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GPS Mapsets => Northwest Topos => Topic started by: kidtree on November 29, 2015, 11:30:31 am

Title: Etrex 30x, -20x
Post by: kidtree on November 29, 2015, 11:30:31 am
I lost my etrex 30 and replaced it with the new etrex 30x.  I haven't been able to load NW Topos on the new device, either in native memory or my 32GB microSD card.  I'm using Garmin Base Camp on my PC with NW Topos, and I click the Maps menu, then Install maps...
It spends an hour and a half installing NW Topos, then reports that it failed!
Is anyone else out there using the new etrex 30x or 20x?  Garmin's docs don't even mention the existence of 3rd-party maps, so they''re no help.  It's quite possible I'm doing something wrong - I haven't found a function to format the SD card for Garmin, for instance, but I wonder if Garmin has "improved" this model by forcing it to accept only Garmin products.  As much as I like USGS maps, I need the additional trails displayed by NW Topos!
 :D Jan. 12, 2016: It works!  I'd been using the eTrex 30x to save tracks for later viewing, without a decent map set in the unit.  When I plugged it in with Garmin BaseCamp yesterday, it offered to update the unit's firmware.  I did that, then thought to try loading NW Topos once more.  It took most of 2 hours, but this time it worked!  I now have the details and the little-known trails that make my GPS useful to me.
Here's the other surprise: when I unplugged the USB cable and restarted the unit, it spent several minutes loading the new firmware I'd downloaded.  That means that when it successfully loaded my new maps, it was still running the old version 2.10 firmware, not the 2.30 I'd just downloaded.
My best guess is that staying busy on the computer, rather than leaving the room and letting it go to sleep saved my map download.
I could be wrong, but I recommend disabling your PC's power-saving options for the duration of the map download to the GPS, or keep using the computer so it doesn't sleep.
NW Topos is such a good mapset for us Washington outdoors types that if the 30x hadn't worked with it, I'd have traded down for the earlier model.

Title: Re: Etrex 30x, -20x
Post by: Moun10Bike on November 30, 2015, 06:31:07 pm
Ack, I sure hope that the maps work with newer devices! I haven't heard of any other reports of issues with third-party mapping on them.

Title: Re: Etrex 30x, -20x
Post by: kidtree on January 12, 2016, 11:27:52 pm
Most of the instructions for installing NW Topos are based on older GPS units that can hold only one map set and work with a different PC program.  Garmin's BaseCamp program that comes with these eTrex units gives more flexibility.  You can load multiple maps into BaseCamp and use it to load as many of those maps into your eTrex as you have room for.  Just make sure your maps have different names, and you can select which to use in the eTrex menus and in a drop-down list box in BaseCamp.
I use a SanDisk 32 GB microSD card in my -30x to hold the maps.  Map files are huge, but I still have 25+ GB left to fill with other maps or photos or something.  I never did find instructions for formatting the SD card.  Apparently BaseCamp took care of that when I loaded the map.  Once you've downloaded and installed the map for BaseCamp, it's just a matter of clicking the Maps menu at the top, then "Install Maps".  Sit back and give it a minute to find your GPS and the map set, then let her rip.  As I complained above, installation failed twice for me - I think it was because I allowed my PC to go to sleep.  This time I stayed active on the computer while it was loading, and all went perfectly.

...And another thing!  If you don't own a GPS yet, you can still try out Base Camp and NW Topos.  Both are free downloads from Garmin and Switchbacks, so you can test both the maps and the program without springing for that hardware yet.  But here's an important note: Click the View menu in BaseCamp, then Toolbars, then check Detail Level.  Now find your new Detail Level list box and change it to Higher or Highest.  The default Average mode shows sparse, kinky contour lines, but NW Topos is better than that.  Change it to highest, and you'll see detail that puts the expensive Garmin maps to shame.