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Garmin nuvi 1350 Series 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Garmin nuvi 1350 Series 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Electromax
Price: $169.99
42 used & new from $22.99

2,931 of 2,974 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars charging issues, July 25, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've used this GPS for several weeks now and when it is fully charged it is absolutely great. The voice is loud and clear, the maps are accurate and detailed. It acquires satellites quickly, even in less than optimal circumstances with trees overhead or tall buildings nearby. It is easy to program and the onscreen menus are convenient. It is thin and reasonably light and portable and the screen is big. But it has one major problem: the cigarette-lighter charging system does not supply enough current to charge the GPS while it is turned on. It is unbelievable that Garmin would allow their unit to be sold under these conditions.

When I received the unit I completely charged the battery (by connecting it to my computer using a USB cable which Garmin does not supply, but I happened to have one anyway). Then I used it in my car, always plugged into the cigarette lighter. It turns on automatically whenever you start the car, and it turns off automatically when the ignition switch is turned off. However, over this two week period the battery slowly discharged (without my knowledge) until it reached a point where the unit would no longer turn on, even when plugged in to the car charger. Assuming the unit was defective, I called Garmin and (after 20 minutes on hold) learned that the car charger is not up to the task, and that the GPS will slowly lose its charge when it is turned on, even if you have it connected to the cigarette lighter adapter. I believe this means that if you have a long drive, perhaps 8 hours or more, then the unit may not even remain operational throughout the full trip. Other people have made similar complaints about some of the other Garmin GPS units.

The tech support people explained how to recover from the low battery situation: you do a "soft reset" which simply involves holding down the on/off button for 10 seconds. Then the unit will turn on, but the battery will need recharging. I was told to do this by connecting it to my computer using a USB cable, which Garmin does not supply with the GPS (fortunately I already had one), but I assume you could do the same by connecting it to the car charger and making certain that the unit is turned off while it is charging.

What a shame that Garmin has produced a superior product with a fatal behavior. I will keep mine for now, but I'm going to investigate other charging solutions. Perhaps after reading this review, the wizards at Garmin will redesign the charging system for this GPS.

Update (Aug 1/09): I discovered the reason for these charging issues: In the User's Manual, under "Troubleshooting", Garmin states that the Nuvi will not charge if it is in direct sunlight or if the temperature is more than 113 degrees F (45 deg C). Since I had my unit attached to the windshield, and since I only drive during midday, it is always in sunlight. This charging rule applies to many other models as well; for any given model you can download the manual from Garmin, turn to the Troubleshooting section, and see whether or not they describe a similar charging rule. (The rule is probably meant to avoid overheating the battery: lithium batteries can occasionally catch fire if they are severely overcharged or overheated.) I think this explains why some people have encountered charging problems and others have not: it depends on whether or not the unit is always in direct sunlight while you are driving. Some people use the friction mount and their Garmin sits on the console. Others drive later in the day or at night.
Comment Comments (73) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2014 9:45 PM PDT

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