Garmin ETrex Super Cheap Screen Guard




About: IT professional by profession, Electronics Engineer by education, Inventor by birth.

In this instructable I show you how to make a super cheap screen guard for the eTrex. This not only protects the screen but the entire unit while still allowing you to operate it. Also since it is entirely transparent it doesn't spoil the look.

While the eTrex unit is quite rugged, my biggest fear has always been of the screen getting scratched. Also I noticed that if you use a handle bar mount (see my other instructable) like the one I made, vibrations may cause the mount to rub against the body of the eTrex and cause scratch marks. ( I like my gadgets new and shiny :-) )

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Step 1: The Materials

1. A plastic bottle of your favourite drink
2. A scissor

I used a 1.5Litre bottle of Coke as shown in the picture, the important thing to remember here is that the circumference of the bottle (measured around the lable) should be identical to the circumference of the eTrex measured along the length/vertically.

This will be more clear as we go along once you understand what it is I am trying to do....

Hope you have finished drinking that bottle by now because you need to empty it, wash it and dry it for the next step. Burp...

Step 2: Preparing the Bottle

Empty, wash and dry the bottle, then remove the lable from the bottle.
Now poke the scissor into the bottle carefully and start cutting it so that you are left with the transparent cylindrical portion of the bottle as shown in the picture.

Since I don't yet have a good camera and the bottle is transparent anyway, I will try and explain with the help of hand drawn diagrams.

Step 3: Putting It Together

Now squeeze the cylinder as shown in the picture to flatten it. Don't flatten it too much to create a fold just yet, but just enough for the etrex to slide in. In my case I found that I had to push the etrex in with a bit of force since it was a proper fit.

Step 4: Snip Snip

Now with a sketch pen mark out the outline of the eTrex and leave some space for the flaps as shown in the diagram. The idea is to cover the eTrex with plastic "gift wrap" style, with openings for the switches.

The plastic is best cut with a small but sturdy scissor, I used one that can be folded and attached to a key chain. Be carefull not to scratch the eTrex with the scissor.

The dotted lines show where to make the folds.

Step 5: Ta Daa...

This is what remains of the cylinder after it has been cut.
1. Fold the bottom flaps inwards
2 & 3 Fold the side flaps

To make the folds remove the eTrex from the cylinder and press the flaps to create a crease/fold.

The top 1/3rd does not have any flaps to leave an opening for the switches. Remember to cut out holes for the clip and the neck strap.

I left the flaps open (as in not stuck together) so that I could remove the eTrex easily to change the batteries.

The eTrex should still be usable with any handle bar mount you have (see my instructable on the eTrex handle bar mount).Hope you found this usefull, let me know if you need further explanations.

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    10 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 5

    It works better then the cellophane screen covers for the games. It can take a lickin, and be cheaply replaced.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    On my yellow etrex, the glue became gooey, and the power button tore. I repaired both using silicone caulking. I removd the glue using white spirit I think. Nothing to do with the screen protector, but maybe worth mentioning.

    1 reply
    doo da do

    11 years ago on Introduction

    have bought new screen covers hope to have pictures soon doo da do

    doo da do

    11 years ago on Step 5

    I went to Radio Shack and got the portable play station screen cover and cut it to fit the screen. You can get two from one package, also work good on cell phones

    1 reply

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Since I don't yet have a good camera..."

    Does this mean you have a camera, albeit a lousy one? If so, I would recommend taking pictures and posting them alongside the diagrams.

    Also, since you apparently have an eTrex, I'll just ask you straight off: can the eTrex display your coordinates, does it use decimals or degrees, minutes, ad seconds, and how many decimal places/ seconds does it go to? I've seen plenty of images of the eTrex screen, but none show coordinates. I just want a GPS that will show me where I am, but no one advertises, "The CameronSS GPS--shows where you are, and nothing else!"


    12 years ago on Introduction

    There's an easier way: packing tape. Packing tape is the perfect width for my Garmin 76csx screen. Just cut to length and you're done. And it's clear and strong. I've had tape on my screen since Jan 2007. It hasn't loosened or scratched.

    1 reply

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Very clever. My Garmin GPS is a bit larger, but I may get lucky using a 2 liter bottle.