Question about Garmin eTrex Vista GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Garmin Etrex Vista

My Unit started going blank. I changed batteries and now it will not acquire satellite info.
Get back to

Posted by on


1 Answer

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 3 Answers

Screen going blank or drawing strange lines is a "built-in feature", rather than just a simple flaw, of this model. Every handheld Garmin I know does that after some use. I hope Garmin corrects that soon.

It means it is fragile, maybe much too fragile for its intended use, should I say, but not necessarily out of order. It is capable to get you oriented for many years even with such display defects.

Display follies usually get fixed by removing batteries for a reset, or (folkloricly), by hitting it gently with a finger just over the Earth-like logo until the display comes back on.

But... real trouble is a GPS not acquiring satellite signals. That's like a lamp that cannot produce light: something must be seriosly wrong with the inner core. Just removing the batteries is not a sufficient cause for that to happen, unless the unit has suffered a severe impact or has a serious internal defect.

Let's start by the basic troubleshooting.

First, you should make sure your Garmin has the right information about date (day, month and year), time (hours and minutes of day), world time-zone (how many hours are you before of behind the Greenwich meridian) and daylight-saving seasonal time (which can all be set in your adjusts menu), and about your actual location on Earth (which can be set on the satellite menu as "new location", by entering the name of your town or by searching for it with the cursor over a map).

Second is, obviously, to try it with a clear, open and wide view of the sky. Glass is not an obstacle, but almost anything else is -metal, wood, stone, concrete. Your GPS needs a broad chunk of sky to acquire the number of different satellites needed for a fix.

No GPS can appropriately acquire and read satellite signals without such data, for it needs to know which specific satellites it has to look for, at what time, in which positions.

If you are in Alaska in July 2008, and your GPS is instructed as if it was in Australia in November 1998, it may be actually getting signals, but not making any sense from them.

All this can happen if you turn your unit on in a very far away location from where you turned it off the last time; also, if you had it off-duty for a very long time.

But you should always get a reasonable position fix if you operate a normal, healthy GPS, with all that data up-to-date and with a clear view of sky.

If you are sure that your Garmin has all this basic information, and still does not work, it's internal electronics which is failing.

Then, I respectfully suggest you pack it and have it sent to Kansas for a factory repair, for I just don't know who might have those microchips greased and tuned elsewhere.

The man who repairs blenders and radios around here says he does not know what a GPS is.

Posted on Jul 08, 2008


1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya Technician can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repair professionals here in the US.
click here to Talk to a Technician (only for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017


Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

It soes not a acquire a satlelite.

I have this unit and have not had a problem acquiring satellites except under dense canapy cover. In open view you should always be able to acquire enough satellites. You should be able to see the available satellites on the start up screen and watch them being acquired. According to the manual if a satellite fix is not established a list of solutions is suppose to appear. Hope this helps.

Feb 02, 2011 | Garmin eTrex Vista Cx GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Etrex Legend: approximately 5 minutes after powering up and acquiring satelite signal, the unit will go blank screen and will not respond. Powering off and restarting produces the same result. While the...

Have you recently updated your unit's software? If not, go to and update the firmware for your specific unit. A new satellite was launched in 2009 which has caused some problems. This might be the cause of your problem. If this doesn't solve the issue, please come back and advise. If this does solve your problem, please come back and rate our solution. Thank you.

Nov 13, 2010 | Garmin eTrex Legend GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Vista etrex cx will not acquire satellites . It worked okay the last time I used it.It then says poor reception .Use with GPs off. Its a clear day and was yesteday when i tried to use it. There seems no...

My Etrex Legend would not aquire satellites and after several call to tech support, I finally reset the whole unit. First I saved the waypoints on Mapsource. Then with the unit off press and hold the page button (upper right) then push the rocker button in and then push the power button. Once it starts you can then release all the buttons and set the unit outside for about 20 minutes.

May 22, 2010 | Garmin eTrex Vista Cx GPS Receiver

3 Answers

Screen goes blank after locating sattilites.

Accordingto Garmin, this problem can be fixed by disabling the WAAS feature in teh set up menu. There is an incompatibility between the old Garmin software and latest WAAS upgrades. Later software from Garmin is supposed to fix this problem.

May 21, 2009 | Garmin eTrex Legend GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Blank screen with a black line down the middle.

Due to a new satellite launched this year, the WAAS is affected. Disable the WAAS, go to Garmin and download the latest software version FOR THIS UNIT. Install, enable WAAS and you should be good to go.

Nov 23, 2008 | Garmin eTrex Legend GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Blank Screen on Garmin E-Trex Vista

The problem is that your software version needs updating. A recently added satellite creates a glitch in the older software. Go to the Garmin website, load WebUpdater if you haven't already done so, and the updated version (3.8) will automatically install to your Garmin unit. I had the same symptoms, they have now disappeared and my Etrex Vista is back to normal.

Oct 14, 2008 | Garmin GPSMAP 76CS GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Wont do anything

The eTrex is on the way back to Garmin! I contacted Garmin ref this problem and the tech suggested that I try to 'reset the master'...Power device off (it won't turn on so this was not a problem), press and hold down for 5 seconds the following button combination: page+enter+power. If this works a prompt will come up asking if you want to clear all user data, to which you have to select 'yes' and this will erase all data saved/stored. Leave the device outside for a minimum of 20 minutes so that it may properly acquire satellites. If the device does not awake using these directions...back to Garmin, which is the action I must now take! lt7578

Aug 24, 2008 | Garmin eTrex GPS Receiver

5 Answers

Garmin Etrex display problem

Have you updated your Garmin unit software recently?

Mar 21, 2008 | Garmin eTrex GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Screen Blanks

I had the same problem with an etrex Vista. I spoke with Garmin, they said that a recently launched WAAS satellite is interferring with some models (he mentioned it is the models with a black and white screen). Garmin tech support said that they're working on a software patch but for the meantime switch WAAS off.

Call Garmin tech support with any questions or to find out about the software patch, 1-800-800-1020

Nov 04, 2007 | Garmin eTrex Vista Cx GPS Receiver

4 Answers

Garmin eTrex Legend

Do the following: 1 - Make sure you have fresh batteries in the unit and turn the unit on. 2 - Check the GPS date and Time. On the Main Menu at the bottom of the screen, you can see a date and time. If the date and time are not current, then the clock is your problem. You will have to wait for the almanac information to be updated. Details are below in a later section. 3 - Make sure your GPS is in the Normal Mode and not a demo mode. Verify other systems settings. Go to the main menu and click on Setup icon. From the Setup screen, access the System screen icon. Verify the following settings: GPS: normal WAAS: Enabled Language: English or your choice. Battery: Set according to your battery types. 4 - Check your GPSs Version Software. Go to the main menu and click on Setup icon. From the Setup screen, access the System screen icon. From the System screen, access the sub-menu icon in the upper right bar. Select "Software Version" from the list. Verify the actual software version for me. The latest version available for the eTrex Legend is version 3.90 dated March 2008. Update the unit using this latest software and using Garmin's Webupdater. If that won't work, use the following download page to access the latest software updates per units. 5 - Resetting your GPS clock and almanac information Next you may need to acclimate your unit to a new date and time (almanac information). If you had your unit off and without batteries for over a month since you last accessed satellites, then your clock and almanac information may be incorrect. Even Garmin acknowledges this problem after software updates and the problem with accessing satellites. They state: "unit data including alamanac information may be incorrect or cleared. Back up all user data before upgrading. After installation is complete, place unit with a clear view of the sky for 15-30 minutes to re-acquire almanac data. " I know of no way to reset the clock using the GPS menus. All I can suggest is that you do the following: A - turn the unit on and wait 5 minutes or so for the "Poor Satellite Reception" screen to appear. See page 7 of the owner's manual. B - Set the "new location" to your area using the map when the "poor satellite reception screen" appears. Be sure to use the "map" option and not the "automatic". C - Set the GPS outside with a clear view of the sky. Check on it every 10 minutes. When the "Poor Satellite Reception" screen appears again, then click on "Restart Search". The "Restart Search" option is used when the date provided in the GPS is not today's date. (See page 7 of the Owner's manual for an example) Legend Owners Manual: D - Once the GPS can track 4 satellites, then the clock should reset and you should be fine. This process could take up to an hour. I have had this problem with my eTrex Vista and eTrex Legend (both backup GPSs) and resolved it by having the clock reset. In fact, I just tried my eTrex Legend today after not using it for many months and storing it without batteries and it had this same problem. I followed the steps above to fix the problem. This took about 35 minutes.

Mar 28, 2007 | Garmin eTrex Legend GPS Receiver

Not finding what you are looking for?
Garmin eTrex Vista GPS Receiver Logo

203 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Garmin GPS Experts


Level 3 Expert

2130 Answers


Level 3 Expert

77499 Answers

TO Lady

Level 3 Expert

638 Answers

Are you a Garmin GPS Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides