Archive for January, 2010


Saturday, January 30th, 2010

In a previous post I commented about some problems with Garmin RoadTrip under Snow Leopard. It doesn’t appear to be quite as I implied. I did another test and found that waypoints did get transferred although I’m fairly certain that there was nothing different from the previous experiment. I’m going to leave updating my laptop for a few more weeks in any case.

Had an interesting exercise this afternoon. I needed to get some additional maps for my Garmin and so visited the Garmin site and identified what would be suitable, and purchased it as a download. The plan was to put a new empty microSD card into the eTrex and download the map to that. However, the first hurdle was that the Garmin software indicated that the firmware in my device needed updating.

I launched the Garmin WebUpdater for mac and indeed it showed that I was considerably behind in firmware updates and so I took a deep breath and started the process. It informed me it was “erasing…” and not to disconnect and continued to say that for some time. After 20 minutes or so it was clear that it wasn’t working but it wasn’t obvious how I could stop it or whether my GPS would now be bricked. The GPS showed some text implying it was loading but that also was unchanged for many minutes. I held the on/off button to turn the device off, unplugged it and turned it on, half expecting to find that nothing would happen. Fortunately it did start as normal.

I ended up doing this a second time with precisely the same problem.

Looking on the Garmin website there is a small note part way down the page saying that if the update hangs in the “Erasing” phase to try plugging the device directly into the computer. Like many people I have a number of USB devices and so typically I plug in via a hub. I think one of the most annoying aspects of USB is that unpredictable problems sometimes arise from hubs. Anyway, plugging the device directly, the update went smoothly in probably just a minute or so.

I was then able to get back to downloading the new map. This was not a particularly large one (only a few hundred megabytes, not like some that are a gigabyte or more), but obviously this took a while. Again an annoyance was that it said I was overwriting an existing file when the microSD card was empty. However, having got the confidence to ignore this, it all seemed to work fine.

Overall, I’m glad I’m able to do this from my Mac as previous DVD map purchases have required the use of a PC, but it isn’t quite all smooth sailing yet.

Garmin GPS

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Garmin ETrex Legend HCx

I have a Garmin Etrex Legend HCx which is a hand-held GPS unit powered by a couple of AA size batteries. I’ve been very happy with it, mostly for recording where I’ve cycled or walked so that I can subsequently record my travels (I’m finding the Mac TrailRunner application very useful) and geotag my photographs (both HoudahGeo and GPSPhotoLinker have been great for that).

It appears that Garmin’s RoadTrip software for Mac does not work well in Snow Leopard. After installing Snow Leopard on my iMac over the Christmas holiday I find that it appears to work but way points don’t seem to get transferred across.

I’m now in two minds as to whether to update my laptop to Snow Leopard and have to find another way of getting routes and way points on to the Garmin GPS or to stick with Leopard a little longer. Garmin have not been particularly speedy with either their provision of Mac applications nor their subsequent updates so I suspect this may be a long wait.