Plagued by the Garmin Forerunner 610 charging problem? You’re gonna be pissed…

… because I just figured out what the actual problem is. And if your problem is the same as mine then you don’t need to send the watch back or exchange it for another one.

Let’s run down what we know:

  1. Customers have complained that the 610 won’t keep or take a charge, and in some cases actually actively discharges while plugged in.
  2. Customers have also complained that the 610 sometimes will charge and sometimes it won’t, or that it wasn’t charging before and now it does.

My situation went from being #1 to #2 after about 2 weeks of me owning the watch. Then, 2 weeks ago (I’ve had mine for about a month now), it all of a sudden started working. What did I do differently? (This is the part where being pissed comes in…) It seems that Garmin, in their infinite wisdom, decided to save money by developing a charging block that can accept various terminals. I’m sure this is to facilitate charging your watch while you travel internationally since we all do that so often. Well, have you ever noticed how that interchangeable terminal doesn’t always sit flush in the block, in fact it rarely does? Yep, you see where this is going.

Long story short, you’ll have to figure out a way to keep the terminal in good contact with the two pins on the charging block. My proving solution was to get an extension cord (for computers, not the brown one at the grocery store) so I could rest the block vertically on the floor. With enough patience I was able to get the watch to start charging, consistently. You can tell because it will go through that “beep! buzz… beep! buzz…” cycle that drove us all crazy when we first got the watches, but it will settle down and stay on the charging screen once you’ve got the contact just right.

My solution:

  1. Make sure you’ve got the charging stand in the right position. Yes, I said charging stand. check out the photos to see what I mean.
  2. Make sure you’ve got good contact with the watch in the charging stand.
  3. Make sure you’ve got good contact between the interchangeable terminal and the pins on the charging head.

My next test will be plugging the block into the wall directly, but upside down. Hopefully this block doesn’t need specific polarity.

Charger Parts

Interchangeable Terminal Contact Points
Contact Points
In the Stand, from the right
In the Stand, from the right
In the Stand, from the rear
In the Stand, from the rear
Problem solved!
Problem solved!

25 thoughts on “Plagued by the Garmin Forerunner 610 charging problem? You’re gonna be pissed…

  1. Annette Mctiernan says:

    Admiring the persistence you put into your website and in depth information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  2. Dave Proffitt says:

    I charge via USB and my problem is with the contacts at the watch end. I have now had to hold the watch and the charger clip together with a clothes peg to get a decent enough contact to maintain a charge.

    1. Ronnie says:

      me too. My 310xt does a mixture of #1 and #2 following no particular pattern. I have started two ultras now with no watch because when i have put it on in the morning, having checked it was charging (once from about 50%) then left it all night plugged in… and in the morning there has been zero charge. So frustrating. Any ideas to correct the problem?

      1. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those. I would examine the charging dongle and see if it’s designed to be “free standing” and hold the watch aloft rather than placing the watch face down and the dongle on top of it. If it is designed to be “free standing”, try that and ensure that the charging pins are making good contact with the receiving plates. Sorry I can’t be of more help. 😦

  3. marco says:

    sending in my 2nd 610 in the past 12 months with issues like these, plus screen freezing, JUNK! seriously, 3 garmin 610s in less than a year

  4. Marc says:

    Thanks a lot. For those interested and had my bit I used a somehow more brute approach. One of the problem is that the metal pins in the connector are too deep. I just filed (delicately) the plastic around them so that they are less recessed. No too bright engineering from Garmin there. Still, since then no problems getting a charge.

  5. Melinda says:

    I’m having the problem noted with the pin contacts between the charger and the watch. It’ll charge if I stand there and press the two together…yeah, not really a solution. I’d like to try Marc’s suggestion — could you provide us with a little more guidance?

  6. Steve says:

    You might like to check how clean the charging terminals are on the watch. After a while they get filthy from sweat etc from your wrist. After also having charging problems I saw they were dirty and gave them a good scrub with a gentle cream cleanser and a toothbrush. Problem fixed.

  7. Iain Findleton says:

    Found that my watch terminals showed what looked like dirt or corrosion. Cleaned with a pin to scrape off the gunk, blew out with air pressure. Started to charge right away!

  8. RUN2EAT says:

    just took an exzacto knife and sliced off a bit of the plastic around the posts and cleaned the charger posts and watch contacts. The contact with the watch and posts is much better now, no need to hold the watch and charger together hoping for a charge. Also updated the most current firmware for the watch and antenna agent. Still the watch does not seem to be charging as quickly as it did in the past. So far it has taken 10 minutes to charge from 72 to 77% using wall charger.

    If it gives me one more problem I am taking it back to REI. They have already said they will give me $400 in store credit towards another watch and this is the second time. Now to decide on a proper replacement.

    1. garmin610 says:

      I have cut less than a 1mm thin electric wire and attached it to the post which was too low in order to bridge the missing gap. now it is charging perfectly (until i’ll buy a new charger – thanks garmin!) : (

  9. Ann says:

    I just pulled the USB out of the garmin charger port and plugged it in to my iPad charger. Fixed that problem. Not about those badly designed charging pins on the watch and charger itself…….

  10. Gail says:

    I use the wall plug from my Sony phone instead of the clumsy one Garmin provides. We put a little oil on the charger terminal and pressed the contacts with an eyeglass screwdriver and after cleaning up oil… Voila!

  11. I’ve found that the contacts periodically get dirty, I suspect mainly because they get gummed up with the products of my sweating when I am running. I’ve found the solution is to use a good solvent (I use lighter fluid) to dissolve all the stuff that’s built up on the watch contacts. Don’t know if this is correct but it seems to work…

  12. Al says:

    The contacts on the charging cradle are spring-loaded. Sometimes they get stuck from sweat, dirt, etc. Scrape away the gunk, put a little lubricant in there (I used olive oil) and use a toothpick or pencil to work the contact until it springs back properly. Should be no problem making a connection after that.

  13. Thanks for the info. The reverse-charging problem was a software glitch, but I found if my watch started that nonsense, I just re-booted it and it would charge normally. I regularly clean out the pins on the charging cradle, and have sanded down the plastic surround with an emery board a few times to establish a good connection. And yes, gunk will get into the terminals on the watch as well, so keep it all clean. Nail polish remover and a cotton bud work for me. I would avoid olive oil as it thickens up and goes off after a few weeks. Overall though, not a great experience from Garmin, even if the watch itself is good…

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