GPS devices I own or have owned

Before the early 1990s and no reasonably priced GPS units, we had Loran C,  while intended for ships, if you were close enough to the great lakes, the receiver would give you an accurate fix, well within 200 to 400 Metres.  Wow!.  It operated at very low frequency, about 100 KHz. and some pilots had installed devices in their aircraft.

Hand held devices, which can be used in a vehicle

1992    Garmin 55AVD Personal Navigator

This was one of the first hand holdable GPS units you could buy, it followed the 100AVD that was released in 1991. This model was designed for use in aircraft, but could be used with the attached battery pack on the bottom as a hand held device. (there was a model 50 without the aviation database)
It featured a preloaded database of airports and other things of interest when flying.
The display was numbers only, but did have a moving bar that would show how far off course you were.
The antenna was connected to the receiver with a BNC connector and could be removed, then an included cable could be attached, the antenna connected to the other end, that one with a suction cup to attach to the windshield
Power was normally supplied via. the plug in cord, or using the battery pack (attached at bottom), the device could run for up to 10 Hrs on 4 AA Alkaline Batteries.
Unit weight was 19.5 Ounces with battery pack attached
Start up was about 2 minutes to get a fix, and the receiver was sequential, in that it looked at one satellite at time for a second, then on to the next,  Modern units look at 30 plus satellites at one time.
This was a monochrome alpha numeric display only device.
No maps, no graphics.
But it worked
Cost... It was quite a few hundreds of dollars,  don't remember exact about, but I thinking it was about $800

One nice thing was since most aircraft did not have a 12 volt outlet, the battery pack did allow me to use the device in any aircraft.
I kept this unit for at least 10 years, as it was still usable for flying other than the database was out of date, but that is what the FS is for.

SOLD it years ago  

1996 Garmin GPS 38 Personal Navigator

Now this was a great improvement from the 55AVD as a hiking unit

It would go in pocket.  It did use 4AA batteries, but had a more semi-graphic screen with a cursor and menu system similar to the more modern device.  Like the 55AVD it was still a sequential receiver and as such could lose location under trees

It did have a sort of map,  see lower picture on left, centre. Showing your path and location relative to waypoints you have pre-loaded

It could run up to 20 hours on 4 AA alkaline batteries if you set it to battery saving mode, which reduced the receiver update rate

it was an 8 channel sequential receiver


1999 Garmin EMAP

Finally a GPS with real maps,  Using Garmin mapsource software packages you could load up topo maps, and marine maps

Since the topo maps did show roads, it worked not too bad in the car.  It did not do on road navigation.  It had no idea of when you should turn onto another road, but you could set a start waypoint and destination waypoint and see a line drawn between the two.  Now just drive alone switching roads as needed to stay near the line.

I used to set waypoints at highway interchanges that I wanted to switch to another highway,  using names that related the two highways.  That way you knew when and where you needed to switch to another road.

And.. It worked well for hiking.

It was only rated IPX4... resistant to water splashes from any direction


2000 Garmin eTrex "YELLOW"

This was the first of the Garmin eTrex.  I got it in late 2000,  it was just smaller than the Emap. The thinking was, a good unit for travelling and for use near water.  IPX7 for this one, that is 1M submerged for half hour, the emap was only IPX4

It did not have maps, but that was OK,  it wanted it for just hiking and would run for about 22 hrs on 2 AA batteries.

nothing fancy, but worked fine as a basic device.

It did get replace with the Vista unit below which was way more powerful.


2001 Garmin eTrex VISTA

The life of the Yellow was short.  Garmin brought out this one,  the Vista, it was same size, but... it has maps, an altimeter, and a magnetic compass, so as you looked at the map while standing and rotated the device, the map would rotate to match the direction you were looking

This unit I still have, it still works other that to upload or download to it, I have to get an old windows 98 laptop out that still has a RS232 serial port.

It did add WASS support for better accuracy and parallel operation

Usually use this on the bicycle now, as I don't need more powerful features

IPX7 like most of their handheld hiking units


2004 Garmin GPSMAP  60CS

The vista was good, but as new computers came alone, the RS232 serial ports went away, and the new USB ports became the normal.  So if I wanted a GPS that I could swap maps in and out of, I was going to have to upgrade.

This device had everything the Vista had, but with a larger colour screen and a USB port

But not wanting to rock the boat too much, the back of the unit contained external power connector, so the device could use same power cable as some of the marine units.

This unit I sold as it got replaced by the 62CS for that units geocaching support


2010 Garmin GPSMAP62S

In 2010 I got interested in Geocaching,  And while the gpsmap60 could do a bit with a cache, showing a symbol for it, it did not support paperless caching.  That is, it did not show information about the cache such as description and logs.

As such, I ordered the 62, with more or less same features as the 60, with compass and altimeter, but it did fully support geocaching.

Also, the back of the unit became a lot less cluttered, as there was no longer a power connector,  instead the USB connector became the power cable when needed.

This is a GPS with WASS  receiver

This unit did finally get replaced when it "BRICKED" itself,  no longer would complete turn on, screen would just freeze and fade away.  I did finally discover how to do a compete and total system reset that killed whatever was messing the unit up, so now it get used on the ATV.

2014 Garmin Oregon 750

I had be eyeing these more advanced units, It had all the  features of the 62C, plus faster processor and more memory,  a touch screen, a camera which also provided a flashlight the same as a cellphone does.  Also it can download via bluetooth and wifi

A great unit, but... not so great in the rain I discovered, the water drops do affect the screen,  likewise, you cannot use it when you have winter gloves on,  or while moving on a bicycle or ATV.  The little bumps make selecting things way too hard.  I also have issues when the screen is up on the map and you bump the screen while moving around in the bush just to find the screen has switched to some other mode, or is trying to mark a waypoint etc.

It supports GPS and GLONASS systems which does provide better coverage in heavy bush

This is still my favourite geocaching unit as it is usually quicker to call things up, but only in nice weather.

I am on my second one,  the first one developed an internal memory problem, and would no longer act as expected when one selected certain items.  So Garmin swapped it for another unit.

2018 Garmin GPSMAP 64S

When the GPSMAP 62 fell into a coma, I ordered this one.  It has similar speed and power as the Oregon, but can be used with gloves on, in the pouring rain.  The keypad does not care.

It supports GPS and GLONASS systems which does provide better coverage in heavy bush

2020 Garmin eTrex 10

I know, this is a big come down from the likes of the 64 and 750, but with a very unpleasant experience with security in Jordan, I decided for travel, I would switch to a cheap GPS and back it up with the cell phone.  If they take it away,  the cost is a lot less.

It does not really have maps, a base map is preloaded, and it is possible to pull a slight of hand and create a small topo. map from various sources and swap it into the device using the same name as the base map.

It does support geocaching, although memory is limited, so I tend to not have child waypoint (ie. parking spots) and limit it to not more than a 1000 caches.

There is no magnetic compass,  that means for direction to target you have to be moving and it creates a virtual compass.  No big deal. 

I find it works well in concert with the cellphone.  The Geocaching app. give me the location.  Punch that into this device and with it rather good receiver, will get me with 3 metres of target, way way better than the cellphone's internal GPS at 15 to 20M

This device was release in about 2011 as a low cost hiking and hunting tool.

It does receive both GPS and GLONASS systems signals.

See it better brother below, which will likely replace this one.

2021 Garmin Etrex touch 25

In 2021 I spotted one of these on clearance at Canadian Tire. This device was introduced in 2015 but was discontinued I guess sometime in 2021

I wanted a small lower cost GPSr for international travel, Given the hassle I received while trying to leave Jordan.  You would have though it was a destructive device or something.  This so far appears to be a better travel device than the Etrex 10 as it does take maps and has way more memory, and has sensors.
Like the various other garmins, it does receive both the GPS and GLONASS systems signals.

This unit does most of the major things I do with the Oregon, other than no camera and some of the wireless functions for sensors I don't use.  But that also includes Chirps, but it is OK, at least two other devices I have can do so, and I have only found 1 cache so far using this feature.

It does have more than enough memory for my various maps, a 1000 or more geocaches, has a three axis magnetic compass and a barometric altimeter

When I got the device it has the original release of firmware from 2015,  which really was slow and made me question why I bought the device, however a firmware update fixed all the issues.

Also, I did confirm that because it does not have as fast of processor as the Oregon, switching to .GGZ file format instead of .GPX files made loading a file containing a 1000 or so caches way faster.
It accepts the same maps I have used for years with my various older Garmins

So, now we just need to get back to travelling again.

Vehicle GPS units

 2002 Garmin StreetPilot 2610

This was my first road navigation GPS units. I had tried a marine unit for a while, model unknown, but it was simply like using one of the handheld uints, only with a larger screen

This unit has special maps that the GPS could plot a course alone roads and instruct me when to turn.  This was installed in the pickup truck as the general navigation system.  Also had off road mode, which in some places, is exactly what we were driving on.

Touch Screen input, plus a small wireless remote control so you could control the device without having to reach way forward to the windshield.

It also talked to you, telling you the instructions so you could stay focused on the road.

It has been retired, but still have it,  in fact I have two of them.  A friend gave me his

2007 Garmin StreetPilot 7200

New RV trailer, new GPS for the truck.

This had a much bigger display than the 2610, but in a lot of ways was similar. 

It still came with a remote control, and routed about the same.

Had a nice feature in that it would accept a memory card (SD) which we could put talking book mp3 files on.  The unit would play the book, but when it had to say some information, it stopped the book, spoke it's information, backed the book up a second or so, and continued playing.  I had connected the audio output to an RF adapter to play over the truck's radio for better sound.

It was in service until 2013 when Garmin's maps became too large for the memory and one would have to decide what parts of North America we did not want in the device.  Hard call, since we drove everywhere and didn't want to limit ourselves.

2008 Garmin Nuvi 255W

We had put the SP2610 into the car when it came out of the truck, but it would also no longer get map updates, unless I wanted to buy a special subscription.  So the last map update was 2010

This one worked nicely in the car, about 5" x 3" it and less than 3/4" thick, it was tiny.  And it could be pulled from the car, and used around town when walking.

It later moved from one car to another as the primary car's unit was updated.. See below

2013 Garmin RV760LMT

In 2013 got a new pickup and new RV trailer, so a new GPS was on the table.   As well, the older SP7200 did not have enough memory for Garmin's new maps.

This one was the new toy.  About same size as the 7200, with it's 7" screen, it added a number of features.

A wireless camera for the rear of the trailer so I could see directly behind me. It has the normal touch screen, no remote control.. But is voice commanded. Gone was the mp3 player although the truck had that built in.

The price also included lifetime map updates.  And it has a built in traffic alert receiver that warns of traffic issues on the current route.  It will then offer alternative routes if possible

When in RV mode, you input the size of your rig, including the height, and the device will check the route for clearance issues.  It uses a database that was developed for the trucker version (Garmin Dezl)

2914 Garmin Nuvi 2797LMT

The car got replaced with a SUV, and a new GPS was desirable.  We picked this one as it was functionally almost identical to the RV760

Same size, controls, and has all of the same features, other than the RV mode that checks the route and no camera.

Fully voice controlled, life time maps, traffic.  It did makes things a lot nicer as I switched between vehicles.  Just use same controls.

The car's Nuvi 255W got moved to the little 2 seater convertible.

2019 Garmin Drive 60LM

This one was obtained for Geocaching.

I was out getting a few caches, and was parked in the truck when I saw a couple walking towards same spot as I had just found the cache.  I rolled down the window and called to them.   Turns out they have found many tens of thousands of caches... So we got to talking.

One of their key tools is an old Garmin that they upload geocaches as favourites,  That way as you drive along it is showing any upcoming caches that you put in it, as well it is very quick after you find a cache, just select another on the list and it will route you to it.

So,  I found this one used.

It is no where as good as the two larger units, touch screen is not great, no voice command, it is a simple low cost GPS, it it does work, originally released in 2016 and has a 6" screen.

It also now tends to get stuck on the windshield of the little 2 seater, it is just a bit easier to see that the little Nuvi 255


Other GPS navigation things

Before the GPS units with good mapping, we used to use a small laptop in the vehicle.
Connected to it was usually the handheld GPS being used for navigation, or a GPS receiver with no display attached to an USB cable.

The first software we used was Delorme's mapping software.  It gave you a moving map on the screen, getting position from the serial or usb cable connected to the GPS

The last of this type of software we used was Microsoft's Streets and Trips.  It came with a little GPS module that you set on the dash. 

While we did have a mapping GPS in the truck, it view on the screen was limited, while the computer could look at the big picture, and we could decide a better route say around a city, then follow that as the truck's GPS simply kept saying "recalculating"

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2021 03 20