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Wannabe Geek

Topic # 9687 5-Oct-2006 05:34
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Fellow Gadget Geeks,

I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 305 in August of 2006, and while I really liked the idea of having the GPS and HRM and tracking data, my experience with Garmin and this particular product has not been good. Major problems. I also posted a note about their supposed "Macintosh compatibility" - that is a load of ****. I own a MacBook and an older Ibook, and there is no software for the Macintosh. A claim that you can upload data to their (Garmin's) website to analyze your data IS NOT Macintosh compatibility! DOH! Anyway, below is my experience with Garmin. Hope you find it useful.

John in Minnesota

Problem with Garmin Forerunner 305

When I first got it, I followed the instructions, got it plugged in and went out for my first run with it. When I got home and plugged it in to my computer USB bus, the computer froze and required a reset to reboot. Once the computer came up again, the USB bus didn't work. I realized that the likely problem was too much current draw on the USB bus, and was going to need to get a new motherboard :( Darned disappointing, but being a computer and electronics person, I went and purchased the new motherboard and a powered external USB hub and about 12 hours later I was up and running again.
So, this time I plugged the Garmin Forerunner 305 into the powered USB hub instead of the computer. As soon as I did this, my computer blue screened (crashed) and it did so nearly every time I plugged the Garmin in. At this point I decided it must have been a problem with the Garmin Forerunner and got on their support system. Here is where the real problems happened.
Their support person told me:
1. Check for chipset names that are INTEL, NEC, etc. These are compatible chipsets with our devices.
2. If you have a chipset name that contains SiS, Via, OpenHCD, Ali, or Alr,
these chipsets are not compatible with our devices and may not allow the USB Card Programmer to function.
That wasn't on the package, or in the instructions, but regardless I learned that I had a compatible chipset from the manufacturer. So after letting them know that and that I now expected some compensation for my loss and that something definitely caused my motherboard's USB bus to go bad they asked that I send the unit, cable, charger, etc back to them so they could determine what might have caused the problem, which I did. After a week or so I asked if anything had been determined about what had happened but they didn't have any answers. I told them at this point that I expected some compensation for my damaged motherboard - another unit maybe? Something. They offered to send me a new unit and a cadence unit (for my bike) but I indicated that I already purchased the $60.00 cadence unit and that it didn't work on my bicycle due to the frame/pedal design and that a new unit would help since I really wanted to start using the new toy I bought.
After getting the replacement unit which didn't cause any blue screens (after a couple weeks) and seems to be functioning as well as the rest of the ones I've read about (not good - search for yourself), Garmin refused to compensate me in any way for my motherboard - I offered to accept the unit that I sent in back as payment - Garmin's response:
"Unfortunately, it appears as if we are unable to determine why the failure occurred given the information you provided. Thus we question whether the Forerunner 305 had anything to do with the failure on your PC. The device you provided does meet all specification standards. I apologize we could not provide a more conclusive answer. I will no longer respond to questions regarding the previous unit.". At this point I let Garmin's technical support know that I was going to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and make darn sure others who might be interested in purchasing something from them knew about their "policy" for dealing with problems.
And unfortunately, I had already sent the bad Forerunner 305 back to Garmin along with the crash dump files from my PC so I was no longer able to determine if a component had failed in the charging circuit of the Garmin and was out of luck. I had offered to send them the motherboard several times as well - they were never interested in what brand/make/model of motherboard I had - something that ultimately makes a difference in this equation. They had zero interest in it.
UPDATE: 2 October 2006 - After I filed the complaint with the Better Business Bureau, I was emailed by Garmin's senior staff attorney telling me he wanted me to contact him regarding this issue. I sent him the "final response" from Garmin's technical support that basically told me to shove off, to which he responded that they wanted to offer me another 305 as payment for my troubles. After all this **** - to me this was unbelieveable arrogance and stupidity. I requested they pay me for my motherboard and my time since I was now VERY DISAPPOINTED about how I had been dealt with, and basically the attorney told me in about 3 paragraphs that I needed to read their warranty which clearly states ... "blah blah blah" we aren't responsible for your problems. If there wasn't a problem with their products why on earth would they have their Senior attorney contact me and try to get me to accept a payoff? If they truly were a good company they would have wanted to know what caused the problem, or at a minimum made some effort to understand what happened and tell me. There was none of that.
And that has been my experience with Garmin. There are a lot of problems with Garmin's products, unlike many better manufacturers like Canon and Apple computer, they don't deal with the problems in an equitable manner. I highly recommend searching the net for others experiences before purchasing something from this company. Hopefully their competition will be done testing their equivalent products and put this company to shame.

[Moderator edit (JF): {Expletives Removed}]

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 47633 5-Oct-2006 11:31
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Please read the FUG.

Your USB ports having 'too much' current drawn should not make it necessary for you to get a new motherboard, a powered hub yes but they should still work fine after they are "reset" if necessary.

Nate wants an iphone
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  Reply # 47635 5-Oct-2006 11:43
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According to a quick google search on the top result which happens to be on Amazon (uk version here too) on the product.

I quote:
Radically new design is better in every way
Amazing accuracy and fast satellite acquisition time
So simple to set up and use, you will actually use it
No Mac OS compatibility
Okay, it's bigger than a sport's watch -- but so much more powerful

I have noticed a few threads claiming that they are supporting Mac OS on newer devices however the reviews state that it does not have support for Mac.

Oh and blaming it on Apple is a bit unfair. Similar things have happened to stock PC motherboards. The onus really lies on the device makers for ensuring compatibility.

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