Top positive review
41 people found this helpful
Excellent accessory for PN series, with a few problems
on January 7, 2010
I received a new Delorme PN-40 for Christmas (thanks, Santa!) and immediately ordered this travel kit from Amazon. While waiting on the order I used both Energizer "Industrial" alkaline batteries (one set, lasted probably 12+ hours but I didn't time it) Ray-o-vac el-cheapo batteries (lasted about 8 or so hours, again, didn't time it). But I usually use a GPS receiver while geocaching, and I'm very often in a vehicle, on an ATV, or on a bicycle. My truck and the ATV have 12V power points, so why not use them for power?
[Edit: corrected mAh comments]
When I got the kit I immediately installed the batteries, plugged in the 110V charger, and let it sit overnight. The next morning I unplugged it and turned it on, seeing 4 green bars. Unfortunately, this had dropped to 2 yellow bars within 20 minutes, so I start checking things out. That's when I notice that the battery was only rated at 1400mAh, which is on the small side, but still should be adequate. An average rated alkaline battery can have a much higher mAh rating, and high capacity batteries can have well over 2000mAh. So possibly the battery capacity bar is based on the highest capacity battery, so even when fully charged it's slightly over half of maximum.
This was disappointing, and worth a deduct of 2 stars (from the battery life rating), but I could deal with it. I always keep several spare AA batteries to feed my flashlight and headlamp, so I'd just throw a couple extra batteries in the pack if I needed more than extended outings.
About three days after getting the kit I go on an extended geocaching outing. A little less than 300 miles driving with about 8 miles walking/biking over 26 stops. Maybe 8 hours in-vehicle and 7 hours out. While driving, the receiver was always plugged into a 12V power point. I assumed the battery would last me all day; any amount discharged while walking SHOULD have been recharged while driving to the next destination. Wrong. About 1/2 through the trip, I got a low battery warning while walking (meaning it was down to 1 bar). About 3/4 through the trip, I got a critical battery warning while walking and the receiver shut off. I replaced with a pair of alkalines from my pack and kept walking. Back at the truck I kept it turned off and let it charge to the next stop. I had enough power to last for one geocache, then it shut off again. It turns out that just because it's plugged it, the receiver is running on external power, and the battery type is set to "rechargeable", that doesn't mean the batteries are actually getting charged. They aren't running down, but they aren't filling up either. I had to work a bit to make sure the status said "charging", usually requiring shutting the unit down and re-starting. This is a more serious problem. I would have deducted far more than 1 star from the "convenience" rating, but I feel this is more of a receiver problem than of a battery/charger problem.
Ultimately, though, this is a good purchase and worth the money. It's much cheaper than buying each item individually, and if you use it a lot, it's much cheaper than buying lots of alkalines to throw away.
- allows the use of external power while driving, even if using alkaline batteries
- reduces waste having to throw away dead batteries
- low capacity battery
- battery sometimes doesn't charge when the receiver is running and plugged into the 12V adapter