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Old 09-05-2018, 03:18   #1
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how to change internal battery on garmin 128

Hey guys
as the title say I have a garmin 128, which fails to load charts and can't find satelites (I have tried several things mentioned in the manual/internet etc. no luck yet) it worked fine last season. I will try to change the internal battery but first i would like to hear if any got experience doing.
The internal battery is it a standard "flat" battery which i can buy in a supermarket or does it have to be a official-overpriced-marine-battery? is there any of you who have done the same and maybe have a picture or two? (haven't got that much luck looking on the interWeb)
Thank you in advance!
-ModernViking
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Old 09-05-2018, 11:48   #2
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how to change internal battery on garmin 128

I know nothing about a Garmin 128, but these type of things usually use regular coin cells and likely are soldered in. If you can access it, its usually not hard if your soldering skills are decent.
However I thought that a GPS with a dead memory battery would still work, just it would go through a cold start every time, meaning it may take several minutes, maybe even up to 30 to get a fix.
No idea about charts though.
Id try to take it apart if possible and see what your looking at.
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Old 09-05-2018, 13:39   #3
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

I would try calling Garmin first....
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Old 09-05-2018, 13:53   #4
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

You might luck out, but there is no such thing as a "standard" battery in these things. Every one is different. If you go online and search for "Garmin 128 battery" you may find some, made and sold by questionable sources, which adds another weak point. How long will *that* even last?

If your Garmin has screws and can be taken apart, by all means explore. If it is a "waterproof" model, the cases are sonic welded together, and you can't open them without breaking open the case and then replacing it (as Garmin does) or rebuilding it.

But if the internal battery is shot, give it external power and wait for an hour, it can take that long for a complete cold boot even with the best sky view. If it comes up and works after that, it may be sufficient to just make sure it is charged every week.

Considering they last sold for $128 from Garmin, and the newer models will have much more sensitive GPS that can pick up more GPS systems (not just the US) it may be worth looking into replacing it. Especially if the case was a waterproof welded one.

There's just very little way to reliably GET replacement lithium batteries for any of these gadgets, unless the original maker still sells them--and they tend to charge a fortune. If you can get it open, there should be numbers on the battery that will tell you just what you need. "Anything that fits" may work, since they are all the same voltage and the charging is voltage-based.
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Old 09-05-2018, 18:30   #5
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

Garmin 128 does not use charts. Are you referring to the Tracks, Waypoints, and Routes?

The battery only stores the Tracks, Waypoints, and Routes and has nothing to do with the GPS functions. Are you getting any messages about the GPS?

The thing is 20 years old and hardly worth the energy your putting into it. Fact is if the GPS does not work; replacing the battery will not help.

Many many many years ago we would replace parts inside recreational marine electronics. We could often fix them but they would typically die shortly after. We found it to be a complete waste of time.

For $200 or less you can get a Garmin Echomap 42CV
For $300 or less you can get a Raymarine Dragonfly 5M
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:07   #6
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

If you want a Garmin 128 that works, I'll sell you mine. It's b een in my Navb Panel for 17 years, but we have not used it/relied on it for the last 6 or so. But it does work. PM me if you're interested.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:50   #7
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

"Fact is if the GPS does not work; replacing the battery will not help. "
Not quite right. That is a first or second generation GPS receiver with what is now considered very low sensitivity. If the battery goes dead, the GPS will lose the ephemeris data and when it is powered up, it will not know what satellites to look for. As a result, a "stone cold" startup boot can take a very unexpected 45 minutes, a full 45 minutes, before it locks onto satellites and gets a fix.
And about five minutes into that 45 minutes, most users will say "ITS BROKE!". Well, yes, it is broken, it has no ephemeris data. And then again, it isn't broken, it is just doing a stone cold start--which is not normal for most users.

The OP hasn't confirmed whether it is broken, or just doing a stone cold restart, yet.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:25   #8
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

I have an old Garmin non-marine GPS which appeared to go completely dead. It transpired to be that the internal back-up battery was rechargeable and had gone totally flat.

I installed a brand new set of alkaline cells and left it without attempting to switch the unit on for 72 hours.

After that the unit powered-up when turned-on and has worked perfectly ever since.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:51   #9
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

Many older handheld GPSes, that used alkaline or other user-changeable batteries, had no internal battery. Lithium batteries weren't a blip on the consumer market back then. Instead, there is a "supercapacitor" in the GPS, which takes power from the batteries, and holds enough power to keep the internal memory alive for 2-3 minutes in order to give you time to change the batteries. If you take much longer than that, you go through the whole stone cold dead restart routine.

The supercapacitor may last for a hundred years, if the other batteries are changed from time to time as needed to keep it charged.
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:38   #10
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

Hey guys
sorry for a late answer (the finals are just around the corner)
it does have screws on the back, so yes i can get access to the inside.
Last time i "played" with it, was a month back or so. During startup I held the page button down (I read somewhere on the internet, that it will then coldstart) is this the right way to make a coldstart??
after it turned I used the auto-locate function, than left it for quite sometime while I did some other tasks on the boat. To be honest I forgot to take the time, but it had been on for atleast 30 before I checked (just a side note, clear sky, no trees or other masts blocking the view for the antenna)
Thank you all for your input, really appreciated!
-ModernViking
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:38   #11
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

A little update: Was as the boat today, I cold started the garmin and after 3.5 hours it still could't find a single satellite... so changing the internal battery would be worth a shot? beside a faulty antenna what other reasons could result in the garmin not finding satelites ?
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:45   #12
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

If it still can't find a satellite after 3-1/2 hours, a battery won't fix it. The exterior antenna may have taken water or freeze damage internally, or the cable may have taken water or other damage. You can check the cable with a multimeter so that's worth doing first, but troubleshooting the external antenna is more problematic.
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Old 14-05-2018, 10:04   #13
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

ahh okey thanks for the inputs :-)
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:53   #14
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

Just a little update for the people in the future that might have the same problem. I bought a cheap gps antenna from ebay just to see if it was the antenna that was at fault.
When i recieved the new antenna I plugged it in the garmin 128 and just after 5-10min. it had found satellites and were giving a valid gps coordinate. it had been a quite harsh winter where I live and it was the original antenna and that could have affected it.
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Old 26-01-2019, 15:29   #15
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Re: how to change internal battery on garmin 128

My brother has given me a Garmin GPS128 that is unused and in full working order. Is there any way to connect this device to a laptop chartplotter and if yes, what software will work?
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