changing a sat nav battery


Recently, i noticed the battery in my Garmin Nuvi 610 sat nav was dying, or almost dead. It had a life of about 30 seconds if it wasn’t plugged in to the car charger…

I’ve had it for 3 years now, so that’s not surprising, the battery should only last about 2 years before dying. I rarely use the sat nav outside of the car but i do find it very frustrating when i need to plan a trip and i have to physically go out to the car and charge the sat nav to figure out trip details. So i needed a new battery…

Officially, Garmin say;

The nuvi 600 series do not have user replaceable batteries. These units must be sent in to a Garmin approved repair facilities if a battery issue arises.

But i see that as a challenge 😉 My sat nav ‘must’ be sent to Garmin for a new battery… “we’ll see about that” i said to myself and off i went googling ‘how to replace a Garmin Nuvi 610 battery’. Garmin charge $99 to change a battery plus you’ll be without your device for a while so it’s not an ideal ‘solution’.

Within minutes i came across this video, watched it and said to myself “i can do that”. So i saved the video, went to ebay and ordered a higher capacity battery from Hong Kong for €7 including delivery.

It arrived yesterday and i set about installing it.

Dismantling a sat nav

Underneath the fancy exterior it’s rather disappointing when you get a peak inside of a sat nav… just a circuit board with a few wires and stuff. After i prised the thing open and had everything the way i wanted it, i discovered that i couldn’t get the original battery out – it was almost welded in place. Eventually i discovered it was glued in place with sticky stuff on the back of the battery… once i got the old battery out i was eager to connect the new one up and see if it worked.

So i connected the new battery to the ‘motherboard’ and pressed the ‘on’ button – with the device still split in to several pieces (i didn’t want to put it all back together only to find the new battery didn’t work.) Sure enough, the power came on and the device stayed powered on for longer than 30 seconds…. happy days – or so i thought. I put everything back together (loads of screws and a spring or two combined with brute force) and happened to touch the screen to change some settings….

No response. It was powered on, but the touch screen wasn’t responding. Houston, we had a problem. I had been fairly careful taking everything apart – i knew i hadn’t snapped any wires or done any damage to the circuit board so it was a bit of a mystery.

Upon taking the thing apart, again, i spent a good hour or more looking at what was connected to what – making sure everything was in order. It turned out the wire which connected the touch screen to the motherboard was a bit loose and sure enough after a bit of fiddling around, i got it secured and the touch screen started working. Success.

I beat Garmin

First of all, ALL batteries in any device should be easy to swap & replace. It’s one of the problems with iphones too – when your battery dies (and it will if you’re a hardcore user), it’s hassle to get it changed. It can’t just be swapped out for another one like sim card. Lets face it, all batteries suck and they deteriorate the more we use them. It’s all downhill with battery life from the moment you power up your device for the first time.

Companies like Garmin probably deliberately make batteries non ‘user replaceable’ to (a) make money from installing new batteries themselves (b) discourage users from getting old stuff replaced / fixed and instead encourage them to buy newer models… Garmin don’t want me hanging on to a sat nav for 10 years, they want me upgrading as much as possible.

Confidence the key to DIY

Up until i seen a video on youtube about how to replace a battery in a sat nav, i hadn’t a clue what was involved. I was as clueless are you are. However, i had the confidence to DIY. I felt all i had to do was unscrew a few screws, lift a few things up and replace the old battery with the new one, then screw stuff back together – easy.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Skoropada

Now it was a little harder than that and i did run in to a problem with the touch screen not working but in a nutshell that’s all i did – unscrew stuff and pop things in / out of place. You don’t need to be an electrician or a Garmin approved battery changer to do this stuff – any idiot can do it. Follow a few steps in a video tutorial, buy the right battery on ebay and you’ve just saved yourself (a) about $90 (b) having to send your unit away for repair for days/weeks.

The same can be applied to almost any IT device out there… if it’s broke, you can probably fix it yourself if you know how to use a screwdriver and what part to replace… the only thing stopping you is a lack of time, patience, or ignorance. A combination of all three perhaps. I suppose it boils down to attitude – if you believe you can do something, you’re more likely to try & ultimately succeed at it. Don’t think you can do something and you’re not even going to try.

3 thoughts on “changing a sat nav battery”

  1. same problem with binatone x430… but i cant find anywhere that sells the battery, binatone say send it back, we will fit it for £40 but they wont sell me the battery that i can fit myself

  2. A butter knife will split the case open. The lugs shouldn’t crack or break. Need a Torx 5 screwdriver: 99p from eBay. Batteries are £7 from UK sellers.

    I changed my 3-year-old battery. Shockingly-short life, by design. The replacement didn’t work so I’m sending it back and just running the satnav off the cigarette lighter. Even my computer USB won’t charge it. Disgraceful inbuilt obsolescence! 18th July 2013.

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