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The Crippler
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-04-15
Posts: 158
Location: Walworth

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:52 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I have a work friend who wants to get into geocaching but does not want to spend a great deal on a unit. He is looking at a Garmin Etrex H to start. I seem to remember something about a chip in Etrex units not being the best but that Garmin eventually fixed that? Not being a Garmin owner I am not sure of those details. Can anybody help out on this or let me know if this unit is a good starter unit? Thanks
 
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sandlanders
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-01-18
Posts: 19346
Location: Adams, WI

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:58 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Don't know about the chip or anything, but we chose the eTrex H to get started with, and over 600 caches later, we're still using it. Got the H for the better sensitivity, gets us right on most of the time. Needs the serial/USB cable for downloads, though, but since we don't do a lot of caches at one time, hand entering has done OK. Time consuming.

But definitely a good starter unit. Got ours a couple of years ago for less than $100. Pretty good battery life, too.
 
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jerrys dad
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-01-07
Posts: 1386
Location: Mukwonago

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:36 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I also have not heard about a chip. I do own two garmin etrexes. The basic etrex (before the H) and a legend cx. We actually use both for caching. My wife uses the basic one and I use the legend. The only problem we have with it is that it , the basic, only holds six digits for the GC name and new caches contain seven! They might have fixed this with the H. I would look for a refurbished one. You can get refurbished ones cheaper than new. I bought the legend for the price of the H.

At this point I would not buy anything but a garmin so go for it!
 
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sandlanders
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-01-18
Posts: 19346
Location: Adams, WI

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:47 pm Reply with quote Back to top

jerrys dad wrote:
The only problem we have with it is that it , the basic, only holds six digits for the GC name and new caches contain seven! They might have fixed this with the H.

Nope. Our eTrex H has only six spots for a cache name. Since I hand enter, I just make up a name that is like the cache name, and they usually end up looking like those vanity license plates.
 
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cheezehead
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-07-02
Posts: 6063
Location: Hayward, WI. USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:20 pm Reply with quote Back to top

for the extra $30-40, I think I'd get the Legend. It was my first unit.
YOu can get them at Wally World for under $150. You might also try ebay or on-line somewhere. I would think there would be some X-mas special cominng out soon too.
 
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hogrod
WGA Member



Joined: 2005-07-24
Posts: 639
Location: New glarus, WI

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:49 am Reply with quote Back to top

The original etrex models don't have as good of GPS chipset, any etrex with an H in the model uses a newer better chipset that holds signal much better in the woods.

I wouldn't buy the Etrex H even though it has a better chipset, it still uses a serial connection to the PC(doesn't come with cable) so it's much harder to just send waypoints to the unit. This is especially true if you have a newer PC/laptop without a serial port.

The Yellow Etrex H is the only H model etrex with a serial connection, if you look at the LegendH, VistaH, Venture HC, SummitHC, LegendHCX or the VistaHCX they all use a USB PC connection.

For slightly more than the Yellow EtrexH you can buy the LegendH or the VentureHC. Either unit can be bought for less than $150 if you shop around. These units are almost identical in specs, 24mb detail map storage, USB connection, & 18hr battery life. the main difference is the ventureHC has a color screen while the LegendH's screen is black&white.

With all that said I would probably try & get the VentureHC.
 
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Todd300




Joined: 2009-06-05
Posts: 2507
Location: Menominee, MI

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:16 am Reply with quote Back to top

I'm not fond of using cables to make transfers of any sort. I've always used my SD card to transfer files between my PDA and my computer and when I finally get around to getting a handheld GPS (I use my PDA with a bluetooth GPSr for caching), the handheld will definitely have an SD card slot so I can continue to make transfers this way.

I do the same thing with my digital camera. I never use the cable that came with the camera.

It's so much quicker. Pop out the card from the PDA, load card in computer, send files to card, load card into PDA and I'm ready to go.

I do the same thing with my Nuvi, which has an SD card slot as well.
 
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hogrod
WGA Member



Joined: 2005-07-24
Posts: 639
Location: New glarus, WI

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:58 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Todd300 wrote:
I'm not fond of using cables to make transfers of any sort.


The OP was asking about good cheap starter units, the only H model Etrex with a card slot are the LegendHCX and VistaHCX. these models range from $180-250, definitely not a cheap starter unit. Those models use Micro SD cards which are around the same size as an average person fingernail, and are very easy to drop/loose. Like you I also transfer my pictures from my digital camera by removing the card but these microSD cards are so small I have a hard time handling the thing.

Normal waypoints are not stored on the card of any etrex model, only custom POI which require more hoops to jump through + software just to get waypoints onto your gps. That makes hooking the unit up to the pc via a USB cable the ONLY way you can send normal waypoints to the unit & is actually easier.

Hook the cable from the unit to your PC, click the send to gps button on any cache page & the cache will get transferred to the unit with a few seconds(the first time you will have to install the garmin communicator plugin). For someone new to caching you can't get much easier than that.
 
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The Crippler
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-04-15
Posts: 158
Location: Walworth

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:59 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks everybody, he decided on the Venture HC and actually found it cheaper than the Etrex H he was looking at.
 
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Todd300




Joined: 2009-06-05
Posts: 2507
Location: Menominee, MI

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:52 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Re-reading through this and going caching with Sweetlife the other day and using his GPS, I knew I needed to get an actual GPS instead of using my PDA to cache with, so I ordered a Venture HC as well. I should get it before the end of this week.

Looking forward to giving it a shot.
 
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Zeroo3
WGA Member



Joined: 2009-12-04
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:52 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I m a new Cacher, but am using the Garmin Venture HC, so far I am satisfied with it, but have to use it for awhile longer to really give a more expert of a opinion on it..I carry along my Magellan Explorist 300 for just viewing the larger screen,but it doesnt have all the extra s as the Venture HC has, I really enjoy GeoCaching and my 2 grandsons go out with me sometimes also...
 
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