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Optimizing your Garmin Battery Life

 

Hi All,

I am wondering how much battery life Garmin users here have gotten from their Garmin units without it being plugged into a power source.

I get about 1.5-2 hours at best before a zero battery.

I understand battery times will depend on unit and whether antennas or other third party add-on's are involved.

For my Garmin Nuvi 200, it says it can hold up to 5 hours of charge, but when I called in, the response was 5 hours of extremely minimal settings of just being on and not being utilized as a GPS.

What are some best practices to keep in mind? Always on charge? Only charge once fully zapped?

Currently, I go the full charge to no charge then recharge route and don't keep the GPS unit in the car or dashboard compartment.

Happy Monday!

Fine prints...

5 hours is a lot. My 760 lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours as well. There are probably some fineprints close to Garmin's 5-hour claim.

I would guess:

- turn volume off
- turn all alerts off
- turn bluetooth off
- decrease brightness to 20%
...

I am just kidding, but there is no magic to reduce the power consumption.

To maintain battery life, I would let it discharge as much as you can before recharging. Not necessarily to 0%, but it is a good idea to do it from time to time.

Battery life

First, none of the Nuvi's are intended to be portable GPSs. The battery seems to be intended to keep the unit alive while you gas up or grab a quick bite to eat. My 750's manual says that it will run on battery "up to 4 hours". I've never gotten 4 hours out of it, it's always more like 2 to 2.5 hours.

There are a few things you can do to stretch out the battery life. Turn down the screen brightness to 50% or less. Don't use any of the extras, mp3 player or picture viewer. Don't do any programing of routes, etc while on battery power.

The GPS uses a Li-Ion battery that isn't sensitive to partial discharge/charge cycles like a Ni-Cd. Charge it anytime you feel like it but try not to run it down below about 50% before you recharge. I've read some reports that complete discharges are bad for the battery's life. Then again, I've read some reports that it won't make any difference. Use your own judgment but I try not to completely run mine down.

.

Li-Ion's have a self protection circuit built in to stop complete discharges. No worries on that concern. But, they do have 'limited' charge cycles.

--
nüvi 3790T | nüvi 775T | Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable ~ JFK

You're on track

The old ni-cad batteries were reported to have a memory; if you only discharged to 50% before recharging, after a time, you could only get 50% out of the battery. The newer batteries (I think Lithium-Polymer are used in the nüvi) don't have this problem, but conventional wisdom says they have a finite number of charge cycles. If used as a handheld, in theory waiting until it is nearly discharged before recharging may maximize the life of the battery. The nüvi was designed to be plugged into a lighter socket when in use, so the chips sorta fall where they may.

As for 5 hours of run time from a charge... That sounds pretty optimistic if the receiver is turned on and the screen is visible. My 750 also works for about 2 hours in handheld mode. The 750 and some other models with the slide switch on the top will go into a screen-off mode after 30 seconds if the switch is moved to the right. The receiver continues to track your location, and if you slide the switch back to the middle, the screen comes on and the touch functions resume. Used this way, I have been able to get nearly 5 hours out of it.

--
"There's no substitute for local knowledge"

Some more tips

- turn the FM transmitter off
- put in simulation mode rather than satellite mode smile
- finally, keep the unit off. LOL!

finite number of re-charges

like any battery. I leave the battery out of my Nuvi most of the time, since I have it plugged in every day to/from work. Then, when I have a reason to have "instant on", I put the battery in (like going out of town).

That reduces the wear and tear of unimportant and unnecessary battery recharges.

--
___________________ Garmin 2455, 855, Oregon 550t

Battery Life

I get about 2.5 hours on the Nuvi 350 and about 2 hours on the 760.

--
JG - Nuvi 350 - Nuvi 2460

Use Time vs Off Time..

I've never checked how long my 1300WT will run on battery, but I do know at one time or another I've had my unit turned off and sitting on a shelf (completely charged).. and after a few months the battery showed it discharged down to approximately 50% or so.

Nuvi1300WTGPS

--
I'm not really lost.... just temporarily misplaced!

Not my 260

Nuvi1300WTGPS wrote:

I've never checked how long my 1300WT will run on battery, but I do know at one time or another I've had my unit turned off and sitting on a shelf (completely charged).. and after a few months the battery showed it discharged down to approximately 50% or so.

Nuvi1300WTGPS

My Nuvi 260 seems to maintain its charge if left in a drawer for 2 months or so.

--
260, 295W, 1490T,2455LMT

Leaving battery out?

Hey Rigel,

I was not aware that one could take the battery out of the GPS unit?

I see what you're getting at, I do that occasionally with my laptop computer when I can just run off of the AC power supply only.

Isn't the battery built into the system in this case?

I can get

about 2.5 hours from the battery, but I usually just keep the power cord plugged in when I'm using it.

--
Not doing anything worth a darn.

It depends on the unit,

When I had a Garmin 255 before, I never plugged it in while in the car. I charged it at home all the time. The 255 lasted for hours (probably 2.5 to 3.5 hours).

My 855 will only run for about 1 to 1.5 hours before the battery starts to run out. Also my 855 seems to be slower if it is not plugged in, so I pretty always leave it plug into power all the time in the car.

Nuvi 760 get 3-4 hours

I routinely use my 760 on aircraft and get about 4 hours without power. I maximize it by:

1. Turning off Volume
2. Turning Screen brightness to Zero
3. Running in off-road mode, if I route at all. (Attempting to minimizing processing required for tracking roads, etc.)
4. Lock Screen when not in use. (Ensures it doesn't go to a brighter screen)

Also ensure it is fully charged. If you battery is more than a couple years old, you will see that the battery doesn't last as long.

Battery Life

I get about 2.5 hours on my nuvi 270 and about 2.25 hours on my c340.

--
Alan-Garmin c340

4 hours - no problem

From day one I have preferred to run my Nuvi 255W on battery as opposed to plugging in the cigarette adapter. I regularly get 3-4 hours out of a charge. When I get to the office I plug it in and leave it on charge until my next trip. I may just be lucky but my experience has been excellent with this model nuvi.

I get about 2.5 hours as

I get about 2.5 hours as well. Just keep it off when you don't need it, turn the screen brightness down when you are using it and you're good to go.

Why would one want to run

Why would one want to run their Nuvi on battery power alone? If I'm on a short trip, i.e., 1-2hrs, I usually don't even use my GPS but for longer drives where I need my GPS I use the car adaptor.

--
OK.....so where the heck am I?

Yea, 2.5-3 hours

2.5-3 hours seems about right. Screen brightness can make a real difference when there is an option (driving at night and lowering the brightness can help to stretch the battery).

855

the 855 has a removeable battery. The off switch just puts it into hot standby and runs the battery down. To "reboot" it you either hold the on/off switch open for about 5 seconds or pop the battery out. It has a simple slide cover and usually it is faster and easier to just remove the battery and put it back in.

--
___________________ Garmin 2455, 855, Oregon 550t

.

I found that if i turn the brightness down to a dim level and the same with the volume i can get a good 2.5-3 hrs sometimes.

--
Garmin nuvi 350 Lifetime Map Updates NT 2014.40 -- Garmin c320 NT 2010.10

Long Enough

Ignore anyone that applies the way to treat Ni-Cd batteries to the Li-ion batteries.

Use it on a charger all the time. That way you don't wear out the limited cycles for no gain. Ditto with my laptop, iPod, etc.

--
Zumo 550 & Zumo 665 My alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.

Maybe

Around 1.5 to 2 hours max on GPS use.

battery

I get close to 3 hours on my new Nuvi 205. This is about double what I used to get on my TomTom unit of a similar size

Battery Life

On my 885 I get about 2 hours max.

battery life

Here is what I know about cell phone batteries which are very similar to GPS batteries. I use this on my cell and never had a battery issue for at least 2-3 years, by then I get a new phone anyway.
Charge the battery anytime but if you turn the unit off vs. on while charging the cyle to charge is shorter because no power is used. Also keep the unit off after charging for about 15-20 min. This gives the battery a chance to cool down after the charge. About once a month I completely drain the units battery and let it shut off by itself due to a low battery. I know sometime all these things are not possible due to the needs of using your unit but I never ha an issue with batteries in my cell and so far my nuvi 265wt is holding up to about 3 hours of run time on a fully charged battery.

--
I support Gun Control, because I want to be in control of my Guns!

hmm

Well, now that my curiosity is piqued I'll have to try it. Mine is normally plugged in when I am out driving-I had to buy a 3 way splitter at Fry's so I can plug my GPS, radar detector and cell phone in my one lighter socket in my car. (VW, what were you thinking? One crummy socket?)

Not 4 hours

I haven't gotten 4 hours from a 750. I bought a replacement battery and did the install for about $20. Well worth it, because my old battery wouldn't get 30 mintues. I have my GPS plugged in while driving, and on battery power while hiking. I probably get about 2 hours while hiking. I don't worry too much about the battery. $20 and fifteen minutues of work is a cheap fix. While hiking, I often put it in screen lock model to power down the screen.

--
- Missouri, Garmin 750 &, 255W

Nuvi as Portable GPS

Your statement "First, none of the Nuvi's are intended to be portable GPSs." is incorrect.

I have a Nuvi 760 which has a bicycle mode and also has a pedistrian mode. It also has the "Where Am I Mode" used when you park your car at a large mall or an unfamiliar area.

You press the Where am I button and the device keeps track of where you are parked (Hit the button when parked)...When you want to go back to your car it guides you in pedistrian mode.

If that doesnt suggest for portable use than I don't know what would. razz

Portable use?

Adrianjohnm wrote:

Your statement "First, none of the Nuvi's are intended to be portable GPSs." is incorrect.

I have a Nuvi 760 which has a bicycle mode and also has a pedistrian mode. It also has the "Where Am I Mode" used when you park your car at a large mall or an unfamiliar area.

You press the Where am I button and the device keeps track of where you are parked (Hit the button when parked)...When you want to go back to your car it guides you in pedistrian mode.

If that doesnt suggest for portable use than I don't know what would. razz

A battery life of greater than 8 hours. If your cell phone only ran on it's battery for about 2 hours, would you call it portable? Just because it will work in pedestrian mode doesn't mean that mode is it's intended function.

Inexpensive improvement in battery life--

I greatly extended the battery life in my 2 1/2 year old 680 -- I replaced the battery! It only took a few minutes, and the new battery is rated 15% or 20% more capacity besides.

Noticeable improvement!

--
2008 Mini Cooper S, Nuvi 2460, 680, DATUM Tymserve 2100, Trimble Thunderbolt, Ham radio, Macintosh, Linux, Windows

To get traffic, mine is

To get traffic, mine is plugged in constantly. Coulple hours I guess.

--
nuvi 250 --> 1250T --> 265T Lost my 1250T

Li-ion

Ignore anyone who tells you Li-Ion don't work like Ni-Cads. They are better. But they have memory effect. For example brand nes Li-Ion batteries in a Blackberry give you 3 hours talk time and slowly work their way down to 1 hour. New batteries fix the problem. Li-Ion like any other rechargeable works better when periodically fully discharged which keeps its ranged strectched. My company builds many of the laptops you use - I know of what I speak. People have ZERO idea what they're talking about.

.

nine11c2 wrote:

Ignore anyone who tells you Li-Ion don't work like Ni-Cads. They are better. But they have memory effect. For example brand nes Li-Ion batteries in a Blackberry give you 3 hours talk time and slowly work their way down to 1 hour. New batteries fix the problem. Li-Ion like any other rechargeable works better when periodically fully discharged which keeps its ranged strectched. My company builds many of the laptops you use - I know of what I speak. People have ZERO idea what they're talking about.

Memory effect and battery aging are two separate things.

Just because the company you work for builds laptops DOESN'T mean you know of what you speak. I'll believe what I read on this website:

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn

YMMV

Nice website. I like this comment.

Quote:

As a doctor cannot predict how long a person will live based on diet and activity alone, so also does the life of a battery vary, and it can always be cut short by an unexpected failure. Batteries and humans share the same volatility.

--
1490LMT 1450LMT 295w

Life spans

nine11c2 wrote:

Ignore anyone who tells you Li-Ion don't work like Ni-Cads. They are better. But they have memory effect.

Someone is giving you incorrect information. Li-Ion cells do NOT have a memory like Ni-CD cells. From much research into the various types of rechargeable cells, Ni-CD cells are the only ones that will loose capacity because they are consistently given only a partial charge.

nine11c2 wrote:

For example brand nes Li-Ion batteries in a Blackberry give you 3 hours talk time and slowly work their way down to 1 hour. New batteries fix the problem.

That is because the cell has reached the end of it's life span, not because of the way it is recharged.

nine11c2 wrote:

Li-Ion like any other rechargeable works better when periodically fully discharged which keeps its ranged strectched. My company builds many of the laptops you use - I know of what I speak. People have ZERO idea what they're talking about.

All rechargeable cells have a definite life span and will show reduced capacity toward the end of that span. Certain things will reduce a cells life span and avoiding mistreatment of the cell will help you to obtain the maximum life. As you point out, Ni-CD cells have a memory effect. If you consistently give the cell only a partial charge then it will reach the point where it will only accept a partial charge and you will not be able to reach it's rated capacity.

Li-Ion cells, on the other hand, actually prefer not to be fully discharged. They will get the best life span when you only discharge them to about 50% and then recharge. Li-Ion cells will loose capacity if charged, discharged or stored outside of a temperature range of about 32 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But no matter how well you treat them, Li-Ion cells will only last about 5 years. They start to die the moment they are made. If you take a brand new cell, put it on a shelf for 5 years and then try to use it, you will find that it is just about dead. Not so with Ni-CD, you might have to cycle it a few time to bring it back to full capacity but it will still work.

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