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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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Old 08-24-2010
MWebster
 
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Garmin Colorado 400C GPS

I have owned the Garmin Colorado 400C GPS for 2.5 months and use it on a sailboat going less than 8 mph. The 2 problems are 1) the speed jumps all over the place second by second when going that slow so it is useless for sailing needs (I wonder if the ETA, ... are inaccurate) and 2) the map display and cursor/track up only works correctly if the GPS is lying horizontal (if the GPS is vertical the cursor moves down & sideways). Garmin tells me the inaccurate speed is a feature due to the intense accuracy of WAAS. They had no answer for the need to hold horizontal other than telling me that the satellite reception breaks up over water and can't be used on the water. I am pleased with it (since I am upgrading from a 14 yr old Garmin 12) in many ways & don't see an alternative for a manual GPS with charts on a sailboat. Also the price is right.

I have tried this GPS walking, driving, riding the launch at our marina, and on the high speed ferry to try to debug the problems. It works fine on the high speed ferry which is where I've figured out the many features since I have an hour to play.

I plan to use my ancient Garmin 12 for speed -- hope it lasts.

I did upload the firmware when registering at Garmin. But haven't had the problems others reported.
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Old 08-24-2010
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I've been using my 400C for a couple of seasons now. Yes, speed varies by 0.5kt or so. I'm looking for the peaks in my speed to help with sail trim mostly. Try the trip computer function to get a more average speed over distance to help with DR and EP.
As far as orientation goes, I think hold it about 30 degrees off vertical with no problem. The only complaint I have is that I usually have to recalibrate the compass to get the arrow to point forward

Mike
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Old 08-25-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWebster View Post
I have owned the Garmin Colorado 400C GPS for 2.5 months and use it on a sailboat going less than 8 mph. The 2 problems are 1) the speed jumps all over the place second by second when going that slow so it is useless for sailing needs (I wonder if the ETA, ... are inaccurate) and 2) the map display and cursor/track up only works correctly if the GPS is lying horizontal (if the GPS is vertical the cursor moves down & sideways). Garmin tells me the inaccurate speed is a feature due to the intense accuracy of WAAS. They had no answer for the need to hold horizontal other than telling me that the satellite reception breaks up over water and can't be used on the water. I am pleased with it (since I am upgrading from a 14 yr old Garmin 12) in many ways & don't see an alternative for a manual GPS with charts on a sailboat. Also the price is right.

I have tried this GPS walking, driving, riding the launch at our marina, and on the high speed ferry to try to debug the problems. It works fine on the high speed ferry which is where I've figured out the many features since I have an hour to play.

I plan to use my ancient Garmin 12 for speed -- hope it lasts.

I did upload the firmware when registering at Garmin. But haven't had the problems others reported.
Does the Colorado have various modes, such as marine, road, walking? If it does the setting may change the speed averaging algorythm. I have an Oregon 400c set to the marine mode and have not noticed much difference in speed with my fixed mount charplotter.
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Old 08-25-2010
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Thanks for your reply. I went through all my settings with an engineer friend who has a Garmin Chartplotter & the Garmin 76. I do have it set to marine. I saw this post on Sailnet in 2007 which is exactly my experience - "One more anomaly I just remembered on the Colorado, don't know if the problem is the same with other units. The GPS speed is not damped so it fluctuates a lot within a single second. It can do 4.3,4.6,5.0,4.4 within a second and half which makes using it to test sail trim less accurate than it could be. Maybe a firmware upgrade will fix it."
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