GPS Battery Usage
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Ben R
(snowfiend131) - MLife

Locale: Western PA
GPS Battery Usage on 01/01/2010 16:53:38 MST Print View

For those that use GPS, what is your strategy for battery usage? In shopping for a GPS, I noticed that even the best battery life among units is stated as ~24 hours.

If GPS is powered on and tracking position while you hike at all times, it seems that one would have to carry spare AA's on any trips longer than 2 days. Is this what everyone does?

Or, do you keep the GPS off unless you need to verify position? If so, how often do you power it on, and how long do the batteries last in this manner?

Any info appreciated.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: GPS Battery Usage on 01/01/2010 17:46:13 MST Print View

I have a garmin etrex Venture HC. My model is rated for 16 hours of use on 2 double A batteries. I thought this to be strange as the other models in this line are rated for 24 hours of use.

In reality my garmin has consistently provided 24 hours+ of usage with fresh batteries everytime. I turn it on in the morning right before I hike and turn it off right after getting to camp. Using it this way I can get 3 days on a set of batteries (8+ hiking hours per day).

If you turn it on only occassionaly to check position you could extend the like to weeks I would think.

Jamie

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
GPS Battery Life on 01/01/2010 17:52:45 MST Print View

It will obviously matter which GPS you use, but I've found that with 2 Lithium AA batteries I get in excess of 30 hours use with my Garmin GPSMap 60CS.

A couple of caveats...

- I start with a fresh set of batteries each trip
- My trips are only weekenders so I've stopped carrying extra batteries
- I turn my GPS on when I start hiking at the beginning of the day and off when I reach camp at the end of the day (and yes - that means it's on during breaks and lunch)
- I don't know if it affects battery usage, but I do download the route that I'm going to hike and use the GPS to navigate (the little beeps as I cross a waypoint are somewhat reassuring)

I like coming home from a trip and uploading my track showing exactly where I walked along with the waypoints added along the way (water sources, campsites, and vistas).

tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
GPS Battery Usage on 01/01/2010 18:00:57 MST Print View

Some GPS have a battery saver mode, that will make the batteries last longer. Turning off the electronic compass will make your batteries last longer. I always take a least 1 extra set of batteries. If you forget to turn off your GPS when you get to camp (for example if a storm is blowing in and you need to set up fast) you will awake to a few hrs of operating GPS or a non-working GPS.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Lithium batteries with 60cs on 01/01/2010 18:15:00 MST Print View

I have the same experience as Kevin with my Garmin 60cs. I also turn the unit off at night and usually get 2-3days usage. I would reco using lithium batteries because they are lighter and last longer than the rechargables. You will likely not get as long of life in the winter.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
GPS Battery Usage on 01/01/2010 18:21:27 MST Print View

My experience is the same as mentioned above.

I turn off the electronic compass, don't use the back light, I do use lithium disposable batteries (1 oz/AA) and I turn off the GPS if I stop for an extended period. I can easily get a week out of 2 sets of batteries.