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Garmin Delta XC Series REVIEW by Steve Snell

Garmin's Improved DELTA XC Line of Dog Training Collars

Garmin introduces DELTA XC -- the second generation of its DELTA training collars with some welcomed new improvements.

by

          DELTA XC product page | DELTA SPORT XC product page | DELTA UPLAND XC product page

          DELTA XC SERIES OVERVIEW

          All 3 DELTA XC systems are expandable up to three dogs and have a one year warranty.

          The DELTA XC (169.99)

        • 1/2 mile range system
        • 18 levels of momentary and continuous stimulation
        • Tone and Vibration options
        • 3 different button configurations



          The DELTA SPORT XC ($219.99)

          The DELTA SPORT XC also has a few features that we have never seen at these price points:
        • 3/4 mile range system
        • Up to 36 levels of momentary and continuous stimulation
        • Tone and Vibration options
        • 5 different button configurations
        • Built-in Bark Collar



          The DELTA UPLAND XC ($299.99)

          The DELTA UPLAND XC is made for bird dog folks with the inclusion of the Garmin Upland Beeper:
        • 3/4 mile range system
        • Up to 18 levels of continuous and 36 levels of momentary stimulation
        • Tone and Vibration options
        • 5 different button configurations
        • Built-in Bark Collar
        • Remote controlled Beeper Locator






          WHAT'S NEW IN THE GARMIN DELTA XC

          Rapidly increase or decrease the stimulation level of your DELTA XC

          You can now rapidly increase or decrease the stimulation level of your DELTA XC handheld using the new side button feature. Just press and hold to increase multiple levels.

          The original DELTA required that you press the up/down level button every time you wanted to change the level. This could really slow you down if you needed to drastically increase or lower your stimulation level to make a quick correction. This new feature allows you the option of changing quickly, but it also still has the old style one level per press so you don't have to worry about going too high or too low when you only need a slight change.

          Pick the number of dogs on your system

          The DELTA XC gives you the option of setting how many dogs the transmitter will control at one time. If you are only training one or two dogs you can remove the unused dog options from the transmitter to get them out of your way.

          All the DELTA XC units can train up to three dogs per transmitter. This is great but if you only have one or two dogs this feature can be a real pain. With the original DELTA unit if you were running two dogs, when you pressed the dog selector key, it would move you from dog one to dog two. Once you were finished with the dog two you would press the dog selector key and it would take you to dog three, even though you didn't have a dog three. You would then have to press the key again to move back to dog one. While this may not seem like that big of an issue, it did slow things down and created the chance to accidentally end up on the wrong dog.

          The DELTA XC fixes this issue. The DELTA XC unit gives you the option of having a one dog unit, a two dog unit or a three dog unit. If you are not running multiple dogs, you can remove this option and only have the dogs on the handheld that you actually have. You can always add the second and third dog options back to the handheld if you add additional dogs down the road.

          Long and short contact points

          One of our biggest issues with the original DELTA units was the lack of long contact points. The original DELTA collars came with short probes installed and they were not removable or replaceable with long probes. This created all sorts of issues for folks with thick and long coated dogs. Remote training collars don't work real well if you can't get good skin contact. Some dogs must have long probes to get past their long hair. It really is a requirement for a system that is going to meet the needs of most folks.

          The DELTA XC comes with regular (short) probes installed but if you need the long ones, they are included and can easily be replaced. It uses the same Tri-Tronics Probes that are included in the Garmin PRO Units.

          New stimulation pattern

          Another issue that we saw with the original DELTA units was dogs not responding to the higher stimulation levels. While this wasn't real common, it happened to the point that many folks had to return their units and go with systems that had a stronger top end. Those units had a new stimulation pattern that didn't match anything that Tri-Tronics had used before. It was much lower on the top end and we ran across a number of dogs that it didn't work with in high drive situations.

          To fix this issue, Garmin has made the DELTA XC stimulation pattern match the one in the Garmin PRO systems. Don't take this to mean that this is a substantially "hotter" collar and it might be too strong for your dog. The low end is still very low. The middle numbers are also the same. The only difference is in the higher numbers. The top end is what we expect out of a Tri-Tronics system and I don't expect to see any issues with dogs blowing off the stimulation.

          Modified side collar loops for a better fit

          The DELTA XC has slightly modified collar strap loops that allow the receiver to fit better on dogs with larger necks. These modified loops allow the collar to open wider and place the contact points in a better position on the neck compared to the original DELTA collar. This gets us better skin contact, especially on bigger dogs.


          WHAT'S NEW IN THE GARMIN DELTA SPORT XC AND DELTA UPLAND XC

          The DELTA SPORT XC and DELTA UPLAND XC have all the new features of the DELTA XC plus:

          New Bark Limiter options

          While having a built in bark limiter was a neat feature on the original DELTA SPORT and DELTA UPLAND, the bark collar fell a little short in my opinion. The biggest issue was that it was an auto rise only bark collar. While that is okay for some dogs, it really does not fit the needs of most folks, especially those with hard barkers that need a quicker correction.

          All this and a good bit more is solved with the Bark Limiter feature in the DELTA SPORT XC and DELTA UPLAND XC. They have the same auto rise option as the original systems, but they also have both vibration and a 1-18 direct level setting option. This way if you know what level it takes to get your dog to stop his nuisance barking, you can select it from the transmitter. This also gives you the option of having bark collars on up to three dogs with three different levels at the same time.

          The vibration feature works in the same way as the stimulation correction. In my opinion this really isn't very useful since there is no stimulation tied into a warning vibration, but if you have a dog that responds to the vibe, it may work for you.



          Bark correction and training at the same time

          Another new major Bark Limiter feature is the ability to use the bark collar and still have the training collar available at the same time. To use this feature, you select the bark collar / training collar mode, select your bark collar level and then return to training. The bark collar level can be Auto, Vibe or Direct Set. Once you have selected your level and returned to training mode, you can raise and lower the training stimulation level without changing the bark limiter level.



          DELTA XC BUTTON CONFIGURATIONS

          Each transmitter has 3 different buttons and you can change what each button does by selecting a different configuration.

          3 Different DELTA XC Configurations (button set ups)

            1. Tone, Vibration, Momentary Stim

            2. Tone, Continuous Stim, Momentary Stim

            3. Vibration, Continuous Stim, Momentary Stim


          Button 1
          Tone
          Tone
          Vibration
          Button 2
          Vibration
          Continuous
          Continuous
          Button 3
          Momentary
          Momentary
          Momentary




          DELTA SPORT XC BUTTON CONFIGURATIONS

          The DELTA SPORT XC includes the same 3 button configurations as the DELTA XC plus two additional configurations (button set ups) which allow you to have a wider spread (36 levels) of both continuous stimulation and momentary stimulation.

          5 Different DELTA SPORT XC Configurations (button set ups)

            1. Tone, Vibration, Momentary Stim

            2. Tone, Continuous Stim, Momentary Stim

            3. Vibration, Continuous Stim, Momentary Stim

            4. Momentary, Continuous Stim Low, Continuous Stim High

            5. Continuous, Momentary Stim Low, Momentary Stim High


          Button 1
          Tone
          Tone
          Vibration
          Momentary
          Continuous
          Button 2
          Vibration
          Continuous
          Continuous
          Continuous HIGH
          Momentary HIGH
          Button 3
          Momentary
          Momentary
          Momentary
          Continuous LOW
          Momentary LOW


          The DELTA SPORT XC also has 36 Levels of STIM

          These two additional configurations will take the 18 levels of momentary and continuous stimulation and split them into low and high levels giving you 36 levels of stimulation. The low and high levels will increase in a linear order. That means that a low 1 will be lower than a high 1 but a low 2 will be higher than a high 1. This is an impressive spread of stimulation and will allow you to find the right level for even the most sensitive of dogs.



          DELTA UPLAND XC BUTTON CONFIGURATIONS

          The DELTA UPLAND XC gives you 5 possible button configurations for control over stimulation, tone and vibration plus the remote Upland Beeper.

          5 Different DELTA SPORT XC Configurations (button set ups)

            1. Momentary Stim Low, Tone, Vibration

            2. Continuous Stim High, Momentary Stim High, Momentary Stim Low

            3. Beeper, Tone, Momentary Stim High

            4. Beeper, Continuous Stim High, Momentary Stim High

            5. Beeper, Momentary Stim High, Momentary Stim Low


          Button 1
          Momentary LOW
          Continuous HIGH
          Beeper
          Beeper
          Beeper
          Button 2
          Tone
          Momentary HIGH
          Tone
          Continuous HIGH
          Momentary HIGH
          Button 3
          Vibration
          Momentary LOW
          Momentary HIGH
          Momentary HIGH
          Momentary LOW




          DELTA XC COLLAR



          Small rechargeable collar fits dogs as little as 8 lbs.



        • The DELTA XC collar is one of the smallest rechargeable collars we have ever seen especially in this range category.
        • Weighs only 2.4 oz. which is substantially smaller than the Sport Basic EXP collar at 7.2 oz.

        • Will comfortably fit a dog as small as 8 pounds but can also be worn by the largest of breeds.

        • One of the biggest advantages with a small collar is that if you have a big dog and a small dog you can comfortably use the DELTA XC system in a multi-dog setup with both dogs.


          DELTA XC TRANSMITTER



          LCD Screen

          The DELTA XC transmitter uses a LCD screen to show stim level, button configuration mode, dog selected, and the transmitter battery life.


          No Dials to change stim levels

          One of the biggest differences in the DELTA XC units compared to anything Tri-tronics has ever made before is the lack of a dial to change stimulation levels. Instead of dials, you use keys.

          Garmin designers just don't like dials. On the DELTA XC units, they went with keys to change modes and levels. Keys are similar to button but they are stiffer and have a different feel compared to a button. The keys are used to turn the transmitter on, change stimulation levels, change from one dog to the next dog, and change correction configurations.

          Overall, I am pleased with the design and feel of the keys. They have a positive resistance to them, and you can tell when you have clicked a key to make a change without looking at the transmitter. You can also hear a click when the button is pressed. It isn't a loud sound, but the majority of the time I can hear it -- even outdoors.

          One-Handed Operation

          The DELTA XC transmitters are designed for one-handed operation. You have access to every button and key and can change stimulation levels, configurations and dog selection all one-handed. I can't stand a transmitter that requires two hands to use because when I'm dog training, my other hand is holding a leash, check cord, or something else.

          No-Look Operation

          The DELTA XC transmitters get a mixed score from me on No-look operation. When you are only working one dog at a time, the DELTA XC transmitters are fine for no-look operation. This gets a little trickier when working multiple dogs. I prefer a transmitter that allows me to make changes while I keep my eye on the dog.

          For me, dials and toggle switches are easiest to operate without looking, but the DELTA XC transmitter keys come pretty close for raising and lowering STIM levels. Since you can feel and hear when you press a key, I can make STIM changes without looking and know where I am the majority of the time. Just don't try to make things too complicated. It takes some practice to get used to No-Look-Operation, and you MUST stick with a consistent base level so you know what level you are on and which dog you are correcting. The downside of having a key to change dogs is that there is no way to know what dog you are on without looking at the transmitter.

            TIP: To keep things clear in my mind, I always keep my dog selector on the same dog and I always keep my levels the same. That way I have a base to start on and I can raise the level as needed. I always stay on the same dog. If the other dogs need a correction, I must first change dogs and then make my correction. Once I am finished making the corrections, I move my dog selector key back to my main dog. This is a pretty simple method but you must stick with it.


          Different Stimulation Levels for Different Dogs

          The advantage of the LCD screen over using a dial to select STIM and a switch to toggle between dogs is that you can have a different stimulation level for each dog. You can't do this with a transmitter that uses a dial. When you have dogs that you work at the same time, but require different stimulation levels, you can make faster corrections using the DELTA XC Transmitter.




          Moving between button configurations

          You can change button configurations while the dog is wearing the collar which gives you full access to all the options that the DELTA XC units have all the time.

        • The DELTA XC has 3 different button configurations.

        • The DELTA SPORT XC has 5 button configurations (plus the Bark option).

        • The DELTA UPLAND XC has 5 button configurations (plus the Bark option and remote beeper)

        • Use the bottom left "MODE" key to change from one configuration to the next.

          Different configurations for different dogs

          You can also have different configurations selected for different dogs at the same time. There is a little upside to this if you prefer to use tone with one dog and vibration with another, but I caution folks not to make the mistake of having three different configurations while running three different dogs. Keeping up with which dog is which is hard enough, having to remember which button is which at the same time is pushing your luck.

            TIP: A really cool option for folks training one dog at a time while your other dogs watch is the Bark Mode option. Since you can have one collar in a training mode and the other collars in a bark mode, you can silence the barking dogs that are watching the action using the same collar that you train them. This saves time and cuts down on gear needed in the field.

            Something else to know is that you must have the transmitter turned on to put a DELTA SPORT XC collar into bark mode. Once it is in bark mode, you can turn the transmitter off and the collar will stay in Bark Mode.



          Multiple Dogs: Selecting a Dog

          I mentioned it earlier but it is worth pointing out again. The lack of a toggle switch or a dial like the Sport Basic makes it impossible to tell which dog you are on without looking at the transmitter. For the majority of folks this isn't a deal breaker, but you need to be aware of it. The last thing you want to do is correct the wrong dog.

          Accidentally Changing Correction Configurations

          While I love the fact that you have access to all of the stimulation options on both DELTA XC Units from the transmitter and you can change them as needed, you need to be aware that you can also change them and not know it. It isn't easy to do and I have not really experienced it in the field, but until I got completely comfortable with all the keys, I hit the wrong one a few times.

          In the same way that you can't tell which dog you are on without looking at the transmitter, you can't tell if you are in a different Correction Configuration without looking at the screen. It's not a deal breaker, but you need to be aware of it and spend some time with the remote and get comfortable with what key does what.



          DELTA XC STIM

          Both DELTA XC units offer continuous and momentary stimulation.

        • DELTA XC has 18 levels of STIM

        • DELTA SPORT XC has up to 36 levels of STIM

        • DELTA UPLAND XC has up to 18 levels of continuous and 36 levels of momentary STIM

          All 3 have BOTH Vibration and Tone

          All the DELTA XC units offer both a vibration and standard tone beep in the same system. The tone / vibration combination gives folks two non-stim training options. Teach multiple silent commands using a combination of tone and vibration. Work an entire field moving your dog back and forth without ever making a sound.
          • Teach your retriever to sit with tone and to recall with vibration.

          • Teach your pheasant dog to quarter on vibration and to recall on tone.

          • Use Vibration as a warning and Tone as a praise command.

          • Use Vibration as a warning and Tone as a silent recall command.
          While I am not the biggest fan of using a warning tone or vibe with ecollars, I do understand that many folks want this option. What's nice is that we have a system that ALLOWS you two non-stim features if you want to use them.



          DELTA XC BATTERIES



          Transmitter has an ON/OFF button

          Don't worry, you don't need to be worried about forgetting to turn it off.

          The DELTA XC transmitters have an on/off button. This is a first for a Tri-Tronics system, and I wasn't real sure how I would feel about it. It's rare to run a transmitter battery down before you run a collar down. If you charge the transmitter every time you charge the collar, you should never have an issue.

          While the DELTA XC Transmitters have a longer life than the collars, I was concerned about what would happen if I remembered to turn my collar off but I left the transmitter running. Would I come back a few days later to a collar that worked but a dead transmitter. That's where a battery run time test comes in. We always test how long it takes to run a system dead from start to finish. It's hard to give completely accurate numbers since how many times you push the button plays into run time, but our tests are designed to cover just "on" time. We charge them up and just let them run until dead.

          Battery Run Time (60-70 hours)

          COLLAR -- Garmin lists the DELTA XC Collar battery life at 60 hours. We found it took about 70 straight hours of run time to fully deplete the collar.

          TRANSMITTER -- Garmin also lists the transmitter battery life at 60 hours. That's a little short. I have had mine turned on for a month. That's a little over 740 hours. And it's still showing a full charge. While I don't recommend that you leave the transmitter on all the time, you don't need to be worried about forgetting to turn it off.

          Battery Charge Time (2 hours)

          COLLAR -- The collar will indicate battery power by the light on the front. Green is fully charged, yellow is needs a charge, red is dead. The collar glows RED while charging and GREEN when finished.

          TRANSMITTER -- The transmitter has a 3 bar chart that shows the power. I would not let it get below one bar if it were me. A dead battery in the collar and transmitter take around 2 hours to charge. I recommend that you charge both at the same time even if the transmitter is showing a full charge.



          DELTA XC RANGE



        • DELTA XC range is 1/2 mile (880 yards)

        • DELTA SPORT XC range is 3/4 mile (1320 yards)

        • DELTA UPLAND XC range is 3/4 mile (1320 yards)



          DELTA XC WARRANTY

          Garmin DELTA XC units have a 1 year parts and labor warranty.



          DELTA SPORT XC AND UPLAND XC HAVE A BUILT-IN BARK COLLAR

          Having a bark collar built inside a remote training collar is pretty neat and has several upsides. We get many requests for this feature and I expect it is going to be very popular.

          From the transmitter, change the mode from a training collar to a bark collar -- train one dog, keep others quiet.

          The DELTA SPORT XC and UPLAND XC include a bark collar option. To change your DELTA SPORT XC or UPLAND XC into a bark collar, simply move the training mode selection key to the image of the barking dog and your collar turns into a bark collar.



          BUILT-IN BARK COLLAR PROS AND CONS

          Pros of having a built-in bark collar:

        • One less piece of gear to worry with

        • Switch from training mode to no-bark mode and back from the transmitter

        • Stop other dogs from barking while you train another dog

        • Turn a bark collar into a training collar to prevent problem behaviors

          Cons of having a built-in bark collar:

        • Sometimes you leave a bark collar on an unsupervised dog

        • Sometimes other dogs will chew on that dog's e-collar

          PRO: Switch from training mode to no-bark mode and back from the transmitter

          This is pretty cool and it's something we've never had before. Another company made a combination unit several years ago, but it was not something that you could change from the handheld. You actually had to make a physical change on the collar. That collar was also incredibly expensive. You were paying a lot more money for a system that had stimulation and a built in bark collar but it was cheaper to buy a decent bark collar and a decent remote training system.

          CON: Dogs that Chew

          The first issue is that many folks use bark collars when their dogs are around other dogs. That's not a big deal unless you have a dog that likes to chew -- and just so you know -- ALL dogs like to chew. I never like to leave an e-collar on an unsupervised dog since they tend to be more expensive than your average bark collar. With the DELTA SPORT XC collar that really isn't the case. A replacement collar will run you $119.99. While that's more expensive than the average bark collar (79.99 to $99.99), it's not an insane difference. All that said, keep this in mind if you leave the bark collar on your dog.



          WHICH DELTA XC DO YOU CHOOSE?

          While the DELTA XC units are in the same family, there are several differences that will make picking between them easy.

          What is the same?

          • All 3 units have the exact same size collars and handheld transmitters

          • All can run up to 3 dogs

          • All units have the same LCD screen


          What is different?

          • Price

          • Bark Collar feature (or not)

          • Transmitter range

          • Number of stimulation levels

          • Number of configurations

          • Remote beeper (or not)


          PRICE -- The DELTA SPORT XC is $219.99. The DELTA XC is $169.99. The DELTA UPLAND XC is $299.99.

          BARK -- The DELTA SPORT XC and UPLAND XC have the Bark Collar -- the DELTA XC does not.

          RANGE -- The DELTA SPORT XC and UPLAND XC range is a 3/4 mile (1320 yards) while the DELTA XC range is 1/2 mile (880 yards).

          STIM LEVELS -- The DELTA SPORT XC the the same 18 levels but you can split those levels into a low and a high giving you a total of 36 levels. The DELTA XC only has 18 levels of continuous and momentary stimulation. The DELTA UPLAND XC has 18 levels of continuous and 36 levels of momentary stimulation.

          BUTTON CONFIGURATIONS -- The DELTA XC has 3 different button configurations. The DELTA SPORT XC and UPLAND XC have 2 additional button configurations. These two setups allow you to have a low stim level and a high stim level. This takes the 18 levels and splits it into 36 levels (18 continuous and 36 momentary on the DELTA UPLAND XC). While the bottom level and the top level are the same, this gives you more levels in between. Perfect for even the most sensitive dog.

          BEEPER -- The DELTA UPLAND XC includes a remote beeper locator. The DELTA XC and DELTA SPORT XC do not.

          Everything else is the same. So which one do you buy?



        • If you don't need the bark collar, the DELTA XC is fine for most folks. The DELTA XC has a wide enough range of stim levels and is an excellent dog training collar.

        • With the DELTA SPORT XC you get a pretty awesome training collar for $219.99 and the bark collar is free. Or you can say you get a rechargeable Bark Collar for $99.99 and a pretty awesome training collar for $150. It's very competitive price-wise. It'd be tricky to get as good of an e-collar with a good bark collar for less money.

        • If you want a remote beeper controlled with the same handheld as your training collar, then look at the DELTA UPLAND XC. It also has the same Bark Collar features as the DELTA SPORT XC.

          --STEVE

          DELTA XC product page | DELTA SPORT XC product page | DELTA UPLAND XC product page





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