GPS can't read screen in bright sun

Ok, I’m good with charts and compass so thought the GPS would be fun, particularly going up the twisty turny mangroves. There are many branchings to explore, and a GPS would help me get back to the Gulf Coast and home. So, after hours of dryland practice, I can “do it”–but alas the Magellan–Meridian Color is unreadable in bright light! I tried the hat/hand over the screen and adjusting the brightness control but still up the mangrove without direction–has anyone any more ideas?

I can’t see screens through polarized sunglasses. Could that be the problem?

try tilting the screen away from you - it seems to work on my sporttrak, although i will say that i’m not as thrilled with the unit as i had expected to be - - what i’m definitely not thrilled with are the 2 emails that i sent to magellan tech support last spring and have yet to receive any acknowledgement of -

Shade & settings
Sometimes I have to use the brim of my hat to provide shade.

Also, check your user’s manual for brightness and contrast settings. Adjusting these will definately help, although it might not completely solve the problem.

Have fun and don’t get lost!


GPS and sun
Didn’t think about my glasses! Mine are prescription with built in sun/polarized filter and sometimes when it is realy bright I pile on a second oversized polarized pair. I am blind as a bat without my glasses so… I too had no reply from Magellan. The hat trick is no good. The best setting seems to be 60% brightness and can do ok in overcast days. Of course in car or on hiking trails am fine. It is the full Florida sun that defeats me.

Exchange it
for the Magellan Meridian Marine. I too bought the Meridian Color GPS but when I took it home I realized that I could not read the color screen when it was not backlit. When I turned on the backlighting feature, it helped slightly but was still very difficult to read in bright sunlight and I could watch the battery power meter decline.

I exchanged it for the Meridian Marine and I’m totally happy now. Because it has a basic black LCD screen, I can easily read it in bright sunlight without having to use the backlighting feature. I have used it for an entire day continuously on one set of AA akaline batteries paddling on the coast of Maine. You will only need to use the backlighting feature on this model when it’s getting dark or is dark outside.

Best of Luck,


i’ve thought about going to a b/w model, but even though i was a bit disappointed with the color, i just figured it was still a BIG advantage over b/w - other than clarity and readability, did you find the color more interesting (not exactly the word i want) to use ??

Even if you could read it…
you will lose reception when you are under a thick canopy of mangroves.

At a place like the Turner river in several places you will lose reception for a quarter mile or more.



Marine vs Color model
I have the Marine program installed and the unit is now identical to the Marine version (mine says color on box but the guts are the same once the Marine program is installed). Tomorrow when the sun comes out I’ll try operating without the backlighting. You are right the background is black that way, I just tried it. Stupid me, I never tried it without the backlighting thinking I needed the extra boost. I’ll let you know tomorrow what I learn after the sun comes out. I really can’t return this thing. I’ve had it about 4 months now and bought $100 worth of additional marine programming for all of USA waterways and installed it. It took me that long to learn all the buttons to push and ways to lay a trail to follow or to lay a trail as I go and follow it back. I don’t know if that makes me a slow learner or obsessed, as my 3 girlfriends who go with me have all given up on their units (all 3 have different models and all have sunlight problems). We hope to take the Big Bend Trail (upper Florida) 105 mile trip this summer so need to get the bugs out now. Thanks to everyone for the ideas.

Tree cover
Well, now that cheered me up. Guess I’ll just have to go ahead and buy that sail I was thinking about and climb up the mast for a clear view of the sky!!! Signing off now, need a brew to recover from this news.

Almost forgot (that tree cover thing got me)–yes I love the color screen. Well worth the money–provided of course I can find a way to use it in the sun. I’m not one of the Vampira coven.

I too have the Meridian Color
I know what you mean about bright sunlight. I find that turning off the backlight helps. Also, this unit gets much better reception that the G brand units with a patch antenna. I have never lost a signal due to leaf cover. Although it is winter here and there are only needles on the trees (the Evergreen state). I purchased the traveller pack with the entire USA detail maps so I had to make compromises to work in the car, on the bike, walking and paddling. I think it is a great GPSr but it should not replace a compass and chart, you still need them both.

A’int gizmos great?

two sets of polarizing lenses
very bad idea. Polarized lenses filter all light waves not travelling in a given direction. For example, one polarizing filter will block all light not oscillating in a vertical manner. If you place a second polarizing lens behind it to filter all light not travelling in a horizontal manner, you will block ALL light through the lenses. So, unless your lenses are aligned EXACTLY the same, you are blocking available light–not just darkening it.

There is the possibility that both sets of lenses are circular polarizers. I’m not sure exactly how these work, or how they would interact if doubled up, but if you’re going to double up tinted lenses, I would only use a polarized lens in one set.

Tree cover
Gasp–you mean I didn’t have to force down those 2 beers after all!! Oh well, better fortified for next scare. Now I am eager to go out and try the mangroves with backlight off, only one pair of glasses (may need to take them off too with a magnifier since they are polarized) and see if can get reception in the mangroves. Sounds like another fun adventure (paddling is ALWAYS fun). Yes, I also always have my chart and compass onboard, even for my well known sites, it is just more fun to know where I am, my chart case lies on top of my self made pretzel barrel that holds my binoculars, camera, gps-anchored between ankles on my Prowler-ready at a glance with compass on deck. (Just reverse map case for return trip so always traveling “with” the map). Happy yakking y’all

If ya wanna
try your GPS, why not try Geocaching. Fun and exercise.

garmin never fails me,
can stick in an igloo cooler (no ice,use as a dry box ) and it still recieves,heavy mangrove cover still recieves, no screen reading problems and easy to use, if I can use it anyone can as I’m electronicly slow.

Stick it in your…
Top dresser drawer, it’s not so bright in there and will work fine. That’s where most of them end up anyway. "8-P

Not wanting to add to buyers remorse
A simple etrex can be used in all kinds of light conditions, no problem ever with tree cover and this includes in deep pine forests and heavy hedgerows in Europe, and tropical cover. It cost less than $100.

If yours has not lost reception in …
Half Way Creek, the Turner River, or that little hidden creek that cuts off Dusenbury Creek into Little Buttonwood Sound, than you have a better one than the Garmen Map 76.



Sorry to hear you bought a Magellan!
… I am sad to hear you bought a Magellan. Several years ago, Magellan decided to stop servicing ALL aviation GPS units. I mean ALL of them. There are thousands of people all over the world with GPS units that cost $1,000 for a hand held, to $10,000.00 for units installed in an airplane. The problem here is that for aviation use, the database must be updated at regular intervals. Without this new database, the GPS cannot be used for navigation in an airplane.

… I now have this 5-6 yr old “nice” hand held Magellan GPS that if I want to use it for back-up navigation I can, but for any airport that has changed information, I now have to create a manual waypoint. What a “Royal Pain”! I can’t afford a new one (like to Kayak too), so I am stuck with this one. I’ll never buy another Magellan product!!!

… You should have bought a Garmin e-Trex. I have the “Legend” model with the B/W display. This e-Trex for $169.00 will run circles around my far more expensive Magellan. It will RARELY lose a signal, and I can easily read it in bright sunlight. This is one super GPS, for any money. It has road maps in it for the continental USA, PLUS Marine maps too. They do make a color version of this if you want one, but I have no interest in that.

… Sell your Magellan on E-Bay, so as not to hurt any paddlers, and go by a Garmin “e-Trex”. I reccomend the “Legend” model.

Happy Paddling!