Author Topic: Battery fade in the Vista HCx  (Read 2045 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« on: December 13, 2010, 01:06:28 pm »
My Garmin has been turning itself off on occasions when I press a button to turn the back light on, change the map scale etc. Initially I noticed this with some 2Ah Energizer batteries and wondered if they just couldn't deliver enough electricity. Yesterday I had the same problem a few times with some Encore 2.7Ah batteries, which I have since put in the charger and there must still have been lots of juice in them because they are still discharging a couple of hours after I put them in the charger.

Has anyone else noticed this problem? It's not as though the "Battery Low" warning comes on. The machine just fades away. I don't know whether it's down to the batteries or the Garmin, or whether it's related to the cold weather.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2010, 01:16:20 pm »
Yes, I get exactly the same thing in the same circumstances - when turning the screen brightness up or changing pages.  As you say, the screen just fades and the thing switches itself off.

As far as I'm aware it's nothing to do with the batteries, as this can happen just after a new set are installed.  Also, as you say, there is no "low battery" warning.  So it's obviously a hardware/software problem.

I usually remove/replace the batteries and it starts up again OK.

pdm

  • Sheffield hills? Nah... Just potholes.
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2010, 01:19:29 pm »
I have had the same problem - I have narrowed it down to particular ageing NiMH batteries which must needs be retired; cycling and recharging them does not seem to help. For all the claims of the manufacturers, I do not believe they survive hundreds of recharge cycles - mine last about 12-18 months regardless of number of charges...

Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2010, 01:29:43 pm »
Mine started doing this during the summer after some significant knocks. It doesn't seem related to the batteries; I've tried different kinds - does the same with lithiums - and padded out the batteries until I could hardly get the back on; it still faded out after a short while.

I emailed Garmin claiming this was a fault as I have only used it on road and MTB handlebars which surely shouldn't be enough to cause an internal fault:

Unit switches offwhen knocked
I have used my Etrex Legend HCx on a Garmin cycle handlebarmount for approximately 18 months without issue. Recently, the unit is losing power when a significant bump or pothole is hit on the road. Sometimes the power drops instantly, others the display fades out like it still has power but something internally has shook loose. I have tried different batteries, including NiMH rechargables and Lithiums, in case it was a particular set that was undersize and moving in the unit, but even with a small amount of tape around the batteries to make sure they are very snug it still does the same shutdown on a significant bump.


This was the disappointing reply:

Thank you for contacting Garmin Europe.I am sorry for your difficulties. Unfortunately we don't do repairs,however we do have a replacement service instead. You can send your unit to us to be replaced with an as-new refurbished model with a fullyear warranty on it at a cost of £56.66 GBP inc VAT. Unfortunately we are not able to offer an upgrade or part exchange. If you would like to do so, please call us on 0808 238 0000 (walking and fitness) with your credit card details and unit serial number.

So the solution is to send you unit in, pay half the price of a new one for a refurbed unit, then they'll fix yours (something they claim they don't do) and sell it to the next guy for half the full price as well. Sounds like a nice money-spinner for them.

I thought Garmin were like Hope (for example) in that they were excellent at aftersales. The message I've got from them is ~ 2 years is the expected lifetime for an Etrex in regular use on a bike.

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 03:21:24 pm »
Test for the cold: do what you were doing, indoors, with a well-warmed unit and batteries.

It does sound a lot like "rechargeables in the cold" syndrome to this ear.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2010, 03:24:33 pm »
My first memorable instance (well, 5 instances) was on a blisteringly hot 3D 300 in May, but I'm willing to believe it might be worse in the cold.

Mine is kept in the house and only fitted to a bike before I set off, and the power fade is almost always by the end of the street. Sudden external temperature difference problem?

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2010, 11:08:20 pm »
Its just the case flexing.  Be fair, it's only plastic.
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 12:05:49 am »
Its just the case flexing.  Be fair, it's only plastic.

I don't think that's the case. :P

It only seems to happen in mine when it's fitted with older batteries.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 07:46:53 am »
Mine did that a lot during LEL and afterwards. The battery contacts were badly correded. After finishing this years brevet series I brought the unit back to the shop (allready past the guarantee date), they sent it to Garmin and I recieved a completely new one without a charge.

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 01:27:30 pm »
Test for the cold: do what you were doing, indoors, with a well-warmed unit and batteries.

It does sound a lot like "rechargeables in the cold" syndrome to this ear.

I had this problem on yesterday's club run. Etrex HCx working fine indoors. Rode to start of run, GPS fades to black, no warning.

I put in a spare set of (very new rechargeable) batteries while we were faffing about at the start and it was fine for the rest of the ride until the cake stop when I took it off the bars and into the caff. It then did exactly the same thing again as soon as we were outside and on our way home.
Hm, that's not conclusive at all.  Bah.

How about performance with a set of Duracells?
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

The Mechanic

Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 04:28:14 pm »
I occasionally get the same issue.  I seem to remember that one of the firmware updates in the past said this was one of the issues corrected by the update..but it didn't.  I have had the problem with duracells, lithiums and rechargables.  However, it always happens to me when I first turn the unit on.  It goes something like this:

turn unit on
slide backlight scale u with joystick button
press button to accept level
unit switches off

Repeat above and everything works fine for rest of ride.

Strange but true.

The Mechanic

Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 08:57:36 am »
I have started using hybrid rechargables in my Vista HCx.  I got them with the BL-700 I bought from Battery Logic last year.  I have run them on a 200km audax without any trouble but not longer.  When you change battery typre you need to set the HCx to the new type.  I haven't got my machine with me just now but it is in one of the menues.  I noticed that when I changed from duracells to lithiums, the Garmin said Low Barry Warning after only a cople of hours.  I changed the setting to Lithium and had no further trouble.

Note that the issue I have with mine is the occassional shut down immediately after start up.  I have never had a random shut down during a ride except when the batteries run out.  Lithiums used to last forever but always failed harf way through a ride.  Not being a battery expert, I relied on the battery indicator in the unit.  It always said full until about 10 mins before the unit shut down.  I think that must be a characteristic of lithiums.  That is the main reason I changed to rechargables, so that I know they will last the whole day. 

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 09:43:36 am »
I gave up using rechargeables in my Vista because of variable run times and run down between outings which also makes carries spares problematic. Lithiums last twice as long as the most pampered rechargeable, don't run down and are half the weight. Sorted

richie

  • Just sleeping...
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 10:14:20 am »
I use Vapextech 2900 maH NiMhs in my Vista HCX and can get around a 400 audax  (using the nightlight at 5% when dark) without needing to change cells.  I'm no speed merchant either.  Haven't experienced any problems in the 3 years or so that I've had the unit.

Mind you i haven't upgraded the sw on it - and i'm not about to..
Sheep we're off again.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2011, 10:49:05 am »
I noticed that when I changed from duracells to lithiums, the Garmin said Low Barry Warning after only a cople of hours.  I changed the setting to Lithium and had no further trouble.

I'm sorry but there's really no logic to that at all.  Every single voltage point on the discharge curve of a lithium cell is further along the timeline than on the equivalent curve of a duracell.  In plain English they deliver more, for longer.  So leaving the Garmin battery type on 'alkaline' should work fine, for lithiums (and it does, IME).
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

The Mechanic

Re: Battery fade in the Vista HCx
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2011, 01:41:05 pm »
I noticed that when I changed from duracells to lithiums, the Garmin said Low Barry Warning after only a cople of hours.  I changed the setting to Lithium and had no further trouble.

I'm sorry but there's really no logic to that at all.  Every single voltage point on the discharge curve of a lithium cell is further along the timeline than on the equivalent curve of a duracell.  In plain English they deliver more, for longer.  So leaving the Garmin battery type on 'alkaline' should work fine, for lithiums (and it does, IME).

I agree is should be as you say and some advice suggest leave it on Alkyline all the time.  However, I am only telling you what I experienced.