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Author Topic: ND 100. A few observations.  (Read 2351 times)

jupiterchild

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ND 100. A few observations.
« on: May 30, 2010, 04:27:09 pm »

I have not posted to this forum for quite some time but interestingly almost 1 year on and still the ND 100 seems to be proving problematic for many customers. Due to all its inherent problems I have made little use of my ND 100 and wasted far too much time waiting for satellite fixes; quite honestly if the ND 100 was an animal I would have long since taken it to the vets and had it put out of its misery.

What I find very puzzling is this:

I can use the ND100 on my ASUS EEE 701 running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx, GPSD and XGPS and usually between 30 seconds and 3 minutes from cold it will get a 3D fix and of course with Linux no problem with several applications sharing the COM port.

Install the device on my ASUS EEE 901 running Windows XP SP3, the latest firmware downloaded from www.globalsat.tw.com together with the latest Prolific driver and the latest version of MiniCDU (BTW try VisualGPS instead of MiniCDU), place the 901 in exactly the same position as the 701 and then wait, wait and wait some more for a 3D fix. Usually after 30 minutes I get bored and give up. In fact more often than not on a Windows machine the ND100 never does get a fix. And yes I have tried standing in the middle of a field with perfectly clear skies without a tree or building in sight!

I purchased an ND100 to use with Microsoft MapPoint only to discover the European version uses a baud rate that MapPoint doesn't support. No problem since for several weeks the ND100 would not work due to its original firmware, eventually after several weeks GlobalSat provided a firmware update, this bricked my ND 100. I then waited several more weeks for GlobalSat to provide yet another firmware update. I worked round the baud rate using a third party application. GlobalSat promised a utility to change the baud rate though reading through the forum posts this appears to have taken many months to materialise.

So more than 1 year after purchasing my ND100 and many, many hours spent waiting for satellite fixes, firmware fixes and software fixes I find myself with a device and software which is so unreliable that I have little enthusiasm to use it. Probably the last straw is that having applied all the latest fixes I now have the 'mouse' problem with the cursor jumping around the screen. A new experience!

As regards customer support GlobalSat really need to get their act together:

Why produce a product with different baud rates for different markets in the first place?

Why make it so difficult for a customer to ascertain which downloads are the latest? Using two GlobalSat websites i.e. US and TW with different download descriptions is surely bound to lead to confusion.

Why is there no easily accessible changelog with these updates?

Postscript:
Well in the end and in order to avoid any more of my time being wasted I have taken a large hammer to this device. RIP ND 100. Goodbye GlobalSat.
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Marvin

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Re: ND 100. A few observations.
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2010, 05:22:21 am »

Hi Jupiterchild,

I can sympathize with your frustration.

I've personally never owned ND100, but I'm familiar with issues surrounding USB GPS receivers of this form factor. The most common issue is, as you've experienced, the very long time it may take to acquire the first fix. This, however, may have very little to do with the ND100, or with any USB GPS stick. This may be related more to the particular laptop computer used, and the RF interference it emits.

When any USB GPS stick by any manufacturer is plugged directly into a USB port of a laptop computer, the GPS receiver may take very long time to start working, or it may never acquire a fix. This is in most cases due to the radio frequency interference coming for the laptop computer, a tablet, UMPC, etc. For this reason some (most?) USB GPS stick manufacturers include a short USB extension cable. Use the extension, and the GPS unit should work just fine.

I personally prefer BU-353. It's a bit larger, and I believe the internal antenna is a be a bit bigger, too, allowing for a slightly better performance in comparison to USB GPS sticks. BU-353 also comes with approximately 5 feet (1.5 meters) of cable, which is more than enough to keep it from the various RF interferences of a laptop PC, and it also is enough to allow for the placement of the GPS on a dashboard, or other location that has good view of the satellites in the sky.

USB GPS sticks work fine as long as we:

1. Use a USB extension cable to keep it further away from the laptop;
2. Place it where it will see the sky in all directions;
3. Keep it the correct side up (the side which houses the antenna has to face up for the unit to work well).
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