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Old 03-27-2011, 01:17 PM   #1
Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadu OP
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Hard wire issues w/ my Nuvi 550

My Nuvi 550 has begun to lose power while I'm riding. It will re-set itself if I don't choose 'stay on battery power', and if I don't I then have to punch in the 4-digit security code to get it to turn on again. It's a real PITA.

I've done a search, and I see I'm not the only one suffering from this condition. One solution I read is to glue the USB plug into the back of the unit w/ RTV or similar, for both security and water-proofing. Well, I like to swap this unit between two bikes and my truck, so any kind of permanent mounting doesn't work for me.

I'd like to try to replace the USB hard wire plugs and try to get one with a better fit (male-to-female). Does anyone have a source for these hard wire cords, besides Garmin and/or RAM?

I'm looking for the cord with two bare wires that lead to the battery (but an SAE plug would RAWK way harder), and the 90 degree bend at the rear to fit into the back of the unit*, and finally it needs to step down the 12v power to whatever the Nuvi needs to run w/out blowing up. Can anyone help?

*which "direction" does the plug bend? Up? Down? Left? Right? How do retailers label this style of plug? Also, I'm not 100% sure it needs to be bent... I mean, why wouldn't a straight cord work?
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:31 PM   #2
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Here's a 'glue in' solution that will work for your needs. I've been meaning to post this for a while, so this looks like a good place to do it.

I had similar problems-
1. USB connection too loose,
2. USB connection not waterproof
3. need to be able to remove the unit from the bike and plug it into a computer or into my car.

Here's what I did:

1. to tighten up the connection cut a small sliver of plastic from a cheap bottle of water, bend it 90 degrees and slide it into place as a shim between the Nuvi case and the USB connector. Tape it in place ( If you squint you can see my duct tape down the side of the Nuvi case). This will take up all the wiggle room and keep the connector tight. [Edit: now that I think more about it- I think the little piece of plastic actually went right into where the USB plugs in- that would make more sense. This has been a while, so you'll have to figure this one out!]

2. Go here: http://www.usbfirewire.com/uextendminib.html
and get a 4" "Up angle, mini B USB extension" $12. (Check the pictures on the web site to make sure it's up angle and not down angle- it's been a while since I ordered and with mine glued in I can't see it anymore.)

3. Slather the connections with dialetric grease, plug it into the back of the nuvi and then glue it in with RTV, sliver of plastic and all.



4. Make a rain shroud for the other end: take a large diameter piece of shrink tube and shrink it down over the wire and connector at the other end, making sure not to shrink the part where you will have to plug in your hardwire from the bike. I glopped some more RTV where appropriate.



5.Modify the RAM cradle so that you can rotate the device in and out with the extension attached. I used a dremel. It looks like it would leave the cradle very weak but actually that part does very little for holding in the Garmin.





Voila! The finished product. Rough looking, but now with a waterproof, vibration free connection and the portability you want.



Works for me anyway.


............shu

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Old 03-28-2011, 03:03 PM   #3
inmate-n00b
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^^nice job!

I hate that usb power cable. Stupid idea....
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:08 PM   #4
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Good Idea

Thanks for sharing. I am going to do the same to my Oregon. Water got into the connection and shorted out the power wire. The unit is waterproof but the connection to the power wire sure isn't.

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Old 03-31-2011, 01:19 AM   #5
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After three Nuvi 500's and two Garmin power adapters, and a LOT of griping and bitching Garmin traded the third one & $160 for a zumo 550

I feel for you, but personally I hate the idea of having to modify something to make it do what it says it does on the box.
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Old 04-30-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
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My garmin power cable stopped working. I've been commuting in the rain a bunch and the bike sits outside in the office parking lot. Maybe that has something to do with it.....???
The actually unit works fine. I checked the fuse, it's ok. I think something happened to the transformer, or that other cylindrical thingy.



I AM SO PISSED OFF AT GARMIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe I'll just sell that thing and buy another Garmin.......you see how that works???

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Old 12-31-2012, 08:41 PM   #7
glynb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shu View Post
Here's a 'glue in' solution that will work for your needs. I've been meaning to post this for a while, so this looks like a good place to do it.

I had similar problems-
1. USB connection too loose,
2. USB connection not waterproof
3. need to be able to remove the unit from the bike and plug it into a computer or into my car.

Here's what I did:

1. to tighten up the connection cut a small sliver of plastic from a cheap bottle of water, bend it 90 degrees and slide it into place as a shim between the Nuvi case and the USB connector. Tape it in place ( If you squint you can see my duct tape down the side of the Nuvi case). This will take up all the wiggle room and keep the connector tight. [Edit: now that I think more about it- I think the little piece of plastic actually went right into where the USB plugs in- that would make more sense. This has been a while, so you'll have to figure this one out!]

2. Go here: http://www.usbfirewire.com/uextendminib.html
and get a 4" "Up angle, mini B USB extension" $12. (Check the pictures on the web site to make sure it's up angle and not down angle- it's been a while since I ordered and with mine glued in I can't see it anymore.)

3. Slather the connections with dialetric grease, plug it into the back of the nuvi and then glue it in with RTV, sliver of plastic and all.



4. Make a rain shroud for the other end: take a large diameter piece of shrink tube and shrink it down over the wire and connector at the other end, making sure not to shrink the part where you will have to plug in your hardwire from the bike. I glopped some more RTV where appropriate.



5.Modify the RAM cradle so that you can rotate the device in and out with the extension attached. I used a dremel. It looks like it would leave the cradle very weak but actually that part does very little for holding in the Garmin.





Voila! The finished product. Rough looking, but now with a waterproof, vibration free connection and the portability you want.



Works for me anyway.


............shu
Hey Shu,

Just wanted to tell you that I ordered the usb cable you suggested from usbfirewire and conducted the upgrade on my Nuvi 550 that you detailed. The only differences were that I did not put a piece of plastic in the usb connection at the back of the Nuvi because the connection usb to the cable itself fit tight in the back of the Nuvi. I could not fit a piece of plastic in the opening. I also used black RTV silicone instead of clear, and used layers of black guerilla tape instead of shrink tubing. It doesn't look quite as good as your set up, but it works perfectly. I have ridden in a downpour with the Nuvi set up and the waterproofing connections work perfectly. No power loss at all so far.

Under Vendors there is a company that makes watertight usb cables and connectors, that although they look good, are quite expensive. I figure this usb set up saved me over $50.00. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glynb View Post
Hey Shu,

Just wanted to tell you that I ordered the usb cable you suggested from usbfirewire and conducted the upgrade on my Nuvi 550 that you detailed....... Thanks for the tip.
Glad it worked for you..............shu
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inmate-n00b View Post
My garmin power cable stopped working. I've been commuting in the rain a bunch and the bike sits outside in the office parking lot. Maybe that has something to do with it.....???
The actually unit works fine. I checked the fuse, it's ok. I think something happened to the transformer, or that other cylindrical thingy.



I AM SO PISSED OFF AT GARMIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe I'll just sell that thing and buy another Garmin.......you see how that works???
On my previous bike I hardwired the GPS power. Inside the "black box" were the components to change 12VDC to USB voltage - 5.5VDC IIRC. The power unit - surprisingly - was not built for vibration. Who'd-a-thunk it?

One of the components on the PC board just vibrated loose - completely fell off. Because I had been so nice and neat I had buried the connection deep under lots of tupperware and behind several bolts. The second time I just wired from the fuze block to a plain cigarette lighter socked on the bars. Water proof? Nope. But the fuze was accessible and easy to replace if/when necessary.

The power adapters that plug into the normal auto power socket - cigarette lighter - are no more water proof than the socket. But unless you're going to routinely drop your bike while crossing a deep stream it is possible to make it highly rain resistant by shielding it and/or burying behind something - an existing panel or a fabricated one.

The round thingy is nothing more than an RFI choke. Essentially a magnet that helps reduce any radiated radio frequency energy thus reducing potential RF interference. The wires usually pass straight through, although I have seen some where the wire is wound about a toroidal magnet.

.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:14 PM   #10
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I have been having the same problem with my Nuvi 200. The unit acts as if the power is being connected and disconnected. So, maybe the problem just lies in the cord, not the actual unit?
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:29 PM   #11
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That was true for me. You could test it by using it on battery alone and seeing if it still keeps rebooting itself.

..............shu
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:11 PM   #12
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Big bag of thanks to you Shu. I repaired 2 Nuvi 500's using the plastic. Also have a friend who bought the Nuvi 500 a long time ago based on my positive comments. His Nuvi has since taken on a series of fits and convulsions too, and I therefore forwarded your post to him. Am sending $30 to our Children's Hospital in gratitude for you taking the time to share.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #13
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...............shu
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:41 AM   #14
jlambo
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Fried my nuvi 550?

Got my new gps up and running on battery power then decided the car charger should be a Powerlet so I could plug it into dash plug. Bad idea, or execution anyway... So, I snipped the car plug off, then wired my simple Powerlet plug. Of course, as soon as I plugged it in all went dark. Besides ruining the car charger, have I fried just the battery, or the whole unit? Thanks
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:18 AM   #15
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If I understand correctly you likely removed the part of the cable which reduces power to the USB standard of 5v (and removed the in-line fuse)which the 550 can use and instead feed it a full 12 - 14v which fried the unit.

You should have bought a GPS with the HD/waterproof power plug which also can accept a wide range of voltages unlike USB or at a minimum the hardwire cable for the 550 which has the voltage reducer in the middle of a cable with bare wires (see post #6).

I would try and check it out and once certain it's toast open the unit to see if it is fussed internally.

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