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Garmin Battery Opinion

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Garmin Battery Opinion

Old 06-14-19, 06:31 AM
  #1  
firebird854
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Garmin Battery Opinion

So, I have a ride coming up Saturday, it's Wisconsin's Horribly Hilly Hundred, this is the route. I have not done this ride before, and wanted some opinions on how I should use my Garmin 820 Edge. As I see it, I have two options:
  1. Electric tape a power brick to my top tube and connect a USB charging cable from it to the Garmin, load the entire route, and have have no problem following directions, having bluetooth on, high resolution tracking, backlight at full blast.
  2. Use whatever powersaving modes I can, no backlight, auto shutoff, no bluetooth, no route (hope the signage is good enough and I can find enough other riders to follow) and just record.
Little background, I've had this 820 Edge for over a year, the battery is not great, it's perfectly fine routing, gps, and doing all the fun stuff for around 4-5 hours, if following a route it will drain itself by about hour 5 (less if it's chilly). In the total powersave mode, I've easily gotten 7 hours of juice in the past and I figure this ride will likely be in the 7-8hr range. The problem is, I really don't want to get lost and I love having all the settings on maximum (backlight, recording intervals, gps quality, etc.) and have done the powerbrick connection before, the only issue is this:

It's going to rain :'( so, if I were to electric tape everything together, do you think it'd be pretty waterproof? Would you personally just record, follow other people, and assume the signage will be alright (they've been doing this ride annually for years)? I'm just looking for some opinions and maybe other ideas.

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-19, 07:16 AM
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You're going to want to have an external battery hooked up, for sure. An Edge 820 with nav on might get you 6 hours. So here's my recommendation. The night before, attach a micro USB cable, and blob all around the port with this:



Even easier to waterproof the battery. Just put it in a baggy, or run a cable long enough to put it in a saddlebag or similar.

After the ride, the liquid electrical tape can just be peeled off.
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Old 06-14-19, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
You're going to want to have an external battery hooked up, for sure. An Edge 820 with nav on might get you 6 hours. So here's my recommendation. The night before, attach a micro USB cable, and blob all around the port with this:

Even easier to waterproof the battery. Just put it in a baggy, or run a cable long enough to put it in a saddlebag or similar.

After the ride, the liquid electrical tape can just be peeled off.
Huh, that's a really good idea, thank you!
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Old 06-14-19, 08:57 AM
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Strange, on the last century I did I ran GPS and my battery of my 820 lasted the whole time. I was actually impressed (about 7.5 hours).

I think that @firebird854 has the right idea.
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Old 06-14-19, 09:20 AM
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I'd just memorize the route. It's not hard. https://bigthink.com/gps-bad-brain-effect
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Old 06-14-19, 10:12 AM
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firebird854
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Originally Posted by Yendor72 View Post
Strange, on the last century I did I ran GPS and my battery of my 820 lasted the whole time. I was actually impressed (about 7.5 hours).

I think that @firebird854 has the right idea.
Which idea is the right idea? follow others, use signage, and hope that with most of the battery saving options turned on my 820 edge lasts the whole time or try to come up with a crazy water proofed charging solution?
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Old 06-14-19, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by firebird854 View Post
Which idea is the right idea? follow others, use signage, and hope that with most of the battery saving options turned on my 820 edge lasts the whole time or try to come up with a crazy water proofed charging solution?
All of them!!

The waterproofed charging solution. I am not always a big fan of following the signage, on long routes.
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Old 06-14-19, 11:12 AM
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Signage is usually pretty good on these things. Is the point to not get lost, out to not think/worry about routefinding?

Use the external battery either way.
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Old 06-14-19, 11:15 AM
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Four hour battery on the 820 makes me question whether the firmware is up to date.

https://www.bikeforums.net/electroni...e-updates.html


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Old 06-14-19, 11:19 AM
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Is battery life a big issue on the 820? I have a 520+ and battery life is well over 12 hours, as long as the backlight is off.
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Old 06-14-19, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Is battery life a big issue on the 820? I have a 520+ and battery life is well over 12 hours, as long as the backlight is off.
It was an issue.

4 to 5 hours was typical and Garmin's battery save feature simply turned off the display. Who rides around with their GPS display off? How do you know your heart rate while climbing? It was dumb. As an aside, Rainmaker called it a "nifty feature."

Anyway, a firmware update may have corrected this issue. A friend of mine has one and I asked specifically about battery life. He said he has no problem and that he has run it as long as 9 to 10 hours without a problem. His was purchased more recently and he says his firmware is the latest.


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Old 06-14-19, 12:05 PM
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Maybe the 820 does have worse battery life. I just rode with someone using the 820 while I had my 520. Both had backlights turned off. Mine had navigation on a route while his was just recording. If anything, I had more sensors turned on. His was almost dead at about 6 hours, mine was down to 35%.

Of course, without a full run-down of the batteries, those percentages may not be accurate, but he had an external battery, which I assume means from experience he's needed on long days. I've not run out yet when my 520 has been on for up to 10 hours.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:45 PM
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I am completing an 1800 mile tour of Italy and France. My days have not been as long as 100 miles but I did not run out of battery once. On the longest days, I made sure I turn the power off at all stops. I would also use it in the battery save mode when I really didn’t need guidance. It is easy to turn on the screen for a quick look in the save mode. Finally as already suggested, bring a power core type charger and use it if you have downtime as an insurance.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:52 PM
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The battery capacity on the Garmins tends to degrade quite rapidly-- after maybe 50 charge cycles, the battery will be at maybe 75-80% of its original capacity. After 100+ cycles, it's often 50% or less.

Add in the fact that GPS about doubles battery consumption, and an external pack becomes mandatory for any unit approaching it's second birthday-- unless it has been used sporadically.

With backlight off, GPS on smart, and no NAV running, my 2+ year old 520 will just squeeze out 6 hours. When it was young, ~7 hours while running NAV was pushing it. It really is a tiny battery.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:55 PM
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Just an aside on the firmware suggestion, currently I'm a bit against upgrading. I had planned a long route (156miles) recently (literally 2 weeks ago) and through the process of uploading the route through Garmin Connect's desktop application it had upgraded the firmware to the latest and greatest version. Then, for whatever reason, when I tried accessing the route the device immediately froze, after the first freeze, every time I powered it on it froze after about a minute and became entirely unresponsive unless I held the power button down for at least 20 seconds. To remedy this, I first plugged it into my computer, and, within the minute of it not being frozen, I rummaged through it's system files and deleted all of my historical activities and all courses, thinking perhaps the new course kept trying to load into memory, freezing it.

This did not fix the issue. So, I deleted the "new" (as of about 2 weeks ago) firmware and manually installed one from a few months prior that I grabbed from the internet. This fixed the issue, I was also able to successfully load the course and ride as I pleased. This is why I'm kinda against a firmware upgrade for a bit...

I've discussed this with a few people IRL who've done the ride, apparently there are many people participating and the signage is quite good (however there were a couple of cases of people getting lost...) so now I'm considering simply packing some electrical tape, a small external battery, and a cord. My thought process is I can turn off bluetooth and backlight, use the device only to record, follow the other riders and signs, and only charge if necessary or if I do find myself getting lost (in which case I can load the route and nav to it).

Any thoughts on this wise people of BF?
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Old 06-14-19, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Signage is usually pretty good on these things. Is the point to not get lost, out to not think/worry about routefinding?

Use the external battery either way.
Except when the sign gets blown over. I was with a group that nearly went the wrong way on a 100km ride because the sign was lying on the ground. Fortunately I had the route loaded into a cheap phone so I was expecting the turn and I was able to call out to the group.

Or there is no sign at all. Another ride saw most of the field take a 10km detour due to a missing turn off sign.
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Old 06-14-19, 04:00 PM
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I would leave the house with it already connected to a battery pack. Even one of the lipstick-sized 3,300mah batteries will keep a 520/820 running for 24+ hours with NAV on. And you'll have absolutely no worries about it, much preferable to nervously watching the battery display all day.

I don't rely on signage even when riding in areas I'm already familiar with. I've pre-ridden organized ride routes that have had incorrectly placed turn arrows. This is what cycling NAV units are built for.
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Old 06-14-19, 07:05 PM
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I bought my Edge 800 about 10 years ago. It'll still go almost 10 hours while doing turn-by-turn on a course and the 820 is supposed to have longer life. I don't use Bluetooth or have a PM, just an ANT+ HRM. I have the backlight turned down about 2/3 and its timeout set to 30 seconds, data recording set to Smart. I only plug in a battery for ride of 150 miles or so.
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Old 06-14-19, 08:35 PM
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It's the 100% backlight thats killing it. 30% is OK. Turn off routing and follow a breadcrumb.
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