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USB Mode mass storage or garmin ?

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  • USB Mode mass storage or garmin ?

    The documentation says :" USB Mode Sets the device to use mass storage mode or Garmin® mode when connected to a computer. "
    but what does it mean in clear ? what is the difference ?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Mass Storage Mode: When you connect your watch to a computer, it automatically goes into “mass storage mode” (pc can access watch files). The current activity, if any, is suspended, the charging screen is displayed and you can’t do anything with the watch until you disconnect the cable.

    This is how older garmins without this feature always behaved.

    Garmin Mode: When you connect watch to a computer, you are prompted to go into mass storage mode. If you answer yes, it’s the same behaviour as above. If you answer no, it acts as though you connected to a charger — you can continue to use the watch.

    In both cases, the watch behaves the same when you connect to a charger — you aren’t prompted and you can keep using the watch. So the only reason to use Garmin Mode is if you need to charge during an activity with something that looks like a PC.

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    • #3
      So the only reason to use Garmin Mode is if you need to charge during an activity with something that looks like a PC.
      I mean, you could be doing a bunch of squats while using your laptop as a weight or balance it on your head while running on a treadmill...

      I feel some of these should be achievement trophies on the GC app.
      Forerunner 235 (x3)- Broke & Returned
      Fenix 3 HR - Sold
      Vivosmart HR - Charging Alternative
      Fenix 5X- Broke & Returned
      Fenix 5- Broke & Returned
      Forerunner 935 - Current

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      • #4
        Many thanks WillNorthYork.
        But why is not Garmin documenting this properly ???

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        • #5
          Think you'll find they do ...
          Currently own Drive 50LMT-D, Nuvi 2508LMT-D, Nuvi 1490LMT, Nuvi 1310, Montana 650T, Etrex 20, and use Basecamp, OSM mapping
          Previously owned Etrex Legend H, Mio Navman and used Mapsource
          (please note that I am not employed by Garmin, but am a long term user of Garmin software and hardware)

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          • #6
            To be fair, "Garmin Mode" probably actually refers to Garmin's old USB protocol, which would still work with older desktop software like Basecamp, but not Garmin Express. Older Garmin devices did not support mass storage mode at all. The mass storage prompt is probably there because in 99% of cases, you actually want mass storage mode.

            I tried it once (using Garmin Mode, connecting to a PC and answering "No" to "Use Mass Storage") and Basecamp recognized my watch although it said that certain things could not be transferred (waypoints, routes and tracks).

            So it might be more of a legacy option so you can use it with old software. After all, your watch still shows up Windows' device manager when you answer "no" to "Use Mass Storage?" and Basecamp still detects it (although it's not clear to me if it can actually do anything with the 935 in that mode).

            But the practical consequence is when you answer "no" to "Use Mass Storage?", your watch is still usable while plugging it into a PC (although the file system is not accessible). This is probably more of a side effect as opposed to the actual purpose of the feature, which would be to allow people to use Garmin USB mode on a PC if they need it.

            Anyway, I still think there's no almost no reason for most users to use "Garmin Mode", unless maybe you're cycling with Zwift on a laptop and you suddenly need to charge your watch....
            Last edited by WillNorthYork; 10-11-2018, 09:38 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by WillNorthYork View Post
              To be fair, "Garmin Mode" probably actually refers to Garmin's old USB protocol, which would still work with older desktop software like Basecamp, but not Garmin Express. Older Garmin devices did not support mass storage mode at all. The mass storage prompt is probably there because in 99% of cases, you actually want mass storage mode.

              I tried it once (using Garmin Mode, connecting to a PC and answering "No" to "Use Mass Storage") and Basecamp recognized my watch although it said that certain things could not be transferred (waypoints, routes and tracks).

              So it might be more of a legacy option so you can use it with old software. After all, your watch still shows up Windows' device manager when you answer "no" to "Use Mass Storage?" and Basecamp still detects it (although it's not clear to me if it can actually do anything with the 935 in that mode).

              But the practical consequence is when you answer "no" to "Use Mass Storage?", your watch is still usable while plugging it into a PC (although the file system is not accessible). This is probably more of a side effect as opposed to the actual purpose of the feature, which would be to allow people to use Garmin USB mode on a PC if they need it.

              Anyway, I still think there's no almost no reason for most users to use "Garmin Mode", unless maybe you're cycling with Zwift on a laptop and you suddenly need to charge your watch....
              When my Fenix 5x connect to express in "Garmin" mode, there is little that cannot be done. It can connect. it can reflect (green dot) the connection status. It can sync. She was installed. If can determine SW versions to the extent that it knows it out of date. But what cannot be done is the update.

              Express, since it does have a fair level of capability while in "Garmin" mode should be smart enough to provide a meaningful error message upon such an update failure. Meaning it should tell the use to change to USB mode.
              FWIW: I leave my watch in Garmin mode, becaues during my Ultra marathons I use a USB charger while running, and garmin mode is needed to keep the activity running while charging

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jetguat View Post
                FWIW: I leave my watch in Garmin mode, becaues during my Ultra marathons I use a USB charger while running, and garmin mode is needed to keep the activity running while charging
                That's something I have heard many times on this forum, and I can only say my (limited) experience has been different. I leave my watch in "Mass Storage" mode and it continues normal operation whether I plug it into the wall or into a USB powerbank. I've never actually gone for a run that way, I just did the test when the question came up on the forums about "USB mode". I've never been able to get my watch to go into data transfer mode unless I actually plugged it into a computer.

                I can only guess that there are certain chargers which somehow kick devices into data transfer mode, although I'm not sure why they would do that since chargers can't transfer data.

                I also can't speak for anyone else, but my 935 can only talk to Garmin Express in mass storage mode. In Garmin mode, Basecamp can detect my 935 and report the firmware version, but Garmin Express does not even detect that a device is connected.

                This might shed some light:
                http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussi...ing-in-the-car
                Cannot use my Nuvi while charging in the car!

                "I've tried both the Garmin car charger as well as a USB cable from my Blackberry. The display shows that it's in data transfer mode and I cannot use the device. Makes the device pretty useless if I can't charge as I am driving.

                Can anyone help?"

                "Mine works just fine. Make sure you aren't using generic chargers."

                "Good call on generic chargers. Also this can happen if you are using a power splitter, and I've also seen it when there was an electrical issue in the car."

                "In this forum and other GPS forums, others are having the same issue and blame Garmin on how they implemented their USB port which is used for both charging and data transfer. One workaround that seems to work is to plug it in and let go to data transfer mode, unplug it and quickly replug it in while its booting and this seems to force the device to bypass the transfer mode."

                I mean it's a thread that started 10 years ago, but had posts as recently as 2014-2018 and the whole idea that "Garmin device thinks generic charger is a PC" sounds eerily familiar to me....
                Last edited by WillNorthYork; 10-11-2018, 01:20 PM.

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