Garmin eTrex 20 - External Power Source. (A Few Pics) - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-11-2013, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Garmin eTrex 20 - External Power Source. (A Few Pics)

I feel VERY self-conscious about posting a "tech thread" in this forum. The reason for this is, I am just not a "techy" kind of a guy. I am a person who has a difficult time bringing, the two halves together to make a zipper work. Understand?

However, what I will share below, has been inspired by this thread: https://www.stromtrooper.com/techy-wo...armin-usb.html

The first and only GPS that I have ever owned was a, Mio C-520. The reason that I bought a GPS was,.....um....... I got lost in the Maine woods, on my 2007 DL-650 V-Strom. The result of that was, I bailed out of the woods, hit the pavement, and made my way to the nearest Best Buy store to purchase a GPS. This was back in the Fall of 2007.

Yes, A LOT has changed since then!

Back then, as I looked at the current line up of GPS units, displayed at Best Buy, the only GPS that showed, what my family members and I call, "The Big Pond", was the Mio C-520. (The "Big Pond" is a manmade pond that is located on the property that I grew up on, in Northern New Jersey.). I figure that, if a GPS showed the "Big Pond", then the, "World Was In The (literal) Palm Of My Hand!"

Unfortunately, I shook the literal shit out of that Mio, while riding the Route du Nord, back in 2009. (Google the RdN to learn about it.). I never replaced that GPS with another, because I pretty much knew, "where everything was", for the geographical area that I ride in.

It is now 2013. Electronics have changed. Digital maps have improved, and I now ride a 1993 KLR 650, (Hmmmm.......). I am also on the eve of leaving for Labrador on August 18th. I finally bought a new GPS! Money always seems to be an issue with me. More succinctly, LACK of money always seems to be an issue with me! The new GPS unit I settled on is a, Garmin eTrex 20. Why? Well....because L.L. Bean's home is here in Freeport, Maine. There is an Outlet Store located 15 miles away from me in, Ellsworth, Maine. The eTrex units they are selling there, are priced at the same prices, that I found online. The difference is, if I didn't like the unit, I could bring it back to L.L. Bean, with "No Questions Asked", (And, no shipping fee either!).

I chose a "handheld" unit because I hope to do some hiking in Labrador.

I purchased and downloaded for the unit, Eastern Canada Topo, Northeastern US Topo, and, North America City Navigator.

Some observations:

- If City Navigator is installed on the unit, it "trumps" the Topo maps and will override them. You have to "disable" City Nav to be able to see the Topo detail.

- If City Nav is enabled, and I am moving at about 50 mph, some of the detail, (streets), are omitted from the maps displayed on the eTrex 20. If I slow down, those streets show up.

Now to the point of this post! I didn't think that I could power the unit externally, but I discovered that I can!

Here is what I did, (Maybe this will help someone else.).

- In the Menu selection, I navigated to "Setup".


- Then, I navigated to "System".


- I scrolled down to the bottom of the menu and selected, "Garmin".


- I plugged a USB cable into the back of the eTrex, and into my desktop computer. When the below menu "popped up", I chose the menu selection, "No".


When I did this, the eTrex 20 displayed a map of where I lived, powered by an external source; the USB cable. That was pretty cool to me!

- Next, I unplugged the USB cable so that I could try this on my KLR. When I received the notification below, I selected, "Stay On".


- By making the above selection, the unit kept powered up by the two Lithium batteries installed inside the case. I could now walk outside, leaving the external power source behind, and to my KLR; with the unit "live" in my hand.

To make the proper "external power connection", between the eTrex 20 and my motorcycle, I had to:

- Set the "heel" of the eTrex into bottom portion of the RAM cradle I purchased for it.


- Next, I started the top portion of the unit, into the cradle, but stopped...... so that I could attach the USB cable to the back of the unit.


- If I attached the USB cable, to the unit, BEFORE starting it into the cradle, it just wouldn't go. Doing it this way, put a lot of stress on the eTrex and the RAM cradle mount.

- At this "halfway" point, I attached the USB cable to the port on the backside of the eTrex 20.


- I plugged the other end of the USB cable into the, two port, USB 12v adaptor I purchased at my local, Walmart. (Seen in the lower, right background.). The below notification is what I received when I connected the unit to external power, (Just like on my desktop computer.).


- By choosing, "No", I got the map screen! I was now powering the eTrex 20 by the KLR's battery, and not the "onboard" lithium batteries.


- When I unplugged the USB cable from the 12v outlet, the below image reflects what I saw.


I would like to note that, the USB cable that was supplied with the eTrex 20 GPS, has a short end to it. That end is on the right, the actual USB cable, that I plugged into the unit, is on the left. The long "body" to that particular connection is too tight of a fit inside of the RAM mount. The OEM cable is perfect, but its overall length is too short to make it to my 12v outlet. I have since found, (In my hatbox of tricks!), a USB cable that is long enough to make it from the eTrex to my 12v outlet, and whose cable end is short enough to fit between the back of the unit and the RAM mount.

I guess I am saying that, "I Am All Set"!

B.

BTW, these Griffin, 2 port USB 12v adaptors are great!!!

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"

Last edited by Black Lab; 08-11-2013 at 10:30 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-11-2013, 10:31 PM
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Nice job.

For those that need 5VDC power and don't want to go the USB cig lighter route, here is a cheap, simple solution that can basically be wired straight to the battery. A capacitor on the input and output would be nice, but really not needed for a GPS. Less than $2

LM2940T-5.0/NOPB Texas Instruments | Mouser

See http://whiskeytangohotel.com/gpi
to build your own V-Strom GPI and save, save, save!
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-11-2013, 10:35 PM
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I dunno where your lighter port is located, but electrical tape will keep water out of the USB adapter if it's susceptible.

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

This message and images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. http://creativecommons.org
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-11-2013, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltar View Post
Nice job.

For those that need 5VDC power and don't want to go the USB cig lighter route, here is a cheap, simple solution that can basically be wired straight to the battery. A capacitor on the input and output would be nice, but really not needed for a GPS. Less than $2

LM2940T-5.0/NOPB Texas Instruments | Mouser
Voltar, for us ignorant fools, you HAVE GOT to provide more information than that! How about a diagram? Some photos?

Come on! I am "nummer' than a box of rocks"; what the heck am I supposed to do with the electrical device that you posted?

B.

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-11-2013, 11:24 PM
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thanks a heap

I also have an eTrex20 (bought for hiking) - and its great to know tricks such as you posted.
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Lab View Post
Voltar, for us ignorant fools, you HAVE GOT to provide more information than that! How about a diagram? Some photos?
Can do. Here is the link to my Vstrom Gear Position kit. Scroll down to the schematic about mid way (the white on black wiring diagram). The hook up for the 5VDC power chip is in the lower right corner.

While you are at it, just go ahead and build the whole GPI kit!

See: WhiskeyTangoHotel.Com

See http://whiskeytangohotel.com/gpi
to build your own V-Strom GPI and save, save, save!
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltar View Post
Can do. Here is the link to my Vstrom Gear Position kit. Scroll down to the schematic about mid way (the white on black wiring diagram). The hook up for the 5VDC power chip is in the lower right corner.

While you are at it, just go ahead and build the whole GPI kit!

See: WhiskeyTangoHotel.Com
You electrical guys are absolutely insane! And, I mean that in the nicest possible way!

I know that this kind of stuff is a walk in the park for you, but, I look at it and my eyes cross!!!

Amazing!!!

Thank you for sharing this!

Barry

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi_outdoors View Post
I also have an eTrex20 (bought for hiking) - and its great to know tricks such as you posted.
I purchased mine primarily for hiking, but it WILL do dual purpose work. However, to rig mine up they way I have, you could buy a FEW Nuvi units!

Using rough numbers, I figure I now have about $475 sunk into this little unit! The price of the eTrex + Canadian (Eastern) Topo + US (Northeast) Topo + City Navigator North America + RAM eTrex cradle + RAM Handlebar Mount. It becomes a BIG Gulp when the numbers are all tallied up!

But, I like the unit off of the bike, and I like it on the bike too. My upcoming trip to Labrador will tell the real story about the choices I made.

B.

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 06:25 PM
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I have the original eTrex GPS (it's the one you saw in my WR video). If the 20 is anything like the original it is indestructible. I used it on my ATV to the point where my Ram mount vibrated and shook beyond the breaking point. I didn't realize it, but after it fell into the rocks my daughter found it, stopped, picked it up and brought it to me. I suspect I drove over it with my 500+lb ATV and it continued to work perfectly. I can't think of a better GPS for you and the KLR.


2019 BMW F750 GS, 2015 XT1200 ES, 2012 Yamaha XT250, 2013 Suzuki DR650
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 06:45 PM
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$$ sunk into eTrex

not so much $ sunk into the units (old and new eTrexs) , but $$ sunk into GPS mapping:

Topo! for CA, NV, UT, AZ, Yosemite (no longer works) and major National Parks, plus serial-USB modem for using my older eTrex with its serial on the USB port of my ACER netbook.
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