The Garmin "X" Collars
The TT15X is a track and train collar while the T5X is tracking only. Both collars are compatible with the Astro 430, all four Alpha handhelds, and the PRO 550 Plus. They can be tracked from multiple handhelds at the same time and can be run at the same time as TT10, TT15, and T5 collars.Please note that Garmin's "X" collars are NOT compatible with the Astro 320 or 220.
The "X" collars have the same physical design as Garmin's regular size collars, but with several upgraded features:
Longer Battery Life -- up to 80 hours of run time using the 2.5 second update rate
Garmin Express Update Option -- you can update your "X" collar's software with Garmin Express
Sleep Mode -- you can put your "X" collar into sleep mode using Alpha handhelds, extending battery life even longer
Collar "About" Screen -- on Alpha 200i and 200 handhelds, you can check your "X" collar's software version
Extended Battery Life
The biggest improvement on these collars is longer battery life.
Every time we talk with Garmin, battery life is a topic. With the "X" collars they have drastically increased battery life and added options to stretch it out even longer if needed.We are seeing between 60 and 80 hours of run time off a single charge with a 2.5-second update rate.
Setting your collar on a 5 or 10-second update rate will push it past 80 hours, and a 2-minute update rate will give you over 130 hours.
This will be especially helpful for folks with big running dogs or in lost dog situations. An "X" collar set in Rescue Mode drops down to a 2-minute update rate when the battery reaches less than 25% capacity, giving you the maximum possible time to locate a lost dog. More battery life = more time.
There are few things more useless than a tracking collar with a dead battery.
Keep in mind that this extended battery life option doesn't change my take on charging your collars.I still recommend that you charge them after every use.
I want you to have the maximum battery life available if you need it. The only way to make that happen is to charge your system before each use. Also, keep in mind there has not been a change in the handheld batteries, so you will still need to charge them pretty much every night anyway.
Updating Your Collars with Garmin Express
With the "X" collars, you can now update both your collars and your handheld with Garmin Express.
This eliminates the need to have multiple programs installed to keep your system up-to-date. I prefer Garmin Express for several reasons, but not being able to update everything from one program has been a hassle. Now every new dog tracking product can be updated using Garmin Express.
The "X" collars have a Sleep Mode option just like the Garmin MINI collars.
Sleep Mode allows you the option of using your Alpha handheld to shut off both radios in the collar (GPS and handheld communication), significantly extending battery life. The collar searches every few seconds for a turn-on signal. Once you give the signal from your handheld, the radios turn back on and the collar returns to normal communication mode.Note that you must be within range to activate the collar.
This is a specialized feature that really isn't going to be used by most of our customers. It's designed for situations where either you can't get to a dog in time to pick him up and are forced to leave him out overnight, or you are intentionally leaving him out and want to preserve battery life.
We have a few folks that like to leave their collars on their dogs all day while hunting, even when moving around in their vehicle, and Sleep Mode lets them conserve run time. I'm not sure if it's still necessary with the longer battery life, but the option is there.
Folks with livestock protection dogs will like the Sleep Mode feature. It will give you extra-long battery life while still keeping up with the location of your dogs.
The "X" collars give you the ability to view your collar software data on your Alpha 200i or Alpha 200 handheld.
This means you can check the software version from your handheld without the use of a computer. Not a giant deal, but it's a feature that we had back in the Astro 320 / 220 days, and it's nice to see its return.
I'm extremely pleased with these new collars.
We always want more range, longer battery life, and more durability from our tracking collars.
While we only get one of the big three updated here, it's an important update -- perhaps the most important -- and it will make finding lost dogs easier.