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  1. #1
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    Default "How to use a cheap car charger to power your nuvi CORRECTLY".

    Please read further down this post for ALL Possible solutions

    PROBLEM:
    Recently I bought a "Garmin" Car charger from eBay as a backup charger. It is not a genuine Garmin but a simple cheap eBay aftermarket 12V-24VDC to +5VDC 2100mA car charger with the required mini-USB connector to plug-into the Nuvi.

    When I plug it into my Nuvi 1490 (normally working with a TMC receiver/charger without any problem) the nuvi reverts to the "PC-connection-mode" as if it were connected to a PC through its USB cable and, therefore, I cannot use the nuvi as GPS-unit while it is connected to/charged by this specific charger. The seller had a notice: "NOTE: When using this charger for GPS device, GPS device might restart with computer mode; please adjust your GPS into GPS mode then." but unfortunately he could not help me on how to "adjust my nuvi to GPS mode".

    Can anybody help on this? Thanks in advance.

    I also tried it on a friend's Nuvi 1450 (normally charged with a genuine Garmin charger - not a GTM receiver/charger). The problem was the same.


    SOLUTIONS:

    The last few days I searched a lot on the internet (starting from GPSPower.net, of course) and I gathered a lot of info which I will try to put in this post so that other users can profit from it.

    First I would like to thank your inputs below and also other people's posts in other sites who provided their experience (sorry I have not kept track of my search, so regrettably I am not mentioning them...)

    My description will be simple for not techies but sometimes it goes a bit further.

    First some definitions and some theory:

    "PC-connection mode" or "Computer-mode" or "mass storage mode" or ... is the mode of your nuvi when it is connected to your PC USB connector via a data-cable (normally provided by GARMIN in the nuvi box) with mini-USB type B plug on the nuvi side and a USB plug on the PC side. When you connect your nuvi to your PC with this data-cable, your nuvi will show a message (usually an increasing green bar) and fianally an icon of a PC. Your PC can see the contents of the nuvi's internal memory and the external (micro)SD-memory card (if you have one plugged-into your nuvi) but the nuvi is "locked" and cannot be used for navigation.

    "GPS-mode", "Charge mode", "recharge Mode" ... (I personally do not like the last 2 names because in the previous case via a data cable connected to your PC you also CHARGE your internal battery, apart from exchanging data) is the mode of your nuvi when it operates like a GPS receiver and navigates you to your destination. During this mode the nuvi can be powered by its internal battery, through a TMC/car charger, or a simple car charger (without a TMC receiver), or a different way (there are ways to connect to an external power source i.e. your moto battery (directly, not through a cigarette lighter receptacle) or any other +5DC Volt power supply - but this goes beyond this discussion)

    A USB-male plug socket is a socket with 4 connections and a surrounding case. It is the USB socket that every USB memory stick has and you plug into the USB female socket on your PC)
    This USB-standard plug has 4 connections/pins:
    1) VCC (for +5VDC)
    2) D+ (Data+)
    3) D- (Data-)
    4) GND (Ground)

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    A Mini USB 5 Pin Male Plug Socket is a socket with 5 connections and a surrounding case. Be careful: there are different types of mini-USBs (with 4 connections or 5 connections or different surrounding case) To make it simple your nuvi has a mini-USB 5 pin TYPE B FEMALE Socket at its back and expects you to plug in a mini-USB 5 pin TYPE B MALE Socket.
    The 5 connections/pins are:
    1) VCC (for +5VDC)
    2) D+ (Data+)
    3) D- (Data-)
    4) ID (or USBOTGID = USB On The Go IDentification) [probably you know OTG from your cell/mobile phone]
    5) GRD (Ground)

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    The mystery lies with the pin No4 (some people -see post #3 below) call it connection/pin X and the GRD (Ground) as connection/pin 4 - probably to "align/correspond" it with the standard USB (4-pin) connector but I regard it very confusing, so I will use connections/pins 4 and 5 (and not X and 4) throughout this discussion.
    This connection 4 can be either NC (No Connection/floating), GRD (Ground) or used as an attached device presence indicator (tied to GND with a resistor). Now you see why the name is IDentification: because it identifies what device is connected (to your nuvi, in our GARMIN-world).

    Different manufacturers (of GPS units, Cameras, phones, Tablets etc.) use this Pin No4 in different ways to serve different uses/needs/purposes.
    The GARMIN company uses this pin 4 to "signal" the nuvi that a PC is connected to the nuvi (and therefore requesting it to go to "PC-connection Mode") or that a charger (or TMC/charger) is connected to the nuvi and requesting it to go to "GPS mode". This is done by connecting a 17.3K ohm resistor between pin 4 (ID) and pin 5 (GND) which is done inside the genuine GARMIN car charger or the TMC receiver/Charger. Smart eh?

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    Very smart but my cheap eBay car charger has only 2 wires in its cable (VCC/+5VDC and Ground). Pin 4 is not connected (floating) and it erroneously signals my nuvi that it is connected to a PC (not a charger), making my nuvi to revert to "PC-connection mode". Now that we found the cause! let's try to correct it or workaround it.

    Method 1:
    Usually the mini USB connector is "pressed/fixed", so you will not be able to open it and re-wire it so you will need to buy from ebay (or local electronic store) a Mini USB 5 pin Male Plug Socket Connector for less than $1 (or even better a Mini USB 5 pin Male Right Angle Plug Socket Connector & Black Cover Tail - a little more expensive) and a resistor 17.3K ohm (you will easily find a 17.4K ohm resistor 1/4Watt (1%) or buy a more standard 22k ohm resistor or 20K ohm or 18k ohm resistor (5%) at the smallest size (1/4Watt) and connect it between pins 4 and 5 of the mini-USB Type B connector (inside the connector - a bit difficult or by external wires).

    Method 2:
    If your cable has more than 2 wires, then it would be easier to follow Solution 1 by using existing wires

    Method 3:
    Somebody suggested to start your nuvi on internal-battery power and while you see the message "Loading maps..." you plug in your car charger. In my case (nuvi 1450 and 1490) it did not work, but you can try and report back.

    Method 4:
    Another guy suggested to short-circuit the pins 4 and 5 of the mini-USB connector by ... using aluminum foil !!!
    I did it and it worked perfectly.
    Please note that this is a bit dangerous: If you short circuit pin 1 (+5VDC) with pin 5 (Ground) you will probably burn the fuse of your car cigarette lighter and/or your car charger. However the pin 1 and pin 5 are "far away" so I suggest that you cut a narrow and long strip of aluminum foil (4mm narrow x 7-10mm long) and fold it in two to make it narrower). Verify the pins 4 and 5 from the pictures/links above, insert the folded-foil into the charger's mini-USB to cover pins 4 and 5 (if 2 and/or 3 are covered too, no problem -though I would avoid it!!!) but STAY AWAY of pin 1 of +5VDC), so that part of the long stripe is coming out of the connector. Hold steady the outside part with your fingers and plug the mini-USB into your nuvi. Verify AGAIN that the foil is away of the pin1 and ONLY THEN plug your cheap (eBay) charger into your cigarette lighter. You may also use scotch tape to "stabilize" the long part of the foil on the outside metallic surrounding case of the mini-USB

    Method 5:
    A friend of mine (a professional and resourceful electronic technician with great experience) also suggested me to put "conductive glue" on pins 4 and 5 to short circuit them.
    "Conductive glue" can be found on eBay, in Stores for electronics or automotive stores (it is used in the rear windshield of the car to repair the broken lines for warming up the glass (demisting, defogging) ). You need to place it carefully and then wait for it to cure.

    Method 6:
    As you have seen (methods 4 & 5) that short circuiting pins 4 and 5 is working well, I believe the best and safest method is to buy a new Mini USB 5 pin Male Plug Socket Connector (right angle or not) as described in Method 1 and short circuit pins 4 & 5 (instead of soldering a 17.3k Ohm resistor - Method 1)

    For your info: my ebay charger (12V-24VDC to 5VDC 2100mA) was bought $2.59 while the genuine Garmin is $25... (and it is only 1000mA )
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    One more important thing: Prefer to buy a car charger (12VDC to 5VDC or 12-24VDC to 5VDC) with 1A (=1000mA) or more so that it can power your nuvi AND charge its battery at the same time. A 500mA car charger might not be strong enough.

    Good luck!

    If you like this post, click on like below - Do not say "thank you" (Caty, our site admin, will beat you up!!! )
    Sorry, but I cannot resist not to tease once more our smart (very knowledgeable and always helpful) administrator as she gets mad when somebody dares to ... whisper "thank you" . I know she does this to save space but I find it SO INHUMAN to click "like" buttons - may I suggest to (at least) change the "like" button to a "thank you" button?

    SERIOUSLY NOW:
    If you are successful, please leave feedback (what model of nuvi you tried, what method(s) you tried, which were successful or not etc) By doing so you increase (or DEcrease!!!) other users' confidence to attempt the above solutions. If you burnt your nuvi, you do not need to leave feedback, we will ... smell it!!

    @Caty:
    If you want you may move this post to the tutorial section with a new title. "How to use a cheap car charger to power your nuvi CORRECTLY".
    Last edited by georgev; 28th July 2016 at 08:47.

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  3. #2
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    A regular USB car charger will not allow your Nuvi to work on navigation mode.

    For Nuvi to enter navigation mode, USB connector pinout should be as follow:

    1 +5V 5 volts DC
    2 data not connected / float
    3 data not connected / float
    X GND connected to pin 4 (GND) with 17.3K ohm resistor
    4 GND ground

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    Last edited by fujita; 21st July 2016 at 13:22.

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    Default

    I bought a number of generic chargers via eBay in the past, all from different sellers. Some work, some don't. Some may even work on TomTom, but not on Garmin. I prefer to use the original Garmin chargers. As fujita says in post #3, the pin-out has to be correct otherwise the device will revert to mass storage mode.
    To avoid clutter, please don't leave any "Thank You" posts but use the Xlosbkb button or the LIKE this post ↑ link instead
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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokefree View Post
    I bought a number of generic chargers via eBay in the past, all from different sellers. Some work, some don't. Some may even work on TomTom, but not on Garmin.
    Read my solutions above (post #1)and make them all working with GARMIN nuvi too! It will not cost much and after all it will be fun!!

  6. #5
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    18K resistor works on a nuvi 760.
    I cut into a mini USB 5 wire 400mm extender cable cable. Pin 4 was on the blue wire. Pin 5 was GND, as expected.

    Can you get the 760 to output nmea data??
    I suppose you need to buy some ridiculous upgrade to achieve that. Still trying higher values to test other modes.

    There seemed to be some other mode, at about 4K, but gps complained not supported mode.

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    For what it's worth, the new drive series appear to work correctly with a car charger. I've tested this both with a drivesmart 50 and a driveluxe 50. The units complain about incorrect cable attached but still power on and navigate without any issues.

  8. #7
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    @ all

    Or using this cable
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    for device with mini-USB

 

 

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