WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

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mastercore
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WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by mastercore »

Hi Guys,
I am sorry to poopoo on the otherwise nice Garmin Zumo XT unit, but I have a story to tell all those thinking of buying one, or have one and should know about this weakness.


I bought my unit about a month ago and installed it pretty much a few days after I got it.
My bike is a Africa Twin 2017
I have done one short tour with it and it has worked to my expectations except for one large issue

The mount! In particular the hot shoe connector

I have the mount center above the dash of the bike and nicely tucked in behind the windscreen.
img_7235_modified.jpg
One day during my ride, I noticed the navi just switched off!
It would not switch back on and so I began to investigate.
Seems the battery was flat, so when I powered it with the USB cable, it powered up.
A further look around uncovered this...
Screenshot from 2020-06-24 15-32-32.png
The metal sheath of the lower pin is badly damaged.
If you mount the unit to the cradle and the lower pin is bent upwards, no power is fed to the unit.
I found that the pin is still connected to power, but for how much longer?
So how did this happen?

I have a few theories:
  • During packing and riding around, something snagged onto the pin while the unit was off, and the hot shoe rubber cover was not on.
    Considering how weak these pins seem, I think it could easy be done with a jacket or some other bit of riding gear carelessly thrown over the dash during wardrobe adjustments
  • Or, it is the rubber cover for the hot shoe connectors. After inspection, I noticed this thing is rather finicky to get on and one is tempted to push down on it to make it catch and seal the connectors. Upon closer inspection of this cover, seems it is not inconceivable that the act of covering the pins with this cap could damage the pins.
  • The pin was damaged from the start and was made worse with use. I did not look so carefully at the state of the pins when I got the unit. It is off course possible that these sensitive pins could catch on something and get damaged, e.g. the loop side of a Velcro tab on clothing(This is more a reinforcement of point 1 I think).
I felt it is my duty to inform you all, that this is, in my opinion, is a serious quality/durability oversight of the Garmin Zumo.

I want to qualify something about my opinion here:
This is my first Garmin product.
I have never had an electronic product with such hot shoe connectors on any of my bikes before.
I do not know if my unit was unusually harshly treated to result in this damage, or is this a weakness these connectors suffer from? What I do know is that my bike is meant for enduro and as such, will be bashed around a bit. I expect Garmin to have designed this unit to hold up to such use considering it is marketed to adventure riders.

next steps for me...

I have been in touch with Garmin support online, and they juggled me around various departments and then landed me in the European support, which I am now wait a reaction from. (I am based in Switzerland)

During the support case chat, I mentioned that the replacement of the cable is not the end of the story for me. I am refering to the elephant in the room: the installation cost!

I am curious to learn how Garmin will address this.
Stay tuned for more...
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simoncrewe
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by simoncrewe »

It has been posted many times on motorcycle forums, that people are having problems with the pins on the power cables. Let us hope that when Garmin see how many they are replacing under warranty, they will do something about modifying the cable to make it more robust.
mastercore
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by mastercore »

Funny you should say this.
I looked around for this issue but did not come up with much.
Made me think I was the only one.

Yeah, lets see what Garmin comes back with.

Thanks for the info btw.
Hati
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by Hati »

I had the 595 for 5 years or so (many more pins like these) without issues. To be honest, this is the first time I heard anyone having a problem with them, other than not connecting up to the unit. I am reading a number of motorcycle forums...

I don't think it's a very common issue, but I am a tourer not adventure rider, my mount is in a more sheltered location on my bike where not much can get to the pins by accident.

I do think though that it is a manufacturing fault, not accidental damage. Following with interest.
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simoncrewe
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by simoncrewe »

This problem is more common that you think. It is not a problem with something getting to the pins, it is happening with the GPS unit in place on the mounting plate.
If you look at some of the Dutch,UK & US forums, people with road , off road & adventure bikes are suffering the problem.

Garmin must be aware of the problem with the amount of cables they are replacing.
mastercore
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by mastercore »

Thanks [mention]Hati[/mention] for your input
I don't think it's a very common issue, but I am a tourer not adventure rider, my mount is in a more sheltered location on my bike where not much can get to the pins by accident.
I think the difference between tourer and adventure rider is not so great in terms of danger to hotshoe connector pins.
My cradle locations is no different from where it would live when on a tourer.
And apart from the random vibrations and more significnat movement of the bike, and occasional bush drops (very low speed crashes, or bike drops on technical terrain, that are sometimes a daily reality of offroad riders), the pins themselves are exposed to no significant extra stresses.
axamax
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by axamax »

Has anyone made an alternative mount cover more in line with that of the 595/590?
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simoncrewe
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by simoncrewe »

axamax wrote: 01 Jul 2020 14:50 Has anyone made an alternative mount cover more in line with that of the 595/590?
Here you go https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4208663 The Dutch guys on their Facebook page have been making these.
mastercore
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by mastercore »

simoncrewe wrote: 01 Jul 2020 21:52
axamax wrote: 01 Jul 2020 14:50 Has anyone made an alternative mount cover more in line with that of the 595/590?
Here you go https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4208663 The Dutch guys on their Facebook page have been making these.
This is what Gamin should have built from the start.

Since I only use my Garmin Zumo XT when I am touring, I have now "folded down" the cradle to make sure it is as much tucked away as much as possible behind my windshield when not in use.
Vespamarc
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Re: WARNING - Garmin Zumo XT hot-shoe connector weakness

Post by Vespamarc »

There is also Bert Klein, a Dutch guy who printing covers on demand, normally black or with logo. Find him @ Dutch XT facebook, or b.klein@chello.nl
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