Image source: Garmin

How to fix charging problems with your Garmin smartwatch

In the world of fitness tracking and wearable technology, Garmin has carved out a significant niche for itself. Renowned for their durability, precision, and wealth of features, Garmin devices have become an integral part of many people’s health and wellness routines. However, like all electronics, they are not without their quirks and issues. One of the most common problems users encounter is related to charging. Needless to say, this is a critical aspect that can impact the overall functionality and user experience.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to understanding and resolving such issues with your Fenix, Forerunner or other Garmin. Whether your device isn’t charging at all, charging too slowly, or the battery drains too quickly, we’ve got you covered.

Why won’t my Garmin watch charge? Most common reasons. How to fix.

Initial charging and cleaning: To start off, Garmin advises charging your device for at least an hour. This is true even if the screen is blank. Ensure a good connection between the charging clip or cradle and your wearable. Clean the contacts on the watch and charging accessory thoroughly. You can use rubbing alcohol or another alcohol-based solution, eye glass cleaner, electronic screen wipes, or a pencil eraser. If there’s no sign of life after an hour, the battery may be faulty.

Loose or improper connection: A common issue is a loose or improper connection. This can occur between the charging cable and the watch. Causes can include wear and tear, physical damage, or obstructions like dust or sweat. Alignment can also be an issue.

Insufficient power output from the power source: Sometimes, the power source can hinder charging. For example, some USB ports or low-power adapters may not provide enough output. To solve this, use the original charger that came with your Garmin watch. If you can’t, invest in a high-quality USB wall adapter.

Battery drain issue: At times, the battery may be completely drained. This can prevent the watch from turning on or charging immediately. To avoid this, adjust your watch’s settings to minimise battery usage. Make sure to regularly charge your Garmin watch.

Soft reset: If charging still doesn’t work, perform a soft reset. This won’t delete any data from your device. The reset is best done when the device is connected to a computer. For devices without a power button, plugging them into a USB port using the charging cable is a good restart. This will also help to clear any system glitches. Such issues can be caused by stored cache and conflicting apps.

Keeping the device’s software up to date: If a reset hasn’t worked, a firmware update may help. Check for a new version. Garmin releases new operating system updates from time to time. It is important to install these updates for smooth operation. Note that the battery life calculation can change depending on the firmware.

Cleaning the charger dock: Another solution has recently been posted on Garmin forums. The male connectors for the Garmin charger dock are made of Copper. Copper tarnishes over time. You can remove the tarnish by gently scrubbing the connectors with a sharp knife or metallic kitchen sponge.

What to do if your Garmin wearable is not charging
Remove tarnish by gently scrubbing the connectors with a metallic kitchen sponge

Defective power socket: If your Garmin watch isn’t charging, it could be due to a faulty power plug. Trying a different power outlet could solve the problem.

Dirty charging port: Inspect your charger. Look for dirt and debris. If you see anything out of the ordinary, clean the charging contacts before you try charging your Garmin watch again. Dirty contacts can disrupt the transfer of power, resulting in slow or inefficient charging.

Faulty charging cables or charger: If your Garmin watch keeps connecting and disconnecting from the charger, the charger may be faulty. Over time, charging cables can wear and tear. This can lead to various issues. To solve this, inspect the cable for signs of wear. If you notice any issues, consider using a new or replacement charger and/or cable. It’s better to buy one directly from Garmin as third party options from Amazon are typically not of the same quality.

Preventive measures

Taking preventive actions is one of the greatest methods to avoid charging troubles with wearables devices. It is critical to handle and store your smartphone and charger correctly. Excessive heat, dampness, or physical stress should be avoided. Clean the charging contacts on both the device and the charger on a regular basis to avoid dirt or sweat from accumulating and interfering with the charging process.

Keeping your Garmin device’s battery in good condition will also help you avoid charging problems. Develop healthy charging habits, such as not allowing the battery level drop too low before recharging and not leaving the electronic device plugged in for too long after it has reached full charge to avoid overcharging. Leaving the battery empty for a long time is also not good.

How you use your Garmin fitness tracker or smartwatch can affect its battery life. GPS, heart rate tracking, and high screen brightness can all drain the battery quickly. Understanding these aspects will allow you to tweak your device’s features and settings to improve battery life. For example, you may choose to disable GPS or reduce screen brightness when these features are not required. Extreme temperatures can have an impact on battery performance and lifespan, so try to avoid exposing your device to extremely hot or cold temperatures.

Warranty and support

If you’ve tried everything in this guide and are still having charging problems with your Garmin gadget, you should be aware of Garmin’s warranty policy and support alternatives. The majority of Garmin fitness trackers and smartwatches come with a one-year limited warranty that covers material or workmanship problems. This warranty may cover a manufacturing problem in your device’s battery or charging system.

You can contact Garmin customer support for assistance with troubleshooting, to schedule repairs, or to inquire about warranty coverage. They provide phone, email, and live chat support, as well as a complete support centre on their website.

Did you have charging issues with your Garmin wearable? If so, what has worked to bring your device back to life?

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

21 thoughts on “How to fix charging problems with your Garmin smartwatch

  • How can you tell if a golf garmin gps watch is charging or not? There’s no indicator of this at all on the watch and mine gave up the ghost midway through my round today. It was ( presumably) fully charged before use? Thank you

  • The cleaning of the connectors by scratching off the tarnished worked for me when all other cleaning had not worked. Thank you! Was worried the battery had died….

    • Glad it worked! 🙂

  • Just using a pencil eraser worked for me! Many thanks.

  • Cleaning the connectors by scratching the copper connectors with the tip of a pair of scissors worked for me. Thank you!

    • Glad it resolved the problem!

  • I can’t believe it, but brushing off the copper connectors with a wire brush worked perfectly! I thought my second generation vivosmart HR+ was a goner! Thanks for the tip

  • Thnx so much, I already cleaned them but the scratching did the trick!

  • Help. Garmin Fenix 5 not charging. Blue light shows but no charge. Any ideas?

  • A brief rub with a pencil rubber and all was well. Can’t believe it. Thank you so much.

    • Glad it helped!

  • Thank you SO much. Was just about to replace my 3 year old Vivoactive 3 music but tried the scratching method and it’s burst into life. Wonderful.

  • I did everythings cleaning as a procedure but not charging yet

  • Thanks for this – cleaning worked on mine too
    Annoyingly though, one of the little brass pins on mine is now stuck in the recessed position. I’ve tried poking it with a pin and things to try and get it to pop out, but no luck! so be careful when cleaning!

  • Mine will just not charge even after cleaning. Battery also died in 24hrs

  • I need to physically hold my charger in at just the right angle in order for the forerunner 245 watch to charge. Any slight movement, and it stops charging. I have only had it 6 months. So I sit and wait and watch it charge……

    • That sounds like a faulty charging cable. Sometimes they cables get worn out.

  • The cable connection on the device is a major obstacle to charging properly. Suggest dry watch after use then use a hair dryer on the watch connection for 15-20 seconds. Works a treat for me

  • Woah!
    Late to this, but just managed to get my almost dead Garmin to start charging by carefully scratching the connectors.
    Looks like I don’t need a new watch after all – thanks for the tip!

  • Thank you so much! just scratched the connectors and it’s charging! very grateful

    • Glad it helped! 🙂


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