Transcript from Steve's Video:
This is the Garmin Alpha. The Garmin Alpha is a GPS e-collar combo system. Garmin took all the Tri-Tronics technology and incorporated it into their dog tracking systems. So now we have one system that can allow you to track your dog and use it as your remote trainer.
Pretty sophisticated compared to anything we've seen before. From a GPS standpoint it is everything that the Astro is plus a little bit more. It comes with a 100K topo map built into it. It comes with a faster update rate. The Astro is a neat system, but it doesn't quite stand up to the changes that they've made with the Alpha.
A big difference in the Alpha is that it is a touchscreen. So, very few remote controls. You have an on/off switch and then you have stim buttons for your e-collar. But the rest of the thing is touchscreen. So you just go through and pick the screens that you want. You can jump back between your map and your compass really fast.
What's nice about the touchscreen on Garmin units is that they are glove friendly. Pretty much any set of gloves that I've been using we've been able to use the touchscreen without a problem.
Same basic concept as far as operation. You have your collar. Picks up the signal from the satellites. And then it sends that signal back to the handheld. Now, the difference with the Alpha is because it is an e-collar you are also going to be sending signals from the handheld to the collar. So that allows some long-range communication between the two that we have not had before. You can make changes to the setup of the system while the dog is wearing the collar at a distance. That can come in real handy if you have to change identity codes. You can also change update rates.
The e-collar on the Garmin Alpha is ad as advanced as anything Tri-Tronics has ever made. It's got up to 18 stim levels. It has continuous and momentary, plus it has tone. You can allow it to train up to 20 dogs from one handheld. It's got the light feature similar to the tracer lights. You can control it from the handheld and turn your lights on and off. You can make the flash or make them glow solid. It has short and long contact points.
The e-collar on the Garmin Alpha is very sophisticated in that you can set different levels for different dogs. You can have different stimulation types for different dogs. You can have some dogs on momentary, some dogs on continuous. You can also change it on the fly. So if you need all sorts of types of stimulation for your dog, you can raise and lower the level, you can change it at the transmitter as needed.
Three buttons across the top are what control the stimulation. You can either have it where it's one button per dog, so you can have three different buttons on the handheld and then you can scroll over to your next three if you are running six, nine, 12 dogs. You can move back and forth. If you are only running one dog then you can take each button and customize it for that particularly dog. You want to have a low level on one button, and then a medium level on the middle button, and then a higher level on your right button? Real simple to do. You can set it up to fit however you train your dog.
This is the Alpha TT-10. It is a combination of several concepts that Garmin has developed over the years with the DC-20, DC-30, and DC-40 collars. Anyone that's had a DC-30 will notice that they've gone back to a top-mounted GPS receiver. We found that that works really well.
The collar strap is not part of the unit in that it's more along the lines of a traditional Tri-Tronics design. It threads through the loops on the collar. And then we have a piece here that connects the GPS antenna. Collar slides through that. We've got 10 different colors so that you can identify collars differently. We change them out for you. It's really simple to move from collar to collar.
You've got removable contact points. It comes with the regulars installed. We also have the long contact points.
These are your light features across the front here. So when you are using your tracer light that's where the light comes off of.
Very tough design. My favorite thing that they changed is the antenna. They went to a cable style antenna and these things are incredibly tough. We're a good six or eight months in now. I have yet to have one break. They are just really tough. A little bit longer, too, than what we've had before. We're getting some more range out of it.
With the Garmin Alpha you have several different update rate choices. The update rate is the time in between radio signals that are sent from the collar to your handheld. A faster update rate will give you more information as to where your dog is and what he's doing, but it will also burn your battery up a little bit faster.
I run my Alpha on a 2 1/2 second update rate, and typically I see about 24 hours of runtime. You also have the option of a five second, a 10 second, a 30 second, and a two minute update. What those updates they will do is they will lengthen the battery life of the collar but they will give you less information.
I find most people prefer to have more information and charge their collar on a more regular basis. Every time I run my collar, the night I am through I charge it up to get a full charge for the next day.