Garmin Nuvi USB Power Cable Demystified

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by Shov3BR, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

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    [​IMG]
    3BR Powersports Garmin Nuvi USB Power Cable

    There's lots of confusion about powering the Garmin Nuvi GPS using a standard USB Cable so we thought we'd shed some light on the subject.

    When a Garmin Nuvi is plugged into a USB Port with a standard USB cable, it is expecting data, i.e. it is looking for map updates or other data. It will charge slowly but not go into navigate mode. Yes, you can play some on/off button tricks to get it into charge mode but it still won't navigate.

    The Garmin supplied cable that plugs into a cigarette lighter has a 5VDC regulator built in and some circuitry that causes the Nuvi to go into charge mode while navigating. This circuitry is similar to the USB OTG technology used on the old Motorola RAZR phones that allowed them to charge from a USB Port without getting the message, "Unauthorized Charger".

    The secret is in the 5th pin of a USB Micro B connector. A standard USB A cable has 4 pins and 4 wires. The 5th pin on the Micro B connector is not connected to a wire and thus does not go back to the plug end (USB A). It connects with internal circuitry that powers up a signal that tells the processor that it's not in data mode.

    With some Garmin secret sauce, lots of patience and skill with a magnifying glass, razor knife and soldering iron, a USB A to USB Micro B cable can be modified to charge the Nuvi.

    However, there is a much easier way. 3BR Powersports has Garmin Nuvi Charging cables with the magic already molded in. They are available in convenient powersports vehicle lengths of 9", 12" and 18".

    In addition, they are available with and without our Patented TAPP CAPP and PANEL CAPP for use with our TAPP Lite and PANEL TAPP USB power ports:




    [​IMG]
    PANEL TAPP Weatherproof USB panel mount power port with PANEL CAPPed USB Cable


    [​IMG]
    TAPP Lite weatherproof USB Power Port with TAPP CAPPED Garmin Nuvi Charging Cable and Garmin Nuvi GPS

    Visit our web site http://www.3brpowersports.com/products_usb_cables.htm for more info and pricing.
    #1
  2. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

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    We have been experimenting with the Garmin Oregon GPS to see how it reacts to being powered with the 3BR Powersports Nuvi Power Cable described above.
    We are pleased to report that it powers up and navigates just fine which allows it to be used on long rides without having to worry about running out of battery power.
    When the Oregon is plugged into a USB power port using this cable the "External Power" icon shows up on the main screen jsut above the satellite status icon (see below)

    [​IMG]

    Needless to say, the batteries will not charge since there is no charging circuit inside the Oregon. Also, plugging a USB cable into the Oregon eliminates the weatherproofing. We made some mods that provide weatherproofing when the USB cable is plugged in. They can be found here:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15580881&postcount=414
    It is important to remember that the 3BR Powersports Nuvi Power Cable is for power only and cannot be used for data transfer. The data lines are not connected internally.
    #2
  3. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

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    #3
  4. AtLarge

    AtLarge Been here awhile

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    Free bump for a great product and excellent customer service. :clap
    #4
  5. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

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    Thanks for the bump! Much appreciated.
    -Shov
    #5
  6. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    I just tried to buy a cable but Google checkout said shipping was not available to my area (Canada). Is there no way I can buy one?
    #6
  7. TO Scootz

    TO Scootz Adventurer

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    I bought one from Pashnit for 21.95 plus $3 shipping, all US dollars (the little ones). The website is www.pashnitMoto.com.
    When I bought it I expected to be billed a bit more for Canadian shipping, but they shipped it for the U.S. shipping amount. Took about ten days to turn up in my mailbox.:clap
    #7
  8. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Thanks, I'll give that a try....

    That web site seriously needs a search window. Had to do an external Google search but eventually found 3br cables there and managed to order one.

    Thanks again for the tip.
    #8
  9. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

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    We have just signed a new webmaster and hope to get some much needed website upgrades. We have a few new TAPP Lite versions sthat don't even show up on the site. Another is to get some other checkout besides Google since Google doesn't handle international orders. We do have a method for international that uses PayPal Invoice. It works pretty slick but takes extra steps to complete.
    http://www.3brpowersports.com/international.htm
    -Shov
    #9
  10. TO Scootz

    TO Scootz Adventurer

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    Here you are guys, your first gripe about your product.:eek1 Actually, it's not a gripe about the product, which is good, just it's functionality under what must be a fairly common condition. I have a Garmin Nuvi 550 mounted to my Strom in a RAM Nuvi bracket. It sits on the brake reservoir (so what). Attaching the power cable is no problem, it goes in easy and is very firmly in position. The problem is removing the power cable. The RAM mount, if you haven't seen one, has a raised flange on two sides of the USB port, top and inner side. This makes it impossible to get a grip on the mini USB fitting and it takes a lot of tugging, cussing, pulling, cussing, and yanking (and cussing) to get it to come loose. It took about two and a half months of use before the mini USB part started to get loose in the plastic fitting and lose the connection. (I figure it was all the cussing that did it in.:evil) RAM mount owners could use either a straight fitting or some kind of "grippy thingy" moulded or attached to the 90 degree mini USB fitting. I plan on buying another of your cables and coming up with my own mini-handle for the Nuvi cable.
    #10
  11. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

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    To Scootz - we couldn't agree more. The Nuvi 550 Ram cradle is our second least favorite of the RAM cradles. That lip around the cable socket makes it next to impossible to get the cable out.
    Have you tried to remove the 550 with the cable still installed? The top side of the lip is pretty close to the cable but it might clear.
    This what we do with our least favorite cradle - the RAM Nuvi 1250. This sucker doesn't even have an opening at the bottom or side that allows the cable to be removed with the GPS. We modified the cradle by cutting a slot in the bottom and then glueing some ABS strips from the base channel to the back plate. Butt ugly but at least we can get the GPS out without removing the cable.
    BTW- good idea with the pull tab. Maybe we could make a diecut piece that would go over the metal part of the plug and trail out over the rubber part. Hmmm... food for thought.
    -Shov
    #11
  12. Urbandrag

    Urbandrag KLiM Beotch!

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    Hi there,

    Just sent you a PM because I'm interested in purchasing a couple of your USB power cables...
    Did you get them?

    LMK.

    Thanks!
    #12
  13. gspdbill

    gspdbill noobie allover again

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    For now all I want is a USB cable to plug into a Garmin Nuvi 2350 that connects directly to the battery. Does this cable exist? The closest I've found so far is the Garmin USB power Cable 010-11131-10 but it says it's only compatible with the GTU-10. Does it not function with the Nuvi's?

    Does anybody make such a cable? I would like to perminately install the cable and don't want to use a BMW power plug to 12v cig lighter adapter and then plug in the Garmin Auto/Cig. power cable, that's just nuts.

    I will eventually buy a motorcycle specific GPS but not now, the Nuvi will have to do.

    I've now submitted this question to Garmin Support also, hopefully they'll have an answer.
    #13
  14. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    This is what you need: it's $24 at GPSCity.

    [​IMG]

    Click the image to go to the GPSCity site.
    #14
  15. Shov3BR

    Shov3BR Tinkerer

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    The only downside to that direct wired cable is the USB plug that goes into the Nuvi. They are notoriusly wimpy and if it fails you have to replace the whole cable with it's built in regulator.

    Let me toot our horn here a bit - If you go with our TAPP Lite All-weather power port and GPS cable you get about the same set up but with a replaceable cable. And... you have a handy USB power port for charging your cell phone or other USB device.
    The downside is that it's a bit more costly, but compared to most other motorcycle accessories, it's still mice-nuts and you have more functionalilty.
    Both are available from GPS City.
    http://www.gpscity.com/3br-powersports-tapp-lite-usb-power-port-with-mount-saddle.html
    http://www.gpscity.com/3br-powersports-garmin-usb-to-miniusb-power-cable-9-inches.html (9" cable)
    12" & 18" cables are available as well.
    #15
  16. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Agreed! We have one of these cables on my wife's F650GS and it's held up better than the Garmin cables which preceded the 3br. Also, the fact that it's a standard usb socket on the end means when we need to charge an iPhone, it works.

    Definitely more versatile than the Garmin cable.

    Thanks for the reminder.
    #16
  17. southwade

    southwade ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    Thread bump... just ordered a set-up for my bike.
    #17
  18. dentedvw

    dentedvw Where did I put that

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    I was using an off the shelf cable, and it would continuously do that data mode switching. Very annoying. Also, it seems to have trouble keeping cables in. Is there a possibility that this one will fit better than others?
    #18
  19. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT wannabe

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    how did you order? there doesnt seem to be a website anymore.
    #19
  20. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    GPSCity.com stocks the 3BR cables.

    Look a few posts back and you'll find the GPSCity links.

    Sent using strings and tin cans and Tapatalk.
    #20