New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

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New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby pastuseby » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 11:49 am

I have for the last couple of years been using the Garmin Etrex 30 with Australia New Zealand TOPO v4. I was very happy with its accuracy and battery life but unfortunately the rubber switch pads wore out and it became difficult to alter settings. When my wife asked what I would like for my birthday I volunteered as the suggestion, a new GPS. She did all the research read all the reviews and come birthday I received a GPSMAP 64S.
I have since February taken it on several packwalks in wilderness areas and have been pleasantly surprised with both the reception and the accuracy, even when in canyons or under dense foliage. The only thing that I think is at all inferior to Etrex 30 is the battery life. Previously with the ETrex 30 I could easily get two trekking days or more out of a set of alkaline AA, with the new 64S I am lucky to get a day and a half. I have the screen blank and battery functions enable and still only get about 12~16 hours compared to 20~24 with the 30.
Incidentally both the GPSs have now got GLONASS as well as GPS. The major upgrade between the 62 and the more recent 64 was the inclusion of the GLONASS.
If anyone wants any other information about the 64 or the 30 feel free to leave a comment.
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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby keithy » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 10:06 pm

Just on your eTrex 30. Which switch are you referring to? Is it the rubber thumb stick? or the side buttons?

If it's the rubber thumb stick, it can be relatively easily replaced. The eTrex can be opened using a Torx T6 screw drivers on the back of the case, then when opened, there is another Torx T5 screw holding the board on to the front casing. Once removed, you can access the thumbstick.

In the eTrex 10/20/30 the thumb stick is separate from the rocker switch it activates. On some older models the thumbstick was soldered to the board.

You can get a replacement thumbstick for a shade under $20 - mostly from Russian sellers like these:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-Rubber-t ... 1867366146 (this guy has it on sale - otherwise it is normally USD$18)
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-Rubber-t ... 1527539477
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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby pastuseby » Mon 06 Jul, 2015 8:33 am

Thanks for that. It was the side buttons that were the problem. They were worn through and the rubber finger on the inside was constantly missing the motherboard switch. I am keeping the etrex30 as a spare. Firstly I bought a dead etrex10 and put the front cover on the 30 so it looks like a 10 from the front and a 30 from the back. I noticed that the 10 has much larger rubber pads/fingers on the inside than the 30 so should last longer. Having digested all the expense of the repairs and the new 64s I finally decided to buy the new case from Russia last Monday for $60 and it is on its way I hope.
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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby keithy » Wed 08 Jul, 2015 3:26 pm

Interesting. I didn't know the side buttons could wear out like that. Hopefully the new case or the fixes that.

For my eTrex 30, I have cut out an old inner tube to make a DIY "bumper" case like this from Miroslav's blog:
Image

You won't see the buttons anymore, but you can still press them through the tubing case. Might help protect the side buttons for longer life.
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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby Strider » Wed 08 Jul, 2015 3:34 pm

Keithy that is a fantastic idea. Got any leftover inner tube?

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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 08 Jul, 2015 3:42 pm

What kind of inner tube would fit a handheld GPS?
Just move it!
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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby keithy » Thu 09 Jul, 2015 2:01 am

Strider wrote:Keithy that is a fantastic idea. Got any leftover inner tube?

Strider - I first made this about 2-3 years ago, I don't have any more of that original inner tube anymore - I made two for my eTrex 30 at the time. I used a mountain bike inner tube (around 2.35" wide from memory). Miroslav, in his blog used a wheelbarrow inner tube, which unstretched was around 60mm diameter. My inner tube was around 50-55mm diameter, but stretched fit both my etrex 30, and with more stretching, just fit my larger Oregon 600 (but was really hard to get on).

However, the one hassle is that the thickness I cut it (around 1.5" or 4cm), it blocks the Oregon's battery compartment and USB slot cover completely, so I have to remove it to replace batteries or use the USB slot. Less so for the eTrex as the battery back is smaller on the Etrex, so I can just roll up the back a bit to remove the battery compartment. So it takes a bit more time to replace batteries.

And in doing so, I lost the first one I made in somewhere in Nepal in 2013. I thought I put it in a pouch while changing batteries, but must have been clumsy and dropped it somewhere.

The second one I made I have just recently misplaced.

So I have been scouting for a new replacement. My current pushbike has only 1 1/8" width tubes which is a bit too narrow, and I don't want to cut up a new tube just for this.

However, recently I have been testing out some silicone tube as a DIY case for both my etrex and Oregon 600. I cut it to about 1.5" in width, and the silicone seems to be nicer than the rubber inner tube. The downside is that the silicone tube cost more than a free old inner tube. It worked out to around $1.50 to make one of these silicone cases.

Here's how it looks on my eTrex 30 and Oregon 600. Because of the narrower diameter of this silicone case, it was a stretch to get it on, but once on, it seems to work ok. I've only been testing this out for the past couple of weeks so far.

GarmineTrex30-DIYCaseFB.jpg
Fits nice on the eTrex 30 (also will fit the 10 & 20) - the back looks funny, because I didn't pull it down the front enough

GarminOregon600-DIYCaseFB.jpg
Same DIY bumper case on the larger Oregon 600

GarmineTrexOregonDIYCaseCompareFB.jpg
Size comparison of the two GPS receivers with the same diameter DIY case


I might make a separate DIY etrex bumper case post in the Techno babble section.

I also have DIY screen protector templates made up so I can make DIY screen protectors from cheap tablet sized screen protectors. From the picture above, the Oregon is using a matte screen protector which helps visibility in sunlight - the scratches are on the screen protector, not the actual screen cover. The eTrex is using a clear screen protector I made almost 3 years ago now, and being clear and a bit softer, it absorbs scratches a bit better than the matte version.

And you can also see in the pics of my eTrex, I have been testing out this new joystick protector which I might also make another post on.
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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby Strider » Thu 09 Jul, 2015 8:17 am

Screen protectors are available for the etrex on eBay and cover the entire black face area. Good disposable insurance against scratches :)

Let me know if you find a suitable tube and I can pinch a bit.

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Re: New Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Tue 01 Sep, 2015 1:26 pm

Back OT... Have to say I think the 64s is the best handheld GPS I've ever used. I can't say I've had the same concerns as the OP about battery life but haven't made any comparative tests with other late-model units. Makes sense that it would be using more power as the addition of GLONASS is basically a whole extra multi-channel radio, which is one of the main contributors (along with screen) to current draw. Small price to pay for being able to get high accuracy in places where it would previously have been difficult to get a decent fix. Thoroughly recommend... some people might find it a bit heavier than other units (don't know that for sure but feels bulkier than an etrex) but marginal weight differences don't concern me too much.
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