The GPS seems to find satellites very slow. Even after it does find a few (around 5 or 6), it can't find the location.
The question mark on the arrow point keeps blinking. I have updated to newer software version 1.1.0 and still can't find its location.
The unit was bought in 2006 and has been used very few times.
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GPS devices do not work inside buildings or in tunnels. Even outside, high-rise buildings or trees can interfere with GPS signal reception. Car navigation systems do not work through the roof of the car, they need to be mounted to the windshield of the car with free view to the sky, or use an external antenna. Some cars have metal coating on the windows for sunlight blocking or privacy protection. Such coatings may also block the GPS satellite signals.
Another problem: unlike TV satellites, GPS satellites do not have a fixed position relative to the ground, they move all the time. Your GPS device needs to locate and tune in on four satellites minimum first to start working for you. The scanning of the hemisphere to locate satellites takes several minutes (up to ten on Tomtom devices).
Tomtom devices use a device stored file with precomputed satellite positions to speed up the process to a few seconds. Since the file holds data only for about two weeks, the package "QuickGPSFix" needs to be updated at least once in a fortnight using the Tomtom HOME software, or it will fall back to the slow scanning procedure.
If you do have a different brand of GPS device, please add a comment to this post and I'll try to give further advice.
Tomtom devices need to locate GPS satellites in the sky in order to
work. Unlike TV satellites, these do not have fixed positions but move
relatively to the ground. The Tomtom can locate them by scanning the
hemisphere, but this takes up to ten minutes after you switch on the
To speed up the process, the Tomtom receivers can use a
helper file stored on the device. It holds precomputed positional data
for the GPS satellites that makes finding them a matter of a few
However, the file holds precomputed data for some two
weeks in advance only. After this period, the Tomtom device has to
resort to the slow scanning procedure.
You will need to connect your Tomtom device to a PC with the "Tomtom HOME" software installed, available from the Tomtom company web site.
Use the software by following the onscreen instructions to update the
package "QuickGPSFix" at least once every two weeks and you will find
your device much more swift in establishing GPS connection.
Note also, all GPS devices require clear view of the sky. They do not work inside buildings, in tunnels, through the roof of the car, and even trees or buildings near to the car may compromise GPS reception. Make sure the device is mounted in an area of the windshield where it can "see" the satellites. Some cars have metallic a coating on the windows (used for sunlight filtering and "can look outside - can't look inside" fancies). There are reports that these coatings also interfere with GPS receivers' ability to receive the satellite signals.
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As GPS units are used, data is gathered which
helps them acquire satellites quickly at the start of each use. If a device is
used daily it should be able to acquire satellites in a minute or less. Using a
GPS device while it is outdoors with a clear view of the entire sky is the
ideal condition for acquiring satellites. Please know that there can be several
different factors that may cause a GPS unit to not acquire satellites:
If your unit is trying
to acquire satellites for the first time, it may take longer than normal
to establish an initial position. If the unit is powered on and outdoors
with a clear view of the sky this should not take more than 3-5 minutes.
If your unit has not
been used for an extended period of time (more then a month), it may take
3-5 minutes to acquire satellites.
If your unit is indoors,
it may not acquire satellites. Even standing next to a window indoors will
block a majority of the sky which is needed for a device to locate and lock
onto a satellite signal.
If you have just
finished updating the software in your unit or you have performed a master
reset, your unit may take 3-5 minutes to acquire while outdoors as the
data that is used to locate satellites may have been erased.
If your unit has
traveled over 500 miles while turned off or not tracking your travel, it
may take 3-5 minutes to acquire even in ideal conditions.
If your vehicle has a
protective coating on its windshield or electronic devices which interfere
with the unit receiving signal, your unit may need an external antenna* in
order to acquire satellites.
If you suspect this to
be an issue, try taking the unit outside of the vehicle with a clear view
of the sky for 3-5 minutes so that the unit can acquire satellites. If
your unit loses satellites once moved back into your vehicle you will
most likely need an external antenna*.
If your unit is still having trouble acquiring
satellites, please ensure that it has the latest version of operating software
by using our WebUpdater program. Once
your unit is updated please allow the unit to acquire satellites outdoors in a
stationary position with a clear view of the sky.
*Note: Some units may not be compatible with an external antenna.
Please check the Products tab on the external antenna's page to see if your
unit is listed. Good Luck. Did this help?
First of all make sure your etrex is not set up to follow roads (if it has that facility). Maps are not always accurate particularly edges of lakes and forest boundaries. If your etrex can only see a few satellites then accuracy will be degraded. Make sure your body is not shielding the view of the satellites by holding the unit away from you. The accuracy of any GPS is affected by the relative position of the satellites with respect to each other. If they appear (at your location) to be in a straight line then your GPS cannot perform the trigonometrical calculations to determine your position with any accuracy. In GPS speak this is called DOP - Dilution Of Precision and can result in variable accuracy from +/-5m at best to +/-30m or worse. HTH Peter
of which GPS unit you use, finding sufficient satellites can be
difficult if you are working in an area with trees/mountains/hills or
other obstacles. Here are some suggestions to locking onto satellites:
1.) Mission Planning. If you think you're going to be working in a tricky area, but sure to check mission planning. This software allows you to input a location and obstacles, and gives you the times when satellites will be best.
2.) Wait. It takes the GPS units varying amounts of time to "find" satellites, but if satellites are visible, the unit should lock on within 5 minutes.
3.) Move. If possible, move into an area that has a clearer view of the sky.
4.) Face south. This is especially important if you are using the GeoXT. Turn the GPS antenna so that it is facing the southern sky. The majority of satellites have their orbit so that they appear in our southern sky. There are also satellites in the east and west, and almost no satellites to the north.
5.) Rotate around. If facing south doesn't work, slowly rotate the GPS around 360 degrees.
Your battery is dead, which is causing the problem with "slow to receive satellites". Normally when you turn off the unit it will remember the last location and time, then the next time you start the unit it already has the time and current location to acquire satellites, but with a dead battery it has to start from scratch. Check the screen and see if it says "Locating Satellites" or "Acquiring Satellites". Locating satellites will take longer. Replace the battery and your problems should go away.
Me again...I took the unit apart and found out that there is a coax cable between the back board and the middle board. The cable has plug in connectors (v. small size) and the female connectors are soldered SMT on the boards. They are coming out quite easy..so one of them was literally ripped off the board. I soldered it with quite a fine iron,did a reset and I am back in business.....as a footnote my readings in AZ /El were all zeros!!!!