Getting the "Memory battery low" message on you Garmin GPS?

I have had four queries about this message in the last month alone. With a bit of digging around, turns out that there was a small batch of units built with suspect internal lithium batteries. You may have one, as there is apparently no way to trace the problem via serial number. If the internal battery is found to be defective Garmin Australia (GME) will replace the battery..

However more than likely, the internal lithium battery has died because the 'AA' batteries are flat or there are no batteries installed at all. Garmin advise that even being connected to an external power supply is NOT enough to trickle charge the internal battery. 

Update (1-Jul-2006) from GME:

Memory battery fault, from the 1st of July 2006, Garmin no longer covers the failure under warranty, prices are as follows.

GPS2PLUS, GPS3, GPSV mem batt can be replaced about $65.00.
GPS12       Exchange $121.00 inc gst
GPS12XL    Exchange $176.00 inc gst
GPS12CX    Exchange $176.00 inc gst
GPS48        Exchange $198.00 inc gst
All 3 month warranty.

Update (9-Apr-2002) from GME:

The original battery replacement policy was changed once Garmin agreed to cover faulty batteries from non-warranty units under warranty. Up until then, all exchanges out of warranty were bought from Garmin by us and had to be paid for by the customer. We now have an exchange system with the Garmin factory for battery replacements and replacement battery parts for repairing GPS II+ and GPS III units (we absorb the labour involved for modifying these units). The present policy has been in place for some time. 

There is no specific model or serial number break for those GPS's that will charge from external power or those that wont. Garmin doesn't have these records. We have tested GPS II+ and GPS III's (since we can open them) and have found variations due to minor hardware changes or software versions or both (the charge rate is also controlled by software). The only safe guarantee is to use 'AA' batteries which works everytime in all units.

Bottom line, install a good set of 'AA' batteries, keep them installed at all times and don't let them go flat!


More on Battery Low Message (23-Apr-2002)

I do have an interesting bit of information for you with regard to the Garmin "Memory battery low" message. Bit of background first. I purchased my GPS II+ when it first came out, had the guys at the place of purchase do some firmware updates for me, no problems ever with the unit. I have always had a good set of batteries in the unit, I use it often, do a lot of hiking and hunting. Four weeks ago I got the "Memory battery low" message??? It was coming and going, did the 72hr charge business and all (thanks to your site). Still keeps coming up. Had a chat with a mate he is in the mobile phone business, a lot of his customers complain of reduced battery life and premature battery failure on new units after a few weeks/months. A big NO NO, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR MOBILE IN THE GLOVE BOX OF YOUR CAR. The hardware is very robust, but the Lithium/Lithium Ion batteries can not handle the sustained extreme heat. I did an experiment with my GPS, left it in the glove box on a hot day for one hour. Turned it on in diagnostic mode, the temp was 86 deg, the LCD screen was faded (they also can not handle high temps, although they are quite tough). I do recall having left my GPS II+ several times in the glove box for over a day in some serious heat. NO MORE..... 

Thank you, from your friends at DNA Motorsport

GME/Garmin's Warranty:

Here is a summary of our policy on Garmin repairs. 

If a Garmin product fails within Garmin's 12 month warranty period we will repair or replace the unit at no charge under Garmin's International warranty agreement - no matter where it was purchased. 

On some selected Garmin products, GME provides an extended 2 year warranty. Only units purchased from authorised GME dealers in Australasia are eligible for the extra year of warranty service. GME will repair or replace those units at no charge if they should fail. Any Garmin products purchased outside of Australasia or from non-approved sources within Australasia are only eligible for Garmin's standard 1 year warranty support. 

If the Garmin product has developed a memory battery problem then we will repair/replace the unit under Garmin's warranty even if the warranty period has expired. If the unit is outside the normal 1 year Garmin warranty period and was purchased outside of Australasia or from non-approved sources within Australasia we may elect to charge a small processing fee to recover costs. There is no charge for the actual repair. The processing fee is equivalent to around 15 - 30 minutes labour.