Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
pwa
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Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby pwa » 8 Jan 2020, 5:44pm

Bearing in mind that I am a complete novice with bike GPS, how suitable is this device for a tour of a week or more? Say 400 miles or more.

What I like is the AA batteries and good battery life.

The internal memory is largely taken up by the base map, but would I just need to load routes onto cards?

I plan on cycle.travel.

Any thoughts welcome.

I have zero interest in cadence etc that you get with more bike specific units.

https://www.activegps.co.uk/garmin-etrex-32x.htm
Last edited by pwa on 9 Jan 2020, 8:45am, edited 1 time in total.

MattH
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex x32

Postby MattH » 8 Jan 2020, 6:10pm

I've used the etrex 30 for a few years now (which appears to be the previous incarnation) and it is has worked great on tours. I get something like 3 days per set of rechargeable AA batteries of use before needing to change over. No problems using in the wet and the altimeter works pretty well (a lot better than the one on my other bike computer which thinks the world is flat upon encountering a bit of drizzle).
Mostly preplan the routes although for some shorter journeys have used the route planning on the device with varying levels of success - generally good although took me down some ridiculous footpath in France when the nearby road would have been far quicker.
Sadly one of the zoom buttons has recently stopped working on it - I am hoping to fix it but even if I can't I believe it has more than paid for itself.
By the way if you so end up buying one, I find the best way to use it is to get it to follow a track rather than a route, and use whatever settings at necessary to ensure the device doesn't recalculate it when you go off route - I don't remember them off hand.

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andrew_s
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex x32

Postby andrew_s » 8 Jan 2020, 6:21pm

pwa wrote:The internal memory is largely taken up by the base map, but would I just need to load routes onto cards?

The 8GB internal memory gives plenty of space on top of what's needed for TopoActive Europe (a flavour of OpenStreetMap, ~2 gb, iirc)), so you could download alternative versions of OSM also into internal memory. Different versions of OSM look a bit different on screen, and can give different automatic routing (of the "take me there" style, rather than fully defined in cycle.travel etc).
Routes would normally go into the internal memory.

The card slot could be used if you want more versions than will fit, but is most likely to be required if you get OS mapping on an SD card, which may not fit into internal memory. It also used to be the case that the maps were locked to the physical SD card, socopying OS mapping into internal memory may not work anyway.

Probably the only thing that's sub-standard from a touring cycling point of view is the handlebar mount. It's a cost extra zip-tie on thing, rather than the quarter twist mount the cycling GPS models use. It works, and is secure, but can take up more handlebar space. I put mine on a Minoura SpaceGrip to keep the space for hands.

(etrex 30x user)

Norman H
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex x32

Postby Norman H » 8 Jan 2020, 6:48pm

The eTrex 32x seems to be the replacement for the eTrex 30 model, which is what I have. The use of AA batteries was one of the features that persuaded me to buy it. I run mine on Ni-MH rechargeable batteries.


My eTrex 30 has ANT+ connectivity plus an altimeter, as does the eTrex 32x. Since you say you are not interested in HR, cadence etc, and unless you specifically want the altimeter function, you might as well buy the e Trex 22x and save a few bob.

Garmin and in particular the eTrex range have a big following amongst the audaxing community and this site has some useful articles if you're just getting started.

pwa
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex x32

Postby pwa » 8 Jan 2020, 8:46pm

Thanks all. I'm edging towards thinking it would be a sensible buy.

I don't know these Topo Western Europe maps. Am I right in thinking that compared to an OS 1:50 000 map they are, for someone cycling on roads and shared use tracks, simpler and cleaner, making it easier to read at a glance? I like OS for walking but something less cluttered is probably better on the bike.

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andrew_s
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex x32

Postby andrew_s » 8 Jan 2020, 10:58pm

The Garmin Topo maps are similar to those on this page, but without the contours.

I've got the OS maps (1:50k/1:250k), at added extra £££, and find that I use the OS maps in the countryside where there aren't many roads and you want a larger area, and the Topo maps in town (or villages) where you want to zoom in more.

Having got home and checked, the installed Topo Western Europe maps on my Etrex 30x are 3.25 GB.

MrsHJ
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex x32

Postby MrsHJ » 9 Jan 2020, 8:25am

You can download free open source maps. I did that to add to my garmin touring (had Europe only preloaded) when I went to the USA. Didn’t stop the garmin (different model to the one you are looking at) being hopeless but the maps were good.

pwa
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby pwa » 9 Jan 2020, 8:43am

From what I've been reading I think I may just pay the small amount extra for the 32x as opposed to the 22x because the 32x apparently has a good compass that detects changes in your direction quickly so that on twisty bits of the route you don't as easily get confused. That sounds like something I might find helpful, whereas the barometer is an extra feature that is of mild interest only.

Sticking with the topo active maps (OSM?), which sound like they will be adequate for lanes, will leave the card slot free for a card for extra memory presumably. Is that likely to be useful? If you go for OS 1:50 000 you do it with a card so that slot would be occupied.

But I do like the fact that when the tour is over I can, if I want, buy OS mapping and use the same device for walking.

And as these things go it is inexpensive.

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andrew_s
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby andrew_s » 9 Jan 2020, 10:52am

pwa wrote:From what I've been reading I think I may just pay the small amount extra for the 32x as opposed to the 22x because the 32x apparently has a good compass that detects changes in your direction quickly so that on twisty bits of the route you don't as easily get confused. That sounds like something I might find helpful, whereas the barometer is an extra feature that is of mild interest only.

The 22x effectively doesn't tell you an absolute direction - it tells you which direction you are travelling in, based on comparing your position now with your position a few moments ago.
If you aren't moving, or are moving slowly enough that random position jitter has an effect (i.e. walking speed), you get a fairly random direction indicated.
Also, the direction you are moving is taken to be the top of the screen, so if you mounted the unit on the handlebars in landscape orientation, the compass pointer would be 90 degrees out.

The barometer will usually give a better "metres of climbing" number - the error is limited to that caused by air pressure drift during the ride, whilst the GPS climbing can have a fair amount of random variation added in, particularly if the satellite signals aren't too good.

pwa
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby pwa » 9 Jan 2020, 11:28am

andrew_s wrote:
pwa wrote:From what I've been reading I think I may just pay the small amount extra for the 32x as opposed to the 22x because the 32x apparently has a good compass that detects changes in your direction quickly so that on twisty bits of the route you don't as easily get confused. That sounds like something I might find helpful, whereas the barometer is an extra feature that is of mild interest only.

The 22x effectively doesn't tell you an absolute direction - it tells you which direction you are travelling in, based on comparing your position now with your position a few moments ago.
If you aren't moving, or are moving slowly enough that random position jitter has an effect (i.e. walking speed), you get a fairly random direction indicated.
Also, the direction you are moving is taken to be the top of the screen, so if you mounted the unit on the handlebars in landscape orientation, the compass pointer would be 90 degrees out.

The barometer will usually give a better "metres of climbing" number - the error is limited to that caused by air pressure drift during the ride, whilst the GPS climbing can have a fair amount of random variation added in, particularly if the satellite signals aren't too good.


I think it will probably end up in portrait on the stem. It would be useful if it recognises which way the front wheel is pointing. So if the compass works effectively, that will be ideal.

I'm not concerned at all about logging metres gained. I'm only concerned with following a route with minimal fuss. So with the 32x it is the compass that I will pay the extra for, not the barometer.

pwa
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby pwa » 31 Jan 2020, 11:55am

Just got the Garmin 32x but I won't have time to do much with it today.

It is just the right size for my use and, on firing up, got its position really quickly. And even indoors, as you turn the unit the map turns with you with a slight delay of a second or so. That could be useful.

I will report back when I have more to say.

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Sweep
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby Sweep » 31 Jan 2020, 12:07pm

pwa wrote:
I will report back when I have more to say.


Am prepared for you to be a while. Etrexes are very good but there is a steep learning curve.
Sweep

pwa
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby pwa » 31 Jan 2020, 12:20pm

Sweep wrote:
pwa wrote:
I will report back when I have more to say.


Am prepared for you to be a while. Etrexes are very good but there is a steep learning curve.

Yes, I'm mentally prepared for obstacles in my way. One nice thing with these GPS units is that straight out of the box they will show you where you are now. But I will only get stuck in when my patience levels are high.

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andrew_s
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby andrew_s » 31 Jan 2020, 5:03pm

There's a fair bit of usage info here:
http://www.aukadia.net/gps/

pwa
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Re: Views on GARMIN e Trex 32x

Postby pwa » 1 Feb 2020, 6:49pm

Bearing in mind that I am a caveman when it comes to tech stuff (no smatphone!) I actually managed to get a cycle.travel route installed on the Garmin as a track today. Very basic, but it means I can already use this thing for something. I find cycle.travel very user friendly for planning, so being able to create tracks using it is ideal. I understand trails don't have the functions of routes, but am I right in thinking that tracks are a good choice for long distance tours where limits on the number of waypoints could be a problem?