Garmin 305 Update

I bought my Garmin Forerunner 305 back in July 2006, just before I did my IM Distance Longest Day race.

Since then I've had numerous small problems with it, not least the copper contacts keep furring up from the sweat on my wrist and need careful remedial work otherwise no contact with the dock, no charge, no good.

On Sundays ride I was wearing it on the wrist strap that goes with the bike mount, I hit a bump in the road just before going into San Marcos and it popped out of the strap. When I went back to get it, it was in two pieces on the floor. I collected the pieces and this morning carefully cleaned the edges, mounted them together, put it on the dock and retrieved my data from the w/e rides. Everything seemed fine. I took it easily popped apart again, so I decided to look on the Garmin website for repairs costs as its waaaay out of warranty. $99 for a trade-in repair.

So I looked to see if they had a newer model. The Forerunner 405 looks nicer, its smaller and more like a traditional HRM. However, you still can't use it for swimming so all the old hassles remain. Yes I know I could swim with it under my swim hat etc. The problem is anything but on the wrist becomes a time drain in T1. And yes, I know the GPS wouldn't work while swimming, I don't much care, I'll use it as an HRM and stopwatch, or just a stopwatch for the swim. But nope, Garmin can't seem to do what cheap watch makers have been doing for 30yrs, making waterproof cases.

So, I got out the SuperGlue, and glued the two halves of the watch back together. I left it on charge, once fully charged I took it out to the yard and watched as it struggled to pick-up the satellites. I waited, waited... nothing. It then occurred to me that I'd actually lost the GPS part of the unit when it fell apart. That explained the big empty space inside the case. D'oh.

I checked the Walmart web site, they were selling the 305 for $299 but no 405, I called the Hill Country Running company, they didn't answer, Jack and Adams was closed, called Rogue Equipment, they answered but despite being listed on the Garmin website as a supplier for Austin, didn't have any Garmins in stock. Gave up the idea of buying a new one and called Garmin.

After a 20-min wait the line was answered. I got a very helpful guy who listened, we discussed the 405 and my need for a swim watch, he made some suggestions(swim hat) and in the end we agreed on the repair. I guess from that perspective the $99 is a good deal.

Edit: I got a new/refurbished Garmin back from them on Friday 15 August. Reasonable turnaround, fair deal given how much I'd wrecked the old one.
I usually rinse my 305 after getting it sweaty (you know, not immediately, but once I get home). Pat it dry, then let it air dry. That keeps the contacts OK.
I use an Edge on the bike. A Timex on the swim. And my 305 on the run. I pop the 305 into my vest pocket in T2, mount it wrist-top once I hit my stride running.
Yeah, it sucks that you can't swim in them, sucks that the battery life isn't as long as it takes me to do an IM.
Yeah, my buddy Billy just replaced his forerunner 305, too. He did the like $220 for a new one from Amazon and had it pretty quick. Not a bad deal, in my opinion.

It's pretty remarkable that they've not really come up with a replacement for the forerunner 305. It clearly has obvious flaws, and easily fixable flaws, but there's just not something better. It's like how I felt about all cell phones before the iPhone. Everything just sucked, but I had confidence it would get better. =)

As sexy as the 705 is, it's clearly not a forerunner 305 replacement. I'll probably eventually have a 405 and a 705, but that's like $1100 in Garmins, which is absurd, but I've been known to do more absurd things. That will have to wait until my next generation powertap though which will have that ANT+ sport whatever stuff so that my powertap data all goes to my garmin and all that data is TOGETHER.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think that it would probably serve me better having two units. The needs of a running one (small form factor, light, etc) are not really the same as cycling (huge screen, maps, lots of data).

Dunno. I still feel like they could have a new Forerunner model.
Ehh
I dunno. I might go for a 305 one of the days, but for a race? Nah. I'll just use a bike computer and HRM (or in my case, the SRMs on the bike and the HRm on the run).
Re: Ehh
I guess really I'm just longing for a Polar HRM watch with GPS. I used my Polars S410 for 3-years in all my races, it was great until it got crushed in the overhead on a plane by somebodys roll-aboard.

I was just hoping Garmin would produce a watch with GPS that you could use on the swim. Rumour has it they are working on one, but I think thats just FUD.
Yeah
it would be nice but if they went through all the trouble from making the 410 from the 305 and it doesn't do it, I imagine it isn't coming out any time soon.