The Latest from MountGuys

Our site looks a lot different, doesn't it?  After spending 70 hours a week on running our online business, we realized we needed to change things.  Working these long hours once in a while is ok, but after doing it steadily for over ten years, it began to affect our health and quality of life.  We decided to shift our focus.  We have retained a subset of our business to serve our prior customers and continue to offer our most popular products on Amazon where you can always find a huge selection of Arkon Mounts and RAM Mounts.

For several years, we had a blog attached to our site that many of you found useful.  We added articles as time allowed.  We decided to expand our blog and write with far more frequency.  We will continue to explain how to mount new stuff and use what you already have in ways you may not have thought about before.

Most products mentioned on this site as well as those sold by us in the past are available on Amazon.

Amazon's Most Popular Phone Mounts      Amazon's Most Popular GPS Mounts      Amazon's Most Popular GPS Units

Car and Motorcycle Mounts for Garmin Monterra

Garmin 010-11654-07 for Garmin Monterra and MontanaThe Garmin Monterra is a unique handheld GPS.  Garmin has taken the best of past generations of their highly successful eTrex and GPSMAP series and modernized it.  The Monterra is a Wi-Fi enabled GPS navigator that combines Garmin maps with the Android operating system. You can even get Android apps for Monterra on Google Play.  There is an 8 megapixel autofocus camera that can shoot 1080p HD video with automatic geotagging and an LED flash.  It’s a real feature rich handheld unit.

We’re MountGuys so let’s discuss available mounting options.  The Garmin Monterra does not come with any mounts in the box so if you have plans to anything other than hold it in your hand, you will need to shop for a mount.  Unlike some other handheld units on the market, good mounts for this device are fairly easy to find.

Many of Garmin’s mounts which are made for their Montana GPS line will fit the Monterra too.  These are good and well made mounts.  Garmin doesn’t typically offer suction cup mounts for their handheld GPS, but the Monterra is an exception.  The Garmin Suction Cup Mount with Speaker includes a cradle, suction cup and charger.  The suction cup is the standard Garmin variety which includes the lever for a vacuum seal on the windshield.  Be sure the windshield is clean before applying as that will get you the best hold.

Also for the car, combining their very popular dashboard 17mm ball mount with a custom powered cradle, the Garmin Friction Mount Kit is an excellent solution as well.  This mount is perfect for your dashboard and includes the mount, speaker cradle and charger.  The dashboard base mount has been sold for many years by Garmin and has been made popular with their expansive Nuvi lineup.  This is all you need to use the unit in your car or SUV.

Garmin offers three different mounts for the motorcycle and ATV.  The Garmin Handlebar Mount for Monerra and Montana is pictured alongside this article.  This is a complete mount which will hold your Montana and clip onto most circular handlebars up to 1.25 inches diameter.  For more rugged use, Garmin also provides the Garmin Rugged Mount with Power and Speaker Cable which includes a hardwire power cable but no mount (go figure).  This part can be coupled with the RAM handlebar mount which will attach to the Garmin cradles using the screws and nuts which are provided with the cradle.

This series can also be used for marine purposes too and the Garmin Marine Flat Surface Mount for Monterra and Montana is a good  choice.  This mount includes the powered speaker cradle, flat surface mount and hardwire cable for power.  The mounting base has a series of pre-drilled holes to allow mounting to a flat surface on your boat.  Be sure to pair the mount with a series on non-corrosive nuts and bolts especially in salt water.  Be sure to measure carefully as this is a mount that will require some drilling into your boat for mounting purposes.

RAM Mount fans will be pleased to know that a RAM Custom Cradle for Garmin Monterra is available.  This is the typical composite cradle that RAM offers for a large number of Garmin GPS devices.  It has the 2-hole diamond mounting pattern that fits the metal RAM Motorcycle Mount in wide use with many bikers.  Combining the RAM cradle with their motorcycle mount is an excellent choice as your GPS will snap right into the custom cradle for a very secure mounting solution.  All of these components come with a lifetime warranty that is administered by the manufacturer.

On a related note, I have seen some dealers offering screen protectors for the Garmin Monterra.  Please save your money and do not buy these.  Most GPS units made over the past five years use an anti-scratch lens and under most normal use will not show any scratches.  You will find a screen protector is unnecessary.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

GarminSuction mount for Garmin MonterraGarmin Auto Suction Cup Mount with Speaker

GarminFlat surface mount for Garmin MonterraGarmin Auto Friction Mount Kit with Speaker

GarminPowered motorcycle cradle for Garmin MonterraAmps Rugged Mount with aud.-power

RAMMotorcycle handlebar mount fits the Garmin powered cradle for MonterraAmps Rugged Mount with aud.-power

RAMRAM cradle for Garmin MonterraRAM Mounts (RAM-HOL-GA64U) Cradle Holder for the Garmin Monterra

Preparing your Smartphone or Tablet for a Hurricane

Anker BatteryWe live in New Jersey.  That means we get to worry about hurricanes in the fall and blizzards in the winter.  Losing power is no fun.  Especially when you are looking at days or potentially weeks without any electricity.  I never though weeks without power was a possibility until having lived through Super Storm Sandy.  I was lucky and never lost power but close relatives weren’t so lucky.  They were out from a few days to two weeks.  Amazingly, they all wanted to stay in their house even without power, which also meant no heat.  Most heat is provided via natural gas in New jersey but unfortunately your furnace is run by electricity so even though the gas lines were not effected, it didn’t matter.  Some tried to get a bit of heat from the stoves but for the most part their homes were as cold inside as outside.

This article is going to talk about how to prepare using your mobile electronics.  There is a lot of information about the other essentials out there like water, food and shelter.  We’re going to talk about the other essentials which are smartphones and tablets.

First thing to check is your apps.  Be sure that you have essential applications downloaded and that you are knowledgeable on how to use them.  Nothing worse than opening the app for the first time when it’s urgently needed only to take ten minutes to figure it out.  Remember that apps are going to need a network to communicate properly.  Although your power is out, there is a good likelihood that cellular service may be available as the transmitters typically have battery backup.  Here is a list of apps I found useful while sitting out weather events:

  • Power Utility Apps – We use a company called GPU also known as JCP&L here in New Jersey.  An application is available to report and monitor a power outage.  I have used the app top report an outage, it then gives you confirmation and time to restore as well as a status in terms of where they stand.  The app also has a map of nearby outages and the number of customers effected.  Naturally, the more people effected, the more priority it should get.  Most large public utilities have an app like this.  I have found it to be indispensable.
  • Weather and News Apps – This is an obvious one.  Stay on top of the weather and the local news.
  • Twitter – During Sandy, a major power outage means that gas stations can’t pump gas.  There were a few stations that had power either because they were located within one of the few areas that had power or had an onsite generator.  Lines were a mile long.  New Jersey instituted gas rationing.  Twitter allowed me to stay on top of where the gas was and the size of the line.
  • Flashlight – Some operating systems have this built in, others need an app to be downloaded and there are plenty that are free.  You will use this smartphone feature even if you have a conventional flashlight.
  • Cable TV app – We use Cablevision and they offer an app that let’s you watch TV over the internet.  Entertainment becomes important when cooped up for days.  Be aware of your data plan because it’s easy to exceed your plan’s minutes with video.  I know that Comcast has a similar app as do many other cable companies.

As an outage exceeds a few hours, your devices will begin to get real low on battery power.  During Sandy, I remember malls and stores setting up free power stations within their facility.  People would go to the mall to stay warm and charge their phones, tablets and laptops.  I now appreciate the alternative means to power your devices versus plugging into the wall.

The Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4 External Battery holds a series of lithium batteries to deliver up to 13000mAh of power to your devices.  The battery has two ports with each delivering over 2AMPS which is what you need to charge any smartphone or tablet.  Be sure to charge the battery fully before the weather event hits.  Just add a USB cable and plug into your phone or tablet.  This battery holds a lot of power and will fully charge your devices several times.  This battery accompanies the article in the upper left corner.

For extended outages, the Anker 14W Dual-Port Solar Charger with PowerIQ Technology is a true solar-powered source.  No electricity is needed.  I have seen other batteries with a small solar panel molded onto the face.  They work poorly recharging because the panel is so small.  This one has a series of four large solar panels to make this one of the few usable portable solar solutions.  There are two USB ports built-in which will power most tablets and smartphones.  During the day, put it in the sun to fully charge the internal batteries of the power source and keep doing this until you get power back.  The panels will fold up when not in use to make this a truly portable accessory.

Keeping prepared and not waiting until the last minute makes a world of difference.  A lot of us in New Jersey found out about this the hard way.  I won’t do that again.

iKross Car Cup Holder Powered Mount Product Spotlight

The iKross Car Cup Holder Powered Mount is one of those products that we find so unique that we were compelled to write about it.  I have always liked cup holder mounts for keeping your phone off the passenger seat.  It’s also a nice mounting location for keeping it out of the view of thieves looking for common windshield mounts.

There are a lot of cup holder mounts on the market.  They have been around for years.  What makes this unique is that the mount integrates power connections along with it.  There are powered mounts for your car lighter but this is the first I have seen where you have a cup holder mount with power.  The mount doesn’t just have a power outlet, it has five.  There are three standard DC adapters to allow you to plug-in a GPS car charger and another device.  There are also two USB ports that can push 2.1 AMPS which is what you need to power most smartphones and tablets.  The mount includes a charger that connects the cup holder base to your car’s accessory port.  The cable itself has an additional DC port built into it so you have a total of three DC ports for chargers and two USB slots.  That’s likely more ports than you have devices.  Each of the ports on the base have a cap to protect them when not in use.

The bottom of the cup holder is expandable with a twist of the base.  These will fit cup holder diameters up to 3.75 inches.  That’s large enough for almost all standard cup holders with only those extremely large diameters not fitting (for example I remember some Chevy Tahoe SUV / boats made years ago having cup holders large enough fit a tire inside).  A flexible gooseneck stem connects the base to the cradle.  The stem is 5.5 inches high and can be bent to get the best angle for the driver or passenger.

An expandable cradle is included with the car mount.  When attached to the mount, the cradle can be swiveled 360 degrees.  There is a button on each side to expand the arms on the cradle.  The cradle expands from 1.6 to 4.1 inches.  That’s easily large enough for almost all phones, with or without a case or skin.  Using an Apple iPhone 6s Plus as an example, it measures 6.22 inches tall, 3.06 inches wide and .28 inches deep so even with an added case, this will fit fine.  A Samsung Galaxy S6 is 5.64 inches tall by 2.79 inches wide by .27 inches deep, so again, even with a case this is going to fit fine.

Insertion of your phone into the mounting cradle is a simple operation.  Push the buttons on the side of the cradle to expand it all the way.  Insert your phone and push the arms around the phone.  To remove your phone, push the buttons on the side while holding your phone.  The arms expand and your phone is released.

The addition of the charging aspect of the iKross Car Cup Holder Powered Mount makes this mount worth consideration.  It’s a feature unavailable in other cup holder mounts, let alone five different charging ports.

Car and Motorcycle Mounts for the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Arkon SM423-G with iPhoneiPhone bigger and better.  At least that’s what Apple calls it.  Recently made available, this is the most popular release to date of a new Apple iPhone.  It’s understandable, especially for those not already owning a more current phone.  The performance and functionality improvements introduced with the new phone as well as the new operating system (IOS release 8) are significant.  This is a site that focuses on the stuff needed to make your devices mobile, so if you want to read about some of the enhancements, take a few minutes to view it at Apple.

We would be remiss without mentioning one very important sets of features on the new iPhone 6 which is called iSight and Auto Image Stabilization.  This combines some new hardware and software enhancements that will permit you to shoot photos and videos that aren’t as prone to a shaky hand nor as susceptible to a vibrating vehicle.  This expands the potential of using your iPhone 6 for use as a dash camera or possibly for use on a motorcycle.  If you choose to do this, make sure the mount that you purchase leave the rear camera lens uncovered.

When it comes to mounting this phone, it’s important to know the dimensions of these devices.  The iPhone 6 is larger than any model announced to date.  With a 4.7 inch diagonal screen this phone is 5.44 inches tall by 2.64 inches wide by .27 inches deep.  The larger iPhone 6 Plus is even larger.  Sporting a 5.5 inch diagonal screen, this iPhone is 6.22 inches tall, 3.06 inches wide and .28 inches deep.  These are important measurements to keep in mind when selecting your mount.  For those with any custom iPhone mount which features a cradle specifically made for your iPhone, they aren’t going to fit and you will need to purchase a new mount, or at least a new cradle.  For those that have purchased a universal mount to hold your older phone, hopefully it opens wide enough to hold your new iPhone 6 series without a problem.  Most universal mounts offer options to upgrade your cradle to a larger one.  From experience, I suspect you will be able to reuse your existing universal mount for an iPhone 6, but not for the iPhone 6 Plus.  The iPhone 6 Plus is a really big phone.  It was made to compete with the larger models from Samsung such as the Mega and Galaxy Note.

Readers of our site already know that we favor the universal mounts because of the reasons just mentioned.  So for those that never had a phone mount before, avoid the custom solutions and purchase a solid universal mount.

There are a lot of companies that offer some excellent mounting solutions for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Arkon, based in California, offers three inexpensive lines that fit all iPhone 6 models with or without a case.  The Mobile-Grip 2 cradles were recently introduced.  Mobile-Grip 2 features an expandable cradle that grips your phone from the sides.  The cradle opens to 3.6 inches wide so should be large enough for almost all cases although you might struggle a bit with a thick case on an iPhone 6 Plus.  Arkon also offers an older line called Slim-Grip Ultra which opens to over 7 inches.  The Slim-Grip Ultra will hold your phone from the top and bottom and features support legs that can move from side to side.  Lastly, the Megagrip cradle opens to 3.4 inches.  The Megagrip has been around for many years and is extremely reliable.  The Megagrip features one hand operation and opens with the push of a button.  Arkon does not offer a custom cradle for any of the iphone 6 models.

iOttie, based in New York, provides some inexpensive mounts that feature the Easy One Touch 2 universal cradle which opens to 3.2 inches and will fit the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus without a case or skin.  When adding a thick case, this line may not fit well.  This cradle is spring loaded and sold with a variety of mounts for the handlebar, windshield and dash.  iOttie is somewhat new to us and we plan to look closer at their offerings in the near future.

RAM Mount, out of Washington, features two custom cradles.  The RAM-HOL-AP18U is made to fit the iPhone 6 and the RAM-HOL-AP19U will fit the iPhone 6 Plus.  Since it’s a custom cradle, these will not fit your device with a case or skin.  You can couple these with one of RAM’s mounting pedestals for the windshield, cup holder, dash or motorcycle.  RAM also makes their ever popular X-Grip cradle, the RAM-HOL-UN7BU for the 6 and RAM-HOL-UN10BU for the 6 Plus.  These universal cradles will open to grip your phone from the sides with or without a case or skin in use.  Although the custom cradles are well made, we prefer the X-Grip universal cradles.  It’s likely you will have a case or skin on your phone so go with the universal cradles.  We do a deep dive on the X-Grip series which is worth reading here.

As for recommendations, I have used and really like the Arkon MegaGrip SM415 Mount for universal car use.  This line is inexpensive and proven.  You can use it reliably on your car dash or windshield and it fits your iPhone 6 with or without a case.   The mount features a vacuum locked suction assembly attached to a pivoting arm.  The cradle opens and closes at a push of a button and expands up to 3.4 inches so it will git the iPhone 6 even with a case and an iPhone 6 Plus without a case or with a very thin skin.  The phone can swivel into any orientation.  The mount also comes with an adhesive disk that you can stick to the dash to turn the mount into a console mount.  The suction assembly can adhere tot he adhesive disk just like it would on a windshield.  I have used these for a long time and can vouch for the ease of use and durability.  Might be the best phone mount you can get for the price.

If you are looking to use your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on a motorcycle, consider the RAM X-Grip line.  These are heavy duty mounts that are mostly constructed of metal.  The mount has gone through some rigorous shake tests and holds up well on a motorcycle.  We wrote about X-Grips extensively on this site and you can view that article here.  The mount that you would use for the iPhone 6 is the RAM-B-149Z-UN7U.  The iPhone 6 Plus needs a larger cradle so you would select the RAM-B-149Z-UN10U.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

iOttieSuction cup windshield mount with expandable cradle and telescoping armiOttie Easy One Touch 2 Car Mount Holder for iPhone 6 (4.7)/Plus (5.5) /5s/5c, Samsung Galaxy S5/S4/S3/Note 4/3, Google Nexus 5/4, LG G3 - Retail Packaging - Black

RAM MountCustom iPhone 6 holder for RAM mounting systemsRAM Mount Cradle f/Apple iPhone 6

RAM MountCustom iPhone 6 plus holder for RAM mounting systemsRAM Mount Cradle f/Apple iPhone 6 Plus

ArkonWindshield suction cup mount with universal cradleArkon Windshield and Dashboard Smartphone Car Mount Holder for Apple iPhone 6 Plus 6 5 5S 5C Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3 S5 S4 S3

RAM MountMotorcycle mount with X-Grip IV cradle to fit an iPhone 6 plusRAM Mounts (RAM-B-149Z-UN10U) Handlebar Rail Mount with Zinc Coated U-Bolt Base and Universal X-Grip Iv Large Phone/Phablet Holder

RAM MountMotorcycle mount with X-Grip cradle for iPhone 6RAM Handlebar Rail Mount with Zinc Coated U-Bolt Base and Universal X-Grip(TM) Cell Phone Holder

SiriusXM Onyx Plus with Vehicle Kit Product Spotlight

The SiriusXM Onyx Plus with Vehicle Kit includes everything you need to get started with satellite radio in your car.  The kit includes the radio unit, antenna, car charger, stereo cable, docking station and a few car mounts.  It’s everything except the subscription.  Speaking of the subscription, be sure to review our article to Lower Your Sirius XM Subscription Price before signing up.  You can save a substantial amount off the subscription price if you know about all the discount programs before calling for activation.  Wish I wrote that article years ago, because I unfortunately paid full price for a real long time before discovering some of the better offers that were out there.

This is an excellent choice for music fans and also great for sports nuts.  Read on to learn more.

As of now, this is likely the most feature rich radio that is available.  Most other models for SiriusXM have 10 presets.  The Onyx Plus has 20.  That’s a lot of presets.  The Onyx Plus has pause and rewind so if you need to take a nature break or want to listen again to something you just hear, simply pause it or rewind.  This model also offer two features called TuneMix, TuneStart and TuneScan which are unique.  TuneMix allows the listener to create their own music channel by blending their Smart Favorite music channels.  SmartStart will start songs from the beginning on a Smart Favorite music channel.  TuneScan will scan and select songs that have already played on your Smart Favorite channels.  The other models on the market do not offer these features.

For sports nuts, this radio operates on the XM satellite.  This means that in addition to all of the music channels and features just described, you also get Major League baseball (MLB).  This is similar to having the MLB at Bat subscription on your phone in that you get to listen to all of the baseball games from across the US and Canada.  You also get all of the NHL games as well as the PGA channel.  For premium subscription level, the NFL games are also available.  Just sit in your garage with a case of beer and a bag of chips.  No reason to go anywhere with all the major league action.

Installing this kit can be a simple exercise.  The car kit includes a vent mount as well as one for the dash.  Use the vent mount if at all possible as it’s going to be at eye level, easier to interface with, plus out of plain view of potential thieves.  The back of the car cradle has a mounting pattern that will line right up with either of the mounts.  There is a car charger which plugs into your socket.  An antenna with a very long cable is included.  Now this is where your install could remain easy or you could make it complex.  I prefer easy so I keep the antenna cable coiled up and use a Car Windshield Antenna Mount for Sirius/XM Radio.  It’s a lot cleaner that running the antenna cable out your passenger windshield or to make it real challenging, running it though the car interior to the roof of your car.

I am sure you will want to hear the radio so I’ll tell you how that works.  If your installed Am/FM car radio has an auxiliary input port then the best option is to use the stereo cable that is included with the car kit.  It’s a direct connection and will provide the clearest reception.  If no auxiliary connection is present, use the included FM modulator option that’s within the radio itself.  Choose an unused FM frequency in your area and set your Onyx Plus to broadcast to that frequency.  Typically this works well but if located within a large metropolitan area such as where I live (Northern New Jersey), you might have an issue at times.  Read our article on Sirius XM and FM Radio Static for ways to combat any issues.

The SiriusXM Onyx Plus with Vehicle Kit is a great radio kit that will bring you a lot of pleasure especially on those long commutes home from work or, in the case of a sports fanatic, from the garage.

RAM 2.25″ Ball Marine Electronics Mount Product Spotlight

RAM RAM-D-111U-C Big PicRAM manufactures some great heavy-duty mounts for Fishfinders, Chartplotters and other marine electronics.  When it comes to a mount that can handle the largest and heaviest marine electronics, perhaps none are as versatile as the RAM 2.25″ Ball Marine Electronics Mount.  The addition of a mount such as this offer advantages that you will not get if simply attaching the manufacturer bracket to a flat surface.  The most obvious advantages are the ability to place the device at a variety of angles and the ease of removal of the device.

RAM makes their mounts with a few different ball sizes and this one uses the extra-large 2.25″ ball.  You can take a look at our article entitles RAM Mounts for the Common Man (or Woman) if not familiar with RAM nomenclature.  The larger the ball size, the heavier load the mount can hold.  This is a heavy mount weighing in at almost four pounds and standing at 8.125 inches high.  It is rated to hold up to a 15 pound load.  There aren’t a lot of marine devices that exceed 15 pounds.  For example, one of the largest Lowrance chartplotters – the HDS-12 Gen-3, weighs in at about 6 pounds.

The mount is comprised of three parts.  All parts are made of a powder coated marine grade metal mount that comes with a manufacturer lifetime warranty.  The mount is built upon a common concept for most RAM Mounts which is the ball and socket.  This mount has two balls and two sockets which allow easy adjustment of angles by simply loosening and tightening the knob in the middle.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the three components that are part of this mount.

The RAM 2.25″ Ball Round Base is at the bottom of the mount.  The rubber ball is molded to the 3.68″ round base.  The base has a series of pre-drilled holes for mounting to any flat surface.  Mounting bolts are not supplied, but you can pick them up at a hardware store.  We recommend using non-corrosive bolts since this area might come in contact with salt or fresh water.

A RAM 2.25″ Socket Short Arm is found in the middle of the mount.  This metal part has a socket on each end and is 5.0625 inches tall.  There is a flywheel in the middle that loosens and tightens the socket connections on the attaching balls.  Make sure the knob is very tight after getting the mount into your desired position.

The key component is the RAM Mounting Platform.  This part measures 11 x 3 inches and has a series of holes pre-drilled.  These holes match up to a variety of mounting brackets.  These are the mounting brackets which are provided by the electronics manufacturers with the device.  The brackets are typically known as gimbal brackets.  After aligning the bracket holes with the RAM platform, use bolts and nuts to attach it.  I have noticed that some electronics manufacturers include mounting bolts and some do not.  If you need to purchase some, be sure to get the non-corrosive variety if there’s a chance that water may be present at any time.  These work with most medium and large devices from Garmin and Lowrance including their HDS-12, HDS-10, HDS-9 and HDS-8 series chartplotters.

the RAM 2.25″ Ball Marine Electronics Mount is an excellent addition to what is likely a substantial investment in a Chartplotter or Fishfinder.  I like the added ease of device removal when leaving the boat docked.  It’s a lot quicker than removing the typical knobs at each end and worrying about losing the screws.  It’s also delivers the ability to easily adjust the angle and position of the device which you can’t get with the gimbal bracket that is delivered with the unit.

Garmin Zumo 390LM Motorcycle Mounts

The Garmin Zumo 390LM is yet another addition to Garmin’s long running Zumo line for motorcycles.  The Garmin Zumo line first came out in 2006 and Garmin and continues to be a popular line in North America.  These 4.3″ screen size GPS systems are made for motorcycle use.  Unlike a car GPS, these are weatherproof and is rated to IPX7 which means it withstands incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. These units have glove sensitive displays which means that you don’t have to take your gloves off to interface with the display.  Lastly, they are made somewhat more rugged than car GPS units.  The Zumo 390LM provides lifetime map updates at no charge.  An interesting added feature is the ability to check your tire pressure using the optional TPMS accessory.  The GPS includes Bluetooth integration so that you can hear the directions through a Bluetooth enabled helmet.

The Garmin Zumo 390LM includes both a motorcycle and car mount which is a nice touch.  No reason why you can’t use these in a car as well as a motorcycle.  Saves some money in that you don’t need a second GPS for your car.  The car cradle has the standard 17mm socket on the back so a lot of the mounts that are available for a Garmin Nuvi that have a 17mm ball on the end will fit the car cradle for a Zumo 390LM.  We like the Arkon Suction Cup Mount for Garmin Nuvi as a suitable replacement that’s a notch above the Garmin entry and fits the cradle real well.  Don’t worry about it saying Nuvi, these fit the Zumo 390LM car cradle as it has a 17mm socket the same way that the Nuvi does.  There’s a vacuum lock on the mount to make sure it sticks firmly, just be sure to clean the windshield with the included wipe before use.  It also includes a dash disk if you would like to use it there instead of the windshield.

Garmin includes a real good handlebar clutch motorcycle mount with the Zumo 390LM.  As has been Garmin’s direction for the past several years on their motorcycle mounts, this mount is sourced from RAM and it’s a good high quality metal mount.  This is a mount that will attach to the back of the Zumo cradle using the bolts and screws that came with the motorcycle cradle that you received in the box with the GPS.  The square plate uses the standard 4-hole AMPS pattern.  Use the square metal top of the mount to line the screw holes up with the back of the cradle.  There is a metal arm that supports a ball and socket system.  The base has a dual mounting option.  Most will use the u-bolts that comes with the mount to attach to the handlebar and these will fit bars to 1.25 inches in diameter.  Some, especially those that ride Honda Goldwings as well as some Harley owners will use the brake or clutch options.  The brake / clutch options will require you to remove the factory installed bolts and replace them with the bolts that are included with the mount.  You may also use the spacers that are provided depending upon your model of bike.  Instructions to do this are included with the mount.  If you would like to add a second mount for another motorcycle, take a look at this mount from RAM.  If you need a second mount, my suggestion is to purchase the RAM Mount, save a few dollars and benefit from their lifetime warranty.

There are many other options for mounting a Zumo to a motorcycle.  A very popular option is to use the RAM Fork Stem Base.  This mount will attach to the stem hole on many motorcycles.  The mounting kit includes a bolt and a plastic cone that you can cut to fit the stem hole.  The plastic cone can be cut from 12 -20mm and 28mm or .5” – 1.10”.  You can replace the handlebar base with this fork stem base.  Use the arm and mounting plate from the one Garmin provided with the GPS.  No need to purchase anything more.

Another very popular option is the RAM Mirror Base.  This base is real popular on BMW models and features an 11mm hole that your mirror post can fit through or in some case, you can replace the mirror post with your GPS.  Like the fork stem base, the arm and AMPS plate will fit this base as well.

If you notice some glare once you have this mounted on your motorcycle, there are some nice inexpensive solutions available to shield your unit from glare and we recently reviewed the Glarestomper line of products which will help a lot.  You can read that review here.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

GarminGarmin TPMS sensor for Garmin ZumoGarmin Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor

ArkonSuction cup car mount with 17mm ballArkon Replacement Upgrade or Additional Windshield Dashboard Suction Mounting Pedestal for Garmin nuvi 40 50 1450 1200 GPS

RAM MountRAM brand metal handlebar and clutch mount for ZumoRAM Mounts (RAM-B-178U-A) U-Bolt with Short Arm and Adaptor for Garmin Zumo

RAM MountRAM fork stem baseRam Mount Motorcycle Fork Stem Base with 1-Inch Ball (Black)

RAM MountRAM mirror baseRAM Mounts (RAM-B-252U) 2.25" X 0.87" Motorcycle Base with 11 mm Hole and 1" Ball

Using Battery Tender on a Motorcycle

Battery Tender is a company that manufactures a line of battery chargers and accessories.  These are very commonly used with motorcycles.  It’s especially handy in colder climates where your motorcycle may not be used for long stretches of time, especially the winter months.  A lot of motorcycle owners simply attach a ring terminal harness to their battery, secure it in a safe place, and leave it plugged in to run a charger or accessory cables.  It serves a nice dual purpose as a Battery Tender charging connection as well as accessory cable.  We will explain more.

Most start with a kit such as the Battery Tender Junior.  This kit has a few important components needed to get started.  The most basic part of the Battery Tender Junior is the trickle charger.  This part plugs into an A/C wall socket and has a light on it to show that the charger is working normally.  The Battery Tender Junior runs a 4-step charging program (initialization, bulk charge, absorption mode, float mode).  It will automatically switch to float mode after fully charging the battery and when the battery voltage drops too far under load, full charging output power resumes.  It’s a set and forget kind of device.

There is a 2-pin quick disconnect cable attached to the Battery Tender Junior which is used to attach to one of two cable assemblies.  First, there is an alligator clip cable assembly which is used as a temporary connection to your battery and is used to charge your battery while parked in the garage.  When you are ready to use your motorcycle, you will disconnect and remove the alligator cable.  There is also a ring terminal harness which is made for permanent installation and can potentially be used for accessory attachments which will be explained in a bit.  The ring terminal harness is normally attached directly to your battery using a wrench or screwdriver (it varies by motorcycle model) and has a fuse embedded just above the rings.  The cable has a 2-pin connector on the other end which can connect to the Battery Tender Junior then easily disconnected when not in use.  In the case of the ring terminal harness, you will likely leave this attached to your battery when riding, stowed away safely.

The ring terminal harness can be used to attach accessories to your battery when not being used to connect the Battery Tender to your motorcycle.  The 2-pin connection can connect to a Battery Tender Quick Disconnect Plug with USB Charger to provide a USB socket suitable for attaching a micro-USB, mini-USB or Apple Lightening Cable.  This will draw the power from your motorcycle battery to charge your smartphone or GPS unit while riding.  This is an option for clean hardwire connection.  Although you can leave your GPS plugged in while the motorcycle is idle, I prefer to disconnect it to prevent unnecessary draw on the battery.

Similar to the USB attachment just discussed, the Battery Tender Female Cigarette Adapter for Quick Disconnect provides an accessory outlet to connect to the ring terminal harness.  This is especially useful for attaching devices that do not use a standalone USB cable.  I especially like these for Garmin GPS units where the traffic antenna is embedded directly into the DC car charger.

The last accessory to discuss is the Battery Tender 12.5 Foot Foot Extension Lead.  This might be required if the distance between the battery and wherever you wish to mount the device is too long for the cables that come with the Battery Tender.  Many custom installs will require this cable as it’s important that you ensure the cable installation is securely tucked away and secure.

Attachment of the Battery Tender kit and accessory cables is fairly simple but be extra sure to follow the manufacturer directions that come with these parts to prevent injuries or damage to your equipment.  You want to be sure the install is done properly and the cables are securely tucked away and not dangling.  If you do not feel comfortable doing your own work, no matter how simple it looks, call on a professional.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

Battery TenderBattery Tender Junior charging kitBattery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V Battery Charger

Battery TenderQuick Disconnect Plug with USB Charger for use with Battery TenderBattery Tender 081-0158 Black Quick Disconnect Plug with USB Charger

Battery TenderBattery Tender Female Cigarette Adaptor for Quick DisconnectBattery Tender 081-0069-8 Female Cigarette Adaptor for Quick Disconnect

Battery TenderBattery Tender 12.5' Extension CableBattery Tender 081-0148-12 12.5' Extension Cable

Mounts for Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol Handheld Scanner

Uniden continues to expand their very popular HomePatrol line with the Uniden Handheld BCD436HP scanner.  I remember when a scanner meant having a book of frequencies to key in so that you could find the traffic of interest to you.  Things have changed radically and like the tabletop Uniden HomePatrol-1 and HomePatrol-II Scanner,  just key in your zip code, select the traffic type you wish to hear and the radio finds the stations by itself.  It’s that easy.  Up and running in minutes.

The scanner sports a very reasonable size given the capabilities.  The size is important when selecting a mount.  The unit measures 2.8″ wide x 6.3″ high x 1.5″ deep – this does not include the antenna.  The weight is 12.3 ounces.  There is a rear clip on the back which you will likely remove for mounting so that the flat back can rest flush against the front of the mounting cradle.  In fact, as I think about it, take it off even if you aren’t using a mount.  I’m just not a fan of hanging a radio, GPS or phone from your belt.  It’s not comfortable and a pain to access when you need it.

Let’s discuss mounts.  Decide where you want to mount it.  If it’s a car, take a look around to figure out where a 6.3″ high radio would fit best (and remember to add the antenna to make this about one foot high).  We don’t recommend turning the knobs or pushing the buttons while driving, but you will likely want it in a location where it’s somewhat easy to see the display for the scanner action.  There aren’t any custom mounts for this radio model and not just any mount will fit it.  You might be inclined to use a phone mount but it’s unlikely to fit well because of the 1.25 inch depth and added weight.  A cradle is needed that is at least 1.5 inches deep.  There aren’t many out there this deep.

The RAM Finger-Grip Holder is probably the best solution out there for handheld scanners with this kind of weight and depth.  This is one of RAM’s specialty cradles.  It gets the job done.  There are three sets of fingers with this universal cradle kit.  The BCD436HP will require use of the longest fingers which are 1.6″ deep.  They will handle radios that are from 2.25″ – 3.5″ wide – so the 2.8″ BCD436HP will fit fine.  The top of the Finger Grip Holder can be removed to accommodate the height of the radio.

You can couple the Finger Grip Holder with a RAM 18″ Seat Bolt Mount to attach the radio to your car’s passenger seat.  This is one of my favorite locations for a radio because the height of the mount places the radio right around the same area that your car radio would be.  When the mount isn’t in use, simply bend it out of the way.  Attachment is a 5-minute exercise, assuming the seat bolt is easily accessed.  Just be sure to use a wrench or pliers because the key to making this mount work is to wrench tighten the seat bolt after tucking the mounting claw underneath.

The RAM Finger Grip Suction Cup Mount is a well made accessory but you need to ensure that sufficient clearance exists when you have the radio with antenna within the mount.  The mount has a 3-inch metal arm in the middle with adjustment points at the base and tip.  The suction cup has a vacuum lock to ensure it’s a good attachment but always make sure to clean the windshield thoroughly before attaching the mount.

The last mount that I’ll suggest is the RAM Finger Grip Clamp Mount.  The clamp opens to 1.25″ and there are adjustment points at the clamp and the cradle.  Like the windshield mount, there is a metal 3″ arm in the middle.  These are good for attachment to the lip of a dashboard or, if you are mounting at home, the lip of a table.  This mount, as well as the others mentioned within this article come with a lifetime warranty.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

RAM MountFinger Grip HolderRam Mount RAM-HOL-UN4U Universal Finger-Grip Phone or Radio Holder (Black)

RAM MountSeat bolt mount which will attach to a finger grip cradleRAM POD I Universal No-Drill(TM) Vehicle Mount with 18"" Rigid Aluminum Rod & Diamond Adapter Base

RAM MountSuction cup mount with finger grip cradleRam Mount Twist Lock Suction Cup Mount with Universal Finger-Grip Phone/Radio Holder - Non-Retail Packaging - Black

RAM MountClamp mount with finger grip cradleRAM Mounts (RAM-B-121-UN4) Yoke Clamp Mount With Universal Finger-Grip Holder