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The unit will take a very slow charge via your computer. I tell most people no it doesnt charge VIA your PC just because it takes soooo long. I recommend getting a new power cable from GPSCity. Just call them up or follow the like to the cable you need.
** This cable is for the Nuvi 200 series GPS units http://www.gpscity.ca/garmin-mini-usb-12v-cigarette-lighter-adapter-for-nuvi-in-web-packaging.html
I had the same problem. When you have your nuvi plugged into your cigarette lighter it doesn't charge. Your battery is probaly near dead. I called Garmin and they told me to plug it into my computer via the usb cable. Turn the Garmin off and let it charge for several hours. That did the trick
It sounds like a dead battery?
When it is plugged into the car, you should see a charging symbol, or it will say charging if the screen is off.
Are you sure it is getting power from the car? Check the fuse for the lighter socket, also the power cord has a fuse in the end that goes into the cigarette lighter socket, if you twist the end of the adapter it should open and expose a fuse.
Check these fuses to be sure.
My recomendation is to use the original accesory for cigarete lighter. I'll give you an example: when I connect my Nuvi 200 to any other USB cable (computer or home charger) its behaviour is like you said - it "says" that is connected to a computer and remains in stand by. But when I connect it to cigarette lighter (but note - the original one) the nuvi 200 recognize it as a car power source and works. The battery symbol disappear from screen and it works perfectly. When I turn off the engine or simply unplug the device from cigarette lighter (not from nuvi !) it recognizez that and ask me if I want tu turn it off on remains on on own battery. If I make no option the nuvi will turn off automatically after some seconds. So it recognize perfectly the car adapter and its behaviour is adapted to a car.
The Nuvi units are short on battery life and therefore Garmin has given you a connector other then USB to power your unit while in a car. You need to carry that. It's just a design flaw. If you try to rely on the battery of your Garmin Nuvi, you have less than 2 hours even on a full charge. And carrying the USB adapter which plugs into the cigarette lighter socket won't allow your unit to run while charging. so you need to take the adapter charger bracket that comes with the unit if you need it for longer trips.