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Old Oct 08, 2010, 04:39 PM
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Help!
GPS Stopped working

I had been using my GPS expander in my sailplane with the flight data recorder. It was working fine and sending data to the dashboard just like it was supposed to. Then when I started trying to use Google Earth and the ET data recorder software I had lots of problems (see other posts). Since I was using a notebook with Win2K I decided to buy another hard drive and install WinXP hoping that would help.

When I went out for test flights today the GPS data on the dashboard showed 0 satellites and 0 coordinates. All other received data was fine. Taking the wing off the sailplane I reverified that none of the connections had come loose since last time. Removing the GPS I could see the green LED flashing continuously. I flew without using the GPS data but during the half hour or more flight the GPS never locked worked. Nothing had changed in the sailplane since last time I used it.

Anyone know what could cause the failure?

Bob
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Old Oct 09, 2010, 09:16 AM
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Ok, I just checked the voltage to the recorder and it is 4.96V.

Just noticed in my first post that I missed some info, the dashboard GPS status reports: "acquiring fix"

Bob
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Last edited by Bob_W; Oct 09, 2010 at 09:33 AM. Reason: More info
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Old Oct 12, 2010, 01:03 AM
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Hi Bob,

Sorry to hear about the issue.

The "acquiring fix" message means that the GPS is being detected correctly, and is reporting information, but is not getting a satellite lock. The flashing LED indicates the same thing.

GPS reception can vary considerably from day to day, due to the way the satellites work. Also, if you are flying where there is a hill or other large obstruction, and the satellites are behind that hill, a fix might not be acquired.
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Old Oct 12, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Bill:

This problem is not related to a mountain, as we were flying from the top of the mountain on the day it quit working. I have 6 other GPSr's of various types and they all are capable of getting a fix in this area, accuracy may vary when I am actually in the forests but not on top the mountain. A couple days before I had excellent lock with at least 9 satellites. There is definitely something wrong with the hardware or software.

Last evening I had only the FDR and GPS connected to the USB cable and still would not aquire a fix. That info and SET files were sent via your ticket system.

Probably an unrelated problem, but the PC software was having trouble recognizing the FDR during the time I was trying to save the SET files. Twice it popped up a dialog box saying that the FDR firmware needed an update as it indicated the firmware was at rev 0. The software also would indicate that the FDR was not recognized while trying to save the SET file but sin the live mode the altitude and speed sensors were working and responding to outside inputs. Did a reboot and eventually it began to work again.

This whole thing seems to have a lot of problems as I have mentioned in previous posts; such as the Google Earth and 2D chart modes.

Bob
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Old Oct 14, 2010, 01:33 AM
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Bob, I think Don is working with you via the ticket system, but please let me know if this is not happening.
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Old Oct 14, 2010, 11:11 AM
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Bill, you are correct. Don is sending out new, tested GPS and FDR units to determine if they fix the problem. I expect the parts to arrive by the end of the week and should get them checked out the same day. I will post what I find here so may helped by the investigation.

Thanks;
Bob
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 08:24 AM
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Just a follow up to this GPS problem. I received the replacement GPS this weekend and got to try it out. It locked up initially in the normal amount of time and then within a few seconds each time after. Re-connecting the original GPS still didn't work so the replacement was re-installed in the plane and it appears to be working well.

I tried both GPS's when I got back from the field with a freshly charged NiCd receiver battery connected directly to the FDR to see if the old on would work with the slightly higher voltage. The original one still didn't work but the replacement GPS worked fine.

Thanks;
Bob
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 12:53 AM
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Wow - that's very strange. Glad the new one is working. Something must have failed internal to the GPS engine itself. I think that's the first report of a failure like that, aside from visibly damaged units from crashes, etc. I'm anxious to take that one apart and see what is going on.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 07:08 AM
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I would also be interested to see what happened to the GPS. The old one had never been in a crash or even a rough landing. I had only had it for a couple weeks so not sure what would have happened other than infant failure.

Bob
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