reblog* After a Bike Packing GPS the Garmin eTrex 30


I need a gps which has batteries so no need to try have charging ability but that also can take maps ….

this review from here .

After well known eTrex Vista HCx Garmin has produced the new generation of GPS units including eTrex 30. Most of them have used touch screen technology. New eTrex xx and 62 series are the exceptions. In muddy and dusty conditions a touch screen isn’t my choice. Below is the first look – review of eTrex 30.

mtb

The new eTrex 30 unit like Vista HCx is equipped with the key control buttons and thumb stick. On eTrex 30 the thumb stick is placed on the right side. The main advantages of eTrex 30 are included functions for basic fitness parameters and custom maps & BirdsEye images (kmz & jnx raster maps). eTrex 30 is GLONASS ready and can operate in GPS + GLONASS mode. The provided user manual doesn’t mention many important functions and details like handling of jnx&kmz maps, tracklog limitations, fitness parameters recording etc and in this review I would like to present most of them. The official Garmin data & specification are available here.

 

1. What is in the box?

in_the_box

eTrex 30 GPS unit, USB cable, Quick start manual.

 

2. eTrex 30 body is made by well and precise designed plastic material.

housing_1

3 keys (zoom in/out & menu) are placed on the left side and 2 keys (back and power on/light) on the right side. Thumb stick is placed on the front. It is a miniature joystick helping us to navigate and select the menue items. Furthermore, thumb stick can select and mark any point on the map much more precisely than the finger on the units supplied with the touch screen. On the old Vista HCx the joystick is placed on the left side. I am right handed and I prefer to handle with GPS unit by my left hand. In this case my right hand is free for the moving and doing some other important tasks.

At the back side of eTrex 30 body there are battery and mini USB connector covers. The battery cover is fixed by locking ring and by plastic slot at the opposite side.

housing_2

In comparison with the old eTrex, the additional plastic slot and the shape of the cover improve the rigidity of the cover during vibrations special in the case of MTB rides. The next good news is that Garmin no longer uses the laminated rubber on the sidewalls of the unit. The pulled back laminated rubber made a lot of troubles on old eTrex series.

New eTrex 30 uses the same bike holder as Oregon/Dakota series.

bike_holder

This holder is very simple and sturdy. Can be easy fixed on any position on the handlebar. This is the next improvement over old eTrex series.

Based on my experience with the old units I mounted the additional tubing to protect my eTrex 30. A piece of tubing preventsslipping on smooth surfaces and protects against impacts (see more details in comments section).

tubing_protection

Mini USB port is covered by rubber keeping IPX7 waterproof standard of the complete housing.

usb_connector

It is important to know that eTrex 30 uses basic USB 1.1 standard only. High speed USB 2.0 is missing. It’s a pain to upload big files of the maps on the unit. USB 1.1 slows down the process when you experiment with some custom designed maps. For example to upload the map of 200MB it takes about 2-3 minutes. The option is to remove the micro SD card but in this case you have to remove the batteries too.

Micro SD card slot is placed below 2 standard  AA batteries.

back

NiMh, Alkaline or Lithium types batteries can be loaded. Each type should be confirmed in Setup – System menu.

 

3. As far as I know eTrex 30 is the first Garmin unit GLONASS ready.

gps_glonass

eTrex 30 can work in 2 modes: GPS and GPS + GLONASS. However, GLONASS ready unit helps to Garmin to sell new eTrex 30 in Russia without additional taxes.

 

4. In addition to vector maps eTrex 30 can display 2 types of raster maps: jnx maps and kmz custom maps. More details about these types of raster maps are available here

jnx_kmz_setup

Depending of the map scale factor and active zoom each uploaded map can be displayed or not. The scrolling & zooming speed of vector maps on eTrex 30 and eTrex Vista HCx is almost the same. The scrolling & zooming speed of raster maps (jnx & kmz) on eTrex 30 is much slower than on Oregon 550. Despite low resolution of the screen the processing power of eTrex 30 is not enough for fast redraw. In this respect Oregon 550 is much faster and using the same vector map I didn’t see any improvement over Vista HCx.

5. eTrex 30 can display heart rate and cadence.

map_screen

Like on Vista HCx on the map screen maximum 4 data fields can be set. During active tracklog both heart rate and cadence are recorded in gpx file. On 19-Apr-2012 I tested Garmin Connect and eTrex 30. Garmin Connect can detect eTrex 30. The data from the stored gpx track file can be exported to Garmin Connect via manual upload only. After that Garmin Connect can display the route on the map, speed, elevation, heart rate & cadence.

 

cadence_hr_belt_1

The optional cadence/speed sensor and heart rate belt are on the above image. The heart rate belt senzor is the old one, coming from my Oregon 550. I guess this type of heart rate senzor is not available any more. Both senzors are supplied with standard CR2032 battery. The battery can be easy replaced. My cadence/speed sensor setup uses cadence function only. Speed option is not supported by eTrex 30. On eTrex 30 speed value is recorded/calculated from GPS tracklog. I fixed the magnet & cadence sensor with tape too. This is the backup in the case when plastic strip brakes. The pairing of eTrex 30 and sensors is simple and fast. The cadence sensor can be easy mounted on different type of bikes. It’s very sensitive and minimum distance of magnet isn’t an issue.

 

profile_mtb_1

eTrex 30 supports different profiles for different activities. In each profile you can define different screens with different type of fields. The setup items are stored in each profile too. Above are typical map and trip screen configured for MTB activity. The profile is stored under MTB name.

 

6. eTrex 30 is equipped with sun readable screen. Below are the images of Oregon 550 (new version with better readability of the screen), eTrex Vista HCx and eTrex 30 at 0% & 50% backlight during cloudy day. Compare the size of the housing, size & readability of the screen. The scale factor is 120m on all units.

backlight_0

backlight_50

The readability of the screen under the sun:

eTrex 30, Vista HCx & Oregon 550 readability under sun

Good to know that the readability of eTrex 30 under the sun is very good. Click on the image to get the high resolution image.

 

7. The roughly current consumption measured with ampermeter.

power_consumtion

Roughly current consumption (mA) 0% backlight 50% backlight 100% backlight scrolling the map adds
eTrex 30 90 120 190 + 30 mA (raster map)
eTrex Vista HCx 90 135 190 + 10 mA (vector map)
Oregon 550 (new version) 130 165 230 + 110 mA (raster map)

eTrex 30 power consumption is almost the same like Vista HCx. Due to more processor power, scrolling the map adds more power consumption. Preliminary, Oregon 550 zooming & scrolling speed is almost x2 than eTrex 30.

 

8. eTrex 30 is equipped with 3 axis electronic compass like Oregon 550. The old eTrex Vista HCx has 2 axis compass. New 3 axis compass of eTrex 30 is slightly more responsive to direction changes than on eTrex Vista HCx.

After the calibration I compared 3 units with classic compass.

compass

The approx error of the azimuth in degrees is:

eTrex 30: 0°

eTrex Vista HCx: 1°

Oregon 550: 1,5°

Probably this is related to the compass chip and the error could be different from unit to unit on the same model……

 

9. 2D precision test

measure_place_2

Above is the image of the measuring place. The distance between Vista HCx & eTrex 30 and eTrex 30 & Oregon 550 is 4 meters under the opened sky. The direction of the placement is from south to north and the place is at UTM 33 (N) zone. I did 10 minutes GPS tracklog and 10 minutes waypoint averaging tests. Please note this is not the test of accuracy! The test were performed with firmware version 2.40. The data were imported into my GIS program and the results of precision are on below map:

karta_mjernih_rezultata2_low

Click on above image to get the high resolution image of the precision test. There is no benefit in precision from GPS+GLONASS and WAAS/EGNOS modes on eTrex30 in my zone. During the precision test Vista HCx outperformed eTrex 30 & Oregon 550. However, eTrex 30 GPS+GLONASS mode can help to speed up cold start and to increase the number of available satellites on the places with limited clear sky.

 

10. Elevation

The altimeter of eTrex 30 can work in automatic or manual mode. In automatic mode altimeter/barometer is calibrated with GPS elevation data. The details about automatic calibration are not available in the operating manual. After several runs and comparison of recorded elevation data  I can confirm that my eTrex 30 has less spikes than Oregon 550 and even less than Vista HCx. The main issue is that eTrex 30 calculates a fake total ascent value. I did the test with firmwares 2.40, 2.50 & 2.70. The total ascent value is 5-12% more than on Vista HCx. Hope Garmin will resolve the issue in the next firmware upgrade. The good point is that total ascent value can be displayed even on the trip screen. This option is not available on Vista HCx and Oregon 550. I tested total ascent value with firmware 2.80 and the issue of fake total ascent calculation is resolved. I removed the issue from (-) list.

12. My conclusion

Like some other Garmin models eTrex 30 includes some important characteristics for outdoor activities: standard AA batteries, IP protection, good outdoor readability of the screen, altimeter with barometer option etc. eTrex 30 offers many standard navigation functions. You can use them with vector routable and non routable vector & raster maps. Geocaches support is available too. Due to the size of the unit and available functions, eTrex 30 could be very popular for hiking and MTB.

During last few months I have compared Garmin eTrex 30 with Vista HCx & Oregon 550. Just few (+) and (-) are below:

(+) raster maps compatible (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) ready for heart rate & cadence option (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) 3 axis compass (2 axis only on Vista HCx),

(+) improved body materials and much better bike holder (better than on Vista HCx),

(+) fast cold start time (better than on Vista HCx),

(+) instead touch screen eTrex 30 is equipped with key command buttons and a thumb stick. In muddy & dusty conditions and with glows on my hands I prefer this setup. The same is on Vista HCx,

(+) total ascent field is available on trip & map screen (on Oregon 550 & Vista HCx total ascent is available on elevation profile screen only). Total ascent value is direct proportional to fatigue so this value is very important parameter for long rides or long hiking routes,

(+) different profiles can be set like on Oregon 550 (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) huge internal memory of 1.7GB can be extended with external micro SD card,

(-) very bad operating manual (nothing new from Garmin),

(-) slow redraws (zooming & scrolling) of the maps on the screen (Oregon 550 is much faster, no any improvement over Vista HCx, see above video at point 11),

(-) for precision no benefit from GPS+GLONASS mode (at least with firmware 2.40 and in my UTM 33N zone),

(-) slow USB 1.1,

Strava Heat Maps – how is yours?


It started off with raceshape that did a heatmap of your rides or runs and linked into your strava details …. but now raceshape doesn’t work and instead it has either been bought in-house or they have replicated it ….

quite nice seeing your heatmap with higher occurrences burning brighter but a faint line for routes run just the once ….

Here is my heatmap for running all time (since joining strava 2012)

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 16.38.50

and my routes for 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 18.38.02

See the interesting blobs at the 5 a side pitch. (shame you cant filter those out but that is an issue when strava doesnt let you add sports (5 a side, sailing, and kitesurfing would do me)

i am also a creature of habit running down the river and around the park ….

Now they could do a lot with this showing the most popular routes as well as the hottest segments – you could then plan your run or ride for a bit of a trophy hunt …

 

SO FAR STRAVA 6.5/10

 

Here is how you do it better …. http://www.jonathanokeeffe.com/strava/map.php

what 5 a side looks like on gps


My friend Tom asked what 5 a side looked like on a gps or Strava … well here Tom this is for you.

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 09.51.41

 

pretty accurate for something that has a 5m accuracy. It isn’t telemetary but it gives a good idea of the pitch covered – a full 11 a side pitch would be much more accurate in terms of area covered.

i use a Garmin Fenix HRM GPS – like this one here – fantastic – esp now they have dropped in price

Strava is bad today


went for a run and this is the picture I see after putting it into Strava so I think the Strava gremlin is out trying to change from Ride (default) to run.

Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 13.30.08

 

eventually i import it and Whoah something is wrong (besides my lack of pace which is expected) …. the gps track on the Fenix is way out.

 

bad gps track
bad gps track
Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 21.31.37
what the track should have looked like

So what could cause the track to be so bad on a cloud free day – was only wearing a vest so that can’t be to blame. So i googled the possible reasons.

Instead of the straight line, the satellites in the sky above you track your route through a series of plotted dots that’s typically within 10 feet of your GPS watch. But that 10-foot margin of error can add up over the course of 26.2 miles. Two dots could weave 10 feet inside and outside of that “straightest path possible” that the USATF certification ensured, which will add to the total distance on your watch.

Other factors can mess with your GPS, too, including:

  • The number of participants at big races often make going the “shortest path possible” impossible for most runners. Things like taking wide turns can add distance to your total.
  • Tree cover could disrupt the GPS readings and make it slightly less accurate.
  • Veering off for a water stop, bathroom break or to run over and high-five your kid will add distance to your total.
  • Starting the GPS in the corral rather than at the start line adds pre-start line distance to your total.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Snow, who doubles as a running coach, praises the usefulness of GPS watches in training. Few runners would disagree.

————

So no answer but changed software to latest version and there is a nice feature that will now read the ANT+ speed cadence sensor …… hooray.

Changes made from version 3.30 to 3.40:

  • Added full support for GSC 10 Speed/Cadence bike sensor to allow calibration and display speed (options found under Setup > ANT Sensor > Bike Spd/Cad, Setup > Fitness > Bike Speed)
  • Added ‘UTC (24 hr)’ option to alternate time zone list. This option displays UTC time in 24-hour format regardless of system settings
  • Added support for ‘Alt. Zones’ to become a data page option

So will see how good the new version is – off SUPing tomorrow so we will see.

Strava have updated their run analysis


Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 22.11.38

 

Great news, runners: your new run activity page on Strava.com is now live. We spoke to tons of you about what’s important when viewing your activities and those of others, and have incorporated your needs and experiences as runners into this new page.  Get more background around our redesigned run activity pages here.

See Your Race Results Like Never Before
Layered on top of the new run activity page is Strava’s Premium Pace Analysis, available now to Premium members for just $6 per month or $59 per year. In addition to Pace Distribution and Heart Rate Analysis, runners can now tag their run as a “Race,” giving runners interactive and granular pace data at every point during the race.

With Race Analysis, Premium members can now enjoy:

  • A pace bar graph showing your pace fluctuation, as well as your mile/km trends

  • Visualization of your meaningful race splits, such as 5K splits for a marathon

  • Pace scrubbing data to analyze every critical point during the race

  • Projected finish time data based on your performance throughout the race

  • Finish flag with the finishing time, signifying the race achievement

see your race performance in all its glory.

 

Back on the turbo and gone pro on Strava


After a short break due to a cold I am back on the turbo trying to get a bit fitter for the potential Srathpuffer 24 mtb race – I am far from ready – so far in fact that i cant see myself doing 4 hours let alone 12 ….

But had a spin on thursday on the turbo and so tonight started doing one of the sufferfest films Angels which is a great climbing training video. Felt the effect of the cold so only completed 2 of the 3 climbs.

Picture 1

Went pro on the Strava account and they have this HR analysis which is fairly interesting if a bit basic. Love strava for the KOM and the social pecking order so paid mainly as a big thank you ….

Picture 3

So what is Suffer and what is points in the red – well here it is ….

The Strava Suffer Score is an analysis of your heart rate data. By tracking your heart rate through your workout and its level relative to your maximum heart rate, we attach a value to show exactly how hard you worked. The more time you spend going full gas and the longer your activity, the higher the score. Compare your Suffer Score with friends and pros, see if you can do a truly epic workout and motivate yourself to push that extra bit harder! The Suffer Score was inspired by the concept of TRIMP (TRaining IMPulse) coined by Dr. Eric Bannister.

 

Points in the Red is the portion of your Suffer Score that you earned in your Zone 4 and Zone 5 heart rate zones. Points in the Red shows you the intensity of your workout – if your Suffer Score and Points in the Red are the same, you were hammering the entire time!

 

ANT+ connect the dots and know the score


ANT+ is the standard wireless transmission protocol for fitness equipment these days, for collection and transfer of sensor data, be that from a heart rate monitor, PowerTap or cadence sensor.

If you’re planning a set-up for your bike that’ll give you all the info you need for the perfect training session, or perhaps you’re hoping for a box with a nice shiny Garmin in your stocking this year, there’s now a site with a full directory of ANT+ compatible devices.

The directory is perfectly easy to use: just enter the first piece of equipment you’re planning to use, and read a short description of it. From there you can see all the compatible products, and cross check to make sure other monitoring equipment will be suitable too.

For more information, see This Is ANT.

*although I notice that the Fenix and Suunto Ambit aren’t listed *