How Long Does the Charge Last on a TomTom?

by Fred Decker

If you primarily use your GPS in a car or truck, you probably keep it plugged in at all times, and seldom think of its battery. However, most models from TomTom and other leading manufacturers can be operated on battery power for varying lengths of time. This can be especially convenient in urban settings or vacation spots, where leaving the car and walking to your destination is part of the trip.

Life Per Charge

Before you unplug your TomTom and leave the car, it's important to understand that your battery life will be limited with most car-oriented models. According to the specifications published on TomTom's website, most devices offer a maximum of two to three hours' unplugged use. It's not as much of a limitation as it seems, if you remember to turn the unit off when you reach your destination and then power it up when you're ready to go back to your car. To view the rated battery life for your specific model, look it up on TomTom's website and click the "Specifications" tab on your device's product page.

Extending Battery Life

There are a number of factors that can affect the charge life of your GPS battery. For example, a large screen typically consumes more power than a small one. That's beyond the user's control, but there are several things you can do to minimize battery drain. Reduce the brightness of your screen to 50 percent, cutting its power consumption sharply. Reduce the volume to 30 percent, since you aren't coping with road noise. If your TomTom has Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capability, disable them temporarily. Some models include a light sensor to adjust the screen's brightness, and this can be disabled. Turn on "Battery Saving Preferences," which enables other small tweaks.

Topping Up

If you're going to be in and out of your car and various destinations throughout the day, take advantage of every opportunity to top up your GPS battery. Although most models can take up to two hours for a full charge, plugging in for even 15 to 20 minutes as you travel between locations will extend your battery life. Keep an AC adaptor in your pocket, when possible, and look for opportunities to use it. Few restaurants or coffee shops will grudge their paying customers an opportunity to plug in for a few minutes while they eat.

Charging and Battery Life

No rechargeable battery lasts forever, and you might find that over time the unplugged performance of your TomTom begins to deteriorate. Replacement batteries are available from TomTom dealers or the company's website, and some third-party suppliers. The micro-USB connector used for charging and data transfer can also fail over time, especially if you frequently unplug the GPS. If the connector on your charger fails, you can simply replace the charger. However, if the connector on your TomTom stops working, the unit will need repair at an authorized service center.

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About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

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