Garmin Echomap Won’t Read SD Card – There’s no denying the convenience and utility that the Garmin Echomap provides to outdoor enthusiasts, whether you’re a seasoned angler, a boating enthusiast, or just love exploring the great outdoors. Yet, nothing can throw a spanner in the works quite like your Garmin Echomap refusing to read your SD Card. This is exactly what we are solving in this blog. Before diving headfirst into the issue at hand, it’s essential to understand what exactly the Garmin Echomap is.

Garmin Echomap: A Brief Overview

The Garmin ECHOMAP series is a range of advanced chartplotters and fishfinders designed for marine navigation and fishing enthusiasts. Offering a user-friendly interface and high-resolution touchscreen displays, the ECHOMAP devices integrate GPS technology with detailed mapping capabilities, providing accurate navigation, depth information, and underwater contours. These devices also incorporate CHIRP sonar technology for improved target separation and clarity when locating fish, making them a valuable tool for both recreational boaters and anglers seeking to enhance their on-water experience.

SD Card Functionality in Garmin Echomap

An integral part of the Garmin Echomap’s functionality lies in its ability to read data from SD Cards. SD Cards in Echomap devices are typically used to store map data, additional routes, waypoints, and even software updates. This storage solution provides users the flexibility to customize their Garmin experience, ensuring they have the necessary data right at their fingertips.

Space to Insert an SD may be on BACK:

Inserting a microSD™ Card on a Garmin® Automotive Device

Space to Insert an SD may be on BOTTOM:

Garmin Echomap Won’t Read SD Card

Garmin Echomap Won’t Read SD Card: Exploring the Issue

So what happens when your Garmin Echomap won’t read your SD Card? What are the implications, and why does this problem occur?

Let’s dissect Garmin Echomap Won’t Read SD Card issue.

Implications of the Issue

When your Garmin Echomap can’t read the SD Card, you may find yourself without access to essential navigational data, waypoints, or updates you’ve stored. It can hamper your fishing or boating expedition and can be a real annoyance when you’re trying to navigate unfamiliar waters.

Common Causes

Several factors can cause your Garmin Echomap not to read your SD Card. It could be an issue with the SD Card itself, such as formatting problems or corrupted data. Alternatively, the Echomap device might be the culprit, with problems ranging from outdated software to hardware faults. Basically we have two main causes.

SD Card Issues:

  • Formatting problems or incompatible format.
  • Corrupted or damaged data on the SD Card.

ECHOMAP Device Issues:

  • Outdated software on the ECHOMAP device.
  • Hardware faults within the ECHOMAP unit.

Let’s dive deeper into these causes and their solutions in the following sections.

Tip: We recommend using a class 10 SD Card or better and no SD card larger than 32 gigabytes (GB)

Problem 1: SD Card Issues

It’s not uncommon for SD Cards to be the root of the problem when your Garmin Echomap won’t read SD Card. Let’s go over some of these potential pitfalls and their solutions.

Incorrect SD Card Format

Just like your computer requires hard drives to be in a certain format to read them, your Garmin Echomap expects SD Cards to adhere to a specific formatting standard.  

Garmin Marine chartplotters can work with SDHC cards up to 32GB in size. If the card is bigger than 32GB, the chartplotter won’t recognize it when inserted. Older chartplotters with outdated software can only read up to 2GB SD cards initially, but updating the software using a 2GB SD card will enable them to read larger cards, up to 32GB.

Most often, Garmin devices prefer the FAT32 format. If your SD Card is formatted differently, your Echomap might fail to recognize it.

Solution: Reformatting Your SD Card

Luckily, reformatting your SD Card to the FAT32 format is a piece of cake. However, remember that reformatting will erase all data on the card, so ensure you have your data backed up before proceeding. Here’s how you do it:

  • Step 1: Insert your SD Card into a computer
  • Step 2: Open ‘My Computer’ or ‘This PC’
  • Step 3: Right-click on the SD Card and choose ‘Format’
  • Step 4: Select ‘FAT32’ from the ‘File System’ drop-down
  • Step 5: Click ‘Start’ and wait for the process to complete.

Corrupted Data on SD Card

Another common issue is corrupted data on your SD Card. Corrupted data can prevent your Garmin Echomap from reading the card and can sometimes even cause your device to freeze.

Solution: Deleting Corrupted Data

To solve this issue, you’ll need to delete the corrupted files.

  • Step 1: Connect the SD Card to your computer
  • Step 2: Review for any files that appear unusual or out of place
  • Step 3: If uncertain, it’s advisable to backup important files
  • Step 4: Format the card and reload the data.

Problem 2: Garmin Echomap Device Issues

Now let’s talk about problems that may originate from the Garmin Echomap device itself.

Outdated Software

Garmin frequently releases software updates to add new features or fix existing bugs. If your Echomap won’t read your SD Card, it’s possible that you’re dealing with a software bug that Garmin has already resolved in a later version.

Solution: Updating Your Garmin Echomap

  •  Step 1: Connect your Garmin ECHOMAP to a Wi-Fi network or use the Garmin Express application on your computer
  • Step 2: Check if there are any available updates for your device. If prompted, accept the update and let the installation process begin
  • Step 3: After the update is installed, the device will reboot. Allow it to complete the rebooting process
  • Step 4: Once the device is back up and running, try accessing your SD Card again to see if the issue is resolved.

Hardware Faults

If all else fails, it’s possible that you might be dealing with a hardware issue with your Garmin Echomap.

Solution: Contact Garmin Support

If you suspect a hardware fault, it’s best to get in touch with Garmin Support. They can guide you through additional troubleshooting steps or arrange for a repair if necessary.

Video On – How to Update Your Garmin Software with an SD Card echoMAP, GPSMAP & Livescope

FAQs on Garmin Echomap

Why is my Garmin Echomap not reading my SD Card?

Several reasons could be causing your Garmin Echomap not to read your SD Card. It could be due to an incorrectly formatted card, corrupted data on the SD Card, outdated software on your Echomap device, or even a hardware fault with the device.

Can I format my SD Card to solve the issue?

Yes, formatting your SD Card can often solve the issue, especially if the problem is due to an incorrect format or corrupted data. Remember to back up your data before formatting the card, as this process will erase all files on the SD Card.

How can I update my Garmin Echomap device?

You can update your Garmin Echomap via a Wi-Fi connection or by using the Garmin Express application on your computer. Make sure to follow all instructions and allow the device to restart after the update.

What should I do if my device still doesn’t read the SD Card after following all the steps?

If your Garmin Echomap still doesn’t read your SD Card after trying all the troubleshooting steps, it’s best to contact Garmin Support. They can help diagnose the issue further and assist with repair or replacement if necessary.

Does Garmin provide support for SD Card issues?

Yes, Garmin provides support for all sorts of issues related to their devices, including problems with reading SD Cards. You can reach out to their customer service for assistance.

Can I use any SD Card with my Garmin Echomap?

While most SD Cards should work with your Garmin Echomap, it’s best to stick with cards from reputable manufacturers to ensure reliability. Also, remember that your device may not support SD Cards larger than 32GB.


Having your Garmin Echomap not read your SD Card can be a frustrating experience. However, with the insights and solutions we’ve provided in this article, you should be well-equipped to tackle this issue head-on. Remember, sometimes the solution could be as simple as reformatting your SD Card or updating your Echomap’s software. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to Garmin’s support team—they’re there to help!

Anthoni Ja
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