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GPS for 6V cars


38Buick 80C
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Ok I was pondering tonight as it snows in Charlotte, NC (it rarely snows here). How does one charge their cell phone or GPS unit in their 6V car. I would think that most cigar lighter adapters for these items are designed to plug into a 12V DC lighter, but GPS or cell phone actually may only need 6V AC or less to charge. I have been skimming the internet looking for a 6V DC input to 6V AC output car lighter adapter, but haven't found anything.

So how does one use these modern things in a 6V car?

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I have a 12V battery box. It has an AC inverter (so I can run a radio or the like) as well as a 12V cigarette type adapter. In a pinch, it also has booster cable attachment so you can boost a car (never tried though).

Mind you, I'm not one who is much into having all sorts of stuff plugged in. I have an older handheld GPS receiver that I use to verify my speedometer. Of course, some jurisdictions are banning pretty much anything handheld, so I'll soon be looking at just holding the steering wheel and listening to the road music the car makes.

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Brian,

I too was looking for an MP3 player amplifier that would work on 6 VDC, but I think one of those jump starters with air pump, light, & 12 VDC lighter socket would work best.

It is more useful than just a battery pack and can be plugged-in to recharge at hotels overnight while on tour with your old Buick.

I cut the battery out of a broken one I got it at a yard sale and use it to run lights in my 13 Buick. The little square transformer plug-in recharger is easy to pack with my suitcase.

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Guest imported_JPIndusi

I have charged my Motorola Startac cell phone in my 53 Buick cigar lighter with 6 volts. I was thinking of trying the charger for my TOM TOM GPS but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Many of these devices do not use 12 volts internally, possibly 5 volts as many PC circuit components use, so they may work with a 6 volt source.

Joe, BCA 33493

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Pete O.

Oh I have used many of those "2D Navigation Systems" and they do work great. However what I like about some of the newer GPS systems is they tell you what gas and food are upcoming on the exits of the interstate highway or in general on the map if I am not on the interstate. Mark mentioned they also are good to check your speedo. If you've ever hear Jeff Foxworthy talk about his wife's map skills "take the blue road out of Phoenix go up a tiny bit and turn left" ...lets just say I'd rather have the GPS lady telling me directions than the passenger seat lady.

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For those (small) devices which do need 12V, you might consider a pair of 6V gell cells.

Hookem in series for the 12V you need. Then connect em in parallel and plug em into your 6V cigarette lighter socket for re charging when you need to. This way it wouldnt matter if you had a positive or negative ground system.

Another big plus would be - youd be rid of any/all ignition noise too.

Battery Wholesale Distributors has 6V gelcells for security systems. A pair of 4.5AH jobs should drive a GPS or TomTom a long distance ;-)

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: oldohioan</div><div class="ubbcode-body">For those (small) devices which do need 12V, you might consider a pair of 6V gell cells.</div></div>

It would be easier just to use a 12 V gel cell for that purpose though. I have some 7.2 A-hr batteries that I use for fishing electronics.

The nice thing about the battery box / inverter units though is the cigarette lighter socket is usually built in. Of course, a gel cell is considerably smaller too if you just want to elegantly hide it.

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OK, who is going to be the first to plug their GPS unit into a 6V cigarette lighter and report back that it didn't fry it, mess it up permanently and it worked just fine on 6V? I have an older StreetPilot 2720, the one that weighs about three lbs., and on the trip to Seattle, the first thing into the motel room was the 12V booster battery to be plugged in for a recharge.

The GPS system's affinity for interstates is sometimes a very large pain to someone driving a pre-war vehicle who is intent on staying on two lane highways at a reasonable speed.

Never forget the Rand McNalley Road Atlas sold at the local farm store when heading out on a long trip.

John

BCA 41635

'41 Mod. 46

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I have two suggestions. First, for GPS users look for units made for backpacking and hunting. Because they are intended for outdoor use they have extremely long battery discharge times. Check Cabela's or Camp-Mor.

Secondly, you can check with your cell phone service for an updated phone with GPS navigation service. I recently upgraded my phone with Verizon to a phone that has a large outer display and my service plan comes with the driving map service and voice turn-by-turn directions. We have used it a few times and it works quite well. And it does not seem to pick the interstate routes like MapQuest, etc does. When you turn off the highway it resets your location and will take you down every county road between you and your destination. Also I was able to pick up a spare cell phone battery on Amazon for only $20 or so.

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While a little off the original topic...

unclefogey,

Check the menu on your GPS for different settings. You can change settings for the type of travel you are looking for.

Among the common selections are "avoid interstates", "avoid toll roads", "shortest distance", "fastest route", etc.

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When I installed my second inverter (my first one runs my musical horns) I put two cigar lighter recepticals under my dash board. Now I just plug my GPS in and carry on.

I get some funny looks from some people with my blue tooth earpiece and my GPS on the windshield of my 79 year old daily driver.

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Any good electronics shop should be able to provide you with an inverter. There are many types to convert different voltages. If it were AC rather than DC it would be called a transformer. You want one that converts 6 volts to 12 volts and with enough apmerage to run whatever 12 volt items you have. The reason I have three of them is that I couldn't get one with enough amperage. So one runs accessories that are portable, one runs sound and one runs horns. You simplly mount the unit to the firewall which provides a heat sink, as well as a ground. One wire to the hot side of the ignition switch and one wire to the unit you want to power.

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Back in 2006, after having my '41 for about a year, I quickly realized that the Sonomatic radio was just not cutting it as an entertainment source for the planned drive to Seattle. About this time, there was a thread on this site, which probably has occurred multiple times, on the subject of 6V to 12V inverters needed to power 12 V radios.

As in this thread, it was stated that all that was needed to do was to go to an electronics shop and buy an inverter, which I was never successful in doing. A search on the web resulted in the usual "how to build one schematic" and one manufacturer, Analytic Systems, (www.analyticsystems.com) located in British Columbia which offered one 6V to 12 V inverter mod. VTC125-6-12 DC/DC. This model is still offered per their website.

After some time, I finally got a response from the U.S rep of the manuf., Flathead Engineering, Centenial, CO, 303-795-6900. I don't know if they still exist as a rep. The price was $299.00 plus $24.81 shipping.

Because of the price, I decided to try to see if the monster size portable radio/compact tape player I bought in 1970 in the Saigon PX, which had as an additional accessory a metal box which could be mounted in a car and which had a magic switch marked 6V/12V, would still work after sitting on a shelf for 35 years.

It worked! Mounted it on legs to sit over the tranny hump. Listened to three books on tape on the trip to Seattle. One drawback was lousy radio reception. Outside of metropolitan areas, nothing. I offer this info since it was the only line to an actual inverter that I found. For the price, one would think it would power any accessory you would want.

On the subject of GPS, I agree, Matthew, that these units have capabilities which no one knows about. The instruction manuals leave a lot to be desired. I just learned from the Garmin website FAQs, that you can view the entire route to your destination before starting. This info was not in the manual. That is why I am not without the Rand McNalley on a trip.

I just received the most recent Garmin newsletter which offers a new software capability, for a price, which will plot out the most ECO friendly route to your destination. I don't think I will bite.

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The one unit that I can read the label on (without having to remove the unit) is a MAGNADYNE power inverter VP400A. I bought it at a local electronics supply store for $39.00.

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I had a day off today so I went down to the shop where I purchased my inverter. Apparently they are not available any more however the man said to try the local shops that sell two way radio and emegency equipment. Lo and behold they sell them, have some in stock (the rest are available overnight) and will ship to anywhere.

They need to know what voltage to what voltage (6 volt to 12 volt in this case) and the continuous amperage draw ie 3 amps, 10 amps, 20 amps etc. The three amp one which would be suitable for a regular radio or gps is $69.00 canadian.

I have no connection with this company other than haveing purchased emergency lights and sirens from them in the past.

Radio Works 7-555 Ardersier Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 1C8

www.radioworks.ca or email julie@radioworks.ca

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Tinindian</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The three amp one which would be suitable for a regular radio or gps is $69.00 canadian.

</div></div>

Which works out to be about a buck fifty in US dollars...sigh eek.gifwink.gif

Just in case anyone takes me too seriously, right now the Canadian dollar is worth something like 77 cents US.

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  • 7 months later...

I don't know about GPS working on 6 volt, but my portable XM radio that uses a 110 volt AC plug-in with transformer to 12 volt works just fine in all my 6 volt cars. I checked the voltage requirements and it says something like 8 volt to 15 volt requirement, so, I figured 8 was fairly close to 6 volt, so, I tried it and it works just fine, No problems at all and this is the 2nd year that I've been using it. You may just have to try it, grit your teeth, and hope that it works, thanks, Paul

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I would use one of those Jump Start Batteries with a cigarette lighter port, sit it on the floor of the back seat and plug the GPS into it. It will need to be charged once in a while but is better then trying to adapt anything to the car and cause a problem.

PowerPro 300 AMP JUMP STARTER BOOSTER 12 V CHARGE DP300:eBay Motors (item 150378721432 end time Oct-14-09 15:47:57 PDT)

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