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GPS battery replacement
Old 11-02-2012, 02:51 PM   #1
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GPS battery replacement

Thought I'd share a tip with everyone.
I have a Garmin Nuvi 1490 GPS for the car with lifetime maps and traffic updates. Bought it nearly two years ago, and I love it -- very easy to use.

I occasionally use it while walking in an unfamiliar city, and it works very well in that mode too. But on a recent trip, I found that its battery would only last about half an hour, which annoyed me greatly for a battery less than two years old. The unit is sealed, with no obvious way to replace the battery, compounding my annoyance.

So I went online and immediately found a YouTube video showing exactly how to open it up and replace the battery. Drove over to my nearby Batteries Plus store and got a replacement battery (complete with the special case opener tool and tiny Torx screwdriver needed) for $20.

Went home and did the replacement in about five minutes and it's working great. But here's the kicker: the replacement battery is twice the capacity of the original Garmin battery (2.5 amp-hours instead of 1.25). Should last a lot longer now.

I thought growing old would take longer.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:51 AM   #2
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I went through a similar situation with my Garmin (nuvi 260) several months ago. The Garmin battery got down to only lasting about 10 minutes at best. Now with the replacement battery, I can go for hours before the level drops down.

I think it's kind of a racket that the manufactures have the units sealed so one can't just easily pop a battery out and change it.

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Old 11-03-2012, 07:30 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I think it's kind of a racket that the manufactures have the units sealed so one can't just easily pop a battery out and change it.
I have issues with common 'wear' items being sealed, but sometimes there is a functional reason behind it.

In devices where small is a big selling point, adding a door and a connector and wires and packaging around the battery can add significantly to the size and/or reduce the strength of the unit. Any discontinuity in the structure will require more material to 'beef up' that section.

That said, I don't like it. I think it is an environmental nightmare, and a hit to the pocket-book. More people will just toss the device if the cost of replacing the battery is high.

I like how the EU made the sensible decision to push cell phones to a common charger design (through USB) so people don't toss their charger with each new phone. I think we could use some regulation here to avoid pushing this sealed battery problem onto the consumer. Maybe mfgs should have to provide free battery replacement for life if it isn't user-serviceable? After all, the mfg got the selling advantage of a small, light unit - let them decide if it is worth it. If they make good batteries, there shouldn't be that many replacements needed. I don't think it would really be that burdensome to the mfg, but the environment could win, I think.

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Old 11-03-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
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Agree on the crime of planned obsolescence.
Since I'm a bit of an electronic "toy" nut, the subject of batteries is a big issue. First of all, the Google search is a best friend. "How to" videos for almost everything. I find that a strong sharp knife works and that there's usually a way to split the case when there are no screws. MP3 players, my hiking GPS from 1999, and most recently my off brand digital camera.

Here's an interesting adventure in buying re: my camera. Putting in the model number and "battery" brought up 7 online battery sites with the correct battery. (on the first page). The prices ranged from $34 on the first site, to $13.95 with $8 shipping and more like that. After going to the second page of Google results, I found the exact same battery, in a "free shipping" site for $4.06.

Back to "planned obsolescence" for just a minute... Since I am very frugal, the idea of paying for ink cartridges is particularly annoying. Most of the newer cartridges have a usage chip that causes the cartridge to read empty. Depending on the manufacturer, (in most cases) this can be bypassed with either an inexpensive "resetting" tool, or by doing a bit complicated sequence of taping over terminals on the cartridge to reset. I usually get 3 to 4 refills using this method.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post

I like how the EU made the sensible decision to push cell phones to a common charger design (through USB) so people don't toss their charger with each new phone.

One of my pet peeves is how many charges I have to lug around when I travel for various devices. I can understand radically different devices needing different chargers, but when I have three devices all charged via USB port type system, why should I need three chargers, three cords, etc?
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battery, gps

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