Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Montana shutdown issue

I’ve been trying to do some barometric altimeter field testing for awhile now, and I keep running into problems on nearly every outing. On the last foray, my Montana 600 shut down twice. I’ve had this happen before and it seems to be due to vibration. This time it was while mountain biking, but I’ve had it happen when hiking too.

It turns out that I’m not the only one experiencing this. I’ve been using the rechargeable Li-ion battery exclusively, so I can only speak to that. There does seem to be a bit of play in the battery housing on the connection end.

So I called Garmin this morning and while they didn’t ‘fess up to a problem, it didn’t take much arm twisting to get them to send out a new Li-ion battery.

My questions for Montana owners are:

  • Have you experienced this problem?
  • Is it limited to the Li-ion battery or do you see it while using AAs as well?
  • Have any of you found it to be a hardware issue instead?
About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Paul C Marengo says:

    I’ve experienced no problems in four months of moderate use (walking and hiking, no mountain biking), using AA batteries exclusively. As can be seen from the picture, AAs clip firmly in place without any play (in my unit at least).

  2. Haven’t seen this yet on my Montana 600. But my use is either in the car cradle or clipped to my belt hiking. I would think mountain biking or ATV riding would subject the unit to a lot more shaking around and that could loosen the battery.

    There is a thread on this, but with regard to the 62s instead, over at Groundspeak. IIRC, people determined there were two different kinds of batteries provided with the 62s and one of them was just slightly smaller. So people with the small batteries had the problem, because vibration made it jiggle around too much.

  3. On my Montana 600 I have been experiencing shutdown both hiking and in the car cradle. This problem started after the 3.97 update. This is with the Li-ion battery installed. Previously this hardly ever happen.

  4. Thanks guys. If the stars align for me, I’ll try to get out Friday on my bike and test it with AA’s.

    • We have been using the Montana since it was first introduced, the first units had a loose battery issue, similar to the early 60 series, that would vibrate loose and shut down the unit during use, on amps motorcycle mount.This issue was easily fixed by wedging a small piece of paper next to the battery so the contacts would not break. The later units, seem to have a much more snug fit to the battery and no problems at all. So it seems this problem has been fixed.
      Five stars for Montana!

  5. But this could also be explained by the scenario I posted above – they might have switched to a different kind of battery instead of changing the device itself (I’m assuming we’re talking about the included rechargeable and not AA).

    I’m headed out the door right now, but I can post my battery model number and size later. It would be interesting to see if there is a variation in battery types.

    • Yes, I’m talking about the rechargeable battery. I rode yesterday with AA’s without any shutdowns. The Garmin part number on my battery is 361-00053-00. Interestingly enough, that’s not the part number listed for the li-ion battery on the Montana accessory page:

      • Don Phelps says:


        I am experiencing battery charge issues with the window suction cup mount and the Li-ion battery. The battery will not charge on 12 volt, but the unit operates on 12 volt without any batteries. I use the unit on my quad and it gets tossed around quite a bit vibration wise. I can charge the batter using the 120v wall plug and all is well, except for what appears to be short battery life. (less than 4 hours) It could be jsut the battery, but it does fit rahter loosly in the unit.

        I have the 650T and love it.

  6. That is the same part number on mine as well. I don’t know if that’s significant however, as Garmin no doubt buys them from someone else and just puts their sticker on them. So different products might have the same Garmin part number.

    Couldn’t find a metric rule handy, but this is the size in inches: 2-3/32″ long x 1-5/16″ wide x 0-13/32″ thick.

    • Hehe… Got my replacement battery. The outside of the box says 010-11654-03, but the battery inside says 361-00053-00. Both the old and new ones appear to be the same size and match your dimensions. The new battery has the same amount of play in the back. I should be able to get in a test ride this week and will report back, but I am suspecting that it’s a hardware issue.

      • Montana 600. Since upgrading to 3.98, 3.99, and 4.01 I have had no trouble with shut down. Drove 1000 miles this past weekend and had only two shutdowns. The GPSr was mainly in the cradle, but did take out for geocaching. This is with the Li-ion battery installed. Just maybe the shutdown situation could be solved.


        • Thanks Jimmy. I’m only using production firmware (3.90 is the latest), not betas. Were your shutdowns random or did they happen while you were using the interface?

          • Rich they were random. The GPSr was sitting in the cradle and I was driving in the nuvi position. As I have gone through the upgrading process there has been a lot of problems to work through, but Garmin has been very helpful in trying to correct them and getting back to me. At this point for me things seem to be fairly stable.


  7. Hmm, I’m a bit surprised, but…

    I just got back from a mountain bike ride testing the new battery. It wasn’t the ruggedest trail in the world, but it was single track with plenty of roots, rocks and dropoffs. Considering that the Montana has shut down before on gravel roads, it should have been enough to trigger it. But it didn’t. Of course one test doesn’t prove anything, but maybe it is just the battery.

    • Brent Besse says:

      I just got my Montana 650 (one week old today) and I haven’t seen this issue yet. I use mine walking and hiking mainly and it doesn’t get bounced around much.
      I find the battery (PN 361-00053-00) fits very snugly, very little play in any direction. Maybe they did a slight design change to tighten up the mount?…Brent…

  8. Riaan vd Colf says:

    Had my Montana 600 for 8 months now. Great GPS, but definitely not a rugged one. I am used to a 276C – used it everywhere – in car, 4X4, on KTM motorcycle doing offroad trips – never had a problem. With the Montana, however, it is a total different scenario. It keep on switching on and off [tried to pack the battery tighter, to no avail]. The newest message that keeps coming on the screen, is “unsupported battery, please use only Garmin battery” – although this is the Li-Ion that I bought it with??

  9. Cindy Anderson says:

    I have the Garmin Montana 650 for a couple of years now and no problems…until now. It keeps shutting down. It will not even stay on long enough to do anything with it. I have a rechargeable battery and regular batteries and neither help. I even used two different cords to charge it because someone said it might be the cord. I don’t know what else to do.?????

  10. Since owning my Montana 650T now for 1.5 years, I have discovered a few quirks in the battery/charging system. During my first year of ownership, I noticed that at various times, the car charger would fail to charge the battery, but keep the unit operable throughout the day. When unplugged, the unit would just die. When I opened the back, I discovered the battery to be excessively warm, so I let it cool off, reinstalled it and it began to take on a charge again.

    A friend of mine who I convinced to purchase his 650T has identical problems, so this is not unique to my unit. During the first year, Garmin replaced the battery and the car charger but this did not correct the problem. Overheating I think is the real issue. I have read that bad contacts, vibration, or other mysterious reasons have caused the 650 not to respond. After a good cool down and a fresh, full charge from the 110V wall socket, I can still get about four hours untethered to a charging system out of the first charge, and because Garmin sent me a second battery, I can find my way back. So far, I haven’t had to rely on it for overnight trips.

    Hope this helps.

  11. I have a dog tracking system using the same battery. It will not hold a charge for longer than 10 mins.

  12. David Branson says:

    I have a Montana 650 and it has been shutting down. It is in a suction cup mount in my Jeep wired straight to the battery, and a different suction cup mount in my Ford Truck. It will be on for a few hours and just go off. It will power back on, then maybe 5 minutes later I look and it is off again. Then it may stay oe all day, or go off in 5 or 10 minutes. I do not think it is loosing 12v power, but I have never been looking at it when it went off.

  13. Use Montana 600 for my motorcycle long distance rides and absolutely love it when it works and totally hate it when it shuts down in the middle of a ride due to overheating. Tried all the batteries, new ones, AA, NiCad, you name it. Problems starts over 85F ambient temperature, and faster when you charge at the same time. In the car it works perfect, but as soon as ambient temp on the motorcycle go 86..95 (Texas) it is game on, or Solution: carry two or three sets batteries, stop the bike, swap them out and wait for the next over heating. All that for a good 600 bucks. If the features would not be so awesome i would have thrown it under a truck a long time ago. Pure Love Hate.

    • Bob Tinley says:

      I use my Montana 650T attached to bicycle handlebars, where I sure it gets more vibration than on a motorbike with all its suspension. I don’t believe I’ve had any problems caused by vibration, but there are two points either side of a roundabout near my house where it always shuts down without fail. There are likely to be underground electric cables in the area and I surmise that they are generating a strong signal which interferes with the very weak satellite gps signal and perhaps Garmin have programmed in a self protection mechanism to save the gps from damage. Other Garmin models don’t respond in the same way.

  14. My Montana shuts down – with the battery in or out (in a cradle in my truck or on my motorcycle!) I also lose my routing and get “navigating to partial destination”

  15. Dave Braham says:

    I had a Montana 650t and as others have said, it was a great unit…when it worked! I used it for geocaching and after several issues with shutdown, freezing, major distance inaccuracies etc, Garmin offered me a Montana 680t to replace it (with a $100 charge). I was excited to get the new unit but my excitement didn’t last long. I started running into the same issues as the 650t but after switching to GGZ file format instead of GPX, everything seemed okay…until we hiked 10 miles on a 95deg day with no shade. After about 5 miles the unit started doing REALLY whacky stuff…the screen started jumping all around and didn’t respond to touch any more. Even removing the battery and re-installing didn’t help. Garmin suggested switching to AAs to see if it was a battery issue…nope. Of course they are trying to blame GSAK so I’ll load through base camp and try again this weekend. Anyone have any similar experiences?

  16. adrian marsay says:

    Yep ive been having the same problem 80% battery (genuine garmin battery pack) and it wont stay turned on for more than 1 minute swap for aa batteries and it stays on till batteries are flat. GPS was new last year and spends most of its life inside a rucksak (so not bashed and knocked about). The cold weather accelerates the issue.

  17. Have a 680T montana that crashes randomly and also if bumped ever so lightly.
    Just tried trick of wedging paper at end of battery and now it does not turn off if bumped even really hard. Real problem as i use my for All Terrain use (ATV) only.
    Will test and report results.
    Tks for tip.

  18. Charge Garmin battery Turn on GPS & after 2 minutes it shuts off, so I tried 3-AA batteries & same results. This is a Garmin Montana 600. Can you tell me what the problem may be?
    Thank You,

  19. Terrance Westhaver says:

    Try jamming folded paper on non contact end of battery. Also I used eye glass screwdrivers to pull out batter brass contact to help with battery contact.

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