Baja GPS Navagation

GPS Batteries – Internal or Replaceable – Which is best?

What is the best GPS for you?

I don't know but here are some things to consider when choosing your next GPS.

Versatility:

How easy is it to move the GPS from your car to your bicycle to your motorcycle to being used for hiking?  Make sure you select a GPS that is lightweight enough to carry while backpacking and has mounting options for all your vehicles & bikes.  Select a unit with a high degree of versatility.

Batteries / Power Supply:

Some GPS units come with a permanent internal battery and others have a battery compartment for a couple of double A's.  Here are some pros and cons to each:

Internal Battery:

Pros:

  • Less cost associated with the purchase of new batteries.
  • Continues to function under the high vibration conditions of a motorcycle handlebars.
  • Long run time. Some internal batteries last up to 20 hours of continual use on a single charge.

Cons:

  • When the battery is dead it is dead. You must then connect the unit to a power source for an extended period to re-charge.
  • Rechargeable batteries have a limited lifetime.  Once the unit stops holding a charge it must be shipped back to the manufacturer to be refurbished.

Replaceable Batteries:

Pros:

  • Batteries are plentiful, relatively inexpensive and available worldwide.
  • As long as you have a supply of batteries, you can keep the GPS unit running indefinitely.

Cons:

  • Adds to the cost of operation.
  • Batteries life is diminished due to the vibrations in the handlebars.  I have had significant trouble with engine vibration causing the batteries to lose contact with the terminals and leave carbon deposits on the battery terminal ends.  This caused the batteries to rapidly deplete.  A vibration dampening mount might help resolve this issue.

The best solution I have found is to use a mount that powers the GPS from the bike and carry some spare batteries.  When I'm riding I remove the batteries and run the unit bike power supply.  If I want to remove the unit and still use it I pop in a couple batteries and I'm off and running (or walking).

These are a few of the consideration to take into account when selecting your next GPS unit.

Happy Trails!

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