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Mount and hardwire a handheld GPS on your ATV

After fumbling around last season with my Lowrance XOG while attempting to keep a straight line on the ATV, I decided to scout out options for setting up a mount of some sort.

When I first purchased the XOG last November, there were no after-market mounts yet available. This season is a different story, RAM has developed a custom cradle for the XOG that is very solidly built, cost effective and can match up to any of their 1” ball mounts. A quick search brought up a nice looking site with good prices, I decided on the handlebar mount with a stainless steel u-bolt, a couple more bucks but no rust!

http://www.expressmounts.com/item-ram-mount-lowrance-xog-series-stainless-steel-u-bolt-mount/ramb149lo8.htm

I also purchased an adapter that allows you to attach the mount onto rails down to ½” diameter, as I wanted to stick the mount on my front rack.

http://www.expressmounts.com/item-ram-mount-adapter-for-handlebars/rap319.htm

Installation is very straight-forward, pick a spot, tighten down two nuts on the u-bolt and you’re done!

With the mount in place, I moved onto another thing that bugged me when using the XOG on my wheeler: having to use the “cigarette” style plug-in cord. My ATV has a handy 12 volt receptacle so you plug in accessories. All fine and dandy but you have a cord flopping all over the place and even more annoying, anytime you turn off the key, the power is cut off to the receptacle. I don’t know about other handheld GPS’ but the XOG displays a message upon losing external power, “External power removed. Press anywhere to cancel power down”. That bugged me. So, I decided to look into hardwiring a power cord directly to the battery. Another quick search on the interwebs and I found a cable built for just this application:

http://www.mountguys.com/product_p/gusb-5v-b-lowrance.htm

You can also make your own cable for less cash by modifying a “cigarette” style adapter. Just crack open the adapter, solder a couple wires on the main power points and wrap it up with electrical tape. I thought about going this route as I like to dink with stuff but decided to go this way because it’s tightly sealed and built specifically for my application.

The cord is plenty long, about 6’ (I only need about 24”) and has a nice 90 degree elbow, mini-usb connection:

The internal workings are sealed in a little box about halfway down the cable:

I attached an inline fuse holder as the description didn’t specifically say there was a built-in fuse (although there probably is one in there) and wrapped up the smaller diameter wires with electrical tape for protection. I also added a couple battery-post connectors so I could attach directly to the battery and always have power:

Here’s a shot of the cable tucked away in the birds nest of wire that I have going, (you can see the small, green LED light glowing, hopefully this doesn’t drain my battery over time):

Here’s where the cool 90 degree mini-usb plug bit me in the ass. Upon trying to actually plug in the XOG, I find the RAM mount prevents the plug from even coming close to where it needs to be. A small modification with the dremel tool and everything fits together nicely:

I also cut a small hole in “flap” that covers the receptacles on the left side of the XOG, allowing the flap to be in place, keeping dust and debris out of the headphone input while still allowing the external power connection.

While surfing mountguys.com for anything else I may need, I stumbled across something I couldn’t pass up. A small nylon shield that wraps around a handheld GPS to reduce glare, what a great idea!

http://www.mountguys.com/product_p/stomper-316-low250c.htm

You just stick some Velcro strips where ever works and you’re good to go:

I’m looking forward to getting out there and trail-testing this new setup, I’ll post an update once I’ve bounced around a bit…

A few more pics of the finished product:

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