The GPS sometimes gets so hot on the dashboard that it overheats and even switches itself off. This could be a dangerous situation when you are relying on it to guide you through the unknown.
Here in the southern part of Africa we often face a problem of severe and extreme weather conditions. Countries where delicate electronic equipment, such as the GPS, are designed, are generally much cooler than some of the places we go in our vehicles. We’ve got more sunlight and warmer temperatures, and we tend to drive long distances away from our base. This all means that we rely heavily on our electronic equipment, and so it is essential that we protect our investments.
We were recently in the Namib Desert and the GPS was mounted on the dashboard of my 4×4. Eventually the unit got so hot that you could not touch it with your bare hands.
I remembered that somewhere in the instruction book there were temperature limits within which the unit was designed to work, and boiling point was not mentioned anywhere!
It has even happened that my unit has switched itself off, and reset overnight when temperatures got cooler.
On another trip I saw an ingenious design to keep the sun off this precious piece of equipment. It was easy to install. The owner of the 4×4 had taken an aluminium plate and bent it in a modified “u” shape. The bottom took the angle of the dashboard and then it bent up at the angle of the windscreen. Then it turned forward to create a roof over the unit.
On the bottom, where it was mounted on the dashboard, the designer had cut a piece of hard foam rubber to follow the curve of the dashboard. Dashboards usually have a slope towards the windscreen and this foam rubber worked at levelling the mounting area.
Where this protection plate met the windscreen, two rubber suction cups were mounted. It was so simple. You pushed the plate onto the dashboard and then forward until the suction cups stuck to the windscreen. It took less than a minute to install.
The GPS was inside the curve of the plate, and a remote GPS aerial was mounted on top of the plate. This kept the sun away from the delicate unit and prevented direct sunlight from catching the screen, which is difficult to read in the sun. You could design this kind of plate to fit virtually any GPS.
If the dashboard is at an angle that could cause the bracket to slide off, you can just use more suction cups to keep the bracket stable. You can also mount a tyre monitor in the same bracket.
Another thing, on the topic of the GPS. It is crucial to remove the GPS if you park at shopping centres or overnight at hotels or guest houses. The amount of data that we put into a GPS is an invaluable resource that we simply cannot afford to lose.
I have seen many people just throw a cloth over the GPS when they park. Thieves know what they are looking for and have no mercy. They will break a window and don’t care about the alarm going off. By the time someone reacts, the GPS is gone. And if it is still there, it might have got broken during the attempted robbery. Rather be safe than sorry, and remove the GPS from view.