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eTrex 30x and NMEA output

Most things I've read seem to indicate that the eTrex range do not output NMEA data over USB, which is a slight disappointment but I guess that's how Garmin have chosen to segment their market, if this is true.

There is a support page, however, that suggests GPSGate can get this info from a 20x (and hence 30x?).

I suspect that the person who wrote the response may have just copy'n'pasted something from another unit's info but thought I'd ask here to see what the consensus is. I did look at installing GPSGate to give it a go, but you also have to install SQL server and Java and I didn't feel like having to go through all that if there's someone with a quick answer here.



  • Boyd 2044 Points
    edited May 2019
    I think you are looking at GPSGate Server if it requires all that stuff. I think you just need the free "GPSGate Splitter Express" to support a handheld GPS:

    Now, I've never seen a an eTrex 30x, but IIRC the only difference from the 20x are the sensors for altitude and compass and the 30x is the better one. Anyway, I purchased the paid version of GPSGate many years ago (I guess this is now called "GPSGate Splitter Standard?), when I was using a laptop in my car, LOL.

    But I think all the functions you would need are in the free version available today. The paid version lets you create an unlimited number of COM ports but the free version is limited to two ports. You would only need one port. :) And you don't need Java or SQL server for either of these, they are stand-alone programs.
  • raichea 6 Points
    edited May 2019
    Thanks for that info. I tried the GSPGate Splitter and it connected to the 30x without any problem (in Garmin mode), but no data is sent from the GPS even with a good location lock. Looks like the 30x doesn't provide NMEA output, as I surmised.

    One discovery though... in Garmin mode, the unit takes power from the USB port so saving battery - mainly useful for firmware updates and in vehicle use, I guess.
  • raichea 6 Points
    Further investigation shows that power is also taken from the USB port in Mass Storage mode...
  • Boyd 2044 Points
    Yes, I think all Garmin devices are like that and Garmin makes power adapters too

    BTW, looking at these on Garmin's site, I noticed that the eTrex 30x is discontinued. It was introduced exactly 4 years ago - seems like a pretty short lifecycle for a Garmin handheld.

    But the eTrex 20x is still available. That seems odd...
  • raichea 6 Points
    I noticed that too and was slightly puzzled. The 30x has only been flagged as obsolete in the last few days. Why it should be but not the 20x seems odd.... stock levels perhaps?
  • alanb 557 Points
    30x probably not as popular as 20x. If people are willing to pay the extra cost for the barometric altimeter and magnetic compass, they may go a step further and opt for a GPSMAP 6x or Oregon.
  • raichea 6 Points
    Could be...
  • Boyd 2044 Points
    edited May 2019
    alanb said:

    If people are willing to pay the extra cost for the barometric altimeter and magnetic compass, they may go a step further and opt for a GPSMAP 6x or Oregon.

    True, and the GPS64s is the same price as the eTrex 30x.

    I' m not an eTrex fan myself (I had an early model, the Legend C), but I think they have a following because of the size/weight and especially battery life - the eTrex 30x is spec'ed at 25 hours and the GPSMap 64s only gets 16.

    So I don't think you can compare them solely on the basis of price or feature set.
  • raichea 6 Points
    I was going to get a 20x for the reasons cited (size and battery life) and also price but eventually found a 30x for only a little more than the cheapest 20x I could find and a lot cheaper than the 64... possibly an early sign of its imminent withdrawal?
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