Anyone use a Garmin Etrex for navigation on the bike?

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  • Anyone use a Garmin Etrex for navigation on the bike?
  • soma_rich
    Member

    These seem quite cheap second-hand compared to an Edge and have maps.

    So what’s the catch? I havn’t found any fancy bar mounts like you get for an edge. But that’s no so much of an issue really.

    Yip – most of the Audax community use them. They are great because they run of replaceable batteries.

    I got a good bar mount for mine for around £11.

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/shop-by-accesories/mounts/bike-cart-mount/prod11411_010-11023-00.html

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    You’ll get mounts much cheaper and fine on e bay

    Also if you go in to GO Outdoors with a print out of the page from EBuyer with the Garmin Etrax 30 for £150 on Ebuyer then they price match and beat it by 10% and you get one for £135…

    Premier Icon unklebuck
    Subscriber

    The bar mount isn’t the best for proper off road riding. I manage to eject mine a couple of times before I added a lanyard to the handy attachment point.

    It’s pretty robust though.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Hi Rich. I’ve used a couple of Etrex’s for donkey’s years and my biggest problem with them is that I struggle to read the actual letters and digits when needing a grid ref. Nothing to do with the light/brightness setting, more to do with presumably an out of date method of displaying.

    Also managed to crack the screen from an off although still useable. They did tend to struggle in wooded areas.

    I’ve planned routes on my Tracklogs mapping software and exported to the Garmin. Way points need to be changed to track points so you can use more of them.

    Today I’ve taken delivery of a Garmin 810 as a replacement and, from having a quick read, am not sure whether it’s best suited to navigation as opposed to training/hrm etc which I don’t want.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    Folk might want to look at the Dakota/Oregon range too. They’ll handle HR/Cadence sensors if you have them but, like the Etrex, are more focussed on navigation. They also run on replaceable batteries, so easy to keep them charged on longer rides.

    I’ve got an Etrex 30, love it!

    Free maps from https://openmtbmap.org/ or http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/.
    Take GPX track from computer, put on the Etrex and follow the line, easy!
    The GPS is nice and accurate, so good for uploading to strava etc after a ride too. Batteries last ages and are standard AA, so get a decent set of rechargeables.

    I have a garmin ANT+ heart rate strap which feeds my heart rate into the unit too, no problems there.

    The mount linked above isn’t great as mentioned (tends to eject the garmin). To fix it, use a zip tie going under the rear lip, and over the front lip but under the garmin unit – this will hold the unit on. I also have a lanyard attached to the garmin unit and round the top tube as a backup.

    Another tip – mount it on the top tube just behind your stem, not on the bars where it is more exposed (I destroyed mine in an over the bars crash).

    Dakota 20 is the one imo. AAs, touchscreen that works with gloves, diddy, takes an SD card and has the (more accurate) barometric altimeter.

    I bar mount right close to the stem, handy to tilt up and down if it’s sunny 😉

    devash
    Member

    Etrex 20 owner here. I only bought it for navigation so I can’t comment on compatibility with any fancy sensors / cadence / heart rate monitors but I can say that it mounts extremely securely on my stem using the official Garmin mount, it can take maps on an SD card, the batteries last for several days and it is extremely accurate when compared to a smart phone. It also tells me where I’m going. 😛

    I’ve used a couple of Etrex’s for donkey’s years and my biggest problem with them is that I struggle to read the actual letters and digits when needing a grid ref. Nothing to do with the light/brightness setting, more to do with presumably an out of date method of displaying.

    Do you mean the format in which the grid coordinates are displayed? You can change this in the options menu. There’s tons of different options.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    No, dot matrix presumably.

    Premier Icon cheshirecat
    Subscriber

    Used an eTrex Vista for a few years with OpenMTBMaps, which works pretty well.

    If you’re travelling elsewhere, workwide maps are available here Wiki

    I’m considering getting an eTrex 30 – mainly because each eTrex Vista route is limited to 250 points (I think). I use BikeHike to reduce the points down to <250 BikeHike

    As scotroutes (I think) taught me, import the ride as a track instead of a route to get round the waypoint number limit thing.

    zigzag69
    Member

    Etrex 10 & 20 Don’t do HRM and Cadence. Etrex 30 does, plus it has barometric altimeter.

    I’ve got a 20 – works fine for navigation with Open Maps. I’ve lost mines off the (official) mount a couple of times, but that was user error – I didn’t click it home properly. I believe the unoffical mounts aren’t as good, and you’re better to also use a lanyard, or the zip tie solution.

    Very robust – first time I lost it, it landed in a muddy puddle and was completely submerged for about 15 minutes until I found it.

    munrobiker
    Member

    I have had one and it was fine, just follow the track, but the mount was very rattly. It made a real din on any rough terrain and wasn’t very secure.

    I use one of these now which is around a third the size and easier to use. It also comes with two bike mounts, which are much more secure than the Etrex one. Again, it’s not very fancy- you follow a line on a dot matrix screen- but it works well, the battery lasts ages (I have used mine on tours) and can sit out of the way on a 100mm stem nicely, or on a bar. You can get the “pro” version for an extra tenner that does heart rate, cadence etc.

    http://www.holux-uk.co.uk/holux-gpsport-260.php?it=215&ca=53&p=1&so=0

    soma_rich
    Member

    Awesome thanks guys, think i’ll get one as its for nav rather than Stravaaaaaa!

    MrSalmon
    Member

    Time to ask my usual eTrex question!

    I’ve got an eTrex Vista HCx. The best I’ve ever been able to manage for using it for navigation is uploading a route and then using the trackback feature, where you get a line on the map and a beep (nothing else) when you are approaching a turn. If I do a route on bikehike or something I often have to compress it to less than 250 points, and if I download a route from somewhere else sometimes the trackback thing doesn’t work. It doesn’t seem to support courses, which I think is what I’m after- SatNav-style turn-by-turn navigation on a pre-loaded route. (I assume this is what you get with the Edges but I’m a big fan of AA batteries.)

    Are the newer eTrexes the same?

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    MrSalmon wrote:

    Time to ask my usual eTrex question!
    I’ve got an eTrex Vista HCx. The best I’ve ever been able to manage for using it for navigation is uploading a route and then using the trackback feature, where you get a line on the map and a beep (nothing else) when you are approaching a turn. If I do a route on bikehike or something I often have to compress it to less than 250 points, and if I download a route from somewhere else sometimes the trackback thing doesn’t work. It doesn’t seem to support courses, which I think is what I’m after- SatNav-style turn-by-turn navigation on a pre-loaded route. (I assume this is what you get with the Edges but I’m a big fan of AA batteries.)
    Are the newer eTrexes the same?

    I don’t have an Etrex or a Vista but I’ll have a go at this.

    On a very detailed “route” you will often have more than 250 points. This exceeds the limits of most systems. The way around this is to save your “route” as a “track”.

    It’s difficult to implement turn-by-turn instructions at that level of detail on an off-road route. If you think about it, the GPS would hardly be able to keep up with your location. Those sort of SatNav-style systems are basically limited to on-road use as there are a restricted number of junctions on your route and you have to stick to a ribbon of tarmac, restrictions which do not apply in the open countryside.

    To make clear, a Satnav-style route uses the existing road network to join up a small number of Waypoints. Until someone creates a suitable set of map data to include roads, tracks, bridleways, BOATS, footpaths etc you won’t see that happening for off-road users.

    dantsw13
    Member

    On my etrex 20, to get route guidance I need to reduce to 50 waypoints. When I load the route, the unit then joins the points into a proper route.

    If you download more than 50 waypoints, you just follow the pink line, which is fine.

    I have the basic stem/bar mount – it doesn’t rattle at all.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    On the off chance that this may help, my newly arrived Edge 810 is being returned to be replaced probably by the Etrex 30. It’s navigation I need and am hoping that the display will be better than on my around 12 year old one.

    Do have a preference for using the control stick of the Etrex.

    MrSalmon
    Member

    It’s difficult to implement turn-by-turn instructions at that level of detail on an off-road route. If you think about it, the GPS would hardly be able to keep up with your location. Those sort of SatNav-style systems are basically limited to on-road use as there are a restricted number of junctions on your route and you have to stick to a ribbon of tarmac, restrictions which do not apply in the open countryside.

    To make clear, a Satnav-style route uses the existing road network to join up a small number of Waypoints. Until someone creates a suitable set of map data to include roads, tracks, bridleways, BOATS, footpaths etc you won’t see that happening for off-road users.

    Thanks scotroutes, I should have said it’s roads I’m interested in. I have the Open Street Maps data on my HCx, and when I use the ‘calculate me a route’ navigation for just getting to Point A from where I am, it does give turn-by-turn directions with road names etc- the problem is this is on a route it’s calculating, rather than the one I want to follow.

    I guess there’s not too much wrong with just having a line on the map to follow, but since eTrexes are relatively cheap I was wondering if I can do better!

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    Use an etrex Vista HCx all the time, but mine just sits in rear jersey pocket 99% of the time, and comes out every so often to double check the map (or to find a geocache or something). So no bar mount to worry about.

    Also use OSM maps mentioned above, but I use a custom made one (from garmin.openstreetmap.nl iirc, but need to check the exact URL). Custom lets me have a single map with lots of multinational local patches, since I can’t get a full EU map in to 1Gb).

    Thought the limit was 1000 route points? Maybe it’s 250.
    Often the issue is more that when you “download a GPX” it’s a track not a route, so contains 1000’s of track points, not 10s or 100s of route points. Mine tend to be maybe 150 points max for a days ride. Some I might split in to sections. And some files contain tracks AND routes AND waypoints (interesting POI).

    Some say routes are useless and you need to follow a track. Others (me included) only need to care about where to go near junctions etc.

    devash
    Member

    From the Garmin website re routepoint limits;

    ———-
    eTrex 10

    500 GPX files
    1,000 waypoints
    2,000 geocaches
    50 routes, 250 points per route
    100 saved tracks
    500 archive tracks*
    10,000 points per track
    Ability to add maps unsupported
    eTrex 20/30

    2,000 GPX files
    2,000 waypoints
    5,000 geocaches
    200 routes, 250 points per route
    200 saved tracks
    2,000 archive tracks
    10,000 points per track

    100 custom map tiles
    250 BirdsEye Imagery files
    Approximately 3,000 mapping segments
    ———-

    The etrex 10 has a black and white dot matrix display which can’t show custom maps. The etrex 20 and 30 has a colour display and can display maps (which it does very well for its size).

    The routable maps from here work really well and you can create your own custom maps using just the tiles you require.

    soma_rich
    Member

    Very interesting devash but what about the HC HCx Vista and loads of other Etrex models would be nice to see a little table of which ones support maps and which ones dont before I start searching for a secondhand one…

    johnners
    Member

    Thanks scotroutes, I should have said it’s roads I’m interested in. I have the Open Street Maps data on my HCx, and when I use the ‘calculate me a route’ navigation for just getting to Point A from where I am, it does give turn-by-turn directions with road names etc- the problem is this is on a route it’s calculating, rather than the one I want to follow.

    I just use an old eTrex Legend C all the time for road routes in what’s probably the “off-road” mode. It beeps and flashes up an advance view of the turn, then beeps again near to it and displays an arrow to the next WP. I plot routes on MM (2004 I think!) and ping them down the cable to the unit. Obviously no road names, and a long Audax will need the route broken up into chunks but it’s always worked OK for me.

    jond
    Member

    Another E30 user here – I normally use openstreetmap, good thing is you get some, tho patchy, offroad stuff (unlike city navigator) so its often handy when walking.
    re mounts -the genuine garmin mounts work well, cheaper copies not so much from what I gather.
    There’s some handy setup stuff for new and old models on aukadia.net , the author often posts on yacf, and there’s several threads about ’em there too.

    Here’s how I have mine setup with zip tie to stop it ejecting itself:

    phead
    Member

    Just to add you can also load hacky maps to this with the alternative firmware, I added a quick guide here some moons ago, its out of date now but you get some idea of what it can do.

    Adding hacky maps

    OK is this right then?

    For pink line following more than xxx waypoints, use a TRACK
    For turn by turn nav use a ROUTE with less than xxx waypoints.

    xxx being the unit’s route waypoint limit, often 250.

    On bikehike.co.uk you can create or import, export as route or track, and reduce the number of waypoints.

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Subscriber

    I’ve got the garmin etrex but don’t use it much. I find the battery very troublesome and I can’t reply on it. I’ve got the watch GPS which last much much longer and i can navigate from it sort of.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    can’t speak for the newer eTrexes, but my battery lasts several days on the vista hcx. 6 full long ride days on a pair of duracell, no problems. tend to use a couple of NiMH and charge after 3-4 days in summer, 2 in winter when skiing, both just to be on the safe side.

    deluded
    Member

    Bookmarked for possible Etrex purchase.

    My batteries last ages…

    I regularly forget to turn the unit off while i’m at work and the batteries are still good after ~ 10 hours of being left on

Viewing 33 posts - 1 through 33 (of 33 total)

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