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
"The DC 50 is excellent, and the service at Gun Dog is the best."
German Shorthair. Owns 2 dogs. Hunts. Competes. Works awesome. I like the improved design. I did have a couple lost contacts this weekend but I believe the collar twisted and the antenna was pointing down.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 14365 Reviewed: 2014-10-08
Owns 6 dogs. Hunts. Have used these collars several weeks now, and I really like them. I do have one suggestion. All of Garmin's collars have only 50 numbers to choose from, and I would like to see that number increased. We do get interference from other hunters using the collars. So, when lots of dogs are in the area you may find that you are clearing the warnings about interference from other collars. Seems like a lot of that could be resolved with having lots more numbers or wider frequency range to choose from. Otherwise, I really like all aspects of the collar and especially the longer battery life over the older collars. I have 4 DC30's and 4 DC50's. I like both, but battery life is much better with the 50. Regarding the Astro 320, I would like the track for the unit to be smaller like it is on the older 220, dotted line rather than a larger solid line that blends in with the dog tracks. If there is a way to change it, let me know.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 14211 Reviewed: 2014-10-02
Owns 10 dogs. Hunts. Garmin is by far the best tracking product out there. Won't use anything else and wouldn't buy from anyone else. Steve Snell from Gun Dog Supply is the only one I'll purchase from for any dog supplies. They have done me and my dogs right for years.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 13928 Reviewed: 2014-09-22
"I am more than pleased with the product and really got to compliment you folks on what is about the quickest service I've experienced. Thanks!"
Owns 5 dogs. Hunts. Good product.....seems to lock onto a satellite quicker than my older DC 40 collars. Distance coverage seems to be greater than the old rigs as well. Any way you look at it though, the system is something that any serious dog hunter damn well ought to invest it. I am more than pleased with the product and really got to compliment you folks on what is about the quickest service I've experienced. Thanks!
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 13893 Reviewed: 2014-09-20
Foxhound. Owns 4 dogs. Hunts. Product works great. This is an additional collar from my 3 that came with the handheld. Saves us a lot of time looking for the dogs after a hunt and keeps us from losing dogs.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 14889 Reviewed: 2014-10-26
Hunts. Bought the DC-50 collar to replace a DC-40 that bit the dust. What an improvement..!! Have only been using it for approximately 2-3 weeks, but it is definitely built stronger and seems to hold a battery charge longer than the DC-40. Almost can't wait for my other DC-40 to fail so I can upgrade to a second DC-50 for my other dog.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 15617 Reviewed: 2014-11-16
"I use this collar to let my husky run around off leash. I always know where he is. The system works great!"
Owns 2 dogs. I bought two DC50 tracking units 4 years ago from Gun Dog Supply to use with my basset hounds while hiking in the forests and woodlands of Washington State. Despite my bassets best efforts to get lost while chasing after elk, deer, and squirrels, often to the tune of running away a half-mile or more, I have always been able to recover my hounds, even when I have had to track them after dark. The unit works well in dense forest cover and poor weather, although its coverage can be limited somewhat during winter when operating near the north face of tall mountains. After 4 years of use, several times each week, the units still work well and the collars continue to hold their charge. The tracking and map features have been especially helpful in locating my hounds. In addition, the service I received from you folks when I bought the collars, and had some initial problems, was the best I have ever had with any company (you sent me a new collar even before I returned the defective collar).
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 15814 Reviewed: 2014-11-21
"If it continues to work better than the DC-40 I'll be changing to all DC-50 collars."
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. 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
We are using these for tracking our 4x4 vehicles (Brush truck and Ranger 6x6) along with members on foot during ground searches. We have a very large state park where hundreds of people mountain bike, hike and horseback ride. We respond to around 6 calls for injured parties or lost parties per month. This product has greatly enhanced our services.
Product Rating: 5 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 15896 Reviewed: 2014-11-24
German Wire-haired Pointer. Owns 2 dogs. Hunts. First, some comments on problems with the collar, then some comments on Gun Dog Supply and Garmin.
The collar: I ordered one, had to send back and get another. The good: it works great, it feels solid, the antenna does a great job, and after it's running it's no different from the DC40 in terms of following/monitoring the dog; it also has USB connector that goes to either a supplied 110 power supply, to a supplied 12v car cig lighter socket, or to your computer.. In other words, 5 stars. The problem was the elevation data that come up in the GPX file. It seemed stuck within about 10' of where you hooked it up to the Astro 320, rendering the altitude change data and statistics pretty worthless. Position and all the other stuff was fine, but elevation is important to me. I first called Gun Dog, they said to update software on the Astro 320 and then follow instructions to put new firmware on the DC50 with instructions from Garmin. It would not load because the new DC 50 was not on Garmin's menu yet. Okay, so I called Garmin. They walked me through doing it, only it screwed up because I have a Mac, and that software is "not yet ready" for a Mac, must use PC. I couldn't get on a PC, and the library computers couldn't let me install the Garmin Updater Software. Garmin support then said they could replace it on the warranty, but said parenthetically that it would be faster, since it was new, to return to Gun Dog supply for a replacement. I did that, and got a new one (rather than making me return it before sending a new one, they kindly sent a new one with a shipping label so that I got it quicker -- superb service). Got the new one, and guess what, the elevation data have the same problem. Called Garmin, got a great technical rep who really knew the device, and he said it was probably a fault in the software because very few people use the elevation data from the dog collar. I emailed him the GPX files from some comparisons with the DC40 and the Astro 320 along with the elevation graphics, and he's referring it to the Garmin engineers with a case number. When the software's fixed, I upload it (if I can find a PC to do it on) and should be back in business.
Gun Dog Supply 5 stars and Garmin; 4 stars. The service and technical support were superb. GDS provides a free additional collar so you can change the color from blue with the DC50; they ship rapidly, and their support was simply terrific -- no different from my past good experiences with them. Garmin's support was likewise terrific. Generally, when I have this kind of problem with electronics, I dread it because of being put on hold, talking to someone who knows nothing about the unit I'm calling about, getting transferred around with more time on hold, etc. Not the case for either GDS or Garmin. Garmin puts you through a menu of the type of unit you are calling about, and you rapidly get someone (in my case) who knows the nuts and bolts of the DC50 right away.
So -- in summary, I'd give it 5 stars if it weren't for the problem with elevation, and that fault is apparently at Garmin's end. If they fix the problem, it's back to 5 stars for it all.
Product Rating: 4 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 15186 Reviewed: 2014-11-04
Owns 20 dogs. Hunts. I've used my two DC50's a few times. They keep signal better than the DC40's. Really my only complaint is that the bark detection could use some improvement. Overall, I think they are better than the DC40's.
Product Rating: 4 out of 5-stars. Review ID: 14029 Reviewed: 2014-09-26
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.