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Thread: Cold Weather GPS

  1. #1
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    Default Cold Weather GPS

    My son and I are considering running the Iron Dog (trail class) in 2011. Does any one out there have any suggestions about a GPS system that will work on a sled in the extreme cold?

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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subzero View Post
    My son and I are considering running the Iron Dog (trail class) in 2011. Does any one out there have any suggestions about a GPS system that will work on a sled in the extreme cold?
    I'm assuming you want to mount your GPS on your handlebars.

    Some GPS units can plug into a cigarette lighter so that you don't run down your batteries badly in the cold, so you could consider having a cigarrette lighter put on your sled.

    Not sure, in extreme cold, if the unit would generate enough heat on it's own to not freeze the screen though. The screens are LCD and if they get cold enough it can freeze the liquid displays and ruin them.

    I carry my GPS in a heated riser bag. I would prefer the convenience of being able to see it at all times in a mount on my handlebars, but want to protect it both from the cold and the occasional rollover.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

  3. #3

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    We run the Yukon Quest trail end to end with Garmins & they worked fine down to -55 f. I have a hand held 60CS with lithium’s & my buddy has a larger unit wired directly to 12VDC in his windshield bag zipped up tight to enough to view the screen. I also keep mine in the windshield bag & it tracks fine.

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    I know this does work down to -35 below.

    I made a holder for my GPS and heated it with a thump warmer. I also have external battery plug. In extreme cold I put a plastic bag over it to hold in the heat and keep out the snow. I was told if you keep the display light on, this will also help in cold weather.

  5. #5

    Default garmin on my cat

    I have had vistas and now a 60csx mounted in my windshield with a modified auto bracket my cat kind of has a defroster there works great only had it freeze once and even though screen frooze it kept track and if i wanted to mark a spot i just held my hand on it for a minute it thawed right back out and started showing I also have it hard wired into my 12 volt system on it i have also seen guys build a bracket and put a thumb warmer under them but i did hear you could melt them that way

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    Oops, I forgot to mention you need to put cardboard between the thump warmer and the GPS or you could melt the unit.

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    Hard wiring is the best thing, but just remember that your engine is producing AC voltage (unless it has a 12v battery). You must install a rectifier to convert it to DC before you can wire up a GPS.

    The stick-on thumb warmer on the back of the mounting bracket is all you need to keep a Garmin running is very sub-zero temps. You'll generally want to wire the thumb warmer up in a straight low-heat setting or put it on a hi-lo switch.
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    I have the Garmin Rhino 530 and I have it mounted just behind my windshield. Never had an issue with it down to -50* but I never turn it off unless I take it in where it is warm. The bad part is the mounts for the Rhino's do not allow you to put the unit on external power. My batteries will go for a couple of days with out going dead.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by subzero View Post
    My son and I are considering running the Iron Dog (trail class) in 2011. Does any one out there have any suggestions about a GPS system that will work on a sled in the extreme cold?
    I'd wear a small GPS (like a Garmin E-Trex) around my neck using a lanyard. Keep it tucked down in your coat using body heat to keep it warm. Just pull it out when it's needed. Keeping delicate electronics "mounted" to your snowmachine in sub-zero temps doesn't sound like good sense to me.

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    First off have fun on the trip. I ran the trail class a couple of years ago when it was -45° and had a blast. I and may join you in 2011. I use the Garmin Etrex Vista. IMO the color models work better in the cold and only use the Lithium batteries. Wire the power into your sled so you don't have to change or carry as many batteries, space is so precious on the irondog. I put mine in a RAM mount with a thumb warmer on the back. I never have had it melt the gps but I only turn it on when it is less than -20°. At -45° the screen was slow to update if zooming but worked just fine for tracking and navigating. Anyhow you could put it in your pocket cause the trail is really easy to follow.

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