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Turn by turn directions not robust and reliable?

Former Member
Former Member
When Turn by Turn directions are working rigth on my Edge 820, they're quite nice and pretty much all I could ask for. But that's only some of the time. Over the course of my riding so far, I've seen all of the following happen (sometimes on the same ride):

  • A turn saying to turn onto a 'Trail', when in fact I'm turning on to a relatively major street that is on the map.
  • If I'm off course for too long, the Edge will quietly give up on TBT directions even when I rejoin the course. This can generally be cured by ending course following and then restarting the course, but this is a lot of delicate touchscreen tapping when you're moving in a group ride.
  • A moderately perverse route that doubled back on itself at one point seem to cause the Edge 820 to simply give up on TBT from that point onward; not even restarting the route helped.

  • The TBT directions just deciding to redirect me off the route onto something else. Often the 'something else' is very wrong, like when the Edge wanted to send me sideways down an alleyway instead of continuing on the street as the route had plotted, or when it wanted me to turn onto a 'Trail' that didn't exist. When I decline to follow the directions, this can lead the Edge to decide I'm off course and give up on TBT directions even though I'm riding the actual set route.

    (This isn't consistent, either. I recently did two group rides on two successive days that went along the same segment. On the first day, the Edge 820 tried to redirect me off the route; on the second day, it was happy to turn at the route's official turn.)

  • Turn alerts that are actively dangerous and misleading. At several straight-through 4-way intersections I've had the Edge 820 alert for a 90-degree right or left turn when even its map display thought there was only a little jog to one side in the route (and in reality it was straight through). Had I blindly followed the alerts I would have been instantly off course, often turning on to busy roads.

I've had this happen with both RWGPS routes (tcx and gpx) and with routes from Garmin Connect itself, all with (only) the normal Garmin maps. I've seen all of this happen on simple commute rides here in downtown Toronto, which ought to be a well-mapped area (we're not in the US, but it's not like we're obscure). Using an OSM map doesn't seem to make any real improvement in the situation (and using the OSM map alone is a total failure, the Edge 820 seems to really dislike that).

I did enough searching and reading before buying the Edge 820 that I knew that the Garmin Edge series in general wasn't exactly perfect as far as TBT directions went, but this feels excessive (and dangerous). Are these the kind of things that other people are seeing with Edge 820s, or am I having a relatively uniquely bad experience with TBT directions here? Also, are some or many of these things long-standing issues with Garmin Edge units and thus unlikely to be fixed in firmware updates, or do they sound like new problems that might be fixed in the future?

(I cynically assume that if Garmin has had a particular issue over multiple Edge models for years, they're not going to be fixing it this time around either.)

Relatedly, are there any known good (or standard) workarounds for these sorts of issues, like route shapes to avoid, things to do if you know you're going off course, settings to absolutely avoid (I already have all of the recommended RWGPS Garmin Edge navigation settings set), or ways to recover (beyond 'stop the course then reload it')? I'm already having RWGPS include cue sheet entries in the routes I pull from it and checking them, but that's a bandaid.

Since I bought the Edge 820 primarily for navigation, this is really bumming me out. It's a nice unit when it works, but it doesn't work robustly or reliably enough to completely replace paper cue sheets on my group rides (especially if I'm leading the ride and absolutely should not be making navigation mistakes).
  • On the 820 can you switch off the "turn guidance" like on the 510/810?
  • You have to learn to use it a bit on how the unit behaves while nagivating. After a while you'll get familiar with some of the weird stuff you see sometimes and on how you need to respond to it.
    When guiding/navigating a group it's best to keep the map and the guidance open at al time because the Garmin will not offer guidance on every intersection.
    With the map open you can always see where you need to go to follow your own course and only follow the caclulated one if it perfectly matches your own course.
    You can avoid having the map open at all times if you go for a tcx file with cue points. These pop-up on every page when you override them but it means a lot more work to create a course just like this. They also freeze your screen for the time they are displayed (or until you tap on them). I used to use these because on my 810 the TBT was just not realiable, would hang, freeze, or just quit during the ride. After 3 years of going through firmware updates they finaly managed to get it working fairly well although the latest firmware for the 810 makes it unstable again (crashes).
    In our group we can have up to 8 or 9 people with a GPS. At first it was only me who made the courses and guided the group. This ment i had to keep an eye on the course all the time (because the Edge was not reliable enough), ride in front of the group all the time etc...
    Then i started sending all my courses to the other members who also had a GPS and pushed them to put them on their GPS so they could follow the course to and let me off the hook now and then.
    Now all the GPS owners have all our courses (over 70) on their GPS, we decide on what course we want to ride and then everybody just loads up that particular course and then we're off.
    This means i don't need to ride in front all the time and it means that i can switch to whatever data page i want to see when i'm not guiding the group. Much more relaxing.
    Now only to find a way so other members would create their own courses and share them with the others instead of me ding all the work...LOL.
  • .What I've been hoping for with a GPS unit is that I could pay less attention to navigation on rides and more to the scenery and so on, because I could count on the unit to alert me to upcoming turns and otherwise I could just ignore navigation.

    It sounds like you want to avoid looking at the map. I don't that is quite possible.

    It takes some experience to use these units.

    I find using the 800 works very well (I really like riding with it).

    The devices basically all work the same (they all share a generic methodology) but the different models don't do what they are supposed to do to the same degree of success (they can have different bugs in quality and quantity).

    I don't know if the 820 works as well as the ancient 800 (The Touring, for instance, doesn't seem to work anywhere near as well as the 800).

    I'm trying to describe how the devices are supposed to work generically.
  • From reading this entire thread old to new it seems people think that TBT notifications being sporadic at best is ok?  I've a Garmin Edge 810 (6.30 software) updated and synch'd that is useless on navigation and I mean utterly useless.  It;s a Garmin with a GPS why is this so?  No TBT notifications just off course beeps when I am 50-60M up an hill you can imagine the sheer frustration.  On an unknown ride of 50+kms I will clip and unclip over 20 times. Not great when trying to get PB's or compete with someone's route on Strava.  It's primarily a Sat Nav.  I have now gone into unfamiliar territory over a dozen times and had to use my iPhone 6 and Google Maps to get me home.  Pitiful sadly.  Please help me Garmin it's spoiling all my rides and I am now with an onboard compass and a small piece of paper in my pocket for directions.  You ought to be a tad embarrassed? 

  • Just imagine what your 810 (or any gps) does to Strava...
    Strava is a hoax, or a toy at best.
    And TBT navigation is a hoax too, on al devices.
    You need to understand how it works, and then you'll also understand why sometimes / most of the time it doesn't work.

    As for navigating with your 810, you need a good (topographic) map and you need to read the manual.
    It does work, it will get you home (or to your car etc) even in unknown territory (unknown to you, not to the 810, because you have a good map installed).
    I have a 810, my wife uses it and she's very fund of it.
    We moved to Spain some time ago and we didn't know any of the mountainroads.
    The 810 always gets her home.

    If you need google maps, you don't understand the workings of your 810, or you have a sh#tty map installed.

  • Hi Walter B, please give me some reassurance here.  I have a Garmin Edge 810 performance pack (with HRM and Cadence Sensor) but the BASIC baseline map (no upgrade).  I have recently purchased (awaiting delivery) original Garmin City Navigator Europe NT: UK and Ireland, spurious Garmin Topomaps UK and an empty 64mb micro SD card (not even sure I need that).  

    Thus far the GE810 has been terrible as a navigation aid.  I have diligently researched the full instruction manual, YouTube videos etc. to get myself conversant with the tool.  I do not believe that it cannot provide Turn by Turn (TBT) or decent navigation so I am assuming this is down to awaiting the correct map download (probable) or user error (possible).  I'm close to ditching GE810 and going Wahoo Roam BUT I will await the maps ordered and hopefully fare better!

    I have created my own route through cycling the route as well as created routes on my iMac using both Garmin Connect / Express and Strava.  Again very mixed results mostly poor regards navigation.  The TBT part is paramount and vitally important to a good, safe and fast ride (if you so wish).  Again I hope buying the maps will solve this?  Other than this the GE810 does everything else it just lacks as a navigation aid at the moment which is the primary reason for purchasing it!

    Any pointers please with regards to which software is best to create routes for the GE810 to function best with navigation.  I'm giving it one more week and then making a decision.  Incidentally my 2nd hand £30 Garmin Nüvi for the van has served me brilliantly for 8-years so I know Garmin have the ability just seemingly not with the GE810 - it seems over-engineered with the software and firmware department? 

    Any help will be gratefully received.

    Richard Thewlis 

  • I had the same issue today a 30 mile ride and half way around I was directed to turn right, at which point I was informed I was off course. The map did not show where to go. Again I had to use Google Maps to get home! Very frustrating, third time this has happened in the last 4 rides!