Condensation in GPS????

I have a Garmin “waterproof” GPS (76Csx). Somehow I got some condensation on the inside of the screen which really makes it hard to read. Seems to get more noticeable when cold.

Any advice on how to get it out? I brought the device inside and took off the battery lid and am letting it sit for a few days like that to see if it will come out out on its own.

Any other ideas? Maybe use a hair drier or something?



Condensation issue
Matt, I’d suggest contacting Garmin as they are very reputable with excellent customer service. However the condensation got there to begin with would suggest that it’ll repeat itself again. But for home remedy I’d suggest placing the GPS with the battery compartment open, into a pair of panty hose or some other like product, then place it in an open ziplock bag or grocery bag with lots of rice. The panty hose keeps the rice out of the GPS unit. Hopefully the rice will absorb residual moisture slowly over time. But give Garmin a buzz first, it may be a defective unit that they’ll repair. Jeff


– Last Updated: Oct-18-09 12:47 PM EST –

Garmin replaced my 76csx 2 times for a brand new one.
The last one ,last for 2 days.
Now I greased all the seals from the new one, and it's still ok.

The rice works great but you also need to figure out where the moisture is getting in.


I lost a Etrex that way.
If there is moisture getting in, it will only get worse.

If it is a older one, and has been in the sun a lot, the glue where it is put together dries out, and eventually water will get in and fry it.

Been there, done that twice,( don’t care what Garmin says about being waterproof) and that is why I now keep it(my 76) in a clear pliable pouch.



It is toast now. I tried a hair drier and the condensation went away but now it will not work right.

Turn it on and it searches for sattelites and does not find any and none of the buttons will work.

I am a bit irritated.

I figured out that it was not waterproof a long while back as water was getting in battery compartment so I started using it in a plastic case.

Not sure how or when the water got into the insides but now that it is it is basically fried.

I will see what Garmin will do for me. Unfortunately I don’t have a receipt or anything proving when I bought it, but it was less than a year ago.


Cool down
Let it rest for a few days and try it again…

My Etrex Vista HCX just died from the
same causes. Once the water is in, there is not much chance of the unit surviving long term. If your model is a “waterproof” model, Garmin will likely replace it. They sent me a new unit for (I think) $76 including shipping. Jack’s idea is a good one, I will use some form of water protection from now on. FWIW I lost a Uniden Mystic radio this year and it was supposed to be waterproof. Bill

I fried the magellan
Too much heat with hair dryer. The garmin does have some condensation. I will try greasing the seals with vaseline.

Set it on the window sill

– Last Updated: Oct-22-09 3:50 PM EST –

for a couple of days in direct sunlight. (not your dashboard) Then put it in the frig for a few hours. Keep doing that for at least five cycles. Don't power it up each day, that is bad. Leave all hatches and covers off or open.

The moisture will disappear when warm and show again when cooled. Keep up the temp cycling until you pull it out of the cool and you don't see fog. Warm it to room temp before powering up.

Condensation or Software
Yes, I know it sounds crazy.

I have a Vista, which developed a similar condensation problem, then stopped working. I kinda wrote it off as a loss for about six months (over the winter, in our dry apartment).

Just for kicks, I put in new batteries, fired it up and voila! It didn’t work.

I brought it to the Garmin store in Chicago, they flashed it and installed the newest software (which apparently you are supposed to do every 6 months or so) and now it works.

It makes no sense, but at the end of the day, it works.

Waterproof, schmotter loof. They aren’t. Keep it in an Aquapac.

Rice is an old wives tale
However the concept is good. Dehydrate rice doesn’t have magical powers to suck water vapor from the air. Ever find a box of rice that’s been accidentally rehydrated on a humid day? Also, rice dust is definitely bad for electronics. Instead, use a good desiccant, the kind you find in electronic packaging and shoes. If you don’t have a bunch lying around, they can be purchased in craft stores. Desiccants placed in a ziplock with the device should pull the moisture out. Applying heat will only turn the condensed water into vapor and drive it deeper into the electronics.

Besides having water, you might also have water deposits, salt, minerals, seaweed. These can also foul electronics. The very first thing to do is pull the battery when a device gets wet. Then, and I’m only speaking from personal experience and sound logic. I am in no way guaranteeing this as cure, nor implying that it will not further damage the device. Then, dunk the device in denatured alcohol. Complete submerse it and swish. The alcohol replaces the water and will wash away deposits. It evaporates quickly and will take oils with it. Seal the device in the bag and leave it alone for a week. Remove and recharge the desiccants in an oven a couple times to maximize their effectiveness. Whatever you do, do not turn on the device for an entire week. Sit on your hands and wait. I’ve done this with phones that have gone swimming with success, but the trick is to pull the battery immediately and start the process as soon as possible. If your GPS is anything like phones, it has a tell-tale that will alert Garmin to the fact that it’s been wet. This is usually the warranty voider. My method is a last ditch effort to save an un-warrantied device. I’d recommend pursuing anything with a company prior to washing electronics.

Waterproof bag is no guaranty
I killed a cell phone once in one. The weather was very warm and humid, so when the waterproof bag ended up in cold water the condensation inside the bag killed the phone.


I also had a 76csx that went dead on me. Garmin sent me a new one…but it couldn’t read any of the cards that I had made for the 1st one…had to call the company to register it etc.

Lost all my original waypoints and have to redo the memory cards so this new one will read them.

They have ok customer support but still a PITA.

Originaly I just wanted a gps that worked not something I’m always on the phone to Garmin.

Don’t know if you have it set up for their Blue Charts (ocean) but it’s $$ for everything for that…Not exactly “user friendly”.

Use your car
Place the unit in your car with the battery compartment open. There is no better “oven’” to dry it out than your car in the sun…

My 76csx died after a dunking too. They are not waterproof and Garmin should stop marketing them as such. My unit was out of warranty but they sold me a refurbished unit for CAN $120. Now I always keep it in a waterproof case. At least I was able to pick up the refurbished unit from a retail outlet rather than wait for shipping.

The fact is that they are not waterproof. It should not be a warranty issue. Since I can’t prove mine was bought in last year they will not replace it. Warranties are for things that are defective or that break…not for things that don’t live up to the claimed performance in teh first place.

This is the second one of these I have had and the other leaked too but never got into the screen.

If they market something as waterproof and it is not then they should replace every single one that is sent back to them for not living up to what it was supposed to do in the first place.

It is not that the seals wore out…they never worked in first place and now the problem has just come to a head.

Some people have told me the waterproff bag is worse because it can build up pressure and cause moisture to permeate into unit. I don’t know…

Not a happy consumer.


“I am not a happy consumer” either
I was installing base board heaters for one of my many daughters. We purchased them at Lowes, and naturally like all the other crap that you get today, they were made in China. We had to make three different trips back to Lowes for replacements, because one thing or another was defective on them.

It seems that half the crap I buy today is that way, yet it is all warranted.

If you don’t like Garmin. just don’t buy their GPS units any more.

They warantee them and will stand by the warantee.

If you bought your unit new from them, they will repair it or replace it.

You said your unit seals never worked in the first place. If they didn’t and you knew it, you should have returned it immediately.

As to the people who said that putting it in a water proof pouch won’t work. I am not sure what pouch they are using, but mine has been working in the hot and humid Florida sun for the past five years just fine, and it solved my problem .

If there was another brand of GPS that was equal to the Garmin, I would have switched to it, but for my specs there isn’t, so I have learned to cope with theirs.

I doubt in this day and age with the junk that is coming from China, Mexico and other countries that there are many “happy consumers”



I did not bother having it replaced when I noticed that the batter cover seal did not seal effectively b/c the last one did the same thing. Conclusion being that none of them really do…which turns out to be correct.

I actually did start using it in a bag as per your advice. Not sure how the condensation got in the screen though.

It is not a matter of 'not buying from them" once you already have. I can only choose not to buy from them in the future.

I generally am a happy consumer and don’t think I am being overly critical here. I am not irrate, just rightfully displeased.


I would say you are rightfully displeased.

When I bought mine I expected a lot better product from them with no hidden fees to turn on various aspects of it.

Some would say it’s the best product out there, but for me it’s like trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

Hard to say if it’s false advertising…but it sure is mighty close to it.