I always like to use original equipment whenever possible. For hardwiring purposes, the Garmin Hardwire Power Cable is what is used for almost all their GPS devices that use a mini USB ending. It’s manufactured by Garmin for their brand of GPS devices.
There are a lot of reasons for wanting to hardwire your GPS to your vehicle. Most popular is for attachment to a motorcycle as most do not have an accessory outlet. Other popular hardwire locations are cars and boats. Attachment is straightforward. When not in use, the cable tucks neatly into a motorcycle saddlebag or under a car dash.
I have seen way too many people try to cut the ending off the cable and wire it to their battery. Don’t do this! You will likely fry the GPS and potentially damage your electrical system. You need a fuse or power regular between the ending and the power source. Without this, you wind up with as much power that the battery can push to the device. Buy a good hardwire cable, don’t cut off the DC ending of your car charger.
The input voltage range for this cable is 8 to 36 volts and it will step it down to 5 volts for your GPS. There is a fused power regulator in the middle of the cable. The ending has a mini USB with the proper pin settings for a Garmin GPS. Many have learned the hard way that Garmin configures the pins within the USB ending for their GPS devices. A generic USb cable will not power the device and sends it into what is called data mode which locks the GPS up into an unusable state.
This is a good quality hardwire cable. The cable can power other GPS models besides Garmin. While I don’t have a compatibility list available, it’s highly likely that it will work with the other popular brands of GPS units that share the common mini USB ending and aren’t using proprietary pin settings.
Attachment of the cable is fairly simple and it’s very important to follow the manufacturer instructions carefully. There are two wires coming out of the cable, black and red so follow the written instructions regarding how to safely attach it. Garmin was intelligent in sharing a common power interface for the majority of their portable and handheld devices so these cables fit a wide variety of devices. In terms of installation difficulty, I would rate this as moderate. If you do not feel comfortable working on your motorcycle or car, a trip to the mechanic should take care of it.
The Garmin Hardwire Power Cable is an excellent and safe option for those looking to hardwire their Garmin Nuvi or GPSMAP directly to the vehicle’s battery. As I said, it’s made by Garmin specifically for their line of GPS units so compatibility should not be any issue. In addition, there is a large corporation that will stand behind their product if there are any issues with the installation or in need of a warranty replacement.