Make a Garmin Vehicle Power Cable Work Again

Picture of Make a Garmin Vehicle Power Cable Work Again
This is a Garmin GPS for an automobile. The DC power supply for a cigarette lighter has been used by Garmin on quite a few models in recent years and is still in use. Ours has the nasty habit of coming apart so that the fuse and the center pin come out with the retaining nut. These small parts scatter throughout the car, and render the GPS useless, unless you want to see how long it will run on the AA batteries in the unit.

It gets worse. The retaining nut can be seen hooked over a piece of paper. The threaded portion of the nut cracked and separated from the rest of the nut. Before long the fuse will not stay in place, no matter what.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: The insides

Picture of The insides
I had forgotten, but this power converter had come apart once before and I had kept it together with a piece of plastic electrical tape.

Step 2: A simple solution to restore the converter

Picture of A simple solution to restore the converter
The first step in a simple way to make the power converter useful begins with cutting the rest of the threads away from the remainder of the nut.

Step 3: Solder a hook to the fuse

Picture of Solder a hook to the fuse
It is a great idea to have a fuse on the power supply, but these fuses almost never blow and need replacement. I cut a short piece of solid copper wire and soldered it to the end cap on the fuse. Then I bent a hook in the wire.

If you are concerned about blowing a fuse and not having a replacement, get a second fuse and solder a piece of hooked copper wire to it, too.

Step 4: Hook the fuse to the spring

Picture of Hook the fuse to the spring
I hooked the fuse to the spring behind it. This will keep the fuse from falling out of the end of the power converter. There is a space where the solid wire can fit without restricting anything and allow the fuse to move back and forth as needed.
JAdamWood2 months ago
Its Giggles3 years ago
where can i find or figure out a way to make my gps cigarette ligher connect to a solar charger?
Phil B (author)  Its Giggles3 years ago
Do you have the solar charger you want to use, or are you wanting to connect small solar panels to make the charger so you can connect it?

I am assuming you have a solar charger. I assume your GPS has internal batteries that can power the GPS for a period of time, but not all of the time. If your GPS can run from the internal batteries 3 or 4 hours, a charger would extend that by replenishing the batteries during use of the GPS. If the solar power was to run the GPS with little or no input from the batteries, you will need a large enough panel or multiple panels linked in parallel to supply the current load required.

Radio Shack stores once sold a cigarette lighter socket with wire leads coming from it. I looked on their web site, but am not finding that, now. Still, auto parts stores have long sold new lighter sockets for cars. (I had to replace one in my daughter's car once.) Suitable wire connections could be made to a replacement socket.

If you need to construct the solar charger, there have been some Instructables dealing with that sort of thing.

Thank you for looking and for your comment. I hope I have helped you in some way.
Bongmaster6 years ago
a handy fix :)
Phil B (author)  Bongmaster6 years ago
Thanks. Many power adapters use this plastic case or something very similar. It has a broader application than Garmin products, although our i5 GPS is about a 2000 vintage and they still use the same power converter on the current Nuvi's. I would expect a lot of GPS owners will have this problem one day soon, if they do not already. Perhaps we had the problem because we do not leave our GPS in any one car, but often take it in and out of cars, especially rental cars in other cities.
my gps came with a car to usb thing, so thats handy :) my gps is only a receiver tho, and connects to my phone via bluetooth or my ppc via TTL - RS232 conversion.