Sunday, 31 August 2014

Garmin GPS nuvi 2597LTM, 5" - How to..

I recently purchased a Garmin GPS and more specifically the nuvi 2597LTM, 5" screen. Compared to other makes, I find Garmin to be the best GPS devices out there for all sort of reasons. I have used different models of Garmin GPS over the years and I was fully satisfied with them every time.

However, my recent purchase put me off a little bit and the reason was that I was expecting more from Garmin. What I mean is that I purchased one of the latest models in 2014 and I was expecting to see the graphics to be a bit more smooth, without any delays in drawing/redrawing the map. It feels like they haven't upgraded the processor over the years and its performing exactly like a GPS bought at least 6-8 years ago. Also, it would be really nice if the screen had better resolution. We have retina displays now, I don't think increasing just a little bit the screen resolution would make such a bit difference to the final price. Despite the above the GPS is picking up the satellites very fast, the antenna picks up the satellites in semi-covered places as well, the real directions are very nice and useful, and of course the bluetooth allows you to take calls on the GPS which are loud and clear! 

The issue I had to face though, came a couple of months after during a trip. The GPS decided that the auto-brightness feature will start working as it pleases. More specifically, during the trip, it decided to switch from bright to 10% brightness. Every time I set it back to 70%-100%, after a random number of seconds/minutes it switched back to 10% for no reason. 

During a trip that can be very dangerous especially when it decides to happen when you are trying to find the exit from the roundabout and you cannot stop to set the brightness back to normal. I looked for a way to disable the auto-brightness but I was really disappointed to find that there is no such option. So, I spent 3 hours of travelling by saying every few minutes the same thing in order to readjust the brightness without fiddling with the device "voice command, brightness, 100%, exit". The funny thing was that during the night on my way back, most of the time it was dark but you can see the screen so I didn't have to readjust the brightness using the voice commands. However, in random intervals it decided to switch to 100% brightness which is really annoying seeing it happening during the night.

So, the bottom line is that I am surprised to see there is not option to turn auto-brightness off and that there is no security clause in the source code to protect the drivers in case the light sensor failed to work as expected. This random behaviour of the auto-brightness feature could easily cause an accident and it should be addressed by Garmin as a precaution to the drivers' safety. 

One will say, this review should not be in this technical blog and it might belong to the product's review page and he/she might be right. However, the reason why this post is here is because Garmin has a couple of secret ways to reset the GPS to factory defaults. So, these tips and tricks (key combinations) are the main reason why this post is at this blog. So, let's start:

>>> How to access the "Diagnostics Page"
1. Power on the device
2. Touch the "View Map"
3. Touch the "Speed" button
4. Press and hold the speedometer for about 10 seconds until the screen changes to "Diagnostics Page"

The Diagnostics Page has a number of options such as:
  • Clear all user data
  • Shutdown Causes
  • Developer Info
  • Developer Tests
  • Diagnostic Logging
  • Demo Mode
  • Picture Viewer
  • CSM Settings
  • MTP Settings
  • RWFS Settings
  • Developer GPS Tools
  • Drive Hours Logger 
>>> How to do a "Master Reset" (back to factory settings):
"Note that a master reset will erase everything and restore your device back to its original factory settings"

Make sure the device's battery is charged before you begin. You will need to unplug the device from power and turn it off completely (not the stand-by mode).
To turn it off completely, while the device is on, press and hold the power button until you are prompted on the screen with the message "Turn off the device?". If you touch the "off" button on screen the device will shutdown completely. 

  • Now, touch and hold the lower right hand corner of the display.
  • Power off the device using the power button.
  • The word "system" with appear on the screen for approximately 30 seconds.
  • You can stop pressing the lower right corner of the screen when "Loading..." is displayed.
  • The device will automatically reset. 
  • You can now follow the on screen prompts to set your device like when you used it for the first time. It is best if you are outside and it can acquire the satellites. 
  • After that, use your computer to update the device to the latest maps and firmware using Garmin Express. 

After doing a master reset and reloading everything from my computer the brightness problem was addressed. So, it was a software failure and not a sensor fault. This, further supports the point I was trying to make. There should be some error handling in the source code to prevent such sudden brightness change behaviour and obviously an option to disable auto-brightness. 

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