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Old 04-07-2012, 12:28 AM   #1
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GPS Problems

Since returning to Alaska my chartplotter is acting strange. Sometimes it dos'nt get the GPS signal and at other times the screen has a dark blue grey tint at medium chart sizes. I've never seen the tint before. Are we having lots of sunspot problems now? We're about to make a 1000 mile trip and I'd like to do it w the GPS.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:33 AM   #2
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:08 AM   #3
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Greetings,
Global warming coupled with tint tinnitus.
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:29 AM   #4
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My antenna which also couples as a receiver went bad and gave me a no fix warning on my screen. Replacing it fixed the problem. Since you have screen issues this probably isn't the problem though.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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Since returning to Alaska my chartplotter is acting strange. Sometimes it dos'nt get the GPS signal and at other times the screen has a dark blue grey tint at medium chart sizes. I've never seen the tint before. Are we having lots of sunspot problems now? We're about to make a 1000 mile trip and I'd like to do it w the GPS.
I don't think sunspots would chnge the color of the screen so it's probably a problem with the GPS.

Check all your connections and make sure you haven't damaged the antenna or covered it with something that would block the signal.

Then contact the manufacturer's technical support people and ask them what to do.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:27 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. I'll keep checking, especially the wiring and plugs. As I work on the boat I'll turn on the plotter and see how it works every day. I'll be looking for a positive swing in the patient's condition.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:58 PM   #7
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Haven't seen any problems here (lower Georgia Strait). We've been travelling a lot lately - I'd have noticed.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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Eric - Extreme cold temps can have detrimental effects on electronics as you probably know. If you left the plotter on the boat last winter you may have an issue that won't heal itself. But, it might not get any worse.
Sunspots...?...I doubt it.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:32 AM   #9
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Eric - Extreme cold temps can have detrimental effects on electronics as you probably know. If you left the plotter on the boat last winter you may have an issue that won't heal itself. But, it might not get any worse.
That's what I was thinking. Is it a LCD? Is it possible that the liquid in the display froze?
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:39 PM   #10
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That's what I was thinking. Is it a LCD? Is it possible that the liquid in the display froze?
The owners manual should list maximum and minimum operating temperatures as well as maximum and minimum storage temperatures.
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Old 04-08-2012, 03:01 PM   #11
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Sometimes it dos'nt get the GPS signal and at other times the screen has a dark blue grey tint at medium chart sizes.
If the screen has the tint only when certain chart sizes are displayed this would tend to rule out any problem with the screen itself. If the screen was at fault, the tint would be there all the time.

If your charts are on a removable card (SD card, C-Map card, etc) the card itself could be at fault. Or the display software in the unit might have developed a fault that causes the tint to be displayed when certain chart sizes or parameters are selected.

Temperatures can indeed play a role in how a piece of electronics acts. Don't know if you keep heat on your boat but if not, try warming up the cabin (if you have not already tried this) and see if this has an effect on the problem you're experiencing. Also try turning the unit on and leaving it on for several hours. It may be a matter of some condensation breaking a connection or causing a problem on a board inside the unit. Leaving the unit on might "cook" the condensation away.

An intermittent GPS signal could be a simple as a bad or slightly corroded connection at the antenna or display unit end. The power we're talking about here is very low, so it doesn't take much resistance to stop the flow of electricicals We've even experienced this once when our transom zincs were replaced. One new zinc began to deteriorate as normal but the other one remained pristine. Continuity all checked out and it wasn't until Paul Graf (you know him, right?) mentioned the very low current involved and how even a tiny bit of corrosion or coating on the bolts could break the connection to the zinc that it occurred to me to remove the zincs and clean the mounting bolts thoroughly with bronze wool. I did this and the problem has never recurred since. So check your GPS and display unit cable connections if you have not already done so.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:54 PM   #12
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Thanks rwidman and Marin.
Thanks for the input. I surfed for anchorages and routes south today for at least 1/2 hr and had the signal 100% of the time. No strange tint either.Lots of sun today and it was quite warm in the cabin. Decided not to put Willy on the grid to clean the hull and change the prop. No vibration or speed loss so I'll wait till I haul down south next spring. Need to change several fluids and fix a bilge pump problem as well as a sack full of other things. Anyway it looks like I've got a chartplotter now. All my friends bellying up to the bar w suggestions must have fixed it. I'm still going to look over the connections.
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