GPS units

21 Nov 2011 16:37 - 21 Nov 2011 16:40 #4933 by PeterHowells
Replied by PeterHowells on topic GPS units

Ja, I followed up on the specs of the eTrex 20 and 30, and the only significant difference I can find is that the 20 doesn't have a electronic compass or barometric altimeter, while the 30 does. I believe that the eTrex legend HCx didn't have these either (I may be wrong on this?) so i'm going to go with the eTrex 20, as I don't see a particular need for these features.


This is true - I have the Legend and the eTrex 20 seems to do everything it does and a bit more.

Something amusing from the previous older gps threads I looked at, is a comment by ST2 that the two requirements for using a gps are a degree in rocket science and a battery charger! :laugh: Too true.


One of the great "features" of the new eTrex's is the battery life. The bigger units chew through batteries but these little guys are quite frugal offering up to 25 hours on 2 AA's. (I use Lithium Energiser AA's in my Legend and although quite expensive, I get more than 36 hours of continuous use.)
Last edit: 21 Nov 2011 16:40 by PeterHowells.

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21 Nov 2011 18:00 #4934 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic GPS units
Thanks for the info Peter.

Being new to gps, what do you do on a multiple day say 5 day hike if your batteries don't last this long? I assume it's easy enough to change to other batteries, but do you need to do anything special to keep a continuous track?

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21 Nov 2011 19:48 #4936 by PeterHowells
Replied by PeterHowells on topic GPS units
I normally carry a spare set with me but turn off the gps every night as it pointless to leave it on whilst sleeping. The lithiums weigh very little. My last 4 day hike I never needed to change the batteries.

I use Mapsource software when I get back to join tracks together or delete certain parts if needed. I use the same software to upload topographical maps and other tracks to the gps.

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22 Nov 2011 06:36 #4937 by Geordie
Replied by Geordie on topic GPS units
Does the eTrek series allow you to use NiMH batteries? If so you will save money in the long run (The planet as well) by getting a 4 pack and charger. GP and Energizer are both good makes. Go for the 2500mA or 2600mA batteries..
Don't forget to change the battery type settings in the GPS. This makes a big difference.
Datums??? Yes, only important if working OFF or TO a map.

Continuous track. Just switch on every morning and keep walking. The default condition of any (most) GPS units is to track.. Fix it all up in Mapsource afterwards.
Hint: when observing the track on Mapsource, I use the crisscross mesh which happens to a track when you stop walking, to identify tea and lunch stops. You can then insert a waypoint and clean up the crisscross with the Eraser tool.

Any other Mapsource users here who find Basecamp and pain in the rear end, or is it just me???
The following user(s) said Thank You: UnKnowN

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22 Nov 2011 07:34 #4939 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic GPS units
Thanks again Peter and Geordie,

You guys have been great with your assistance and answers, especially the tips picked up by experience.

I just hope with the mapping issues that I don't come to regret not spending more time at uni on that rocket science degree. :blush:

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22 Nov 2011 08:05 - 22 Nov 2011 08:06 #4940 by Boerkie
Replied by Boerkie on topic GPS units
F.Y.I

the Garmin Etrex H is on special at Cape Onion Market for R999!

I wonder why Tom Tom doesn't have a hiking GPS? In my opinion Tom Tom is better than Garmin. I had Tom Tom software installed on my HTC Tytn II which had a build in GPS module, worked like a charm.
Last edit: 22 Nov 2011 08:06 by Boerkie.

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22 Nov 2011 09:07 #4941 by splatacat
Replied by splatacat on topic GPS units
Interesting topic

I'm a tech crazy guy and what i use is an android phone (the vodafone 845, cheapest android phone, +-R1400) and i install backcountry navigator pro.

There are many apps for hiking and such but i have found backcountry to be the best. The maps are also free.

The only problem is of course the battery life of these smartfones. i have tested it in the track recording mode with screen off and will only get about 6 hours, so to remedy that i will hike with a lithium polymer battery with a 5v regulator on to charge the phone, i should get about 5 to 6 full charges with the battery pack and it weighs only 300ish grams.

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22 Nov 2011 15:33 #4948 by PeterHowells
Replied by PeterHowells on topic GPS units
I have also tried backcountry on my Android and although an excellent app, the map coverage is certainly not as detailed as the Garmin topo maps yet. It may improve over time but I would still prefer a small dedicated (and waterproof) gps when out in the Berg for an extended period :-)

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29 Nov 2011 07:59 #5027 by UnKnowN
Replied by UnKnowN on topic GPS units
Thanks everyone for post re datum - very useful!!

So I used my Etrex 20 this last weekend and I was very happy with it! For what I wanted from it, it was perfect, very easy synchronizing to pc and kinda straight forward to use :-).

What software is better to use, between mapsource and basemap. I'm used to using mapsource, is basemap any better?

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29 Nov 2011 08:09 #5028 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic GPS units
Thanks UnKnowN, thats great news.

I've ordered my eTrex 20, but will only be able to check it out when I return home to SA in mid Dec.

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