GPS Hardware – CacheMania http://www.cachemania.com Geocaching Can be Addictive Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:14:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.11 Garmin Launches GPSMAP 62sc http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-launches-gpsmap-62sc/gps/2011/06/ Sat, 04 Jun 2011 16:05:45 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=1296 The folks at Garmin have been busy.   Garmin just introduced four new product improvements to the mix.  There are new etrex, Astro, Rino and 62 series models.   The 62sc is of most interest to me as it has a built in camera.  Having just upgraded to the 62s it will be a while […]

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Garmin GPSMAP 62sc CameraThe folks at Garmin have been busy.   Garmin just introduced four new product improvements to the mix.  There are new etrex, Astro, Rino and 62 series models.   The 62sc is of most interest to me as it has a built in camera.  Having just upgraded to the 62s it will be a while before I change units.

I’ve had some experience with the eXplorist 610 which has a built in camera and it is a very handy feature to have.  Most people that use smart phones for geocaching are used to taking pictures in the field.  Some geocaching apps even allow you to log and upload your photos from the field, talk about instant gratification.

Having your pictures automatically geotagged is  time saver.   Something I really like about having a camera built in to a GPS is the fact that you get a weatherproof camera as a bonus.  I was out shooting pictures the other night and the heavens opened with a torrential downpour.  I was soaked.   I acted quickly and put my camera gear away.  If I was geocaching at the time I wouldn’t have had to worry.

I don’t know if the addition of a camera will get many people to upgrade.  I know I won’t be inducing me to change any time soon.

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I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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GPSr Early Adopters http://www.cachemania.com/gpsr-early-adopters/gps/2010/11/ Sun, 28 Nov 2010 12:58:47 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=869 I was out caching with the GHMGC yesterday.  In the group of 22 people in attendance I only saw one Magellan.  I don’t know what that means but I’m pretty sure it means that Garmin is the most popular GPSr manufacturer for geocaching.   I noticed something else yesterday, most of the folks in our […]

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Stratford GHMGC GPSr Collection

I was out caching with the GHMGC yesterday.  In the group of 22 people in attendance I only saw one Magellan.  I don’t know what that means but I’m pretty sure it means that Garmin is the most popular GPSr manufacturer for geocaching.   I noticed something else yesterday, most of the folks in our group had not upgraded their units yet. This contrasts with the groups I cache with in Waterloo were most people are using at least a Garmin Colorado or greater.

The photo at the right is from a GHMGC outing in Stratford, closer to Waterloo Region.  In the last outing I went to in Waterloo Region there were 4 GPSMAP 62s, plenty of Oregons, and a few GPSMAP 60Csx.  We have a fairly tight knit geocaching community here in Waterloo Region.  I wonder if that has anything to do with it?  Perhaps the word of mouth helps people switch earlier?  Maybe Waterloo’s tech community has somehow influenced the region’s willingness to try new technology.  I find the whole thing quite curious.

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I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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Backpack Modification for Garmin Clip http://www.cachemania.com/modification-garmin-clip/gps/2010/11/ Sun, 21 Nov 2010 13:33:28 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=817 I was talking to a geocaching friend the other day and he mentioned that he finds the new Garmin mounting system a bit frustrating.   He is used to the mounting system from the 60 series of GPSr.  He has a GPSMAP 62s now and has to deal with the carabiner clip as an attaching […]

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Backpack ModificationI was talking to a geocaching friend the other day and he mentioned that he finds the new Garmin mounting system a bit frustrating.   He is used to the mounting system from the 60 series of GPSr.  He has a GPSMAP 62s now and has to deal with the carabiner clip as an attaching system.

His comment got me thinking.  I’ve been using the carabiner clip system since I got my Garmin Colorado last December.   What I do is clip the carabiner to a loop on the shoulder strap of my backpack.  In this way I’ve got the GPSr handy when I want to look at the screen.

The problem I had with the loop on the backpack is that it’s not aligned such that the GPSr rest flat on the shoulder strap.  Instead the GPSr is a little askew.  I’ve figured out two ways to correct this issue.  One is drastic the other is not.  Me being me I opted for the drastic route.  In fact it wasn’t until after I made the modification that I realized there is another way to achieve the same goal.

Backpack Loop Before Modification

Backpack Loop Before Modification

Backpack Loop After Modification

Backpack Loop After Modification

What I did was use my hot air gun to heat the loop until it was pliable. I then inserted a metal rod and twisted the loop. The result is that the loop now runs somewhat perpendicular to the shoulder strap instead of parallel.   By changing the orientation of the loop the GPSr now rests more comfortably on the strap.

The second method you could employ is to use a split ring on the clip.  A split ring is the kind of ring you find on your key-chain.  The split allows you to wind it on to something or something on to it.   The split ring would then serve the purpose of changing the orientation of the loop.

This wasn’t a completely original idea. I have seen twisted loops on various backpacks. Garmin also makes a belt clip mount. I could also use one of those as I still have the belt clip from my 60Csx.

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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Geocaching Review – Garmin GPSMAP 62s http://www.cachemania.com/geocaching-review-garmin-gpsmap-62s/gps/2010/11/ http://www.cachemania.com/geocaching-review-garmin-gpsmap-62s/gps/2010/11/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 11:37:06 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=752 The GPSMAP 62s has now joined me for some geocaching adventures, at night no less!  I was previously using a Garmin Colorado 300.   My sense is that Garmin has worked hard to make this a geocaching friendly GPS receiver. Even though I think it is a excellent GPSr for geocaching it is going to […]

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The GPSMAP 62s has now joined me for some geocaching adventures, at night no less!  I was previously using a Garmin Colorado 300.   My sense is that Garmin has worked hard to make this a geocaching friendly GPS receiver. Even though I think it is a excellent GPSr for geocaching it is going to take some getting used to.

As expected the accuracy is very good.  The 3-axis compass is a real treat!  As Ed from Treknschmidt commented last night “that feature alone is worth the upgrade”.  I don’t know if I agree with that but it is very, very helpful.  The 3-axis compass decreases the amount of time you spend in the circle dance trying to figure out which way to the cache when you are standing still.


Unlike my Colorado the GPSMAP 62s does not need to have the screen brightness reset every time the unit turns on.  The system remembers your last brightness setting.  To compensate there is a setting that allows the system to turn off the screen completely after a set period of viewing.  Pressing any button turns the screen back on.  This has a dramatic effect on the battery life.  I have left my unit on overnight and it still had power the next day.  I did run in to a problem today in that there is no indication the unit is on when it is in power save mode.  As a result it completed drained my batteries having for a couple of days.  I’m not exactly sure when it ran out of power.

Dashboards

Garmin has introduced a new feature called dashboards.  A dashboard sits at the top of the screen and shows data that is relevant to the activity you have the GPSr set to.  For instance the geocaching dashboard always shows nearest geocache. This can be a little annoying.  If you find it frustrating just change the dashboard.  This is a case where the GPSMAP 62s is trying to be helpful.  The geocaching dashboard also shows a compass heading, distance to the cache and the number of finds you have.  A quick way to get the time for sunset or sunrise (depending on which is next) is to switch to the recreational dashboard.

New Features By Screen

Map

GPSMAP 62s MapCurious to know how far a cache is from the road?  With the new features you just select measure distance from the map menu.  Select the cache and move the cursor to the road and now you know how far from the road it is.  Just remember the shortest distance between two points may be a straight line but that doesn’t always make it the fastest!  There are two waysmeasure distance: move the cursor and see distance from where you are to where the cursor is on the screen, also shows latitude and longitude or you can click point and then move the cursor.  This measure the distance from the cursor to where you move the cursor too.

Compass

This is a handy feature when you need to move in a specific direction.  Just point the GPSr to where you want to go, lock in that direction and you are set.  It has limited utility but is helpful if you in the woods or on the water and know you want to head in a given direction until you reach some point like a road.

Geocache

GPSMAP 62s Geocache OptionsThe geocache page is how you gain access to all of the geocaching relevant information.  This page starts by giving you a list of geocaches that you can find.  As with some of the other interface changes this page takes some getting used to.

I was going to write that the only way to get to the cache info is to select “go” once you have selected the cache.  This is not true.  You can see the cache info form the “go” page by selecting MENU > View Geocache (or Review Point).  I only figured this out today as I was getting ready to write the section on “Next Stage”.

The Next Stage feature is very handy for completing multi-stage geocaches.  From the Geocache page you can press the option to “Enter Next Stage”.  At first you are presented with a screen to enter the next stage coordinates.  The coordinates from the last stage are already entered reducing the amount of time required for data entry.  Once you select done a new waypoint is created called “Next Stage”.  Unfortunately you cannot edit the title of this way point.  That could get a little confusing.  The “Next Stage Waypoint has all of the same details as the original cache entry. You can only have one “Next Stage” cache so if you want to keep the subsequent coordinates you should use the “Save as Waypoint” feature discussed below.  (Thanks to Scott at GPSFix for adding that comment.)GPSMAP 62s Next Stage

An alternative to using the “Next Stage” feature is to “Save as Waypoint”.  You access this feature by pressing MENU from the geocache page.   Here is a tip if you want to save the final coordinates for a multi-cache.  Use the Next Stage function to create a new cache entry.  From that entry save it as a waypoint.  You can then edit the title of the waypoint.  The only downside is that you have created a waypoint and not a cache.  This entry will not show up when you select FIND > geocaches.

Ever since I used my Colorado I’ve liked just moving over a 500+ pocket query onto the unit.  The GPSMAP 62s makes this even better by adding the ability to filter caches on the unit itself.   In this way you can load the unit up with 2000 caches and then filter them as you require.  I have one filter called uncomplicated. GPSMAP 62s Geocache Filter OptionsThis filter removes puzzles, multis and high difficulties.  I use this filter when I’m out and about and I want to increase my chances of getting a find.

Calendar

I wasn’t overly happy with the calendar on my Garmin Colorado.  The calendar on the 62s is much more intuitive.  Move the cursor to a specific date and see your activity for that day.  It is simple but effective.

Annoyances

  • No Stop Navigation icon.  You have to press find, then stop navigation.  It takes some getting used to.

Overall Assessment

I like the Garmin GPSMAP 62s.  There are enough new features that upgrading from a Colorado was worthwhile.  If you are still using a Garmin GPSMAP 60 then upgrading to this unit will be a welcome change.    I have never owned an Oregon so I’m not sure what features are not available on those units.  I know that Oregons support the Chirp.  It might be harder to justify an upgrade if you have an Oregon.

I am probably missing a helpful feature or two.  Please let me know in the comments if you think there is anything that I should add.

Visit this link for my other thoughts on the Garmin GPSMAP 62s.

NOTE: Follow this link to my Flickr photostream for more more screen captures and images of the Garmin GPSMAP 62s.

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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Garmin GPSMAP 62s Initial Thoughts http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-gpsmap-62s-initial-review/gps/2010/11/ http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-gpsmap-62s-initial-review/gps/2010/11/#comments Sat, 06 Nov 2010 16:05:05 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=730 I ordered my Garming GPSMAP62s on Wednesday and it arrived today.  I admit it I succumbed to Garmin’s cash grab and upgraded so that I can use the chirp technology.  I would not have upgraded if the Colorado firmware received an upgrade.  The fact that it doesn’t is a sign that Garmin would rather you […]

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I ordered my Garming GPSMAP62s on Wednesday and it arrived today.  I admit it I succumbed to Garmin’s cash grab and upgraded so that I can use the chirp technology.  I would not have upgraded if the Colorado firmware received an upgrade.  The fact that it doesn’t is a sign that Garmin would rather you upgrade to a whole new unit than let you upgrade firmware.

Garmin GPS Units

GPSMAP 60CSx, Colorado, GPSMAP 62s (click for additional images)

The following are my thoughts pre-geocaching.  The unit has just arrived and has not been outside yet.  My thoughts on these subjects may change once I’ve had the unit in the field.  My last GPSr got a scratch on the screen days after I got it.  This time I put the screen protector on before I took the unit geocaching.

Observations on the unit’s physical characteristics:

  • As with the 60CSx the 62s uses micro SD memory cards.  I’m glad I used those with an adapter instead of investing in full size cards. This way I don’t have to buy new micro SD cards.
  • The back clip is shorter.  You can actually leave the clip on and still remove the battery cover.  Just clip the cover to your backpack thus freeing up one of your hands to help with the battery swap.
  • The battery cover uses a 60 style twist “lock” to keep it in place.
  • Finally, there is a place for lanyard. Now I can keep my GPSMAP 62s attached to me when I change batteries or am looking at the screen.
  • The front buttons do not seem as rubbery as 60 series, they are a little slippery.
  • With my Colorado I would load pocket queries directly to my SD card.  This was very fast.  With the micro SD card under the batteries I think I’ll be doing most of my uploads over the USB cable.  The 62s comes with a cable.  I suggest you use that one.
  • Power button much easier to use now that is has been moved to the side.

Observations on the units operation:

  • Pages auto select on pause when scrolling through screens.
  • The trip computer includes a total finds indicator.  This will makes milestone caches easier to figure out.
  • Load up a large pocket query and then use built in filtering to find caches by size, type, terrain, difficulty.  This is a much appreciated feature.
  • The power saver function turns off screen instead of dimming it.
  • The sight and go seems like a handy function.
  • You still can’t edit geocaches but you can save them as waypoint and then edit from there.  This will speed up the time it takes to do a multi-cache.
  • upgrade firmware – shipped version didn’t have Chirp support

So far I’m fairly impressed with the form factor and the operation.   There are a few quirky things like “stop navigation”.   I’m still not sure where I find that function.  I won’t be getting out for a long day of geocaching for a few days yet.

Until I figure out what to do with my Chirp I have it broadcasting the tracking ID for my georide.

UPDATE:  I recently wrote an in-depth post about using the GPSMAP 62s for Geocaching.

My Flickr stream has more pictures of my GPS receiver comparison.

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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