I posted this in another thread in response to a question on battery life. A lot of this is just common sense but in light of the recent questions, I decided it warrants a topic of its own.
Here are some tips to extend the life of your GPS battery:
1. Never leave the GPS on the dash in bright sun, especially in the summer. High temperatures can drastically shorten battery life. If you must leave the unit on the dash, throw a towel or article of clothing over it.
2. When not being used for extended periods, store the unit with a partially charged battery.
3. On units having this feature, make sure the unit is turned off and not in standby mode when stored. The GPS will completely discharge the battery over time when left in standby. Storing a unit with a dead battery will also shorten it's life.
4. "Exercise" your batteries when possible. This can be difficult since most of us use vehicle power for our GPS units and rarely rely on batteries. NiCad and NiMh batteries can develop a memory effect over time if not fully discharged before recharging. This can reduce their effective capacity. Newer LIon batteries however are mostly immune to this effect.
5. I've developed the habit of occasionally unplugging my fully charged GPS from vehicle power while driving until the low power warning appears. The time it takes for this to happen is a good indication of battery health. Be aware his can be a problem for GPS units with traffic receiver cables however. I only do this when I'm not using the traffic feature.
6. Cold storage can greatly extend NiCad and NiMh battery life. If you keep your GPS in a vehicle stored outdoors in the winter, this happens naturally. During summer months, bring the GPS indoors and store it in a cool place. Short of stashing your GPS in the freezer, there isn't much else you can do here.
7. Don't overcharge your GPS when using an A/C charger. Many A/C chargers don't have an automatic shutoff when the battery is fully charged. A good rule of thumb is don't charge for more than 24 hrs. unless you're sure you charger has an automatic shutoff.
Battery failure due to age is a factor which unfortunately can't be avoided but it can be postponed by using these tips.
This link offers some tips on extending battery life on handheld GPS units:
Garmin forums also offer some tips:
I wish I had known a few of these tips before pretty much killing the batteries in my 2460's, which will now only hold a charge for a few minutes. I am very guilty of not doing this:
"Exercise" your batteries when possible. This can be difficult since most of us use vehicle power for our GPS units and rarely rely on batteries. NiCad and NiMh batteries can develop a memory effect over time if not fully discharged before recharging. This can reduce their effective capacity. Newer LIon batteries however are mostly immune to this effect.
I don't use my GPS units regularly, so I force myself once a month to use it to go to work. I figure it stimulates the battery & activates all the internal parts & have had good luck with their reliability thus far
P.S. I certainly hope you didn't get as much snow these past couple of days as those living in Erie, Pennsylvania
General advice of this sort is helpful. Unfortunately, it seems to be geared towards NiCd and NiMH batteries, which aren't used in GPS receivers. Even my nüvi 200W from 2008 has a lithium ion battery. For a lithium ion battery, the rules are a bit different.
* Never let a lithium ion battery fully discharge, and never store one in a discharged state. A lithium ion battery with no charge in it becomes unstable and can burst. Never store a unit with a fully discharged battery for the same reason.
* With lithium ion batteries, fully charging them and then fully discharging them doesn't do anything but waste a charge cycle due to that type of battery not having a memory effect. In fact, lithium ion batteries last longer when "topped off" rather than fully discharged. "Topping off" a lithium ion battery doesn't cost you a charge cycle.
* All products with a lithium ion battery have an automatic shutoff. They have to or the overcharging could cause the battery to explode.
Thanks for coming up with this useful list!
This is a great thread. Thank you for posting this.
I always believed the higher the mAh (milliampere hour) number, the longer the battery will hold a charge.
When needed, try to replace batteries when the highest mAh capacity.
For example, you can buy a replacement battery for a Nuvi 2595LMT that has a 1250 mAh capacity for some of the most popular vendors.These batteries are classified as HIGH CAPACITY so they will cost more.
All you can find them on Ebay that indicate 1200 mah capacity.
I use large lithium-ion batteries to power a professional sound recording device. They are Sony L-type format, originally produced to support video cameras.
While I have heard the propaganda that lithium-ion inherently has no memory effect, and I'm sure whatever effect they have is not exactly the same as the old nickel-cadmium effect, I have definitely observed that discharging the batteries every couple of months does better than just topping them off at sustaining a higher fraction of original capacity over the years. (I've got at least one Sony unit that is over ten years in service, and have discarded several off-brand units at ages typically in the five to seven year range).
I use a Maha charger to do the discharging, and no, it does not take them down to dead flat. It could not if it tried anyway as those batteries have an internal cut off.
Yes, my current practice is consuming approximately six extra cycles per year out of the several hundred cycles the batteries should be good for. I think it to be a good trade.
gps were as smart as typical smartphones, they would handle themselves. Look at all that fast charge stuff now. A 12V car charger can be $15-$25 today, to support a new phone! But there is intelligence going back and forth during the charge process. With batteries being internal, imho it's a good thing (whereas before one could pop a battery and replace)....
Great advice, extremely helpful!
Cheers for a great post!
Thanks for the tips.
And above all, in long run, just accept fact, that those batteries will degrade and finally die. There is a reason, that handheld GPS like Garmin Oregon 400T has no internal battery. Instead it is design to use replaceable AA batteries (regular on rechargeable). To put it simply: if you run your car GPS on internal battery it will degrade faster, as it never was meant to be handheld device. Internal battery is just like auxiliary power source, when car power is off.
Thanks for all the value information
When it does finally die don't be afraid to change it. My old 1490 is on its third and is working great. The kits with the little specialized tools along with the replacement battery are nice. If you have good small screwdrivers then those are extraneous, but the pry tools for the case and bezel are handy. Examples of process are on YouTube.
Thanks, good to know
Thanks for the advice. Will do.
Thanks. Very useful info.
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