Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Garmin DIY Fix

I just realized a couple weeks ago that pressing the page/menu button on my garmin during a run flipped to a screen showing data for the current lap only - distance, time and pace. I can roughly calculate the same information from the main screen, if I pay attention to total elapsed time at the end of each mile (particularly since my paces fluctuate around 12:00 - easy fractions!), but so much handier to just flip to see it, especially when trying to make up time after a walking break or hill. It's a pretty cool feeling to see the lap pace drop towards your goal.

So it was annoying the other day when I had just started a run, went to press the page button - and it was gone! I had noticed it seemed a little - not loose exactly, but off kilter, I guess - on my previous run, so I had kind of wondered if that would become an issue, but was surprised it happened so quickly. There was still the post underneath it that had the actual functionality, but it was pretty difficult to get my fingertip in there just right to press it, and near impossible to do while running - especially at a fast pace, which is when I'm most likely to want to see that screen!

Garmin products do come with a one-year warranty, but I've had mine for about 18 months now. They also offer repairs for a fee after the warranty period, and I initially figured I'd send it in after marathon training (only a month left!). Until I realized it costs a flat fee of $89 for repairs on the model I have (Forerunner 210). The watch only cost $200 in the first place! (With "only" being relative, here, of course - a pricey watch, but I'm not going to pay 45% of the original cost for repairs.) I suppose you could come out ahead if there's a lot wrong with your item, but for just replacing a button, not worth it. I mused over it for a couple days, and decided to make my own button.

Duct tape

1. Cut a strip of duct tape just a little less wide than the insert where the button was. 

2. Roll/fold it so you have a little "button". Keep in mind in both cutting and folding the tape that it needs to be smaller in dimensions than the hole you're placing it on top of, so that it can press in on the post that moves the mechanism.

3. Place the folded button over the post, cut another strip of duct tape the same width, and place over the button. Don't press down on the button while you're doing this, just set it right on top of the post. Be careful where you place it on the back, so you don't cover the charging connectors. 

Perhaps not the prettiest fix (though since my watch is black, I don't mind the silver addition too much), but only a fraction of the cost of official repairs even if I had bought the duct tape specifically for this! It's held up just fine through a couple sweaty runs so far, so I don't foresee needing to replace the tape frequently.

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