Posted by Robert Waits on June 7, 2005, 10:09 amPlease Register and login to reply and use other advanced options
Hi. I just wanted to inform anyone who might be considering buying the new
Explorist 600 by Magellan that the "bells and whistles" they advertise are
1. The Thermometer. upon starting the unit begins to climb beginning about 4
degrees off and rapidly climbing to about 15 degrees to high and stays
Magellan put the temperature sensor right next to the backlight.....sigh.
2. The Barometer, The Barometer has a range or 16 - 31 inHg and in this
small range it is consistently 4-8 inHg off. I have checked this against
three reliable sources
and they are all in agreement with each other but not with the Explorist 600
The Barometer also reads (RISING, STEADY, FALLING,) and is all over the
place, and usually wrong!
The amazing thing is when you get almost any kind of Barometer for another
sources the first thing you do is calibrate it to your local pressure so you
have a starting base point,but, the Explorist does not have a way to do this
so I guess you are stuck with whatever base calibration Magellan uses in
3. The Altimeter, seams to work if you calibrate it every 2-3 hours, but if
you sit on a rock in the mountains for about 20 minutes you can gain or lose
in altitude. but at least you can Re-calibrate it and move on.
These are all valid problems for a good tech support person but, upon
contacting tech support via E-Mail four times and explaining in detail my
problems some wonderful techie copied and pasted a page from the user manual
that had nothing to do with my problem and mailed this to me..
Another E-Mail and I was told to turn my Magellan (on/off) for 24 hours
to get a Barometer history started, I did this, it did not change one
I e-mailed and explained this did not help.....
....after this they refuse to answer my requests for help so I called...
...I sat on HOLD for 48 minutes and listened to ENYA music and the always
encouraging "Your call in important to us please stay on the line."
After finally giving up they offer a "Call Back" leave your number and we
will call you back up to 6 times today....Well,...for two days I had someone
sitting by the phone on the ready to answer and NO CALL BACK!!!!, so,, I
E-Mailed tech support and asked them to- Call me back -and they now (not
having any answers for me) refuse to answer my e-mails or call me back.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the
intention of arriving safely in a pretty and
well preserved body, but rather to skid in
broadside, thoroughly used up, totally
worn out, and loudly proclaiming
"WOW, WHAT A RIDE!!!"
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Posted by golfer on June 7, 2005, 12:43 pm
Posted by Jack Yeazel on June 7, 2005, 6:17 pm
I'm not worried so much about the thermometer and barometer (which have
been fairly useless in their previous models with these features), but
can someone tell me how to upload waypoints (geocaches, personal POIs
-or whatever they are now called) from a MapSend map to the unit...????
Using the "Geocache Manager" (so far) has defeated me... This is a nice
small unit with a very bright color screen (we're working on a review of
the 600 and 500 -with help from outside), so we'd like to give it our
Robert Waits wrote:
Get general GPS information at: http://www.gpsinformation.net/
Posted by Herb Schuhmacher on June 8, 2005, 9:34 am
Thanks for the posting. It's always good to know from what companies to stay
Posted by Pieter Litchfield on June 8, 2005, 4:37 pm
Strangely I have had excellent service from Magellan. I have had problems
with a SporTrak Pro and a Meridian Color, and the response was excellent
with both. I would be curious as to what you expected customer service to
do? I am not debating the validity of your concerns - I find the barometer
on my 600 to be as useless as "teats on a boar hog" too. But customer
service can't fix it if it is DESIGNED wrong. Ditto a thermometer that is
designed wrong. So I suspect they put you on hold forever because they
don't want to tell you they can't do anything about it. If I were you I'd
try asking for a refund from the retailer or Magellan if the retailer
About the only bell that works is the electronic compass on mine. That's
why I paid the big bucks.
I have already posted my rant on how badly Magellan cobbed up some
"translation" software so that MapSend Topo 3D would work with the
Explorist - barely, and only if you work for NASA part time!
Posted by Skramblr on June 12, 2005, 11:54 am
I bet his main point was to not buy the more expensive 600 model, but stick
with the lower priced 500 model.
Posted by Jack Yeazel on June 13, 2005, 7:03 pm
We are looking at the 600... IMHO, the compass included in the 600 is
worth the price difference... I agree that the barometer and
thermometer are useless, but the compass is worth it...
Get general GPS information at: http://www.gpsinformation.net/
Posted by Pieter Litchfield on June 13, 2005, 9:20 pm
Posted by Peter on June 13, 2005, 9:52 pm
Pieter Litchfield wrote:
Good information to know. For me personally the compass function is of
no interest at all, but I have found the enhanced altimeter and
barometer functions on the Garmin models (like the Vista and assorted
'S' models) to be quite useful. Sounds like I won't need to look at the
The response by tech support in [not] addressing the issues was also
Posted by Hoshisato on June 15, 2005, 7:33 am
I use a Silva compass and ordnance survey maps as backup to my GPS
loaded with topo information. My reasoning was that a compass included
in a GPS is more expensive than the decend Silva compass, the build in
compass uses power better saved for tracking satellites and that if the
GPS unit fails the build in compass is worthless as well.
My reasoning is probably built completely on misunderstandings and
therefore I'm interested to learn why it is worth spending the extra
money for that feature.
(I'm not trolling - ^_^)
Posted by Pieter Litchfield on June 15, 2005, 11:33 am
One simple reason is that the bearing (angle from present position to
"target") is corrected on the GPS's electronic compass display.
I too use paper maps, GPS and compass. When I wish to walk cross country
and there is, for example, a river, swamp, or thicket that prevents me from
going in a straight line on the bearing provided by the GPS, I will often
transfer the bearing to the compass and try to walk it as closely as
possible. However, if I walk way off course to avoid an obstruction, I then
have to transfer a new bearing to the compass and begin again. The
electronic compass is just simpler to use for this since it always displays
the correct bearing from my present position. Is it necessary? No. Is it
important? No. Of course, we all used keys to unlock our cars before
remote controls. It's just a bit handier, and the power use doesn't bother
me - the 600 has a rechargeable battery.
Posted by David Lee on June 15, 2005, 2:53 pm
The only reason for a magnetic compass built in to a GPS receiver is so that
the GPS will point you in the correct direction when stationary, which is
useful if you are into GeoCaching. When you are moving a GPS is already a
perfectly effective compass - deriving speed and direction from the doppler
shift of the satellite signals. However a two-axis magnetic field sensor
(as in a Garmin receiver) will be nowhere as near as accurate as your good
quality Silva instrument. In the UK the Earth's magnetic field is
predominantly vertical but the GPS only measures the horizontal components,
which means that it is crucially important that the GPS is held absolutely
horizontal, both when calibrating and using.
A Garmin GPS has a clever algorithm that can fit a plot of horizontal field
strength against direction relative to the GPS itself (obtained as you
rotate the receiver twice around) to derive both the magnitude of the
horizontal component of the Earth's field and a correction for the magnetic
field of the GPS itself (mainly arising from the batteries). I assume that
the second rotation of the GPS is used to check the calibration derived from
the first in order to decide whether to accept or reject it.
When you are using the built-in compass the GPS will compare the measured
strength of the Earth's magnetic field with its stored value - if the two
are significantly different then it will assume that you are not holding the
device level and will give you a warning. However, particularly when
pointing E-W, you can tilt the GPS sufficiently to get a significant error
in bearing before you get any complaints about not being level. Similarly
you can introduce significant errors during calibration before the GPS
rejects the calibration attempt which lead to inaccurate compensation for
the internal magnetic field. My experience is that readings close to N or S
are usually still fairly accurate but those close to E or W can be displaced
by a large angle in the same direction (ie both towards N or both towards
Personally I would never rely on the built in magnetic compass but if you
want to do so you should perform a quick sanity check after each
re-calibration (and remember that, since the batteries can be seriously
magnetic, you must re-calibrate each time you change them). For a quick
check of your calibration align the GPS with one of the gridlines on a map
and rotate the two together (holding them absolutely level of course) until
the GPS indicates N. Then rotate the GPS relative to the map in steps of 90
degrees (using the map gridlines as a guide) and check that it reads W, S
and E accurately as well. If you find that N, S, E & W are not being
indicated mutually at right angles then you should repeat your calibration
until they are.
Posted by David Lee on June 15, 2005, 5:51 pm
David Lee wrote stuff...
Sorry - I was wibbling on about Garmin receivers and now realise that the
thread was about a Magellan! I think that Magellans use a three axis
magnetic sensor and so some of the Garmin issues will not apply. I still
wouldn't trust a built-in elecronic compass for critical navigation, though.
Posted by Chris Malcolm on June 16, 2005, 3:11 am
Well, sometimes it's handy to have to carry only one thing in your
hands. There are two advantages that come from having it
integrated. The first is that you can do some extra things in the
software, such as the "point and go" feature, where you use the GPS
like a sighting compass (there are marks) to project a distant
waypoint you want to use either as a bearing or as a direction. The
second is that the unit can know when you turn round when stationary,
so that when standing still and looking around, the display is always
oriented in the direction you're looking, and that display swings
round as you swing round. Since you can see much further ahead than to
the sides in the display (in point-ahead mode), this can be a useful
extension to the zoom facility when checking out the surroundings.
But you have to learn how to turn the compass on and off, etc., or
else you'll get it accidentally turned on and use up your batteries
faster than you expected. It's quite easy to avoid doing this, you
just have to read the manual.
If you are one of those who would rather die than have to read the
manual and do a bit of thinking and experimenting, don't get the
compass and altimeter model, it will just confuse and annoy you.
Chris Malcolm email@example.com +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205
IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
Posted by johnccalhoun on July 13, 2005, 6:30 pm
The Explorist 300 allows you to calibrate the thermometer and the
barometer. You just need to call the technical support. After 40
minutes of Enya and much frustration I was able to talk to a very
friendly and knowledgable support person. (He was actually from the US
and not India, mildly suprising) Anyways there is a secret menu
system on the explorist that you can enter. It is kind of like typing
a secret code for a video game.
My thermometer had been off by 10-20 degrees but the barometer
was dead on correct. After the recalibration the thermometer was
consistently 5-6 degrees high of the current temperature. (Note: it was
in the shade and had time to adjust to the present temperature).
I haven't used the Explorist 300 that much but it seems to be
pretty good. It does have maps with major roads and intersections.
Missing most smaller side streets and residential streets. It does
pretty well with city and neighborhood names. Initial acquiring of
satelites can take about 2-4 minutes but if you are consistenly turning
it off and on every couple of hours it reaquires satelites quite
fast(10-30 seconds). The 2 AA batteries last about 14 hours. Also
the barometric altimeter is about 50-100 ft off on mine. I am exactly
at sea level. The gps altimeter does pretty well and the compass works
too. The compass also tells you the position of the sun and the moon
which is a nice bonus.
The display is nice and has quite a bit of shading to
distinguish features on the map. Redraws of the map when scrolling
don't take that long and are not that frequent. (About 1 second for a
re-draw). I would recommend the Magellan Explorist 300 for the hiker
or outdoorsman. As for mapping out a drive it won't get you exactly
where you want to go. You still need a city map or a little bit of
luck. I bought the Explorist 300 for $158 + $15 for the carrying
case. I got it online from an out of state web retailer.
To change thermometer and barometer settings. Caution: this
may be a bad idea so use discretion.
-Go to menu
-left arrow-right arrow-left arrow-right arrow until
a 2 digit display comes up.
-enter the number 14
-change the temperature to the current temperature
and barometer readings
-save the changes
Posted by Skramblr on June 12, 2005, 12:04 pm
I don't have the eXplorist, but I am considering it. Based on my experience
with the Meridian:
1) Did you calibrate the thermometer? Of coarse it isn't accurate (non are)
because the sensors are inside that water tight case with all those warm
electronics. Once you recalibrate it should track better (not great, but
better). Remember it is really measuring the GPS temperature and the inside
of that case is not going to change temperatures the same way as a
thermometer mounted to the wall. Think of putting a thermometer in your
house and expecting it to tell you what temperature it is outside. To
calibrate on the Meridian, you go to the weather screen, hit the Menu
button, Select Calibrate, then Enter the correct temperature.
2) For calibrating the Barometer, its the same as temperature. To calibrate
on the Meridian, you go to the weather screen, hit the Menu button, Select
Calibrate, then Enter the correct pressure.
3) Elevation changing 20-30 ft over a long period of time is normal for
consumer grade GPS units. You'll find your position shifting too. Is this
your first GPS?
I've heard the eXplorist is missing a few of the menus found on the
Meridian. So please let me know if the calibration menu option is missing.
Also, the main reason for buying the 600 for me would be the Compass feature
(haven't used temp or pressure reading on my Meridian in years). When
geocaching, the 3-axis electronic compass is an invaluable feature.
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