February 2016’s Cache Crate is all about use, care and maintenance of your device. Taking good care of your phone and/or GPS will keep you and your devices happy and finding (and hiding) geocaches out in the field for a long time!

phone-bag

1. Your GPS or phone is NOT waterproof!

It may be water-resistant but most devices are not waterproof. Over time water resistance is reduced, the rubber on the GPS body and the flap that protects the USB port degrade and loosen, water and dust may begin to enter these areas after time.

When I once was geocaching via boat I jumped in the water to get to shore, my Garmin Colorado went under water, I didn't think too much about it, shortly after it was not operating. Bring a ziplock bag with you for those rainy days or if you might take a swim with your GPS.

2. The mini-USB or power port needs to be closed all time when you’re in the field!

This mini-USB or power port is very important! You can’t transfer or connect your GPS device with your computer if this port has trouble, or power your phone. Make sure this port is protected especially during usage in the field to avoid dust and water particle to prevent corrosion. Do not open the port unless you are loading caches or powering up.

3. Do not mix partially used batteries with new batteries, this can disturb electricity current that will affect your GPS device.

4. Do NOT mix the types of batteries.

There are several kind of batteries on the market:

a. Carbon, cheap and easy to get.
b. Alkaline, a bit expensive. This is the standard battery for GPS
c. Rechargeable battery (NiMH or Li-Ion), more expensive but you can save the environment.

Never mix them! For example, you put a carbon battery then an alkaline battery for your GPS. The chemical reaction is different and it can cause leaking on the batteries that can damage your device.

5. Remove the batteries when the GPS is not used.

This will prevent any chemical leaking from the batteries especially when the device won’t be used for long time. Remember:  Any kind of electronic device will be damaged if exposed by chemical ingredients from the battery.

6. Store your GPS or phone in dry place!

Humidity is the main enemy for every electronic device including your GPS and phone. Humidity can make the corrosion process faster in your device. Using a dry box to store your GPS is recommended.

7. Use cases for your devices to keep them protected from drops, water spills, scratches and dirt.

I buy mine from the camera department or sporting goods store. I just got one that can be looped thru a belt or backpack hip belt.

8. Screen guards.

These are great to help protect your screens from scratches and drops. They are made to fit your device or can be cut to fit with a scissors.

9. Your GPS transfer or phone power wire.

Be careful with this. Keep it from kinking and being tossed about, laying on the floor, etc. I like to get a couple additional transfer and power cables and keep one in my vehicle, one in my geo bag, etc. I've had to do "Pocket queries' 'On the go" several times, sometimes in my vehicle with my laptop, other times at a public library or computer store.

Use care when plugging in your transfer cable to your GPS. This includes cell phone charging cables, keep things "In line" and don't force connectors into your devices. I have several vehicle GPS Nuvi's that don't work anymore because the power cable connector to the device has loosened and won't provide constant power, There are fix remedies to be found online but I haven't tried them yet.

10. Keep battery contact surfaces and battery compartment contacts clean by rubbing them with a clean pencil eraser or a rough cloth each time you replace batteries.

11. Take your GPS devices with you.

Thieves love these so it is best not to keep an automobile GPS on the mount when you are not in the car, boat or bike. Take them with you or put them in a trunk. Just don't leave it in plain view or you may get it stolen. Most insurance companies will not cover a GPS if stolen as they are portable and not part of the original car built-in components. You will need to make a claim on your renter’s or home owner’s policy.

12. Hot & cold.

In cold temperatures it is very important to not let any GPS or phone sit in cold weather below 32 degrees. That insulated camera bag will help keep it from cold dipping temperatures when it is not in use. Most GPS units and phones do not like heat if they can't breathe.

When you stop to have a lunch break in summer, your car temp can soar as there is no air flow.  So once again keep devices in an insulated camera bag out of direct sunlight and protect them from the heat. When in use in extreme hot weather make sure you have your air conditioning on or a few windows rolled down for air circulation. Wait to use the unit when the car has cooled a bit.

13. Keep your devices clean.

Keep your GPS and phone screen clean with a microfiber cleaning cloth, like the one included in February’s Cache Crate.

If your touch screen does not work properly then break out your owner’s manual and recalibrate it.  Most GPS units and phones are set up for this and will get you running again. It is very simple to do.

When your device arrives make sure you keep your receipt, the original box and all paperwork contents in case you ever have a problem with your unit and need warranty repair. This is a good way to send it back, just like it arrived!

Contact the Manufacture immediately if you have any problems with setup or you're not getting the response you expected to troubleshoot before contacting your dealer you purchased from.  Most problems are just a setting that can be fixed with the MFR tech support.

Your GPS with an Internal antenna will only work when mounted near your windshield or if it has a clear view of the open sky so it can read the satellites.

Keep learning about your GPS, experiment with the button features, read the manual and check online for tips and help.

Update your devices from time to time online.

GPS

Battery care & information 

Power Saving Tips for Phones:

  • Black wallpaper
  • Turn down your backlight –don’t use adaptive/auto brightness
  • Turn off your GPS (location service) when not actively using it
  • Use a shorter screen timeout setting
  • Switch off vibrate
  • Use Plane Mode if you don’t need to be connected
  • Keep your apps updated
  • Explore your phone’s basic battery saving mode

Bonus material:

What is battery memory effect?

Battery memory effect is about batteries remembering remaining charge if you didn’t let them go all the way to zero too often. So a battery frequently charged from 20% to 80% might ‘forget’ about the 40% that’s left uncharged (0-20% and 80-100%). Sounds crazy but that’s sort of true – but only for older nickel-based (NiMH and NiCd) batteries, not the lithium-ion batteries in your phone.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries don’t suffer the memory effect so you almost need to do the opposite – charge them often but not all the way throughout the day, and don’t let them drop to zero.

The rule with Li-ion batteries is to keep them 50% or more most of the time. When it drops below 50% top it up a little if you can. A little a few times a day seems to be the optimum to aim for.

But don’t charge it all the way to 100%. It won’t be fatal to your battery if you do a full recharge – most of us are forced to do this every now and again in emergencies. But constantly doing a full recharge will shorten the battery’s lifespan.

So a good range to aim for when charging a Li-ion battery is from about 40% to 80% in one go. Try not to let the battery drop below 20%.

Remove batteries from a device when it is not expected to be in use for several months.

Remove batteries from equipment while it is being powered by household (AC) current.

Make sure that you insert batteries into your device properly, with the + (plus) and – (minus) terminals aligned correctly. CAUTION:

Some equipment using more than three batteries may appear to work properly even if one battery is inserted incorrectly.]

Store batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature.

Do not refrigerate batteries; this will not make them last longer. Extreme temperatures reduce battery performance. Avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places.

Do not attempt to recharge a battery unless the battery specifically is marked “rechargeable.”Some dead batteries and batteries that are exposed to extremely high temperatures may leak. A crystalline structure may begin to form on the outside of the battery.

phone

DISPOSING OF GENERAL-PURPOSE & ALKALINE BATTERIES

You should recycle rechargeable, lithium, lithium-ion, and zinc air batteries. In addition to “traditional” rechargeable batteries like AAs or AAAs, rechargeable batteries like the ones found in everyday household items such as cameras, cell phones, laptops, and power tools should also be recycled. Look for the battery recycling seals on rechargeable batteries.

Some retailers often collect batteries and electronics. Some communities offer recycling or collection of alkaline batteries—contact your local government for disposal practices in your area.

To find a rechargeable battery recycling location near you, visit Earth911 at www.earth911.com, Call2Recycle® at www.call2recycle.org or recyclinghttp://www.energizer.com/about-batteries/battery-care.

If recycling is not an option, alkaline batteries can be safely disposed of with normal household waste. Never dispose of batteries in fire because they could explode.

Due to concerns about mercury in the municipal solid waste stream, some manufacturers like Duracell have voluntarily eliminated all of the added mercury from their alkaline batteries since 1993. Those alkaline batteries are composed primarily of common metals—steel, zinc, and manganese—and do not pose a health or environmental risk during normal use or disposal. It is important not to dispose of large numbers of alkaline batteries in a group. Used batteries are often not completely dead. Grouping used batteries together can bring these live batteries into contact with one another, creating safety risks.

Do keep batteries, especially small and coin lithium batteries and the devices that use them, out of reach of children. If swallowed, coin lithium batteries can cause serious injury in less than two hours.

Contact the National Battery Ingestion Hotline for more information:www.poison.org/battery or 202-625-3333

DON’T dispose of batteries in a fire — they may leak or rupture.

DON’T disassemble, crush, puncture, or otherwise damage batteries. This can result in leakage or rupture.

DON’T carry loose batteries in a pocket or purse with metal objects like coins, paper clips, etc. This can short-circuit the battery, leading to high heat or leakage.

 

Resources used for this post:

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/mobile-phone/how-charge-phones-battery-36…

https://www.duracell.com/en-us/battery-care-and-disposal

http://www.energizer.com/about-batteries/battery-care

http://www.ebay.com/gds/GPS-TIPS-and-Care-guide-for-the-new-GPS-owner-/1000…

http://allthingsnav.navigation.com/article/give-your-gps-some-tlc

http://openstreetmap.id/en/tips-merawat-perangkat-gps/

https://www.androidpit.com/how-to-save-battery-life

 

GQotDPinterestHey cachers this is Lookout Lisa from Cache Advance, and I’m your host for the Geocaching Question of the Day.

Cache Advance is your geocaching hub for all of your caching needs, including the Cache Crate, a monthly subscription box of geocaching and outdoor gear.
Monday through Thursdays, we ask our followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ a question about geocaching.

We recently asked: Do you prefer geocaching with a handheld GPS or Smartphone?

 

  • After tallying all the answers, we found it was pretty much 50/50, and most cachers actually use both.
  • So here’s what we heard:
    • Dave on G+ Shared: GPS, tho my resistance to smartphone caching is getting less now that batteries are better, USB power packs are decent, and the tech on the phone isn't nearly so annoying.
    • Agent Questermark shared: Both! I'll usually start on my phone, but if I need more precision, I like my GPSr. For road trips, I'll load a PQ into the GPSr, but still start with the phone when seeking.
    • Danno Shared: Smartphone. I like to post logs in the field and manage trackables, especially read their missions online before I take them.
    • Hotrod205 on Twitter shared: after getting 3 years each out of 2 Garmins, I don't see the point. New phone is so good that I'm not buying another GPSr.
    • Jessica on Facebook summed it up nicely. She shared: My handheld gps, BUT I geocache 95% of the time with my smartphone because it is always with me

As always we really enjoyed hearing about Geocaching GPS' or Smartphones, and you can too, if you-

-Follow us, Cache Advance, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the Geocaching Question of the Day.

Thanks, and Happy Caching!