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A home-made Garmin eTrex data cable

Having only a GPS receiver makes not much sense. One should be able to prepare waypoints and routes at ones own computer to transfer those to the Garmin eTrex. For this you need a data cable which costs up to 50$. That's quite much for a simple serial cable without any electronics. Due to that I made my own cable.

The wiring

anschlussbelegung garmin etrex datenkabel

On that picture you can see how simple the data cable is build. Only 3 connections of the serial cable are to be connected directly to the eTrex. Fortunately Garmin forewent to use a proprietary hardware solution (beside that awkward plug).
Pins 2, 3 and 5 have to be connected to the eTrex like shown above. The fourth connection on the eTrex is used for an external power supply and is not necessary for data exchange.
The cable itself can be taken from an old mouse or some similar device. If you don't have that: even the cheapest mouse with it's electronics and mechanics is still cheaper than the original cable from Garmin.

The experienced handicrafts enthusiast has now all the information he needs to build his own plug. The plug build by myself is in use for months now and show no sign of dissolving.

The plug

Garmin eTrex plug Garmin eTrex plug

This plug was made out of an old plastic. Just cut it into the necessary form and drill six holes for the cable ends. Another two slits are used for a pull relief for the cable. The ends are fixed by superglue or two-component glue. Be careful not to produce a short circuit by accidently connecting the ends of the data cable.

And that's what it looks like in action:
Garmin eTrex datacable

And if you got some questions left you can ask them in my forum. I will try to answer them!

Here you can find pictures of cables that visitors of my page have built.

To the eTrex-Forum

© Jens Seiler, last change: 08/08/2003