Polarized Sunglasses and Garmin

 

Color LCD screens use polarizing filters. They shine the background light through a polarizing filter, then through the 3 color sub-pixels (which upset the polarization), then they use another polarizing filter at a 90 degree angle to the first to block out light that didn't pass through one of the colored sub-pixels.

Good sunglasses are often polarized. Polarized lenses, if oriented properly, can block much of the glare from reflected surfaces (such as water surfaces) because shallow angle reflected light tends to be polarized. Because of this, the orientation of the polarized lenses in sunglasses is standardized.

I recently bought a pair of sunglasses that are polarized. I soon noticed that when driving with them my Garmin nuvi 250 is extremely dark. Sure enough, I was able to confirm that if I rotated the sunglasses or the nuvi that the extra darkness went away. What this is telling me is that the orientation of the top polarizing filter in the nuvi is 90 degrees from the orientation in common polarized sunglasses and that this causes most of the light to be blocked out.

This strikes me as a huge mistake. If Garmin had simply reversed the orientation of the two filters in the display, this problem would be avoided. And it is pretty reasonable to assume that many drivers who buy a Garmin GPS might also wear polarized sunglasses when driving. There are other solutions too. A 45 degree angle on both GPSr filters would result in little extra darkening but would allow the display to work properly in GPS devices that can be rotated for use in either horizontal or vertical orientation. But the way that my 250 is built makes it nearly useless when wearing polarized glasses.

Have others seen this? Have any newer Garmin units addressed this problem? If the problem is not addressed in newer units that can be rotated in either orientation, which orientation works properly and which darkens? And how many saw this but never really understood what they were seeing?

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LCD displays

All LCD displays have this common problem whether B&W of Color. LCD wristwatches do the same thing.

It's how they all work. There is a polarized screen overlaying a cell (or cells in most cases) that contains a chemical solution. The solution is un-organized when no voltage is applied. When a voltage is applied the molecules all align and are in a polarizing mode that is 90° to the overlaying screen and it appears black.

Don't know why some Garmins do and some don't. Both my 660 and 3579 do appear dark when polarized sunglasses are worn. Very aggravating to keep tilting your head to see the screen better. I'm sure some drivers must think that I have a problem when they see me tilt my head to the right a lot laugh out loud !

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

Also the Charge Card Signing stations at stores

When I wear my Wiley's (Prescription) the screen goes black

When I use my Ray-Ban sun

When I use my Ray-Ban sun glasses I have no issues on my Nuvi 3597. But if I use cheap $20 sun glasses, then I run into this issue.

--
Iphone 6 Plus, Nuvicam, Nuvi 3597LMTHD,765T,1490LMT

havent noticed any issues

i where polarized prescription sunglasses and have had any trouble viewing any of my GPS Units.

I specifically ordered..

...my sunglasses without the polarized lenses due to this problem. With polarized lenses, I was unable to see the screen on my GPS. Soooo, the obvious solution to the problem seemed to me to be unpolarized lenses. I got some when I got my new presciption and guess what; I can see the screen again. Problem solved.

--
It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. ----George Washington

Same problem here

I have a Nuvi 2597 amd have the same issue. Hope Garmin takes notice of this and changes their glass in the future

3M

Frovingslosh wrote:
jale wrote:

Polarized sunglasses may hide things you didn't expect.
A few years back, I tested a car with a heads-up display (HUD). I could see it at all and the vendor riding with me was puzzled until we realized I was wearing polarized sunglasses. They would completely cut off the display reflecting on the windshield.

Reflection from the windshield should not have caused the problem. It seems likely that the real problem was that the HUD was LCD based and suffered the same problem as some Garmin GPS units, the polarization filter on the top surface was such that it caused the display to darken completely when viewed through polarized sunglasses. Another case of this same poor design.

I believe you can get 3M Natural View Screen Protector that will help with the polarized viewing. They have specific sizes for cell phones and tablets. You might have to cut it to fit.

polarized glasses fix

JimD1:
You are a genius!!! I have to admit, I didn't put a lot of stock in this solution at first but thought "what the heck, I'll give it a shot" trying to remedy the darkened screen on my Garmin 3597LMTHD unit when I had my polarized sunglasses on. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked perfectly!!! The transparency film when rotated to the proper angle made the screen bright and clear. I cut the film to the exact screen size leaving enough to form a u-shaped fold at the top so I could just drop it over the unit when needed. I leave it tucked in the visor when not in use. Thanks for the outstanding tip!!!

Don't think it's Garmin's fault

BobBellows wrote:

So - does this mean Garmin is setting them this way, to be like a LCD screen?

I remember years ago discovering that all Polarized sunglasses were aligned the same. If you look down at an angle in some clear water in a pond, river or ocean and tilt your head, you can see the same effect. I think the alignment is optimized to reduce sun glare.

The polarization alignment in the LCD screens all seem to be the same and I assume it has something to do with some physical restriction in the manufacturing process.

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

Polarized Sunglasses

No problem with the GPS, can't read my watch, though.

--
Nuvi 2595 LMT When you come to a fork in the road- take it. (Leo)

reread the thread

metricman wrote:

....
The polarization alignment in the LCD screens all seem to be the same and I assume it has something to do with some physical restriction in the manufacturing process.

If you reread everything said here you will find that it is not a manufacturing process issue and than not all LCDs or ever all GPS LCDs are oriented in the direction that causes this problem (90 degrees to the direction that all Sunglasses should be oriented in). Some are oriented in the same direction of polarization as sunglasses and others are oriented at a different angle (often 45 degrees). What cause the problem is the manufacturer being indifferent to it, not any limitation of the manufacturing process.

I was only pointing out

Frovingslosh wrote:
metricman wrote:

....
The polarization alignment in the LCD screens all seem to be the same and I assume it has something to do with some physical restriction in the manufacturing process.

If you reread everything said here you will find that it is not a manufacturing process issue and than not all LCDs or ever all GPS LCDs are oriented in the direction that causes this problem (90 degrees to the direction that all Sunglasses should be oriented in). Some are oriented in the same direction of polarization as sunglasses and others are oriented at a different angle (often 45 degrees). What cause the problem is the manufacturer being indifferent to it, not any limitation of the manufacturing process.

I was only pointing out that it is not intentional on Garmin's part. They do not make the individual parts and the units are assembled in Asia under a contract.

It would be nice if Garmin were to put a "Spec" in the contract with the actual manufacturer stating that they must behave in a certain way when viewed with Polarized glasses. At least there would be consistency.

Don't know that all Polarized glasses are aligned the same, but it seems that every pair I've ever owned have acted the same way when fishing and looking into the water.

Quality of the glasses made overseas varies as well. I once had a pair (green lenses) and after a while I noticed that the green was fading in the center. On closer examination, I saw that the lenses had been coated and not impregnated into the plastic like the others I had owned. It was literally wearing off of the lens surface, from just being in my shirt pocket. They were cheap and I guess you do get what you pay for.

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

I also use polarized

I also use polarized sunglasses with the garmin. There is a bit of darkness but not so much where I can't read the screen. Also using a screen protector on the garmin. Not sure if that makes any difference.

Funny

I bought a pair of polarized sunglasses and saw the same thing as the OP.

And also can see the little heater element points on my back window too.

I wear polarized sunglasses

I wear polarized sunglasses here in Tucson and can not see my Ipad 3 of my cellphone at all in the sun.

Me Too...

I've experienced the exact same phenomenon with my polarized sunglasses. I ditto the sentiment that Garmin should rotate their polarization 90 degrees to align with the polarization of standard sunglasses.

I starting using my Ray ban

I starting using my Ray ban glasses and don't have this issue any more.

--
Iphone 6 Plus, Nuvicam, Nuvi 3597LMTHD,765T,1490LMT

Screen Protectors??

JimD1 wrote:

This is the mostly clear plastic film you can print on to make overheads for a projector. Thi is a rapidly diminising business use but I think you can still buy the material.

Do you think that screen protectors might have a positive impact on this issue?

--
Garmin nuvi 2460LMT (2)

Too Easy To Fix So Garmin Won't Do It

Who do we think we are customers?

When you don't like something you don't buy or send it back, so which will we do?

Neither we just bitch about it and suck it up!

Kind of sucks to be us!

Do the other manufacturers have the same problem??

I bet they do and they don't fix it either until there are so many complaints they have to do it or if one does it they all will do it!

What kind?

rookie8155 wrote:

I starting using my Ray ban glasses and don't have this issue any more.

Ray Ban has both polarized and not polarized glasses so you may have a standard version which, of course, will not create to polarization problem

I am just amazed that this

I am just amazed that this issue is not taken into consideration when designing ANY products using LCD screens - unless of course, the item never sees any sunlight. THEN the users will never be wearing sunglasses.
In my experience, there are very few items that are oriented properly.

I know

there was a time in my life when I got ZZ Top's so-called cheap sunglases. But in this day and age, you buy a $59 pair at Costco, and they're polarized...so not sure why it's something unusual. I mean, if you can't see a navigation device, can you see your car dash, stop lights, the road, etc.? I do remember cheap glasses had the tendency to change the coloration of what I was looking at. That's why they were cheap...

The other thing that opened my eyes. There is a such thing as optics, such as Maui Jim's MauiBrilliants. Not everyone is going to spend on those, but maybe try them on in a store to see if they would be for you? They are optically correct, and yes, of course, polarized...

standards?

Are there any industry standards for polarization orientation?

If not, perhaps there should be and this can be a good reason to show why.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone 6 w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

Agreed

diesel wrote:

Are there any industry standards for polarization orientation?

If not, perhaps there should be and this can be a good reason to show why.

With the increasing number of vehicles on the road with LCD dash screens, this will continue to be an issue.

I rented a Lincoln Navigator a few months ago. I could read my 3597 in a bean bag mount fairly well but could not read the vehicle dash screen at all with my polarized glasses. Since I wear prescription lenses, simply flipping up the sunglasses to read the screen wasn't an option.

This is why...

bdhsfz6 wrote:
diesel wrote:

Are there any industry standards for polarization orientation?

If not, perhaps there should be and this can be a good reason to show why.

With the increasing number of vehicles on the road with LCD dash screens, this will continue to be an issue.

I rented a Lincoln Navigator a few months ago. I could read my 3597 in a bean bag mount fairly well but could not read the vehicle dash screen at all with my polarized glasses. Since I wear prescription lenses, simply flipping up the sunglasses to read the screen wasn't an option.

...the FAA will not allow pilots to wear polarized lenses.

--
It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. ----George Washington

Coatings

The anti-reflective coatings on displays and other dashboard surfaces can inherently have some polarization effects.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone 6 w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

.

I use Oakley Gascan Prizm Deep Water Polarized glasses, and they're awesome.

I see my display, phone, and dash very well. Well worth the money for quality, unless you want cataracts.

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

this

maddog67 wrote:
bdhsfz6 wrote:
diesel wrote:

Are there any industry standards for polarization orientation?

If not, perhaps there should be and this can be a good reason to show why.

With the increasing number of vehicles on the road with LCD dash screens, this will continue to be an issue.

I rented a Lincoln Navigator a few months ago. I could read my 3597 in a bean bag mount fairly well but could not read the vehicle dash screen at all with my polarized glasses. Since I wear prescription lenses, simply flipping up the sunglasses to read the screen wasn't an option.

...the FAA will not allow pilots to wear polarized lenses.

has to do with the windshield of the aircraft, the way this read, was as if polarized glasses are bad and being not allowed by the FAA shows that. The windshield is already polarized.

The real question is why anyone is still using a non permanent navigation device, or not using their their smartphone...that real time data saves time, and time is a lot more valuable than anything else.

Manufacturing process, maybe

Even though not all units are polarised the same way, it may still be a manufacturing decision
how do we orient the dies to cut as many panels as possible from each supplier sheet ?
lesser costs for the manufacture
by the time the customer notices, they've already bought it

--
If only ..

Ive never experienced this

Ive never experienced this issue. Sometimes its a "purpler" tint, but not full dark.

I’ve experienced the same

I’ve experienced the same phenomenon with the gps and dash display. So now I only wear non polarized sunglasses for driving and switch to polarized sunglasses everywhere else and leaving the non polarized in the car. Problem solved for me.

I just drove

a Jeep Wrangler rental, and it had a built in Garmin. I deliberately tried to find an angle with which I could not see the screen, with my sunglasses, and could not find one. I would say this is a non issue with 2018 cars. Maybe it was an issue with older cars and older external devices...

A quicker test

johnnatash4 wrote:

a Jeep Wrangler rental, and it had a built in Garmin. I deliberately tried to find an angle with which I could not see the screen, with my sunglasses, and could not find one. I would say this is a non issue with 2018 cars. Maybe it was an issue with older cars and older external devices...

The quickest test for compatibility of polarized sunglasses and devices is to take the sunglasses off, hold them a foot or two from your eyes, then rotate the sunglasses clockwise (or counter- [anti- for sussamb] clockwise) while looking at the device in question. When using polarized sunglasses and trying to view a device whose display is also polarized, you'll see the blackout either at 0 degrees or 90 degrees. If 90, there will be no issue between the polarized glasses and device. If at 0, you're going to have to shop for non-polarized glasses.

My assumption is that all polarized sunglasses are polarized in the same direction (horizontal, if my guess is correct) since that minimizes glare from the environment that we have no control over. Assuming this is true, I wonder why all device makers that have a polarization don't make sure that their device will be compatible with all polarized sunglasses.

Probably because the number

Probably because the number of non sunglass users is much greater than users, and polarized users is a much smaller subset of users.

--
Frank Nuvi 3597LMT 37.322760, -79.511267

No problem seeing the screen

..Where polarized Oakley’s. No problem seeing the screen

my take

phranc wrote:

Probably because the number of non sunglass users is much greater than users, and polarized users is a much smaller subset of users.

My take on this is the unit is used a greater amount of time in a situation where there is a need to reduce glare from the screen more than be compatible with polarized sun glasses. My 3597 (and all my others) seem to have the polarization mask at a 45 degree angle rather than vertical or horizontal.

--
"In order to be old and wise, one first must have been young and stupid."

I cant read the gas pump

I cant read the gas pump screen with polarized.........

--
YankeeRedneck - NuVi 260

Interesting

Box Car wrote:
phranc wrote:

Probably because the number of non sunglass users is much greater than users, and polarized users is a much smaller subset of users.

My take on this is the unit is used a greater amount of time in a situation where there is a need to reduce glare from the screen more than be compatible with polarized sun glasses. My 3597 (and all my others) seem to have the polarization mask at a 45 degree angle rather than vertical or horizontal.

That's interesting and I'd never have thought to check. My 3597 seems to darken when wearing polarized sunglasses at about 45 degrees or a bit less (head tilt to the left). Although with my head upright as is normally the case, I do observe that the 3597 is still dark enough with the sunglasses that I'll say polarized glasses are incompatible with the 3597's polarization.

Why are LCD panels polarized at 45 degrees?

CraigW wrote:
Box Car wrote:
phranc wrote:

Probably because the number of non sunglass users is much greater than users, and polarized users is a much smaller subset of users.

My take on this is the unit is used a greater amount of time in a situation where there is a need to reduce glare from the screen more than be compatible with polarized sun glasses. My 3597 (and all my others) seem to have the polarization mask at a 45 degree angle rather than vertical or horizontal.

That's interesting and I'd never have thought to check. My 3597 seems to darken when wearing polarized sunglasses at about 45 degrees or a bit less (head tilt to the left). Although with my head upright as is normally the case, I do observe that the 3597 is still dark enough with the sunglasses that I'll say polarized glasses are incompatible with the 3597's polarization.

These articles could shed some more light on this topic

Why are LCD panels polarized at 45 degrees?
https://www.google.com/search?q=why+is+the+lcd+screen+polari...

Polarization angle

When I wear my prescription sunglasses, I have to rotate my nuvi 3597 on the mounting ball so it is about 30 degrees counter clockwise from being perfectly horizontal in landscape orientation. When it is horizontal, it is almost completely blacked out. It is somewhat annoying having to look at it on an angle, but I have gotten used to it.

--
Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra
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