View Full Version : Garmin Oregon; inept engineering? Elevation record influenced/falsified by touchscree

03-24-2012, 03:19 PM
Garmin Oregon; inept engineering? Elevation record influenced/falsified by touchscreen

Well made some tests. Really disappointing, I must say. Every touch on the screen influences the elevation record, if you use the barometric measurement (Setup=>Altimeter=>Barometer Mode: variable Elevation).

See the two records, exact the same route. Once with the screen left untouched the entire way, the other with 20 touches (10 zoom in, 10 zoom out) at kilometer 2,4,6,8,10. These touches falsify the total ascent/descent heavily, in the shown examples it gives:

Digital Map 1:25000: ascent/descent +94/-73 meters
Oregon 300 untouched: ascent/descent +90/-80 meters
Oregon 300 with touches as described above: ascent/descent +438/-424 meters

http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/28/overlayelevation.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/801/overlayelevation.jpg/)

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What the hell were these engineers at Garmin thinking?

It's quite a pretty obvious issue that if you build a closed case and retrieve the elevation inside it over a pressure sensor, there is an influence, since the touches on the screen compress the air inside, changing the pressure. It's also no help removing the rubber usb-plug cover, also this does not enable a flow between case inside and the outside.

Would be easy to fix, enabling the case with a kind of pressure "communication" with the outside. Some covered holes would do it, as it was the case on the Edge 305 for example, to take account of this problem. That's an indeed poor performance/design by the Garmin engineering section.
Does this same crap apply to the Dakotas and the new Montanas? Would be hard to believe if this bug had not been recognized when designing the new Montana.


07-23-2012, 05:10 PM
I've upgraded my Oregon 300 to an Oregon 550t, so I was able to do a comparison in this issue.

Firmware of the x00 serie (Oregon 300, 400 etc.) is different from the one of the x50 serie (Oregon 450, 550 etc.), one of the major relevant differences being the fact that the x50 firmware is still updated up to date, while the x00 serie has not seen an update since May 2011 and probably has been abandoned.

The firmware 5.70 of the x50 serieof 05/31/12 (http://garminoregon.wikispaces.com/Versions+x50) has introduced a fix described as "Fixed an issue with the reporting of pressure from the barometric altimeter" which exactly covers the issue described here. So there is still hope for the garmin engineering, as it seems.

The same test as above has been done. Oregon 300 (firmware 4.20, the last update) vs. Oregon 550t (firmware 5.80). Simultaneous record of the same route. On the Oregon 300 (blue) with each 20 touches (10 zoom out, 10 zoom in) at kilometer 2,4,6,8,10,12, Oregon 550t (red) with same touches at kilometer 1,3,5,7,9,11.

As you can see, there is absolutely no more influence on the barometric measurement from the touches on the touchscreen on the Oregon 550t with the new firmware (so obviously also on all x50 models)

The test gives:
Digital Map 1:25000: ascent/descent +94/-73 meters
Oregon 300 with touches as described above: ascent/descent +222/-201 meters
Oregon 550t with touches as described above: ascent/descent +108/-84 meters
There is to remark I kept the touches on the screen a bit more softly than in the test above, so the result is a bit less drastic for the Oregon 300.

So the garmin engineering finally managed to solve this issue. Congratulations!

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/6599/elevationoregon300vs550.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/215/elevationoregon300vs550.jpg/)

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07-26-2012, 03:24 PM
I have to revise slightly my previous post. Did an additional test, exact the same as described in my previous post.

However, in this test, I applied strong (however, not extreme) pushes on the touchscreen, on both Oregon units. As you can see, the new x50 firmware is not able to eliminate the effect on the barometric measurement completely. Still, in the Sporttracks analysis (ascent/descent), it shows at least that the firmware hack works against the effect.
So I would state that if you use the touchscreen in a somewhat "normal" manner (pushing until you see the screen reacting/changing), the effect for the x50 Oregon units is almost entirely eliminated.

Red: Oregon 300
Blue: Oregon 550t

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/6599/elevationoregon300vs550.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/16/elevationoregon300vs550.jpg/)

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