Product Overview: Garmin Astro 320 Handheld with DC 50 Tracking Collar
From Garmin comes the Astro 320 with DC 50 dog tracking collar. Designed with the serious hunter in mind, this system comes with a number of advancements over previous designs. You will now be able to track your dogs more accurately and more consistently than ever before!
NOTE: The Garmin DC 50 will only track with a Astro 320 handheld. If you have a 320, You will need to update your software on your 320.
Click here to watch our video tutorial for updating your Garmin Astro 320 Software.
Updates & Features of the Astro 320 Handheld
- - Updated software to track DC 50 collars.
- - Visit our How To Section to learn how to update your software
- - Software update includes Bark Detection and Rescue Mode.
Astro 320 Features
- - Side power button location
- - 1.7 GB of internal memory
- - Tracks up to 10 dogs simultaneously
- - Up to 9 miles of handheld-to-collar reception (line of sight)
- - MURS frequency band
- - Compatible with Garmin’s Birdseye Satellite Imagery, high-resolution TOPO maps, and more
- - Wireless field software updating
- - Screen size: 1.43” x 2.15”
- - 160 x 240 pixel, transflective 65-K color touch-screen display
- - Weight: 9.2 oz with 2 AA batteries
- - Battery life: up to 20 hrs with AA batteries (not included)
- - IPX7 waterproofing (withstands immersion in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes)
- - Tilt-compensated 3-axis electronic compass and barometric altimeter
- - Data-card compatibility: accepts MicroSD card (not included)
- - USB interface
- - Stores 2000 waypoints or locations, and 200 routes
- - Track log: records 10,000 points and 200 saved tracks
- - Area calculation capable
Updates & Features of the DC 50 Tracking Collar:
- - Integral Rescue Mode automatically conserves battery after 25% charge.
- - Better GPS signal on the DC 50
- - GPS receiver mounted to top of collar like previous DC30 collar
- - GLONASS enabled GPS allows collar to track more satellites
- - Durable VHF antenna with braided steel core for better communication.
- - Bark Detection for real-time updates on often your dogs are barking in the field.
- - Tool-less design makes for fast, easy changes of collar straps
- - Waterproof up to 10 meters
DC 50 Features
- - Top-mounted, high sensitivity, GLONASS-enabled satellite receiver
- - 22.5” braided-steel antenna, with 18.5” antenna available as an option
- - User-configurable Bark Detection
- - User-configurable Rescue Mode to extend battery life
- - Updates dog positions every 5, 10, 30, or 120 seconds
- - Easy-to-replace 27”x1” collar strap (no tools needed)
- - Extreme waterproofing (up to 10 meters, or ~33 feet)
- - Rechargeable, replaceable Lithium-Ion Battery
Features & Benefits of the Garmin Astro 320 DC 50 ComboBetter Tracking:
High-sensitivity, top-mounted GPS receiver is now enabled to receive signals from GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) satellites for the DC 50 Collar. This adds 21 more satellites your collar can connect with (in addition to the 28 satellites currently in the GPS system), helping eliminate dropped satellite connections in rough country and deep cover.
The DC 50’s new Bark Detection feature is a first in the dog tracking industry. When enabled, users can see the rate-per-minute at which each of their dogs is barking, even when out of audible range. Each dog’s bark status is displayed on both the map screen and the individual dog screen and compass screen. Since some users may not want to have bark rates displayed on the map screen, there is an option to turn it off on the map screen while keeping it active on the other screens. Another option with Bark Detection is the ability to set a “minimum bark-rate threshold;” this allows users to establish a minimum rate of barks per minute—either 20, 40, 60, or 80 bpm—before they are alerted by their Astro 320. In short, Bark Detection will be especially beneficial when your hounds are out of hearing range and you’re trying to decipher if they’re just trailing, or have already jumped or treed your quarry.Rescue Mode:
Rescue Mode is another feature that’s new to the Astro line of tracking collars. It’s a battery saving function that, when activated, automatically switches your collar update rate to once every 2 minutes (120 seconds) when the battery has declined to 25% of a full charge. This is designed to give users many additional hours to retrieve a dog before the collar battery dies—however, note that Rescue Mode can be shut off if a user doesn’t wish to have their update rate changed.
Better VHF Antenna:
The DC 50 sports a longer, more flexible VHF antenna made of aircraft-grade braided steel, which greatly improves both range and durability over previous DC collar antennas. DC 50 antennas are available in both 18.5” and 22.5”, with the 22.5” coming stock on the DC 50 from the Garmin factory.Fast Collar-Strap Changes:
Modeled after the Garmin Alpha TT10, collar straps on the DC 50 easily slide through integral channels on the collar box, eliminating the need for tools when you want to quickly change collar straps. Any universal D-ring collar strap (or TriTronics EXP strap) will slide right onto your tracking unit in seconds. A huge plus with this setup is that you can first slide on an EXP or any other shock collar with a 1” strap, and then slide on your DC 50, allowing for fewer collars on your dog.
Improved Charging Port:
The charging port on the DC 50 is a vast improvement over the hookup on the widely popular DC30. It comes standard with a USB interface, which gives you 3 connection options when you need to charge: you can plug into an AC outlet, a vehicle charge port, or the USB port on a computer. This is especially handy when it’s time to run a software update on your collar; all you have to do is attach the charging clip, plug your DC 50 into your computer, and run Garmin Web Updater.Helpful Tone Indicator:
Another welcome difference between the DC30/DC40 collars and the new DC 50 is the audible tone it provides when you successfully add a collar to your Astro 320 handheld; this confirms that you’ve added the correct collar when there are other collars in the immediate vicinity. A tone will also sound when you successfully change most settings on your Astro 320/DC 50 combo. For example: when you change dog type to “treeing dog,” your DC 50 will beep to let you know you did it right.Exclusive PIN Lock:
The PIN Lock function allows users to select and store a 4-digit code for each of their collars so no one else can track their dogs without inputting the code. Although this is not a must-have feature in most hunting situations, it could be very useful in competitions, or when you’re out with a large group of fellow hunters and their hounds equipped with Astros and DC collars.Adjustable Dog Type:
Using the updated Astro 320, you can change the type for each of your dogs wearing a DC 50 to reflect what they’re doing. Your options are 1) Pointing, 2) Treeing, 3) Auto, and 4) None. This lets your Astro know that when your dog is sittingstill, he or she could still be on point or have game treed.
Better Power Button Placement:
The power button on the DC 50 has been relocated to the bottom of the collar box, which protects it from being accidentally switched off by other collars on your dog, or by “unpredictables” like sharp rocks, fallen branches or the occasional ingenious coon. The improved placement will also provide more protection from everyday wear and tear, which you’ll appreciate since we see a lot of DC30s and DC40s come in with cracks or holes in the rubber cover that seals the power button; this allows moisture to get in and cause corrosion, which ultimately kills the collar.Antenna Protection Sleeve:
With the DC 50, you’ll no longer have to rig up protective nylon sleeves that stink and deteriorate over time, or use zip ties and electrical tape to secure your loose antennas. The new DC 50 comes with a thick, durable rubber cover that not only protects the antenna core, but also keeps your antenna erect and receiving satellite signals. The cover is very durable and can be scrubbed clean easily if your hound has traipsed through the mud to chase down game.Track Up To 10 Dogs:
The Astro 320 can track up to 10 different collars simultaneously.Wireless Collar Updates:
With the Astro 320 you can update collar software on the fly! This will allows you to perform some trouble shooting as well even if your in the cab of your truck in the middle of the woods.
Product Review Summary: Astro 320 with DC 50 Combo
Garmin has just released the DC 50 tracking and training collar, the latest in its line of DC collars, and my field tests show that it offers several impressive advantages over its predecessors, the DC30 and DC40 collars. Combined with the Astro 320 handheld, your DC 50 will provide vastly enhanced satellite coverage, much better handheld-to-collar reception because of its improved antenna, a Rescue Mode to automatically preserve battery power when you’re running low, and Bark Detection to keep you aware of your hounds’ behavior even when they’re far out in the field. These are the four most notable advances, but the DC 50 comes with many more features you’ll appreciate as well. roll directly to that topic
DC 50 vs. DC40—Why Upgrade?
There are a couple major reasons why you would want to upgrade to the Garmin DC 50. First is the greatly improved satellite reception you’ll enjoy: one of the most significant improvements in the DC 50 is its top-mounted GPS receiver and antenna, which assure quicker satellite acquisition and more consistent satellite connections when your dogs are in heavy cover out in the field. On top of that, Garmin has enabled the GLONASS system of satellites for your DC 50 ( Note: The 320 is the same and does not support GLONASS Satelites), so you’ll have 21 more satellites available to you to help pinpoint your dog’s location.
Thanks to Rescue Mode, a great new feature with the DC 50, you’ll also enjoy the possibility of much longer battery life than you get with the DC30 or DC40 collars. Rescue Mode was first introduced in 2012 on Garmin’s top-line Alpha TT10 collars. Basically, it slows the collar update rate from once every 5, 10, or 30 seconds to once every 2 minutes to conserve power after your DC 50 battery has drained to 25% of a full charge. This will give you many more hours of working time, allowing you to keep tracking a hound that has gone way off trail or gotten lost.
Another critical improvement in the DC 50 over the DC40 is the longer braided-steel antenna. The design and construction of this VHF long-range antenna provides up to 30% more tracking range than you get with the DC40. The DC 50 antenna is also much more durable and less prone to damage than the copper-wound stubby antennas on the DC40 and DC30 collars.
Bark Detection is yet another feature in the DC 50 that’s not available on any other tracking collar. With Bark Detection turned on, your DC 50 will detect, average and report each of your dogs’ rates of barks per minute (BPM) on your Astro 320 handheld. You’ll be able to see in real time how much your dog is barking, or if they’re working silently, which in turn will allow you to determine if they’re ready to start a trail, or already barking on trail, or already guarding a site with treed game. You can also instruct your Astro 320 to alert you only when your dog barks more than a selectable minimum amount per minute. And if you prefer not to receive the alert, simply turn off Barking Alerts; you’ll still be able to see BPM for each of your dogs in the dog list.
Lastly, some of the finer performance details that separate the DC 50 from its predecessors include its versatile, user-friendly charging system, and beep-tones that confirm when you add collars or change settings on the DC 50.
Batteries and Battery Life
- The Astro 320 yields up to 20 hours of battery life using 2 AA batteries (not included). This can be prolonged by plugging your handheld into a vehicle charging port so it can run off of your vehicle’s battery. Regardless, we recommend getting some good rechargeable AA batteries to use with your 320.
- The DC 50 set to 5 sec. updates and with Rescue Mode enabled gets about 30 hours of battery life. Break Down: 5 sec. update rate =13 hours at 25% of battery remaining, Rescue Mode takes over = 2 min updates for an additional ~16 hours for a total time of ~30 hours. (additional real life battery information will be updated as we thoroughly test these collars)
Update Rates/PIN Lock
With the Astro 320/DC 50 combo, you’ll be able to verify your dogs’ position in real time, updated every 5, 10, 30, or 120 seconds. The user-selectable update rates let you customize system notifications to your personal hunting style, and Rescue Mode will help you conserve battery life in your collar and handheld if you choose to turn it on. Rescue Mode is an especially valuable tool when you’re trying to recover a lost dog after many hours in the field, with potentially many more hours of searching.
PIN Lock can prevent access to your collars if you want to keep other people in the field from tracking your dog. To use it, simply assign a 4-digit code to each of your collars; this will prevent your collars from showing on any other Astro 320. However, if you want a partner to be able to track your dogs, you can simply give them your 4-digit codes to input on their Astro. This feature is not a requirement when using your Astro 320 and DC 50, just an option; it’s easy to turn off if you decide it’s not necessary.
Use Your Versatile Astro 320 for Other Types of Hunting and Recreation!
Not only is the Astro 320 adept at tracking and managing hunting dogs, it’s also a great tool when engaging in other outdoor activities. As a standalone GPS, the Astro can perform the same functions as any other Gamin GPS unit. By taking off the VHF antenna and capping the SMA connector, you have a compact and fully functional GPS for deer and elk hunting, hiking, camping, and even geocaching!
What’s in the Box?
- - Astro 320 handheld
- - DC 50 wireless transmitter collar
- - 5.0" standard antenna for the Astro
- - 13.0" long range antenna for the Astro
- - 18.5" standard antenna for the DC 50
- - 22.5" long range antenna for the DC 50
- - Belt clip
- - USB cable
- - AC adapter
- - Manuals
Combined with the Astro 320 handheld, the DC 50 collar will provide vastly enhanced satellite coverage, much better handheld-to-collar reception because of its improved antenna, a Rescue Mode to automatically preserve battery power when you’re running low, and Bark Detection to keep you aware of your hounds’ behavior even when they’re far out in the field. These are the four most notable advances, but the DC 50 comes with many more features you’ll appreciate as well.
This product is now discontinued. The Astro 430 Combo w/ T5, is Garmin’s new generation of GPS dog tracking collars. Still want the Astro 320 handheld or DC 50 collar? Check out our Used Equipment page.