Survivability RAM mounts

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by PCK_4xCustoms, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. PCK_4xCustoms

    PCK_4xCustoms lost

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    How do your GPS units survive the vibration of rides?

    The specific units in question are the Garmin Etrex Legend, and GPSmap 76S


    Just got the RAM handlebar mount for the Etrex, which is mine and I havent had an opportunity to try it out yet.

    The 76S is my fathers and he's concerned that it will be damaged by the vibes and doesnt want to lose the investment in the unit.


    Bring on the new riding season!:clap
    #1
  2. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    Lots of tricks to keep things going;

    Hard wire if not mini USB
    fillers like foam to take-up the battery bounce.
    Lighter batteries

    but one common mistake I see a lot;

    Don't orient the ram arm vertical as it will amplify movement like a whip antenna! Use the shortest arm (they come in different lengths) and orient the arm 90 deg to the movement of the forks (and piston on a single).

    The big trick is keeping uninterrupted power, the units themselves are for the most-part very durable.

    Bruce
    #2
  3. Trander

    Trander PORTLY ADVENTURER

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  4. hansi

    hansi Teurer Abenteurer

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    I have a 76csx in a Ram cradle/shorty arm to handlebar on my Triumph Tiger 955i. Turned the cradle upside down, because I did not trust the lower tabs to be secure enough on real bouncy stuff (see pic) and always have the lanyard from the Garmin clipped to my handlebar. The 4-pin power connector is a must, since the USB connection is way to flimsy for any kind of riding. So far no issues even on washboard gravel. I do think the GPSmap 76 is a rather stout unit that can handle a lot of vibration and abuse.
    The TT mount is great, but it is not even lockable for $115!!

    Hope my opinion is useful.

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. gofast1320

    gofast1320 Been here awhile

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    What purpose does the dielectric grease on the battery terminals serve?
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  6. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    Deleted to remove misinformation.

    Bruce
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  7. GH41

    GH41 Been here awhile

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    This is quoted from wikipedia. I have used dielectric grease for years on many elecrical contacts without problems but I may quit after reading this. GH

    "Dielectric grease is a nonconductive grease. As such, it does not enhance the flow of electrical current. Dielectric grease is, however, often applied to electrical connectors, particularly those containing rubber gaskets, as a means of lubricating and sealing rubber portions of the connector.
    The widest use of dielectric grease is in high-voltage connections associated with spark plugs. The grease is applied to the rubber boot of the plug wire. This helps the rubber boot slide onto the ceramic insulator of the plug. The grease also acts to seal the rubber boot, while at the same time preventing the rubber from becoming stuck to the ceramic. Generally spark plugs are located in areas of high temperature, and the grease is formulated to withstand the temperature range expected.
    Another common use of dielectric grease is on the rubber mating surfaces or gaskets of multi-pin electrical connectors used in automotive and marine engines. The grease again acts as a lubricant and a sealant on the nonconductive mating surfaces of the connector. It is not recommended to be applied to the actual electrical conductive contacts of the connector because it could interfere with the electrical signals passing through the connector"
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  8. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    It serves to make you feel good while it damages the contacts

    Dielectric grease is of course an insulator. All forms of it that I know of are silicone grease. The electronics typically have bulk filter caps and inductors.
    So, the first issue is of course that the contact has to penetrate the grease to even work. Second, and the nastiest, if the contact does ever bounce, there is an arc when the contact breaks if there are inductors or when the batteries reconnect to the bulk cap. That arc causes the dielectric grease VAPORS from far away to form silicon dioxide. Basically, glass. So you have now damaged the contacts.
    Some switch manufacturers even warn that dielectric grease vapors can get into and damage sealed switches.

    Add to that the fact that it attracts dirt and the outgasing causes it to harden over time, and I wouldn't use it near anything on the bike except what is was made for. High voltage spark plug boots, period.

    A note from someone that has spent a lot of time repairing damage caused by dielectric grease.
    #8
  9. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    I have a couple of RAM mounts on the handlebars of all my bikes. I can mount phones, cameras, GPSs. I even put one on the car, so I can move things from vehicle to vehicle easily.

    My phone has been mounted in a RAM universal finger mount for easily over 100,000 miles. No vibration issues. I have a Garmin 276C in a RAM mount for probably close to 150,000 miles and no issues with the Garmin. Though after a few years the clip that holds the 276C did start to wear a lot on a 'pin' that holds in the GPS, letting it move around. I simply sanded the plastic mount at the holding points and smeared a little RTV rubber on it like a shock absorder. Once that set up, the GPS was solid again.
    #9
  10. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    I stand corrected and have edited my post. Thanks for the information.

    I have used it for years and had no issues while others who didn't use it experienced problems, and using it did make me feel good.

    The only GPS I have had fail in use was a 60CSx in a moderate rain, a result of a chassis gasket/seal failure which allowed moisture inside.

    Bruce
    #10
  11. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    The RAM mount with 60/76 is standard for thousands of Dual Sport riders who rack up 10s of thousands of miles in hard core dirt on theire GPS. Vibration on a morotcycle is not very severe (I designed space hardware) , shock is the real threat when riding on washboard or bad small rocks at speed. I had some (e-map, 76C) appearent vibration failures in the early years but none since the 76x came out.

    The one weak point is battery vibration. On all, use the new super light long life batteries or better yet no batteries and just hard wire it to bike battery. On 76 you can put electrical tape under battery and on cover until you just get the twist lock closed to pinch the batteries and keep them from moving.

    I believe the benefit of Dielectric grease is to keep oxigen (and even dirt) out of contacts. If there is any arcing and oxigen is present, oxides build up and eventually cause an failed connection.
    #11
  12. GH41

    GH41 Been here awhile

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    What should we use to protect electrical contacts??? The contacts on my Montana appear to be gold plated as a lot of contacts are. GH
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  13. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Continuing off topic (sorry):

    Then use a deoxidizer / lube like Caig Deoxit. Use a very small amount. Deoxit will actually break down the oxidization and reduce the contact resistance with age. And the lube keeps oxygen away.
    Years ago I had issues with load cell connectors that needed to be less then 0.008 ohms. In the humid states like Florida, they would fail. A little shot of Deoxit and they were cured and the cure appeared to be good for many many years.
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  14. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Good science over old wives tails!

    Actually on subject, vibration causes movement of spring loaded electrical connections, which may cause arc, which builds up oxides, which causes contact failure.
    #14