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 Garmin nüvi forums
 Nuvi 350 On/Off Power Switch Problem
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SHARCNET

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 22 août 2008 :  16:36:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For those of you that own a Nuvi 350 with an on/off power switch problem....don't worry you're not alone.

Two days after I purchased my Nuvi 350, my switch broke too. The problem I faced was that I bought it from a so-called "Authorized Dealer" on eBay. Turns out that Garmin never heard of the dealer and therefore refused to register my Nuvi and honor the warranty. They did however offer to fix it for a flat $170.00 fee.

So what do you do in this type of situation? I did some research on the web and discovered that this is a common problem with the Nuvi 350.

Here's why it happens:

The on/off switch is a surface mount switch that is mounted vertically off of the main PC board.

The problem is, that there is no support behind the switch, so when you press down on the button, the very small solder leads of the switch are stressed and eventually the switch breaks off from the main PC board. This is a design flaw and it could have been easily prevented by gluing a small piece of custom-fit plastic between the rear of the switch and the SD card housing to give the switch support. Also, the solder pads for the mechanical connections of the switch could have been made bigger, allowing for more surface area and more solder application.

Another possibility of failure because of poor support, is that the switch body may have bent down and away from the case's on/off flap that pushes the switch. There is a plastic stop pin in the case that prevents the flap from going down too far. So, if the switch has been bent down as much as 1/16", the flap will never reach the button on the switch.

Can it be fixed? Yes but it's not just a simple matter of just resoldering the switch. Without fixing the original support issue, the problem will certainly happen again. In some cases, the printed circuit board tracks may have lifted up off the board and need to be bypassed with wires.

The proper way to fix this problem is to improve the mechanical mounting of the switch by securing its metal body to the motherboard groundplane with pre-tinned buswire. The mechanical leads of the switch are not enough to secure the switch to the board. A custom-fit plastic block needs to be glued between the rear body of the switch and the SD card housing. Bottom line, if the switch can't move, the leads won't be stressed causing them to break.

It's very unlikely that the switch itself is bad. The life cycle of this switch is 250,000 cycles. For example, if you pressed it 20 times per day for an entire year, that would add up to 7,300 presses per year. Divide 250,000 cycles by 7,300 and it would take 34.25 years before the switch would fail. No doubt the switch will outlive the Nuvi itself.

Taking the Nuvi apart itself requires the right tools. The internal flex cables for the antenna, touch screen and LCD screen are delicate and can be torn easily if you're not careful. The antenna flex cable runs through the swivel antena shaft and is very delicate.

You will need a surface mount desoldering/soldering station with illuminated magnifier. A standard soldering iron is far too big to solder the leads and will overheat the solder pads, lifting them off the board. All work should also be performed with proper grounding to eliminate static charge issues.

To determine if your Nuvi's switch is broken with no other issues, please confirm the following:

1. Pressing the on/off switch has no effect and the switch feels mushy
when pressed - no soft click.

2. The unit powers up and operates normally when using the car adapter
or USB adapter and can be turned off by pressing the reset button.

If the above conditions appear to be the symptoms of your Nuvi 350,
then most likely, the on/off switch has broken off from the main
printed circuit board.

Please contact me at KS3R at sharc dot net if you would like further information about this problem.

Best wishes,
- Jim
Pittsburgh, PA

Edited by - SHARCNET on 18 sept. 2008 15:56:10

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vpnavy

30 Posts

Posted - 23 août 2008 :  10:56:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great info!

Say, did you simply try to register it online and then contact them?

KE3W
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AndreTheGeek

Canada
174 Posts

Posted - 25 août 2008 :  05:33:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can confirm Jim's findings. This is exactly what went wrong with mine (one month after the warranty expired!). I was able to solder it, but the act of dismantling the unit caused the backlighting to be "flaky" sometimes. When it flakes out I can flex the entire unit to turn it back on.

I don't suggest that anyone try to repair their unit themselves unless they know exactly what they are doing.

I ultimately replaced mine with another 350 from Costco for $199.

Nuvi 350 - BMW 335i (and no good mounting solution)
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SHARCNET

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 25 août 2008 :  18:22:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[ED - Deleted at the request of the user]

Edited by - SHARCNET on 18 sept. 2008 15:57:03
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DerbyDad03

214 Posts

Posted - 25 août 2008 :  18:43:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I assume that an offshoot of this discussion is that one should never use the power switch to view the volume setting screen.

The extra screen taps, while a lot less convenient, will save the wear and tear on the switch.
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NanaimoRick

Canada
7718 Posts

Posted - 25 août 2008 :  20:49:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's probably true but it doesn't take the press and hold method to see that screen, only a quick tap. Probably isn't as hard on the switch as the method needed to turn on or turn off the Nuvi. The power switch on my 350 has been broken for a while now but I seem to recall that before it went completely the best I could do when pressing the switch to turn it off was to get that volume/brightness screen.

Rick James - Nuvi Forum Moderator
Nuvi 350 - Nuvi 760 - Nuvi 1695LM - Nuvi 3790LMT (with ecoRoutes HD) - Nuvi 2460LMT - Nuvi 3597LMTHD (with ecoRoutes HD) also TomTom 540S for side by side comparison >> Here <<
2014 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT AWD

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DerbyDad03

214 Posts

Posted - 25 août 2008 :  22:46:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Does anybody know if Garmin adds extra support to the switch when they repair them? Just curious since my unit is still under warranty - but not broken yet.
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Captcaper

USA
376 Posts

Posted - 25 août 2008 :  23:43:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Like my previous posts in this forum my 880 switch wasn't good on 2 of them I had recieved. Don't know if yours is the same. Just though I'd throw in my 2 Cents.

Presently owned Dezl 760LMT Montana 600 2460lmt 1490T SP2610 SP2720 GPSMAP 276C GPSMAP 60CS NorthStar 951XD in the boat since 1996.
Previous owned Garmin 48,76cs,210. Nuvi 880,1490T.
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NanaimoRick

Canada
7718 Posts

Posted - 26 août 2008 :  00:59:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I believe they are totally different switches. The 350 switch requires you push it down and hold it for a second or so while I believe the 8xx series has a slider switch.

Rick James - Nuvi Forum Moderator
Nuvi 350 - Nuvi 760 - Nuvi 1695LM - Nuvi 3790LMT (with ecoRoutes HD) - Nuvi 2460LMT - Nuvi 3597LMTHD (with ecoRoutes HD) also TomTom 540S for side by side comparison >> Here <<
2014 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT AWD

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SHARCNET

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 05 sept. 2008 :  23:19:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[ED - Deleted at the request of the user]

Edited by - SHARCNET on 18 sept. 2008 15:58:20
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SHARCNET

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 13 sept. 2008 :  20:51:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[ED - Deleted at the request of the user]

Edited by - SHARCNET on 18 sept. 2008 16:00:23
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shadeybeep

USA
11 Posts

Posted - 04 janv. 2009 :  08:03:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My power button lasted almost 2 years before it completely stopped working, but for the second year it was very difficult to get it to work. Everything else about my nuvi works fine. When it's plugged in, there aren't any problems. Does the reset button turn it on? I read that it will turn it off (I thought it would just restart it, I never even tried pressing it), but I suppose it wouldn't also turn it on, would it? I normally turn mine off by unplugging the power source which I now need to turn it on. It takes 20 seconds and you can't touch the screen at all or it stays on.

I talked to a manager at a garmin outlet store in chicago -- he said that the nuvi is held together by glue, and that taking it apart would most likely make it impossible to put back together again. I suppose if I had the right tools I could open the case, but I'm not willing to risk breaking this one unless I already have a new GPS. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could take it apart without breaking it?

Another question -- what if I just broke the plastic power flap off? Would I be able to access the switch mechanism if the flap wasn't in the way, or are there wires on the flap itself? I don't care too much about cosmetics at this point, and a big gaping hole on the top is still better then not being able to use the gps at all unless it is plugged in. I could use some tape or something to keep dust out.

I asked the garmin store guy why there is a flat rate for repair (regardless of how much or little is wrong with it) and was given the suggestion that this is probably because they don't actually repair your gps and send it back to you, they simply send you another refurbished one. So does that mean they pick this rate based on the average of all repairs? It still seems like a lot. It would cost me more to get this repaired than to just buy a new one if I wait for a sale (they're often on sale for less than 170 at amazon). The gps unit is essentially disposable in this case. This is very frustrating, as it was NOT cheap when I bought it! Not to mention the cost of the map updates I bought last year, and all of the accessories I had to get for it.

Sigh.


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danham

USA
7438 Posts

Posted - 04 janv. 2009 :  16:35:16  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very few consumer electronic devices are repaired any more - you get a refurb, so the price is based on what it costs to refurbish huge batches of them and stock them more than any measurable individual repair cost.

I seem to recall info on disassembly, and SHARCNET has done it, so some forum searching may help. It can be done, but it's not for the faint of heart.

If you are using the 350 in a car, it seems like the plug-in workaround is not that bad. Under what circumstances do you need to be able to power on with no 12v or 120v power available?

-dan

- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA

Edited by - danham on 04 janv. 2009 16:37:21
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NanaimoRick

Canada
7718 Posts

Posted - 04 janv. 2009 :  17:20:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've used my 350 with a broken power button for well over a year now. Either I start it up using the car adapter or the AC Adapter, depending where I am when I need it. If I need to run it on battery I just unplug it and away I go. To turn it off at this point I have 2 options - let the battery run down until the unit shuts off or plug it back into the power source, then unplug it and select the 'shutdown' option in place of the run on battery option that is displayed.

As far as getting a replacement unit is concerned this option may not last for long as the 350, and the whole 3xx and 6xx lines, are discontinued models now so you would think the available supply will dry up in the near future.

Rick James - Nuvi Forum Moderator
Nuvi 350 - Nuvi 760 - Nuvi 1695LM - Nuvi 3790LMT (with ecoRoutes HD) - Nuvi 2460LMT - Nuvi 3597LMTHD (with ecoRoutes HD) also TomTom 540S for side by side comparison >> Here <<
2014 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT AWD

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DerbyDad03

214 Posts

Posted - 04 janv. 2009 :  17:34:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by shadeybeep

<snip> It would cost me more to get this repaired than to just buy a new one if I wait for a sale (they're often on sale for less than 170 at amazon).<snip>


Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see a model number in your post. If it's a 350, US$170 is too much. Keep shopping around. I just bought a 350 on eBay for my wife. It was $137 and Garmin support walked me through updating it to the 2009 maps for free.

BTW - They are also sending me a DVD so I can update a 350 I bought on eBay back in July. While I was talking to them about my wife's 350 I politely asked about an upgrade for my older unit and she noticed that I had let my product key expire. Quote: "You probably didn't know you were eligible for a free upgrade. I'll send you out a DVD."

I'm one happy camper today!
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shadeybeep

USA
11 Posts

Posted - 04 janv. 2009 :  18:01:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There really are only a few circumstances where I would need to use my nuvi without a power source.. My mom's car doesn't have a working 12V plug, for example, so now if I'm with her (or borrowing her car) I can't use it in that car. Also, I used to turn it on before I left the house so I could enter my destination, and so it could get a head start finding satellites.

The other thing is using the points of interest. It was nice to be able to look up the nearest restaurant (or other things) while I'm out. Now, if I want to use the POI database I would have to have a power source with me.

Oh well, it isn't worth 170 dollars just for a points of interest database. Everyone else has internet phones these days anyway.


quote:
Originally posted by danham

Very few consumer electronic devices are repaired any more - you get a refurb, so the price is based on what it costs to refurbish huge batches of them and stock them more than any measurable individual repair cost.

I seem to recall info on disassembly, and SHARCNET has done it, so some forum searching may help. It can be done, but it's not for the faint of heart.

If you are using the 350 in a car, it seems like the plug-in workaround is not that bad. Under what circumstances do you need to be able to power on with no 12v or 120v power available?

-dan

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