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Bicyclochondriac.
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I am a little confused about the need for the memory card for the eTrex Vista HCX. Is this optional? Can I still save tracks and download them to a computer without the extra card? I will likely end up getting a card, but I want to know if I can put that purchase off for a little while.

Thanks.
 

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Yes, the card is optional, but you'll need it to load maps. If you're just wanting to record track files, you'll be fine.

There is the option to record the files to the card also, but you don't need it.
 

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Derailleurless
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Isn't it that the tracks will begin to record over themselves if there is no memory card?

I tend to set my interval time pretty low for dense tracks (like one plot per second), then work them out to something more reasonable in TopoFusion.

Anyhow, micro-SD cards are dirt cheap now. No excuse not to throw a 1GB in there, considering a 1GB card is a cheap as a 4-pack of AA batteries.
 

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Yes, it will begin to record over itself but it takes quite a few points. I don't think this is any different than with a card in, because the tracks saved to the card are saved as gpx files. Unless I am mistaken there is no way to view them on the gps, they must be uploaded to your computer to view in a program like topfusion or mapsource.

Good point about data cards, they really are dirt cheap.
 

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Derailleurless
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johnnyspoke said:
Yes, it will begin to record over itself but it takes quite a few points. I don't think this is any different than with a card in, because the tracks saved to the card are saved as gpx files. Unless I am mistaken there is no way to view them on the gps, they must be uploaded to your computer to view in a program like topfusion or mapsource.

Good point about data cards, they really are dirt cheap.
That's what I was getting at... that even though the displayed track begins to eat itself, with a memory card installed, the full data will still be there.

It's a wonder Garmin didn't make it so that, after memory fills, the new plot points replace *every other* existing plot point, so that the track is still preserved, just with decreased resolution.
 

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a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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Sort of a related question here... I also have the Vista HCx, with a 128MB SD card.

When I downloaded some maps to it today, a status bar showed on the GPS that I had used 20% of the memory. What memory is this referring to? The internal GPS memory? The SD card? Both? Does it also include the gpx tracks I have stored in there?

It seems like it's 20% of the internal memory, because when I view the SD card contents via the USB interface, the map data in the "Garmin" folder is only about 5MB. And, when I view the properties of the SD card is shows 120MB capacity, with only 8.6MB used (that's 7%), So how could I be using 20% of the 128MB memory I have available with only 5MB of maps???

FWIW, the manual states "the amount of data transferable is 24MB for the Summit.... for the Vista HCx and Legend HCx it is determined by the size of the microSD card."

SO, is the 5MB of maps I have on the SD card also counted towards the 24MB of internal memory? That's about the only way I can figure it would say I uses 20%.

Does this make sense?
 

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The 20% might be referring to available memory for the track file. The HCx will record your track to internal memory (AND to the card if selected).

Although it's not necessarily clear in Garmin's documentation, the VistaHCx model does not have any internal memory for maps, it's expected you will buy a card and go from there. The Summit HC (and Venture HC) have no provision for a card and so come with non-expandable 24mb memory for maps.

Edit: for clarity's sake, there are TWO different "memory files" you can see on a Vista HCx. One if for the track file, waypoints, etc, and this is "internal". The other is from the memory card, where you put maps, etc. So I think you're seeing 20% for the track file and 7% for the memory card.
 

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On all older Garmins (and I've used dozens), the 'Wrap' track log ability can be turned on or off. So you can choose to stop recording when the memory (usually 10,000 points) is full or start overwriting the oldest points.

If you need to free up active tracklog area in the field, You can move the active tracklog into one of the saved locations (usually 20) which have only 500 points, so it will ask you save the whole log or part and if part, will allow you to select on the map start and end points (or start/end times on some firmware).

If what you have selected to save is more than 500 points, it downsample the active tracklog to be saved to fit into the saved tracklog of 500 points. Downsample isn't accurate actually, it has a smart algorithm to keep the detail where needed and drop boring points. The algorithm works really well IMHO.

On at least some if not all new 'x' devices you can specify to save a track onto internal or the card. And *I believe* if the card is the destination, your tracklogs aren't limited to 10,000 points.
 
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