Car battery damage from Mobile GPS Navigator use?

 

My boss said she read in the Wall Street Journal that there has been damage to car batteries from the drain caused by the mobile gps units.

I've been unable to find any information confirming this.

Has anyone heard of this happening?

I'd like to get one for my office team. We'd be using this (Garmin Streetpilot 530) in the company vehicles as well as our own personal ones.

thanks,
Shirley

It's Possible

See the story here: http://tinyurl.com/32me7k

One just needs to maintain their vehicle well, and be able to recognize the signs of a weakening vehicle battery, and replace it as needed.

--
*Keith* MacBook Pro *wifi iPad(2012) w/BadElf GPS & iPhone6 + Navigon*

Quick calculation

Shirley wrote:

I've been unable to find any information confirming this.

Say the unit's got a 3Ah battery (or thereabouts) and your car's got a 40Ah battery. After its drained it's own battery (in say 4 hours), there's 40/3 = 13.3 x 4 = 53 hours of running time in the car battery, before that too is flat.

So if you left it plugged in and ON and left it for two or three days, you probably would flatten the car battery.

If it were switched "off" (and they're not actually truly off), it would last an awful lot longer (haven't got any figures for that!)

--
------------------------ Phil Hornby, Stockport, England ----------------------               http://GeePeeEx.com - Garmin POI Creation made easy           »      

Car battery damage from Mobile GPS Navigator use?

Shirley wrote:

My boss said she read in the Wall Street Journal that there has been damage to car batteries from the drain caused by the mobile gps units.

I would suspect that this is a rumor started by OnStar to promote their "Direction and Connection" service for $35/month so we don't need to "hassle" with portable GPS devices.

When the car is running, the alternator generates the DC. When the car is off, the accessory plugs are usually also off. Any battery drain is recharged when the car is running, which is the purpose of a battery (to store energy). Unless you are not driving for a month or so, I wouldn't worry about it.

What will they say next, that we need to use compact fluorescents for headlights?

--
Garmin nuvi 265WT - Garmin c330 (RIP)- Garmin eMap - Valentine 1 - Beltronics Vector 995 - Kenwood TM-V7A - Icom 706 - Outbacker Perth Plus

It's Not A Rumor

Eric wrote:

I would suspect that this is a rumor...

It's not a rumor. The article is available at the link I posted above.

Eric wrote:

When the car is running, the alternator generates the DC. When the car is off, the accessory plugs are usually also off.

Not necessarily. One needs to know their vehicle - on mine, the accessory outlet is always on, and I only plug things in when I'm running the engine.

I know my vehicle, and know that at some point in time, the battery will need to be replaced, and I'll do it at the appropriate time.

--
*Keith* MacBook Pro *wifi iPad(2012) w/BadElf GPS & iPhone6 + Navigon*

Trick question?

Hornbyp wrote:

So if you left it ... for two or three days

It would probably have disappeared and made its way onto ebay. Damage to the side window, is more likely than damage to the battery sad

--
------------------------ Phil Hornby, Stockport, England ----------------------               http://GeePeeEx.com - Garmin POI Creation made easy           »      

Battery Drangage...

Here is another answer.. I had a WinStar, when I turned off my car, the car plug would stay ctive.. ow that I got a Toyota, The Car Plug does turn off when the car is off.

You do have to know your car...

Here is another thing to keep in mind.. The more things you use in your car (running or not) can and will drain your battery even if the gewnerator is trying to keep up.. A example is that I saw a family that had a radar detector, DVD, GPS, CB radio, A backup Camera, And a laptop plugged in and working while they were driving.

Guess what, The battery became weak and they needed to unplug everything so that it can be recharged. If you do this many times, you will need to replace the car battery at some point.

Hope this helps!

--
Bobkz - Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD/2455LMT/C530/C580- "Pain Is Fear Leaving The Body - Semper Fidelis"

Battery Drainage

Ok...there seems to be confusion about battery charging and discharging.

1. Heat is a battery's greatest enemy. The high heat under a car (or truck's) hood is very high. Especially these days with everything crammed under the hood.

2. Vibration (e.g. road shock, chassis vibration) is another enemy of a battery.

3. Complete discharge. One a battery is completely discharged, it will never again perform like it was new. The life will be shortened.

As long as your alternator is charging above 13.8 volts, you can use as many items as (note) your car's wiring can handle.

I drive a truck and average 110,000 miles a year. My truck is 2 years old and I've yet to replace the batteries. Yes, they are bigger than the one in your car, but they are made the same way.

Heat is not a factor because they are mounted in a battery box away from the engine and where they can get proper cooling.

What do I run in the truck? LOL Everything at once! Well almost everything. Gps, sattelite radio, scanner, CB radio, temp & volt gauge, trafficnav receiver, am/fm radio, digital alarm clock, microwave, printer, laptop, 15" lcd tv, vhs/dvd player, hdtv convertor, weather radio, charger for two cell phones, refrigerator (not a cooler but a dc powered refrigerator).

Yes, this is all running with the truck idling. When the truck is off, Most of the items are turned off, but not all like the refrigerator.

Same goes in my personal vehicle (No not all this stuff is in my Bronco!).

If you are having trouble keeping a battery in your car, you may want to look into getting an Optima battery. It's a gell battery which is designed for high heat, vibration, etc.

As usual, I seem to get my 2 cents in without being asked. But, if I've helped anyone, I'm happy.

--
America Moves By Truck --- Streetpilot 7200 & OOIDA --- www.accutracking.com userid= poifactory password= guest; "Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it."

newer batteries are not the same.

Newer batteries have higher cranking amps. To have the higer cranking amps the electrodes are much thinner and more prone to failure.

Also the load from the external devices such as gps, ipods are minimal vs. radio amplifiers, headlights, etc.

my 2 cents.

Sanger

Go on - I'll bite ;-)

Sanger wrote:

Newer batteries have higher cranking amps. To have the higer cranking amps the electrodes are much thinner and more prone to failure.

Wouldn't batteries that can supply 'higher cranking amps', have thicker electrodes, not thinner ones?

--
------------------------ Phil Hornby, Stockport, England ----------------------               http://GeePeeEx.com - Garmin POI Creation made easy           »      

Who cares! I just like my

Who cares! I just like my bunny ears...lol

--
Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

Shirley wrote: My boss said

Shirley wrote:

My boss said she read in the Wall Street Journal that there has been damage to car batteries from the drain caused by the mobile gps units.

Just cause it was in the Wall Street Journal does not make it so. These little guys won't do any more damage them leaving your headlights on or the dome light on in your car overnight on a 3 year old battery.

--
Mark Ball Ground, GA

Bunny Ears

asianfire wrote:

Who cares! I just like my bunny ears...lol

Is that what those are????

I thought you were in a space outfit and they were some sort of alien antenna or something!

--
I plan to live forever. So far, so good.

I don't know what they are

I don't know what they are to be honest, that is what my coworker who was bored and created the picture said they were.

--
Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

Seems a little rediculous.

Seems a little rediculous. Aftermarket stereos probably stress batteries a whole lot more.

answer..

sorry for the delay.. (someone correct me if I am wrong - most of the information was from my early jobs while working for GM)

typical car battery is a lead-acid battery. This type of battery does not store electricity but chemicals that generates electricity based on chemical reaction. Auto batteries actually have 6 cells (2.1 volts each) that are connected in series.

anyways... assume you have the OEM battery that was rated for 500 CCA (cold cranking amps) but later you changed this to 750 CCA... the battery size does not change but they would add more chemicals for more chemical reaction and CCA. Now that we have more CCA we need thinner electrodes since we need to have more surface area for chemical reaction from the negative plate to the positive plates.

since we cannot have a larger battery for thicker plates with more surface area, the only way to have more surface area is have thinner plates. (also excessive charging will cause heat and warp and damage the electrode plates - early failure)

as for the other comments ... the standard car battery should not be drained of all its charges since the main use is only for starting the car. Accessories (AC, radio with amps, other large power drains) were meant to be turned on when the car is started with the alternator generating the electricity.

if a car is mainly used for recreational use and the battery is not charged on a regular basis, you can use a deep cycle battery (marine or golf cart type) since they typically have thicker plates for repeated charging and are bigger.

sorry for the rambling...

going back to the first comments..

if you leave your external gps plugged in overnight or few days without driving, this should not drain too much power...
if this caused a battery failure, the battery was already on its last lag.

Sanger

Wow~

I what incredible answers we're getting on this string. We should relabel this to wiki-POI-dia...

--
~Caroline =D Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities. - Aldous Huxley

What a wealth of knowledge

gigglychick wrote:

I what incredible answers we're getting on this string. We should relabel this to wiki-POI-dia...

Can you say "WOW, that was 2/3's of a pun, P-U"

--
"Ceterum autem censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam" “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

It's possible

It's good to disconnect the charger from the cig lighther

car battery

Shirley wrote:

My boss said she read in the Wall Street Journal that there has been damage to car batteries from the drain caused by the mobile gps units.

I've been unable to find any information confirming this.

Has anyone heard of this happening?

I'd like to get one for my office team. We'd be using this (Garmin Streetpilot 530) in the company vehicles as well as our own personal ones.

thanks,
Shirley

No way a GPS may domage a car battery unless it stay's on when the car is in the parking over night and/or 24 hrs a day. If you stop your engin the GPS must cut off.

Fuuny answers, if you dont now what your talking about dont say notting....
Claude

--
Claude using Garmin c330,Nuvi 250W and a Etrex venture Cx. Member #2602

For my Palm GPS docking

For my Palm GPS docking station (it has the GPS built in), I had it on upto 2 weeks, plugged into the lighter, in my VW Passat (does not turn off with ignition) and I am still able to start the car and the battery is fine. Since it is active, when I dock the palm, I get instant GPS information to the Palm / TomTom.

Sanger

At the risk of beating a dead horse...

EagleOne summed it up about as accurately as it can be from a real-world standpoint. The battery in your vehicle, as long as it is in good condition, can supply a great deal of power for a reasonable time even when the vehicle is stopped. On the other hand, your car battery wasn't meant to supply a large current for a long time. Several comments about CCA's might mislead people. A higher CCA rating is an indication of a battery's ability to supply an enormous amount of current for a very short period of time to start the engine. Once the engine is started, the alternator takes care of supplying most of your vehicle's electrical needs. The average car battery will be ruined by 30 to 50 deep discharges. It's always a good idea to run the engine for several minutes to top off the charge when you have been running a high current device (headlights, electric cooler, high-power radio gear, 12V power invertor, etc.) for a period of time with the engine off but I wouldn't consider a GPS to a very high current device. Only batteries in the worst condition would be affected by something like this and, if this is the case, the battery is already near the end of it's useful life. The bottom line... forget the article and enjoy the GPS.

AH, Not CCA

sleepygreg wrote:

.... forget the article and enjoy the GPS.

We should be talking about amp-hours (AH), not Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). To summarize, AH is basically the amount of current the battery will deliver over a specific period of time (1 amp for 200 hours will be 200 AH). This is the time it takes for the battery to reach its discharge state of 10.5 volts, not zero volts as some people think.

The nuvi 350 power usage specification is "15 watts MAXIMUM at 13.8 volts". This is approximately 1 amp MAXIMUM. If you have a 200 AH battery, that would be more than 8 days before the battery needs a charge. Really a problem??

And why are they picking on GPSs? Leaving anything on with the engine off will eventually drain the battery to 0 volts.

So, as sleepygreg said, "forget the article and enjoy the GPS"; and your car!

RT

--
"Internet: As Yogi Berra would say, "Don't believe 90% of what you read, and verify the other half."

AH

This is a very good point and deals with the topic much more realistically than CCA. The only thing to add is that each battery has a discharge curve specified by the manufacturer. This curve will tell you what the expected charge life is based on the current load on the battery. Current drain above the level stated by the manufacturer will reduce the real-world AH capacity of the battery. As stated in the previous post, depletion for a car battery is considered to be around 10.5 volts. Discharging further risks damage to the battery even if just a little at a time. Unless you run a lot of things in your vehicle with the engine off for quite some time you really won't impact a good battery. I don't know that I would just leave the GPS on 24/7 for no reason but most GPS units don't demand that much from a car battery. For that matter, even though modern vehicle systems 'sleep' they are never really off so eventually your battery would die anyway.

.... and

sleepygreg wrote:

For that matter, even though modern vehicle systems 'sleep' they are never really off so eventually your battery would die anyway.

.... and even with nothing connected to the battery, it will eventually discharge itself.

There's a similar thread concerning Auto Batteries at http://www.poi-factory.com/node/3217

--
"Internet: As Yogi Berra would say, "Don't believe 90% of what you read, and verify the other half."

there are two options to maintain battery charge

If you are worried about the battery being drained, you can either buy a trickle charger (about 30 bucks at Walmart) or a solar charger (from e-bay).

You will see lots of VW solar chargers on ebay. Volkswagon cars are shipped from Germany with a solar charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter or the OBD plug to keep the battery charged. On some European cars, if the battery is drained, it will throw a check engine code and require a trip to the dealership.

Cheers.

Wall Street Journal Article

I think some of you are missing the point of the article. I read it some time back and as I remember they were saying that all the electronics we plug in to new cars on top of the power the car uses with all its processors is putting a strain on todays batteries. The car battery today is essentially the same as it has been for the last 20 years but the load from all these accessories is far greater. As others have pointed out the power used by a GPS alone is insignificant compared to the total amp-hour capacity of a typical battery.

I noticed the same thing

Mike107 wrote:

I think some of you are missing the point of the article. I read it some time back and as I remember they were saying that all the electronics we plug in to new cars on top of the power the car uses with all its processors is putting a strain on todays batteries. The car battery today is essentially the same as it has been for the last 20 years but the load from all these accessories is far greater. As others have pointed out the power used by a GPS alone is insignificant compared to the total amp-hour capacity of a typical battery.

I thought the whole point of the WSJ article was reporting that someone who does car maintenance was noticing a trend...that people who were heavy gadget users were getting less life expectancy out of their vehicle's battery than non-gadget users, and that's not a bad thing to know.

--
*Keith* MacBook Pro *wifi iPad(2012) w/BadElf GPS & iPhone6 + Navigon*

But the posted question was .........

kch50428 wrote:

I thought the whole point of the WSJ article was reporting that someone who does car maintenance was noticing a trend...that people who were heavy gadget users were getting less life expectancy out of their vehicle's battery than non-gadget users, and that's not a bad thing to know.

But the original question this post was attempting to answer is is it true "that there has been damage to car batteries from the drain caused by the mobile gps units." The article referred to 'heavy hitters' like "DVD screens, subwoofer sound systems and mood lighting to built-in refrigerators and cup holders that heat coffee and cool soft drinks.", which aren't even closely related to the current draw of a portable GPS unit. When they group my GPS that draws 1 amp MAXIMUM as a "powerful navigation system" and "these power-sapping accessories", my trust in the whole article is in doubt.

When doing an interview for a local newspaper, we found they print only the information useful to get their point across; and this article appears to be no different. Just because it's printed doesn't make it fact.

So, to answer the question that was the basis of this thread, as most of the responses here concur, the answer is NOOOOO!

RT

--
"Internet: As Yogi Berra would say, "Don't believe 90% of what you read, and verify the other half."

Car battery life expectancy is reduced

by GPSrs alone: No.

By heavy use of lots of electronic accessories: Yes, that has indeed been demonstrated.

--
*Keith* MacBook Pro *wifi iPad(2012) w/BadElf GPS & iPhone6 + Navigon*

Unplug

Probably best to unplug all devices when not using the car.

--
RKF (Bethesda, MD) Garmin Nuvi 660, 360 & Street Pilot

my camry turns off its

my camry turns off its outlet plug. So I guess I would not have a dead battery.

Not all cig. cut off.

claude wrote:

No way a GPS may domage a car battery unless it stay's on when the car is in the parking over night and/or 24 hrs a day. If you stop your engin the GPS must cut off.

Not all cig. lighters cut off when the engine is cut off. I know that the company car (2003 Impala) doesn't cut off. But a GPSr should kill a good battery anyways.

--
Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

New urban legend to me

I think it is BS that GPS usage alone would kill a battery. It is more likely stop and go pattern (constantly restart in short trips) or park car for long time kills the battery (heat and vibration too). It may contribute some degree but blame GPS alone.....

Jeff

My Question

Horn, above you made mention that the unit is not truly off. I have noticed that on my Garmin C 530 when plugged in to the power point, it does not boot up and goes directly to the password screen. Why is this. Also I have a take home vehicle from my work, therefore my personal car sits for sometimes a week or so without starting it. My GPS is plugged in many of the times it sits. Never really thought about it but if it does stay on, I suppose it could drain my car battery over this long period. But as far as "damage" to the battery I have not really heard that. What is your take?

Not All Cig. Cut off

Asianfire is right thats why I take my plug out of the cig lighter at least in my car if I leave the plug on the light from the charger stays on and if my GPS is on the dock the GPS will remain on unless you turn it off MANUALLY!!!!

Car Battery Damage

You just need to know your car. When you turn off your car does it still charge the GPS or not? Also does your car stereo stay on after you turn off your car some cars will keep everything on until you open your door.

--
Just Chillin'

Question to Ponder

Does the refrigerator light stay on when the door is closed? smile

--
America Moves By Truck --- Streetpilot 7200 & OOIDA --- www.accutracking.com userid= poifactory password= guest; "Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it."

hi

when your car is on it wont drain your battery but when car is off it will reduce the life of your battery

:O)

surprised)

--
Just Chillin'