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Old 09-05-2009, 07:30 PM   #1
thilehoffer
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Default How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

I really can't stand having a that wire run all the way to the power outlet under the radio. I am also tired of unplugging it. How hard would it be to hook it up directly to the battery? Has anyone done this?
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:53 AM   #2
le012wf
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Default Re: How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

Its not all that hard... Just go buy a female cig lighter extension and wire it to a 12v source behind the dash or wherever easiest. Then all you have to do is pluge in your gps cig lighter cord hidden somewhere. This way u dont hack up the cord that comes with the gps for future use.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:53 AM   #3
Jasper2
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Default Re: How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

Quote:
Originally Posted by thilehoffer View Post
I really can't stand having a that wire run all the way to the power outlet under the radio. I am also tired of unplugging it. How hard would it be to hook it up directly to the battery? Has anyone done this?
You can use a product called Add-a-Circuit that piggy backs a second circuit with its own fuse on a fuse slot used for any other ignition-switched circuit. Here is a link to it:

http://www.google.com/products/catal...ed=0CD0Q8wIwAA

I don't like mounting a gps to the left of the driver up by the windshield. It is too far to easily reach the touch screen, plus it's constantly in your sight line even when not in use. I much prefer the center vent mounts available on Amazon and elsewhere for around $5-10. It places the gps in a much more natural location and does NOT interfere with the use of the vent or its effectiveness. You can remove the cubby tray from the dash by removing the two allen-head screws under the rubber cover bumpers which will allow you to bring power up underneath the tray and inconspicuously exiting right by the latch. I used the Add-a-Circuit on a switched 10-amp circuit and am very, very pleased with the location and the lack of a dangling power cord. Plus, you don't have to remove the power cord from the power outlet in the compartment under the radio when you turn off the ignition, as the ignition switch now turns the gps off.

Last edited by Jasper2; 07-02-2011 at 11:03 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 07-02-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
MalibuKen
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Default Re: How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

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Originally Posted by thilehoffer View Post
How hard would it be to hook it up directly to the battery? Has anyone done this?
Since someone else opened the old thread.............

Most current GPS models operate on 5-6 volts and the conversion from 12 volts happens IN the cord somewhere, usually in that fat cigarette lighter plug.

So, it is important to NOT modify the GPS power cord in any way.......unless you are electronics qualified to be sure the right voltage is still present. Sending 12 volts directly to the GPS might result in maximum smoke.

As was suggested, a hidden 12 V "cigarette lighter" style plug is the best way to go.....and tapping into an existing circuit is much easier than going "all the way to the battery".
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

MalibuKen,

I completely agree. I used a cigarette lighter plug adapter so I didn't have to disturb the wiring on my Garmin. There is also the issue that my Garmin presents in that there is an antenna within the power cord that ties in to the traffic monitor system. Not sure how that might be affected by cutting into the power cord.

I think cutting into the stock wiring is likely to void the warranty on a GPS as well. There is no way of knowing what voltage is required by the GPS, but we DO know that 12 VDC is expected at the end of the power cord.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:10 AM   #6
sk_malibu
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Default Re: How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

What kind of power do you have available in rearview mirror and the wire that is on the windshield to the compass (I think)? It is suitable for hard wiring a GPS unit or Radar detector?
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:25 AM   #7
MalibuKen
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Default Re: How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

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What kind of power do you have available in rearview mirror and the wire that is on the windshield to the compass (I think)? It is suitable for hard wiring a GPS unit or Radar detector?
No, not unless you can find a place nearby to hide that ugly "cigarette lighter" plug that you need.

It is critical to NOT modify the standard car cord that comes with your GPS.

The mirror power may only be on when moving the mirror and the other one might interfere with the compass or Onstar.
I don't think I would chance either one.

Last edited by MalibuKen; 07-05-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 07-06-2011, 02:57 AM   #8
Jasper2
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Default Re: How to hook up a GPS without using the power jack

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What kind of power do you have available in rearview mirror and the wire that is on the windshield to the compass (I think)? It is suitable for hard wiring a GPS unit or Radar detector?
Garmin GPS units, as well as any other brands that use a USB connection to a computer for updating maps and firmware, or for charging the internal battery, require a voltage between 4.75 V and 5.25 V. This is the USB specification. Computer power busses also supply 12 volts DC, which devices such as cooling fans use, but not at the USB port. I'm quite sure that as MalibuKen suggested, you would fry the electronics of most GPS units by applying 12 Volts to the power port.

This is not true of radar detectors, by the way. They use 12 volts DC and do not require the use of a separate power supply (such as the cigarette lighter power adapter on your GPS) and you can dispense with the lighter adapter for direct wiring.

That said, I used the lighter adapter with my Valentine One radar detector, and hard wired it using a female lighter adapter because it was convenient to do so.

I fail to see how using the power from the mirror, or the sunroof if your car has one, would be ideal even if the voltage were correct. The windshield on the Malibu has an extreme rake, which effectively reduces your field of vision. Mounting a GPS on the windshield, or even on the top of the dashboard, would put it out of convenient reach of the driver as well and would in most cases reduce your field of vision if mounted in either location. Mounted out of your field of vision on the windshield or on top of the dahs puts a GPS too far away to effectively use the touch screen, as well as making it more difficult to see. At night, the lighting on the GPS touch screen would quite likely be very distracting.

There are any number of after market mounts that can be used in various locations on the front of the dash near the radio. I used a vent mount and mounted my Garmin using it. I was able to run the power cord from the passenger side fuse block using a Littelfuse Add-A-Circuit and a female lighter adapter socket, up behind the dash and under the cubby tray on the top of the dash which is easily removed by removing two hex screws under the rubber nubbies that support the closed lid. This places the GPS in an ideal position allowing the easy use of the touch screen. It is as convenient to use as the radio or ventilation controls on the dash. In my installation there is only a very short length of power cord--around 5"--which is nearly invisible because it is behind the GPS unit. Since the circuit I used at the fuse block is switched by the ignition switch, the unit comes on and shuts off whenever the ignition switch is in the "on" or "off" position.

Recent Garmin GPS units have a traffic monitor function that requires an antenna which is either within the cigarette lighter adapter at the end of the power cord, or inline on the power cord itself. It requires a power supply, although I am not certain whether the voltage is critical.

Most importantly, if you cut the power cord you may well void your warranty on your GPS. I wouldn't try it.

Last edited by Jasper2; 07-06-2011 at 03:14 AM. Reason: Clarification
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