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I am having difficulty with GPS getting a fix before driving off. Is this problem to do with the antenna? Because my GPS is built into a pocket PC. Your expert advice on this would oblige. Cheers, Joe

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You need a reasonably good view of the sky. If you are departing from a garage, or other such obstructions, a fix will be more difficult to get.

Posted on Sep 16, 2008


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My satellite reception drops out, and by tapping the unit signal is reconnected, happens about every 5 mins. it is easy to fix i had it repaired once 2 years ago, Garmin centre near me has moved? where...

I have seen this on the Quest units also. The problem is most likely in the flip up antenna connection. If you or know someone who is fairly comfortable in soldering small electronic connections it is a fairly easy fix. First, you can verify the problem is in fact the built in flip up antenna but connecting an external patch type antenna to the antenna port on the back. If the problem goes away, then the problem is definitely in the built in antenna.
If you lay the GPS display side down with the flip up antenna to your right, take a small phillips screwdriver and removed the two screws holding the endcap in place. Gently remove the endcap and CAREFULLY pull the antenna horizontally away from the GPS unit. Once you have done this, you can see the antenna is actually two pieces. With a small jewelers flat blade screwdriver, GENTLY pry in between where the two portions of the antenna shell meet and separate the two pieces of the antenna shell. Once this is done, it will expose the antenna circuit board and the small brass looking antenna connector. If the problem is in fact with the antenna connector, it may be loose or come loose in the process of prying the antenna shell apart. Use a low wattage soldering iron and solder the connector back in place being careful not to bridge the solder points. Reassemble the antenna and reinstall it on your GPS. Again, if you are not comfortable working with small electronic solder connections or don't have the proper equipment, get someone who is.

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Most GPS systems require a first time boot-up where they scan all registered satellites to determine where in the world they are and what satellites to concentrate their navigational efforts on. Try charging the GPS up entirely, and then doing a hard reset of the system (either by navigating to the hard reset in software or by pressing the tiny reset button usually located on GPS units), and then taking the system out under the open sky and letting it run for half an hour or so, making sure it is running in navigation mode (as opposed to setup or media mode). Once it locks properly onto a small subset of satellites, it should not have much difficulty.
If you continue having problems, check to be certain you are running the latest software on the device which can make a big difference. The latest software for the 520 is here:

Good luck...

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If the Garmin nuvi 1450 could find satellites at the same location and time before there's something wrong with the built-in receiver / antenna. Because it's not accessible from the outside it needs to be opened to check the antenna connections. Best is to check battery at the same time and replace it - once the problem is fixed.

At some locations there can be poor GPS sat reception - due to line of sight obstructions, such as trees, buildings. For a 2D fix it needs to "see" at least 3 satellites signals.

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My sat nav won't pick up any satelites

All GPS devices will need a clear view of the southern sky (in the northern hemisphere anyway) to obtain a "fix" or "lock" to display the location on the map.

A fix can usually be had in under a minute or two. The first time "out of the box" however, may require additional time to display the proper location on the display or output. If the device has built-in batteries, bring the device outdoors to an open area (no tree cover, tall buildings, etc.) and allow up to 10 - 15 minutes for the initial fix. If there are no batteries in the unit, extend the cord to allow the device to be outside the car - in a similar location described above (an open parking lot is very good), and allow 10 or 15 minutes to update the location.

GPS device require an open view to the satellites in the sky. Heavy tree cover, tall buildings, etc can cause significant problems for the GPS to obtain the info to determine its location. Some device provide a jack for connection of an external antenna input. These often have an amplifier built in, and can compensate for less than ideal conditions. Antennas with an amplifier built-in are called "active" antennas. Some vehicles may have a film on the windshield (usually a defroster) that can interfere with receiving the satellite signals. In this case, an external antenna would be a logical choice. When placed on the roof, or other location outside, it feeds the signals to the GPS in the car.


A low profile, active external GPS antenna. This will often outperform the one built-in to your GPS.

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I have a Garmin 178 with built in antenna. having

I dont thoink a bigger antenna is the solution because i'm having the same problem with my 178c and the built in antenna has always worked fine before.

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Check the Garmin website for external antennaes. I have this problem too, and get around it by placing the unit on my dashboard under the windshield. Never had a problem getting a signal there.

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mine does the same thing....i even have the external add on antenna, mine turns on fine but as soon as you flip the antenna up on the back, the screen starts flashing and the system keeps rebooting over and over again...

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