Garmin power problems?

I love my Garmin Forerunner 610. Prior to having this gizmo strapped to my wrist, I was relying on my iOS device for tracking distance, pace, time, et cetera. Now, I don’t have to wait for audio cues; I can just glance at my wrist and be updated of my running progress.

But lately I’ve been plagued with some power-related problems. For one, I have experienced the infamous “reverse charging” issue. Other instances include the battery draining for no apparent reason and being unable to charge the watch. There was a time when I was awakened by the constant chirping of my Garmin watch and to find the watch incessantly recycling—i.e., the screen would display the Garmin logo, go blank, then show the logo again. That cycle would continue until the battery was drained. I would do a master reset but no improvement. Imagine my anxiety when discovering my costly, relatively new GPS watch dead and unable to charge!

The “reverse charging” issue is well-known in the Garmin forums. While the watch is charging, you’ll see the battery indicator decrease instead of increase. So you could start off with a seemingly high charge (say, 83%) and then, after a few minutes, while still plugged to a power source, you’ll see the battery indicator drop to a lower amount (say, 75%). And it’ll continue to drop. What the f***? Is the battery charging or what?

After a while, the battery indicator stabilizes and it begins to increase. The folks over at Garmin gives an explanation:

If you see “reverse charging” on your device, it means only that the fuel gauge in your device has lost its calibration. When gauge state becomes higher than the actual charge of the battery, it will decrease as it recalibrates toward the correct value. If you see this occur, the correct response is to simply let your device continue charging. This issue is most prevalent if your device has automatically shut down due to a low battery.

My other power-related issues were also solved by cleaning the contacts. After a workout, I run water on the contacts and scrub it gently with an old toothbrush. I had used the watch in long, grueling runs through grimy conditions so I am not surprised if the contacts were covered by all sorts of mineral deposits.

So if you are experiencing power-related problems, don’t panic. Before cursing Garmin or sending it to the support center, try these steps first:

  • Make sure that your power source is actually spitting out some juice. Try plugging another device and see if it works.
  • Clean the contacts
  • Don’t use your computer’s USB port to charge your watch. Use a wall outlet. I find that the power output of computer’s USB port to be too weak.
  • Leave the watch plugged to the power source for several hours. Even while plugged to a wall outlet, the watch charges painfully slow. It took me about 4 to 5 hours to fully charge my power-drained Garmin.

Also, be sure to check if your watch is running the latest firmware. Visit Garmin’s support page to find out the latest version.

And if you want an in-depth review of the Garmin Forerunner 610, read this excellent article.

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4 thoughts on “Garmin power problems?

  1. Really useful post, thanks. I’ve been having exactly the same frustrating problems with my otherwise-beloved 610, so glad to know it’s not just me.

    J

    Borntoplod.com

    • I’ve found a workaround….

      Before charging the watch, turn off GPS.

      It has charged properly after I did that simply tweak. Apparently, the GPS drains the battery faster than it can charge.

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