The Garmin Fenix 5, 5S and 5X will be supported to receive information from Galileo satellites. new Plus that have already announced themselves with this possibility.
At the moment it is available in beta mode (I will explain shortly how to install it), but if everything works as it should it will be in the final versions in a matter of days or weeks. So you have two options, take a risk with the beta or wait. And it is not that there is much danger, the only thing that can happen is that you have a software that is a little more unstable or that simply, the function does not work as well as Garmin wants and they have to improve it.
This update can be done because the clock already has the hardware needed to obtain information from these European satellites and it is simply a matter of activating it by software. We have seen this in the past when Suunto has launched GPS-only clocks and subsequently released the update to use GLONASS as well.
Working with Galileo
When you have installed the new trial version 1TP10, you must activate the use of Galileo satellites. To be clear, it is not that they are activated by default and that's it, as with GLONASS you must select it from the menu. And before continuing I think it is worth explaining what each of them is, because many times we refer to GPS as a "whole", when it is just a part.
- GPS (Global Positioning System): It is the U.S. government satellite system. It is a global system and was the first to be operational. That is why when we refer to the positioning system in general we call it "the GPS", but we must not forget that it is only a part of that positioning system.
- GLONASSI don't know what the acronym stands for, because I have the rusty Russian one. But it's something similar to the GPS you've seen before... but in Russian, of course. If the GPS is owned by the Americans, GLONASS was the Russian answer. Although it's operational since shortly after the American GPS it wasn't until 2007 that the Russian government removed all restrictions on its use, so it's more recent.
- GalileoThe last one to join the party. In this case, its operation and ownership corresponds to the European Union, and unlike the two previous ones, it is for civilian use (GPS and GLONASS are for military use, but open... for the time being). It is really new, since it began to be operational in 2016 and it will not be until 2020 that it will be fully deployed. There is the possibility of receiving data from one channel or two channels. The first option is free of charge and offers accuracy of up to 1 meter, while the two-channel option will be paid and will offer an accuracy of up to 1 cm. Although I am not clear to whom this payment will correspond, if to the manufacturer of the device by paying a fee or to the user by paying a subscription. Be that as it may, it is not available at the moment.
Well, once the theory class is over it's time to get down to business. When you select the clock the GPS will always be active. Until now you had these possibilities:
- GPS + GLONASS
Now another option is added which is GPS + Galileo. There is no possibility to use only Galileo or to use it in combination with GLONASS.
And how does it perform? I don't know, because I don't have a Fenix 5. What I do have is a Forerunner 935 that hasn't received the update yet, although I would normally do it because they are basically the same watch.
How to install the beta version
It's very simple, just download the firmware from the Garmin beta page, depending on your model.
At the top you have the "Download" button. Once downloaded you must unzip the file and you will find a series of folders. The contents of these folders (i.e. the file itself, not the folder) must be copied to the memory of the watch in its corresponding location. To do this you must connect it by cable to the computer and open the external memory that is created. These are the files to be copied:
- From the System_v953 folder, copy the GUPDATE.GCD file to the \GARMIN folder of the clock
- From the Sensor_Hub_v620 folder, copy the file GUP2663.GCD to the \GARMIN\REMOTESW folder of the clock
- From the folder GPS_v220, copy the file GUP2957.GCD to the folder \GARMIN\REMOTESW of the clock
- From the WiFI_v240 folder, copy the file GUP2196.GCD to the \GARMIN\REMOTESW folder of the clock
- From the Text_v240 folder, copy all the files (although the one you are interested in is the one for the language you use) to the 'Garmin' folder
With everything copied in place, simply disconnect the computer's clock and the update process will begin automatically.
After that you must connect it to Garmin Express to download the latest version of GPS, and with that you can make the selection of GPS+GLONASS in the menu.
You want to go back to the normal version? You have the firmware in the "System_Backdate_V920" folder, and you should just copy the GUPDATE.GCD to the \GARMIN folder as before. Although if you go back to a previous version it is more than likely that the clock will reset and return to the original configuration.
The use of Galileo is not the only thing that has been added in the beta version, there are also some bug fixes, but the first thing is the most remarkable and what you will be most happy to receive. In any case I can't wait for you to try it and tell us your impressions, because in my case until it is available for the 935 or I have a Fenix 5 Plus in my hands I won't have a chance.
Other models to be supported by Galileo
The Fenix 5 will not be the only ones to have support for Galileo satellites. Garmin has confirmed which other devices will receive updates, starting with the 935 which will be upgraded to a production version later this week.
This is the list:
- Garmin Fenix 5 / 5S / 5X
- Garmin Forerunner 645 / 645 Music
- Garmin Forerunner 935
- Garmin Vivoactive 3 / Vivoactive 3 Music
- Garmin Edge 520 Plus
- Garmin Edge 820
- Garmin Edge 1030
Well, there we have it, the definitive list.