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Garmin Edge: Annoying and undocumented limitation discovered

Friday, October 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I’ve been using my Garmin Edge 810 cycling computer every single day (quite literally) for nearly two years now. While not perfect, overall I am extremely satisfied with the Edge 810–so much so that the newer Garmin Edge 1000 offered no truly compelling reasons for me to consider upgrading. This is especially true now that the latest 810 firmwares (version 4.20 and higher) adds support for Live Segments (I’ve been experimenting with Live Segments for the past month or so, by the way. Look for my thoughts on this new feature in an upcoming blog.)

Garmin Edge 810 mounted on my 2013 Madone 5.9

Garmin Edge 810 mounted on my 2013 Madone 5.9

So the other day I was planning to ride a new course with my friend William. William sent over the route, which I slightly modified and sent back to William for his review. We agreed on the revised route, and so I exported the route in GPX Track format. After exporting the route, I dropped it on my Edge 810 in the usual way: I placed the file in the Edge’s “NewFiles” folder and then safely ejected the 810 from my computer. I’ve done this countless times over the past couple of years, and it always works as expected.

After I met up with William, I went to load the course and it was not there. “Strange”, I thought, “I’m almost certain that I uploaded the GPX file to my Garmin!” I attributed the missing course to user error, and told William that I must have forgot to drop the course on my Garmin, and to please call out turns.

A few days later I was planning out a solo training ride, and I whipped up a new route. This time I was 100% positive that I put the course on my Garmin, so I was shocked when I tried to load the course about 20 miles into my ride and it was not there! I had to stop my ride and consult Google Maps on my phone several times because the course was not there, as it should have been.

When I returned home from my ride, I decided to do some experimenting. I quickly discovered that new courses were simply no longer being properly added to my 810. I tried importing the courses from my Garmin’s internal memory, and also from the SD card. Nothing worked.

I’d recently upgraded the firmware from v4.20 to v4.30, and I was pretty sure that the new firmware must be the issue. I posted on Garmin’s forums, and a few people chimed in with the usual suggestions (reset to factory defaults, downgrade firmware, try the latest beta firmware, etc). I did all those things, which took a fair amount of time, but none of the suggested fixes solved the problem.

As expected, after resetting to factory defaults all the courses were wiped of the Garmin. So I copied all my existing courses from my computer to the Garmin’s “NewFiles” folder, and they imported just fine. Hrm.

I decided to create a test course, and tried to import it. It did not import. What the hell? It was then that I noticed something unusual: there were precisely 100 courses on the Garmin. I checked my local course folder (which I keep in sync with my Garmin), and there were 104 courses in that folder.

I deleted three courses from my Garmin, and tried to upload the four missing courses. The Garmin took all but one, silently dropping the final course. Mystery solved.

So Garmin has placed a 100 course limit on the Edge 810 and, presumably, the same limit exists on other Edge devices (I can’t know for sure). This limit exists no matter how much free space you have on the internal memory or the SD card (if installed).

While I wish the course limit was higher, I can work around it. What’s irritating is that this limit is NOT DOCUMENTED ANYWHERE! I checked the manual, and searched Garmin’s knowledge base and Forums. Even the Garmin gurus on the Garmin forums had no clue about this limitation, and had me jumping through hoops for nothing. It would have saved me a lot of time and aggravation if Garmin simply documented this limit!

Come on, Garmin, if you’re going to place some seemingly arbitrary limit on the number of courses your expensive computers will allow, TELL YOUR CUSTOMERS! Put this information in the manual or, even better, give us a notification on the screen when the course limit is reached, instead of silently discarding the attempted import.

I love my Edge 810, but this sort of design oversight is pretty inexcusable, especially this late in the product’s life cycle.

John Stone Fitness Comments

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