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Thread: Need help with my GPS purchase

  1. #1

    Default Need help with my GPS purchase

    Looking to purchase a new garmin gps. I've read many post here on different models, and I think the Oregon 450T or 60CXS would be the best way to go. Does anyone have advise to offer on these models or possibly recommend something better. I fish, hunt and hike all over the country and would like to hear how well the pre-loaded maps work on the Kenia peninsula, Prince William Sound, Lake Clark Nat' Park and many other locations. Also I'm reading that the battery life is not so good on these things.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    We have three of the 76c-something's (x or s, I don't remember). They are great. Easy to dowload maps, topos, charts from the disks they sell. Been using them for years for work, snowmachining, flying, boating, wheeling, etc... They are tough and battery life is good as well.
    I know it's not one of the models you asked for a report on but you might want to have a look at the 76 model.
    BK

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Another vote for the 76CSx. I've had mine for years now and have no complaints. I've used it for everything including hunting, boating (fresh and salt), snowmachining, road navigation (picked up a different map chip for this), and geocaching. The thing locks on quickly and maintains signal lock when many comparable units lose theirs.

    If you go for a Garmin, make sure you get a model with the "x" designation. The "x" means it has the upgraded software that helps with faster and more reliable signal acquisition.
    AKmud
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    The 60csx is a great GPS. I have had one for about four years and have zero complaints. There are some old threads on it if you check the archives. I loaded the mapsource topographic maps to it which work excellent hiking and has done ok for the rivers.

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    You might check out the Delorme Earthmate PN-60w or PN-60w SE with SPOT. I got one in March and it has been working quite well (the SPOT had a recall, but was replaced, I think that batch is out of the system) for OHV use. I did get a few accessories, rechargeable battery, car mount, 12v power cord, etc... If you get a subscription service for like $30/year you can download unlimited maps (like USGS topo maps and some others). I also have the aerial photo subscription and it has ok coverage and has been useful finding trails that aren't where the topo map has them (Alaska map/topo/road data is a bit notorious and can be way off), but it's prob not worth it for most users. I found the battery life to be pretty good with the power saving mode set properly.

    The only things I really don't like about it is not having a nice touch screen and routing by car is a joke compared to a car gps (routes are awful and calcs are too long). It is a little irritating when it goes into night mode while it's 24-hour day light. I'd say it's pretty comparable to the similar-style Garmin's in features and price, plus you get a SPOT.

  6. #6

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    I like what I'm reading about Garmin's quality customer service. Makes me want to go in that direction. Thinking about spending a little more and go with 62. Have you been able to use the unit right out of the box in places I listed below? Or did you have to purchase maps to get good detailed trails in these areas? And what about required upgrades?
    Thanks

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    Proud owner of the Oregon 550t. Does fairly well where I've been. Hard to read though in direct sunlight.
    Hate America??....then get the Hell Out!!!

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    Member HCL's Avatar
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    I was looking at the 450 too, but went with the 62s. New version of long time, tried and true 60 series. The 450 and 62 series share the same software but the 62s has buttons that works with gloved hands, where the touch screen works better with bare hands. A buddy of mine really likes his 450, but does not do much in the winter, he did find out that the touch screen can have issues in the cold. I really like the 62s vs my old 12xl, it has more features than I will ever use but everything I wanted.
    Buttons vs touch screen-Just something to consider.
    Mike

  9. #9
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishnhunt View Post
    Have you been able to use the unit right out of the box in places I listed below? Or did you have to purchase maps to get good detailed trails in these areas? And what about required upgrades?
    Thanks
    You will want other maps. The base map on the unit is very minimal. I use MapSource which is decent, but I'd bet there are better ones out there.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    Default good luck with garmin here

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnhunt View Post
    would like to hear how well the pre-loaded maps work on the Kenia peninsula, Prince William Sound, Lake Clark Nat' Park and many other locations. Also I'm reading that the battery life is not so good on these things.
    Thanks
    I upgraded from a Garmin etrex (that could not download waypoints to my computer, which is bad) to a Garmin Legend which came with a CD containing maps for all of Alaska. I put an 8 GB (very large) memory stick into the Legend and downloaded all of Alaska into it. Works great. I have every street name shown when driving about town, and every topo and river shown when boating.

    CD also had software called "BaseCamp" on it, which runs on my computer here. Very nice. I can wander about on my basecamp software like you'd do on Google Earth, then mark a waypoint where I'd like to go, then upload that to my GPS and go there. Nice.

    Also my Legend can save all my waypoints to my computer. Best feature of all. My waypoints saved are worth more than my GPS hardware, imo.

    Downside of the Legend's nice color screen is that it does consume batteries faster than my dinosaur etrex does.

  11. #11

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    My 60CSX has performed well for hiking, camping, fishing locations, and with the road disk in it, it's been riding in my pick up truck as my road-map GPS. It's about 4ish years old (I think) and hasn't had any glitches. I suppose there's newer more high tech stuff out there but my 60CSX has met my needs.

  12. #12
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    I have been using a rino 130 for fishing, hunting, boating. I use Garmins mapsource program to down load maps onto the device and to save waypoints tracks & routes for next time, back to the computer. Its easy, in fact I just got done downloading our Homer trip and commented to my wife, what a great unit it is (it was a gift 1/2 dozen years ago).

    It would not be my first choice if the majority of the time I was on the ocean, but for everything else it works well and the maps have been very good. It also has a 2 way radio, that will tell you the location of others on the same frequency, I dont use radios very often but if you got seperated from someone, & THEY got turned around, at least you could tell where they are at. Newer models have bigger screen & easier to read, which is always a bonus.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    1- Stick with Garmin. Don't bother to even look at another brand.

    2- The 76 & 60 are identical software, just in the different "box", but both units have been superceded at this time. If buying something new, I'd take the 78CSx or the 62CSx as the two real do-it-all GPSr units on the market. Which one depends only on your packaging preferrence. I like the buttons on the bottom, so the 76/78 series wins for me. Some like the buttons on the top, so they would go with the 60/62 model.

    3- Avoid the Oregon/Colorado/Dakota series unless you are a hard-core geocacher who needs the ability to enter caching field notes, store massive GPX files, and complete WhereIgo caches. For a "normal" wilderness user, the Oregon is too fragile and too difficult to use. Plus it costs way too much.

    4- Garmins work right out of the box, though I'd recommend buying the Mapsource Topo U.S. 2008 (100K maps) for $99 on DVD if you want easy access to the entire country worth of good topo maps. If you are only needing Alaska, then get the Mapsource Alaska Enhanced version for the same price, but it has 24K maps for the Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau areas with 63K maps for the rest of the state.

    5- With Mapsource, you can add a ton of extra trail overlays to your topo maps. Go to the following site and download the NorthWest Trails map overlay. Install it (after Mapsource) and it will add the trails maps as a transparent overlay. Pick that mapset, plus all of the topo map sections you want on your device and then upload them to the GPSr. It's a brilliant add-on to Mapsource... http://www.switchbacks.com/nwtrails/
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Thumbs up I second that

    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    ... I'd recommend buying the Mapsource Topo U.S. 2008 (100K maps) for $99 on DVD if you want easy access to the entire country worth of good topo maps.
    Me too, on this issue. Came for free with my Garmin Legend, which was far from free @ SW. But I'm way happy with it.

  15. #15
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    you mentioned battery life problems in the OP. I used to have problems with my GPS battery life until I made two changes. First I started using the energizer advanced or ultimate (can't remember, but they are the most expensive) lithium batteries. I put in a new set of batteries for my hunt and they last the entire hunt without a problem. Second is I like to keep my GPS on all day when I'm hiking/hunting. With these new batteries, this isn't a problem any more. But...if you forget to turn it off at night, you're probably not going to be happy. So I turn it off every night and like I said, the batteries will last me more than a week using it all day, every day.

    I use the Garmin GPSMap 60cs (it's about 6-7 years old now). I really like it and don't have any regrets, but if I were buying a new one today, I'd be really tempted to get that one mentioned above (Delorme Earthmate PN-60w or PN-60w SE with SPOT). The idea of paying a subscription fee doesn't appeal to me, but having one device replace two sounds good and to be able to send text messages would be great.

  16. #16
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Default Delorme

    A comment on the Delormes.

    The small company I work for is a heavy user of GPS's ranging from $99 etrex's to the $100,000 Lieca systems. We log many many days in the field with them every year. Last year we bought two of the Delormes to test out, since they have several relatively cool features that would be handy for our work. As it turned out, we were very un-impressed. Although the firmware was easy to use, data transfers to computers and other GPS's was much more complicated and unreliable than the Garmins. In the very short time we used them, we had one data cable go bad, a screen crack, and one unit just die altogether. The durability just wasn't there. Warranty work was ok, but the one living one we have left is relegated to back-up use.

    Currently we are using Garmin 62cx. The bluetooth GPS to GPS data transfer is something that works pretty well and since virtually everyone has a Garmin it's nice to use a common file type. Basecamp is also pretty nice software IMO.

    YMMV, but that's what we have found.

    Yk

  17. #17
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Another comment about battery life. Turn off the electronic compass and you will notice a considerable difference. The 76 series (not sure about the 60's) has the option for an electronic compass as well as orienting upon movement. The electronic option uses a lot more power since it is continually updating even when not in motion. There is a button that has the compass rose symbol next to it (top right I believe), simply hold the button down to toggle between the compass modes.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  18. #18

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    Thanks to everyone responding. I think I'm ready to pull the trigger on the Garmin 62s or 62st. Is it worth the extra money for the preloaded 100k maps on the st? I certainly won't be subscribing to any monthly fees on the Birdseye Satellite Imagery system . Don't care to pay for a camera on the sc.

  19. #19
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Definitely get the maps. Basemaps are pretty much useless and extremely inaccurate. The maps will cost you $100 to buy separate, or they come with the unit for $100. So the price is really the same. You won't be happy without them.

    A follow-up on the battery issue. I've been running a 76CSx as my primary handheld GPSr for many years. I exclusively use Energizer NiMH rechargeable batteries. I always leave the sensors (compass and altimeter) turned on. If you are moving, the compass turns off automatically (you can set the threshold speed in the setup menu). I easily get 24-36 hours of run time out of a charge as long as the batteries are in good condition. The batteries wear out with age, so when the charge capacity gets down to less than 12 hours of run time, I retire them and get a new set.

    Lithium are great for reliable shelf-life and winter use. I always have a pair of lithiums as a backup set when traveling, even though I use the NiMH as my primary. And they make the best primary set during the winter. No other batteries can handle the cold without power loss.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  20. #20

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    Found the 62st on line for only $65 more, so that settles the map decision. Definitely on board with battery details. I already use lithium in camera, etc.
    Thanks

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