Microsoft Streets and Trips crashes unpredictably

Ok next installment
New gps puck arrived ...connected up and used for a week now..NO CRASHES....no lockups...no problems. ... IT'S NOT THE SOFTWARE...
Took a hot knife and picked apart BOTH the older pucks. Then had to unsolder and remove a complete tin RF shield box. Inside, to my surprise, I found the exact same p/c boards and chips in the Altina and Holux units. Not to my surprise, I found a tiny hearing aid type battery soldered directly to the boards. Not even a GOOD one like a silver or such, but according to the number, just a plain alkaline chemistry battery. It should have tested at around 1.5 volts, but it had less than .25 volts.
(Guessing now> Apparently the battery maintains power to volatile ram containing the complete GPS/USB software (firmware?) and that software has become corrupted from the marginal voltage? accounting for all the unpredictable problems..
I delicately soldered wires from another 1.5 v batt to the board with the existing batt (so as not to lose voltage even for an instant) but while it changed the problems around a bit, I assume the damage was already done because it was really no better.
My only real surprise in this is that no one else has had these problems.
I was using these units 8 to 10 hours daily for less than 2 years each before things went strange. As it happened I wanted more than one unit so I didn't have to keep moving it between vehicles. That confused the issue because the two latest ones happened to "decay" near the same time. ..I haven't even tried opening the older serial ones as I can't see them being any better.
I'm not surprised that manufacturers would build in something like that and not tell the buyers about it. That seems to be the state of business ethics today. (boy did I clean that up)
I also have two Garmin Etrec hand held GPS that I have not had time to use in a year at least. I wonder if they suffer the same thoughtless (?) construction. Guess I'll find out this summer.
In any event, I hope this info is of use to someone else because I've put a lot of time and hair into finding the real problem
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Marvin Hlavac
juiceclone, that's interesting. Thanks for sharing the info. These tiny batteries, as far as I know, are being recharged while the GPS receiver is connected to a computer via USB. If the battery is discharged, the GPS receiver should still function, but it may take longer to acquire satellite fix. It is odd that this could actually cause the issues you have described. But the main thing is that your new USB GPS receiver has solved the problem .
You would think. However the local RS said from the number on the battery that it's a standard alkaline and is not really rechargeable. If you've never tried to recharge plain alkaline batts, let me tell you it works partially a couple of times and then either opens up like a bananna or starts to smoke.
The Holux unit had a rechargeable cell built into the connecting cable that was supposed to keep the gps in a "warm start" state when it was off. The Altina unit did not have one, and to be honest, when they were new I noticed no difference in acqusition time between them.
I believe the batt on the pc board has a similar function to the coin size cell on most computer MB's. In the computer case, to keep the configuration data in the BIOS chip. When that goes dead however, you can replace it and easily re-enter the data.
I connected one of the older serial gps pucks to a vehicle laptop and as of now it seems to work perfectly. (Garmin) Perhaps better quality/engineering ? Don't know and I'm not going to crack that one open unless it gets strange also.
I have had the same problems with an Altina unit and several different versions of S & T, but I also experienced it on both Dell and other computers. Seems to be triggered by changing zoom level, but sometimes it just happens for no apparent reason.
Yes Yes Yes that was one of the ways it malfunctioned.....it gets unpredictably worse. Read the previous posts about the battery I found inside both the Altina and Holux units.
As of now the unit I just bought causes no problems. Also my oldest Garmin serial unit .. no problems. It looks as though you have to buy a new puck every few years. I'll see how long this one lasts.
Guys, I am having the same problem with my 2006 and also had 2004 as well. I went to the 2006 to resolve the issue, which it did not and so went to delorme and co-pilot. Co-Pilot seems to be the most stable and easiest to use, but, pricy and no update, excellent support though, which I cannot say for Street. I have all my Fuel stops in Streets and now it won't allow me to create any pushpins! Help!
Marvin Hlavac
Hi jdoug2007,

:welcome: to Laptop GPS World.

Re: Pushpins - please, read here: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/720-why-will-my-microsoft-streets-trips-2006-not-show-pushpins-i-create
In addition to the other problems, I have noticed that the USB plug system is not that reliable..There is no "spring" to the metal contacts inside so it relies on the tight fit of the plug to socket. ...In mobile use in particular,wear seems to cause intermittent contact which if it happens at just the right time causes crashes, lockups...you know what I mean. Try contact cleaner on both parts, and if you look carefully it's possible to use a "shim" of clear or other tape to push the contacts together more reliably,,just don't let it get in the wrong place...Good Luck
Incidentally, juiceclone, could you check to see if you've got Windows event logs frmo the crash? Start, Run, "eventvwr.msc", and look under Application logs. The type will be "Error" with a red icon, and the details will say something to the effect that Streets.exe crashed. I'm interested in seeing if it's reporting a fault in NTDLL.DLL (the Windows kernel -- presumably on the call stack up to S&T).

I've got one of the bundled GPS receivers (mine came with S&T 2006) that happens to be crashing with no rhyme or reason (will stay stable for a while, then crash in quick succession, etc.). Haven't run this one in a couple of months, so it's entirely possible that it might have a rundown battery. Still, it's not that old ...

Edit: On second thought, the most likely cause is poor USB contact. Will try switching ports, leaving out extension cable, etc.

P.S. USB female plugs do have some "spring" to the contacts. It's quite possible for these to get pushed totally-flat with heavy use, which might explain why you don't see any. See attached diagram (original image from Wikipedia, under CC license). The four main pins also have a bit of "spring" to them.
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all of the errors associated with S&T are indeed NTDLL.DLL

sorry 4 slow reply ..Just returned from a 3500 mile trip and S&T did not crash or hang once. That's the first time ever.

I enhanced the pix you sent the link to, and the steel colored spring leaves that you see are the ones that hold the male and female plugs together. The ones I am suspicious of are the tiny brass strips inside the plugs, both on the male and female side... I have examined a number of USB cords/plugs/extensions/devices and all but one show just flat strips, no curve or spring to them. age did not matter as most were new..It is very difficult to actually see the profile of those strips even with magnification.

So far, contact cleaner and a "shim" of clear tape seems to have done the job. If your puck is fairly new the internal battery should not be the problem.
Lee Daughton
Long Story Short. Have same problem,using an old IBM Thinkpad. GPS worked when I first got it, figured it was a driver problem or corrupt file so spent the weekend Defragging and Scandisking. Went to work this morning with renewed expectations of my GPS working, however it crashed repeatedly.
Came home and began a web search for a solution,found none, even on your forum. My program uses a "Pharos" GPS so went to their site for an answer, read numerous FAQ.s and then found one that said the GPS should work on any 4200 baud connection. Checked my port speed which was set to 115,xxx and reset to 4200.
Cranked up the program and enabled the GPS which fired right up this time. Maybe setting your port speed will help with the problem.
Ken in Regina
Originally Posted by Lee Daughton
Long Story Short. ...

Checked my port speed which was set to 115,xxx and reset to 4200.
Hi Lee,

Did you perhaps mean 4800 for the port speed? 4200 is an unusual number for serial port speeds.

Lee Daughton
Thanks for the correction Ken ,your'e absolutely correct.
Had a momentary lapse of attention. I'm also connecting through a USB port.
Does anyone know if the BU-353 has a battery? I checked the spec page at usglobalsat and it did not mention a battery, only hot warm and cold start acquisition rates. the specs on the Garmin GPS 20x: no battery.
Ken in Regina
No battery. It's a USB device so it takes its power requirements from the USB connection.

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