Garmin GPSMAP 62SC

From Wildsong
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Software version I have installed is 5.30, current as of 05-Mar-2023 (update with Garmin Express)

Why this one

I tried a couple touch screen models, the Oregon 300 and 450. For a GPS I prefer having buttons. Reliability and visibility are high priorities for me and the 62SC screen and buttons are better.

Ironically the "Oregon" touch screen does not work when it gets wet. When I lived in Oregon, hiking was my #1 outdoor activity and I often hiked in the rain. My GPS controls and screen have to work all the time, even in rain.

I also prefer the more compact fits-in-my-hand feel of the smaller receivers.

I chose a Garmin over another DeLorme this time because I like making maps and there are lots of mapping options for the Garmin. I was also tired of the teensy fonts on my DeLorme PN-40; I think they have fixed that.

The DeLorme mapping software does not work very well for me. To wit, it does not run in a virtual machine, and I hate having to boot my Mac into Windows just to look at a map.

I have used the 62SC for over a year now and it is my favorite. I love the built in camera, it is very handy on hikes.

On yer bike

Currently Julie and I both use Garmin Edge 830. They are compact and light and do well on handlebars.

I used to use my eTrex on bikes because it was smaller than the 62SC. In a fit of house cleaning I sold the eTrex. Then I used the 62 as my bicycle GPS. I have ANT+ cadence sensors on my Specialized and Slipstream bikes. I carry a Tempe temperature sensor. Sometimes I wear a Garmin heart rate monitor strap. The strap came with a dedicated heart rate monitor wrist watch but works fine with the 62.

When I am wearing the heart rate monitor I find myself watching that number more than cadence.

When I go for a longer ride, I record a track and then upload it to my account at and I can see all the metrics both as numbers and graphically:

  • Cadence
  • Heart rate, including how long I spent in each heart rate zone.
  • Speed
  • Elevation
  • Distance
  • Slope
  • Average watts output

and a lot more. Try it, you'll like it.

Updating firmware

Normally done with Garmin Express.

JNX patch

(I don't care about JNX files anymore. Garmin's Birdeye program was discontinued in 2022.) At some point I had I patched firmware using Alex Whiter's program so that I can use JNX files (rasters such as aerials). To patch the firmware download a current copy of the Garmin firmware to a Windows machine, and run the patcher and select the file.

To install JNX patched firmware,

  1. rename the patched GCD file to gupdate.gcd
  2. copy the patched file to the /Garmin folder in the internal flash drive,
  3. eject the Garmin drive(s)
  4. unplug and start the Garmin.

If you did everything right, the Garmin will validate the GCD file then install it. When you view the About screen it should say "Patched Version" at the top.

Automating data transfers

If I ever write a program it should handle photos, track logs, geocaches, and waypoints. In the meantime I will continue using a cobbled together set of processes to accomplish things.

Photo management

I was using using ImageCapture on my Mac. I had it set to transfer photos to my server then delete them from the GPS. I no longer have any Macs. Well. I have 3, all running Linux. But I seldom use the Garmin's camera so it's not a big deal.

GPX management

Currently I use Garmin BaseCamp on the Mac to import the GPX log. GPX track management in BaseCamp is acceptable once you get the hang of it. Whenever I hook up the 62, BaseCamp asks me if I want to "create an adventure" and the answer is always "NO". Then I have to manually import the track log file so that I can work with it. I find this slightly annoying. But not too bad.

What an automatic program should do:

  1. Transfer GPX current log from 62 to computer.
  2. Clear log on GPS.
  3. Break the track into appropriate pieces, based on timestamps and jumps.
  4. Transfer the tracks into a geodatabase.

Geocache management

The idea here is to help alleviate the limit of 1000 waypoints by managing the geocache GPX files.

  1. Get current location.
  2. Check for downloadable pocket queries. Get them.
  3. Remove old Geocache files from the 62.
  4. Load the appropriate current cache file


Dashboard with summaries:

  1. # of pictures on 62
  2. summary of track / waypoint info
  3. geocache info summary

Click on one of the three buttons to bring up the section

Photos Scrollable window containing thumbnails, click on image to select it, hover to see details. "Select All" button Upload selected button Delete all from camera button

Tracks Upload and delete


Can I see a list of recently found geocaches and use that with somehow?

Serial port access

I read an article "Public Service APRS with the Garmin Montana" that made me very curious about what I could do to link the 62SC with my new Kenwood D710. The article (and VE6AB's website) did not give any details.

So far I have found this promising posting: "The GPSMap 62s can be paired with an appropriate amateur radio for full APRS functionality."

Information on the Garmin interface is here:

It should be possible to send a waypoint in NMEA format and have it immediately appear on the 62's screen. Sending a waypoint with the same name causes the position to be updated.


System: Battery NiMh
Map: 2 data fields
Tracks: Auto archive daily
Tracks: Record position every 15 seconds
Camera: set resolution to 5MP
Camera: set to put photos on Data card
Page sequence: Map, Trip computer, Main menu, Geocaches, Track manager, Camera


7/2016 I bought the City Navigator with Lifetime option but it is not worth it. Use OpenStreetMap instead. Setting up City Nav required a customer support call to get it functioning, and then I lost everything and shed more tears getting it back.

When I was going for a bike ride I accidentally did a factory reset (it's the next item down from "clear all track data") and all my maps disappeared; the files were still there but I was no longer able to see them.

I had to jump through hoops to get maps again! I tried every combination I could think of to use Garmin Express and Garmin Map Install, putting files onto the SD card (GARMIN_DATA). I was trying to install there because Map Install said the maps would not fit internally. Then I tried selecting small sections from each map and got it down small enough to fit everything into the internal space. The maps went in and next the 62 is hung up at the "loading maps" page. I could not even power it off. Pulling the batteries... trying again... nothing... Got it to load by pulling the SD card out.

I ended up pulling the 32GB SD card (which is wasted if I can't store maps on it) and putting in a 1GB card instead. (What else can I do with a 1GB card these days?)

The velomap and openmtbmap site has OSM based maps with contours. The contours look like they are 1:250K so relatively useless. Use a free version of OpenStreetMap, see below.

For hiking consider using the Garmin 1:24K topo, it is pretty good. Go to and get the trail data to go with it. The topo 24k trails are outdated. The Pacific Northwest trails from GPSFileDepot is very good. For California, not so good. But OpenStreetMap is reasonably good.

Maps I keep installed on the 62 (internal not SD):

  • City Navigator 2017 (lifetime)
  • OpenStreetMap, the OSM Topo USA version.
  • OpenMTBMap (will get rid of this, the OSM Topo USA is better)
  • catopo11
  • ortopo11 (v2.0 May 23 2011, very outdated)

OSM Topo

The Pacific map covers California and Oregon. Download the OSM Topo Pacific area and follow these Installation instructions


Don't bother :-) It's possible but not worth the work, the screen rez is too low. Use a smartphone or tablet! Or invest in a Garmin Montana.


2023-Mar-05 - installed City Maps 2024.10 update.

2021-?-? - Replaced the 'crystal' with one from eBay. Basically I just pried the old one off and stuck on the new one (3M sticky stuff comes on the new one.) I thought it would take extensive disassembly but did not. This was a new lease on life, the old one was leaky and there was condensation inside. I thought it was The End for the device.

2015-Aug-25 - patched to unlock JNX files.

Got this one August 10 2012

Took a picture of Julie to try out the camera. Since my house now has a metal roof, the GPS can't see satellites so the photo is not geocoded. If you love GPS, don't get a metal roof!

I installed the Garmin City Navigator NT 2013.1 map and portions of the Garmin Topo 24K West map.

I installed the free Northwest Trails map.

I loaded a GPX file containing Corvallis area geocaches. I took it outside so it could get lock and had it list nearby geocaches.