eTrex Woes and a Solution...

Please tell us about your DIY projects, tips and tricks
Post Reply
User avatar
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1757
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 439 times
Been thanked: 670 times

eTrex Woes and a Solution...

Post by iandvl »

I've always used a Garmin eTrex20 unit (not to be confused with the eTrex10 - which does not allow maps to be loaded etc). It is probably a little more upmarket than the entry-level Nuvi type GPS, although probably a little annoying to navigate with as it has a super small screen. However, it is an excellent GPS and supports most of the capabilities of more upmarket units. And it is perfect for what I've always used it for (hiking, offroading etc).

The eTrex units are more rugged GPS units with IPX7 ingress ratings. This does, however, come as a trade-off. After years worth of use, the rubber waterproof buttons on the side of the units disintegrate, and one can no longer operate the GPS easily. One can easily cut off the rubber buttons and operate the thing with a stick (as I did when my GPS packed up after being man-handled by customs on the way back from Namibia last year), but then it becomes difficult to operate the unit when driving.

Attempts at finding a replacement "front cover" for the unit which would have replacement buttons were also unsuccessful. So I eventually came up with quite a novel way of repairing the unit.

Since my trip to Nam last year, all the rubber buttons have started failing. So step 1, was removing them all. Easily accomplished with a craft knife... The first photo shows the GPS with rubber buttons intact. The second one, shows the rubber buttons removed, and one can see the actual electrical connections in the holes where the buttons used to be...
01.jpg (203.1 KiB) Viewed 2901 times
02.jpg (171.81 KiB) Viewed 2901 times
I also had a few 3D printed push buttons lying around from an electronic project housing I finsihed a few months ago.
03.jpg (297.91 KiB) Viewed 2901 times
Finally, for the princely sum of R199, I ordered a protective cover for the Garmin eTrex20 from BidorBuy (this one - ... Black.html).
04.jpg (170.13 KiB) Viewed 2901 times
In any case, my 3D printed buttons were not 100% the correct size, but I chopped them down a little using my Dremel so that they fitted as so.
05.jpg (197.68 KiB) Viewed 2901 times
And voila - an operational GPS unit again.
06.jpg (271.27 KiB) Viewed 2901 times
Great - my unit has now lost it's IPX7 ingress rating, but I am not intending to get it wet for a bit. I'll replace it at some point when I can.
Ian de Villiers

Patrol 4.5 GRX
Jurgens XT65 2x0 with Super Select Zero
User avatar
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 234
Joined: 03 Jun 2020 18:29
Full Name: Gareth Steele
Nickname: Steel
Home Town: Jhb
Current 4x4: Patrol 3.0 CRD 2014
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 69 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: eTrex Woes and a Solution...

Post by Steele »

Boer maak n plan! Nicely done! :thumbup:
Cheers, Gareth
I think, therefore I am........ I think?!?!?!
Post Reply

Return to “21. DIY Projects”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest