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Guest jeremy

Smoking Vista

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Guest jeremy

Received this by email. Just FYI -

 

quote:

Use extreme caution when installing batteries in the Garmin etrex Vista. Mine arrived in the mail today and within minutes it was trash. Never saw the first screen light up. It seems that the way Garmin has situated the battery contacts, a short is possible with disastrous results. I immediately called Garmin and they blamed it on the batteries. These are the same batteries, by the way, that I have been using in my digital camera for over a year. Garmin said if I wanted it fixed to send it in with $125- no warrenty for fire damage no matter who is to blame. This was my 4th Garmin- I own the 45, the 12XL and the III plus. This is also the last Garmin I will own.


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Guest mfratto

How did you short it out? I have a Vista (Can't say I am overly impressed with it), but I certainly don't want it to fry.

 

mike

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Guest jeremy

I didn't fry mine. Someone emailed me and said they fried theirs.

 

I have a feeling it was some bad batteries, or perhaps they were specific to the digital camera he owned. I believe if you stick to fresh ones you should be ok.

 

Jeremy

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Guest Hawk-eye

OK ... first of all ... not a professional here ... (just a grown "kid" who has spent 40 "plus" years taking things apart ... much to my parents concerns during the early years) .... I took my Vista, a regular etrex and an etrex summit ... and a neighbor who is an electrical engineer ... we don't see a way to cause the situation as it was briefly described ... I wonder just what kind of battery was used ... contact wise ... can't find a way that it could happen even with the correct battery config. Anyone have a clue? Maybe the person that sent the email could enlighten us ... if there is a problem ... it would be helpful to advise those out there that own the etrex line ...

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Guest gstrong1

I've had a Vista for about 3 months now, or should I say I've owned one for about 3 months.After about 2 1/2 months, it was headed back to the factory to replace the pathetic click stick. They had it for about 2 weeks & I got it back last Friday. Put batteries in it,turned it on & unit is still screwed up.Got on the phone with Garmin support & he had me do some tests with the unit while on the phone with him. He verified what I already knew.The unit is garbage.He told me to ship it back for full replacement with a new unit.I tried to get him to keep the thing & give me credit toward another III Plus, but he couldn't.So the same day I got it back, it's packed up & ready to go back again.Thank God I've also got the III Plus & the MAP76.I'd be out of luck if I had to depend on the Vista.As far as the battery thing goes, the only thing I noticed was that on most battery operated devices,there is a spring on the end of the battery compartment where the negative end of the battery goes.On my Vista, the springs are on the same end for both batteries.So for 1 battery, the negative end of the battery is up against the spring.For the other battery, the positive end of the battery is up against the spring.He may have logically just put the negative ends of the batteries at the spring ends, meaning 1 battery was in backwards.But I don't think that would burn the unit up,or would it?I thought it was kind of odd the way it's set up.

 

------------------

Gary "Gimpy" Strong

Rochester,NY

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Guest Hawk-eye

Garmin) If care is not taken, and I must assume I didn't take enough care, that coiled spring can slip off the raised center electrode and become wedged to one side of the electrode. As the battery is pressed down, the coiled spring is now contacting the insulation on the side of the battery that covers the negatively charged cylindrical side of the battery. If there was a small crack or weak spot in the insulation, the insertion pressure could force the narrow gage spring wire into contact with the side of the battery. The width of the base of the coiled spring would also maintain contact with the center electrode. Sounds like a dead short to me.

Close examination of the battery and hole-ey Vista support this scenario.

Other than that, I love my new Vista (even though I never had a chance to see the screen light up).

Smokey


I personally haven't experienced the types of problems that I've read about in a lot of these postings from folks (i.e., gstrong1). I've had one for roughly three months now and have used it here and overseas ... with not the first problem ... issues I have experienced ... like most GPS units ... take it into the woods cold and try to get a signal lock and you can forget it ... go into the woods with a good signal ... even though it gets weak or even goes ... you can recover fairly quickly ... but I've experienced that with my 12xl and 12 map as well ... but not as bad. I worry about the click stick ... even before I read other people's problems with it. Yes I think they could have done better ... but for what it is ... I'm very happy with it.

 

My neighbor and I are going to try to duplicate what "Smokey" is describing ... outside of my Vista that is .... and I'll post and let you know the results ... unless there's an explosion ... which, in that case check CNN icon_biggrin.gif

 

[This message has been edited by Hawk-eye (edited 08 July 2001).]

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Guest Hawk-eye

Garmin) If care is not taken, and I must assume I didn't take enough care, that coiled spring can slip off the raised center electrode and become wedged to one side of the electrode. As the battery is pressed down, the coiled spring is now contacting the insulation on the side of the battery that covers the negatively charged cylindrical side of the battery. If there was a small crack or weak spot in the insulation, the insertion pressure could force the narrow gage spring wire into contact with the side of the battery. The width of the base of the coiled spring would also maintain contact with the center electrode. Sounds like a dead short to me.

Close examination of the battery and hole-ey Vista support this scenario.

Other than that, I love my new Vista (even though I never had a chance to see the screen light up).

Smokey


I personally haven't experienced the types of problems that I've read about in a lot of these postings from folks (i.e., gstrong1). I've had one for roughly three months now and have used it here and overseas ... with not the first problem ... issues I have experienced ... like most GPS units ... take it into the woods cold and try to get a signal lock and you can forget it ... go into the woods with a good signal ... even though it gets weak or even goes ... you can recover fairly quickly ... but I've experienced that with my 12xl and 12 map as well ... but not as bad. I worry about the click stick ... even before I read other people's problems with it. Yes I think they could have done better ... but for what it is ... I'm very happy with it.

 

My neighbor and I are going to try to duplicate what "Smokey" is describing ... outside of my Vista that is .... and I'll post and let you know the results ... unless there's an explosion ... which, in that case check CNN icon_biggrin.gif

 

[This message has been edited by Hawk-eye (edited 08 July 2001).]

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Guest Olar

I just took a closer look at my Mag315 because it has the spring coil contact on the negative of one battery and on the positive of the second like you are describing for your Garmin. I also noticed that the 2 coils have a wire connecting them to each other which means that the batteries are connected in series electrically. If I remember my high school shop class correctly, that means the voltage output of the 2 batteries are added together. In the case of 'AA' which are rated at 1.5 volts then the GPS unit needs 3 volts give or take for its circuitry. I have no idea what can happen to rechargable batteries after numerous recharging cycles. Possibly they increase in voltage output to the point it is over the GPS units tolerance. ???????? Only Garmin or Magellan would be able to answer that. In the meantime I think I'll put a meter on my rechargeables periodically to verify their voltage.

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Guest c_oflynn

Hello,

 

I've got a Mag 315 too. The rechargeable batteries won't put over 2v each, so its unlikley that the circuitry will care. The internal circuitry most likley steps that voltage up, as most things need over 3v to run. I doubt that you could fry the unit by overcharging a battery, as they would just explode.

My AA cells have a positive case. However, if the spring slipped off the negative terminal then it could gouge the insulation, and short. However, it would only short out one of the batteries. One would still be working, resulting in the GPS getting 1.5v instead of 3v. if you put one battery in backwards, the GPS will only see the "difference" in the two battery voltages. So if they are both 1.5v, then the GPS gets 0v instead of 3v. Most likely the GPS has a diode to protect the unit. This is just a small electrical compoment that allows current to flow one way only. So it would likely be set up so that if the unit recieves a negative voltage, creates a short circuit. This would drain the batteries, put protect the device from damage. I don't work for mag, so this is just what i assume.

 

Colin

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Guest Hawk-eye

Well ... we did a couple of test on the same brand rechargeable batteries as "Smokey" ... puncturing the battery insulation, creating a couple of shorts and everything else we could do to match his problem ... other than put it in my Vista ... didn't create smoke or fire ... or our winding up on CNN on a home explosion report icon_biggrin.gif

I haven't a clue .... confused.gif

 

[This message has been edited by Hawk-eye (edited 08 July 2001).]

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Guest Hawk-eye

Well ... we did a couple of test on the same brand rechargeable batteries as "Smokey" ... puncturing the battery insulation, creating a couple of shorts and everything else we could do to match his problem ... other than put it in my Vista ... didn't create smoke or fire ... or our winding up on CNN on a home explosion report icon_biggrin.gif

I haven't a clue .... confused.gif

 

[This message has been edited by Hawk-eye (edited 08 July 2001).]

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Guest peter

quote:
Originally posted by Hawk-eye:

Well ... we did a couple of test on the same brand rechargeable batteries as "Smokey" ... puncturing the battery insulation, creating a couple of shorts and everything else we could do to match his problem.


 

Don't have a Vista, but I have had bad experiences with the old style Eveready NiMH cells. I sometimes keep a spare pair of cells in my pocket and have had no problems with Maha, Ray-O-Vac, Again&Again, and newer Evereadys. But I have had a couple instances where the old style (green case) Energizers shorted out by having the positive contact and the raised edge (negative) touch against a coin. This led to very rapid heating of the coin (and my pocket - ouch!) and I could see it being sufficient to melt some of the plastic inside the battery case of a GPSR. The other NiCD and NiMH cells I have, incl. newer Energizers, do not have the same raised outer edge at the positive terminal end of the battery. I can see how that design in combination with Garmin's use of the spring at the positive end could lead to a very bad shorting situation. NiMH cells have so little internal resistance that a short can lead to a very large current flow and consequent fire danger even though the voltage is only 1.2 VDC.

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Guest logscaler

According to magellan, the 315 runs at 3.6 volts, about 60 ma without backlight, 70ma on low backlight and 90ma on high backlight. Myself, I have been running my 315 off of two "D" cells for around 50 hours and still going strong.

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Guest orb

>This is what happened.

 

I use Varta accuplus Ni-Cd 1.2V 750 mAh rechargeables. Since one Vista battery spring is oddly situated at the pos. side, it is somewhat akward replacing that battery. This time the spring's end got loose, got under the insulation, shorting the battery out.

 

My Vista keeps on working fine though.

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Guest Olar

quote:
Originally posted by logscaler:

Myself, I have been running my 315 off of two "D" cells for around 50 hours and still going strong.


 

Ok Logscaler I'll bite. How in the world do you accomplish that?

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Guest c_oflynn

Hi,

 

Mabey there was an internal problem with the vista? Like a bad solder joint caused a part to come loose, and then something fried inside.

 

Colin

 

PS: I'm guessing logscaler has one of thoese 2D battery holders (from Radioshack or something, and then connected the wires to the proper spot. But mabey he's ot some sort of trick up his sleeve...

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Guest leemannn

No problem logscaler must be using a 2 D cell holder with a belt clip and a power adapter for the gps

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Guest logscaler

Got a little from radio shack but not the holder. It will hold 4, leaving two as spares just incase. I'll tell if you want to know. E-mail's replyed to. Just took a little thinking and going to the junk box and seeing what comes out the other end.

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Guest kozmo

Hello,

 

after reading this topic I am wondering if it is safe to install Panasonic rechargeable NiMH batteries which are 1200 mAh into my eTrex Venture?

 

Thanx in advance!

regards,

kozmo, ljubljana, slovenia

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Guest hfmcan34

Thank you Garmin.

For what ever reason, Garmin has reversed itself and offered to repair my smoking Vista under warrenty. The unit is currently at Energizer for a failure analysis and it may be covered by the battery manufacture. The Garmin offer, however, made my day.

For those of you concerned, about a similiar failure in your GPS that has a coil spring on the positive terminal, just be careful when inserting that battery. Make sure the spring does not slip off the positive center post after the battery has been fully seated. As a double check, feel for heat after the batteries are in place. It will be noticible if there is a short. A 1200mAh nickel-metal hydride battery has a short circuit current of 25 amps.

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Guest Gliderguy

I did something like this in an old Eagle Explorer once. I noticed and corrected the short immediately. The unit survived unscathed. My situation was different in that the Explorer has two rows of two batteries each in opposite directions. If you arent careful inserting the batteries, the butt (negative) ends of two batteries on different rows can touch, creating a short. I would bet only Nicads and Nimh batteries would make enough current to damage a unit quickly. (but by no means would I recommend shorting regular alkalines just for fun!) I am using 1200 and 1300 mAh Nimh batteries right now. When I finally wear a few sets out I will upgrade to 1600 mAh or whatever is available by then.

 

Moral of the story: Use a little extra caution with rechargable batteries. They can put out some serious current if given a chance to short out.

 

Duh. Just realized I had this post up for two days claiming it was an Accunav instead of an Explorer. (I have owned both at one time or another)

 

[This message has been edited by Gliderguy (edited 11 August 2001).]

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