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How Long Until I Should Get Nervous


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If it's the first time you're using the GPS in a while, or if you've moved a long distance, it can take quite a while to get a satellite lock. Give it up to 10 minutes. Anything longer than that and there may be a problem.

 

It should be able to get a lock while you're moving, but it does not to have clear reception, and sometimes a car can interfere. Best to have it out in the open, or set it up under the windshield if you need to be driving.

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I set it up on the way to work on my dashboard standing up. The trip took about 20 minutes and I did not get a lock. Is there a way I can check to see if it is working correctly?

 

Now Im Getting Nervous!

Try laying it flat next time. My 60CS took a while to get a lock the other day. I had recently re-set it but left it out on my deck for a while to get the satellite data. Next time I used it, it took a few minutes to even SEE any sats.

 

I wouldn't worry about it, but try laying it flat instead of standing it right up to see if that helps.

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If you haven’t started it or it has been a very long time or you have moved it more than about 500 miles before restarting, this can take surprisingly long (check your manual it should have a time, Garmin calls it AutoLocate and for both my 76 and o'yeller it is 5 minutes) depending on the location and time (also called geometry referring to the location of the satellites). My experience is that it will get this initial lock quicker if it is not in motion, but it will lock up

 

After you have gotten that initial lock and assuming that it hasn’t been a long time or you have moved that long distance it will get a lock quickly. All three of my GPSr will get a lock in under a minute but the manuals say less than two. The lock is general quicker standing still than while in motion but even then it still gets a good lock fairly quickly.

 

Also the more sky that you see the quicker the lock.

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First thing to do is check the satellite screen and see if the unit is picking up any of the satellites. If it is not showing anything you might try to re-initialize the unit when you have time to let it sit for about 15 minutes (usually 5-8minutes is all it should take.). Our one platinum will quite receiving (sometimes) if we move it 200+ miles while it is turned off. I think it may have to do with low batteries when this happens to us.

 

Clouds and rain does not affect the lock.

 

Good luck,

 

John

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I agree with what's been said so far. Leave it out in the open to initialize first. The only thing that I can add is check to see if you have a mettalic windshield in your vehicle. For example, pre-2004 Chevy Venture minivans have this type of glass. I had some trouble with reception until I got a 2004 and now there's no problem. How's that for justification for getting a new car! "Dear, we HAVE to get a new van, the GPS won't work in the old one!!! ;):o

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I usually like to set the GPS out before heading anywhere. Turn it on and set it on the top of the car and let it get a lock. Then get in the car and put it up in the dash to keep a good view of the sky.

 

:P

just dont forget about it on top of the car & drive off - it's not like a can of soda (same size, but a LOT more expensive) :rolleyes:

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I agree with what's been said so far. Leave it out in the open to initialize first. The only thing that I can add is check to see if you have a mettalic windshield in your vehicle. For example, pre-2004 Chevy Venture minivans have this type of glass. I had some trouble with reception until I got a 2004 and now there's no problem. How's that for justification for getting a new car! "Dear, we HAVE to get a new van, the GPS won't work in the old one!!! ;):rolleyes:

Nah, just get an external antenna. :P But don't tell her that's an option!

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No, changing the firmware (software) doesn’t create any problem greater than turning on a new unit for the first time. When you first turn on a new unit or after changing firmware it has no idea where it is. The better it knows roughly where it is the quicker it gets its bearings (pun intended).

 

Go to Menu > Setup > Initialize > Enter Coordinates and enter some coordinates near where you are. If you don’t know any, enter your zipcode on the main geocaching.com webpage, choose the first cache that appears and enter its coordinates. After doing this is should get a lock fairly quickly (within say 3-5 minutes) if the gadget has a good view of the sky.

 

Magellan units want to be upright/vertical to get best reception. But, if I'm using it in the car, I lay it flat on the dashboard and push it up against the windshield so it gets the best view of the sky. If you can get your cradle up near the windshield, try that.

 

Edited to add:

 

You say you stand it up, I assumed you did this using a stand/cradle, but however you do it, if you can get it near the windshield do that. If not, lay it down. Being close to the windshield is probably more important than being vertical, but I know it gets a much stronger signal when vertical.

Edited by Thot
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I agree with the vehicle thing.

I've had vehicles that I couldn't get the gps to lock in - one vehicle I even went caching in with one arm hanging out the window! (yeah, nice and safe... I scrached my car trying to do that once)

 

And definately keep it flat... Most GPSrs work flat as opposed to 'propped up'

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I got a Magellan Meridian Gold and I am trying to get a satelite lock. My question is how long (minutes) does it usually take to get a lock on my GPS and also will it get a lock if I am moving (in a car).

 

Thanks

Sorry, I don't have the patience to read thru all the posts so I may be repeating.

No, clouds do not cause this.

If you have a metalized windshield, this can be the cause.

When I switch out batteries, I often can not get a lock. The Gps has the wrong time and is looking for the sats inthe wrong place. The way to cure the is to select "new Location" "automatic" (on garmins). This will cause the unit to auto-locate and it will search the sky for sats one by one. After it locates one or two it fixes the time and the almanac and knows where to look for the others. Takes about 5 minutes

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I got a Magellan Meridian Gold and I am trying to get a satelite lock. My question is how long (minutes) does it usually take to get a lock on my GPS and also will it get a lock if I am moving (in a car).

 

Thanks

I have a Meridian Platinum and yesterday after not using it for almost a month and moving to a new location it took roughly 15 minutes to get a sat lock. And I was in the middle of an open field with a superb view of the sky. Not to worry, sometimes it takes a little bit longer than usual. Don't be nervous. <_<

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I agree with the vehicle thing. 

I've had vehicles that I couldn't get the gps to lock in - one vehicle I even went caching in with one arm hanging out the window!  (yeah, nice and safe... I scrached my car trying to do that once)

 

And definately keep it flat... Most GPSrs work flat as opposed to 'propped up'

that depends on the type of antenna system used. patch antenna(etrex etc) like to be laid flat however quad-helix( most magellan, garminv etc) ought to be verticial, and may not pick up signals of flat.

Edited by dave and jaime
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And definately keep it flat... Most GPSrs work flat as opposed to 'propped up'

Your advice is incorrect for the OPs unit.

 

You must have a Garmin. Most Garmins work best flat but most Magellans work best vertical. It has to do with the antenna -- Magellan/Quad vs Garmin/Patch

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When I switch out batteries, I often can not get a lock. The Gps has the wrong time and is looking for the sats inthe wrong place. The way to cure the is to select "new Location" "automatic" (on garmins). This will cause the unit to auto-locate and it will search the sky for sats one by one. After it locates one or two it fixes the time and the almanac and knows where to look for the others. Takes about 5 minutes

Hmm, that's weird. Shouldn't have to go through all that to change batteries, unless maybe the internal "batteries" are kaput?

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When I switch out batteries, I often can not get a lock. The Gps has the wrong time and is looking for the sats inthe wrong place. The way to cure the is to select "new Location" "automatic" (on garmins). This will cause the unit to auto-locate and it will search the sky for sats one by one. After it locates one or two it fixes the time and the almanac and knows where to look for the others. Takes about 5 minutes

Hmm, that's weird. Shouldn't have to go through all that to change batteries, unless maybe the internal "batteries" are kaput?

Seems to happen when I switch from one type of battery to another. ie alkiline to nicad rechargeables, or vice versa

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here are a few things not mentioned that ive noticed make it difficult to get a lock:

 

batteries are old and low... unit seems to work fine just wont ever lock

 

windshield wipers on.... shoulda been a warm start but after 10 minutes of not getting a lock while on the dash.... i turned the wipers off for a moment and it locked right away

 

another time i shoulda had a warm start (was getting 10 satellites a couple hours ago) i walked out of a building and took my GPSr out of my pocket to discover it had been accidentally turned on, batteries were still good so i let it continue searching. 20 minutes later it was still finding nothing... and i was frustrated. I thought "maybe it has decided to ingnore/stop searching for the known satellites in my area" so i turned it off and then back on and it locked on immediately.

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