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Old 11-03-2013, 02:28 PM   #1
houlster OP
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Joined: Jan 2009
Location: AZ
Oddometer: 113
Oregon power alternative

So I've had a Garmin Oregon for several years & have used it extensively on the bike & snowmobile. The USB connector on it sucks balls. I constantly have issues with it not having a good connection. It actually broke free of it's little mini-board which I had to re-solder back into place. In general though, it works for a while, then won't keep a good connection and constantly looses power (common issue it appears).

I've now hacked in an alternate connector. Smallest DC co-ax connector I could find that looked like it would work is a 1.3mm x 3.5mm jack. It's a threaded body. I did have to trim it down on my mini-lathe to fit like I want, but it works good.

The hole through the back of the garmin was drilled so the connector just fit though, & I screwed it into the plastic letting it cut it's own threads. Made for a very tight fit. The knurled top edge is the part I trimmed off and it sticks up to fit through the rear cover when it's installed.

Works with the RAM cradle as well.

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Old 11-03-2013, 02:38 PM   #2
houlster OP
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Joined: Jan 2009
Location: AZ
Oddometer: 113

I did not get any details of the wires soldered to the USB port, but it's not hard to figure out. The NEG was easy. The 5v line was tougher. There's a couple spots, but they're extremely tiny pins and I wasn't having any luck with my soldering on them. In the end, I soldered the POS wire to it's connector pin for the ribbon cable.

Both wires are on the back (dry) side of the board, so it's still water-tight.

After wiring it up & testing, I RTV'd the crap out of the connector to make sure it stayed water-proof.

I made up 2 cables. First is just a USB cable snipped and wired to a plug:

2nd one I plan for using on the bike has an inline, 5v switching regulator in-line with a 2.5mm x 5.5mm plug on the other end (common co-ax for heated gear). The switching regulator is supposed to be more efficient & generate less heat than a regular linear type. The shrink-wrapped portion I'll cover with velcro and attach to the back of the cradle in use.

I'll have the USB adapter/cable as a backup, and worst case I can go back to a standard USB cable if sanity allows.

I just finished this up this weekend to test out. Will probably be a while before any off-road testing is done, but I fully expect it to be a fix for my power issues.


houlster screwed with this post 11-03-2013 at 02:43 PM
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Louisville, KY
Oddometer: 2,010
Wow nice work! Looks like you have something there.
"I have never seen a Kentuckian without a gun and a pack of cards and a bottle of whiskey." - Gen. Andrew Jackson
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