More Garmin grief . . . the saga continues

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Nick
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More Garmin grief . . . the saga continues

Postby Nick » Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:29 pm

Blog followers may recall the Garmin agent in Las Palmas losing all our WPs when upgrading the software and changing the battery on our Garmin GPS128 last month (cost 60 euros), in addition to leaving all the factory defaults in and the language set to Spanish!

I was annoyed at the lack of consideration, but pleased that the set now remembered where it was - previously we had to re-initialise it each time.

Yesterday morning we switched it on and it said beepity beepity beep . . . ALL DATA LOST :(

And there it was - back to factory defaults again (but in English this time :)

The Garmin work was guaranteed for a year, so I will try sending it back to a Garmin dealer in the UK when we are back home and the boat is out of the water, but in the meantime does anyone have any idea why this might have happened?

And . . . if we decide to replace this set with a similar basic GPS, which one would the panel recommend? Are there models where the software can be downloaded and upgraded via the owner's PC rather than by sending the set to a dealer?
Last edited by Nick on Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cpedw » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:41 pm

Nick,
Not a solution to the problem with your GPS but a handy device anyway, and would save you re-entering all your waypoints and routes is Gardown http://www.forsterlewis.com/soaring/soaring_with_gps/gardownd.zip which downloads/uploads Garmin 128 (and other Garmins - don't know which) data as plain text files. It needs a Garmin/com port cable and the Garmin's interface setting to Garmin/Garmin.

It's a very old, clunky DOS program but it mostly works.

Derek

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Nick
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The Garmin saga continues . . .

Postby Nick » Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:40 pm

I think the easiest thing I can do here is copy and paste the email I have just sent to the alleged Garmin agent in Las Palmas:

--------------------------------------
TO:

Rolnautic
C/. Joaquin Blanco Torrent
Pto. Deportivo de Las Palmas
Gran Canaria

Dear Sirs,

On 23rd March 2007 you charged me 60 Euros to replace the battery in my Garmin GPS128. The unit was working but needed re-initialised every time it was switched off.

------------------------------------------------
INVOICE NO: (N. FACTURA) : 402667/07

FECHA: 23-03-07

ALBARAN : 403014/07

Hoja : 1
------------------------------------------------

You returned the unit to me set to factory defaults with all my data lost and the language set to Spanish. After resetting everything it worked for three weeks, then on the 14th April in Lanzarote it suddenly lost all the data and had to be reinitialised again every time it was switched on.

Since then we have left it permanently switched on. I sourced another compatible battery and took the unit into MAYS (Mid Atlantic Yacht Services) here in Horta, Azores, and asked them to please solder it in for me. When I went back they said they didn't want to touch the unit until I had seen how the existing battery had been installed. They didn't believe me when I said it had been done by a Garmin agent.

1. It was NOT the correct battery, having no solder tags on it - just a standard button cell

2. Solder tags had been added and soldered right across at least one of the tracks connecting a small resistor to the circuit board.

3. The tags had then been attached to the battery by covering the hole thing in Sikaflex!!!!! There was no solder connection to the battery.

I have attached a photograph showing the battery - most of the Sikaflex has been scraped off at this point, but you can still see the residue.

MAYS are going to try to repair the unit, but because the solder tag was placed across a track the unit may be beyond repair.

If MAYS can fix the unit then I want my E60 back plus the cost of the repair here. If the unit is permanently damaged then I want a new unit made available immediately here in the Azores, as we need it for the 1200 mile ocean crossing back to the UK. You have placed our boat in danger with this appalling workmanship, and should not in my opinion be allowed to hold a Garmin agency. Garmin will be getting a copy of this email.

Regards,

Nick Bowles

SV 'Fairwinds'
Horta, Faial, Azores

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Postby Silkie » Mon Jun 25, 2007 8:29 pm

FFS!

Hope they get their comeuppance from Garmin.
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PC to GPS and vice versa

Postby foolsbrew » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:55 pm

Nick,

You had asked about PC to GPS and what other folk were doing. I have a Raymarine C70 chartplotter with the oh so precious Raymarine GPS antenna. Raymarine provides a PC-based program to transfer GPS waypoints and routes back and forth but it depends on using a CF card as an intermediary - meaning you create a spreadsheet of your waypoints on the PC, the Raymarine utility then converts and writes the beast out onto a CF card, which you then take down the boat, insert into the CF slot, and ask the chartplotter to transfer from the card. Likewise, you would export from your chartplotter to a CF card, take it home, and then read it into the PC. One nice thing is the CF is solid state, so no moving parts, so not prone to data loss or failure. It looks like in their current line-up, the 172 is the "entry level" chartplotter that accepts data cards, and they say "Garmin data cards" which smells proprietary to me.

I also use a Garmin Legend handheld, and these now come with a built-in USB port and cable, and a handy CD with transfer utilities, etc on it. It uses a proprietary format, not NMEA, so no plugging it into other boat systems, but for moving and backing up waypoints etc to a PC it seems a simple solution. That is, if you want to use Garmin again. :wink:
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Nick
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Hi Foolsbrew

Postby Nick » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:58 pm

Welcome aboard.

You have a most impressive job title in your profile . . . you nearly got deleted in the constant battle agains spammers as well, but luckily I spotted you as genuine in time!

The GPS128 is a wonderfully easy to use basic fixed GPS set, and interfaced to a cockpit repeater it is our most essential instrument on most passages as we tend to use track and XTE to steer by a lot of the time. The internal battery has a life of ab out ten years though and when it goes the set forgets everything when the 12V power is switched off. I believe it is possible to back up the waypoints via the NMEA interface, but I have never bothered. I just assumed that a Garmin agent would automatically do that when flashing the bios or installing a new internal battery.

I am delighted to hear that newer units are being produced with USB interfaces. The sooner everything can talk to everything else the better.

Garmin themselves tend to have a very good reputation, both for equipment reliability and for service, and if I had been in the UK with the boat laid up for Winter as usual I would just have sent the unit back to them for battery replacement.

Obviously, not all Garmin 'agents' are equal though, and the alleged agent in Las Palmas should be shot.

Now for the good news . . . the guy at MAYS here in Horta has soldered in the new battery Steve Birch kindly posted out here and the unit is as good as new.

If anyone else has a GPS128 or 126 that is developing Alzheimers,then Steve Birch of the Vega Association of Great Britain can send you a replacement battery kit consisting of battery, solder and detailed instructions at a very reasonable price.
- Nick 8)

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foolsbrew
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I think "bitplumber" sums it up....

Postby foolsbrew » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:47 pm

Don't believe those fancy titles, I really just clean up the messes and fetch cold drinks for the real staff. ;)

As long as the 128 has some way to tell it to export the waypoints ( you mentioned a repeater, so it seems it's transmitting the NMEA sentences over the wire), you can probably catch it just fine by wiring up an RS232 interface to your NMEA network via a multiplexer which would then be repeating to your remote station and to the serial cable, and a PC would catch the waypoints provided you have a program to import them. I bet there are some freeware apps to do just that.

It looks like Garmin thinks all you need is a cable (which converts to RS232 directly) and you can talk to a PC:

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=582

Here's a couple of links to free software that claim to talk to GPS' via serial cable:

http://www.sping.com/seaclear/ (I've used this, pretty nice for free)
http://www.windmill.co.uk/gps.html
http://www.easygps.com/default.asp
http://www.gpsinformation.org/ronh/

If you only have a USB port, there is an adapter Garmin sells. The truth is, I might have that cable and no use for it. You might need to get me a mailing address I can use to ship it to you.

Being a masochist, I insist on making all this thrice as hard for myself, so I use a Mac as my boat comp. Not friendly, but gosh, I sure learn a lot. :wink:
"Where would the poetry of the sea be were it not for the wild waves?" Joshua Slocum

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Nick
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Garmin still being totally unhelpful

Postby Nick » Sat Jun 30, 2007 2:50 pm

Well, have taken five days to reply and are insisting that they have no dealerships approved for repair and that all units must be returned to Garmin Europe. If this is necessary to replace a battery then it seems to show a total lack of comprehension of cruising realities.

Interestingly, Rolnautic have disappeared from the list of Garmin dealers on the Garmin.com website - looking up Las Palmas still produces a page, but with no listings.

I have reproduced the most recent correspondence below:


----- Original Message -----
From: "Losekann, Andreas" <andreas.losekann@garmin.com>
To: <nickb@webcraft.co.uk>
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2007 1:26 PM
Subject: RE: gps128


Sorry to here of your badly repaired unit, there are no 'approved' repair dealerships, we undertake all repairs on Garmin units at our facilities and this work should not have been undertaken by anyone other than Garmin whether in or out of warranty.

Contact us directly on: 0044 870 850 1241 or by email to arrange a service/repair assessment with our engineering staff.

You should contact the so-called repairer directly concerning a refund and/or compensation.

Kindest Regards,
Andreas Lösekann
European Product Support Associate Garmin (Europe) Ltd

Liberty House | Hounsdown Business Park | Southampton | SO40 9RB | UK
T: 0808 238 0000| F: +44 02380 524004| www.garmin.co.uk

Registered office: Liberty House, Hounsdown Business Park, Southampton, SO40 9RB, UK. Registration no. 2724437 VAT Reg. No. GB568 6978 58
Dear Mr Lösekann,

I do not understand your contention that there are no approved Garmin agents - they are all listed on your website, and Rolnautic in Las Palmas were listed there until recently.

Are you now saying that Rolnautic are not a Garmin dealer? Strangely, although they used to be listed on the garmin.com website they seem to have been removed. There is still a page for Las Palmas at http://www8.garmin.com/cgi-bin/dealers.pl?country=Spain&city=Las+Palmas+%28Canarias%29 but the listing is gone, pointing to a recent site change.

Is this why you have taken five days to reply? Because you have been covering your tracks? Let me assure you that this company WERE listed on the website as Garmin agents not so long ago - that is how we found them.

Or are you saying that Rolnautic ARE a Garmin dealer but should not have carried out this work? If this is the case, then you need to have words with them because Rolnautic assured me both that they were approved Garmin agents and that they were experienced in and approved to carry out this type of work on this type of unit. So far they have not bothered to reply to my email, and in the absense of any action from Garmin I will be very surprised if they do.

Your persistent response that units should be returned to Garmin shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation of thousands of cruising yachts out on the world's oceans dependentt on Garmin products for their safety on a day to day basis. Posting a unit back to the UK and waiting weeks is simply not an option and repairs must be possible elsewhere. If you made the internal batteries readily available for self-fitment none of this nonsense would have happened.

Could you please confirm that Garmin have no further interest in this matter and are not prepared to take it any further so I can consider my own further actions?

A prompt reply would be appreciated..

Best Regards,

Nick Bowles

BlueMoment.Com
UK Sail Cruising Directory
http://www.bluemoment.com/

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