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A USB-Mini-B for charging and normal use...

Blue Flame 91 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
I just made a USB-A to USB-Mini-B cable, with the needed 18,000 (18K) OHMs resistor, on PinX to ground. And, It works!!!

(USB-A (Male) side that connects to the computer). USB-Mini-B (Male) side that connects to the Nuvi)

Background:
Some where I saw a post about making a special USB-Mini-B for charging. In this post, it was stated that it was possible to make a USB cable, that would put the Nuvi into the (a usable) standard power mode, like how the DC car cord dose (apposed to USB mass storage mode). This allows the use of any standard USB power source...

Notes:
This is an advanced project!!!
It is difficult to solder to this connector, as it it vary small!!!
A Microscope, or really good eyes, is required.
SMT soldering iron, vary low heat, as the HiRose connector melts easy.
Don't connect the Data lines (White/Green) Clip and insulate.
Make sure the SMT Resistor is not sticking up, and is going to short to the shell (solder it to the same place as the leads. Cut lead short enough to make room. Use capton tape, on the inside of the shell.)

Parts list (Digi-key):
USB-Mini-B HiRose connector, H2955-ND
USB-A Female to Male cable, USB V1.1 (AE9935-ND). Any standard extension cable, as long as it is not thicker than ~ 3/16th (0.1875in).
18K OHMS (183) 0603 SMT Resistor.
Heat shrink tubing.

Comments

  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Well I admire your determination! But for those who are looking for an easier way out, I got a USB auto charger kit at Radio Shack awhile ago which included a variety of different connectors (right-angled, straight, etc). It works great for powering/charging my Garmin units in the car and only cost about $20. The salesman was nice enough to take it out of the package and actually let me test it with my gps in the store to confirm it would work.
  • What GPS do u have?
    Do u plug in the USB cord and it runs as a GPS?
    RS Part number???
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    I have tried it with a Garmin Oregon, but am 98% sure it will work with the Nuvi's. When using another USB charger I already had, the Oregon went into Mass Storage mode. This seems pretty typical for all of Garmin's newer units.

    Yes, it connects to the GPS with a mini-USB plug. As I mentioned, there were a variety of different connectors in the package including straight and right-angled ones.

    Radio Shack part number 20-151, "Universal Car Charger". Cost ~$20. If you have any doubts, bring your Nuvi to Radio Shack and they will probably let you try it with the charger (which is in a re-sealable package).
  • Looks similar to their iGO series of wall adapters. There are various "tips" available and I used one for my Magellan.
  • Blue Flame 91 Points
    edited December 2008
    So, yes RS makes a car charger (20-151 ($20), and it dose put the Nuvi into NORMAL used mode. But to use it at home, you need a 12V PS ($40). RS has this too...

    But, apparently, not the USB cable to USB-Mini-B, with pin-x (what puts the Nuvi into normal used mode). And, this is what I made...
  • I find that the charger for my Motorola RAZR phone works just fine for charging my Nuvi 760.
  • Charging is the easy part. Any USB-Mini-B cable will do that (when plunged in to a USB source). Having a way to use the Nuvi, is the not so easy part...
  • I agree. I guess I never use mine when it's charging. It's either in the car plugged in, which keeps it charged for when I remove it. Then if I need to use it, I use it inside for whatever, it's charged. After using, I then plug into either wall charger or USB. Haven't run into an instance where I needed to use it indoors for hours at a time.

    Charging is the easy part. Any USB-Mini-B cable will do that (when plunged in to a USB source). Having a way to use the Nuvi, is the not so easy part...
  • cyfi6 0 Points
    On the nuvi, if you hold the battery icon down until it enters the "secret screen", then plug your usb cord in, then turn the power off, it will go into regular charging mode and you can use it while plugged into the computer.
  • Well I used the MP3 player as this is the only one I have.
    I have a AC power supply that has a USB-A connector on it. All I have to do is plug a standard USB extintion cable into it, and plug the cable I made into the Nuvi, and whala. I get a normally working Nuvi. Lisinning to the, Beach Boy's, as I write this (I cant play music on the work computer)...
    When I'm at home, I plug the Nuvi in, and into the home stereo...
  • i recently purchased a nuvi 850 and would rather explore features in the house rather than sitting in my truck. i, like others couldn't get the gps to act as one while charging through the usb from pc. in reading the threads on this site (can't find the right one to reference) found the answer. a 120v/12v converter works great. you plug it into a 120v house outlet and plug the car charger into it and the gps thinks it's plugged into your accessory plug in your vehicle so you get to "play" with the unit while it charges. bought mine for $10 but you can find them for less if you look around. best place to find them is in cell phone area in the stores. wish i could find the earlier mentioned thread, the person who wrote it even included a picture so i knew what to look for when shopping.
  • Spyder63 331 Points
    That might have been my post...

    This may be the thread: Garmin Nuvi AC Charger vs Generic "Ebay"AC Charger

    The converter at Big Lots/Target looks like this: 12v converter
  • i believe your correct. yours must have been the post that i read and used to buy the 120v/12v adapter. many thanks!! it works great and in fact is charging the 850 currently and if/when i get the urge to find golf courses in hawaii i just tap the screen and go (dreaming of course) but very usable indoors for planning, routing, looking at pictures, etc. thanks again.
    ps - i bought the adapter w/ 500ma and now find that the nuvi "prefers" juice and should and probably will buy the 800ma adapter as marketed under the navigon line.
  • djjazzy 0 Points
    I also wanted to get my nuvi 750 to work on the USB-A to USB-Mini-B cable, so I can set up some favorites, before I get to my destination.

    Found that when the nuvi enters " charge mode or PC mode" I unplug the mini USB cable, and when the computer symbol dissapears ( nuvi wants to restart ) Then immediatly plug the USB mini cable back in. Nuvi will then works as a GPS, and gets charged at the same time. This works with a Motorola Razor AC plug, as well as an AC/ USB cable, and USB-A to USB-Mini-B cable plugged into a PC.
  • GreyOwl 0 Points
    djjazzy--that is exactly the procedure I use with my 260w and my computer. Almost too easy and doesn't cost anything. I just use my camera cord that also works on my RAZR.

    Charles
  • daniloc 0 Points
    Badass DIY cable, Blue Flame. I was going to try out your parts list and build my own -- cheaper and more fun than buying another Garmin cable and paying their absurd markup.

    Before I ordered everything for it, though, I tried something a bit more low tech:

    Use this pinout for reference: http://pinouts.ru/GPS/garmin_nuvi_power_pinout.shtml

    image

    Grab a tiny bit of aluminum foil. Just a little bit, the size of a match head once you've folded it over a couple times. Using a paper clip, pack it into the back of the mini USB connector so that it shorts pin X to pin 4. Give it a good shake to ensure it's packed in there tight. You don't want it moving around once you've finished.

    Then give it a try. If it worked as mine did, you should have a perfectly-operable USB charging cable for your nuvi. I'd wrap some red electrical tape or something around it so you remember not to use it for other devices that may not appreciate having pin X shorted in this way.

    It's crude, but it seems to accomplish the goal.
  • Falcao 0 Points
    Badass DIY cable, Blue Flame. I was going to try out your parts list and build my own -- cheaper and more fun than buying another Garmin cable and paying their absurd markup.

    Before I ordered everything for it, though, I tried something a bit more low tech:

    Use this pinout for reference: http://pinouts.ru/GPS/garmin_nuvi_power_pinout.shtml

    image

    Grab a tiny bit of aluminum foil. Just a little bit, the size of a match head once you've folded it over a couple times. Using a paper clip, pack it into the back of the mini USB connector so that it shorts pin X to pin 4. Give it a good shake to ensure it's packed in there tight. You don't want it moving around once you've finished.

    Then give it a try. If it worked as mine did, you should have a perfectly-operable USB charging cable for your nuvi. I'd wrap some red electrical tape or something around it so you remember not to use it for other devices that may not appreciate having pin X shorted in this way.

    It's crude, but it seems to accomplish the goal.[/quote

    ===============

    I am looking for the way I can use my garmin when I am outdoors. I am electronic challenged (no soldering), but you say if you short the pin 4 and x that works without problem, I have to try. If this works thanks, if not thanks again is one more problem solved.

    I have a pack with rechargeable batteries (1200mh), if this works it is one way to give many people autonomy with their garmins.
  • sjtsnix 0 Points
    On the nuvi, if you hold the battery icon down until it enters the "secret screen", then plug your usb cord in, then turn the power off, it will go into regular charging mode and you can use it while plugged into the computer.
    Great Tip, the other day, plugging in to charge the 'pathetic' battery on my 1690, while driving around with my Realtor, using other than a Garmin charger kept making me want to toss this thing out the window, as I couldn't get it to a 'usable screen' to navigate.... Not good PR for the Garmin in front of my Realtor....

    but now that I know the 'secret handshake...", I can actually use this the 1690 while charging with a NON Garmin Charger... Imagine that...

    Why, WHY? have the GPS go into a mode like that, and require the 'super secret handshake' to make it work?....
  • Badass DIY cable, Blue Flame. I was going to try out your parts list and build my own -- cheaper and more fun than buying another Garmin cable and paying their absurd markup.

    Before I ordered everything for it, though, I tried something a bit more low tech:

    Use this pinout for reference: http://pinouts.ru/GPS/garmin_nuvi_power_pinout.shtml

    image

    Grab a tiny bit of aluminum foil. Just a little bit, the size of a match head once you've folded it over a couple times. Using a paper clip, pack it into the back of the mini USB connector so that it shorts pin X to pin 4. Give it a good shake to ensure it's packed in there tight. You don't want it moving around once you've finished.

    Then give it a try. If it worked as mine did, you should have a perfectly-operable USB charging cable for your nuvi. I'd wrap some red electrical tape or something around it so you remember not to use it for other devices that may not appreciate having pin X shorted in this way.

    It's crude, but it seems to accomplish the goal.
    I was looking for a way to power my Nuvi 660 off USB in my car since I have a usb charger for my phone already and the stock Garmin cable broke. I tried this out and it worked perfect, saved me $13 from buying a new Garmin cable, and one less special cable to carry around. Thanks.
  • brian25 0 Points
    I just bought a two in one charger so I could keep my iPhone and my garmin nuvi 250 charged up. This did the trick! THANKS! :)

    I've got giant hands and was worried I'd never be able to do it, but just folded that bit of tin foil (you don't need much!) down to the bottom and voila!

    Thanks again!
    Brian
  • Hip2b2 0 Points
    The use of modified USB connectors is a problem that extends beyond Garmin to many other electronic devices. It is a major irritant having a drawer full of wall-warts all with the same USB mini or micro connectors that work with some but not other devices.

    In an ideal world, electronic devices would be completely charger agnostic. Devices would be purchased without chargers (with a corresponding price reduction) leaving the consumer with the option to buy one only if desired.

    A simple and green option to the current idiocy.

    hip
  • guy48065 0 Points
    Is USB-cable-power behavior different with different models? My Nuvi500 goes into data mode for 30 seconds then switches to GPS mode by itself. Maybe this is something that has changed with a firmware update...? I think it makes sense this way.
  • Hip2b2 0 Points
    guy48065,

    What happens though if you want to transfer files from one device to another (PC/ Garmin)?

    To my mind the ideal would be to have a user selection screen with a timed default condition (also user selected).

    hip2
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Garmin handhelds, like the Oregon and Montana have exactly this feature. You set interface mode for "Garmin Spanner" and when a cable is connected the unit asks if you want to go into USB disk mode.
  • Hip2b2 0 Points
    Boyd,

    I wasn't aware of this, I've only owned a couple of Nuvi's over the last few years.

    I remain discouraged. It is sad (IMHO) that these good ideas don't even seem to infiltrate within a companies own product lines.

    Thanks

    hip2
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    And actually that function goes a little deeper - if you tell it not to connect to the computer, it operates as normal however the GPS position data is streamed through the USB interface where it can be used by software running on your computer at the same time.

    Take a look at the new Montana. It has ALL those things (and more) that you always wanted on the Nuvi. :D http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/22935/x/p1/
  • Hip2b2 0 Points
    I see now that the additional functionality is provided with the higher priced product. Not unreasonable; if Garmin leveled functionality across all products then what would be the point of paying higher prices?

    Thanks for the information.

    hip2

    N.B.: My consternation regarding USB chargers remains.
  • dimjim 0 Points
    I don't mean to bump a really old thread BUT...

    I have to give a big THANK YOU to Blue Flame and daniloc for helping me out to get a working mini-B usb cable for my old (but new to me) Garmin 205w. I stumbled across this thread on google and it helped me a ton.

    Only one of my AC adapters (of 4) would charge the Garmin while allowing me to use it, and none of my 7 usb to mini-usb cables would allow me charge while using.

    I used the aluminum foil "matchstick" trick to short the pins and I can now charge my GPS through one of my many cigar(12v)>USB adapters in my car or on my motorcycle.

    I don't usually register for a forum just to say thanks, but this seems like an awesome community and very helpful. :D
  • Tim 1480 Points
    Glad you found the forum and found it helpful!
  • sviking 141 Points
    I have tried it with a Garmin Oregon, but am 98% sure it will work with the Nuvi's. When using another USB charger I already had, the Oregon went into Mass Storage mode. This seems pretty typical for all of Garmin's newer units.
    Not so with the Montana in Spanner mode. The Oregon can't be set to give you the choice of going into USB mass storage mode or not when you plug it in?
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    4 year old post, right after I got my Oregon 400t. Yes I now know the Oregon has several choices for interface, including spanner, just like the Montana. But the factory default is like the Nuvi, where it enters USB disk mode when connected to a computer (or power supply with the wrong kind of cable).
  • sviking 141 Points
    4 year old post
    Oh wow... Sorry, didn't realize that. :oops:
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