I recently asked this forum about using a USB port in my car to power and charge my Nuvi. I received the following from Garmin support. It seems like the definitive answer from the source and I thought it might help others.
Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I am glad to assist you. It is not recommended to use any USB port in the vehicle. You will want to use the vehicle power cable that came with the unit in the box connected directly into the adaptor. This will allow the device to power and any left over power will go to the battery.
If you use the USB port it will charge the battery but it will enter a mass storage mode where you will see only an image of a computer tower attached with a cable to the device and not usable in a navigation mode.
With Best Regards,
Customer Care - Automotive Team
That would go for TomTom (any brand of GPS) users as well I would say.
Keep in mind that Garmin's boiler plate answers to email requests are not always accurate or complete information. I use a generic USB connection on my 3597 all the time because I don't like the bulky power cable that comes with the traffic receiver (my area does not have traffic service). It works fine with the generic USB adapter and usb cable, That said, I have several USB power adapters ... some work, some go into mass storage mode, some give an "incompatible charger" error. You just have to try it to find out what works and what doesn't.
Edit: The USB adapter I use with my 3597 is similar to this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-1A-Aluminum-2-Port-USB-Car-Charger.... Interestingly, if I Plug my 3597 into the 2.1A port it starts out in mass storage mode, then switches to navigation mode but gives the "incompatible charger" error. If i plug into the 1.0A port, it goes directly into navigation mode and works just fine.
Using the vehicle USB port is no different than using a PC USB port, except you cannot manipulate files.
As I stated in the subject area of my post... I use the power cord that came with my 1300WT Nuvi... and plug it into the vehicles 12v power outlet. That's what it came with, so that's what I use... after all, I paid for it... so why not use it.
The owner's manual on my 2012 Nissan Altima says that the USB port should only be used with a flash drive for mp3 files to be played by the stereo. The port is unable to power any device.
My guess is that the port does have 5vdc to power the flash drive, but its capacity in milliamps is unknown. Nuvis draw more power than PC USB ports can supply when operating and charging the battery at the same time.
Since the USB port is connected to a board which is not only a stereo but also HVAC control and backup camera, I am not comfortable using it as a power supply. It literally costs thousands of dollars to replace this board, and the entire dashboard has to be removed.
Alandb is right. Get a 12v cigar lighter USB adapter. Avoid using the built-in USB port.
On some models the traffic receiver is built into the cigarette lighter power cord. Even if you can use the USB cable per OP's request, such models would not receive traffic if so powered.
Even if the receiver is built in you need to use the original power cable as that is also the antenna for the receiver, without it you won't get traffic.
I use a dual USB charger as I recive traffic from my garmin app on my cell anyway. Now I can charge the phone and use my garmin at the same time.
The car USB port will charge your gps but it will take longer as the current rating is low. The suggestion to buy a cigar lighter USB adapter is the safest and smartest way of charging your gps if you're not going to use the factory cable. They're inexpensive so why burden your communications system with a heavy load when your cigar lighter is already designed to do the job?
Most likely the cars USB port only puts out 500 MaH which is not enough to run a Garmin it requires a 1000Mah or 1 amp output.
But lets say it will go to the "connected to a compute mode", sometimes unplugging it and right away replugging it may bypass the computer connection icon.
Thanks for the clarification. Good to know if the regular cord is lost or misplaced.
Interesting response. I just checked my 2595 with the chargers for my phone. When I plug in the small Apple cube charger, the GPS boots to the computer (mass storage) mode for a few seconds, then continues to boot all the way up, and charges while running. If you get the "computer screen" when plugging into your usb port, just leave it and see what happens. It very likely will boot all the way up.
however, i thought that the heavy cable has the traffic receiver antenna built in to pick up real time traffic. if you're bypassing this aren't you getting less features?
Yes, that is true … but many Garmin users no longer use the traffic receiver, opting for Garmin's Smartphone Link for traffic information. Smartphone Link arguably has more accurate and wider coverage than the traffic receiver.
Incidentally, welcome to the forum. There is a lot of good information available here. Note that this thread is about 3 1/2 years old, but sometimes it is interesting to resurrect an older thread.
Definitely, it means I've managed another 3 1/2 years of life
Definitely, it means I've managed another 3 1/2 years of life
Like your way of thinking!
Melaqueman, I guess you meant 500 mA, as capital M means "mega" and that's millions. That will be quite unusual USB outlet
Opening post is asking about charging. So if car's USB outlet will supply only 0.5A it may be not enough to power up Garmin, as Melaqueman said. But it still will charge its battery, just charging process will take much longer than with USB with higher power output. Of course device must be able to charge through its USB port.
Dating my self by have had a brain fart. I used to be able to charge my 660 with a usb cord. Now it will only charge when using it while driving and the traffic cord in a 12 volt plug When I use the usb alone to charge the battery it shows a storage symbol on the screen. It doesn't go into charge mode. I won't be on line for a couple of days as Monday I need to go into the hospital to have a valve in my heart checked to see if it needs to be replaces. Will check back as soon as I get home. I also done a reset but that didn't do any good.
Thanks for any help you can give.
The pinout configuration of the USB cable you use will determine whether it will charge / power the GPS or go into USB mode. "Charge only" cables generally have just two active pin connections.
I used the cable that came with the gps when it was new. Funny I left it plugged in and late yesterday afternoon it was fully charged. Must be the gremlin's at work
Something that works for me on my 51LM is to give it a Destination prior to plugging in the USB cable. I usually just hit Recent destinations, or Home, or anywhere and hit Go. Seems like once its in the traveling mode the USB won't go into data mode. And then it stays in charge-only mode the rest of the day. Of course to do this there needs to be enough charge already in the battery to turn it on.
Worth trying on other models. The charge/data behavior of mine seems to vary depending which cable and port I use in the vehicle.
Now that I'm reading some comments here, the very thin charge cable I'm trying to use might not have been handling 1.0 Amp very well, causing voltage drop and a depleted battery and reboots. I'll try a heavier cable.
I personally don't use the Traffic feature so I like using a short USB cable to the radio face. Its a much neater appearance than the long bulky Garmin cigarette-lighter plug cable.
My opinion is Garmin should include a charge-only USB cable with new GPS's for this purpose. I'm not even sure if they make and sell one.
Another advantage of using the OEM supplied charger is it is fused. My first GPS, a TomTom One, started smoking and the fuse in the car cable blew. Admittedly, this was before the days of USB ports in cars, but the TomTom GPS was shot. I wonder what would happen with a non-fused USB cable and a GPS with some issue. I for one leave my GPS on when I go to a rest stop, fast food restaurant, etc.
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