Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Woes

Yesterday I had some serious Garmin problems.  The run started off rough enough; I didn't get a good night's sleep because my neighbors were playing music and being loud past 2am.  I had wanted to do my long run, but the lack of sleep meant that I got up later than I wanted and I not feeling refreshed, so I swapped it for the 8.74 mile run I had planned for Sunday morning.  Because I didn't get started until 8:30am (not to mention the humidness that is the essence of Austin), it was a very muggy run.  I was concerned about my sweatiness causing my Garmin 405 to go schizo, which it inevitably does if the bezel gets wet, so I locked the bezel.  You can do this by simultaneously pressing the enter and quit buttons.  When the bezel is locked, you can touch it without changing the watch settings.  After some rainy runs when my watch was going crazy and changed a bunch of its settings on its own and managed to stop recording run data, this seemed like a really good idea.  Sadly, I was wrong.

Just a few minutes after I had locked the bezel, the watch started beeping and flashing "bezel locked", which I knew wasn't normal.  At the next stoplight, I tried to unlock the bezel (which you do by simultaneously pressing the enter and quit buttons) but it did not work, no response at all!  Then I tried pressing each button on its own, still no response.  I was a little confused and annoyed, but the auto pause and auto resume seemed to be working fine, so I attributed the bizarre behavior to my sweat on the watch and resolved to worry about it when the run was done.

When I finished the run, I still could not stop the watch.  I got out my Garmin 405 manual, and proceeded to reset the watch, which you do by holding the same two buttons down for 7-10 seconds.  This worked and the screen went blank.  What is supposed to happen next is that the watch restarts itself automatically and displays the time.  Unfortunately for me, that did not happen.  In fact, nothing happened.  I tried restarting several times, and then only response from the watch was a blue line across the screen that would gradually fade and a soft beep.

I was very sad!  I checked some forums online that described similar problems but no real solution.  I checked the charging contacts on the watch and noticed one was a little rusty so I cleaned it with isopropanol and a q-tip.  Then I set the watch up to charge.  After a few minutes, the watch beeped and the screen turned back on, showing the time and the message "bezel locked."  Again, however, I could not unlock the bezel or get the buttons to do anything.  I repeated this process several times and was then resigned to the reality that I would need to get some help from the Garmin guys, but they are closed on the weekends so I would need to wait until Monday.

The reality set in that I would probably have to send the watch in to be repaired.  With that reality came that sad, sad feeling of being without the Garmin and my dependency on it.  This, of course, is one of the reasons I was reluctant to get one, which makes running without one feel so hard.  I find that using online maps to estimate the distance of my routes will overestimate, sometimes by a lot, so running without the Garmin almost feels like cheating!  With in a few minutes, I of course had developed a plan to deal with this, and it involved only running those routes that I had already measured with the Garmin until it was repaired.  Creativity would take a back seat to accuracy.

Bailey gives kisses
Today, twenty-four hours later, I decided to check on the watch one more time.  The screen was still blank, so I tried restarting it.  This time, I got no blue line or beep.  This was new, and surprising.  Then my expensive undergraduate education and 3.5 years of graduate school kicked in.  I realized that if the bezel had been locked then the watch couldn't go into power save mode, which meant the battery had probably been drained.  I plugged it back in, and sure enough, the charge was at 0%.  I let it charge up and then tried the buttons.  Like magic (or science!), it was working perfectly again.  I was very relieved.  A little patience and perseverance and the problem was fixed.  More importantly, Garmin was staying with me.  If someone else has this problem, I hope this post helps.

Bailey and I then took it on a nice, 2.70 mile walk to confirm that it was back to normal.  She is the best sidekick.

1 comment:

  1. My Garmin Forerunner 405 had something weird happen to it a couple of years ago. I couldn't resuscitate it from its bizarre behavior by resetting, so like you (great ChemE minds think alike ;-) let it fully discharge, then upon recharging it came back to its factory fresh behavior. Since then I've updated my Forerunner's firmware (accomplished via using the IE browser) which may have corrected that problem. So, if you haven't already done so I'd steer you to that website before you have a recurrence.