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Thread: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

  1. #1
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    Default Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Anybody been using Garmin's new 60x-series and 76x-series units? These particular units have a new GPS receiver/processor chipset by SiRF and are supposed to perform very well under adverse satellite visibility conditions.

    I'd be curious to hear from actual users whether they think these units are clearly superior to older units in signal reception? If so, what was the most challenging situation your new unit held lock?

    Thanks!

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    Flashaholic* CroMAGnet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    pm newbie

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    Flashaholic* Monolith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    The chipset is also in the Nuvi 350. I average about 23 seconds for a lock with WAAS turned off. Typically locks indoors and in garage without any problems.

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Thanks...

    I managed to find a 60CSx at a local store yesterday. Store had metal roof and no windows and it found no signals at all inside -- as one would expect. But standing in the sheltered entry-way I got lock with a "new location" search within about a 45-60 seconds. All sats it was receiving had full signal strength. In this very limited test it seemed like the sensitivity on the SiRF units is pretty good.

    I'm still interested in how these perform in heavy tree cover. I've been reading some reviews, but none so far have side by side comparisons with older units. I remember when parallel receiver units first came out and everybody and their brother was running comparisons...

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    Flashaholic* Monolith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Quote Originally Posted by dfred
    I've been reading some reviews, but none so far have side by side comparisons with older units.
    I believe this is exactly what you are looking for:

    Comparison Between 60c and 60cx

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monolith
    I believe this is exactly what you are looking for:

    Comparison Between 60c and 60cx
    That is indeed what I've been looking for. Also had some links in that thread that lead to even more interesting stuff, such as this head-to-head comparison between the Magellan Explorist 600 and the 60CSx:

    http://www.mtgc.org/robertlipe/showdown/


    Thanks again...

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Here's an even more detailed side-by-side comparison between the 60CS and 60CSx. Looks like a winner...

    http://patrick-roeder.de/reviews/gar...smap_60CSx.htm

    Has an appropriately geeky shot of the reviewer decked out in gadgets, including a lit headlamp...

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    *Flashaholic* KevinL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    76x - I assume that includes the 76CS? (I initially assumed it referred to a 3-digit 760-series I haven't heard of before)

    That is probably the reason why I've been noticing all-around improvements in acquisition time from my 76CS. I've owned the Garmin GPS V and Garmin 12 before. Generally, those units take forever to acquire in the concrete jungle, but once acquired, they hold the lock like anything. But there are many, MANY times where they can go for minutes and minutes (sometimes to the point where I give up and work without it) and fail to acquire, or show three sats acquired and solid black bars, but refuse to give me a position.

    If I'm moving, all bets are off with the older 2 units. Good luck - IF I ever get acquired.

    The 76CS feels like a TREMENDOUS improvement on both of those, the moment I turn on the unit, I start seeing hollow signal bars, and it picks up a whole lot of them. With the rest.. you sit there and wait as long as it takes as the sats appear one by one. I can move somewhat and still manage to acquire. Quite impressive.. I can relate to the performance enhancements they talk about on the product webpage, it's stuff that I can actually see in the field. Dunno how I'll go back to my GPS V.. if I ever could
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinL
    76x - I assume that includes the 76CS? (I initially assumed it referred to a 3-digit 760-series I haven't heard of before)
    Sorry, that abbreviation was somewhat ambiguous. I was talking about the 60Cx, 60CSx and the upcoming 76Cx and 76CSx models. These all use a new and apparently much improved receiver chipset from a company called SiRF. Sounds like the improvements might not be as necessary with the 76CS, but the old 60C and 60CS had somewhat of a reputation for poor reception especially for a high-end GPS...

    Here's a press release on these new models:

    http://www.garmin.com/pressroom/outdoor/010306b.html

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    *Flashaholic* KevinL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Ahh, very nice. Thanks for the info.....seems like Garmin is releasing something all the time, I can't keep up any longer. Used to remember when a new unit (one at a time, too) was big, big news. Now they have all kinds.

    Things can get even better than the 76CS? Very cool - improvements in acquisition time are always welcome. I need my equipment to keep up with me, not the other way around! If they can beat the existing 76 at its game, it can only be good for all of us.
    Celebrating the ROP.. 5 years of history

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    If anyone wants a 60cs, let me know

    I will be selling mine soon !

    The 60csX looks great, the reviews are turning out nice.
    Think I will be getting one soon.

    ~John

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    Default I like it

    I've had my 76Cx for a month or two now, and have had a few occasions to use it. The lock time from cold is nothing to write home about, it seems about the same as the 12Map I'm coming from. The warm lock time is fast, it's usually locked before the intro screens have cleared (which takes about 8 seconds from power-on). I have a stronger claimed signal inside my house (wood and composition roof) than the 12Map, but my new cellphone claims to have a better signal than the old one and gets crappier audio quality...

    The unit's orientation is very important. If I hold it horizontal (screen facing the sky) I can see strongish signals, but if I hold it vertical (screen aimed at my face, straight in front of me) the bars jump up to full deflection, it's actually pretty impressive.

    The SiRF chip does make some difference. I've been able to use the 76Cx indoors where the 12Map just won't go. However, for severe urban canyon use, or multi-storey indoor use, it won't work miracles.

    Equally important to me is the fact that I can go buy a 1 GB MicroSD chip and probably fit most of the US into it, including autoroute data. The 128 MB chip which comes with it is still an excellent upgrade to the 1.44 MB in the 12Map.

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Thanks everybody for all the info and pointers. I took the plunge and got one of these last week. So far I really like it. A few little software issues but nothing major or unexpected with such a new unit. Garmin seems to be updating the firmware for these new models pretty regularly.

    Incidentally, I found this place called chumbo.com which had pretty good feedback through Froogle. They are selling the 60CSx for $410 with $8 FedEx overnight shipping! They say it may take a day or two to ship, but I ordered at 16:00 EST on Thursday and it was delivered around noon on Friday. YMMV...

    Here's a link to the 60CSx on their site: http://www.chumbo.com/Info.aspx?id=319944

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    I've had a 60csx for about a month now and have used it on numerous geocaches and hikes. I love it. Great under heavy tree cover, areas where my trusty old Etrex Legend would drop signals.

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    I'm looking at buying a 60cx series. Does this unit come with any any maps? I also want European map(s)....does anyone know the approx. cost of those for the 60cx unit?

    Also, what are the major differences for the 60cx and the 76cx?

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    Flashaholic* Chronos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    The only map the 60*x range includes is a basemap- I have the North America basemap, and if you purchase your unit in Europe then it will have the European basemap. It includes most thoroughfares, main highways/freeways, and many streets but isn't the most up-to-date.

    Garmin sells many Mapsource products that will install different maps onto your unit. City Navigator for auto-routing on the 60csx and includes more detailed street maps; topo for 1:100,000 (in the US) topographic details but no street autorouting and less street detail; blue chart for oceanic navigation; etc. We also have US National Park maps in 1:24k (greater detail). I'm not up to date on all the overseas offerings... sorry!

    The only real differences between the 60csx and the 76csx is the housing and the size of the included memory card. I believe the 76 includes a 128mb card while the 60 has a 64mb card. The housing on the 76 is much larger, essentially a rectange that is the same width as the 60 and as long as the 60 body and antenna. I found it to be a bit too big, but if I were using the unit for sailing I'd pick the 76 as it floats.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Chronos; 03-23-2006 at 08:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Also note that 76 series has the buttons above the screen which changes how the unit "handles" a bit. I generally prefer the controls below the screen, but I had a eTrex Vista for a long time and I got used to them being above.

    Incidentally, I've sold my Vista and was on the phone with Garmin tech support to clarify some issues restoring the Marine POI database before sending it to the new owner. In passing I got into a conversation about the progress on fixing the bugs on the 60/76*x models. He reassured me that the SiRF chip has upgradable firmware and that they'll be addressing many of the well-known receiver bugs "soon". He implied tech support gets a lot of calls and he's probably more interested in getting these problems fixed than most users.

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    Flashaholic* RA40's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    So glad the discussion came up...been pondering a GPS and this discussion just put that final nudge.

    Did ponder the Magellan eXplorist 600 to the 60CSx.
    Anyone aware of some good comparisons?

    (I found a couple seperate reviews but not as detailed as the one comparing the Garmin 60CS and CSx versions. THX)
    Mike

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Quote Originally Posted by RA40
    Did ponder the Magellan eXplorist 600 to the 60CSx.
    Anyone aware of some good comparisons?
    Check out the link in post #6. Or do you mean additional comparisons?

    And, yea, I was impressed by that 60CS vs. 60CSx writeup too. Wish I could read German so I could appreciate more of his site. Machine translations only go so far...

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    Flashaholic* Fitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    I got my Garmin 60CSx yesterday and took it out for a short hike this morning after loading about 300MB worth of both topo and City Select maps into it. It picked up 7 satellites in about 30 seconds with 10ft accuracy. I had it in a neoprene case inside of my fleece jacket pocket the entire hike along some ridges and through a valley, and reception didn't drop off once. Can't say that for my old GPS! Seems to work very well, although the learning curve is a bit steep for someone like me that is coming from a basic unit. So far I'll give it a solid 2 thumbs up!
    Last edited by Fitz; 03-25-2006 at 09:33 AM. Reason: Edited for spelling
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    I have a GPS60 and a GPS60Cx, and can confirm that the latter is a big improvement. The older model would not get signal for me if I kept it in a pocket or waist-pack, and the new one does.

    The expandable memory is good, too. I have a 512Mb chip which will take the whole of the UK.

    I have had a problem where after the Cx has lost signal, it won't get it back again. It's happened when going indoors for a break while skiing, and in tunnels when driving. Switching the unit off and on fixes it.

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    I have been testing the new 60csX that last few days.
    The reception is greatly improved, and it is alot faster.

    I think it also gets a lock alittle faster,
    it was averaging 3 to 8 feet More accurrate then the 60cs.

    ~John

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Fitz,

    How does it handle the Topo software?
    I have been wanting to add that to mine, but didnt know how it handled displaying it.
    Do you have to toggle between the City Select map, and the Topo map?
    IE can you display the roads AND Topo at one time?

    ~John

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    Flashaholic* Fitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    John,
    There are no issues that I can find in displaying the Topo maps except it takes a little practice! There seems to be a priority with the maps where City Select/Nav takes No. 1 priority, Topo 2nd, and the base map 3rd. (Not sure about Blue charts). Therefore, if all maps are turned on, you'll see the city select/nav on the map screen. If you turn off city select/nav, you'll see the Topo, etc. They do not overlay each other in any way. It's nice that you can just turn off/on the entire map collection instead of grid by grid, especially if you've got several hundred or more MB of maps stored!

    There's some good information on this (and some other stuff) at
    http://home.houston.rr.com/gpsr/
    Last edited by Fitz; 04-02-2006 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Added link
    Semper Fi

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    I have been using a 60cx for a month now. I own: Garmin 45, etrex, III, V, 176c and Magellin gold. The X, by far, holds lock and positional accucary much better than all other units even under heavy canopy. The X held lock while a friends 60 failed during a recent geocaching trip.

    My only complaint is with the screen size and lack of accuracy alarm. The 176c screen size is soooo nice on aging eyes.
    Member# 588

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Fitz,

    Thanks for the info,
    its a shame it wont over lap them, but I really wasnt expecting it to.
    I think I may still get the topo maps though, I think having the contour lines will help me out alot.

    Have you noticed anything other additional info the topo map has thats real useful besides the contour lines?

    ~John

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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Jtice,

    http://www.garmin.com/cartography/mapSource/topo.jsp#

    Look for MapSource Viewer, click on East for your area, pick a place you are familiar with, and zoom on down.

    That way you can see what it has, that your unit does not...

    You may be quite surprised about the info you see. Scroll around a bit.

    Not quite a 7.5 minute quad, but not too bad, with the majority of important stuff.

    Take your 60CSx and try doing the same thing at the same time, to see what is really different.

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    Fitz,

    Forgot to ask,
    Can you move the corsur around on the map, and it display the elevation of different points on the map?
    Also, when the unit displays the elevation, on the trip page etc, do you think its using the map info? or is it still using the builtin barometer?

    Newbie,
    Looked on Garmins site, thanks for the link.
    I am actually not alllll that impressed, it does give the contours,
    but thats about all the additional info I see.
    And I wish they were alittle more detailed, at least after you zoom in a bit,
    but at least they do give you the lay of the land, which would be helpful.

    ~John

  29. #29
    *Retired* NewBie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    True, the lay of the land is extremely important when hiking, looking for a campsite as you are hiking, or when trying to conserve gas when you are low on a ATV- trying to get back to base camp.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Field experiences w/Garmin's SiRF-based GPS units?

    FWIW
    The new Garmin Forerunner 205 will not acquire indoors. Works great outdoors with about a 20-40 sec. acquisition.

    My daughters extra cheap Garmin I2 acquires in like 10 seconds while mounted on here windshield.

    Nuvi 350 in 15-20 seconds mounted on windshield, hit and miss acquiring indoors.

    Garmin M5, about 45 seconds outdoors, no acquisition indoors.

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