomTom asks first what city/town which narrows down any subsequent search to a great degree. It uses type-ahead, so when you start typing Avonmore, by the time you get to "Avo", Avonmore, ON is the top choice. When you select that, it then has a list of streets in Avonmore, which also uses type-ahead. Since Avonmore is so small, as soon as you type in "Gu", the only option is Gunn Road. That's it. On the Garmin, you seem to have to set the "Searching Near" every single time first, and then put in your address. If you don't, for some reason it picks destinations hundreds of KM away as the top choice. I am literally tapping 3 or even 4 times more (20 taps vs 5) to do the same thing as on the TomTom. I am not sure why they would design it this way, and am convinced I must be doing something wrong. It cannot be this counter-intuitive, it must be me.
  • alanb 557 Points
    edited December 2018
    I don't have a DriveAssist, but I think my nuvi 3597 should work in a similar way on address lookup. Here is what I get (2019.30 CN NA map). I set the "Search Near" to Avonmore, ON, then click on Address. I leave the house number blank and just click Done. Then I start typing Gunn Rd for street. As I type, it starts filling in possible selections between the typing field and the keyboard. After typing Gunn Rd, that is shown as one of the selections, so I click on it. That gives me a list of possible nearby addresses. The first one on the list is 1.1 miles away; the one I gave in the earlier post.

    However, I think I see your frustration. If I just type Gunn and select that, the first address in the given list is 392 miles away and the addresses are not listed nearest to farthest, so I have to scroll down several pages to find the correct address that is the closest. That seems like a bug (or at least a weakness) in the search algorithm.
  • Interesting, thanks for that. If there was a way to change the search order (ie. make it city --> street --> address) instead of (address --> street --> searching based on Searching Near entry), it would solve the problem. By selecting the city first, it would eliminate all the possibilities hundreds of miles away.
  • I do agree with you the search order is not logical but the data needs to be right to get it either way.
    You have sited to separate problem as the mapping data comes from Here Technologies and the Place data I think Garmin source from multiple sources.

    Gunn Rd off Avonmore Rd is shown as in North Stormont in the Here Mapping database that supplies Garmin. In fact it seems that Avonmore is not recognised as a town in the mapping database, as other streets I look at show as in North Stormont also, even Avonmore Rd.
    Log into Here Map Creator to inquire as to why they don't show Avonmore town and request it to be corrected. (I am half way round the world in Aus and not familiar with your town limits.)

    Conversely McNabb Skate Park is shown in Florence St, in Here, McNabb Park is shown in Bronson Ave (round the corner) the places data in Garmin does not come from Here, so that one is for Garmin to update. Obviously who ever put "McNabb Recreation Centre" into the Garmin data did not include the words "Skate Park" or "Park" or "Arena" as options.
  • That was very interesting, thanks. It does make me wonder why the TomTom doesn't seem to have these issues. This isn't an isolated incident for me unfortunately. Searching recently for Ontario Street, which turned out to be 12 KM from where I was when I searched for it, the TomTom finds it instantly, the Garmin searches for minutes before finally telling me it can't find my destination and proposing a host of possibilities. In my humble opinion, the Garmin is fatally flawed by the way it is designed. Doing this crazy backwards search where it starts with street number, then street, makes no sense in my mind. The "Searching Near" option is simply too broad. Putting in Ottawa, Ontario does not limit the search results to streets in Ottawa, but apparently to Eastern Canada and to the North-Eastern US. I can't see how the developers could possibly have come to the conclusion it was somehow better or more efficient. That coupled with the flawed mapping data from Here Mapping makes me wonder why anyone would buy a Garmin in the first place.
  • Boyd 2045 Points

    That coupled with the flawed mapping data from Here Mapping makes me wonder why anyone would buy a Garmin in the first place.

    Well, you bought one because you "thought it would be fun to try a different brand". >:)
  • HAHAHAHAHA!, yes, absolutely true. Garmin is a big company with 3 billion in revenue. I still believe that I must be doing something wrong, they can't have sold millions of units if they perform as poorly as mine does. My wife now just assumes I will always take the "TomTom car" when I have the choice, she takes the car with the Garmin in it. She rarely uses GPS, she has a great sense of direction. I don't, I still use GPS to drive my kids to places we have been to dozens of times.
  • I too found many discrepancies in the mapping data in my area, so I started to update via "Here Map Creator" I received a comment from Here that they have massive input/updates from the metropolitan areas but few in the regional locations. I have now passed 18,000 road changes, as I travel in my RV I trip over update requirements such as street names, no through roads, road alignments, non paved roads and found that Garmin even takes the street numbers from Here so I have updated many of them. Even the street I live in was incorrect and the house numbers in the Village I live were missing.

    I now find most people using phone apps are using Google mapping and most of the updates I have done, even the street I live in needed updating in Google so I participate in the "Google Guides program" but updates are not as simple as "Here Map Creator", needing a verbal description of the change.
    TomTom has a good easy crowd sourcing information sharing system and I believe a better more logical User Interface, so it is no wonder they get better feedback. I believe they have just stitched up a deal with Microsoft so I expect they will replace Here mapping unfortunately.

    Just like politics most of the people are in the cities, so they get the attention, this helps when we go to the cities but when city folk go to the regional areas they must accept the GPS as not as good.
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