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garmin 60csx or Dakota 20

Started by hph1911, December 26, 2009, 09:39:55 AM

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I am replacing a Magellan Map330 that is 15 years old and has nearly crapped out on me.  I have done extensive research in forums and pricing on line.  I have narrowed my search to the 60csx and dakota 20 and I just can't make up my mind.  They appear to have basically the same attributes, but I have seen where the 60csx has been discontinued, but is still praised as Garmins best and most accurate.  I can get either for the same price.  Since neither has good maps installed I want to download maps from this site. I will use the gps on the handlebars of my 4-wheeler hunting and trail riding and in my bass boat using 12v cord.  I will rarely use just the batteries except for maybe a hike to two now and then.  I also might want to geocache some. I also need to readily see the screen in bright sunlight.  I know the Dakota 20 is some of the newest technology and the 60csx is a proven unit.  I don't really need city streets as I have a Tom Tom for the car. I would appreciate any help I can get as you folks seem very knowledgeable.  Thanks in advance.

Indrid Cold

I don't think that the GPSMAP 60CSx has been discontinued. But it will have a brighter screen than the Dakota, and also has a second connector that can be used for external power in you situation that is a bit better than the USB only on the Dakota, and an external antenna connection. On the other hand, the Dakota allows for Garmin's new custom (raster) map format, so you will have to decide what is more important for your personal use.


So you think the 60CSx would be little more robust and a better choice for bouncing around on a 4-wheeler and hitting waves in a  boat.  Can I still download the custom maps listed on this site?  I saw there is a 1:24k topo of the entire state of Arkansas.


Again, thanks
I was leaning toward the 60CSx for quite some time, but the lure of better technology and a newer unit had me looking and constantly researching.  I appreciate your comments and helping me decide.


But there are some advantages to Garmin's new touchscreen models as well. As he mentioned, they are compatible with the new raster map format which is not supported on the 60csx. I have been posting some of these here myself: You can make them yourself with Google Earth and a few other tools.

The touchscreen interface is really a big improvement as well. Entering text and coordinates is especially frustrating. I have a 60csx and an Oregon. I don't use the 60csx at all anymore.

The Dakota 20 also has ~850MB internal memory in addition to a card slot. This is probably not a big deal in and of itself though. But map management has been greatly improved on this series. On the 60csx, all maps must be installed and managed using Mapsource or Basecamp and they are all rolled into a single file named GMAPSUPP.IMG. This can be a problem with maps which use their own custom object types for example.

The Dakota and Oregon have no map filename restrictions, you just need to have a .img extension on the name. This makes it easy to manage maps by dragging and dropping them and there are no conflicts with maps that use custom symbols.

Also, the Oregon and Dakota will get much brighter when you plug them into external power, so I don't think screen brightness would be an issue for you. In fact, I find the 60csx screen is pretty wimpy running on external power myself.  ;D


Thanks for your input Boyd.  Now I am leaning toward the Dakota 20 due to the fact I can make a custom map from paper maps or Google.  I'm assumig these can be overlayed on a topo map or visa versa.  (I'm not used to this much technology).   I guess I am still a little concerned with just a USB hookup vibrating loose or wearing out the connection (probably unfounded).  I also like the ease of drag and dropping maps.  Thank you both for responding.


You could also be gentle to the USB connection by using rechargable batteries.  A basic charger and 4 batteries is likely to be $20 or less - no cable routing problems, etc. 

Indrid Cold

Quote from: maps4gps on December 27, 2009, 12:32:24 PM
You could also be gentle to the USB connection by using rechargable batteries.  A basic charger and 4 batteries is likely to be $20 or less - no cable routing problems, etc. 
This is a good suggestion as the issue with powering from the USB port is that you will lose you IPX7 water resistance. You can power one of those via USB in the cab of your truck, but once you open the watertight rubber seal all bets are off. Easy enough to check before departing for the field in any case; power the unit VIA a USB cable from your computer and submerge the GPSr into a bowl of water (<1m depth) and see if you get any water ingress before 30min.

QuoteMost newer GarminĀ® GPS units are waterproof in accordance with IEC 60529 IPX7. IEC 60529 is a European system of test specification standards for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment. An IPX7 designation means the GPS case can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. An IPX8 designation is for continuous underwater use.

IP specs can be found here:


That's a good solution, but (assuming that the Dakota is like the Oregon) the screen will go brighter when running on external power. I don't know if this is really needed or not for your application however. A friend recently got a Dakota for his bicycle and loves it.

Garmin's regular maps are vector-based, meaning they consist of lines, points and polygons that the gps generates on the fly. The custom maps are raster-based - they are pictures. Line and points from a vector map can be displayed on top of the raster image if you enable both maps at the same time. But polygons are hidden by the raster image. Some examples of lines and points would be roads, streams, contour lines, points of interest and cities. Lakes and park areas are examples of polygons.


QuoteThis is a good suggestion as the issue with powering from the USB port is that you will lose you IPX7 water resistance.

You could be right, but that would surprise me. My understanding is that the USB connector itself is sealed so that water can only get into the socket itself and not inside the GPS case. I believe the rubber caps on this unit - and all the other Garmin handhelds - are only to keep "crud" from clogging the outlet. I don't think the rubber plug itself would meet the IPX7 standards since they never seem to fit all that well.

If in doubt, a call or e-mail to Garmin support should clarify this.


You guys have really been helpful.  I ordered the Dakota 20 today.  Sure wish I could find a handlebar mount that is a cradle like for the 60csx rather than zip tie model I ordered.  (the marine mount is a cradle).   I can't wait to get the GPS and start downloading maps.  The more I thought about it, I doubt if I will have problems with the 12v USB cable.  If so there is always the option of rechargeable batteries suggested in a earlier post.


I got my Dakota 20 today with 12v cable and handlebar mount.   I thought the mount clamped to the handlebars and the zip ties held the GPS.  It was the other way around.  The GPS fits in a snap on fixture and the whole thing is held on the handlebars with the zip ties.  I believe this will work just fine.  Thanks for your help an suggestions.  Now just to download some maps and get started.