Question about Garmin ETREXVISTA GPS Receiver

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ETrex Vista shows incorrect date

About 5 weeks ago, I purchased a Garmin eTrex Vista. Within a couple of days, I had to return it because it started showing the wrong date – out by many years. In all other respects, the unit seemed to be working fine (acquired a satellite fix quickly, compass and barometer work OK, etc).

The unit was replaced with a new Vista unit, which was working fine – until today! Now my new replacement unit is showing exactly the same symptoms. Today (17 November 2007) it is showing the date on the Main menu screen as 02-Oct-66. (There is nothing I can see which shows whether this is 1966 or 2066, but either way, the date is wrong.) It shows the correct time of day, however, and manages to get a satellite fix quickly, even though it appears to believe that it is living 59 years in the future (or possibly 41 years in the past.) I have checked that I am running the latest system firmware (version 3.70), and have tried a full hard reset, changed the batteries, etc, but nothing I have tried will correct the date problem.

This makes the unit all but useless for me, as the downloaded track-logs show corrupt time and date stamps. One major consequence of this is that I can’t use the track-logs to geo-reference my digital photographs from my remote site trips, which is one of the main reasons I bought this unit. The downloaded track-log files show the dates for the latest track-log points as being 24-Aug-30 to 27-Aug-30, whereas the Vista Main screen is currently showing the date as 02-Oct-66!

Another critical issue is that I can’t download track-logs into MapSouce – the MapSource software attempts to download the current track from the unit, but then at the end of the download seems to recognise that the data is corrupt, and rejects the whole track-log.

I have contacted Garmin Tech Support and the local reseller for advice, so far without success. Is there a known PERMANENT fix for this problem?

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Re: eTrex Vista shows incorrect date

Thanks for the great advice. My problem is fixed!! Yay!

Posted on May 07, 2008

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Garmin Etrex Vista Date problem

Thanks to a hint from a user on another web forum, I have found a fix, at least for now.

Specifically, a normal "master rest" on the eTrex Vista is accomplished by holding down the "Page" button and "Enter" (i.e. the click stick) while powering up. You are prompted that a full reset will occur, and after confirming, the machine is reset. However, in my case, this achieved a full reset, but did not fix the date problem.

However, the undocumented "super master reset" on the eTrex Vista is achieved by simultaneously holding down the "Page, "Enter" and "Find" buttons while powering up. You have to hold all buttons in for about 5 to 7 seconds, and you DON'T get the warning message, but when the machine finally restarts, it is fully reset. After acquiring a satellite fix (took several minutes) - lo and behold - my time AND date both seem to be correct!

Oddly, neither Garmin tech support nor the local reseller seemed to know about this method of REALLY resetting the machine - I will pass on the information to them, for future reference.

The link which documents the "super master reset" procedure is here:

Hope this might also help other eTrex Vista owners who are experiencing the same date problem.

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