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Better instructions for Garmin devices?

Started by flintlock, March 18, 2017, 03:13:49 PM

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I just upgraded my Vista Hcx to an eTrex 30x. The owner's manual absolutely stinks. The Hcx manual was not great, but the 30x one is even worse. I've found several errors, some even carried over from the Hcx manual. Much of the information is technically true, but so incomplete as to be unuseful. For example, regarding micro SD cards, all they do is tell you how to insert and remove one. I thought my SD card would expand my 30x's memory, like it did on the Hcx, but that's not the case apparently.

So, are there any better manuals or tutorials for Garmin units out there? I've looked a bit, but no luck so far.



Quote from: flintlock on March 18, 2017, 03:13:49 PM
I thought my SD card would expand my 30x's memory, like it did on the Hcx, but that's not the case apparently.

I'm not sure what you are getting at here.  The card on a 30x provides more use than on an Hcx.  You can store pretty much anything on it and use the space.  On the Hcx, it was limited to maps and custom POIs.  Maybe it would help to ask specific questions now that you have the rant out of your system.


The specific question was whether a better manual was available. But since you focused on my example about memory....

When I inserted my 2GB card into my Hcx, the memory displayed by MapInstall was increased by 2GB. The SD card was considered the same as internal memory. (Granted, there wasn't a plethora of internal memory to start with.)

On the 30x, after installing my 2GB card, MapInstaller still only showed the device's ~3.8 GB memory. I didn't understand why my 2GB card had not increased the memory, and the manual didn't explain it either. Only after playing with the 30x did I discover that the internal memory and micro SD card are treated separately. You choose which memory to use for your maps, but maps don't "overflow" from the device to the SD card if the device memory gets filled. By my math, 1 GB available on the device plus a 2 GB card equals 3 GB. But the 2.8 GB City Navigator North America can't be fully loaded without manually selecting which pieces go in which memory. That wasn't the case on the Hcx. Of course, with the 30x, once loaded on either the device or SD card, all the maps are usable. But I needed to discover that by myself. A better manual would have helped.


I think you are wrong about the Hcx, AFAIK it behaves the same as my 60csx since they are from roughly the same generation of Garmin devices. It doesn't have any internal memory for maps. In fact it doesn't have any directly accessible internal memory at all, waypoints and tracks are stored internally but are not accessed in the same way as modern Garmin handhelds. These older units use Garmin's proprietary protocol that is a holdover from the days of RS-232 serial interfaces.

To send waypoints to the Hcx, Mapsource or Basecamp have a "conversation" with the GPS. Mapsource asks the GPS if it is ready to accept the data, the GPS says "yes" and then the waypoints are sent one at a time as part of the conversation.

This is completely different from a new device like eTrex 30x which just appears as a USB disk to Mapsource/Basecamp. So sending data is a simple operation of copying a file.

Anyway, your premise is wrong, Basecamp was not showing you the combined total of internal memory and the card on the Hcx, it was only showing you what was available on the card. All maps must be stored on a card with an old unit like the Hcx, you cannot send a map to internal memory.

See page 45 of the user manual here:

"Map Storage: HCx units -Dependant on the formatted capacity of the microSD card."

I have never seen any Garmin unit that treats the combination of internal memory and a card as a single entity. They are always separate and you always have to choose one or the other where you want to store a map.


All I know is that when I used MapInstall with my Hcx with the 2GB card installed, there was only ONE choice on which to install maps and it was "Hcx - Unit ID xxxxxx". When I said "continue" it showed 2GB of memory. Period.

I ASSUMED that my 30x, with 2GB card installed, MapInstall would show 5.8 GB of memory. It didn't. OK, my bad for assuming. I figured out that memory cards now showing up as a separate USB drive. But I didn't learn that from the owner's manual.

Since my original question was whether a better owner's manual were available, it would have been much more helpful if the above replies had said something like, "Check out the tutorials on this site. They may have what you are looking for."

I've since found other sites with more detailed Garmin guidance, but a little pointing in the right direction would have been more helpful than picking apart my posts on such things as whether the memory MapInstall showed on my Hcx included internal memory on the Hcx or just the SD card.


Well I tried to help. If you don't like MapInstall or Garmin documentation, complain directly to them. There are over 40,000 downloads of my free maps on this site, that's how I am helping the community.