Can a GPS overheat?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by gweaver, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. gweaver

    gweaver NorCal is Best Cal!

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    So I've got a 376C, and I've noticed something odd. On a recent trip in the car I had the unit sitting on the dash. After about 4 hours, the screen went black, and it went through the start-up process, only to shut down again right around the liability screen ('Press Agree to continue'). This continued for 3-4 cycles, until I removed the unit from the dash and got it out of the sun. After about 5 minutes, it rebooted fine, and I put it back up on the dash (covered by a small towel for shade). After using it a while, it will suddenly turn itself off, then back on, try to start up, then shut down again. This will continue for 3-4 cycles, until I just shut it off and let it sit.

    I thought that perhaps heat might have been involved, so I made a plastic 'visor' for the unit, that shades the screen as well as covers the rest of the unit. Attaches with velcro. On the last roadtrip, the same thing happened. 'Resolved' the same way- get unit out of sun, let it cool, and it works again. I've also had the same issue when running the unit on my bike (KTM 950, Touratech mount).

    Is this normal? Anyone else had this experience? I think the shade idea is a good one, but perhaps black plastic wasn't the best choice. I'm thinking about recreating the shade in white or grey, but is this problem indicative of a bigger issue than just being in the sun?

    If Garmin has discontinued the 376, then I'd want to get this thing in for repairs ASAP, just in case they completely give up and stop working on them at all.

    Greg
    #1
  2. Gizmo

    Gizmo Hermes

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    Seems odd for a unit designed for marine use and also used on motorcycles extensively. A few years ago I had the 276 flavor and used it for many miles on the motorcycle without any issues. I'll be interested to hear what others say.
    #2
  3. MotoJim

    MotoJim Been here awhile

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    Doesn't sound heat related to me. You were in the car with it weren't you? I mean if you were comfortable then I doubt if the GPS was that hot. I've had my 276c since they first came out in very hot conditions riding across western Kansas and eastern Colorado with temps well over 100 degrees F and no issues.

    I would send it to Garmin while they are still exchanging/fixing them.
    #3
  4. bouldergeek

    bouldergeek Filthy, poor KLR dweeb

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    If left sitting in the sun, my 2720 goes into constant reboot cycles until it cools a bit. But, it was a refurb. Maybe it has other problems.

    It also reboots whenever I hit a major bump (on the bike).
    #4
  5. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    Sounds like a loose component/connector to me.

    Unless it's out of warranty and you're comfortable screwing around with stuff, i'd send it back.

    Temp cycles and vibration are used in HALT (Highly Accelerated Lifecycle Testing) methods.... stuff's definately rough on circuits.
    #5
  6. blown7.3lps

    blown7.3lps Brian

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    i have a Delphi gps in my car and i left it in my rental car out in AZ on the dash mount for 3+ hour in the august summer sun light and it would not turn back on, it was baking hot. i put it in the refridgerator and let it cool down, its been working for 2 years after that and still working now. the battery inside did expand though and made it hard to pull the memory card in and out.
    #6
  7. brfinley

    brfinley Brooster

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    I have seen the screen on my 60C screen turn black on a couple of occasions. It happened when stationary in direct sun at 95 degrees or more for a couple of hours. With moving air it never seems to have a problem even at 110 degrees or more. I think the LCD suffered some permanent screen fade from the experience, but it still works fine. I believe batteries suffer the most from excessive heat. You might try replacing yours and see if it helps. Some electronic devices sense temperature and shut down to protect themselves (and maybe you) when they start to cook. I don't know if any GPS receivers do that.

    I don't leave mine sitting in the sun or in a hot car any more. I recently measured the surface temperature of my car's dashboard at 201 degrees after a day in the parking lot at 104 ambient. Burgers anyone?

    BRF
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  8. RiverRat

    RiverRat Endless Chores

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    Yes, my 478, 60C, and Motorola phone all quit when left in direct sunlight (AZ).
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  9. foxj

    foxj Adventurer

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    haven't had the bad luck to fry my gps by leaving it on the dash. But did have that problem with my radar detector -- every expensive one. I routinely remove my gps and my radar detector from my car window & put them on the seat or floor of the car to get them out of the direct sun. Haven't measured the temp on the dash in sunlight but know it gets pretty hot. Now I often leave my radar detector on my bike's dash and my gps stays attached to the top of my triple clamp, both sitting in the sun. Since they are out in the open they don't heat up anywhere near as much as the closed confines of my car. So far no problems with those on the bike.

    Foxy:1drink
    #9
  10. gweaver

    gweaver NorCal is Best Cal!

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    Hmmm...from the sounds of things, it looks like it might be heat related. To respond to an earlier comment- yes, I was comfortable in the car, but the GPS was sitting in the sun, on the dash. A/C was on, but blowing from the panel, so there was little, if any, air circulation on the dash.

    Being that this appears heat related, I guess I need to start looking at ways to either shield it from direct sunlight or increase air circulation. I was thinking about re-making the shield, but with a layer of foam-core board under the shield, as an insulator. It'll add a little bulk, but if it reduces heat issues, so be it.

    I may give Garmin a call too. Unit is well out of warranty, but maybe their repair rates are reasonable. Can't hurt.

    thanks to all those who chimed in with suggestions.

    Greg
    #10
  11. RiverRat

    RiverRat Endless Chores

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    You could paint the thing white :evil
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  12. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    The x76/78 line was designed to work on boats - which have open cockpits, direct sun, etc. The operating paramaters are pretty wide from a temp perspective.

    I wouldn't rule out heat, but I would also look at other problems, like batteries and power drops.

    I'd be looking to see if I had the battery alert turned on for power drops to see if you were having power problems, and I'd also think about replacing the internal battery. Someone recently was posting about how their unit was wonky, and it ultimately was tied back to an internal battery going bad.
    #12