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  1. #1
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    Garmin Oregon 450t battery life

    Have had my Oregon 450t for a while now and using rechargeable NiHM batteries. Started with the widely available 1100ma AAs. GPS prefs set for the rechargeables.

    Battery life was only ~2 hours using the stopwatch mode.

    Shut off the digital compass, set the backlight brightness to ~25% and minimum "on" time.
    Little improvement.

    Found some 3000ma NiHMs (Garmin recommends 2500ma). Still have short battery life. The charge status will drop from full (4 bars) to 3 bars in less than an hour and to 2 bars in under 3 hours. The batteries have been through several charge/discharge cycles.

    Going to try lithium cells, but I would rather not use disposables.

    Any other ideas?
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  2. #2
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    That doesn't sound right, at all. I use Duracell NiMH 2450s in my Oregon 400 and get many hours of life.

    In fact, last weekend I accidentally left it on all night (not in tracking mode, at least) and it still lasted for a 3 hour ride that morning. Still 2 bars left at ride's end, if I recall correctly.

    Maybe some battery conditioning is needed for your new rechargeables? Check out this thread in Groundspeak and also the link to the article in the 2nd post.
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    definitely not right. is the battery mode set correctly in the settings? I use Sanyo Eneloops in my Oregon 450 and when going for ~2hr rides, I will be able to do several rides before needing to charge batteries. Lithiums will get me maybe an extra hour, but that's not worth the additional cost of the batteries.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    definitely not right. is the battery mode set correctly in the settings? I use Sanyo Eneloops in my Oregon 450 and when going for ~2hr rides, I will be able to do several rides before needing to charge batteries. Lithiums will get me maybe an extra hour, but that's not worth the additional cost of the batteries.
    Yup, Battery type set to Rechargeable NiMH


    I have Battery Save "Off" because I want to see the display while riding. Could that be the issue?

    Oh, I am actually using the "Trip Computer" in stopwatch mode.
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  5. #5
    Ted
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    After a ride recently I let my 450 keep running. I shut it off after ~8 hours total. I also use Sanyo eneloops (2000 not the new 2450). I have noticed that the bars drop quicker than I would expect but it runs for a long time in the last bar. I am set for nimh batteries.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by random walk View Post
    That doesn't sound right, at all. I use Duracell NiMH 2450s in my Oregon 400 and get many hours of life.

    In fact, last weekend I accidentally left it on all night (not in tracking mode, at least) and it still lasted for a 3 hour ride that morning. Still 2 bars left at ride's end, if I recall correctly.

    Maybe some battery conditioning is needed for your new rechargeables? Check out this thread in Groundspeak and also the link to the article in the 2nd post.
    Already doing most of those tips.

    Could using the trip computer display mode be an issue?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted View Post
    After a ride recently I let my 450 keep running. I shut it off after ~8 hours total. I also use Sanyo eneloops (2000 not the new 2450). I have noticed that the bars drop quicker than I would expect but it runs for a long time in the last bar. I am set for nimh batteries.
    I have had the unit totally shut down on me during rides. Usually within 10-15 minutes of getting the low battery warning.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Yup, Battery type set to Rechargeable NiMH


    I have Battery Save "Off" because I want to see the display while riding. Could that be the issue?

    Oh, I am actually using the "Trip Computer" in stopwatch mode.
    no, doesn't make sense....I use mine the same way pretty often.

    what firmware version are you running?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    no, doesn't make sense....I use mine the same way pretty often.

    what firmware version are you running?
    How do I check the firmware version?

    Garmin Dashboard says the unit is up to date.
    "About" on the unit: Software version 5.50, GPS Software version 5.00
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Yup, Battery type set to Rechargeable NiMH


    I have Battery Save "Off" because I want to see the display while riding. Could that be the issue?

    Oh, I am actually using the "Trip Computer" in stopwatch mode.
    Battery level seems to drop rapidly on the bike.
    I have had the unit sitting on my desk for two hours, powered up ("on") but not running the trip computer/stopwatch. Battery level has not changed.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Battery level seems to drop rapidly on the bike.
    I have had the unit sitting on my desk for two hours, powered up ("on") but not running the trip computer/stopwatch. Battery level has not changed.
    Then I opened the Trip Computer, started the stop watch, and headed home. Two bars to low power warning to shutdown in 40 minutes.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Then I opened the Trip Computer, started the stop watch, and headed home. Two bars to low power warning to shutdown in 40 minutes.
    mine was on an older firmware version. updating to 5.50 right now and I'll try this out tomorrow and report my performance.

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    I just ran my Oregon 450 on the stopwatch mode (screen on the whole time, no backlight) for 2:18:48 on a "fresh" charge on my Eneloops (2000mAh version last topped up about 3weeks ago) and still have 3 bars of battery life. Firmware 5.50. this is consistent with my earlier use of that feature.

    I am suspicious that your use of 1100mAh NiMH's is the problem. I didn't quite catch that detail on my first read-through. how long after charging are you installing the batteries? regular NiMH's have a pretty high self-discharge rate. Eneloops (and some others) are low-self-discharge batteries...still NiMH's, but slightly different chemistry means the charge is stable for a longer period of time.

    I would suggest getting some high quality batteries with the highest mAh rating you can find. 1100 is just not going to be enough for the GPS.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I just ran my Oregon 450 on the stopwatch mode (screen on the whole time, no backlight) for 2:18:48 on a "fresh" charge on my Eneloops (2000mAh version last topped up about 3weeks ago) and still have 3 bars of battery life. Firmware 5.50. this is consistent with my earlier use of that feature.

    I am suspicious that your use of 1100mAh NiMH's is the problem. I didn't quite catch that detail on my first read-through. how long after charging are you installing the batteries? regular NiMH's have a pretty high self-discharge rate. Eneloops (and some others) are low-self-discharge batteries...still NiMH's, but slightly different chemistry means the charge is stable for a longer period of time.

    I would suggest getting some high quality batteries with the highest mAh rating you can find. 1100 is just not going to be enough for the GPS.
    I am getting similar results with the 1100mah AND 3000mah batteries. In the charger for the recommended time or longer. Installed straight from the charger and a day or so later. The 1100 batteries have been used in my cameras, lights and other things with no issues.

    Accidently reset the unit to factory defaults last night, so I redid to power saving and my preferences.
    I installed another pair of the 1100 batteries and ran the trip/stopwatch for ~1.5 hrs. Shutdown overnight. Restarted today w/trip/stopwatch running. Still going after 3.5 more hrs with two bars on the battery level. Unit has not moved--just sitting on my desk (w/satellite connection).
    Will take it with me on errands today, but yesterday that is when the battery level dove, on the move.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I am getting similar results with the 1100mah AND 3000mah batteries. In the charger for the recommended time or longer. Installed straight from the charger and a day or so later. The 1100 batteries have been used in my cameras, lights and other things with no issues.

    Accidently reset the unit to factory defaults last night, so I redid to power saving and my preferences.
    I installed another pair of the 1100 batteries and ran the trip/stopwatch for ~1.5 hrs. Shutdown overnight. Restarted today w/trip/stopwatch running. Still going after 3.5 more hrs with two bars on the battery level. Unit has not moved--just sitting on my desk (w/satellite connection).
    Will take it with me on errands today, but yesterday that is when the battery level dove, on the move.
    I was on the move for maybe half an hour with mine. sitting on the desk the rest of the time.

    if same behavior for 3000mAh batteries, then it definitely sounds like the GPS. it's possible your factory reset might have fixed it. I'll be interested to hear more after additional test time.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I was on the move for maybe half an hour with mine. sitting on the desk the rest of the time.

    if same behavior for 3000mAh batteries, then it definitely sounds like the GPS. it's possible your factory reset might have fixed it. I'll be interested to hear more after additional test time.
    Last night's batteries died at ~4.5 hrs this morning.

    Installed a fresh set of "Ultralast" cells (capacity unknown). Steady running in Trip/stopwatch mode while doing errands.
    Dropped to 2 bars just short of 4 hrs. One bar at ~5:15. Low power warning (red bar) at 5:35.

    I think I will use Engergizer Ultimate Lithiums for tomorrow's ride.
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  17. #17
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    FYI, I got about 7.5hrs in stopwatch with the screen on the other day.

    I remember reading on the groundspeak forums a few years back that when the screen is on, frequent screen updates drains battery life. I don't recall how much, but the folks commenting about it were speaking in a geocaching sort of situation using different screens (map screen vs trip computer screen).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    FYI, I got about 7.5hrs in stopwatch with the screen on the other day.

    I remember reading on the groundspeak forums a few years back that when the screen is on, frequent screen updates drains battery life. I don't recall how much, but the folks commenting about it were speaking in a geocaching sort of situation using different screens (map screen vs trip computer screen).
    That could help explain the quick battery drain when I am moving. I have 6 data fields plus the stopwatch running.

    Sunday I did a 3hrs mtb race with the GPS on for 3.5hrs. dropped to two bars using lithium cells.

    Oddly, I just turned on the unit for the first time since then and it show full battery levels.
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  19. #19
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    I just purchased the Oregon 450 this weekend and read this thread, just want to bump it to see if there are any issues with these units or is it a normal behavior based on the OP's setting preference. I used it on my trip this weekend not heavy usage just left it running using Energizer Lith. I just used it to track my route. It lasted the entire trip. But then again, I wasn't using the map and scrolling around. Still deciding whether to keep it or replace it with the eTrex 30.

    Shiggy; is it still a problem?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirthugger View Post
    I just purchased the Oregon 450 this weekend and read this thread, just want to bump it to see if there are any issues with these units or is it a normal behavior based on the OP's setting preference. I used it on my trip this weekend not heavy usage just left it running using Energizer Lith. I just used it to track my route. It lasted the entire trip. But then again, I wasn't using the map and scrolling around. Still deciding whether to keep it or replace it with the eTrex 30.

    Shiggy; is it still a problem?
    It is a setting issue. Use powersave so the screen goes blank. but also make sure you're using newish decent batteries. rechargeables lose capacity over time. so it might be useful to put colored tape on old ones and only use them in low-demand devices.

    I have taken to using mine a little bit differently. I do not use the stopwatch option most of the time nowadays. I will use the "General" trip meter screen, which does not have the rapidly updating stopwatch timer. It seems to allow for longer battery life that way, but I have not done any specific tests like when trying to figure out Shiggy's battery problems. It does not allow for quite as precise tracking of lap times (starting up takes time to clear the track log and get going), but I don't ride for lap times.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirthugger View Post
    I just purchased the Oregon 450 this weekend and read this thread, just want to bump it to see if there are any issues with these units or is it a normal behavior based on the OP's setting preference. I used it on my trip this weekend not heavy usage just left it running using Energizer Lith. I just used it to track my route. It lasted the entire trip. But then again, I wasn't using the map and scrolling around. Still deciding whether to keep it or replace it with the eTrex 30.

    Shiggy; is it still a problem?
    I have been using the same pair of lithium batteries for the last 12 days, including 3hr, 4.5hr and 2hr rides in addition to 6 days of commuting.

    Battery level has been popping back up to full, or nearly full, on start up, then drops a bar or two in use, until today. Now two bars on start up, dropping to one. Stayed a solid one bar for today's 2hr ride.

    Going back to the rechargeables to see if there is any change in performance.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I have been using the same pair of lithium batteries for the last 12 days, including 3hr, 4.5hr and 2hr rides in addition to 6 days of commuting.

    Battery level has been popping back up to full, or nearly full, on start up, then drops a bar or two in use, until today. Now two bars on start up, dropping to one. Stayed a solid one bar for today's 2hr ride.

    Going back to the rechargeables to see if there is any change in performance.
    Well, my 3000mAh Nimh cells lasted ~3.5hrs today, stopwatch running but not displayed.
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  23. #23
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    Care to see if there is a difference with chirp on /off, and if you actually have a chirp to see the power useage when gathering chirp data? I suspect its minimal, but .....

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    Quote Originally Posted by megancheung View Post
    Care to see if there is a difference with chirp on /off, and if you actually have a chirp to see the power useage when gathering chirp data? I suspect its minimal, but .....
    I doubt Shiggy is geocaching with the Chirp enabled while mt biking.

    however, since the chirp uses ANT+, it is worth asking if shiggy uses a HRM or speed/cad sensor with his Oregon.

    I suspect it's a battery problem, because it was much much better when he used Lithiums. I saw "Ultralast" brand mentioned as being one of the brands used - what about the others? I have seen some reviews that mention wide differences in performance out of name brand vs. no-name batteries.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I doubt Shiggy is geocaching with the Chirp enabled while mt biking.

    however, since the chirp uses ANT+, it is worth asking if shiggy uses a HRM or speed/cad sensor with his Oregon.

    I suspect it's a battery problem, because it was much much better when he used Lithiums. I saw "Ultralast" brand mentioned as being one of the brands used - what about the others? I have seen some reviews that mention wide differences in performance out of name brand vs. no-name batteries.
    No chirp, no HRM, no speed sensor.

    I just ordered a "good" smart, programable charger to see if I can improve the battery performance.

    Also picked up an Edge 200.
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