Garmin Charge power pack for Garmin Edge cycling computers in review!
Cycling trends 2021 – long-distance cycling, ultra-endurance cycling and multi-day bikepacking tours off the beaten path!
On such tours, one question quickly arises: how to ensure the power supply of the bicycle navigation system or the GPS training computer? Devices such as the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus easily last more than a day, but at some point the juice runs out. So it makes sense to refuel during the ride – especially on ultra stages.
There are many solutions: From charging via a power pack, a hub dynamo or a solar panel.
In my opinion, these options have one drawback: a cable is required for permanent power supply. This may interfere on the handlebar, but other points are likely to be even more important: Is the USB port protected from moisture? Can the micro USB socket of the Edge withstand the vibrations? On gravel tours, I would be careful there – especially with a €600.- device like the Edge 1030 Plus! That would be expensive electronic waste …!
Now the Garmin Charge Power Pack comes into play!
The Garmin Charge Power Pack is a battery for wireless power supply. The power is supplied via five electrical contacts, which are located in the quarter-turn adapter on the back of the Edge housing on many current Edge models. Older Edge models without contacts, on the other hand, can only be powered via cable.
Which Edge models are compatible with the Garmin Charge Power Pack??
Garmin specifies the following Edge models in the compatibility list:
- Edge 1000 (**)
- Edge 1030
- Edge 1030 Plus
- Edge 520 (**)
- Edge 520 Plus (**)
- Edge 530 (*)
- Edge 820 (**)
- Edge 830 (*)
- Edge Explore (**)
- Edge Explore 820 (**)
(*) incl. mountain bike bundle
(**) without electrical contacts, in these cases the "battery pack USB adapter cable" (available as an accessory) is required.
Garmin Charge Power Pack – Specifications
- Waterproof according to IPX7
- A capacity of 3,100 mAh
- A weight of 132 g
- One button to start/stop charging
- Four blue LEDs (each LED = 25% battery charge)
- One flashing LED indicates a remaining charge of 5%
- Two moisture-protected USB sockets (Micro-USB and Type-A, respectively)
- Charger with various adapters (charging cable with Micro-USB plug) is included in delivery
- Charging time of four hours (via Garmin charger)
The adapter cable available as an accessory for connecting to an Edge without electrical contacts has two USB ports designed as angled plugs: Type-A for the battery pack, Micro-USB for the Edge. To ensure waterproofness, the ports are equipped with rubber parts, several of which are included (with different shapes, depending on the Edge).
Review – How is the Garmin Charge Power Pack attached?
The Charge power pack is attached to the bottom of the Aero handlebar mount – which is included with the 1030 Plus, for example.
In order to be able to connect the Garmin power pack, a small modification is necessary on the aero mount. This involves replacing the bracket’s quarter-turn adapter with the included adapter, which can be done in a few minutes. The necessary accessories are included in the sales packaging.
The battery is then placed into the holder from below and locked via lever. The situation is similar for the Edge, where the battery is also locked via a lever instead of a quarter turn.
Both levers are extremely stiff, so you have to be careful when removing an Edge. The edge and battery are connected super stably, but can be removed separately. Thanks to the bombproof connection, the Edge can even do without the safety strap.
Garmin Charge review – What runtimes does the Charge offer?
According to Garmin, the runtime of an Edge 1030 can be extended by up to 24 hours.
To determine the approximate runtime I have made a small test. To do this, I let a Garmin Edge 1030 Plus run completely through (permanent maximum backlight, auto scroll, active navigation, 1 s recording, but without external devices or smartphone). With the Charge power pack I came to about 35 hours. The power pack started blinking after about 21 hours, indicating a remaining charge of 5%.
An impressive value! With appropriate energy saving measures (e.g. battery save mode) there is still a lot more in it!
This may only be an approximate value, in practice with a map that is always rendering, for example, the runtimes turn out differently. However, the test is always sufficient for an assessment.
What’s the sequence when discharging? The battery pack is drained first, then the Edge battery.
Garmin Charge Review – Conclusions
Without question, the Garmin Charge Power Pack provides a great extension of the battery life.
This makes it particularly interesting for the ultras among cyclists. But "normal" cyclists should also appreciate the Garmin Charge: The (annoying) charging of the Edge after a tour can be omitted!
The only drawback: The high price of €129.99! If you add the adapter cable for €19.99, you have to pay a whopping €150. But fortunately the street prices are below!