How to make your Garmin last 30 plus hours…

A few weekends ago I was caught out on a run when my new Garmin Forerunner 610 ran out of batteries 4:20 into my run.  I had a feeling it was going to happen as it had beeped ‘Battery Low‘ a few times.  I ended up having to guess how far I had to go and was a little annoyed my full 4:30 / 24 mile run had not been fully captured.  But nevermind.

The Garmin 610 (and 405) boasts a battery life of 8 hours in training mode, but I tend to only get 6 hours at the most.

I noticed this most when we were in San Francisco and I’d leave my Garmin 405 on all day just to track where we went.  It always only recorded 6 hours at the most.  😦

The battery life seems to depend on what options you have set as various things can drain the battery, things like (on the 610) having:

  • The mile split alerts going off.
  • The mile split vibrations going off.
  • The backlight turned on for any longer than the minimum time (8 seconds).
  • Using the watch: pressing the screen (on the 610) or the wheel (on the 405).

I’ve found that a reboot usually helps too.  So, if you’ve experienced an episode when you’re Garmin’s battery life under performs, try a reboot and it should last for longer the next time you try to record an activity with it.

However if you’re willing to spend a few pounds, there are a few ways you can extend the battery life of your Garmin:

1. External Power Pack : £69.99 (plus £2.49 P&P)  from Garmin.co.uk.

It’s a bit of a steep price, but you do seem to get a lot with the External Power Pack:

  • External power pack with permanent mini USB connection.
  • Folding solarmonkey solar panel.
  • Female USB2 connector.
  • Female mini USB to 3.5 x 1.1 convertor tip.
  • Velcro strap to attach solar panel to rucksack, tent, etc.
  • Bike bracket with Velcro strap.
  • Universal mains charger.

I had thought about getting it for my Christmas from some nice person … but then another solution was suggested to me.  🙂

John Kynaston suggested this combination to make your Garmin last longer.  His solution is for a Garmin 305, however my Garmin (610) needed a USB charger…so I had to find one to suit it.

Here’s what I found for my Garmin 610 or 405:

2.  Duracell PPS2 Instant USB Charger – 1150mAh – £17.99.
I bought mine from ebay for £15.49 including postage, but you can get it from Amazon for £17.99 too.

Make sure you get the Instant one and not the Pocket one as the pocket one doesn’t have an outlet for the normal USB connector which you will use to charge the Garmin.

You will charge your Garmin from the Instant USB charger just the same way you would from the mains – with the charging cradle you got with the Garmin.  Or you can buy a spare charging cradle from Garmin.co.uk for £18.99 (incl P&P) like I did.  🙂

So all in all, the extra battery charging apparatus I got cost me just £34.48!  😀

And I didn’t really need to buy an extra charging cable, but it means I can leave my cable for charging my Garmin in one place without having to unplug it all the time.  😀

Thank you Santa (Ross – my big brother :-D)!

I’ll hold the battery pack in a nike arm band I have, and run the USB charging cable down to my Garmin.  The charging cable connects to the Garmin by magnets, so it should stay in place well.

That should do me for running the (10-12 hours?) of the Highland Fling and all of the training runs leading up to it!

 

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14 Responses to How to make your Garmin last 30 plus hours…

  1. Pingback: My Gadgets | Lorn Pearson Trains…

  2. Keith H says:

    Did you find any info/way to tune the GPS tracking to make the battery last longer? I’m not too keen on carrying a cable and external battery widget on an 8 hr trail run. But thanks for putting up what you found that works for you…

  3. Larry says:

    Thanks for the extremely useful info. My battery life has not been great and I’ve been worried it would not get me through a 4:30 or above marathon. I not only use all of the draining bells and whistles you list above–I also use the run-walk-run monitor (run 5 min; walk 45,sec), and I keep the light on continuously when I run at night. How much of a battery life improvement (how many minutes) did you see after rebooting? Do you have to continually reboot? Is there a way to turn off the audible beeper alerts for lap distance and/or the walk-run-walk alerts but still keep their respective vibration alerts working? I think it’s either both or none but maybe I’m wrong?

    • lornpearson says:

      Hi Larry… i didnt fell comfortable trying to get as much out of the battery as it would sometimes last longer, sometimes not. Hence the reason I got the battery pack.

  4. Jon Douglas says:

    Did your solution of connecting the Forerunner 610 to the battery pack while running actually work? My impression was that the 610 did not function in activity mode while it was simultaneously charging. In other words, you have to stop the activity (running) on the 610 to charge it. Also, even if it worked, it would seem that the (relatively) bulky charging cradle would be uncomfortable between your wrist and the 610.

    • lornpearson says:

      Hi John it did work. The activity can continue, although the scree shows charging so you can’t see what you’d normally see (stats) unless you flick the power from the battery pack off. I found the pack and the wire ok. It’s slim and I fitted it either under a long sleeve compression top on my forearm or under a sweat band which did the job. Worked for me.

  5. Pingback: My 3,000th post | Lorn Pearson Trains…

  6. Alana Kelly says:

    just wanted to say thanks for this blog. I have just come across it while looking on how to extend my Garmin 610. Glad someone asked about, if it would still track while charging. very usefull

  7. Ailsa says:

    I had wondered if this would work! I’m giving it a try tomorrow. Running between 11 and 12 hours in the Comrades Marathon next Sunday and I’ve come to rely heavily on the reported pace per lap!

  8. Sarah says:

    Hi Lorn

    Just wanted to thank you for the tip about the Duracell charger, it worked a treat on my first Ultra on Daturday, the Thames Path Challenge, really grateful to you, Sarah x

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