Garmin has made many different GPS units over the years. While you might think that one charger fits them all, that’s not even close to being the case. Most older GPS units used 1AMP cables. As the technology progressed, Garmin introduced high definition screens and along with that improvement came the 2AMP chargers. But wait, there’s more. None of the regular everyday chargers have traffic capability because Garmin decided to integrate the traffic receiver into the power cable. Confused? Don’t be. This article will hopefully clear up any confusion.
The most basic cable that Garmin makes is the 2AMP car charger with mini USB ending. This cable will fit almost (note I said almost) every Garmin Nuvi GPS made to date. It has a straight cable with a barrel that contains the fuse among other things. The mini USB ending has pin settings especially made for a Garmin Nuvi. If you need a similar cable but in a hardwire format for hooking up to a motorcycle, do not simply cut off the adapter but instead consider the Garmin hardwire kit. Cutting off the end of a car charger will result in shorting out the GPS or potentially damage your vehicle. By snipping off the ending, you are removing all power regulation capability.
If your GPS has the traffic feature the cables we just discussed are only going to provide power, no traffic. That’s because the traffic antenna is built into the cable itself. A good rule to follow is if the cable costs less than $50, it is power only.
There are several different traffic cables made by Garmin. Each cable includes a lifetime subscription to the traffic network. If you need a new cable because the other is lost or no longer working, you have lost your traffic subscription as it is actually tied into the cable itself. The most common Garmin traffic cable is the GTM 36 which pulls a signal from FM radio. It plugs into the USB port of your GPS just like the one you received with your GPS. This is a combination traffic receiver and car charger for powering your GPS.
The second type of traffic cable is the Garmin GTM 60 which pulls the traffic signal off of HD radio. Like the GTM 36, this is also a combination car charger for power and receiving traffic updates. This is a superior cable to the GTM 36 in that it receives traffic updates up to ten times faster. It is about the same price as the GTM 36 and if your GPS supports HD traffic, I suggest opting for this cable. Not every GPS will accept these cables, I would say those made late 2013 forward should work well with these cables, but check your manual to ensure that is the case.
The last cable we will discuss is an old one that primarily fits some GPS units made at the beginning of the Nuvi series. If your Nuvi GPS is of the 600, 700 or 800 series and is powered from the cradle versus the USB port on the GPS, you will need a cable that has a flat adapter. Garmin still makes these cables. They are available with the flat ending that will fit your cradle (so be sure you still have a working cradle).