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How to replace TomTom GO 300 battery

This page describes how I obtained and fitted a new replacement lithium polymer (Li-Poly) battery in the Tom Tom GO 300 GPS satellite navigation unit.

This is a long page with many pictures showing the insides of the Tom Tom GO 300. Please be patient while it loads. You can click any of the pictures to view them full size, then hit your BACK key to come back to this page.

There are two key things to replacing the old dead battery (shown at right);

  1. Finding a suitable supplier of the new battery which is compatible with the original.
  2. Obtaining the correct tools to undo the bolts holding the Tom Tom together.

Before we start, let me just tell you that this procedure is considerably more difficult than replacing the battery in the Tom Tom ONE which I explain on this other page.

I suggest you read the whole of the procedure below before you do anything with your GO! a) so you know whether you feel confident of doing this yourself (or with some help from someone who does), b) some things are not immediately apparent, but I explain the order to do them and why.

Disclaimer: You may invalidate your warranty or guarantee by opening the TomTom unit, however given due care and attention, and the correct tools, replacing the battery is a reasonably straightforward, and can be done in about 1 hour. You have been warned! If you are unfamiliar with working inside electronic products and their components, seek help from a friend who is more confident with this kind of thing, or send it to a professional.

Tom Tom Go 910 Disassemble Instructions

Courtesy of Zarimar & skinny420 over at TomTom Forums this PDF document provides details and photos for getting inside a Tom Tom Go 910.

Tom Tom Go 510 Battery Replacement Instructions

If you have a Tom Tom GO 510 try these instructions to learn How to replace the battery in a Tom Tom Go 510.

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Obtaining the new battery

The TomTom GO 300 uses a 3.7volt 2300mAh (milli-Amp hours) Lithium Ion battery (Li-ion).

These batteries have more amperage than the batteries used by slighter build Tom Tom ONE series sat navs which sometimes run out of steam faster compared to the GO series of Tom Tom.

I would recommend only getting batteries specifically noted for use with the TomTom, because the battery compartment size would prevent slightly longer/wider or fatter batteries from being installed.

The model I ordered was the CS-TM300SL which replaces the original battery Samsung ICR18650-24 sometimes marked Type VF5 Battery or similar, and is also suitable for:-

  • TomTom Go Classic
  • TomTom Go 500
  • TomTom Go 700
  • TomTom Go 510
  • TomTom Go 710
  • TomTom Go 910

Some suppliers also do a 2600mAh battery which is able to hold more current, hence last for longer.

In the UK I purchased my Tom Tom GO 300 replacement battery for the reasonable price of around £13.50 inc delivery from MDS Battery who also supply replacement batteries for other TomTom units, although there are various other suppliers of replacement TomTom Batteries in the UK.

Most battery suppliers will now also supply a free kit of tools necessary to do the job, however not knowing what was necessary when I took my GO 300 apart using the tools I already had, I found it quite a difficult task because they were not exactly the right kind nor the correct sizes.

The smallest Allen key I had was 1.5mm (I needed 1mm), and the smallest Torx key in my set was Size 10 ( I needed Size 6). I managed to get by with a set of watchmakers flat-head screwdrivers, but this was less than ideal because I ended up damaging the ends of the screwdrivers, and worse the shapes of the screws themselves. So its definitely best to get the right tools beforehand.

Many Allen and Torx key sets include sizes just bigger than what you need! So make sure you have sub-miniature sizes and good quality too because some of the bolts/screws in the GO are done up extremely tightly.

Maplin do an 8-bit set of Torx screwdrivers in sizes T4, T5, T6, T7, T8, T9, T10 and T15:-

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=99691

Maplin do a 30-bit Precision screwdriver set which includes Torx down to T4 and hex-heads down to 1mm:-

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?moduleno=262139

Wish I had got these before!

Here is another link I was told about (thanks to John Foster). This supplier provides the necessary tools with the battery to open the TomTom:- Battery Mill Tom Tom replacement batteries.

Thanks also to Gary and Anita Morgan who say you can get a good price for 2600mAh Tom Tom Go 300 battery (around £8) at http://www.batterybud.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=CS-TM300XL_5930  

Removing the TomTom Go case

Remember what I said about the photos, you can click the smaller ones to view them full size (then hit the Back key).

WARNING: Before you start, make sure you have done the following:-

  1. Back up the contents of your TomTom, i.e. everything on the SDRAM Memory Card.
  2. Unplug any charger unit.
  3. Turned off the TomTom unit.
  4. Removed the SDRAM memory card from the memory slot so as to prevent any potential damage to the card. Nothing is likely to happen, but better safe than sorry.
  5. Prepare your work area by placing some saucers, a tray or other receptacle to store the tiny screws safe as you remove them (you don't want to lose them).

Getting into the GO 300 is quite easy providing you know what to do.

Turn it over, and press the button that is used to release it from the screen mount.

When pressed in it reveals two grey tabs which keep the front screen bezel secured to the case (blue arrows).

Press in the button, and at the same time push a screwdriver in place to press the grey tabs to release the bezel, which will move forwards at the front. Once both of these are released, carefully slide a finger nail evenly all around the edge of the bezel and lift it off. It should come off fairly easily.

Now you will instantly see 3 bolt holes around the screen. Note that the 4th bolt hole has fragile sticky black tamper paper stuck over it. Of course you must remove this, but it acts as evidence that someone has opened the unit.

These are Torx bolt heads, so use the appropriate tool to undo them (my Torx was too big, so I had to use a Hex, tut tut).

Carefully turn the unit over with the screen facing down into your hand, then lift the back up and off, leaving the main unit in your hand. You will see the loudspeaker, and a rubber gasket around it. Put the gasket safely aside.

 

Where To Start!?!

When first viewed it all looks a bit daunting, and you think "My god, it all looks sealed up, where do I start?". Certainly in my own GO 300 it looked far more difficult than shown in a video I had seen at the MDS Battery website which made it look easy-peasy.

There's all this foil and black film covering the circuit boards (the video didn't show that!!). The black film provides a protective layer to the fragile electronics, and the metal foil shields the device from external radio-wave interference, and prevents any internal circuit noise from getting out (which might affect your car radio).

Therefore, although we must undo some of that foil and film to get inside, it is important to make sure not to damage the foil or black film, because we will need to stick it all back down again.

Anyway lets have a look around. Here's the loudspeaker, and next to it is the power socket. At the back of the photo is the USB socket.

From the front we see the screen (pretty obviously), and on the top, the big white square with round corners is the main antenna which detects the satellite signals.

Underneath, working across, you can see the tiny power-switch button (left arrow), and the power LED light (2nd arrow), the little Reset button (top centre) and the blue SDRAM card in its slot.

Using a small/medium size flat=blade screwdriver, start by gently lifting up the silver foil (photo below). As you do this you will discover it is quite sticky, but can be teased up with the screwdriver first, and then your fingers, being careful not to tear it.

Tip: It's probably best to make sure your hands are clean, and try not to touch the adhesive side too much, because you will need to stick it all back down again when you've put the new battery in. Any dirt or grease will prevent this.

Gradually work your way around the main circuit board, lifting only as much as is necessary to gain access. Ultimately we will be removing the central metal cage (see photo of metal cage lower down).

Tease the foil away, keep going round.....

At the same time as you go round, tease the black film away from the main circuit board, but be very careful how you go with your screwdriver. DO NOT DAMAGE ANY OF THE DELICATE COMPONENTS ON THE CIRCUIT BOARD AS YOU LIFT THE BLACK FILM. Thankfully the black film lifts much more easily.

As I went round I discovered an inner layer of foil connecting between the metal cage and the USB socket (the inner foil needs to be lifted off as well), so I made a neat cut using some scissors at this point so I could lift the inside sticky foil away from the metal cage later.

Note: Snipping this section is also necessary to allow access to the speaker connector later on.

Peel, peel ......

Another view of the underside......peel, peel...

Very carefully, peel away from the loudspeaker.
The loudspeaker cone is fragile - DO NOT PUT YOUR SCREWDRIVER THROUGH IT !!!!

Keep going all the way round.

Now you should have peeled all round the main bottom circuit board, and lifted the black film away from the edges of the circuit board too.

Removing the Loudspeaker

Now we're ready to undo the two large Torx head bolts holding the loudspeaker to the frame. These are pretty tight.

Remove the screws and place them safely aside.

Note: There is a tab on the metal cage (with a narrow strip of foil attached) that helps hold the loudspeaker secure. Just be aware of this when removing and replacing the loudspeaker.

With the speaker screws undone, the next task is to disconnect the loudspeaker, but to do this we need to get at the connector. Since the speaker screws are no longer holding the metal cage in place, and the metal foil has been lifted up (speaker already removed for clarity in this photo).......

..... now you can gently lift the metal cage up over the metal corner pillar, and outwards to reveal the speaker connector.

Use some tweezers to reach in and carefully unclip the connector.

Now the speaker lead is disconnected you can safely pull the lead out from where it leads through the metal cage to the connector, and put it safely aside for the moment.

 

Removing the Metal Cage

The next step is to remove the metal cage, but before I show you how to do that, take a look at the interior to familiarise yourself with a couple of obstacles.

In the photo below (cage removed for clarity) you can see one of the bolts securing the black plastic circuit board holder/battery clip, the battery in-situ, and the delicate antenna PCB ribbon cable and grey antenna lead.

There is no need to undo the ribbon cable or antenna cable. But we do need to unclip the antenna circuit board and pass it through the metal cage on its wires, so that the metal cage can be removed.

Read on, all will become clear!

The antenna circuit board sits atop the unit, and is held in place by two very tight plastic clips:-

Use a small flat-blade screwdriver to ease the clip open, being very careful not to damage the circuit board.

With both clips released the circuit simply folds down and lifts away and out from its holders.....

Now the antenna board simply rests against the unit, and the battery can be clearly seen inside.

Below is another view from the other side, showing the ribbon cable passing through a slot in the metal cage.

Lift the antenna board up and the cables over the edge of the slot in the cage, so the board is now loose inside the cage.
Note: Cage not shown in below 2 photos, I had already removed it!

Provided you have successfully released all the foil and black film from the metal cage (including the foil slip on the USB port/battery clip) you can now remove it, at the same time passing the antenna board and cables through it.

Removing the Battery Clip

Now, in the photo below, you can properly see two of the four Torx screws that need to be removed to release the black clip that attaches to the main (bottom) circuit board and holds the battery in its compartment. The battery connector can now be seen too.

Note: The antenna board was simply flipped over in this position after removing the cage. Its better to move it back to its original position or even reclip into its mounting to continue work (because you don't want to pull the ribbon cable out if you can help it).

At this point you can undo the two Torx screws, and store them aside safely.

Now you need to peel the black film back from the circuit board a bit more to reveal the top screws which secure the battery clip to the circuit board, as shown in the photo below.

Note: There are more screws at the bottom of the photo holding the bottom corners of the circuit board to the frame, these can be left alone - do not undo them.

Now you can undo and remove the two Torx screws storing them safely.

Warning: These screws were done up very tightly. Be careful to hold everything very firmly, and apply controlled pressure to the tool so as not to slip and damage any of the components on the board.

Pay attention to the big capacitor which sits between the arms of the battery clip.

You will need to gently bend the capacitor backwards slightly to allow the battery clip to be removed.

With all four screws removed, and the capacitor moved slightly, the battery clip can be removed.

Note: See the foil slip which also had to be unstuck from the metal cage.

Replacing the Battery

At last! Now we have clear access to the battery, and can un-plug the connector. Simply pull it out from the socket. Disconnecting the battery plug should be done carefully because the plug and socket look similar - do not accidentally pry the socket off of the board. You might break off the solder connections when all you wanted to do was remove the plug. Gently unclip the battery connector from the socket on the board, by pulling the plug away from the socket. Note: Some Tom Tom models have the battery plug/socket mounted horizontally against the circuit board, while some have it mounted vertically. Basically you should pull in the direction the wires come out of the plug.

Use a flat-blade screwdriver to lift the battery out of its compartment. There are additional plastic side clips which hold the battery firmly in place, and even this required a bit of effort to lift it up and slide it out.

The frame now looks rather empty! But you can now start reversing the procedure by installing the new battery.

Fitting the New Battery

With the new battery back into position, you can;

  • plug the battery connector back in paying attention to the correct way around,
  • temporarily reconnect the loudspeaker connector lead
  • re-insert the SDRAM memory card ready for a quick test
  • check the antenna cables are secure

Now, before re-assembling everything you should try turning on the TomTom. Usually new batteries are only slightly charged (perhaps only 1/8th or 1/4 capacity), so don't expect it to be full, but hopefully there will be enough charge for the TomTom to start up and show that it is working ok.

If it doesn't seem to do anything at first, try pressing the little Reset button to initialise it again. If still no joy, it may simply be the battery requires charging. Failing that, hmmmm, double-check your connections, and make sure there are no short circuits caused by metalwork or a stray screw.

So that's it. If all is well turn it off again, and start re-assembling the unit, basically following the reverse procedure.

IMPORTANT: Put the unit on charge for a full 24 hours to bring it back up to full charge. Next day leave the unit on for several hours so as it runs down. The unit should stay alive for several hours. Drain the battery totally. Recharge to full and then drain again, before final charge.

Doing this is the best way to "prepare" the new battery for a long life.

Frequently Asked Questions about batteries:-

  • Should I remove the battery from the charger when full?
  • Should I remove the AC when my laptop is not in use?

Nickel Based (eg. Ni-Cd/NiMH): Yes, it is best to remove the pack from the charger when full. A prolonged trickle charge to a fully charged battery can be harmful. (Laptops use Lithium-ion)

Lithium based (e.g. Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer, as used in Tom Toms): It does not matter. The charger automatically cuts the charge current when the battery is full. A laptop may be connected to the AC power when not in use.

The table on this page: http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-14A.htm is a very handy reference for understanding how you should treat batteries of various kinds.

Dispose of the old battery properly.

There you go, TomTom ready to go again.

Now, if you followed my instructions, but for any of the other TomTom GO models please let me know of any differences or problems you encountered so I can add that information to this page for the benefit of other people. If you have photos that would be good. Thanks, Jim Prior.

Battery University is an on-line resource that provides practical battery knowledge for engineers, educators, students and battery users alike. The papers address battery chemistries, best battery choices and ways to make your battery last longer. http://www.batteryuniversity.com/ (thanks to Saqib Sabir for the reference).

 
 
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