Making a Garmin 4-pin to Powerlet cord for under $20

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by mattmus4357, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. mattmus4357

    mattmus4357 Been here awhile

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    I've been looking for a short 4-pin to Powerlet cord for some time for my Garmin 78. I really didn't feel like a power cord should cost $30 or more, and I really didn't want one that was too long.

    I found a Garmin 4-pin AC adapter from Adorama for $4.95 with free shipping. I didn't measure, but it's definitely longer than 4' so you can make it a length that works for your application.

    http://www.adorama.com/GPGAC4P60CSX.html

    I purchased the Powerlet plug off ebay for $13.95, again with free shipping.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Powerlet-Deluxe-Plug-PPL-002-/160513647931

    [​IMG]

    Figure out how long you want your cable and cut it to length. When you strip off the outer sleeve, the ground wires are wound around the positive cable. Strip the positive cable and twist them together.

    [​IMG]

    I don't have a picture of it, but I soldered the stripped ends of both the positive and negative cables. I also don't have any pictures of the Powerlet plug taken apart, but it's super simple and has great instructions.

    [​IMG]

    You end up with a cable that's the perfect length for your specific setup. Mine has about an inch of slack when the bars are turned to the stops.

    [​IMG]

    That's it! Now go make your own and save yourself some money!
    #1
  2. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Well done. That's a good price for a cable/plug.

    I sure wish PFranc was still selling Garmin 4 pin plugs. I had one left and made this cable for my 78:

    [​IMG]

    Only difference is I wanted the molded SAE plug on the end.
    #2
  3. mattmus4357

    mattmus4357 Been here awhile

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    I wish they were too. I searched for a few days trying to find any leftovers with no luck.
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  4. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    I found a serial to 4 pin Garmin cable today and cut it to see if I could use it to power the 78, as I like having spare cables. Doesn't look like it'll work though, as there doesn't seem to be a ground lead. There is a foil shield around the cables but it's not wired to ground. It does have a power wire, but no way to connect to what should be the ground connector in the plug.

    Oh well...
    #4
  5. Attico

    Attico Wrong way 'round

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    I useda similar serial data connector to power my 60csx. Thereis a ground for sure.




    #5
  6. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Then your cable is different. Mine only has 3 wires coming out of it. A white, a black and a yellow wire. Looks to me like the power wire should be red, and so perhaps there's a ground, but no power wire. Either way, it's useless to me as a power cable.
    #6
  7. mattmus4357

    mattmus4357 Been here awhile

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    My positive wire was white. I would imagine one of those is the ground. Might be worth breaking out the multimeter and testing it.
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  8. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    It's been a few years, but I bought a couple of cigarette lighter to Garmin 4 pin cables for what I think was $6 each. I suspect they were from GPS City.

    I acutally cut the cigarette lighter adapter off and wired the connector directly to my battery.
    #8
  9. mattmus4357

    mattmus4357 Been here awhile

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    Looks like they're around $13 now if this is what you're referring to

    http://www.gpscity.com/garmin-cigarette-lighter-adapter.html
    #9
  10. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    I was using a multimeter. Checking for continuity, I found nothing on one of the connectors, the power pin.

    The pic below is my working cable with a bent paper clip in the power slot.

    [​IMG]

    The hole directly across is the ground and that one is wired.

    I just noticed the Pfranc connector has polarity indicators molded right in. Sure is a shame nobody's taken over producing those since Larry died.

    Sent using strings and tin cans and Tapatalk.
    #10
  11. mattmus4357

    mattmus4357 Been here awhile

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    That's interesting. I guess it really won't work.

    I would gladly take over producing them if I knew who to talk to about it and where to start.
    #11
  12. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Probably not much of a business, if you read here. When you only sell a couple of plugs a month, as Larry Berg (PFranc) said he was selling back in 2011, you probably don't want to be sinking too much cash into the project.
    #12
  13. mouthfulloflake

    mouthfulloflake Not afraid

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    there are wires in the 4 pin connector for the audio out also, on capable units.

    that might explain why you guys are stymied by the pinout.

    I hacked the one from my street pilot 3 and cut the speaker/cig pplug off of the end and wired straight to my battery.

    it also works on my 60csx
    #13
  14. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    We're not "stymied by the pinout". It's possible that your cable had audio wires but what I was trying to use was an older serial cable which had no wire connected to the power pin on the plug.
    #14
  15. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    I did a similar thing when I was running a GPSMap 60C, but instead of powerlet, I added insulated spade connectors with corresponding (fused) wires to the battery, so that my power sockets could stay free. I do this will all of my GPS power cords and cradles so that I can swap out one unit for another.
    #15
  16. mouthfulloflake

    mouthfulloflake Not afraid

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    In retrospect, the audio was a separate connector, but ran inside the same cable sheath, so yeah you obviously had some sort of an odd ball cable.

    It would be quite difficult to power a device with NO WIRE on the pin it uses for primary power.
    #16
  17. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    SAE ends are much better than spade connectors, especially since you then have a place to plug in your Battery Tender.

    [​IMG]
    #17