Sunday, March 18, 2012

What is a powered GPS mount?

I get asked what a powered GPS mount is so often that I decided to do a video about it. Basically, with a powered mount, you can leave the mount attached to the charging cable, get in your car, clip in the GPS and you’re good to go. Without a powered mount, you have to connect the cable to the GPS device each time you use it (if you want it to be charging).

In case that isn’t clear enough, here are a couple of pictures:

Powered GPS mount clip

On the powered GPS mount clip on the left, you can see contacts to supply power to the device. A non-powered GPS mount clip is shown on the right.

Powered GPS mount clip rear

The rear of the same two mount clips – note that the powered mount clip on the left has a place to plug in the power lead.

Powered GPS mounts are now a premium feature

Unfortunately Garmin has moved from making this standard on the first nuvis to a premium feature now, being available only on the high-end models in their 2012 and 2013 series. Here is a list of all current models with a powered mount (the first three are mid-range units introduced in January 2011):

Text from powered GPS mount video

Here’s a rough transcript of the video:

Today I’m going to be showing you what a powered mount is.But first, let’s look at how these attach in your car.

Here’s a typical Garmin suction mount for the windshield.

These two pieces come apart.

Now there’s another option besides the windshield mount.

Because you can attach this to a dashboard mount AKA a friction mount.

I like this because I can just toss the whole thing on the floorboard whenever I stop and not have to pull the mount off the windshield or disassemble anything.

So I’m going to use this setup to show you a powered mount, frankly because it’s easier than me having to reach up to the dashboard.

So here is the key difference.

While you’ve got a place to plug in the charger or a USB cable on this nuvi, it also comes with a powered mount.

You can see here that the power cable plugs directly into the mount.

So all I need to do is pop the nuvi into the mount and I’m good to go.

Compare this to a non-powered mount.

This is basically just a clip, with no place to plug in the power lead.

So I’ve got to plug the power cord into the device every time I use it if I want it to be charging.

So it’s just another step each time you use the device.

And that is the difference between a powered and non-powered mount.

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. Thanks for the informative video. I wasn’t sure what was a powered mount.

  2. Garmin GPS is one of the best gps out there. I have been using one for the past 5 years

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