It looks like we have finally reached the end of life for the granddaddy of every modern workout GPS. Garmin recently announced the 520.
I am a fan of getting every ounce of life out of my stuff. “If it ain’t broke don’t pitch it” is my motto (no one fixes anything anymore).
Battery life has always been the big frustration with these older units. Especially if you are doing an all-day effort.
One of the things I’ve considered doing is replacing the battery. It is well-known that as time goes on, these batteries get worse at holding a charge. If you’ve used yours a lot, it might be worth buying a replacement battery and upgrading yours.
It looks like new batteries run about $30
Granted, you’ll likely void all sorts of warranties, but I’d imagine it’s past that stage. Just double check if that concerns you.
You’ll have about six screws to remove and then the case lifts apart. However, the screen is still connected by a ribbon cable, so you will need to disconnect it by gently prying it up from the circuit board.
Then you will have three screws in the circuit board to remove (they don’t make this easy.) The circuit board lifts up but is still connected to the battery. The battery connector disconnects well by simply lifting it up off of the circuit board.
You have to disconnect the two wires going to the battery by CUTTING THEM. Cut them near the battery harness, so you have plenty of lengths to work with. You will strip those two wires and wire them into the new batteries’ harness. You’ll need to use solder or a glue gun to re-secure them to the new harness and cover them with a small piece of electrical tape to prevent shorts.
From there it is a simple process of reversing the earlier steps.
Finally, we have some tips from Garmin for the optimal settings you can use to conserve battery life on those all-day efforts.
- Decrease the backlight
- Shorten the backlight timeout
- Select the Smart recording interval
- Turn on the Auto Power Down feature
- Turn off the Bluetooth® wireless feature (This is a large power suck, in my experience).
- Select the GPS Only setting