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Tip of the Day 12/2:Choosing a GPSr —battery

In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver),we’d like to explain why or why not you may consider batteries as part of your GPSr purchase decision.

Most handheld GPSr devices deliver 10-12 hours of service on a set of two alkaline batteries. Rechargeable receivers,while common in auto-mounted units,are rare in rugged handheld devices. We recommend you buy a unit powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The newer models last almost as long as the alkaline stalwarts. A solar battery charger is an option that can save you aggravation on long hikes.

The best way to conserve battery life is to turn off the unit or temporarily disable satellite reception. The process of locking onto a satellite signal burns about half the operating battery power of a GPSr,so limiting this function to the times you really need it can save big. Because it can take several minutes to lock onto a satellite signal again,units shouldn’t be turned off unless you won’t need them for at least 10 minutes.

Manufacturers are doing some clever things to conserve battery life,including putting their units into sleep mode during idle time without losing satellite signals,or enabling you to turn off GPS reception and continue in a simulated navigation mode. We tested a Lowrance unit that had this feature,although that’s about the only thing we liked about it. These bells and whistles can save a lot of juice,but be careful about trusting the product maker’s claims of battery life. In most cases,they’re optimistic. Always carry spare batteries!


How do you conserve your battery? Comment on this post to share!

1 comment to Tip of the Day 12/2:Choosing a GPSr —battery

  • Andrew aka Two_Drews

    I recently started using Sanyo eneloop rechargeables in my Oregon 300 and Fenix LED torch and they’re great. They hold a charge while in your bag,unlike other rechargeables,so they’re always ready to go. They’re good for your wallet AND the environment!

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