Thursday, November 29, 2007

Garmin GPSMAP Communication Error

When I got my GPSMAP 76CSx for Christmas, a friend loaded a few of the local maps onto it to give me better shore detail when I was out kayaking. Until August, that was more than adequate. Once I got my motorcycle, however, I needed more, and Mapsource was not accommodating. Nearly every time I tried to upload maps, I'd get a communication error near the end of the process.

Searches on the web proved to be futile. Numerous people had the same problem, but no one had a solution. I looked at the Garmin site support page, and the solutions they offered there didn't change a thing. I updated both my USB drivers and my version of Mapsource, and still the same error.

Now my blog has basically no readership at all, but I'm putting this up anyway on the offhand chance that someone with the same problem might stumble across this with a Google search. The key is in turning your GPS into a USB device (effectively a flash drive), and you do that as follows:

1. Hit Menu twice
2. Select Setup
3. Select Interface
4. Select USB Mass Storage at the bottom

Now you connect to your computer and upload the maps as before. The main difference is that you won't see "Garmin Device XXX" as an option. Instead, you'll be looking for the appropriate letter drive to upload the Maps.


Normally, a Garmin GPS will be identified as "Garmin XXXX" (76CSx in my case), and that's what I see when I normally connect it to transfer waypoints, tracks, and routes. But when you change it to be seen as a USB Mass Storage device, it just looks like any other generic flash drive, since that's what you've basically turned it into.


Kirkster said...

Cool. I am going to have to try that...

DirtCrashr said...

That is a weird but recognizable workaround - weird and a failure on Garmin's part from a technical and branding standpoint - because they should want to have it as "Garmin Device XXX." :-)
Heh - what if they plugged in the USB and it said "Mohammed"?? Hehehehe.

Edward said...

I did find you post via google when searching this exact thing for my 76csx.

I found that transferring routes waqs the problem. I could transfer maps, waypoints and tracks, but if I had a route on my device and had that box checked it would do what you describe.

Greg said...

I tried this and it worked wonderfully. After 2 days of looking for a solution I finally have maps on my GPS.

I did get some kind of error with one of the topo maps, but eliminated it and everything worked fine. - Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I had the exact problem you described, tried your suggestion and it worked great. Thanks (p.s. I found you via Google.)

mblackwell said...

I had the same problem, and your workaround fixed it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey man...thanks for this. It's been weeks since I was able to get maps on there. Appreach!

Anonymous said...

Buddy, you saved me from going insane...I just got this thing and am getting ready for a 5 week road trip and was all impressed about how intuitive it is, until the topo map crash issue. Your workaround worked perfectly. Thanks for keeping your blog going and yes, it was google that helped me find it! cheers,

Anonymous said...

We bought 7 GPSs and 7 copies of the software for our field work.

I then installed one copy on one pc and loaded all units from that same pc.

Five worked without a hitch. Two needed this workaround. I figured it out myself on the first one, but totally forgot what I had done by the time I got to the last GPS (this was spread out over a period of three weeks, before and after a great vacation!)

The only variable that changed was the actual unit.

I wonder if it's a different firmware version??? If I ever get a hold of the units again I will get the firmware versions of each to check it out.

Thanks for the help!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tip. I had actually experimented with this on my 76CSx, but evidently hadn't hit the right sequence as I had not been successful. I have been having problems loading multiple map sets for awhile and had finally decided to try to figure it out when I stumbled across your web tip via google. I'm now back to loading large map sets.

Along with this tip, I also was able to load my entire topo map set to my hard drive and install Mapsource from there, so I no longer have to hunt down and install a CD to reload maps. It works well off the hard drive.

After loading a set of maps through the usb interface, I also found that I can offload the entire compiled map set onto my hard drive using drag and drop from a windows explorer browser. I can then reload it back onto the GPS unit whenever I want it. It cuts the compilation and load time significantly. Haven't found a way to compile a set of maps and store it on the hard drive, though. It has to be written to the GPS first.

I have a 1gb card in my 76CSx. I tried reformatting the card to see if it would restore the standard interface agian, but it had no effect on the commuication error. The removable disk access will work just fine for me, though.

Thanks again for the tip.

Jazzejohn said...

Thank you SO much for taking the time to share this. This problem was driving me up the wall, wasted quite a few hours troubleshooting (and I'm an Electrical Engineering student). I've known about the Mass storage option but didn't occur to me to try that to deal with this problem. Thanks again!