My GPS is lost

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 13:21
ThreadID: 24645 Views:1912 Replies:7 FollowUps:14
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Hi everyone,
I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th Century (will get to the 21st later) and have purchased a GPS unit. I have started with a second hand basic model to see how I go. It is a Garmin Etrex. Unfortunately it is lost and doesn't know where it is. Or even when it is for that matter. It came, without batteries, from NSW and is unhappy here in Perth where it can't see the Opera House. It's time is haywire, and it's date it about three weeks late. It refuses to autolocate.

I think I need to do the factory reset, I have followed the procedure I have found elsewhere to get to the 'secret screen' and then have held "up"+""enter"+"page" +"on/off" but it does nothing. I believe that some later models have had the 'reset' changed or disabled. I have contacted the Garmin help desk but they are talking about 7 days before they will get around to replying.

So, in the meantime, can anyone help?

Thanks

Greydemon
( getting greyer and more demonic by the minute)
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Reply By: Nudenut - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:04

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:04
it can take up to 15 mins or more to auto-locate..my early model Garmin could take up to 30 mins, depending on how long since it was last switched on or how far it had travelled from last known satellite locations...in you case its a long way so give it time.....
just put some new batteries in it and let it search.
AnswerID: 119961

Reply By: drogger - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:26

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:26
Just leave it switched on for a few minutes in a place where it can see satellites. It will find itself after a few minutes. It may ask a few questions like "have you moved more than 100 km since last switch on" - say yes. It may ask another question about time and date, they will probably be wrong. Once it realises it is at a new home it will happily auto-locate and adpot you as it's new owner.

Just think of it as a pet - a puppy - who is trying to find ways to please it's new owner.
AnswerID: 119966

Follow Up By: greydemon - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:53

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:53
Thanks Nudenut and Drogger,

I know the theory - it's the practice that is the problem! I left it outside for at least half an hour last night, with pretty clear field of view, but it never autolocated. This morning it appeared to acquire one satellite for a while but that was not sufficient for it to sort itself out. It just won't ask the question so that I can tell the poor little thing that Yes, it has been removed from it's mummy and is thousands of kilometres from home.

Of course, this problem just might be why it was for sale!

Greydemon
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FollowupID: 375021

Reply By: Member - Geoff M (Newcastle) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:46

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:46
What Nudenut and Drogger said is true.
Just one more question, are you doing all this outdoors with a clear view of the sky? If not, it will fail.
Please don't think I'm having a lend of you, have seen similar problems with people trying to do this indoors.

Geoff.
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AnswerID: 119971

Follow Up By: greydemon - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:56

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 14:56
Hi Geoff,

Yep, clear blue skies above - well, actually clear black skies last night but you know what I mean! No offence taken, I have often been amazed by people missing the obvious so accept that it could happen to me - more likely each advancing year in fact.

Greydemon
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FollowupID: 375022

Follow Up By: greydemon - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 15:00

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 15:00
Further clarification ..... I also tried it indoors to see if it would ask me if it is indoors as per the handbook, but it wouldn't speak to me.

GD
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FollowupID: 375025

Reply By: age - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 15:12

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 15:12
Also check that the datum is set one for Australia - usually Garmin default for Australia is WGS84. If this datum is set for one in the northerm hemisphere it will not gather the almanac for local operation with the satellites it has in view.

Another option is key in as a waypoint the approx location of where you are and get it to "Goto" that waypoint. Will sense it is in southern hemisphere and gather correct almanac

You say it locked onto one satellite - once it does that leave it locked to it for as long as possible so as it can gather all required info for that satellite. It will then proceed to the next and so on, until it can triangulate and 3D navigate

Cheers
AnswerID: 119972

Follow Up By: greydemon - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:16

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:16
SUCCESS !!! Thanks Age. I entered the lat/long of Perth and went outside and was patient. It took 10 minutes to find one satellite, a further 12 minutes to find the next, and a further 15 minutes to find the third. (Last night it found nothing at all) After that it seemed to sort itself out and now knows the date and time (once I remembered that the UK is on daylight saving at the moment). It seems to be very fussy about having a clear sky, I think I need to give up bushwalking and take up desert walking to keep it happy. The seller did say that they are upgrading to a better model, I dare say that within 12 months I'll join them!

Greydemon
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FollowupID: 375038

Follow Up By: Greg Harewood - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:26

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:26
"If this datum is set for one in the northerm hemisphere it will not gather the almanac for local operation with the satellites it has in view."

Not true - setting datum only effects the datum of the displayed coordinates - the gps unit will not "guess" you are in USA if you use a USA based datum for example. All (most?) gps units think in WGS84 whatever you set the "displayed" datum to - it just converts the coords from WGS84 to your preferred datum and dispays result. There is only one Almananc for all world - it is simply a schedule of when and where each satelite will be at any one time.

Previous suggestions would normally work ie leave unit ouside and it will gather information - usually pretty fast - my suggestions - leave it out longer. I am not familar with Garmins but Magellan have screen for reset and you can then enter approximate coords and time - it uses existing almanac in unit to start looking for sats - once you have one sat it updates almanac and away you go.
Cheers
Greg
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FollowupID: 375041

Follow Up By: Nudenut - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 20:10

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 20:10
knew it would ..unless it was broken
early models were not as good at recieving as the later models....thats why i sold my early garmin and got a much later one....

at one stage I had to wait over 30mins for it to locate afetr being switched off for 6 months.....i gave up watching it at around 30 mins but when i remembered i had left it outdoors at midnight i got out of bed and fetched it to find all was ok..... so is life zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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FollowupID: 375070

Follow Up By: Member - Matt Mu (Perth-WA) - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 11:10

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 11:10
Im with Greg on this one, the map datum has nothing to do with it aquiring a fix, only in referance to your accuracy when translating to a map later!

My garmin has trouble autolocating if I have moved it a significant distance and after a few mins will ask if I could enter my location from the choice. Give it a referance point and away it goes, otherwise it will stall on auto locate!

Greydemon, I would suggest the reason it aquired eventually was you entered you approx position, time consuming way to go about it but effective. I would next time, not choose auto locate, select you position for the menu and it will locate in a few minutes.

If only a little cold, the autolocate will work fine any other time.

Goodluckwith it, they are a top little GPS.
Matt.
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FollowupID: 375155

Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 15:29

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 15:29
Has it been lying around with flat batteries???
If so the memory battery has gone flat on circuit board and may recharge by fitting new batteries and leaving it for a few days switched off, or they may not recharge which means it will have to be replaced. Garmin may say that this cannot be done but there are teks around who can. NEVER leave it unused without good batteries in it as it relies on them to recharge memory batt.
We learnt this the hard way with a hard wired Garmin 12 xl unit, in our fire truck, which had batt. removed as it was hard wired, but when in less than 2 years it stopped working, Garmin said it was buggered and we had to ditch it, $650???
We later learned that some teks can open them and repair them, but there isnt any warning in garmin handbook!
AnswerID: 119974

Follow Up By: greydemon - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:18

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:18
Thanks Steve, useful tip. I suspect that I would have removed the batteries for storage to avoid battery leakage so I'm glad that you have put me right and saved heartache down the track.

Nick
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FollowupID: 375040

Follow Up By: drogger - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:53

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:53
Hi Pesty and Greydemon

The Etrex and other newer models of Garmin GPS's works differently to the 12X series of GPS's. They do not have a memory battery to keep charged up - and therefore don't suffer from that particular fault.

I know the problem you are talking about. We've got 6 12XL's at work and it is a real pain when the memory batteries won't hold charge. But newer model GPS's have some other arrangement to achive the same function.
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FollowupID: 375044

Follow Up By: Member - Matt Mu (Perth-WA) - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 11:04

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 11:04
Drogger, the day my Garmin 12XL started flashing up mem battery low, I took it into Garmin (GME) in Sydney and they just handed me a new one over the counter!

That is a fault with the lithium mem battery and the only fix is replacement!

You can get the warning if you set has been sitting for AGES with no or flat batteries in it, but if it hasnt and has the fault...its replacement!

Matt.
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FollowupID: 375152

Follow Up By: drogger - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 12:03

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 12:03
I know all that - but I didn't pose the question.

As I said - it is problem unique to 12XL's. I doesn't happen on newer GPSs as they are built differently.
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FollowupID: 375167

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 12:51

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 12:51
yeah those 12xl's that died before there time had a bad batch of batteries installed. It's a pretty old model now so I'd expect all the faulty batteries to have failed long ago.
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FollowupID: 375172

Follow Up By: Member - Matt Mu (Perth-WA) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:43

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:43
Drogger, no worries mate, you didnt pose the origional question but you did state "We've got 6 12XL's at work and it is a real pain when the memory batteries won't hold charge."
I wrongly assumed that you didnt realise that there is no need for it to be a pain in the ass...since its a once off fix!
Why would you put up with it if you know GME will replace the entire unit, no-question-asked!

Again my apologies for not knowing what you were thinking!

Matt.
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FollowupID: 375444

Follow Up By: drogger - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 19:34

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 19:34
Actually - We did get them replaced. Right now we are trying to get approval to replace them all with 60CS's. Our boss has so far conceded to getting two of them. And a couple of us use personal GPS's anyway.
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FollowupID: 375455

Reply By: drogger - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:55

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:55
Hi Greydemon - glad you got it sussed out and your GPS is no longer looking for the Opera House. You should find that the Etrex will be a good unit.

Cheers
Jeff
AnswerID: 119985

Reply By: Niko - Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 03:19

Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 03:19
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Etrex model, it has proven to be a very reliable little bloke and for a cheap unit of around $220 these days you can't complain. Ok it doesn't have mapping capability but it wasn't designed for that. If anyone was going to upgrade from and Etrex to another GPS, it wouldn't be because the Etrex is not up to current standards, it would be because they want a mapping unit or one with Marine features in it. The Etrex in fact is pretty much THE standard and everything else just builds from that.

In the case of the Etrex spending 15 minutes to re-orientate itself, well, that's almost normal (shouldn't be any more than a few minutes) but it may also be pertinent to ensure WAAS is disabled because that can cause the Garmin to appear not working properely. WAAS is only relevant to North America. Resetting any GPS unit may switch WAAS on so watch out for that. All GPS are or should have WAAS off by default. The only time I have ever come across an Etrex with similar problems is one thats been started inside a building or travelled some several hundred km before being switched on again or had WAAS on.
AnswerID: 120450

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