Garmin Zumo 396



  • I bought a Garmin Zumo 396 a few weeks ago to replace my Garmin Nuvi which had served me ,temperamentally, for the last 7 years.
    At first I was seriously disappointed. Creating routes on MRA and transferring them to the Zumo resulted in mostly straight lines !
    I even had a much closer look at Garmin Basecamp to overcome this. That was a complete waste of several days. I find it hard to believe that a company that can provide such serviceable hardware is so badly let down by abysmal software.
    So back to MRA. I then found that if I transferred my routes using "GARMIN OLD GPX 1.0" I could get excellent routes with all waypoints etc clearly displayed.
    MRA was back in my good books !
    Back to Zumo 396. The apparatus itself is very good, a fairly clear screen, a solid mounting and easily removed. There are numerous features many of which I find frankly pure distraction. The fuel level being one of them. Every so often it stthat it arts asking you if you want the Zumo to start looking to fuel stations, often when you're concentrating on riding through a busy town centre !
    The other feature that I find curious is the fact that it will occasionally ask if you want to skip the next waypoint ? Why ? I'd spent time putting the damn thing on the route ?
    And once or twice, it sent me onto a Toll Road despite having carefully set both MRA and Zumo itself to avoid toll roads.
    So, though at first I was close to sending it back, I'm gradually getting used to it....... although I still don't trust it !



  • @Ronald-Weaver I struggle to appreciate why many find BaseCamp so much to their dislike. While it undoubtedly has its limitations and lacks versatility, I find it pretty good for planning routesfor Garmin devices. My adoption of MRA is largely down to its versatility in creating and ease in sharing routes for a wide range of devices.

    As for your sat nav… and mine (a Zūmo390), and probably most if not all others, regardless of brand, I think a lot of what you describe will be familiar and frustrating to many, and that it all stems from trying to make devices ‘all things to all men’. I see on this forum plenty of evidence of people wanting to plan and execute routes to the tiniest detail, times, durations, POI’s etc, etc. And that’s all absolutely fine, of course - it takes all sorts. Me? I prefer to keep it simple and to take a more laid back approach to planning and riding. I turn off much of what can be turned off on my devices, tend only to use shaping points, not via points, including fuel stops and even cake stops. I/we get there when we get there. I would appreciate a relatively bare bones sat nav option that not only doesn’t, but can’t nag at you every few miles, isn’t over complicated by a plethora of, to me, worthless options and menus and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg… Please!🙂



  • @PAD-0
    Couldn’t agree more with you.
    There are a million and 1 reasons that times and even planned routes can be messed up completely and I also never use Via Points and never will.

    How many times have we all pulled up at a restaurant/cafe to find that every table is occupied.
    The guy in the group that invites his nephew who just passed his test yesterday but doesn’t tell anyone he is coming. You can throw all your timings completely out of the window.
    The guy that ignored the coolant light on his bike and chanced it for just one more ride.
    Etc etc etc.



  • @PAD-0 It's not been for the want of trying with BaseCamp, I assure you. I too am mystified why some people can get to grips with it easily but it won't even download for me ?
    I agree the Zumo 396 is an excellent device if you ask it to take you from point A to point B. Maybe not so good if you want to travel along a particular stretch of road ? And, of course all the "bells and whistles" can be switched off if you want.
    But I'm five generations Navy so accurate navigation has been bred into me and I'm not fond of being sent down a road I didn't ask for. Unless of course I deliberately asked for a mystery tour ?
    This is of course all very minor criticism when you remember navigating across a continent with paper maps .



  • @Ronald-Weaver

    Minor criticism you say? Indeed, GPS is a quantum lap forward compared to paper maps, and a list of roads/instructions taped to the fuel tank 🙂

    Still, the GPS world seems to suffer from a lack of standardisation. There is a GPX standard, but every device (even devices from the same manufacturer) seems to have its own interpretation/limitation of that standard.

    I silently hope that MRA will grow to become a de-facto standard with routing and navigation in one coherent package that works in an identical way independent of whether it is installed on an apple, pc, android or whatever else is invented at some stage.



  • @Ronald-Weaver Not being able to get it to download must be about as good a reason not to get on with BaseCamp as there could possibly be! I can’t imagine what the problem might be as I’ve never met with any such difficulty. I get the impression that it will be scrapped in the not too distant future anyway - to make way for all this interweb and ‘internet of things’ (whatever the hell that is) stuff.

    These days, I can’t say I have much difficulty in ensuring that sat navs take me on the roads I want them to. When I first started using them I spent a fair amount of gnashing teeth and tearing hair out I guess. My approach is very much ‘get the settings right’, ‘be consistent’ and use ‘loads of shaping points’ and ‘the K.I.S.S. principle’.

    @Drabslab makes a good point regarding standardisation, I think. In my experience, the lack of it can make learning curves in changing between devices and systems much steeper than they might otherwise be.



  • @ Ronald

    I am using a 396 and as you I saw straight lines when transfering a route from MRA.
    Here is a work-around that I use. Try it - maybe you can use it.

    Transfer the route using either USB or as I do with my phone using MRA and the Garmin Smartphone link.
    In MRA: Open the route and hit the button Page menu -> Save as .gpx 1.1 (BETA route, track, POI)
    Select SEND TO ZUMO in Smartphone Link and if you’re lucky the route is transferred to the 396.

    Before you open the route in Programs->Route Planning go first to Settings->Navigation->Calculation Mode. Select Faster Time and save.

    Now when you load the route it is recalculated and the straight lines should be converted to follow the fastest time roads.

    Repeat when transferring another route



  • @Drabslab said in Garmin Zumo 396:

    I silently hope that MRA will grow to become a de-facto standard with routing and navigation in one coherent package that works in an identical way independent of whether it is installed on an apple, pc, android or whatever else is invented at some stage.

    <Fan Boy Mode>
    I would say that MRA is already 95% there as the “defacto-standard” as I challenge anyone to give me an example of any other software route planner that can transfer to so many different device types.
    </Fan Boy Mode>

    Let us not forget that that Garmin updated the Garmin Drive App some time ago that crashed on opening for a while.
    Then there were issues with the Garmin XT specifically which MRA assigned a developer to,, this was resolved rapidly.

    Regarding standardisation of a GPX format, forget it!
    The big 2 are undoubtably Garmin and Tom Tom.
    They both have completely different ideas how routes should be planned.
    Tom Tom are going for Tracks and Garmin are going for Shaping and Via Points.
    This is where MRA becomes our knight in shining armour.


  • RouteXperts

    @Steve-Lynch And TomTom have a long ongoing issue where IPhone users can’t access live traffic events etc via MyDrive. Several botched attempts to cure it have been released all promising that it’s finally fixed - it’s still a problem for thousands of users!
    MRAs open and transparent policy of acknowledging problems and then getting on with fixing them puts them head and shoulders above the giants in the industry.
    Keep up the good work MRA



  • @Nick-Carthew

    Haven’t had an iPhone for a few years now but I rarely find the the need to even consider looking at traffic issues as I purposefully place myself on “Roads Less Travelled”.

    I do love an iPad though for taking on tour.

    Remember the iPhone 4 Antenna issue, you couldn’t make it up!
    I bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 when they first came out.
    There was an issue with it that Microsoft completely denied for quite some time.
    About six months in it developed screen shaking that made it unusable.
    Luckily if I connected it to an external monitor there were no issues.

    Yes I agree it is refreshing to see a company not trying to sweep issues under the carpet.


  • RouteXperts

    @Steve-Lynch Like yourself, the iPhone and TomTom issues don't affect me. I think what is peeing new TomTom users off the most is the fact that TomTom devices are being sold with marketing saying that they are compatible with iPhones and they're clearly not. People pay for a service that they can't and don't receive! TomTom blame Apple and Apple blame TomTom - well I never!



  • @Lars-Jensen Thanks for the advice, but I'm afraid I don't use a smartphone. Yes, I know, verging on a Luddite ! I know some people can't live without them but I just don't trust the buggers !
    I'm not a fan of Swiss Army Knives either. If you need a tool get a good one, not a compromise.


  • Instructor

    Hi @Ronald-Weaver ,

    Which file do you use in your Zumo? The route or the Track?
    For the older Zumo models, it is best to use the Track.
    Go to tracks, click on the track of the route you want to drive, then click on the key in the upper left corner.
    Choose to make visible,
    Choose a color (black or white for the best contrast)
    Choose, convert to travel
    Choose from start to finish
    Zumo is going to count ......
    When he has finished calculating, you go to the travel planner and the calculated route based on your Track is included in your travels.
    Turn the recalculation OFF!
    You now have only 2 Hard Route Points, namely start and finish.
    If you deviate from the route, you must drive back to the route in sight (Track has made you visible)

    With the XT you can use the route.



  • @Hans-van-de-Ven-MRA-Master I use Route, just because I've never tried using Tracks. I think I know how to generate a Track and convert it to a Route. I just can't help thinking that gives the Zumo too many opportunities to take me up some dark alley.....or worse a Toll Road !
    But what the hell, let's boldly go and I'll give it a try !


  • RouteXperts

    @Ronald-Weaver said in Garmin Zumo 396:

    @Hans-van-de-Ven-MRA-Master I use Route, just because I've never tried using Tracks. I think I know how to generate a Track and convert it to a Route. I just can't help thinking that gives the Zumo too many opportunities to take me up some dark alley.....or worse a Toll Road !
    But what the hell, let's boldly go and I'll give it a try !

    Add more route points to force your Zumo to take you the way that you wish to go.



  • @Ronald-Weaver I can understan your pain. I have same experience comming from using MRA -> GARMIN Zumo 210 to MRA -> GARMIN 396!

    • with Zumo 210, it was so easy to transmit a route from MRA to SatNav Device
    • with GARMIN 396, MRA is sending track and route both (may this is based on GPX 1.1). Therefore, you need to learn, how many WP you should have in your route, to force the SatNav onto the same (Garmin 396 will always recalculate after import!).
    • if you see only direkt route lines after transmit a route to SatNav, please udate general settings in SatNav to use shortest, or quickest and not direct line (Airplane).
    • but my biggest pain is: also if I have used shaping points and via points in MRA, after transmission to GARMIN 396, there are only shaping ponits in SatNav Device! Means if you start the route, you will have only information on screen about starting point and end point - nothing between.
      If you want to know, how far ist remaining distance to WP (via point, may fuel station) SatNav can't tell you.
    • if you want to keep your via point of MRA, you need to change each point after transmit in SatNav. If you open the route in App route planning in SatNav, at first you can see all WP, click (tip) on the icon of an WP, this will change it to the other type. Tip again will change type back.
      With type via point, SatNav will tell you ongoing time and distanye to it on screen and will inform you if you have reachd it.

    @Hans-van-de-Ven-MRA-Master Not everybody is familiar to drive with track overlay on screen at SatNav. Per example, I was always happy to be informed by speech, in stressfull road situations.

    But last month, we drove offroad in Italy and no SatNav device in our group knowed those streets (but MRA with those different maps knowed). So, there was no other option to use topographic maps in SatNav - and the track of our route (MRA has also transmitted) as overlay on screen to be able to detect: yes, we are on the correct road.
    Still navigation support with signals or speech; "in 50 meters, turn right" isn't possible with topographic maps.

    Final suggestion: could developers please check, why MRA isn't sending shaping points and via points correctly to GARMIN396.



  • @Lars-Jensen said in Garmin Zumo 396:

    Before you open the route in Programs->Route Planning go first to Settings->Navigation->Calculation Mode. Select Faster Time and save.
    Now when you load the route it is recalculated and the straight lines should be converted to follow the fastest time roads.
    Repeat when transferring another route

    If you trust PC’s or Macs then transfer using USB. Then just follow the rest of my instructions:

    Before you open the route in Programs->Route Planning go first to Settings->Navigation->Calculation Mode. Select Faster Time and save.
    Now when you load the route it is recalculated and the straight lines should be converted to follow the fastest time roads.
    Repeat when transferring another route


  • Instructor

    @Guzzist

    Because they are only in the XT export (gpx-file) and not in the 1.0 and 1.1 gpx file, but the team is working on that.



  • @Guzzist I've been transferring my routes created on MRA using GPX 1.0, the "OLD" Garmin, despite being told to use the "NEW" Garmin. Doing that I don't get straight lines !
    But I also like to know where my stops are likely to be and where I can restart my route if I take an unscheduled break or diversion. This is where Waypoints are handy on a long route.



  • Some clarity on the Garmin Zumo XT and older GPX files.
    In both cases below I am sending the GPX files to the Zumo XT via the Garmin Drive App.

    If I send the GPX 1.0 to the Zumo XT it tells me I have too many “Stops” so I presume at this point it is seeng my waypoints as Via Points.
    It then gives me another pop up with the option to convert them all to Shaping Points.
    I accept the changes and the route is created in the Trip Planner perfectly.
    The Track is also created perfectly with no straight lines.

    If I send the GPX 1.1 (Not the Beta XT version) to the Zumo XT it automatically see’s all my waypoints as Shaping Points. (I never use Via Points.) and automatically creates the route in the Trip Planner and the Track is also perfect with no straight lines.


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