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Garmin GPS 12 memory battery


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Hi all, one of the 12's I recently got has a low memory. The Garmin web site FAQ advises that the AA batteries should always be left in the unit in order to keep the lithium memory battery charged. They go on to say that if it becomes discharged, to put fresh AA's in for 5 days or so. This should correct matters - if not it's off to the service agent.


Sooo, not being able to help myself, tackled my own 12 with a pocket knife and a few minutes later had it all open with no damage. icon_smile.gif The case is not plastic welded but simply sealed together with a type of silicone. It would be quite a simple matter to replace the battery for anyone handy with a fine tip soldering iron and common sense.


Removing the rubber strip off the back is no help. It’s just a matter of scraping the silicone out of the joint gap and then prising it apart - but be careful not to put nicks in the joint edges. They won’t do any harm, they just look grotty.


The memory battery is a Panasonic VL1222. That’s their abbreviation for Vanadium Lithium 12mm diameter 2.2mm thick I guess. The Panasonic info is at:



Now, the next thing is, where to buy these cells? Any ideas Neill? I have some photos but don't know how to upload them here.

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You guys are amazing! Radio Spares has ordinary lithiums but not the rechargebles from what I could see of their on-line catalogue. SI Components have some good stuff too (& good prices) but not these items. Digi-Key look like the way to go but I'll wait to hear back from Neill first.


Thanks - enjoy the sunny weekend icon_cool.gif

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Phone or fire off an email to SI Components - just because it is not listed does not mean that they can't get it - went out of their way to track down a supplier for Sun 13W3 monitor connectors for me for a project I was working on (except I did not need 500 (minimum order)) - great guys to deal with, I highly recommend them.



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One of my suppliers (Trade Tech) has replied and said they can get the Panasonic VL1220 for me. They wanted an indication of the quantity I wanted so they could price them for me. As I don't think it's urgent at this stage I've opted for a price for a quantity of 5 (I know of 2 geocachers so far who require a replacement) and for the cells to simply be added to their next order (7-10 day lead time, instead of 2 day, but lots cheaper), I should have confirmed pricing later today, and will advise when I know, If they are less than say $7 each I'll order them, but o-one feel obligated to get them off me, If you find a cheaper source feel free to get them there. L8rz icon_smile.gif

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Ok, I've ordered 5 of these little batteries. Hopefully will be here in approximately 7-10 days. Cost will be around $6 each. Anyone requiring them sooner, Standard Communications who import Garmin GPS's into NZ have them in stock in Auckland. Contact Peter Jessop on 09-2740955 in the afternoons (he's the technician and only works half days), they charge around $10 I beleive. icon_smile.gif

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Originally posted by tgsnoopy:

That shouldn't be a problem Gav, only if you have changed your AA batteries! Maybe it's all the skyscrapers over there blocking the signals?


In DC, nothing is allowed to be taller than the Capital building. We have very short buildings. And I've left fresh AA batteries in for days, and it still comes up with the message, and takes forever to acquire. Thats why I assume it has to download the whole almanac again icon_frown.gif


Cheers Gav

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Wow, are you back from the big apple already? That was a short trip.


As far as I understand it, the memory is maintained by the lithium battery only whilst the AA batteries are unable to do so, in fact a small current should be flowing from the AA batteries to the lithium cell to keep it charged/charge it. In theory, if your lithium cell failed completely (as in drew so much current from the charging circuit there wasn't enough voltage available to maintain memory) then it is possible that you could be loosing your almanac data. I personally think thats unlikely but it is certainly possible. So I'd better retract my previous statement icon_redface.gif. Darn, You might like to get it repaired over there?

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Oh bollucks. Got ready to hook up the GPS in the car on Sunday morning for the drive from Wilmington, Delaware, to Staten Island, NY to visit NYC for the day. I find that my antenna plug is busted, broken. I check out the plug and it has been munted and pushed into the casing somewhat. Bugger bugger bugger. I have no idea how that happened, but it must have taken a fair bit of force. I don't even know when!! So it's now got a few things wrong with it. I'd love to get it serviced here but time is fast running short. Thinking of getting a cable for the etrex so i can use that in the meantime... either that or get a new GPS - perhaps mine is cached out already icon_wink.gif


Cheers Gav

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Hi Neill, can you make that 2 batteries please for me - I've just had a 12XL turn up with a low memeory battery. Steve & I are comparing the XL with external aerial with the 12 to see how they go in the bush. Mine has a Garmin aerial, Steve's is aftermarket and apparently there's a Trimble brand which is smaller and the best performer of the 3. It's at Mapworld for $200. icon_frown.gif


Will let you know how they go. Cheerio - Tony

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Not a problem Tony, when they turn up icon_rolleyes.gif.


I read somewhere the best external aerial was called a mighty mouse or something similar, but it required a +5V feed up the coax to power it's internal amplifier, apparently not many GPS units could supply the feed. I also recall people were pairing it with a lowranch GPS100 or similar. It was a while ago that I read it though, and it's just from memory. Did price the GPS at the time though, Ouch icon_eek.gif is all I'll say (I might buy one after I win 1st division lotto icon_wink.gif)

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