Living with a Garmin:

Screens you don't see every day

Some of the Garmin menus are buried really deep ...

   
This is at: Menu, Menu, Setup, System, Menu, Software Version

 
 
You can check your Software Version here (though I would think of it more as Firmware) and then check the list of Garmin Updates for a newer version for your particular model.

Make sure you only download and apply updates for your particular model number.
Actually, if your GPS is already working OK - then I would think twice before updating it.

For Windows users, its easy to download the file and just run it while your Garmin is connected to the PC.
For Mac users, you'll need to work through Garmin's recommended procedure via Support and Updates on their website.

There are sometimes version updates for Mapsource too. Always check the changes list in case some useful functionality is about to be removed! - it's not unknown!
Updating Mapsource may not always be a good idea - see this article for more about this.
 

This is at: Menu, Menu, Setup, System, Menu, Card Info

 
I wonder how many people have found this screen??

It just shows the size and space available on your Micro-SD card (only applicable to Garmin 'x' models of course).
In this example, it's a big card - 2Gb - the maps take up slightly less than half, and a few stored tracks account for a few Kilobytes. There's still over 1Mb free even though the maps cover all of UK & Ireland, France and Switzerland and quite a lot of the rest of Western Europe.
So I could, if I wanted, store some MP3 files on here, or maybe even use the card as emergency spare in a camera, when its not needed for GPS duties (being careful not to reformat it of course!).

Note that the internal memory of the GPS - where Waypoints, Routes and Tracks are stored, is nothing to do with the SD card and doesn't show up here.
However some recorded Tracks can end up on the SD card - see the next panel down for more information about this.
 

This is at: Menu, Menu, Setup, Tracks, Setup, Data Card Setup
In here you get the very useful option to Log Track to Data Card.
I recommend turning this on. Again this is only applicable to 'x' models.

Your Garmin then just automatically saves each day's tracklog to the Micro-SD card, as a .gpx file, and as you see the filenames simply reflect the date the file was written.
These files are much more complete than the tracks you get when opting to Save Track - because Saved Tracks are downsampled to 500 points and lose their timestamp and elevation data into the bargain.
The tracks auto-saved as .gpx files are not subject to this 500-point limit, they are complete in every respect.
With a decent-sized card there'll be room for loads of these gpx files - even though your map is stored on the same card - as you see here the bar-graph shows this card as less than half-full including map, and each gpx file is only a few Kb.
Delete All does not delete the map by the way - only the stored .gpx files.  Phew.

Retrieval of this track information is another matter!
The only way, is to connect your Garmin as usual but then configure it as a Storage Device
This is Menu, Menu, Setup, Interface - you can now access the contents of the Micro-SD card using a File Manager such as Explorer.
Alternatively, just remove the card and put it in a card reader - you'll need a Micro-SD to SD adapter for this, most Micro-SD cards are sold with one as standard.
The resultant .gpx files can be opened in Mapsource or most other mapping programs.
 
This is at: Menu, Menu, Setup, System, WAAS

 
On some units this is marked WAAS, on some it is marked WAAS / EGNOS as shown here.
For cycling purposes, I recommend leaving this disabled.

WAAS is a bolt-on GPS system that has been added to improve the accuracy of the main system - it uses ground stations and additional geo-stationary satellites and generally achieves about a 5x increase in accuracy if you take a 'spot' position. However WAAS is only useful in North America.
The European equivalent has been developed more recently and is called EGNOS. It turns out that the protocols etc are exactly the same as WAAS and, if you have a GPS or Satnav that can use WAAS, it will also be able to use EGNOS even if there is no mention of the newer system in the menus.
There are similar localised bolt-on systems in other areas and MSAS (Japan) is also fully compatible with WAAS.

I would leave this disabled because it's a slight battery hit (around 15%-20% reduced runtime), and increasing accuracy from circa 10m to circa 2m is just pointless from a cycling point of view.
For walkers or geo-cachers, in an area where there is coverage (N.America, W.Europe), I would certainly enable it. (NB you can tell when it's working by looking at the Satellite Page, where 'enhanced' satellites will show a tiny D (for 'Differential') in the bar graph - but even at best it can take up to 20 minutes for this extra information to be retrieved.)
NB that because the additional satellites are geo-stationary, in the UK they appear fairly low in the southern sky - this means the GPS may not be able to 'see' them in many circumstances, especially if you are travelling northwards and so shielding the GPS with your body.
 

To enter this Test Screen on the colour Etrex models, hold down the front click stick whilst powering up.

 
Warning: Be sure not to hold the Page key (top right) down at the same time - as this would perform a Master Reset (though you do get an 'Are you sure?' prompt if you do this).
Other models may use different key combinations to do these tasks.

Well - this is a screen you really, really, don't want to see every day.
Unless you're a Garmin maintenance and repair engineer, maybe!

 

 

From this screen, pressing each of the keys may take you to further diagnostic screens.


 
You could even end up here! Oh, no!!
 

Francis Cooke

Some basic stuff:
Living with a Garmin: Etrex Basic Setup
Living with a Garmin: Battery Runtime and Etrex Jitter
Living with a Garmin: The Waypoints Limitation
Living with a Garmin: The Follow Road Trap
Living with a Garmin: The Circular Routes Problem
Living with a Garmin: Declutter the Page Sequence
Living with a Garmin: Living with Metroguide Maps
Living with a Garmin: Waypoint Naming (for direct-style routes)
Living with a Garmin: Colour your Tracks and Routes
Living with a Garmin: Create a Route on the GPS
Top 5 GPS Tips (pdf) reprint of Arrivee article published Feb 2007
Some GPS FAQs web version of Arrivee article published Nov 2008
 
NEW - Garmin Etrex 20/30 essays:
Etrex 30 review reprint of Arrivee article published Jan 2012
Etrex 20 & 30, Basic Setup
Taming the Etrex 20/30: Restore the 'Page' key.
Dakota 20 review reprint of Arrivee article published Feb 2010
Living with a Garmin: Waypoint Naming and the Dakota 20 / Etrex 30
 
More Garmin essays - not-so-basic:
Garmin Etrex C Menu Map (pdf, July 2008)
Living with a Garmin: Full Reset
Living with a Garmin: Track, Route or Autoroute
Living with a Garmin: Three Ways to Beat the Waypoint Limit
Living with a Garmin: Three Ways to Beat the Trackpoint Limit
Living with a Garmin: Less is More
Living with a Garmin: Add Contours to your GPS Maps
Living with a Garmin: Struggling with GPX  &...  More GPX
Living with a Garmin: Screens you don't see every day
Living with a Garmin: Downgrade your Mapsource
Living with a Garmin: Put an OSM Map on your Garmin
Living with a Garmin: GPS Soak Test files to test your GPS waypoint capacity
OpenStreetMap and Mapsource Add OSM to your Mapsource collection
A Google Maps Workflow Create, Edit, Save, Share and Export a route