/ Garmin GPS Gremlin

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King Arthur 24 Nov 2019

My Garmin eTrex Vista HCx until recently had not been used for 6 months, but wishing to use it a couple of weeks ago I found that it required many ON/OFF start ups before the Welcome screen would hold firm and proceed to the Satellite Page and then to the Map Page as I would have naturally expected. All seemed normal but during use some of the functions were difficult to access and cancel; finally this unusual behaviour did appear to have resolved itself. However, I noticed that the time  display indicated current time + 1 hour, and the date was shown as Mar-00. The relevant Main Pages that within their content show time and date also showed the incorrect data, and attempts to key-pad adjust these have no lasting effect. Exchanges with Garmin Support have proved unhelpful; they acknowledge that they are aware of the error and advise that they have released updates to resolve it and suggested that I download their WebUpdater, which I did. My PC confirmed a successful download and I clicked Launch. Nothing happened. Subsequent WebUpdater downloads and attempted Launches had the same result. At this point Garmin Support withdrew from any further assistance.

Have any Forumites experienced the same problem? How did you resolve it?

Or, can any Forumite offer a solution to a non-techy frustrated member? 

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Frank R. 24 Nov 2019
In reply to King Arthur:

Sorry, can't offer more specific help, but it seems very much like the "Second Epoch" GPS roll-over issue? Back in April the GPS count for week numbers essentially reached the end, and older units started back from zero (April 2000). Few more older devices were affected (some even later than April, like the recent update to iPhone 5) - should have updated it before that

GPS keeps count of time by counting week numbers from some fixed date, from 0 to 1024, unfortunately, 1024th week happened to be in April 2019, thus old units that were not updated or still had the bug thought it is now 19 years earlier...

Why it does not let you update - I have no idea. Might be just computer issue, perhaps the firmware updater software does not work correctly on newer Windows versions? Perhaps try some compatibility settings for Windows 7 or even earlier? Did you see the Windows UAC prompt for elevated privileges? Try googling your unit and firmware update plus GPS rollover... Or try the update on an earlier version of Windows or an older computer.

Post edited at 20:00
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DancingOnRock 25 Nov 2019
In reply to King Arthur:

You are using windows 10? Garmin don’t support previous versions of windows. Are you launching it via ‘run as administrator’. 

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King Arthur 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Frank R.:

Thanks Frank,

Your comments expressed in the first two paragraphs concur with my further research.

With regard to the failure to launch, I have again downloaded the Garmin recommended WebUpdater, again successfully, but still no launch possible. My Windows version is Vista Home Premium; where this features in the Windows numerical version sequence I have no idea (i.e version before 7 or after 7). However, I feel that I have exhausted the likelihood of solving this issue using my PC and agree with you that a possible solution may rest with trying the update on another computer - although I could meet Windows version incompatibility again. Alternatively, I could just build a Tardis and travel back in time to synchronize with my GPS!

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King Arthur 26 Nov 2019
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Thanks DancingOn Rock for your reply. Please see my reply to Frank which I think will answer your questions.

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DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2019
In reply to King Arthur:

Vista is too old. You need Windows 7, 8 or 10. 

I misremembered. I was trying to run it on XP with no joy until I found system requirements buried somewhere on the site. 

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Frank R. 26 Nov 2019
In reply to King Arthur:

I am afraid Garmin software support often leaves a lot to be desired

For example, the WebUpdater states compatibility from Win XP SP3 (older than yours!) upwards:

https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=931

But the different, specific FW updater for your GPS unit requires Windows 7 (newer than yours!), as stated here:

https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=3709

Both seem to be superseded by the website version (my.garmin.com), which I have no idea how it works. Which one should you use - I have no idea... (and there is no list of the devices the WebUpdater supports either). I am almost afraid even the support at Garmin have no clue at all! 

What is the FW version of the unit (usually shown after startup, or somewhere in the system submenu)? The second link shows 3.20 (from 2009) as the latest firmware, although there could of course be an even newer one via the WebUpdater...

What's worse, Windows Vista was probably the second worst (in terms of compatibility, drivers and so forth) Windows just after 98 (or the other way around). So even if the first link shows compatibility, actually it might be quite different...

I would really try updating via a newer computer if I were you.

Good luck

Post edited at 19:37
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DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Frank R.:

It’s all done via the web now via Garmin Connect. But Windows 7 at a minimum by doing it via USB. 
 

If you have an iPhone or Android then you can do it via Bluetooth. 

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Martin W 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Frank R.:

> it seems very much like the "Second Epoch" GPS roll-over issue

Thanks for mentioning this.  It prompted me to dig out my venerable eTrex, pop in some batteries and switch it on for the first time in many years.  It did get a position fix, and rather faster than I expected, but sure enough the date was showing as April 2000.

I'm not aware of any way to update it - and I doubt Garmin still support that model anyway - but it doesn't seem to stop it doing its fundamental job i.e. knowing where it is.  Might stick it on the bay of e in case someone somewhere might have a use for it...

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Frank R. 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Martin W:

Which one have you got? The original eTrex (Yellow) with the big antenna bulge on top? You might still get it to work, Garmin did fix the issue even for some older units (at least as far as eTrex H):

https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=3755

It mentions GPS Roll-over fix in firmware version 3.6 (you can check your version in System menu). Perhaps you could try updating it via the Web Updater / Garmin Express, there might be an update for you as well? You'd need a compatible Garmin cable (these old units had serial interface, no USB) and a serial (RS232, also known as COM port) on your computer, or a compatible RS232->USB adapter (with drivers), so it might get a bit complicated unless you are somewhat computer-savvy.

Otherwise, your old eTrex might still work just fine (displaying the wrong date and sunset/sunrise data), it might start developing problems later (such as slower starts, slower sat acquisition and longer position fix or even random reboots) or it might even get bricked totally. Garmin said the bug only affects the time and date (not position) and devices should be otherwise unaffected, but I wouldn't be so sure...

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Martin W 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Frank R.:

As it happens, I do have a USB to serial adaptor.  Hadn't used it in years but Windows 10 spotted it as soon as I plugged it in and downloaded and installed the drivers.  I then downloaded and installed Garmin Webupdater and fired it up: it found the eTrex and...reported no updates available

Oh well, it was worth a try!

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