This is the Garmin Astro DC-50. It's the latest in a line of GPS tracking collars Garmin has been developing. This unit combines all sorts of features that we've built up over time, making it a much tougher product than what we've had before.
The DC-50 is very similar to the Garmin Alpha TT-10. The design is almost identical. It is not compatible with the Alphas. But it's very similar in design.
Probably the best thing that they've done is that they've moved the GPS reception antenna back to the top of the unit. The DC-40 they moved it down to the bottom and it took some time to get it where we wanted it as far as picking up signals. Too many times we had reception issues, especially with the early collars. They tweaked the software to make it better from a reception standpoint. But, in the end, moving the GPS antenna back up to the top is probably the best thing for everybody.
For those of you that have had older collars, it's a much more similar design to the DC-30. We've got that up on top. A big difference here, though, is that unlike the 30, we're using the plastic coated glow straps. The GPS antenna is attached through a plastic sleeve here that the collar strap slides through. And so, all of your connectors are through the plastic pieces as far as wires that run from the GPS antenna back down to the electronics. So we're not going to have the issues that we have with the DC-30 as far as a collar strap that just isn't going to hold up over time.
One of my favorite things about the DC-50 is the new antenna. Garmin has gone to a steel cable antenna. Much tougher than what they have on the DC-30 or the DC-40. Instead of having plastic and wires that go through it, it is strictly just a cable antenna. They are very tough. It's the exact same style antenna that we have on the TT-10's. And over a year, I have seen I think one that got damaged. So, just really tough. It's going to hold up in the field much better than what we had on the DC-30 or the DC-40.
They are also going to have two versions of this antenna. There's going to be a long range antenna, which is what this is, and it's also going to come with a slightly shorter antenna. Folks that might not need as much range and don't want quite as long of an antenna, it's about a four inch shorter antenna. So you can switch that out pretty simple if you need just a shorter antenna. Both of those are going to be included with the unit.
Little bit bigger battery. We've got a little bit longer runtime, about four hours. And so, that's a good thing. We're always looking for longer battery life on this unit.
Overall, it's just a much tougher package. Garmin has done a really good job of listening and talking to their customers and developing something that's going to hold up in the field better. And while the DC-40 did a good job for us, the 50 is just a stronger, tougher unit and I think folks are going to be much happier with it in the end.
"The DC-50 is a great improvement on the DC-40 in design, and the software update to the transmitter was simple. I track the dogs on daily walks, as well as during hunting, so have thoroughly tested the new collar."
Owns 2 dogs. Hunts. I already had a DC-40 and have added a DC-50 for the second dog. The collar is great. I particularly like how the weighting is right, so the ariel stays in the proper orientation. The DC-50 is a great improvement on the DC-40 in design, and the software update to the transmitter was simple. I track the dogs on daily walks, as well as during hunting, so have thoroughly tested the new collar.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 5080 Reviewed: 2013-11-05 Featured Review
"I really like the DC-50. It doesn't lose signal as much as my DC-40 . That's why I am ordering 2 more."
Coonhound. Hunts. Definitely a better collar than the DC40. I like the better designed antenna and the better GPS reception when the dog is in deep water. The bark detection system and longer range antennas were a very good idea for houndsmen. Definitely a major step up from the DC40
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 5239 Reviewed: 2013-11-10 Featured Review
Hunts. I really like the DC 50. I get a little better range than the DC 40. They seem to be better built than the DC 40, but I have had no problems with the six DC 40's that I have been using the last couple of years.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 9937 Reviewed: 2014-04-13
Owns 2 dogs. Hunts. I have had a couple minor problems with my collar, but if you keep a small phillips screwdriver with you while hunting you will be ok. I was getting ready to hunt one night and tried to turn on my collar and no power. I pulled the cover plate and disconnected and reconnected the 2 wiring harnesses, and then it worked fine. Also had an issue with the switch not shutting the collar off once after hunting. I removed the cover and disconnected the 2 wiring quick disconnects then reconnected them and it worked fine again. I would not coon hunt without my tracking collars. I no longer lose dogs and waste hours of time trying to find dogs thanks to my Garmin Astro and DC-50 collars. Great products.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 8381 Reviewed: 2014-02-20
2 Beagles/1 Basset. Owns 3 dogs. Hunts. Family pet. So far so good! The lifespan on the battery is incredible. If I didn't have this on my male last weekend, he would probably have spent the night in the woods, or who knows, could have been supper for a coyote. His paws got cut so bad on the crusty snow, he wouldn't move and had to be carried back to camp. Definitely worth the money!
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 8746 Reviewed: 2014-03-03
Owns 2 dogs. Hunts. From my experience the DC50 is a step backward, and has cost me a few birds.
I prefer my DC40 with Tuff skin antennae.
The DC50 is slightly slower to tell me if the dog is pointing.
It loses the signal frequently, even when the dog is in plain sight. It doesn't matter if the dog is in heavy timber, in steep country, or flat open ground, it loses the signal a lot! It always picks it back up, but this is frustrating all the same. I feel that the measurements are just not accurate many times. Especially when I can see the dog is 30 yards away, and the handheld says he is 120 YARDS away.
The DC50 takes forever to link up with the handheld unit when first turned on.
It will often for no reason. I can determine by start pointing the opposite direction of where the dog is really at - this might be the handheld units problem and not the DC50. Calibrating the compass or turning the handheld off will usually remedy this (I calibrate the compass at the start of every hunt as well)
All in all, it does its job, but I feel the DC40 with a tuff skin antennae does it much better for slightly less money.
Product Rating: 2 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 3658 Reviewed: 2013-10-18
The DC-50 relays the dog's position to the handler's Astro 320 with location updates as often as every five seconds. You can track up to 10 dogs on a single system. Add additional DC-50s as needed.
The DC-50 is a GPS TRACKING collar only -- no remote dog training collar features. The DC-50 can be used alongside DC-20, DC-30 and DC-40 tracking collars. The DC-50 is NOT compatible with the Astro 220 handheld NOR the ALPHA handheld or collars.
DC-50 HARDWARE: What's new:
New, tougher rugged braided-steel antenna
Top-mounted GPS collar antenna gives you better, faster GPS tracking
Bigger GPS collar battery = ~4 hour longer run time
Feed-through collar strap design -- works with any 1" collar strap
New, improved charger design: one piece unit means one less thing to lose
Basecamp Live Laptop Tracking -- bigger screen makes tracking easier
Changing your dog's ICON color is now easier than ever
New Hardware Features on DC-50
Collar Battery: ~4 more hours run time
The DC 50 features a slightly larger collar battery that gives us about 4 more hours of run time on every update rate
Collar Battery Run time chart
25 hours with 5 second update rate
35 hours with 10 second update rate
40 hours with 30 second update rate
52 hours with 120 second update rate
It's really tricky to give exact run times on the Garmin Astro DC 50 because there are so many variables. Collar battery run time is most affected by update rate.
Improved Charging Cradle
The DC 50 has a charging clip just like the DC 40 and the TT 10, but unlike these two other collars, the clip is part of the cord and not a separate part. One less thing to lose! Charge time: 4 hours for a full charge.
GPS Receiver: Top Mounted High-Sensitivity GPS
The GPS receiver antenna returns to the top of the dog's neck like the original design of the DC-30 but without the horrible nylon collar strap.
Collar VHF Antenna: Improved Braided-Steel
These new antennas take all the abuse a hunting dog can give it in the rough terrain where you hunt. The DC 50 comes with a much tougher VHF antenna made from BRAIDED STEEL. This antenna is the same design used on the Alpha TT 10. We have really been pleased with these antennas, and they are very tough -- especially compared to the old designs on the DC 30 and DC 40.
Additional Long Range Collar Antenna
Also included in the DC 50 package is a Long Range Collar antenna. This new antenna provides additional range compared to the standard antenna. The Long Range Collar Antenna is perfect for big running hounds.
Feed-through Collar Strap Design
The DC-50 doesn't bolt on. It slips over collar strap
User replaceable collar strap. Different colors for different dogs
Fits neck sizes between 13-inches and 22-inches
Solid K-9 metal collar buckle with metal keeper
Just like the DC 40, the DC 50 uses the plastic coated "Glo" collar straps that are popular with most hunters and Field Trial dog owners. These straps hold up better than regular nylon or leather collars and come in 10 different colors so you can keep up with your different dogs. Choose an Orange, Black, Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, White, Silver, Pink, or Violet collar strap.
Unlike the DC 40, the DC 50 strap is a feed through / collar belt loop style unit. It does not require screws or a plate to hold the collar to the unit. The collar on the DC 50 is attached the same as the Alpha TT 10 and the same way most e-collars work today.
The DC-50 comes standard with an orange collar strap. We offer the multi-dog units all with different color straps, and we sell the individual DC-50s in 10 different colors.
New: USB Port on Collar
Allows easy software updates -- just plug your collar into your computer
Export additional GPS dog data directly from your collar to your computer
When the battery on a tracking collar dies, finding a missing a dog gets a lot more difficult. When the collar battery drops to 25% life, RESCUE MODE changes the update rate to a 2-minute ping to extend battery life which gives you the maximum amount of hours to find a lost dog. Rescue mode is not the default setting. You have to turn it on under SETTINGS. I can't think of a good reason NOT to run your collar in rescue mode because there's no downside to running in rescue mode.
NEW: Bark Detection Mode
The Garmin DC 50 has a "Bark Detection" mode that will tell the houndsman when his dogs are baying. Using similar technology to the Garmin Bark Limiter, the DC 50 will tell you when your dogs are barking. When you put the unit into Bark Detection Mode, it adds a barking image to the compass screen to let you know when the dog is barking. The Dog Info screen also shows "Barks Per Minute." You still have the "Treed" option when a dog is in Bark Mode. It is not an either/or choice.
New: Live Laptop Tracking using Basecamp
(Track your Dogs on a Bigger Screen)
One of the features that they've added is you can take your handheld while you're tracking dogs and plug it into your computer, letting you view your dogs on your laptop's screen. HOW TO: First download Garmin's Base Map Software. Then plug your handheld into your computer's USB port to see the Tracking screen on your computer. We've got guys that are working out of vehicles and they are tired of looking at a small screen all the time. They want to set up a computer in their vehicle and be able to view the tracking. You still use a handheld to track, but view your dogs on your laptop screen instead of a small handheld. Garmin says it'll track on the computer "real-time," but it's the same update rate that you have on your system -- 5, 10, 30, or 120 seconds between updates.
You can now easily pick and change the icon color for your dog in the DOG INFO Screen. For example, put a blue ASTRO collar on your dog and to change the icon to blue from the DOG INFO screen.
Astro DC-50 Collar Comes With
22 1/2" steel braided antenna (installed on collar)
18 1/2" steel braided antenna
AC charging adapter
Car charging adapter
Charging/USB cable with charging clip
Astro DC-50 Collar Dimensions
Weight 10.5 oz with collar strap and antenna
Height: 1.75 inches
1-inch wide collar strap
Compatible with Astro 320 handheld receiver
Can run on the same system with DC 20, DC 30 and DC 40 collars
NOT compatible with Astro 220 Handheld -- The DC 50 is NOT compatible with the original Astro 220 handheld. The DC 50 communicates to the Garmin 320 handheld via ANT + while the older collars talked to the 220 handheld via a Wireless USB connection.
PLEASE NOTE: Garmin GPS units are waterproof in accordance with IEC 529 IPX7. IEC 529 is the European system of test specification standards for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment. An IPX7 designation means the GPS case can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
Not available to Canadian addresses. Collar to handheld radio communication inoperable in Europe.