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How to prevent a Garmin GPS from overheating

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Above is the Garmin DriveSmart 65, which is still a popular model at the time I write this. I use a 66 model personally, but the 65 is still really nice. People like the 7" screen (technically 6.95"), love the legibility as it's really easy to read, love the screen brightness, the voice control, the traffic reporting, and so on...

...but WOW, are people ridiculously stupid when it comes to the operation and care of this thing because they keep burning them up.

I'm going to list off the stupid things people do with this that cause overheating and how to prevent it from ever happening.

Using the wrong cable

This is the #1 reason why people burn up a DS65.

People will go and buy a cheap 12V car charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter port, use a USB COMPUTER CABLE instead of the Garmin charger, send TOO MUCH POWER over the wire and whammo, overheated from overcharging the battery.

In the idiot's mind, they think "Hurr-durr... the cable end looks the same as the Garmin cable, so durrr... I'm going to use this and it will totally work."

Wrong. So very wrong.

There are many, MANY Amazon reviews from mouth breathers stating their DS65 just "burned up" for no reason. Nope. They used the wrong cable.

THIS power-only cable will power and charge the DS65 properly if you cannot use the supplied Garmin charger for whatever reason.

How do I know? I own 3 of them. They work. And they don't overcharge.

Here's another reason I know it's true: I have burned up a Garmin GPS before. Not a DS65 but another older model I have. How? You guessed it, it was by using the WRONG TYPE OF CABLE.

Not understanding how the sun works

Take a wild guess how long it takes on a hot summer day for the interior of your car to bust over 100F degrees when sitting in a parking lot with the windows closed.

Under 15 minutes.

Stupid people routinely just leave their Garmins mounted to the car windshield while parked with the sun blasting away at them... then get oh-so confused as to why their GPS burns up afterward.

Any Garmin GPS has an operating temperature range of -4F to 131F on battery and 32F to 113F while plugged in. And since everybody uses a DS65 while plugged in, if the DS65 heats up above 113F, you're screwed.

Imagine this scenario: Mouth breather parks his car on a hot summer day in a parking lot. How hot do you think the interior of that car will get in 15 minutes? I'll answer that for you. Well above 113F.

Now imagine just hopping in the car, starting it and sending power over the wire to the DS65. What do you think will happen? DING! DING! DING! THAT'S RIGHT! IT OVERHEATS!

And for anybody that says, "Well, my phone doesn't do that!" You're wrong. If you put your phone on the dashboard of your parked car with the windows shut, did so on a hot summer day and left it there for 20 minutes, three things will happen. First, if you have a phone case on your phone, IT WILL MELT. Yes, literally. Second, assuming you could even touch your phone without burning yourself after it being cooked like that, it won't even turn on. Third, if you were stupid enough to plug in a cable and send power with the phone that hot, the battery could literally explode and buh-bye, dead phone.

What's the solution to this problem? You already know what it is. GET IT OUT OF THE SUN when parked. Take the DS65 off its mount and put it in a place where the sun isn't beating on it. And yes, WITH CABLE because that's not impervious to high heat either.

Where does a Garmin GPS get hottest, and how can you protect it?

The hottest part is at the USB port, because that's where the power is going in.

What can you cover that with?

You can't use anything that has adhesive (like a sticker) because that will melt and make a mess.

You can't use anything made of metal because that can interrupt the GPS signal.

Paper towel can work initially, but then becomes brittle from repeated sun exposure and could ignite later. Don't use a paper towel. Bad idea.

With most cloths, the same thing can happen.

However, what does work is nylon webbing strap. Now we're talking. Cut a piece of that, stuff it behind the GPS screen loose to cover the USB port and cable and you're good to go. That stuff won't even begin to melt until over 250F.

Yes, you can put the strap behind the screen loose and it will stay there. Attach the DS65 with cable plugged in to the mount as you normally would. After that, stuff the strap over the mounting clip behind the screen and just make sure it covers what it needs to. That's it. You're done.

And no, the strap won't trap heat because it doesn't act as an insulator, especially since you're just draping it over the mounting clip loose. It also won't interrupt the GPS signal at all since there isn't any metal in it.

To recap...

Don't use the wrong USB cable with a DS65. Either use the supplied charger or this specific USB power cable.

Get the DS65 out of the sun when parked.

Optionally cover the USB port with loose nylon webbing strap for extra heat protection.

When you follow these simple rules, your Garmin GPS won't burn up and overheat.

Published 2024 May 23

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