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Garmin Recalls 1.25M 'Fire Risk' Satnavs 54

Barence writes "Garmin is recalling 1.25 million of its nüvi satnavs after batteries overheated. According to Garmin, the issue only affects devices containing batteries manufactured within a set date range by a third-party supplier and that have a specific printed circuit board design. 'It appears that the interaction of these factors can, in rare circumstances, increase the possibility of overheating, which may lead to a fire hazard,' the company said in a statement. 'Although there have been no injuries or significant property damage caused by this issue, Garmin is taking this action out of an abundance of caution.' Perhaps Garmin should also issue a software update that diverts drivers to their nearest fire station?"
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Garmin Recalls 1.25M 'Fire Risk' Satnavs

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  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) * on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:54PM (#33398410) Homepage

    (in guide voice) ...Take a left turn in 500ft. ...Take a right turn in 2.5 miles. ...Pull- Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow. I am on fire, please shut me off.

  • Lamest joke ever. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:59PM (#33398474)

    Perhaps Garmin should also issue a software update that diverts drivers to their nearest fire station?

    Lamest joke ever.

  • So, there I was, driving my VW wagon merrily along, when my GPS suddenly exploded. I found myself on an island with underground bunkers and polar bears. How do I get back home when I can't even find a store to buy a new GPS from?

  • Kudos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:07PM (#33398564)
    Kudos to Garmin for proactively recalling their own unit before anybody dies or they have a growing public relations nightmare on their hands. It's much better stewardship of their brand and care for their customers than we ever see from car companies or medical device manufacturers.

    Of course, it's also disheartening that the appropriate minimum response to discovering a serious flaw in one's product now feels extraordinary and laudable when viewed in the context of other major American manufacturer's current behavior.
  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:07PM (#33398570)

    I used to shoot a lot of panasonic cameras; and about a year or two ago, pany changed their 3rd party battery story so that new models use chipped batteries (pulling a sony, so to speak) and this locks out most 3rd party batteries.

    their reason: safety. they claim that 3rd party batteries are less safe than the oem's.

    then we see essentially ALL companies who make battery power (li-ion mostly) devices have this or that battery recall. its not if, but when. I'm not sure a single vendor has escaped.

    they claim their own choice of batteries is safer but each recall BY the vendor whittles this trust away bit by bit.

    • The batteries are all made in the same factory in China. How the fuck are the day-shift batteries any different than the night-shift batteries?

      Yeah, I know, slaves don't take shifts but you get the idea.

    • I used to shoot a lot of panasonic cameras;

      Sort of an expensive choice of targets don't you think?

    • each recall BY the vendor whittles this trust away bit by bit.

      You beg the question of whether there was ever any significant degree of trust in the issue, which could then be whittled away. I know that I've always considered this sort of manoeuvre by manufacturers as an indication of naked seeking of commercial benefit. Do you live in some wonderful land where anyone trusts hardware manufacturers (or indeed any other businessmen) to act in a way that is not directed towards their own unadulterated commerci

  • by by (1706743) ( 1706744 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:08PM (#33398574)
    1960s: Carry a fire extinguisher in your car, in case the electrical goes berserk.
    2010s: Carry a fire extinguisher in your car, in case the electrical goes berserk.
  • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:18PM (#33398674) Journal

    According to the Dutch site ( [] ), the supplier of the battery will take on the cost of replacing the battery. So it seems there's at least an issue with that battery and who knows if other devices may also be affected.

    It also mentions, however, that Garmin will be adding a spacer between the battery and the PCB.

    So, speculation time... 1. the battery's casing may not have been up to spec and under some circumstances can lead to a conductive area that is -not- one of terminals being exposed and 2. the battery's proximity to - possibly direct contact with - the PCB actually made this into an issue simply because a soldered pin may end up touching the exposed area and shorting the battery or otherwise causing a too high draw bypassing the safety systems usually in place. Wouldn't be the first time.. but, again, speculation.

    • by CompMD ( 522020 )

      I think its more likely that the batteries are just not very good and operating out of spec. Take apart a nuvi 7xx sometime and you'll see what I mean.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:20PM (#33398686) Homepage

    Garmin has provided a site to check if yours is one of the affected units: [].

    • If you've registered your unit on "My Garmin" site earlier (e.g. to download map updates), then it will tell you straight away if your unit is recalled as soon as you log in at the front page. At least it just did that for me.

  • They say:

    issue only affects devices .... manufactured within a set date range... third-party supplier... specific printed circuit board design... interaction of these rare circumstances,.. increase the possibility of overheating....may lead to a fire hazard... no injuries or significant property damage caused....

    We remember:


  • So, my Garmin battery already blew up, and I already replaced it. The battery expanded, causing the entire case of the Nuvi to show "stress marks" on it. I pulled the battery out, and did the very childish thing, and cut a hole in it with a knife, and was sprayed with a noxious fume.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Garmin Geko circa 2003, ran 20 hours on two non-exploding AAA cells. When they go flat, swap in another pair, and charge the flat ones up when you get home.

    Garmin Nuvi 205W circa 2010, runs 4-5 hours on internal proprietary lithium cell, non-removable. When it goes flat, you are hosed and can't use the unit until you can find a place to charge it. And that's assuming it didn't explode.

    Lithium batteries are just a fucking scam. I buy AA or AAA powered devices (digicams, portable audio, etc) when I can pos

    • my mom's nuvi205 came with a standard car charger that charges it over standard miniUSB for which you can purchase Hand Crank, [] Solar, [] and Battery [] chargers. So even if you're not in a car with your GPS, you're nowhere near hosed.

      The Nuvi 205W is not on the explosion list either.

      I love Lithium Ion batteries. My last digital camera died in a year because the fucking door hinge broke. I see it as a major advantage of the Nintendo DS. Yeah, you can't pop in new batteries, but I can charge from nearly any po

      • If each device gave you a set of NiMH cells and had an internal charger, then I'd like NiMHs more, and I use NiMH cells a lot (my guitars all have a 9V one in 'em) already.

        If you are careful you can often find devices which take them. I prefer to spec everything with AA batteries because AA NiMH has the best price:performance (in my opinion, anyway) of any readily available battery. And of course there is the obvious advantage of being able to fall back to planet-killing batteries. I managed to get a 12V quick charger at Ross, which plugs into my harbor freight solar kit very nicely, thank you. I have a deep cycle in a battery box with a small replacement charge controller in

        • I have a NiMH charger. I just like internal chargers because I don't trust battery hinge doors. Stupid cheap plastic breaks a lot. I also like the good old fashioned style doors you see on old Gameboys, wiimotes, and remote controls, even if you lost the bit of plastic that held the batteries in, it was just a bit of plastic, not a complex springy thing.

          I won't buy a camera that takes AA cells, not because I don't like AA cells, but because I was burned by a camera that broke in a year because the stupid

  • I can't believe Garmin is going to take out the emergency ignition source - this could be really handy when you get lost in the woods and need a quick campfire. Just because a few whiners had it activate somewhat early!

    Now I have to continue to carry the flint.

  • I always charge my mobile batteries in breaks and never in one go, this way the chance of overheating is avoided.
  • "It appears that the interaction of these factors..."

    The interactions of these factors? What the hell. Didn't someone actually engineer this thing? It's not like this is some external problem over which Garmen had no control.

    • by CompMD ( 522020 )

      "It's not like this is some external problem over which Garmen had no control."

      Garmin can set specifications for the batteries and engineer their devices according to those specs. If a battery manufacturer delivers batteries out of spec but claims they are in spec, what do you expect Garmin to do about it? Its exactly on external problem, note that the battery manufacturer is paying for replacements.

      • I would expect them to perform vendor quality acceptance testing. It's that nasty QA part of the engineering equation that tends to get ignored.

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley