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Oregon 450 poor battery life?


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Hi all,

 

I love my Oregon 450, but I've only been using it a month or so, and I'm finding the battery life is REALLY poor, using both Eneloops rechargeables and alkalines. I didn't get the change to actually record the data, but I know my fully charged Eneloops didn't last a full day's caching (I think they lasted about 8 hrs), and the fresh alkalines I used (right out of the box) lasted maybe 5-6 hrs on my hike the other night!

 

I don't have the backlight up that high, and I was only using it while hiking, consulting my route to make sure I was on the trail now and again, with the Map screen on by default (maybe the compass screen would use less energy?).

 

Any tips what I might be doing wrong, and any tweaks I can make to improve the general battery life?

 

Thanks!

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Hi all,

 

I love my Oregon 450, but I've only been using it a month or so, and I'm finding the battery life is REALLY poor, using both Eneloops rechargeables and alkalines. I didn't get the change to actually record the data, but I know my fully charged Eneloops didn't last a full day's caching (I think they lasted about 8 hrs), and the fresh alkalines I used (right out of the box) lasted maybe 5-6 hrs on my hike the other night!

 

I don't have the backlight up that high, and I was only using it while hiking, consulting my route to make sure I was on the trail now and again, with the Map screen on by default (maybe the compass screen would use less energy?).

 

Any tips what I might be doing wrong, and any tweaks I can make to improve the general battery life?

 

Thanks!

 

Your battery life seems pretty typical for the Oregon series. Make sure the GPS is set to the correct type of batteries because the unit calculates the number of bars left based on this. (really it's voltage)

 

Keeping the compass screen or menu screen up when not is use will help a little, so will the battery save mode and setting the screen timeout.

 

My personal preference is to stay on the menu or compass screen and not use the timeout and battery save mode, so I always bring extra batteries.

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the eneloops aren't actually all that great for high charge, i think they are rated at 2000mah, the benefit of eneloops being they hold their charge for long periods of time,.look into some more powerfull 2700mah nimh and see if they help the situation, also another thing to check is the battery settings in the system menu, if thats not on the correct setting it can report the batteries are low when they are in fact not.

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battery life is relative. our previous GPS was a WiMo based PDA, and under normal circumstances it would go from full to empty in about 2 hours. you could extend that to 4 or maybe 5 by turning everything off, including backlight completely, sound, reduced CPU speed etc etc. of course the battery was its own format, so forget about swapping it on the go, unless you previously whipped out some $$$ for a spare battery (and happened to have it charged too).

 

so going 8+ hours is really good now! :grin: especially since i can just carry a second pair of AA around and be sure to be good for a whole day.

 

i got the backlight turned off completely at all times, except at night or indoors. sounds are off too, as they're pretty useless.

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Thanks for the very helpful responses, all. I've been careful not to trust the battery meter on the Garmin (even though I've been carefully adjusting the Alkaline/NiMH setting) and just been letting the batteries go until they can't go any more, heh.

 

I'll look into the Power Saver mode, which I haven't toyed with.

 

I use a Lacrosse charger for my Eneloops, but it sounds like I should maybe step up to some 2700s. Hmmm. Any suggestions on that front?

 

And thanks for the wiki link, I'll definitely check it out, as well.

 

Thanks again,

CLF.

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I have been having the same issue, but my NiMH batteries, even with the correct menu setting, are going about 4 hours and sometimes less. I use the backlight quite a bit in the car since I'm wearing sunglasses while driving. Maybe I need to work on the settings a little. It's not a hassle to bring 3 pairs and batteries or just plug it into the cigar lighter while in the car, it's just a big change after my GPSMAP 76 and the 16 hours of battery life I was getting. Wow!

 

Thanks for the Wiki link.

Karl

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Update: After reading other cachers' advice on highter mAh NiMH batteries, I traded in my 1800 mAh for some shiny new 2500 mAh batteries that Radio Shack had on special. All I can say is that it has made a world of difference. On the first charge, which I find normally isn't the longest lasting for rechargeables, I have gotten about six hours out of the new batteries and have just now got the the half-charged icon. I think after these batts run in a bit, I will get 12-16 hours as advertised. The old 1800s will still work fine in my scanner or radio, but I'm using 2500s in the GPS from now on.

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I use a Lacrosse charger for my Eneloops, but it sounds like I should maybe step up to some 2700s. Hmmm. Any suggestions on that front?
Don't!

 

Yes the Powerex 2700's are great when new, but their self-discharge is such that in a month on the shelf an Eneloop has more juice. Then after a year you'll get to play the conditioning games to restore them to "new".

 

Carrying spares is easy and at least you have that option. Three cheers for Garmin and AA's. :D

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Some of the posters on here did some tests on battery use, one of the biggest users of your battery is refreshing the screen and maps. I've switched to NiZn and am very happy with them, I get at least an 8 hour day with them and they recharge in 5 hours. Downside is you MUST use a NiZn charger for them.

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Keeping the compass screen or menu screen up when not is use will help a little, so will the battery save mode and setting the screen timeout.

 

Menu screen yes but contrary to what may appear to make sense the compass screen sucks down alot of juice. The screen updates to the compass rose apparently consume as much or more power than does the maps screen. Some excellent tests were done by dfx in this thread, check it out: Oregon 450 battery tests

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The screen updates to the compass rose apparently consume as much or more power than does the maps screen.

 

With the additional downside that screen blanking will stop the screen redraws on the map screen, but not on the compass screen. This prompted me to start using the map screen more (because I can just leave it on and screen blanking will save power when I'm not looking at the screen), and I have configured one of the data fields to "pointer", which gives me a similar functionality as the compass screen. I hardly use the compass screen any more.

 

I'm using 2450 mAh Duracell NiMHs and get two full (winter) days of caching out of them.

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Here's the REAL question! If you have the COMPASS set as the dashboard on your MAP screen will the BATTERY SAVE MODE turn the screen updates off for the compass dashboard? Hmmmm, DFX, you got your work cut out for you! ;)

 

I think the answer can be obtained without electronic test equipment. Set up your map screen with the compass dashboard, allow the batt save mode to turn everything off, now turn 180 degrees and when you bring the display back to life obeserve if there is a dramatic jump in the rose. I noticed that you always see your last screen/location for a split second before it updates on the screen when you wake it up from batt save mode.

Edited by yogazoo
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Here's the REAL question! If you have the COMPASS set as the dashboard on your MAP screen will the BATTERY SAVE MODE turn the screen updates off for the compass dashboard? Hmmmm, DFX, you got your work cut out for you! ;)

 

I think the answer can be obtained without electronic test equipment. Set up your map screen with the compass dashboard, allow the batt save mode to turn everything off, now turn 180 degrees and when you bring the display back to life obeserve if there is a dramatic jump in the rose. I noticed that you always see your last screen/location for a split second before it updates on the screen when you wake it up from batt save mode.

 

To answer my own question: NO, the batt save mode does not disable screen updates for the compass DASHBOARD. Let the unit go to sleep (blank screen in batt save mode) pointing south, now turn it 180 deg (facing north), give it 10 seconds to adjust, and wake it up. The map screen still jumps from the last visible screen to the new direction while the compass rose in the dashboard is already updated (no jump). Hmmm.

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Some of the posters on here did some tests on battery use, one of the biggest users of your battery is refreshing the screen and maps. I've switched to NiZn and am very happy with them, I get at least an 8 hour day with them and they recharge in 5 hours. Downside is you MUST use a NiZn charger for them.

If you like those (as do I), you might want to pick up a spare 8 pack off Amazon or somewhere. PowerGenix wasn't making enough money on that product, have since discontinued it, and have focused on their automotive battery business.
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