Magellan GPS Failures

Curious- My SporTrak Pro GPS died 10 days before the warrantee expired; last year a thin black line showned up in the screen; on Easter Sunday it worked in the AM but failed to turn on in the afternoon. I found slight signs of corrosion on one of the battery springs. It was replaced with a new one.

My paddling buddy Ken liked mine; bought his a few weeks later. His just died this week, a couple of days out of warrantee, but they’re covering him.

Reports seem to indicate this is one of the best units, but we’re a little concerned of their reliability or seaworthiness. I’m careful with the O-Ring, not to open it on the beach, and to apply 303 lightly with a swab every few months.

Comments? Experiences with failures?

Peter McLaughlin

Plymouth, MA

Garmin units also have the same problem.
I used to have a Garmin Legend and it failed while still under warranty and then just after the warranty expired. Garmin fixed it the first time but not the 2nd.

I now use a Garmin GPSMap76. It is supposed to float and be submersable.

As a result of my previous unit’s failures and responses from Garmin. My gps is ALWAYS in a dry bag while I’m on the water. So far that seems to have solved the problems.

No garmin failures
yet. our group has 4. Most of em have been owned for 3 years or more.

has always been a workhorse for me, I also buy from west marine whose return policy is excellent.I have 2 mounted units 182/154 and a 12xL. and use them on my commercial fishing boats.does sound like moisture got to yours. sometimes you can "dry " them out by setting them in the sun with the battery case off but usually doubtful. West marine takes trade ins often and will sometimes give credit for upgrading. I trade in all my electronics every few years, but for me it is a tax write off…clear dry bags are a must and at around 12 bucks they are cheap insurance. but remember that whatever moisture is trapped in the bag stays in it so i always wipe the inside ,throw in some sorbs packets and squeeze all excess air out., also keeping a written and a downloaded copy of your no#s will save a ton of hairpulling later

No Garmin Etrex Problems
Takes a licking … surf, sand, sun, dropping …

three years here too.

Dry bagging

I’m against bagging for the viewing aspect. Its tough with a kayak to get ta good angle underway to read the gps, but I recognize the insurance factor. And married with kids long enuf that the hairpulling effect is no longer applicable! I’ll give this one an honest try, if I get another failure or hear of others with the SporTraks, I’ll reconsider / Thanks!

Peter McLaughlin

Plymouth, MA

Garmin GPSMap76
I have used a Garmin GPSMap76 for a year. I like the map feature, waypoints, tidetables,etc. I mounted it on the deck of my boat. It is rated as waterproof. Never flipped the boat, but found it had trouble acquiring satellites after 9 months of frequent kayak use. At first it was intermittent and I figured maybe it was the area. Finally it wouldn’t find any satellites. By that time I was over the one year warranty, but Garmin fixed it. Water is a tough environmet for electronics, especially saltwater on the deck of a kayak. Splash and padle drip, high humidity, even rain. I ended uo with condensation under the plastic map screen. That is probably what did it in.

great company…poor products

– Last Updated: May-17-04 8:22 AM EST –

I am on my 4th sportrak pro in 2 years.

First one died after getting damp in a rainstorm. Was replaced under warranty.

Second one would not function properly out of the was a refurb. Sent it back. Got another.

Third one worked about a year but just didn't hold up. Main problem this time were stress fractures at every screw and across the battery compartment from the screw "nut" up the back of the unit.

Fourth one arrived a few weeks ago and has worked fine so far but I have my doubts it will last a year. I have kept the last 2 units in a sealine bag and never has touched the water. I keep my cell phone in same bag and it's 3 years old. No problems with a POS Nokia crap-phone (other than sucky Alltel read=Notel NC service).

The company has been great but the GPS...well, not so great. I doubt I will ever buy from Magellan again. We'll see.


try immediatly
as I’m leaving the store, I put batteries in them or hardwire them right to my car battery and check them in the parking lot, forget sending it back. trade it for one that works right then…my buddy “jeff” manager of our local west marine says 90% of failures are usually “right out of the box”,so why wait till you get home?or if it’s operator error, they can usually quickly get you on the right track…but moisture definatly kills the other 9%. the last 1% is antenna connection failure. which the more you use them the more prevelant. they carry a replacement coaxial connecter to resplice with so you don’t have to replace the antenna unit.if you buy units with the internal antenna this isn’t a problem

Foretrex 201
Just got the 201, and use it secured to the deck, to read speed and distance. Works OK so far, and will keep this forum updated on its reliability, as this is a new model.

Does anybody ever update
firmware in their gps units. It’s a helpful thing to do! Of course not all gps units allow this. I bag my gps. with the bag surface sticking tight to the display surface it does not have a huge effect on readability. I have waypoints preprogrammed, my gps is secondary to my compass but I’m glad to have one, especially in fog. Hello Peter M. hope to paddle with you soon.

Firmware updates
I have owned my Garmin Etrex Legend for about year and a half. I have updated the firmware two maybe even three times. I get notified via email when Garmin has new updates for my model so it is easy to keep it up to date.

I ALWAYS keep my Legend in a see-through floating drybag that is clipped to my bungees on the front deck. That way I can read the display while I am paddling. Usually keep it on the map display while giving me mph info and distance traveled. I enjoy getting all the electronic feedback as to where I am and how fast I am going (or not!) as the case may be.

Would really like to take a hands-on navigation class to learn more about using a compass and charts. Have been reading David Birch’s book on kayak navigation which is excellent. Maybe I will get in touch with the local Coast Guard and see what they have to recommend.


2nd one replaced
OK, Ken informs me he just got his in, replaced with a new one, on 5/24. Yesterday changed firmware to optimize BlueNav Charts, up & running now. :slight_smile:

Seems that some people out there are having some, repeated problems, and others luckier are having no problems experienced at all.

No surprise, for extra insurance the drybag waterproof housings add that extra bit of insurance, albeit at some loss of convenience.

Peter McLaughlin

PLymouth, MA