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Microsoft USB GPS loses signal
Moose_Master
Since few months ago, I start having a problem with the signal on my Microsoft USB GPS receiver. It is the same one since 5 years ago, and I thought its time for retirement is up. So I took a brand new one that was unused from a previous version of Streets & Trips and I replaced it. It was OK for the first few hours. Then I started having the same problems. So, I open the S&T (I follow the same drill since 5 years now) and click on Start/Stop GPS tracking, and nothing happen. I have no signal at all. Sometimes the signal comes back, but only for few minutes, then is gone.

I tried anything came in my mind. I tried configure GPS button, and the GPS is assigned to COM4. Scanned, and GPS was found. I unplugged and the plug back. I uninstalled Streets & Trips and reinstall it. I tried to find if there is any driver for that GPS receiver, but if I remember correct was no such thing. I went into Device Manager, and checked if there is any yellow dummy sign, but everything seems OK. On Ports (COM & LPT) is presented as Microsoft USB GPS Port(COM4). So in appearance everything is working well. Except for my GPS signal.

Just to mention that I do not open my laptop when home, so the tests were not done indoor. I was driving on routes I did hundred times (from Texas to North West Territories, and from the Island of Newfoundland to California), and sudden having this signal loss it sounds to me weird. I don't think there is a signal problem, but something inside of my laptop.

Anyone got any kind of signal loss for long period of time? Any ideas?
tcassidy
Are you using the extension cord? Are you putting the device the right way up on your dash (Microsoft word side up)? Is the connection between the extension cable and the GPS unit still tight? Are you still driving the same vehicle?

Terry
Moose_Master
Terry,

Yes at all questions. More than that I was thinking that there is absolutely no reason for what happen. The same computer, same things plugged in the computer since years a go. Basicaly I didn't do anything different. No new software installed.
tcassidy
Usually the best way to sort out that type of problem is to eliminate each part individually; that is, test the GPS with another piece of software to assure yourself it is working properly. Then move on to S&T. You might try something like Earthbridge. Set up to the same COM port and 4800 bps, it can show if you are seeing satellite information from the GPS. Make sure S&T is not running at the same time though.

Earth Bridge - Bridge the gap between Google Earth and your GPS receiver.

Terry
Moose_Master
Appreciate for help sir. It will take a while but at least will be captivating.
tcassidy
You needn't bother with the intricacies of Google Earth if you are not interested. Just install and start EarthBridge and set the COM port (4)and bits per second (4800) on the Preferences tab. With your GPS connected and a good sky view, check the GPS Status tab. You will see a bar graph on the bottom right of that tab showing the satellites in view and their strength. Assuming all is ok, it will look something like the screenshots on the page listed above.

Terry
Moose_Master
I got a bit troubled with the setting of EartBridge and now it started (I think!!!). On the GPS Status tab on the bottom I get a lot of reading. Is reading something...a lot of info rolling endless. Is that a good sign or not. More than that, I have no idea what can I do with this program. Am I on a good track?
Moose_Master
OK now I got the satellites strength and view. I don't know why it didn't show for the first time. I do have signal from 6-7 satellites.

Then I opened S&T and the friggin GPS start working. I will see tomorrow for how long tho. I have no idea what happen, but I do have signal for now. I hope everything is back to normal.

Thank u kindly sir.
tcassidy
The stuff you saw was the GPS information from a satellite. It has to get an almanac of where other satellites are located and then download stuff from them too. Once it can see enough satellites. it will lock onto them and start producing real time navigation.

Terry
Moose_Master
Just a feedback after few weeks. I still have that issue with loosing the signal, but now, after Terry gave me some tips, I started doing the things different. I think it is a problem with my USB inside the computer (I tried to use another USB plug, but nothing changed). When I enter a tunnel, the signal gets lost, and do not show up again. But if I unplug the GPS and plug it again after 10 seconds, the signal is coming back right away. Only because of EarthBridge I was able to realize that when MST shows "no signal" I actually had great signal. So now that I know it is from the computer I started to get ready to look for a new one.

I have no idea why, after two years the computer start to show weakness. Probably vibrations, too much time being ON, dust ..... maybe altogether.

Anyway thanx again Terry for consulting.
Marvin Hlavac
If this is the only reason for which you want to spend money on a new computer, then don't. Save your money. Perhaps the cause of the problem isn't really the hardware, but rather Streets & Trips software doesn't handle it well when you lose GPS signal for a while. S&T may not be as good as other software programs at continuing to work when GPS signal is re-acquired after a bit longer period of missing signal.
tcassidy
If EarthBridge shows a signal, there is no problem with your computer USB ports. Maybe you should leave Earthbridge running while going through a tunnel and see if it sees the signal from the GPS when you emerge. From your comments, it sounds like it will. Short outages involving short distances (like a tunnel) will not require the GPS to refresh its almanac so the signal should return instantly.

I don't know why S&T doesn't restore after a short loss of signal though. Maybe someone more familiar with that product can comment.

Terry
Moose_Master
Much obliged gents. I was almost 100% decided to buy another laptop. It makes a truckload of sense what are you gents saying. It is (probably) from MST, and I was blaming my laptop. The signal loss shows up not only when going through a tunnel, but even when I start the laptop in the morning and the truck it is facing the north (and I'm already in the north).

Thanx again for input.
tcassidy
I suspect facing North in a northerly location may limit the number of satellites your GPS could see.

Terry
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcassidy
I suspect facing North in a northerly location may limit the number of satellites your GPS could see.

Terry
If he is far enough north that number might be zero.

...ken...
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