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Thread: BU-353 GPS receiver inconsistently locks on to satellites

  1. #1
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    Question BU-353 GPS receiver inconsistently locks on to satellites

    I have a strange issue with my BU-353 GPS receiver inconsistently locking on to satellites. The GPS receiver is on top of my dash in clear view of open sky and there areno tall buildings around etc.

    First off, a brief history: I've been using the BU-353 in my car PC for a few years now and it had been working fine. Then one day it just died and would no longer power on.

    A couple weeks ago I purchased a new GPS receiver and everything worked fine the first time I installed it. However, after a couple days I noticed the GPS receiver would no longer lock on any satellites (the red light would not blink). I eventually exchanged the GPS receiver for a new one since it was within 30 days.

    I received a new GPS receiver yesterday and again it worked fine the first time I installed it in my car (locked on to multiple satellites within 30 seconds). This morning when I got in my car I noticed the GPS receiver would not lock on to any satellites, no matter how many times I unplugged and plugged it back in.

    Here is the strange thing; if I bring my laptop into my car and plug the GPS receiver into the laptop it works fine and locks on to satellites. It also works if I then unplug it from my laptop and back into my car PC, but only the first time. After a restart the GPS receiver no longer locks on to any satellites. I can also bring the GPS receiver indoors and use it on any of my computers and it still works fine even after restarting the computer.

    Any ideas what could be causing this problem in my car PC?

    Intel Atom D945GCLF motherboard
    1GB RAM
    64GB SSD
    Win XP Pro
    M2 ATX 140W power supply
    USB BU-353 GPS
    USB Wifi adapter
    USB wireless keyboard adapter

  2. #2
    FLAC
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    i think 99% of problems with gps locking onto satellites is interference. even if you swear up and down there is no interference where you have the gps mouse, try moving it to another place. try the back rear window for example....

  3. #3
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    I also initially thought it was random interference. However, I can bring my laptop out to my car, set it on the passenger seat, plug the GPS into my laptop instead of my car PC and it works fine.

    Then, if I unplug the GPS receiver from my laptop and back into my car PC it also works fine until I restart my car.

  4. #4
    kuo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy480 View Post
    I also initially thought it was random interference. However, I can bring my laptop out to my car, set it on the passenger seat, plug the GPS into my laptop instead of my car PC and it works fine.

    Then, if I unplug the GPS receiver from my laptop and back into my car PC it also works fine until I restart my car.
    maybe it's not getting enough juice. do you have a powered usb hub you can try?
    my car: 2003 g35 coupe, 2.5ghz c2d cpu, gigabyte micro atx mb, dsatx
    wife's car: 2004 honda accord coupe 2.4ghz p4 cpu, asus micro atx mb, opus 150
    company car: 2006 chevy avalanche 2.0ghz p4 laptop, cnx p1900

  5. #5
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Sounds like your Wi-Fi is too close to the GPS. I had a similar issue. It would be off by almost 3 blocks and would loose lock all the time. What I did is put the wifi at the front of the car windshield and then put the BU-353 at the very rear of the car. This fixed the issue.
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  6. #6
    FLAC
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    yeah and by putting his laptop in the car it might throw off the interference just enough to allow the gps to work ok. if there is no interference though, the things work incredibly reliably... and speedy.

  7. #7
    FLAC Marvin Hlavac's Avatar
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    Name:  inspiron1525gps5.jpg
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    Some people are lucky, and they have no problem with interference no matter how close their USB GPS receiver is to their laptop. The rest of us struggle.

    The above is a photo of a BU-353 'permanently' attached to a laptop.

  8. #8
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    I agree with Marvin, some people are lucky. It seems the BU-353 only does this with certain Wi-Fi dongles. It has never acted up with my Sprint Air Cards, but with my Belkin and Zotac USB cards, it sent the BU-353 into a big fit. I have since replaced both cards with a Wireless N USB card, which I hope clears this issue up. I havent had a chance to test yet.
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  9. #9
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    Hey guys, thanks for all the feedback. It seems that I was lucky 1 out of 3 times.

    For the first few years, I had the BU-353 inside my dash with all my other components and it worked like a charm. However, after I replaced the defective unit with a newer BU-353 I wasn't so lucky, even though nothing else physically changed except for the GPS receiver.

    Anyways, I moved the receiver to the farthest outside left corner of my dash last night and restarted my car pc 5 or 6 times and so far so good. This morning when I got in my car the receiver picked up a signal no problem.

    I really prefer not having a visible GPS receiver on my dash but I suppose it is better than nothing. It just boggles my mind how the same GPS receiver components can perform so differently between units, so much for consistency eh?

  10. #10
    FLAC
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    yeah but you have to remember that all these things just work on radio waves through the air... nothing really more then static charges that get bounced around thousands of times. its amazing it all works at all honestly.

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