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Using your handheld GPSr in your vehicle


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First off, to the moderators... if I stuck this in the wrong forum, feel free to move it!

 

My question...

 

I just bought a mounting bracket for my GPS so I can mount it on the dash, driver's left near the left windshield post. My cigarette lighter is in the center console, so power is going to be an issue. Has anyone here "hard wired" their GPS into the vehicle. I'm talking about a supply of power to the GPS that doesn't come from the cigarette lighter, but is a dedicated cable, wired into the car's power (somehow) with the appropriate plug at the GPS end.

 

How hard is such a thing to accomplish? Any suggestions?

 

I'm using a Garmin 60CSx.

 

Thanks!

 

Driver Carries Cache

(madmike)

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If you simply need to move the cigarette lighter plug in to a more suitable location you could use a female connection like what is pictured here. Radio Shack (I think) sells just the coupler w/o the clamps. That could be wired into the 12V power at some point under the dash.

 

That route might be the safest. I once fried a video camera trying to wire it to a battery supply. I only switched the + and - wires around but that was all it took.

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Stop by most any car audio shop, they'll hook you up. If your car has a dash speaker in the corner they can run the wire through that opening, or drill a small unobtrusive hole through the dash pad.

 

If you are handy with tools the face of most instrument panels these days simply snaps off. Run the wire behind it and down to your fuse panel.

 

Regardless, use an in-line fuse.

 

Everything you need for the job, including advice, is available at any national auto parts retailer.

 

Ed

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I have done this on several motorcycles. The power cables can be had on ebay the cheapest. The ones Garmin sells are way out of line price wise. If you are talking the 60cs or any Garmin with the round four pin plug you will not find that at Radio Shack. The connectors are available but I think it is easer to buy the ebay ones. As most of them are cig ligher type you will need to cut the ligher end off and add a inline fuse from Radio Shack.

 

Now for how to mount it nothing works better than a RAM mount in my opinion. They are available from http://www.cyclegadgets.com/ The kits are the best way to go as it can be confusing as to what parts to buy. You may want to just call them and they will hook you up. I know many police departments us RAM mounts in their cars for the laptops and such.

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If I am following this correctly he has the 60CSx, he has a mount by his left windshield support post, he has a cigarette plug power cord. If that's the case he just wants a power source that doesn't extend over to his center-mounted dash lighter.

 

So, cut the lighter plug off just above the plug, run the wire in behind the snap-off instrument panel face and down to the fusebox.

 

Audio or auto parts stores sell a replacement fuse that has a power wire (tap) sticking out - tie the hot side to that, ground the other and he's good to go.

 

Or, if you can't fnd a replacement fuse with a power tap, tie an inline fuse into the hot side, tap into any power source and ground the other wire. Works the same either way.

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Why not just move the unit closer to the power source? Sounds like a lot of work to solve a simple problem. The 60 units have a button on the back that fits a cell phone button mount. You can buy a $5 vent clip button mount, or an adhesive button mount that you can put nearly anywhere on the dash.

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With a little help from google you can probably find better install instructions for this.

 

The GPS III and the 60Cx share a common type connection for power if I'm not mistaken.

 

http://www.sleeoffroad.com/technical/tz_gps.htm

 

If that is the case then it is probably the same as the cord for the V. I seem to recall Garmin selling a cord specifically for hard wiring. Thought of getting one at one time.

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First off, to the moderators... if I stuck this in the wrong forum, feel free to move it!

 

My question...

 

I just bought a mounting bracket for my GPS so I can mount it on the dash, driver's left near the left windshield post. My cigarette lighter is in the center console, so power is going to be an issue. Has anyone here "hard wired" their GPS into the vehicle. I'm talking about a supply of power to the GPS that doesn't come from the cigarette lighter, but is a dedicated cable, wired into the car's power (somehow) with the appropriate plug at the GPS end.

 

How hard is such a thing to accomplish? Any suggestions?

 

I'm using a Garmin 60CSx.

I'm about to do the same thing for my 60CSx, for similar reasons, and have already wired in my Valentine-1 radar detector. My old Blazer had dedicated power ports, that always have power to them regardless of whether the vehicle is on or not. My Nissan's lighter plug-ins are in an inconvenient location, and are only powered when then car is turned on.

 

To do it right, go to a Pep Boys, Chief Auto, O'Reillys Auto, or whatever you have in your area. You'll need a fuse tap, and an auxiliary cigarette lighter port, with bare leads. The fuse tap replaces an existing fuse, has a hot lead coming off it, and a place to plug in the original fuse (plus a fuse for whatever it is you're powering). Connect the hot lead to the red wire on the lighter port, and ground the black wire (almost anything metal that's bolted to the frame of the car should work as a ground). Plug the GPS's auto adapter into the lighter port, and you're good to go.

 

You'll want to chose the fuse you plug the tap into, based on how you want the power to perform (always on, only on when the car is on, or also when the ignition is set to Accessory). Your owner's manual should have a fuse chart, or sometimes it's posted next to the fuse panel. You also don't want to exceed the rating of the fuse tap.

 

This gives you the wired-in power you want, but lets you easily move it to another vehicle, if needed, by simply unplugging the auto adapter and plugging it into the lighter port in the other car.

 

071580mqj4.jpg

Edited by Prime Suspect
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Hard to tell from the picture, but it looks to me as if the 12 volt adapter has the voltage regulator in the part that plugs into the cigarette lighter. If you just cut off the plug, you'll be putting 12 volts into your GPSr.

SMOKE!

Check it out first!

Nope, no smoke. The external power port on the 60 series will happily accept power anywhere from 10 to 32 volts.

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i got an hp6515c and a carmount cradle. there was no problem mounting the ppc but i have not installed the fuse. the cigarette lighter (poweres along with the clock, stereo, dashboard) has 15amp fuse in the panel and if i changed it to 2amp fused (suggested by the mount supplier), i cannot use the lighter anymore.

 

i thinking to replace the 12v plug with the one with built-in fuse inside. i think this will solve the problem.

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if you need to have a larger cable then just splice in some wirebetween the gps and the ciggertte adapter (like from a power cable from an old applince) and re solder it, then duct tape it to the dash or if your confident remove the dash and splice the wire in to the wire that leads from the ciggeratte adapter. btw i accept no liabilty for damage caused to you or your gps or your car. if you follow the practices described in this post. :P

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Much safer to have the wires and GPS in the center, because like me, when I had the GPS off to the side, and I was getting out of the car, my legs snagged the GPS power cable, sending the GPS V out into the parking lot. So Much care is needed, to where you place the cable, so as not to be caught by your legs.

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if you need to have a larger cable then just splice in some wirebetween the gps and the ciggertte adapter (like from a power cable from an old applince) and re solder it, then duct tape it to the dash or if your confident remove the dash and splice the wire in to the wire that leads from the ciggeratte adapter. btw i accept no liabilty for damage caused to you or your gps or your car. if you follow the practices described in this post. :)

 

Duck Tape It! Whack Whack That's my kinda geocacher! :P

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I would like to say that you may want to try the gps first without power. If you are like me you will be continually plugging and unplugging the gps to go grab a cache. This puts a lot of wear on the plug. The gps has such a long battery life that I have found that the one time I have to replace the battery on a long caching day far offsets the hassle of plugging and unplugging the power cable.

I drove from Salt Lake City to Kansas City on one change(ran down the batteries I started with and changed once) and that included five hours of having the backlight on low during the dark hours.

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Don't mess with cutting wires, etc. All you need is a cigarette lighter extension cord. Just plug it in and you're done, all without messing up any expensive GPS cable or your car. Here is a photo of one I found but you can get them in different lengths or with 3 outlets if you need to run 3 gadgets like PDA, cell phone, etc. Try WalMart, Radio Shack, Target, or any auto supply parts store. Most of these stores should have one cheap.

 

extension.jpg

Edited by rjb43nh
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Don't mess with cutting wires, etc. All you need is a cigarette lighter extension cord. Just plug it in and you're done, all without messing up any expensive GPS cable or your car. Here is a photo of one I found but you can get them in different lengths or with 3 outlets if you need to run 3 gadgets like PDA, cell phone, etc. Try WalMart, Radio Shack, Target, or any auto supply parts store. Most of these stores should have one cheap.

 

extension.jpg

 

Somehow I think we're not helping, but here goes - Go to your auto parts dealer and get ya some battery clips and two 20' lengths of 12guage red and black wire. Clip one ends to your battery, run the wires along your hood and in the window. Secure with duct tape. Use the 100mph good stuff, like NASCAR. Don't forget the fuse. :P:)

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I was going to suggest not using a power cable as well. Alkalines seem to last longest but rechargeable batteries are the only way to go in my oppinion. You'll get hours of use out of them and not have to worry about plugging/unplugging, wear on the plug, or the initial hardwire set up.

 

If this is a unit that you want to leave on the dash (you're using a separate unit for the caching part), then hardwiring may be the way to go. You could go through the dash (through speaker bezel) but you can probably run the wire down along the moulding (along the door frame) and straight to the fuse box. If you want power all the time (with ignition switch off), then run it to a fuse that provides power all the time. The horn, radio memory, etc,, fuses provide this (check with voltmeter and ignition off to be sure you have a good one). I'm not sure what the lowest amperage fuse is used in your vehicle but you might get lucky and find one with a low amperage (3 amps or less) rating. If so, just hook the positive side of your wire to the load side of the fuse (pull fuse and check with voltmeter to see which side of the fuse stays hot all the time then wire to the side that isnt hot). This way you have your fuse right there already! :P

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Much safer to have the wires and GPS in the center, because like me, when I had the GPS off to the side, and I was getting out of the car, my legs snagged the GPS power cable, sending the GPS V out into the parking lot. So Much care is needed, to where you place the cable, so as not to be caught by your legs.

One of the reasons for hardwiring the power connection is to be able to stow the wires out of the way. I only have about 15" of wire visible. The rest is under the dash, secured with zip ties.

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