Configuring and using a Garmin eTrex for the first time can prove difficult for beginners.
You really need to configure the basics before you leave home, and then reset certain data before you set off on your walk.
So this post attempts to provide a basic procedure to ease some of the frustration for new users.
As mentioned in earlier posts, the Garmin User Manual for the eTrex is a kind of reference document to the menus and features on the unit. When it comes to general useage, that is left up to you.
There are lots of options and possibilities, but lets start by assuming that you want to take an eTrex on your next walk in the countryside. Specifically, you want to:-
- record the start location (where you parked the car)
- record the track or route that is taken
- record the distance walked
Before you leave home
Here are some basic configuration suggestions:-
- Set Units (either metric or Imperial); for UK go to Setup > Distance & Speed = Statute
- Set Position (coordinates) Format; for UK go to Setup > Position Format = British Grid
- Enable Track recording and Track display; Setup > Tracks > Track log = Record, Show On Map
- Configure the Map display to show distance walked (Trip Odometer) and GPS accuracy; from top level menu go to Map, press menu side button > Change Data Fields
You may also wish to simplify the top level menu. This is not important but I found it useful to hide menu items that I do not use;
- Press the back button a few times to make sure you are at the top level menu
- Press the menu button then select change menu order by pressing the joystick
- Highlight any item you wish to remove or to just move within the top level menu (e.g. Man Overboard)
- The insert option allows you to put items back into the menu that you may have previously hidden
When you start your walk
|the Satellite screen|
When you are at the starting point for your walk do this:-
- Switch on eTrex, navigate to the Satellite option and wait for accuracy to stabilise at low level (e.g. 3m/10ft) then press "back" to return top level menu
- Go to Mark Waypoint. Replace the location number at the top of the screen with "start" or "car" then click Done
- Go to Trip Computer > press the menu side button> Reset > Clear Current Track
- Go to Trip Computer > press the menu side button> Reset > Reset Trip Data
Now go to the top level menu, select Map and start your walk.
The Map and Compass displays may not show your direction correctly unless you are moving. That is because the eTrex 10 does not have a magnetic compass. So walk a few steps so your Garmin can work out which way you are travelling.
Use the up/down arrows to zoom the map view.
Hopefully the GPS accuracy display will give you confidence in your current location (e.g. within the displayed reading, which will generally be 3m to 5m unless you are in a difficult reception area). Walking with the Garmin in your outstretched hand is said by some people to give best results, ...but I think someone is having a laugh!
The accuracy of the Trip Odometer may be limited by the GPS accuracy, e.g. if you stand still for a while, the device may continue to update your position within the radius displayed for GPS accuracy. So if your position is updated 5 times, each time 1m away from your last position, you may see a Trip distance of 5m.
However, if you keep walking, the Trip errors will be a smaller percentage of the distance traveled. Also, the Garmin software may try to determine whether you are actually moving, and attempt to minimise the error when you are stationary.
You can of course add further waypoints as you walk along your chosen route, which may (for example) indicate where that nice looking pub was that you passed on your way out. Have fun!
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