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Reviews of top USB GPS receivers?
Sonja
What are the most powerful, fast and accurate USB GPS receivers for laptops? I want something that will find many satellites in the city, with much accuracy, in a short time. I'm fed up of plugging in my Navation 168 (which came with Streets and Trips 2009) and waiting forever for it to find something, anything.

I mostly do geocaching and urban walking, but I'm sometimes in somebody's car and need to whip open my MSI Wind netbook to get quick directions or whatever.
kft
I think that there are a few members that are using the Globalsat BU353 which is a magnetic mount water proof antenna/receiver.

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/4800-globalsat-bu-353-usb-gps-receiver

We recently went to an external antenna and will never go back to a dash top and I think if your concern is getting a fix in the city you would be very happy with the antenna outside also.
tcassidy
Others have found USB GPS receivers often don't work if plugged directly into a notebook, particularly the Navation 168. Are you using the extension cable that came with the GPS?

Terry
dtong22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonja
What are the most powerful, fast and accurate USB GPS receivers for laptops? I want something that will find many satellites in the city, with much accuracy, in a short time. I'm fed up of plugging in my Navation 168 (which came with Streets and Trips 2009) and waiting forever for it to find something, anything.

I mostly do geocaching and urban walking, but I'm sometimes in somebody's car and need to whip open my MSI Wind netbook to get quick directions or whatever.
Some of newer one are all very powerful and sensitive. There is another newer type of gps which can have bt or usb interface at around $60-90 apiece.

Daniel
Marvin Hlavac
.... and some of those have had some info posted in http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/516-dual-usb-bluetooth-gps-receivers
tcassidy
I have a selection of GPS receivers and any of them will work in most situations given a reasonable sky view. I prefer the Bluetooth variety because of their flexibility in placement options. If you don't have Bluetooth and cannot sort out your Navation 168 issues, the USB BU-353 mentioned is reportedly a great device.

The Combo BT/ USB GPS devices will not work with S&T in USB mode. All of them I tested have a data rate in USB mode that exceeds that allowable by S&T. They will work fine with S&T in Bluetooth mode though.

Terry
kft
We did purchase the usb adapter for ours and the only issue to date was the connection became unreliable because I did not use the heat shrink tubing that came with the adapter.
Since removing the nema connector and making a soldered connection between the usb adaptor and antenna cable all has been completely reliable.
Of course I don't know if the issue would have appeared if I had immediately used the heat shrink.

What I do know is that if you need to have the strongest signal at all times an outside antenna is the only way to go.

Forgot, I have reached the conclusion that the gain with the external antenna HAS to be greater than with an internal antenna. For instance on our bike we have about 15 feet of cable but the reception is perfect, if fact we have a solid fix even in a closed garage. In our rv we have about 20' of cable and the reception is much stronger than with the dash antenna and in a surprising number of times, we have 'all twelve, all the time'.
Anglepoise
It has been my experience that the placement of the receiver, distance away from the host computer, is far more important to getting a fix than the actual make.
Sonja
Is there a way I can add an antenna to my GPSr? Maybe I can upgrade it without needing to buy a new one.
tcassidy
The Navation 168 does not have a connection for an external antenna. I didn't have any problems with that GPS receiver unless it was plugged directly into the laptop. Using the extension cable that comes with it and placing it on the dash seems to work fine. What problem are you experiencing that would require an external antenna?

Terry
Ken in Regina
To follow up on Terry's comments, I had no problems with the Navation 168 as long as I used it with the extension cable. However I found the extension cable that comes with it is too short and too stiff to be very useful. You can use a longer, more flexible cable with no problem. I also have a Pharos 500 receiver that comes with the American and older Canadian versions of Streets&Trips. The cable is longer and more flexible and it worked great.

...ken...
tcassidy
Surprisingly enough, my experience is that the operating system often cannot find the Navation 168 after standby/ sleep mode if I use the Pharos extension cable. I haven't tried other extension cables though.

Terry
dtong22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonja
What are the most powerful, fast and accurate USB GPS receivers for laptops? I want something that will find many satellites in the city, with much accuracy, in a short time. I'm fed up of plugging in my Navation 168 (which came with Streets and Trips 2009) and waiting forever for it to find something, anything.

I mostly do geocaching and urban walking, but I'm sometimes in somebody's car and need to whip open my MSI Wind netbook to get quick directions or whatever.
No clue where you are located. This is a new product for the States for the time being

< expired link removed >

Basically a 3G network gismo, GPS and an SD card.

Newer product every day



Daniel
kft
Anglepoise, while I agree that brand is not important we have discovered that the distance of the antenna/receiver is not as critical as I had thought-within reason of course; and in the context of the outside mounting discussion.

Is shorter better?, while I am not an electronics person, the logical answer would have to be yes however I remain amazed at the lack of signal loss through relatively long runs of cable. While I realize that the loss has to be present the additional gain of both the location and receiver/antenna is obviously more than offsetting the loss and I can only imagine what additional performance would be seen if the cable was only a few feet long....

Get it high, get it outside and you also will have a silly grin on your face much of the time.

Now, the intriguing question for me is, what would be 'gained' (get it -gained-) if I mount the antenna receiver on a piece of sheet metal? Would the metal act as a ground plane like it does for our cell phone outside booster antenna??
Ken in Regina
My external GPS antenna is a magnet mount. It performs noticeably better if it is stuck on the roof of the car, or stuck on a 4" square bit of galvanized metal scrap when it's on the dash or on my golf pushcart.

...ken...
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