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GPS Mount and wiring

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After burning out 4 Garmin GPS units in a month I decided I better figure out what was causing this. Duhhhhhhhhhhhh....... Turns out that the voltage supplied by the bike was not clean enough. From what I found, they have protection from too high of voltage or too low, but they VARIATION in voltage fries their little brains! So I could install a power converter (would always work, except if I needed to take it off the bike), a bigger battery (may not always work) or go with a mount that will allow AA batteries to function without vibrating. [No where did I find any of this info on Garmin. See details on Cycoactive http://cycoactive.com/gps/gps_batteries.html

I chose the latter and got a Touratech MvG mount from Cycoactive. Love it! Looks super over engineered. Billet!!! LOL! Used it this past weekend and it worked awesome. I still taped and greased the batteries for safety but had not a single blink! Batteries lasted for over 7 hours and still show full charge.

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Rich

Do you have the stator mod and new regulator? I have had no probs with my 76cs running on bike power with BajaDesigns kit.

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I bought the external battery pack that holds 2, C-cells. I velcro it to the inside of the glovebox I have on my number plate. It works well and I didn't mess with trying to hard wire in the unit and blowing it up. The C-cells, however, are only good for one full day of navigation ~6-8 hours. After that, they shut my Etrex off like the vibrating AA's.

I have a new mount on the way. My friend found them online. Dont know where they are coming from , but I guess it surrounds the whole unit instead of clipping to the back cover.

Good luck if you go with the regulator/power converter.

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Just for the record, I've never had a problem with either my III+ or V on bike power. They can take a wide range and don't need a converter.

These units and the 60C and 76C can take 8-36 volts.

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Rich and Hodaphile - What kind of battery setup does your bike have? Ni-cad, lead-acid, etc??? Usually if your running a lead acid battery it does a pretty good job of filtering. Ni-cad's are really not a good fit for this ap but I know BajaDesigns and some of the others use them.

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Diesel and PD,

I have a stator from an '00 WR400 ('01 WR426? don't remember any more) that has the higher output. I did the Baja Designs (BD) stator mod to float the ground and I'm using the BD regulator/rectifier. I have a creative friend that added just a rectifier, didn't do the stator mod, and floated the ground a different way. He has had good results from that setup. (I think Baja Designs does us all a disservice requiring the stator mod when it is much easier to float the ground other ways. Once you do the mod, you are just about locked in from then on to buy their replacement regulators. But that's another subject.) When I first got the BD kit, I used the supplied Ni-Cd battery pack. It lasted only a few months.

My creative friend mentioned above installed a 1.2 a-h 12V sealed lead acid (SLA) battery on his bike and I followed suit. The biggest advantages to me with the SLA is the higher storage capacity vs the BD kit (1.2 a-h vs 0.8 a-h) and the ability to charge the battery with a normal motorcycle battery charger. The Ni-Cd batteries cannot be charged that way.

I am on my 3rd BD rectifier/regulator. The last one that died on me took my battery, several headlight bulbs and my old GPS with it. By the time I realized what was happening, it was too late. When I got the new GPS, I decided that I would isolate the GPS from the system in case the regulator went out again. This is why I have the second SLA battery mounted behind the headlight. This is used exclusively for the GPS and I never have to worry about a) running out of juice/battery vibration shutting the unit off or 😢 my charging system accidentally frying the GPS. I could run the GPS for several days straight on that battery. I did not consider non-rechargable batteries in this application because the cost of batteries will eat you up eventually, while the initial $17 investment in the SLA battery pays for itself in short order.

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The story I have heard is that even though the units have voltage protection, it is only for excessively high or low voltage. There is no protection for fluctuation in voltage and that is what kills the units.

I am running a pack of AA, like an RC car, that is between the stator and GPS. Stator is modified for 130w and runnung a hi juice flywheel. I think low voltage is what has been scrambling the unit. There are times when you can have a low batttery and low rpms and your volt reading will drop. This will be a prob no matter how big or what type of battery you have, agreed, it will reduce the occurences, but not eliminate. Only by adding the power converter can you have really clean voltage. BUT, when your voltage drops (and it will) then you lose power to the GPS. Thats why I went to the new mount and back to plain internal AA batteries. It seemed the cheapest and easiest fix. Not a single prob and the vibration issue is solved as well! As far as cost on batteries, I bought an 8 pack Duracell at drugstore for $4. Based on first ride I should be able to get at least 48-60 hours out of the pack and not have to remember to recharge.

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Probably more likely voltage spikes than low voltage since the internal batteries take over in a low voltage condition. Motorcycle magnetos are horrendously noisy and throw some pretty high voltage spikes through the regulator but a SLA battery usually does an adequate job of filtering. It is relatively simple to incorporate a protection circuit for the GPS (a zener diode & a fuse) but the solution you guys are using is simple and sure.

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Interesting. I have my Garmin Streetpilot II hard wired to my bike, with the stock bat and set up. I guess I've been lucky. Do the regulators on DRZ's go out frequently?

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I'm about to wire my 76C to my battery on the DR650.. i definately don't want my 76C to die, as it is not under warranty. will it be ok on my bike?

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I own a CRF 450 which I had the stator re-wound for power. I added a Trail Tech regulator/rectifier and a 12v 1.2amp hour battery.

I wired my Magellen Meridian into the battery. I recently did a 3 day 400 mile ride in baja and it worked great. The power cable for the GPS has a built in regulator to keep voltage at 3.2v. The battery charges with the regulator/rectifier. No more batteries. Befoer this set up I tried carrying spare batteries and external power supplys.

So far so good with this set up. 😢

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Probably more likely voltage spikes than low voltage since the internal batteries take over in a low voltage condition. Motorcycle magnetos are horrendously noisy and throw some pretty high voltage spikes through the regulator but a SLA battery usually does an adequate job of filtering. It is relatively simple to incorporate a protection circuit for the GPS (a zener diode & a fuse) but the solution you guys are using is simple and sure.

Absolutely right, spikes both high or low, not just the absolute level of voltage. And I think the voltage regulators/rectifiers scrub off the majority of variation but the bike can handle say 15% swings but the GPS 5%.

You guys on E-start or with big batteries are safer. I am on 2-stroke with tiny battery. But consider if your lead acid battery loses a cell, which is easy with time and the banging it goes through. As soon as the battery drops out of the circuit your bike will still be running but you lose the buffer.

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I'm about to wire my 76C to my battery on the DR650.. i definately don't want my 76C to die, as it is not under warranty. will it be ok on my bike?

My vote is either hard wire with the power converter and bigger battery or my route with a better mount and use batteries.

BTW, Garmin was fantastic! They covered all four GPS units under warranty.

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I have a Magellan Sport Track Map and I use 2300mah nimh batteries. They last me for 2 or sometimes 3 8hr rides. I thought about hard-wiring, but feel I don't need to.

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My batteries would only last for 1 1/2 short rides. They always died shortly into my second ride. Now I have a voltage regulator wired directly to my bike's battery. It seems to work great.

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Most of the time the short battery life is a result of the batteries arcing. Once I started taping the batteries and using a vibration mount I got much longer battery life.

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