Buddy’s Mini Astro 430 with T 5 Combo Review
This gadget might be one of the most perplexing things in the Astro product line that we’ve seen Garmin released to far. Essentially, the Astro 430 is incompatible
with any prior portable Astro device, but it is entirely compatible with all Alpha products. So it’s understandable to wonder why it’s named an Astro rather than an “Alpha track exclusively.”
It took me a long time to figure out why this product was given the name Astro 430. To fully comprehend this, I believe it is necessary to distinguish between a long-term and a short-term choice. If we fast forward two years, this will most likely make sense and be simpler to understand. All (Active) collars that Garmin sells in the future will be compatible with all Garmin handhelds from here on out.
Astro users will have the ability to stalk and track Alpha users. When it came to designing the Astro, there were a few things that Garmin did early on that were plainly mistakes. Designing the initial Astro units with the 10 Dog Limitation was one of the most essential. We would have seen Garmin redesign the Astro 220 to communicate more like the Alpha if they could go back in time. Having their Astro and Alpha products communicate in the same way would help them concentrate their efforts and strengthen the platform.
They’ll also be able to put their efforts into other projects, such as the DriveTrack 70 and the Fenix watch. I understand that this move will be inconvenient for users of the Early 10 Dog systems (Astro 220 and 320), but unpleasant choices must occasionally be taken for long-term goals. The DC30, DC40, and 220 have all been phased out and are no longer maintained.
Over the next year or two, we expect the 320 to be phased out as well. We service such goods at Double U and will continue to do so with the resources we have. Users should consider switching to the Alpha 100 or Astro 430 when it is convenient for them.
It may not make perfect sense in the near term, but in the long run, having products that utilize the current 20 Dog communication platform will put you in a good position and save you some difficulties. We don’t see any reason for Garmin to abandon the 20 Dog Platform anytime soon.
Key features of the Garmin Astro 430
Track More Dogs:
With the Astro 430 handheld you’re able to track a total of 20 dog collars.
In addition to connecting to the T 5 Mini, your Astro 430 tracking system is compatible with the T 5 standard, TT 15 Mini, TT 15 Standard, DC 50, and TT 10.
With the Astro 430, you can also track the same collars as Alpha users simultaneously. This is great for people who don’t want or need the training features of the Alpha track-and-train but still hunt and share dogs.
The Astro 430 is also compatible with Garmin’s DriveTrack 70 vehicle tracking screen, the fēnix 3 GPS tracking watch, the Garmin VIRB Action camera and ANT+ sensors such as the Tempe dog box temperature gauge.
Change Collar Settings on the Fly:
The Astro 430 makes it easy to change your collar settings even when you’re in the field. This means you can change update rates and enable Rescue Mode when your dog is at any distance.
When you connect your T 5 Mini to other Astro 430 or Alpha 100 handhelds, you’ll be able to enable permissions codes that control whether your buddy’s can change settings on the collar.
Pre-installed Topo Maps:
The Garmin Astro 430 tracking system comes preloaded with 100,000 topo maps that cover the entire U.S. They provide topographic detail, roads, creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes, etc.
Faster Update Rate:
The Astro 430 with the T 5 Mini tracking collar is capable of receiving update rates as frequently as every 2.5 seconds, allowing you to keep a closer eye on your dogs.
With the Astro 430, you’ll have the ability to collect performance data on your dogs. This includes distance traveled as well as time in the field.
Customize Your New Hunt:
New on the Garmin Astro 430 is the ability to customize your new hunt. Choose which dogs you would like to reset tracking data on and which dog tracks you would like to keep on screen.
The Garmin Astro 430’s USB port makes it easy to plug it right into your laptop. Using Basecamp, you can track your dogs on your laptop screen instead of the handheld screen. This can be especially convenient when hunting out of your truck, as it allows the use of a larger screen.
Record the specific location of coveys. You can also record the birds in a covey and the number of birds taken from the covey using waypoints.
Features of the T 5 Mini
The T 5 Mini is just right for hunters with smaller dogs or puppies. The T 5 Mini tracking collar is suited for any dog under 50 pounds and comes with a ¾-inch collar strap that fits neck sizes between 9.5 and 14 inches. The device weighs just 7 ounces.
As what has come to be expected in all new GPS tracking collars, the Garmin T 5 Mini has both GPS and GLONASS capability through its highly sensitive external satellite antenna. This antenna connects to roughly twice as many satellites in the sky. The GPS tracking collar also comes with an 18.5-inch braided steel antenna.
When enabled by your Astro 430, Rescue Mode can add hours to your device’s battery life by automatically slowing down the update rate. Once the collar battery drops below 25 percent of a full charge, it immediately slows the update rate to 2-minute intervals. This conserves battery life and can give you valuable time to retrieve your dog.
Quick Collar Strap Changes:
The Garmin T 5 Mini uses the same collar strap design as the Garmin Alpha TT 10, TT 15, Astro DC 50, and T 5 collars. The only difference is that the Mini has a slimmer ¾-inch strap rather than a full-size 1-inch strap. It’s quick and easy to switch out collar straps and no tools are needed. Just slide your collar through the integral channels on the Garmin T 5 Mini.
Adjustable Dog Status:
Using the updated Astro 430, you can change the status for each of your dogs wearing a T 5 Mini to reflect what they’re doing. Your options are pointing, treeing, auto, and none. This lets your Astro know that when your dog is sitting idle, he or she could be on point or have game treed.
Protective Antenna Keeper:
The T 5 Mini’s antenna keeper holds your antenna up and erect even in the thickest country. No more need for zip ties and electrical tape!
The Garmin Astro 430/T 5 Mini combo is a great option for any small-dog hunter. Purchase your Garmin Astro 430 bundle today.
Garmin ASTRO 430 + T5 MINI Combo
Garmin has updated the tracking only Garmin Astro with their latest and greatest software.
When Garmin first introduced dog tracking via GPS they used a 5 second update rate (how often the collar reports its location) and a maximum 10 dogs tracking per handheld.While this was fine for most of us, many folks were looking for more dogs per unit and everybody wanted faster updates (even though some of us didn’t know it at the time).
When Garmin introduced their combination ecollar GPS tracking system, the Alpha, they moved to a 20 dog option with a 2.5 second update rate.The only issue with making this change was that the folks running Astro systems could not track the collars of the folks running Alpha systems. While this wasn’t the end of the world, it was a bit of a hassle for those of us that like to hunt with others and be able to keep up with their dogs along with our own. Folks had to buy new systems with a combo tracking / ecollar, even if they did not want or need the remote trainer.
All of this is now fixed with the Garmin Astro 430.
The new 430 works off the same 2.5 second update rate and 20 dog option that Garmin uses with the Alpha. This means you can now run a Garmin Astro and track collars running on an Alpha unit at the same time.The Garmin Astro 430 will track DC50 and T5 (regular and mini) collars. It will also track TT 10 and TT 15 (regular and mini) collars (tracking only — no stimulation).
There are a couple of downsides, but that is to be expected with any major changes to technology.
- The Astro 430 is NOT compatible with Astro 220 or Astro 320 handhelds
- The Astro 430 will NOT be able to track DC20, DC30 or DC40 collars
A few other new and cool features include:
- Preloaded 100K TOPO map
- 1 year free subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery
- DriveTrack 71 — track collars in your vehicle on a bigger screen
- Fenix Watch 5 and 3 series — get notifications and direction info via Bluetooth on your watch
- Rechargeable handheld battery option — add a rechargeable AA battery pack to your Astro handheld and charge it via your USB port
The Astro T5 MINI was built for the super small hunting dogs that have a hard time wearing the larger standard T5 collar.
It’s perfect for beagles, squirrel dogs, smaller flushing and pointing breeds and terriers.
The MINI T5 collar weighs 7 oz and is designed to fit dogs with a neck size as small as 9.5 inches.
For those of you familiar with the Garmin Pro Trashbreaker collars, the T5 MINI is the exact same size and design as the Pro TB collar. Just like the T5, the MINI has a GPS top mounted antenna, but it’s length is shorter, allowing a proper fit for smaller dogs.
Please note that there is no difference in the handheld or the software for the Astro MINI.
The MINI T5 is fully compatible with the Garmin Astro 430 system and can be run in conjunction with regular T5 and DC50 collars. Also just like the regular T5 collar, the MINI T5 can run as a tracking only collar on Garmin Alpha systems.
While the MINI T5 was built with smaller dogs in mind, it can be comfortably worn by larger dogs.
The only issue with larger dogs wearing the MINI T5 is that the placement of the GPS antenna is not going to be ideal. It will end up on the side of the neck on dogs with a neck size of 16 inches and over.
Perfect for Puppies
I also recommend folks that have young dogs check out the MINI collars. I always have a young dog or two around, and the regular Astro collars are a bit much for them. The MINI collar is perfect for that young pup.
I really like the look and feel of these new collars… BUT this may NOT be the right collar for you.
The real focus for this collar is for small dogs. To get the smaller size, Garmin had to sacrifice two of the most important things in a tracking collar — Battery Life and Range.
- The MINI collar has a 16 hour runtime on a 5 second update rate compared to 24 hours with the regular T5 collar. While 16 hours is going cover most hunting trips, it never hurts to have more battery life. There are few things more worthless than a tracking collar with a dead battery.
- The MINI collar has a line of sight range of 4 miles compared to 9 miles on the regular T5 collar. However, until we get a feel for how the MINI collars are going to perform in the real world compared to the regular collars, it’s going to be hard to recommend that you go this route unless you really have a small dog.
- There is also no savings when you purchase the MINI version. The MINI T5 costs the exact same amount as the regular T5. Both systems are $649.99 and both extra collars are $249.99
In my opinion, any dog that has a neck over 14 inches would be better off sticking with the regular T5 collar.
A dog of this size can easily carry the weight of the regular T5 collar — 9.3 ounces. The additional battery life is enough in my opinion to stick with the regular collar.
So — I really like these new collars, BUT unless you have a small dog — neck sizes 9.5 inches to 14 inches — stick with the regular Garmin Astro T5 collar.
What’s New in the Garmin ASTRO 430 + T5 MINI Combo
- Expanded Dog Capability — Track up to 20 dogs from a single Astro 430 handheld
- Dog Notifications — Receive notifications when a dog is “Treed” or “On Point”
- GPS / GLONASS — High sensitivity GPS / GLONASS receiver for increased signal reception
- Faster Update Rate — 2.5-second update rate for faster tracking when dogs are running
- Preloaded TOPO 100K — Includes preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K mapping
- BirdsEye — Includes 1-year free BirdsEye satellite imagery subscription
- Hunt Metrics — Hunt Metrics dog performance data shows distance traveled, time afield and more so you can train your dog more effectively
- High Visibility Case — Bright orange design makes the Astro 430 easier to see in the field
- DriveTrack 71 LMT-S Compatibility — Compatible GPS navigator lets you track your dogs in you vehicle on a bigger screen
- Fenix Watch 5 and 3 series Compatibility — Get notifications and direction info via Bluetooth on your watch
- Optional Rechargeable Handheld Battery — add a rechargeable NiMH AA battery pack to your Astro handheld and charge it via your USB port