Thursday, January 26, 2012

Get a Battery Life

You've heard the expression: “You learn something new everyday.” You don’t even have to try to learn something new. If you are halfway conscious it will happen . Yesterday I learned that there is someone on the Biggest Loser who cries more than last season’s Bonnie. It is Gail. Oh, and real quick, another thing I learned is that there is a woman in the UK with two vaginas. They really know how to do it up right over there across the pond.

The major, main, big thing I learned today happened when I called Garmin technical assistance. I have the Forerunner 205 and purchased it almost three years go. I have loved it so much I don’t let it out of my sight.

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Lately I've been getting a low battery signal after only 90 minutes of use when the watch is fully charged. The watch supposedly has an 8 battery life. WTF?

Today I talked to HeyZeus*, Forerunner Expert (FE). He told me that every year, the Forerunner loses 25% of its battery charge! Are you f’ing kidding me? That means after three years you are down to a battery life of only 2 hours. Since I always run for 8 hours at a time,this is not acceptable. Seriously, if this really is true, shouldn’t this info be known to customers when they buy the damn watch?

HeyZeus suggested letting the battery drain twice, then recharging 100%. We’ll see.

FE offered to send me a refurbished 205 for only $69, once I send them my old one.  I think it sucks that you pay $130 for a watch and are lucky if it lasts for three years. And, it’s not even a watch you wear all day, everyday. That is unless you’re a complete running nerd and wear your Garmin as your regular watch. If that is the case, I know you are just trying to get attention and have people ask you in the grocery store if you are a runner.

I asked which Garmin the FE, himself, would recommend in my price range (up to $175). He recommended the 410. That’s all fine and good, but the cheapest one I can find is at Buy.com for $219 plus shipping.

So, no mater what I'm going to be shelling out some money for a new Garmin. Crap.

Did you know this fact about a Garmin’s battery life? Does it make you want to punch someone in the face?

Ever try the 410?

Did you learn anything new today?

SUAR

*Not his real name. Can’t remember what it really was.

91 comments:

  1. WHAT!?! That is awful news. We have the 405 and it's many, many years old. I'm surprised it works at all!

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  2. Had. Never. Heard. That.

    That
    Sucks
    Balls.

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  3. Great! My hubz has that same model.

    Maybe they should redesign the model so it has a removable battery that could be replaced -- instead of having to buy a new watch.

    This kind of pisses me off. I hope GARMIN is reading!

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  4. I had two 405's and the battery kept dying after 30 minutes of use when they both were 5 months old. I told garmin I do not want another 405 but expect my watch to work. THey replaced it with the 410. Its awesome! I have had no probelems with it and it does everything I need it to do and more.

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  5. Hmm I had no idea! Funny you posted this because I just had a prb with mine yesterday!

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  6. I got my Garmins (all 3 of them) at REI. Every time one started dying on me I took it back. They have a 100% return policy.

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  7. I had the Garmin 305 and the battery did the same thing...very frustrating.. I now have the 610.. I like it for many reason but took some time to get used to the touch screen.

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  8. I don't have any experience with refurbished watches, but I have PLENTY of experience with refurbished cell phones. If they are any indication, then I would recommend going for a new one. None of the refurbished phones that my insurance company has shipped out to me have held up well AT ALL. They tend to just break for no apparent reason. But who knows, maybe the Garmin people are more talented than the cell phone people.

    Either way it BLOWS.

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  9. I did not know about the battery life! I have a 405 and it can be a little cumbersome to program but I like it. Costco has them on sale right now for $170 shipping included.

    I learned that giving a 2 year old a sucker during a haircut is not the best idea. He was very unhappy with hair in his sucker!

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  10. That does suck. Want my Suunto Quest? ;-)

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  11. That is lame. We have teh 305 (which is essentially the same as teh 205, but my hubby wanted the HR strap) and we have had it for about the same amount of time...I guess I will be looking for it to start losing battery :( Makes me want to try a different watch next time around!

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  12. There's my new fun fact for the day... and it sucks! I just bought the 305 in October and I love it, but now I'm instantly sad knowing that it's going to start dying in a few, short months.

    Oh, and I also learned my dog hates baths. Still.

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  13. I didn't know Garmin had technical assistance??? Guess I learned something today........

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  14. That's terrible!!!

    I am on year 3 with my current 205 (which is my 2nd) and haven't noticed any issues with the battery life yet. KNOCK ON WOOD

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  15. Whaaa??? Didn't know that either...that sucks! I have the 410 and love it (although it prob does much more than I am even aware of). Hubs got it for me for Christmas at Costco for around $210. Good luck!

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  16. My 205 is still doing well after 1 year, but with no 6 hour runs it still does the job just fine. And I love it so not looking forward to a change anytime soon.

    And whild not really a NEW learned thing, I find 55 degrees in the winter seems a lot warmern than 55 degrees in the summer.

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  17. I've had my Garmin for a year and it hasn't changed yet - I get ten hours, then it dies. This means I can only charge it every two or three weeks since I don't wear it that often.

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  18. FYI: I was having the same problem with my Garmin 205 (5 years old) not holding a charge.

    One day I couldn't find my USB connecting cable for the charger and had to borrow my husband's cable. Guess what? It recharged COMPLETELY and held the charge.

    We switched cables and discovered that it was the CABLE that was bad and not the watch. Cheap and simple to fix.

    There was no obvious damage to the defective cable, by the way (not bent, torn or chewed). I'm so glad I checked the cables before replacing the watch.

    Just something to think about.

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  19. That stinks! I love my 305, so that kind of news makes me want to buy 5 watches and not open them until I need them.

    Today I learned that when the husband has the car for work, and leaves the kiddo and I at home, I have this compulsive need to bake EVERYTHING. Horrid.

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  20. FYI: I was having the same problem with my Garmin 205 (5 years old) not holding a charge.

    One day I couldn't find my USB connecting cable for the charger and had to borrow my husband's cable. Guess what? It recharged COMPLETELY and held the charge.

    We switched cables and discovered that it was the CABLE that was bad and not the watch. Cheap and simple to fix.

    There was no obvious damage to the defective cable, by the way (not bent, torn or chewed). I'm so glad I checked the cables before replacing the watch.

    Just something to think about.

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  21. Well...seeing as I have a Garmin and don't use it, i did not know this. I do know, however, that many a friend has been let down by Garmin customer service in the past. Good luck with it all!

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  22. Wait - there's a woman out there with TWO vaginas?!?

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  23. I am with Pamela! Is that really true?

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  24. Actually, this is true of ALL rechargeable batteries. Sometimes you get lucky, like I did with my 2003 flip phone, but mostly not.

    There ARE businesses that will replace your battery for a nominal fee. Check watch stores and cell phone repair places.

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  25. I am also still getting over the two vaginas deal.

    Anyway, I expected that a Garmin would not last more than a few years. Rechargeable batteries don't last forever - they have a maximum number of times they'll charge. My laptop battery died much the same way after 3 years. However, I'd much rather have this situation than have batteries I have to replace and throw away.

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  26. Purchase whichever Garmin you want at REI - they have a 100% return policy so you can get your m,oney back once it starts dying again.

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  27. Purchase whichever Garmin you want at REI - they have a 100% return policy so you can get your m,oney back once it starts dying again.

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  28. Yep...found it out the hard way & I loved my 205. I do not care for the 405. Here's my blog post/rant about it: http://www.goerieblogs.com/sports/runnersnotes/2011/08/outran-the-forerunner/

    Yeah...I know...hardly a "rant" but I get paid by a family newspaper, so...can't go swearing like I want to. ;-)

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  29. That is weird! I have had a 301 for 3 years and it lasted over 8 hours for my 50K this fall. I have friends who ran with the 405 and it didn't last for the full 8 hours, died after about 7 so when I wanted a new one for Christmas I asked for the 305. Its battery life is at least 11 hours (my friend ran her whole 50 miler with one). I have heard mixed reviews about the 405.

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  30. Wait. Are saying that an employee at Garmin recommended that you buy their most expensive model Forerunner?

    Who'd a thought?

    :)

    I have never had a 401, but I have heard very bad reviews about its use. People don't like the small face and there is something about a touch screen that craps out in the rain (or sweat).

    I have the 201 and have not seen a 25% decrease year over year in battery life. I would call them back and ask to speak to someone else who isn't in the sales department.

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  31. Oops. Meant to say I have the 205. I used to have the 201 but it died after about 5 years.

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  32. That's preposterous! My 201 is from 2006, and it still has a 13-hour battery life.

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  33. Megan - like I said, he stated this was an issue with the 205. Not sure it applies to the 201.

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  34. That's crazy! Should they make the Garmin so you could get a new battery after so many years instead of an entire new garmin? Of course they don't do that because that would make sense.

    I get tired after a day of actual work vs sitting on my butt at my desk most of the day.

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  35. That sucks! With the referb does it have a new battery so you get 3(+?) Years out of it too? That's probably what I would do.

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  36. Lol! I'm not lucky enough to own a Garmin I have a timex lap tap watch that I do wear as an every day watch because my daily watch took a crap and I'm a nurse so I need a watch with a second hand! I want a Garmin! I just did Learn something when I go to buy a garmin or any other watch with gps I will ask about battery life and if they don't know I'll punch them in the face! Ha ha just Kidding!

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  37. Sounds like a pretty arbitrary answer and statistic from your support person at Garmin. Based on my experience with their support folks when we had an issue with the GPS in our car, I'm not surprised. Resisting the urge to once again climb up on my customer-service soapbox.

    If you get a new one I think you need to stick with the gigantor versions and get the 305. Making them smaller takes all the fun out of strapping that beast to your arm. It's like wearing the first prototype of a digital watch when someone dreamed it up. The only thing better would be wearing this while walking around town talking on a giant brick cell phone like they had in the 80s.

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  38. I'd go try on the 410 on at the REI before you buy. My boyfriend has a 410 and it's WAY too bulky on me and hurts my wrist. I recall you have a smaller wrist. I have a small wrist too and the 310xt works for me but I have to wear the watch face facing inward...otherwise I get a bruise on the bony part of my wrist.

    Yeah - i've had problems with garmin in the past starting with the Edge 305 but have had better luck the past 5 years.

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  39. Bizarre. I had a 210 that is about a bazillion years old and it still holds a charge really well...

    but if you need to get a new one - I love my 405CX. Costco has great prices on GPS running watches.

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  40. I didn't know that... So what are you going to do? BTW- I saw this today and TOTALLY thought of you (maybe it was the "Cooking with Pooh" book cover that did it).

    Maybe this will cheer you up! I know it did me!
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/hgrant/these-24-books-have-actually-been-published

    This facebook one is pretty hillarious too:http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/unforgivable-facebook-statuses

    I know it's probably an unwritten rule not to post links but I'm telling you Beth.. this is hilarious!

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  41. I have the 405 and was having an issue with the battery holding a charge. My IT guy (husband) told me to let the battery run down closer 0% before charging it up again. Since doing that I haven't had a problem and the battery actually lasts longer than when I was charging it after every use. I've heard mixed reviews about the 405 but I like mine. I watched youtube videos on how to program it. Youtube rocks!

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  42. Good to know.....Learned some thing new!

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  43. Lol. Thank you for this post. It is not funny that anyone cries that much, and it certainly is not funny to have your BFF watch fizzle. But I would certainly like to punch someone in the face for this, in addition to a whole list of other things.

    I do have the 410 and I really like it a lot. BUT, the touchscreen would probably go nutso with all your cold weather running.

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  44. I learned that I'll keep my Polar RS300X G1. I may have to wear my gps on my arm and use gmap-pedometer for my routes, but at least I can have the battery in the watch changed when it craps out. :)

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  45. Didn't know. Makes me mad. Love my Garmin.... I bought mine on Ebay new for a lot less. That makes me a little less mad

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  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  47. Did you know that the 10th president of the United States (John Tyler--born in 1790) has 2 living grandsons? Is that crazy or what?!? I hate batteries. We've had good luck with our 205 and 305 but now that I've said that, one will take a crap. That wouldn't have mattered a week ago but I've decided to strap mine on again and would be very angry if it died.

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  48. There is a huge difference between 405 and 405cx. Costco.com is only selling the 405. I've read a lot and if you decide on a 405 go with the 405CX!

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  49. I have the 405 and now I want to punch someone in the face. For the price tag the watch should last damn near forever. Grrr...

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  50. IS ANYTHING MADE TO LAST ANYMORE? We got new carpet put in 2 1/2 years ago and it is coming up in every room. We take off our shoes in the house, and unlike my parents' house, there aren't 3 kids running, jumping and sliding all over it. Their carpet lasted for 15 years!

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  51. Got an iPhone? Until you can shell out the cash for a new Garmin, check out the iSmoothRun app. I have it as a back up to my Garmin, if I forget the Garmin. I always run with my cell phone anyway. It's stupid easy to use and not buggy like Nike+GPS. Good luck.

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  52. I didn't know this! I guess I (mistakenly!) thought they had replaceable batteries like all other watches. In defense of my own intelligence, I will note that I've only had a Garmin for about six months. I still haven't learned how to use any of the features, though. The clock is ticking so I better learn how to use it quickly!

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  53. Oh geez! My 305 must be on its last leg...I agree, this should be disclosed! I like Holly's idea of a replaceable battery.

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  54. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but that happens with all batteries. Battery performance decreases over time, even if you don't use the battery. 25% a year sounds excessive, but it's hard to say since the calendar life is affected by a lot of factors, including temperature. I have to agree with Holly, though, it's pretty dumb that there isn't a way to replace the battery since that's a known issue.

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  55. Hmm...learned that I need to call up TomTom/Nike+ to ask about battery life (no sense reading the manual, of course). And start saving my pennies since I'm now hooked on real-time tracking instead of eyeballing my Timex and being a slave to MapMyRun.

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  56. Hmm...learned that I need to call up TomTom/Nike+ to ask about battery life (no sense reading the manual, of course). And start saving my pennies since I'm now hooked on real-time tracking instead of eyeballing my Timex and being a slave to MapMyRun.

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  57. My Garmin is starting to have a very short battery life. I am coming to terms that within the year, I will be buying a new one.

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  58. I learned today that we both hate the KKK (not that that is a surprise or anything). I also learned today that it is possible to have two vaginas (and yes, I totally clicked on that link). I don't own a Garmin...but now I am fully informed about the battery life. so see? I learned three things today...all from YOU.

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  59. That sucks.

    I have a 410xt and I am going to cry when that happens. Why the heck can't they just make a battary for it that you can buy (cheaper) than getting a new unit? Sucky!

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  60. That sucks big time! I have the forerunner 110 and it never wants to turn off and the battery dies about once a week. Is there a way to turn it off? I think I tried it once but it turned back on by itself. Can the battery be replaced?

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  61. Wow, I did bit know that either. Like the others said, but from rei where you can return it if you need to. I have the 305 and gave loved it. For some reason, it doesn't like my road bike being on the trainer and can't calculate distance for anything right now, but who cares about trainer miles?

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  62. I have never run with a watch, let alone a garmin. I do trace my runs with running ahead. I do note my times/distances on a TM .. but no garmin. I know my OCD side, and it's ugly. I must not feed the monster, or it will suck the joy right out.

    Did I learn something new today? Hmmm.... I learned that my algebra students are off the charts hilarious, and after they spill their family secrets, I start to wonder what horrors my own children spill in class.

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  63. I must be a running nerd then, since I wear my Garmin everyday....that or I'm too cheap to buy a regular watch. Check out DC Rainmaker's blog....http://www.dcrainmaker.com/p/product-reviews.html

    totally in depth reviews of all the Garmin watches out there. I have the 210 and love it. Good luck!

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  64. I just had the same outcome with the garmin folks, except I paid $75 for a refurb 305 and mine was ony 2 1/2 years old. Still, looking at it as a cost of about 60 per year to be completely obsessed with splits and other stats which then encourages activity which then means I can eat more snickers and so I find it a pretty good deal"

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  65. The whole battery life thing is freaking ridiculous. We shell out A LOT of money for these things and to know that they'll only last a few years sucks. My Garmin 305 no longer has any sound....which I use when I coach. I got the same song and dance....we'll send you a refurbished model for $79. If I'm spending that much...and the battery probably won't last...I'm better off buying a new version.

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  66. The whole battery life thing is freaking ridiculous. We shell out A LOT of money for these things and to know that they'll only last a few years sucks. My Garmin 305 no longer has any sound....which I use when I coach. I got the same song and dance....we'll send you a refurbished model for $79. If I'm spending that much...and the battery probably won't last...I'm better off buying a new version.

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  67. I have had both a 405 and now a 410. (I think I bought one of the very first 405s and then it got long in tooth and I just couldn't deal any more so I bought the 410 when it came out.). They are both fine devices with their advantages and minuses. I chronicled my love/hate relationship with them on my blog, as my Garin is part of my running life. The 410 is better than the 405 in that the touch bezel works when it gets wet. But, it isn't perfect and there are days when it just gets frustrating. The battery just dies. Runs timeout. Wireless transfer is always a roll of the dice. But most of the time, it works great.

    And I second the reference to dcrainmaker's reviews. His reviews of the 405 and 410 are spot on, and I could not imagine a more thorough review.

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  68. This sucks. I have a Garmin, a 305. I never let the battery empty..I charge it after every run, maybe I should not do that now. I have no idea how long it can last right now..what is left...

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  69. Does that UK woman's husband have 2 penises? Just asking.

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  70. That sucks about the Garmin... I don't use the Garmin but would sure be bothered by that! Hopefully they improved the batteries on the newer versions.

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  71. DC Rainmaker rode about extending battery time for the 305 - wonder if it would work for the 205? http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2009/07/going-really-really-really-long-with.html

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  72. Wow I'm shocked to read so many people did not know this.

    It has nothing to do with Garmin. It's a rechargeable battery. The EXACT same thing happens to your iPod or cordless phone or cell phone.

    Some people will go 5 years w/o problems. Others will go only 2. It's the luck of the draw.

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  73. I have a Garmin 305 and the battery life has definitely decreased over the years, now it is down to about 3 hours. That is just what batteries do, it's not the Garmin. It stinks that the battery isn't replaceable though.

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  74. Unfortunately with the batteries they use, they drain-just like your computer battery or your cell phone battery. Best thing to do is to not charge it until you absolutely have to (yeah that's a design flaw right there, since you have to charge it to upload your data).
    My friend has the 410 and loves it! The 410 seems to be the lets get rid of it since the 910 came out... Hmmm?

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  75. I learned I'm no longer a running geek because I found my regular watch and no longer wear my IRONMAN TIMEX everywhere.

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  76. By the way are you referring to Die Hard with the HeyZeus reference?

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  77. I've had my Garmin 305 for about a year, and I love it. Boo on Garmin for not making them so you can replace a battery. It is the nature of rechargeable batteries for them to slowly lose the ability to hold a charge, so it's not just Garmin, but that's why you need to be able to replace batteries--ridiculous to have to send it in to have them do it!

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  78. Garmin is on my speed dial, I have contacted them about 20 times over the past 6 months, one of them being the battery life. They told me it was a problem with the software and they gave me a refurbished one for $39 after I threw a fit about the $69 - ha. Now my Garmin seems to think I live at sea level and only realizes I don't about mile 2 and thus my elevation data becomes one big straight line. On the phone with them about 6 times for this issue and they said it's a garmin connect issue, which is absurd. I have 1 more day until my refurbished Garmin's warranty is out so guess I'll be on the phone with them AGAIN today!

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  79. Speaking of learning new things, that's probably going to be te worst new thing I learn today! In on my second 305 and so far haven't had any battery issues though I've had frozen or won't turn on issues. I hope draining it helps!

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  80. Garmin, shmarmin. :) I use a normal watch (okay it is a digital watch) for running. I've been considering going totally crazy and not even using it lately.

    I'd have to have one of my kids to accompany me to manipulate the watch if I ever got a Garmin. That thing looks like a computer! :)

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  81. I haven't had time to read the comments, but I did a quick search on Bing and found much better prices...this one is on sale for $120.95. http://www.sell.com/27MVB3 it is on sell.com. Just an FYI for you.

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  82. I have the 205. Have had it for six years. Still holding its charge. I am a marathoner and IM triathlete, so long training sessions. Luck of the draw??

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  83. I have the 205. Have had it for six years. Still holding its charge. I am a marathoner and IM triathlete, so long training sessions. Luck of the draw??

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  84. Why the hell does nothing last anymore!?!?!? You just talked me out of buying one. I'm really not fast enough to warrant the expense, but damn, I do not want to buy something that expensive more than once every ten years.

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  85. As the daughter of an electrical engineer, yes, I was aware the batteries die slow deaths and it's never as good as the first time you charge it.

    Therefore, I religiously allow my electronics to die completely before I recharge them and I am always aware that each charge is shortening their lives.

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  86. I have a 305. It is my second one and I chose it over the newer ones that have come out since I got my first one. My first one died after about 3 years because the seal on the face had developed a small opening that let in moisture gradually over the course of a long run in steady drizzle. My husband's has lasted more than 3 years and can still hold a charge of at least 3 hours.

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  87. FYI there are places you can learn how to fix this yourself. I JUST finished with mine it was very easy if you have every used a soldering iron and heat shrink. I replaced the battery with a 1300amp hour and the original was a 750amp hour so it should put the battery life in the ball park of the 410!!!Below is the link I used. I also used a battery with leads as discussed in one of the replies. cut the white off use the black and red. QUICK SIMPLE CHEAP! MY COST Battery $3.00 and heat shrink tubing $6.00
    http://www.jimandkatrin.com/CodeBlog/post/Forerunner-305-Battery-Replacement.aspx

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  88. I learned your mouth is full of poop.

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  89. I learned your mouth is full of poop.

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