Last updated 4Dec23
Garmin EPIX Gen 2 Watch Set Up and Use
This is really an aid for me, but it may be useful to others, so I’ll publish it. Will be very handy if a full factory reset is required!
Why did I get it?
- Very bright OLED watch face display for old eyes
- Comes with pre-loaded TopoActive AUS/NZ 2020.10 maps. (upgraded to version 2021.20 during setup)
- Multi GNSS available (GPS, GLONASS, Gallileo), with multi-band option
- Long battery life
- Sapphire version has 32GB memory and tougher glass face. Titanium version has titanium back
- Epix Gen 2 Sapphire Black Titanium 47mm case, 22mm band
- Fit replacement band.
Why You Might Not Want It
- Expensive $1510 from JB HI-FI February 2023 (includes -$200 price match and Uber delivery)
- Huge number of options to get your head around.
- Probably best to focus on just one activity type, such as Hiking or Navigation.
These disadvantages are insignificant compared with the flexibility this device offers.
- TPU Case Watch Cover for Garmin Epix Gen 2 Protective Bumper Shell * 2 $15.08 (includes postage) from EBay
- Charging port dust plug cover *10 $8 (includes postage) from EBay.
- Here. It is stuffed full of a huge number of options!
Simple stuff, but I need a constant reminder.
Out of the Box
- Turn on. Follow instructions to Bluetooth pair to phone. Charge. Device seemed to be struggling with a large download.
- Connect to laptop via cable. Start Garmin Express desktop app. Download of 1hr 15mins. Software updated to version 8.40. Reinstalled topo Aus+NZ on device. Map version now 2022.20. Watch said another update available. Software upgrade to 10.46 on 15Feb23. (A later software upgrade to 11.28).
- Deleted unwanted maps – TopoActive Africa.
Identify the Epix – Device Information
- See unit ID, software version and other stuff.
- On the watch: Hold MENU, select System, About. Doco here.
- Via Garmin Connect app on a smartphone (iOS for me) Bluetooth connected to the watch: Open Connect, More, Garmin Devices, select EPIX, System, About.
- My Unit ID is 3424658385.
Where is data stored?
- When connected via USB mode (by charging/data cable), data can be seen in EPIX\Internal Storage\GARMIN\Activity\yyyy-mm-dd-hh-mm-ss.fit
- FIT = Garmin’s Flexible and Interoperable Data Transfer file format. The time is the start time of the recorded activity.
- You can view the fit file contents via the FIT File Viewer website at https://www.fitfileviewer.com/.
- None of this is necessary knowledge to transfer data between the Epix Gen 2 and Garmin smart phone apps such as Connect and Explore via Bluetooth syncing and so made available in the corresponding desktop apps.
Set up some options
Most options can be set up either directly on the Epix Gen 2 or via Garmin Connect on a Bluetooth paired smart phone (iOS for me). The latter is easier for fat fingers and failing eyesight.
- Customise the default Watch Face (can only do this on watch)
Hold Menu button, select Watch Face (to have this option available, Power Battery Saver must be off), press Start button, select Data. Down button to cycle through available displays. Select desired display. The Start button cycles to the next display to change, then back to the menu. Select Apply. Doco here.
Change the right hand minor display from Altitude to Steps, change the bottom minor display to Weather, change the left hand display to Day name, number and Battery, change the top display to heart rate.
Weather data shows temperature when within Bluetooth range of the Tempe temperature sensor, or shows temperature if Garmin Connect app is running on smart phone within Bluetooth distance.
- Set display timeout to save power
Set length of time before display dims and turns off for various uses
via Connect app – More, Garmin Devices, EPIX, System, Display. Then
General Use, Always On Display – On, Brightness – High, Alerts – On, Wrist Gesture – On, Timeout – 4 Seconds
During Activity, Always On Display – On, Brightness – High, Alerts – On, Wrist Gesture – On, Timeout – 8 Seconds
During Sleep, Brightness – High, Timeout – 8 Seconds.
- Position format
via Connect app – … System, Format, Pos. Format, Format = MGRS, Datum = WGS 84 (GDA 94 or GDA 2020 is available)
via watch – Press and hold Menu button, Settings, System, Format, Pos. Format. Then set as above.
- Consider preventing accidental button presses and touchscreen swipes
via watch – Press and hold Menu button, Settings, System, Touch, General Use = On, During Activity = Map Only, During Sleep = Auto.
via watch – Press and hold Menu button, Settings, System, Auto Lock = Off. It can be set = During Activity, but then to do anything, you have to press and hold the Light button to turn the Device Lock off. That’s a pain.
via Connect app – … Settings, System. Set the desired parameters in Touch and Auto Lock.
- Set up Navigate as a favourite activity
Press and hold MENU. Select Settings, Activities & Apps, select Navigate, Set as Favorite. Can change the order of an activity in the apps list here.
- Added Brightness to the Controls Menu
The Controls Menu lets you quickly access watch features and options. (To access it, press and hold the Light button.)
Hold Menu button; select Appearance, Controls; Add New, select Brightness. See here.
- What satellites should I use?
via watch – doco here. Press and hold Menu button, Settings, System, Satellites = All + Multi-Band. This gives most accuracy and uses most battery power. Other options are Auto Select (automatic selection of best multi-band), All Systems (a good balance of accuracy and power consumption, GPS only, UltraTrac.
via Connect app – … System, Satellites, make your selection.
- Don’t want lights and dings all night?
via watch – set Sleep Mode. Doco here
via Connect app – … Settings, System, Sleep Mode. Set a daily Schedule, Watch Face = Sleep, Do Not Disturb = On.
- Available data fields
A list of all the data fields is here.
Enable SOS Function from EPIX Gen 2
- See Garmin doco here.
- On the inReach device (MAP66i), pair the inReach sensor
Setup, Sensors, inReach Remote (was already there, no need to Search for New), Enabled = On, Verification = On. Verify the device.
See Garmin doco here.
- On the watch, hold UP/MENU, scroll to Settings, select Sensors & Accessories, select Add New, select inReach, select inReach – (device number) once it appears
- inReach is automatically added to the Controls menu and glance loop.
See Garmin doco here.
- Access the Controls menu by press and hold LIGHT. Select iR. Select inReach. Select Initiate SOS. Or access the glance loop by press Up/Menu, select iR, select inReach, select Initiate SOS.
- To record an activity: Press START, wait for GPS reception, press START. IF Auto Lock during an activity is on, override it by holding LIGHT. To stop, press START/STOP, wait for options such as Resume, Save, Discard, etc.
- Save my current location. Press and hold LIGHT. Select Save Location (the active shortcut will be the previously used selection), press START (or touch Save Location). Locations (Waypoints) are stored in EPIX\Internal Storage\GARMIN\Location\Lctns.fit
- To Navigate to a Location (waypoint), press START, select Navigate, select Saved Locations, select a location, select Go To, Press START.
Usual Post Walk Actions
- I often record a trip using both Epix Gen 2 and MAP66i. The Epix gives a more detailed recording with the default System, Data Recording, Frequency = Smart (you can even choose Every Second) than the MAP66i with Setup, Recording, Interval = Most Often. But it’s more convenient to mark waypoints during the trip on the MAP66i, rather than the Epix.
- My store of trip data is on my laptop as OziExplorer .wpt waypoint files, .trk track files and .gpx files created by combining the .wpt and .trk files.
- When I return from a trip I (1) cable connect the MAP66i to laptop, start OziExplorer and Load Waypoints and Routes from GPS, save the .wpt file; (2) visit the Garmin Connect website, view the activity which has been automatically synced, activate the More… icon, Export to GPX; (3) Load, Import GPX File into OziExplorer and save the .trk file; (4) cleanup any data and save a .gpx file from the combined .wpt and .trk files.
- A lengthy process, but it gives the best result.
- Interesting to note that distance and total ascent varies slightly when looking at files via Garmin Connect, OziExplorer, AllTrails.
What’s the weather forecast?
Use the Weather entry in the Glance loop, as long as the Epix is Bluetooth connected to a smart phone which has a mobile data connection. See here.
- Press Up or Down button to scroll through glance loop and display summary data. Scroll to Weather.
- Press Start button to view more information.
- Select the Weather option (the watch will show the last accessed option by default).
- Press Down button to view details, Press Start button to view additional details.
- Alternatively, swipe to scroll and tap to select options.
There are many other glances eg. ABC for altimeter, barometer, compass. Some glances require Bluetooth connection to a smart phone, some do not.
Set a waypoint via a hot key
- Set the hot key by hold MENU, select System > Hot Keys, select Hold START, select Save Location. See here.
- Outside, press and hold the hot key (eg. START). It shows Position and Elevation. Save the waypoint. It shows date and time and Saved.
Data Screens associated with an Activity
This one had me fooled for months. Whenever I used the Hiking activity, the display reverted to Timer.
To set the order of Data Screens associated with an activity, or to add/delete/reorder:
MENU>Settings>Activities & Apps>Hike>Hike Settings>Data Screens>…. See here.
My order for Hiking is now:
Total Ascent, Elevation, Total Descent
Location in UTM
Time of Day
Distance, Temperature, Next Waypoint
Show your real time track on a Bluetooth connected smart phone
(Shown to me by @terrylea-hikergirl.) Not enough screen real estate on your watch? See your real time track on a Bluetooth connected smart phone (in Airplane mode if you want to conserve power) via its larger screen.
- This uses the Safety & Tracking, LiveTrack feature. Its use can be extended to group tracking (within a 40km range) and, if your paired smart phone has a mobile data connection, your real time track can be shared with remote contacts. I haven’t investigated these latter two options.
- Using Connect app, do Safety & Tracking, GroupTrack, Show on Map = On, LiveTrack, Show Course = On, Auto Start = On.
- In the field, start recording on the Epix.
- Open Explore on a Bluetooth paired smart phone, select Map. Your track will be drawn in real time.
Convert a Garmin FIT file to GPX or KML
- Use Connect website, BaseCamp or AllTrails.
- On Epix Gen 2 watch, Actities are stored as fit files in …\EPIX\Internal Storage\GARMIN\Activity\yyyy-mm-dd-hh-mm-ss.fit. You might like to ‘extract’ the gpx data.
- On your Garmin Connect website account, View Activity. Click the wheel icon (More…). Select Export to GPX or Export to Google Earth (for kml). File exported to your Download folder.
- In BaseCamp (desktop app), do File, Import into ‘My Collection’ … and select the desired fit file. Check that’s what you want via the map display. Do File, Export, Export ‘My Collection’ …, specify the desired location for the gpx file, Save.
- For AllTrails, access the website (https://www.alltrails.com/) and login if necessary. Do Saved, Create Map. Upload from file and browse to the input FIT file and Open it. Next. Save custom map. Refresh your browser’s web page. Do … (More options), Download Map, set Select a file format to GPX Track, OK. The downloaded gpx file converted from the unput fit file will be in your download folder.
- Current Software Version 14.36
- TopoActive Australia & New Zealand map update to version 2023.10 on 23Jun23.