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Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?   

Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby JmaCWQ » Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:08 am

Hello All,

Just acquired one of these, the new Montana 700 which is the basic, non 'in-reach' included unit.
So far seems ok, though it was a little expensive, around $1100 AUD to get the unit and mounting cradle.
Bit disappointing to learn if I want to be able to use AA batteries like in the Montana 610 and GpsMap 276CX I have to spend even more money to buy the adaptor thingo for it, they don't just slot in after removing the factory battery anymore.
The 5 inch diagonal glove friendly touchscreen works well and is easily viewable in full sunlight and the device it self doesn't appear to suffer from the poor performance and map redrawing from lack of RAM & processing power the 276CX does.
Map rendering/redrawing is very smooth and fast with the settings to show the most detail, so far anyway.

They advertise the ability to use custom maps, which appears to be true with Shonky Maps, a free topo mapset available for Australia, they work ok on this unit.
Other unlocked maps I have work fine on my Montana 610 & my GpsMap 276CX but don't work on the 700.
Gives some message about maps can't be authenticated, please contact vendor or something.
That a firmware thing causing that is it?
I know nothing about it really but I'm guessing it's similar to the things in the GPS firmware for protected devices thread?
All previous devices and maps have all worked together ok until I got this thing.

Cheers :drinkingbuddies:
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby bommelb » Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:52 am

Unfortunately the firmware of your Montana 700 has a new format (new encrypting I guess).
The Universal Firmware Patcher does not recognise the new format, so no solution yet.
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby JmaCWQ » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:25 am

Yeah I wondered if that's what it might have been, some type of new firmware encryption or something.
It did come with Garmin's Topo Active maps though, which so far seem to be ok, though I haven't been out of town to test properly yet but the street data seems accurate enough.
I think with the Topo Active maps they take free data from sources like OSM and include it in maps that come preinstalled on the devices, but they don't sell those maps separate to the public.
And they provide free updates to these maps twice a year apparently.

I did notice after upgrading the firmware it now provides a dashboard that allows 4 data fields to overlay the map, one in each corner similar to the option in the 276CX, which is great as it frees up a considerable amount of screen real estate while allowing data fields to be shown.
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Re: TopoActive

Postby GarmanNuvi » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:15 am

Another Montana 700 owner

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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby JmaCWQ » Tue Oct 27, 2020 9:25 am

Interesting...didn't realise Garmin sold them separate, a blog I read here said otherwise - [Please Register or Login to download file]
Mine came with 3, Topo Active Australia/New Zealand and also Topo Active Africa North & Africa South.
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby GarmanNuvi » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:52 pm

Johnny Appleseed normally do accurate comparisons ,but are a retailer ,even Garmin do not make it easy to buy, maybe they would preferer to promote Full Topo & Topo lite?
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby JmaCWQ » Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:55 am

I think you're correct, only the top of the line models come with the Full Topo maps, 276CX, 750i, 680t etc., the others one has to buy them if required, and the Full are the most expensive.
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby JmaCWQ » Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:30 am

Took the 700 out for some real testing earlier, walking around with it and driving around with it in the powered car cradle.
First thing I found was the Garmin cigarette lighter adaptor provided with the cradle doesn't always provide power, seems to not stay tight in the lighter socket.
It's powered from the lighter socket to the cradle by a USB lead, the hard wireable cradles aren't available in Australia yet apparently, they are the best and don't suffer from that issue.

It does seem have some of the issues I've seen with my 276CX, poor performance & redraw speeds, though not as consistent or as bad as the CX.
Sometimes when walking around it took 4 or 5 seconds to reflect a change in direction on the map display, which to be perfectly honest, for a brand new, over $1000 dollar device, is pretty poor performance.
Sometimes from a standing start it wouldn't show any movement on the map at all until I started to jog and the speed got over about 6 or 7 kph, then it seemed to work fine, even at slower than walking speeds.
Other times it worked fine and showed movement/redrawing etc. as soon as I started walking.
It froze up without being touched on the way home while driving along the highway, had to be restarted.

The display is great during the day and in full sunlight, but I'm not really impressed at all with it at night.
It might be just that type of screen as I've never had one before, in night mode instead of the ground coverage displaying black as it should (set in the .typ file), anything black or very dark, be it on the map or on a settings page or whatever, appears on this screen as a sort of grey colour, which washes out the other colours present and makes things on the map screen like contour lines harder to see.
It also makes the screen seem very bright, even at 1 step above the minimum brightness it's almost too bright to use in a car because of the brightness of the screen, and at minimum level the screen goes too dull to be seen.
If a GPS screen displays black as black as they're supposed to, then that's not an issue, but it is with this thing.

The interface is ok & easy to pick up if you've used the older Montanas, some things are a little different but mostly very similar.
The touch screen has different settings available for using gloves or in the rain etc., which is a good addition.

First impressions out in the field, not all that impressed for being $1100 out of pocket.
Hopefully it'll improve over time with some more firmware updates from Garmin as more bugs get discovered and reported.
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby arvi 1 » Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:18 pm

:):):) Genius, replace the cigarette lighter.Navigation devices are not for your use.See the user guide and you will find solutions to your problems.
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby JmaCWQ » Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:26 pm

arvi 1 wrote::):):) Genius, replace the cigarette lighter.

Tried different cigarette lighter sockets, different brands of lighter sockets also, no go, the problem is the Garmin branded cigarette lighter to USB adaptor that comes with the mount.
Used another adaptor I had and that problem went away.

arvi 1 wrote:Navigation devices are not for your use.

Why do you say that?


arvi 1 wrote:See the user guide and you will find solutions to your problems.

I've read the user guide, downloaded and read right through the complete user manual and there is nothing in it that is of any use that I can find.
I understand that showing more detail on a map may cause the screen to redraw slower, that is not the issue as I tried it with no map, and occasionally it still did the same thing.

You seem to understand the issues I'm having, some advice on how to possibly rectify those issues would be appreciated.
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Re: Montana 700, Anyone Else Got One?

Postby JmaCWQ » Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:24 pm

Image


On the left is the Montana 700, on the right is the GpsMap 276CX, this is a single image with them sitting beside each other, both devices have the screen brightness set at 50%, are in night mode with the same map and zoom level on each.
The camera was as close as I could get to looking straight at the screens without using a tripod.

This explains better what I was trying to convey earlier about the screen appearing too bright in night mode on the new 700.

As you can see the right hand screen which is the 276CX is much clearer and displays the colours correctly, while the left hand screen, the 700 is washed out to the point it's hardly useable, and shows grey instead of black, which is just plain wrong not to mention very poor workmanship, quality control or both.

It's like it wasn't tested at all in night mode, or if it was the poor quality was ignored as the device is probably mainly designed for daytime use.
Even with the brightness at the first point above minimum on the 700, any colour that should be black appears as a grey.
I have no idea why this is, possibly because the backlight is too bright for the unit, or something to do with the layers of the screen not being thick enough and letting too much light through? Not sure really but it looks like it was mainly setup for daytime operation as the daytime screen is quite good.
I have a Montana 610 also, it's night mode screen displays colours as they should be, not all washed out.

Attempts to contact Garmin about this have so far been non-responsive, can't say I'm really surprised as they can be quite arrogant at times.
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