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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Garmin GPS

I bought my wife a new 4Runner which came equipped with a satellite navigation system, so it only seemed fair that I would inherit the Garmin Nuvi 250 dash-top navigation unit that used to reside in her FJ Cruiser. There are better options for motorcycle navigation.... TomTom makes a rider GPS and Garmin has their Zumo series... but they're pricey and I'd only be installing it for fun. I probably won't use it that much.  The Nuvi works just fine and was paid for a long time ago.

I had been reading a lot about Ram Mounts and they seemed to have the right product for mounting a GPS to a motorcycle so I ordered a steering stem mount, arm, and cradle directly from their site. I also ordered a bag of connectors to hook the unit up to the Honda quartet harness which I installed this winter.

Warning: Hackjob alert...

I'm too cheap and lazy to try and source the proper cable to hook up a GPS so I hacked up the 12V USB car charger cable. It's just a coaxial cable with positive and negative leads, but inside the plug is a little circuit board which corrects the voltage and current for the garmin unit. I smashed open the connector and with some splicing and a lot of tape, I turned the coaxial cable into a stereo cable and crimped the ends into the connector.

Yeah it's ugly. So what?

 I plugged into the quartet harness on the black plug.

I fished the appropriate length of cord through the frame and out the conduit at the front of the headstock, leaving just enough slack to turn the bars from lock to lock. I wrapped the excess cord around my Stebel horn compressor and tucked it all in under the retainer.

I'm impressed with the Ram mount. The arm is made out of metal and is much sturdier and secure than I imagined it would be.

 Now I just need to travel far enough from home that I will actually need this thing!


  1. Here's a hardwire kit you can use if you don't want to hack your 12v adapter like I did:

  2. Phobe,

    I had the heated grips added when I got the bike. Does that mean I have the quartet harness already?


  3. That's a good question. If your dealer's service department was smart and thorough, they would have used the quartet harness and avoided splicing any wires or adding any more power wires to the battery. If they were lazy and ignorant, they may have just hacked it in there. Let's hope for the former. Check your battery's positive terminal for any extra wires tied into it. There isn't anything inherently wrong with wiring directly to the battery, as long as it's done properly and neatly with an inline fuse holder and a suitable wire.

    I'll guess that they used the quartet harness. It's easier that way.

  4. Ram mounts doesn't have the vfr1200 listed as a model. Which stem mount did you purchase?

  5. Sorry I didn't respond to your comment sooner... the notification went in my junk folder.

    The RAM stem mount is universal. You tighten the screw to plug it in the hole. AFAIK they only make 1. I've also heard of a product called the telferizer that replaces the steering stem nut and threads right on. I wasn't able to find one for purchase though.

  6. Garmin Nuvi gadgets have built up themselves as the perfect in the zones of precision and navigational elements. This current organization's marine gadgets, for example, the GPSMAP 5015 and GPSMAP 5215 likewise offer tough development and predictable execution. http://www.gurufocus.com/news/446229/garmin-is-gaining-favor-after-a-turbulent-period