If you are new to using gps, read

sean english

Well-known member
I went dove hunting a couple of weeks ago. Garmin ran low on battery. Software started screwing up.
I changed the battery and updated the software online. Thought all is ok.
Went Mountain Quail hunting. Got separated from buddies thinking I got the situation on the control with my Garmin.
Garmin was giving me wrong information where my intuition was telling me to go the other way. It took me a couple of hours to find out that my device wasn't working well. "Shoot!What am I gona do?"
I recalibrated the compass and then everything was fine.
Be careful. If you run low on batery, your device might start malfunctioning. Recalibrate and test it before getting lost in the woods. :lol bashing sign:
Have a cigarette lighter charger so you don't use up all your battery.
 

Kit Fox

Moderator
Moderator
I ran my batteries dead on my Etrex Vista HCX recently, and I had to recalibrate my compass also. I learned a long time ago to not be reliant on technology because it can and does fail. Always have a back-up plan (Map/compass, sat phone, etc)
 

sean english

Well-known member
I totally agree with you. One must use all natural landmarks to navigate. Very true. I just wish they had written it in Capital letters in the manual: IF YOU RUN OUT OF BATTERY, CALIBRATE. LOL
 

Kit Fox

Moderator
Moderator
My GPS was mapping on route fine, it was the compass that wasn't working, and i've calibrated it before, so I knew what I had to do. I could imagine it to be quite confusing if you haven't had much play time with a GPS. I was late in using GPS technology, but have been using in 2004 when I learned about geocaching.
 

BelchFire

I speak fluent Vise-Grip
Admin
Electronic compasses are still evolving. I've got a Timex wristwatch with an electronic compass. It's still running the original batteries, but I need to calibrate the compass almost every time I use it.

I learned early-on that the Etrex units need to be calibrated after a battery change so I calibrate mine every so often just for the hell of it. It's too easy to calibrate it so I do it every time I need an accurate fix; which isn't too often to be much trouble.

What REALLY concerns me about your message is that the software started screwing up on you as the batteries ran low. That's a MAJOR red-flag to me. Batteries should only render the unit non functional from a power standpoint. Once you put new or freshly recharged batteries in everything should be fine; you shouldn't have to update the software. I'd be scared of that particular unit if my life depended on it. You have the Etrex Vista HCx, right?
 

Kit Fox

Moderator
Moderator
Electronic compasses are still evolving. I've got a Timex wristwatch with an electronic compass. It's still running the original batteries, but I need to calibrate the compass almost every time I use it.

I learned early-on that the Etrex units need to be calibrated after a battery change so I calibrate mine every so often just for the hell of it. It's too easy to calibrate it so I do it every time I need an accurate fix; which isn't too often to be much trouble.

What REALLY concerns me about your message is that the software started screwing up on you as the batteries ran low. That's a MAJOR red-flag to me. Batteries should only render the unit non functional from a power standpoint. Once you put new or freshly recharged batteries in everything should be fine; you shouldn't have to update the software. I'd be scared of that particular unit if my life depended on it. You have the Etrex Vista HCx, right?

Correct on the Vista HCX. I've never experience the big glitches that i've seen on other forums. Knock on wood, the GPS has worked very well for me.
 

jindydiver

Well-known member
Your batteries would last a bit longer, and you wouldn't have to worry about calibration, if you turned off the compass and just carried a real compass instead, sort of kill two birds with one stone :)
 

Kit Fox

Moderator
Moderator
Your batteries would last a bit longer, and you wouldn't have to worry about calibration, if you turned off the compass and just carried a real compass instead, sort of kill two birds with one stone :)

I use the compass screen to point in the direction of the next ammo can under a bush i'm seeking.
 

jindydiver

Well-known member
The Geocaching is a great way to get (and stay) familiar with your GPS unit and how it works. Anybody who has bought a new unit should go do some caches and get used to calling up info on their GPS. In the backcountry when you are tired and hungry is not the place to be trying to learn how some function on your GPS is used :)
 

westcoastr

Well-known member
i've also got a vista. and an electronic compass watch..i trust neither. electronic compasses, as you've found out, are calibration nightmares and use alot of battery power. a $7 old skool magnetic compass is the way to go.

you can use your trace on the GPS to navigate w/o a compass. i set it to keep north at top of screen and then rotate it to keep the location arrow pointing where I am heading, which is how my brain works anyways
 


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