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How to get into diagnostics mode of your Garmin eTrex

Well, the Garmin eTrex is something else ... I have a Venture model and am really crazy about this puppy. It's universal, cheap, can work standalone and compatible with PalmPilot, PocketPC's and regular PC's. REALLY cool ...

I did some searching on the Internet and found an old trick for the eTrex basic edition to get into diagnostic mode,... which didn't work on my Venture model. But I found out how to do that with a Venture (and Legend most likely too).

Note: I you discovered some cool "features" then please let me know (mail me).

GPS - Global Positioning System

The Basic eTrex trick

Garmin eTrex (basic) This one I found on the internet (see: eTrex Fan page):

To enable diagnostic mode on an eTrex (basic);

Hold Up and Page pressed while powering on the unit.

As a main feature you will notice an internal thermometer (accurancy 1°C). It shows internal temperature of eTrex. Pressing "page" button, you can pass through complete display check and functions of all buttons could be tested using icons in bottom part of screen.

OK, cool,... but that trick didn't work with the Garmin eTrex Venture.

Tip: Pressing "up"+"enter" keys while powering up the eTrex will reset the eTrex to factory defaults. So, all pressets and data will be lost.

The same trick with the eTrex Venture, Vista, VISTA-C and Legend

Garmin eTrex Legend

Garmin eTrex Venture

Garmin eTrex Vista

Garmin eTrex Vista-C

For Garmin eTrex Legend, Vista and Venture owners, a similar feature is available. (Thanks to Mike for the confirmation on the Vista).

To enable diagnostic mode with the Vista, Legend or the Venture:

Press and hold the "stick" while powering on the unit.

Update: this trick works also with the color version of the Vista, the Vista-C. I asume the LegendC will do this too.
Garmin released a little tool called xImage which allows you to get/put to your GPS, like screenshots for example.

A screen appears showing lot's of usfull info, but best of all: the thermometer (red arrow)!

Garmin eTrex Venture diganostics screen

(screenshot of the eTrex Venture)

Screenshot of the VistaC
(screenshot of the eTrex VistaC using XImage)

Here you see the values as seen in the eTrex Venture example:

Variable Value
Software version 2.34
Bravo Version 7
Since Reset 0005:00:54
Time 19:59:02
Temperature 24
Frequency 16368333
XO Drift _ _ _ _ _
Signal 1727
SNR 0.00
Battery 2.51

Usefull info would be the software version (do I need an update?), temperature (appears to be in degrees Celcius on my eTrex) time, and battery voltage level (2.51 V).

Pressing each of the buttons of your eTrex, will indicate if it's working OK by display a representation in the lower left corner.

Screen test

Press the "Page" button twice, allows you to flip through some of the screen diagnostics. Use the stick to change contrast during these tests. I have seen this work on both the Vista and the Vista-C.

Tip: Pressing "joystick"+"page" keys while powering up the eTrex will reset the eTrex to factory defaults. So, all pressets and data will be lost.Oh you do get the nice question if you really want this :-)

Additional eTrex Tricks

Stack and Shutdown data diagnotic screen

For some eTrex model (confirmed to work with the eTrex Vista, and confirmed it does NOT work with the eTrex Vista-C): Goto the "Trip Computer" page. Click the "Zoom Out" button, the "Zoom In" button, and the "Zoom Out" button again.

Your eTrex now shows the Internal Diagnostic Reports.



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