Monday, May 13, 2013

Garmin Zumo 665: Formatting the main drive

Sometimes you just have to start from scratch…

*** Normal disclaimer, if you try the information found in this post and it blows up your GPS or something negative happens please don’t blame me or try to beat me up the next time you find me somewhere. I’m merely sharing what I experience and what I found from my searches on the web. Calling Garmin and waiting on hold for 30 minutes to talk to someone and then getting them to send you a replacement unit if your device is still under warranty may be the less stressful way to go ***

Last Saturday morning I was getting ready to go for a day ride. I was supposed to attend a short mini-conference and the rest of the day was mine. Since I’d be “in the area” I thought I might ride over to the Texas Hill Country to get some pie. I figured this would be the perfect time to try out one of those Audible.com audio books. So I signed up for a free trial account, picked out a book and followed the instructions to load it which involved using a special loader program.

Well the program started loading the book onto my Zumo’s main drive (because it wouldn’t see the SD card I had installed) and when I came back 15 minutes later the Zumo was in a constant reboot loop. I powered off the GPS and took it to the bike to see if things would be OK. That’s when I discovered the horror.

AUDIBLE.COM HAD KILLED MY GPS!!!!

The Zumo 665 would start up with the splash screen and then shut off. I did a hard reset by pressing the right bottom corner while holding down the power. It would then boot up and get to the screen where I could chose the country location before shutting down. OMG!!!! My primary GPS was dead. Since I had to get to my meeting I loaded waypoint into the Zumo 550 and took off. The rest of the trip was great and I enjoyed my music via my phone instead of the XM and Zumo 665.

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When Sunday evening rolled around I didn’t much cherish the thought of calling Garmin in the morning and waiting on hold for at least 30 minutes to talk to a customer service rep who may or may not really care about my problem and would end up sending me a refurbished unit which could have it’s on set of outstanding problems in a few months. So I dug into my favorite site for hacking the zumo, www.noeman.org.

I found a forum post that described a very similar problem a user had with a Zumo 660. I figured they are pretty close so I started trying to figure out how to get my unit into this “pre-boot” stage so the “updater.exe” program could do it’s thing. Here’s what I did:

  1. Install the USB drivers mention in the post.
  2. Take off the battery cover
  3. tape a magnet in place to trick the Zumo into thinking the door is on
  4. remove the battery
  5. plug in the USB cord, then power off the unit.
  6. insert the battery, if unit comes on POWER OFF unit with power button.
  7. Run the GarminCure3 program (as administrator) and build a “Cure” image from a version 2.8 image that I found through the site
  8. Launch the updater program with the new image, and select the USB option. but it won’t see the USB yet so I wait.
  9. With my left hand, press thumb to bottom left corner and hold, then press power button with left index finger and hold.
  10. When I see the Zumo listed in the USB list in the updater program I quickly click OK and it starts it’s magic of loading a new image.
  11. When the image is loaded I reboot the GPS while still connected to the computer.

At this point I had an F:\ Drive. I decided to completely wipe it out so I followed the instructions in this post using the RMPrepUSB utility. I probably should have made a backup of the drive but I didn’t… always make a backup when you have a chance.

When that was all done I had a completely blank 3.69GB Zumo main drive. So I repeated the steps above but made an “Original” image to install via the updater program. It worked and I was able to boot my Zumo 665 all the way to the main menu with the USB disconnected. However, I had no maps and most of the features were missing.

Next I found the Webupdater.exe program from Garmin and drug my Zumo665_GCDFile_280.gcd onto it. That launched the webupdater with the correct version of the software I wanted installed and allowed me to pick the extra features I desired to have installed such as voices, text files, cradle updates, XM stuff, etc…

Since I don’t plan to use the Zumo with my phone any more, I opted to launch the webupdater a second time without dragging a GCD file onto it. This allowed the program to upgrade the unit to 2.90. And I was hoping it would put my base map back on there in the process. It did not fix the map issue.

At this point I have a unit that doesn’t seem to have any working maps even though I have one on my SD card that had been working fine before I started this repair process. I find a post on another forum about the same problem, but on a Zumo 660 so I follow through it. I follow the suggestion by one user to go to myGarmin account and recreate the GMA and UNL files. The web page says everything is OK but when I start up the Zumo I still get the “Cannot Authenticate Maps” error. I opt to reinstall the latest maps using Garmin Map updater. Since I already have the full maps installed on my computer I chose to reinstall the maps on my device only and I’m given the option to install the full map set on the main Zumo drive so that’s what I do. As it was getting late, and the updater showed it would take over an hour, I left the GPS plugged in and the computer powered on…

When I looked at the computer in the morning it had crashed with a message talking about a FAT32 filesystem. Well the only Fat32 filesystem connected to the computer was the Zumo. So I rebooted the computer and tried again with the Garmin Map Updater. I didn’t make any progress. When I viewed the Garmin drive in Windows File Explorer it showed the gmapprom.img file was there but the Zumo wouldn’t detect it. I also had the GMA and UNL files installed on the device.

Next I deleted the IMG file and tried Garmin Express. It started to install the full maps and then realized it didn’t actually have the space. So I opted to install the western half of the US. Watching the progress indicator while it was installing I was optimistic as it gave me both the percentage complete and the data throughput rate as it went.

Success!!! Once Garmin Express finished I had the 2013.40 maps for Lower 49 States NW installed. I then added back in the full maps via my SD card and the Zumo is complete once again. My preferences and home location had to be reset but that was expected considering how I completely wiped the system.

I don’t think I’ll be installing Audible.com books on my Zumo again. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be using the audio features of my Zumo again.

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