/ Garmin Pursuit GPS watch

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Heike 25 Nov 2019

I was so happy to receive such a wonderful and expensive present for my special birthday. However, it has been proven to be so totally inaccurate, the money people have spent on it is not worthwhile. I had previously had several Avocets, then Suuntos, but this watch is the worst in terms of accuracy although being really expensive - way more expensive than the other watches I had. The only thing I want is an accurate (or fairly accurate) altimeter. Today, I went for a hillrun of my local hill from an intermediate parking place - of which I know for sure it is about 250 metres height gain to the top, maybe 300 by the time you went down over a few hillocks. After about ten minutes it told me I had 150 metres of height gain, I had hardly left the car park. At the top it said, you have gained 830 metres in height! The hills is only 450 metres high in total. When I came down it said, your high point was 356 metres, but then it said you gained 830 metres of height? I despair. It also then said I did ten floors that day...The watch is not reliable in the slightest...  it contradicts itself all time - a shame for the money it cost. Where is my old reliable Suunto, oh, they don't sell batteries for them anymore...Any thoughts?

Post edited at 18:03
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thommi 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

What model is it again? My Garmin isn't terrible... 

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hokkyokusei 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

I've never heard of a Garmin pursuit. My Garmin Fenix 2 and Fenix 3 worked pretty well.

Which Suunto is it that you can't get the battery for any more?

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Heike 26 Nov 2019
In reply to hokkyokusei:

Sorry, Garmin Instinct. It's the Vector.

Post edited at 08:42
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richlan 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

I replaced the battery in my Vector a few weeks back, Boots and others sell them.

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SouthernSteve 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

My only thought is that temperature is making a difference between the house (warm) and the top of the hill. I do see a disparity between height climbed and that descended (Fenix3) always  more up than down, but nothing like that. I would send for repair. S

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hokkyokusei 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

I'd not heard of that one either, sorry can't suggest anything other than it's not working properly.

Battery for the Vector is the Duracell 2430 I believe. You can get a 'kit' comprising a battery and a new o-ring on a well known auction site.

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PaulTclimbing 28 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

Having talked at length about these watches with my local fell running club buddies I have gleaned very little thoughtful insight into how the cheaper alti watches perform. By cheaper I mean watches under 400 quid. I have owned various avocet, casio etc over the last 20 years and would say that they were never very accurate or reliable, other than my mates older casio which seemed quite good. They were mostly barometric/temp related. I think their inaccuracies were mostly to do with barometric pressure changes due to weather changes or orographic wind and temp corruption due to proximity to heat. I believe they work on a relationship between temp and baro. So has the concept been flawed.  Ive spent good money on a variety and broken a few. I did a test with some buddies driving over shap once coming from Scotland. My Avocet was way out. The casio slightly accurate. The Etrex entry level was accurate to within metres and at 72 mph it showed speed and updated. poss late 1990s. I think they've all improved. But runners don't really care about alt. as long as it confirms they are going in the right direction, bread trail etc height gain is immaterial. I even spoke to a good UTMBer who said he didn't look at alt. Incredible to me when 30 miles from home and you have to cross over into the Chamonix valley. So, its a climbers thing. Altitude..and how far up the ladder or down it have you gone in ascent or retreat. Talking to my ukmtb buddie he is suggesting to me that whilst his Suunto has a baro ralt reader on an eliptigo ride it put a massive 500m hill in at an altitude of 100m- he never crossed a hill- it was a thunderstorm. however , if he pre plots a route and sees how far up the route he is...its done on maps and Longitude latitude coordinates and the satelites know that altitude for that location...so running is pretty accurate and theres a route path and ....most importantly precipices aren't your main concern. So what of climbing for such a watch . I asked him.. does Baro over ride maps/coordinates. He wasn't sure. I asked him so how do you manage if your in a white out and must hit a 3 metre wide ridge to get of the hill...he said hed go home before... so what I'm saying is that crux/critical cases are what we need these watches for. Are there any people out there with critical/user friendly advice on this. To develop this, I'm now re interested in watches, thinking that they are satellite identified. I'd like a watch, but should I go for a GPS device? I'll ignore battery life issues for a moment. And I don't have the answer to my questions, but do envjsage myself in a remote location, with a necessity to get down safely for example negotiating the monte rosa glacier in a whiteout or freney (worst cases) or just ambling uop a grreeat rock route, but long , 1000m - How much of it have we done. I think this is what Heike requires...its definitely what I would wan to achieve from an alti watch...and not have to check, or get discrepancies and try to work it all out...anyone out there got any detailed knowledge on this? Please help. like what about varios for paragliders are they any more accurate.

Post edited at 01:16
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Fiona Reid 28 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

How often is it recording the altitude? Does it have any settings to smooth the recording out?

I've an old Garmin forerunner and you can choose the frequency the GPS records at - mine just has two options, every second and smart which records less often thus should give a smoother profile.

Also, have you tried looking at the data?  Is it really spiky 

Personally with all GPS devices I ever only trust the position,  the altitude unless it's barometric, is generally a bit rubbish. In the UK our weather changes rapidly, meaning you'll  often need to recalibrate an altimeter several times a day. On a short run this should be less of an issue but on a full hill day changes in pressure as weather systems move can make a big difference.

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petemeads 28 Nov 2019
In reply to Fiona Reid:

I use a Garmin 920xt but own/ed several others which have been superseded. The barometric height is set by the GPS signal after a minute or two, usually - when I go out for a run I check that the altitude shows close to the 95 metre contour that goes through my back lawn as I once went out with a start point 1000 ft below sea level...

Obviously weather changes will affect the barometer but our recent Welsh 3000s crossing showed the exact height on Snowdon and was only just under 3000ft on Foel Fras 16 hours later, on a day with a strengthening wind. Accurate enough to be very useful navigating in mist. Impressed.

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Heike 30 Nov 2019
In reply to All.Thanks for all you replies. I am currently in Calpe, basically sea level and it says I am at -256 metres despite having put the GPS on to calibrate several times. Totally useless. The thing about the Suunto was that it could be a bit out maybe 50 or so metres, but as soon as you know you can adjust it again and it is all fairly reliable. But really -256 metres below sea level and no way to adjust it...

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Sir Chasm 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Heike:

It's broken, send it back.

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climberchristy 01 Dec 2019
In reply to Heike:

Might be worth checking what GPS setting you are using... my Garmin Fenix 5 was tracking altitude really accurately until I messed about with GPS settings and switched to 'GPS and GLONASS'. After that it started registering my house  which is at 29m above sea level as well below sea level! A switch back to 'GPS only' sorted it and it's now spot on again. 

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