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GPS Unit Not Acquiring Signal

 
Old 02-13-2008, 05:31 PM
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GPS Unit Not Acquiring Signal

Wonder if you guys could help me out...

I got a 99 TL with Nav. The original hard-drive disc with the maps came fried when I bought the car used, so I replaced it with one of Paul's very popular cards and it always worked perfectly. I had that for about two years.

Recently, I joined the "my transmission died" club (at 120k miles), at the worst possible moment (family members where visiting from out of the country), so I had to have the transmission rebuilt.

After I picked up the car from the transmission place three days later, I had to enter the radio and nav security codes. No problems there. However, after I did that, the nav screen displayed the following message: "System is acquiring GPS signal. This can take up to 10 minutes. Car has to be parked in an open location, away from buildings, engine running..." etc...

I waited multiple times for more than 10 minutes, on multipe locations, but the nav is still not working. It seems it can't get a signal from the GPS satllite.

I went to Acura. They reboot the unit, checked the antennas and said they were fine. They said that there are two options: either the nav trunk unit got fried by accident by whoever fixed my transmission, or the weather is preventing the unit from detecting a signal (it's been raining really bad here in South FL for the last two days). What do you guys think? I tried resetting the codes, unplugging the battery, etc. Still nothing. I's VERY upset. I spent more than 2K on the transmission, they fixed that but now I have ANOTHER problem that's gonna cost me an arm and a leg to fix... Any ideas of how to fix this? Maybe the card in the trunk unit got wiped-out by accident? Can bad weather really prevent the unit from picking up a signal? Any help is MOST appreciated. Thanks!!!
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:27 AM
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if you can, try and find a '00+ unit that uses the DVD and swap it with yours. its a direct plug and play. beats dealing with the PC card thing
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:21 AM
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Well, but that's an expensive alternative, and after spending more than 2K on the transmission, I don't wanna spend another cent on a problem that wasn't there in the first place. That's what I don't get... What caused the problem? I know that it wasn't because they just disconnected the battery... Anybody know what could have possibly gone wrong? I'm trying to see who I should account responsible for that. The transmission place? Could they have done something to the GPS unit by accident? Is the receiver/transmitter unit located near the transmission?

How much do they DVD units go for, usually? I asked about that at Acura, and they told me they were NOT compatible with my car...
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:32 AM
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Have you tried a location that isn't near any obstructions?

Did you add tint to your rear window? (Tint can interfere with reception.)

You might want to try removing and reinstalling the PCMCIA hard drive. (Just slide open the access door and pull the drive out.)

You might also want to access the system's self diagnostic mode to see if there are any clues there.

Here are the access instructions from Paul Mooney's navhelp.com site:

There is a hidden menu for both the disk and DVD units. Turn on the key to boot the navi unit, select OK, then press and hold these buttons in sequence MENU MAP CANCEL. When all three are held down wait a few seconds and you will see the hidden menu. There are options to perform diagnostics on the system's components, reset SRAM (you need to have your navi anti-theft code handy and will lose all personal settings), adjust yaw rate, force download, adjust for tire size changes, etc.

Paul also sells compact flash card based replacements for the hard drive if you want to gamble that the problem is on the drive. (You can also make one of these yourself.)

Other than that, I'd wait for the weather to clear up.

Good luck!
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for the reply, Bob. Yes, I've tried multiple locations, I also tried removing the card, and yes, the one I have is a compact-flash card from Paul. Everything was working fine until I got my car back from the transmission place.

I'll try the hidden menu option. Thanks for that. However, I think I can't do it because I don't have access to the "ok" button anymore. When I turn the car on, I get the welcome screen from Acura, and then it goes straight to the text I described on my first post...

I e-mailed Paul. Hopefully he can help. Thanks.
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:41 AM
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By the way, the weather is perfectly fine this morning, and still no luck...
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
Thanks for the reply, Bob. Yes, I've tried multiple locations, I also tried removing the card, and yes, the one I have is a compact-flash card from Paul. Everything was working fine until I got my car back from the transmission place.

I'll try the hidden menu option. Thanks for that. However, I think I can't do it because I don't have access to the "ok" button anymore. When I turn the car on, I get the welcome screen from Acura, and then it goes straight to the text I described on my first post...

I e-mailed Paul. Hopefully he can help. Thanks.
Paul has helped me out with several navigation related questions so hopefully he can help you out on this one.

Since you already have the compact flash card based drive replacement, perhaps you could just reload a fresh set of data files onto the card. That's very easy to do if you have the data files.

In fact, even if your unit is working fine, you might want copy the files on the compact flash card to a PC just to have a backup set. (If your files are intact, you just need a CF card reader.)

Good luck and let us know what you figure out.
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
By the way, the weather is perfectly fine this morning, and still no luck...
Well there goes the weather related theory.

Even though the dealership checked out the antenna connections, you might want to double-check what you can access. There's always a chance that they missed something.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:25 PM
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Paul replied to me and he also thinks the unit is toast. I will probably buy a new unit from him. The question remains, though... how did this happen? How is it related to the tranny fix? I'm just trying to determine what the real problem is. I would haet to keep spending money and buy a new unit, only to realize that the problem is somewhere else...

Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
Paul replied to me and he also thinks the unit is toast. I will probably buy a new unit from him. The question remains, though... how did this happen? How is it related to the tranny fix? I'm just trying to determine what the real problem is. I would haet to keep spending money and buy a new unit, only to realize that the problem is somewhere else...

Any input would be appreciated.
The drive replacement units that Paul sells are 512 MB compact flash cards mounted in a PCMCIA adapters. I suppose the data files on the CF card could have been corrupted by a voltage surge when the mechanics were working on your transmission.

Before buying another unit, you might want to try reloading the navigation files onto the compact flash card in your existing unit. If you don't have a copy of the files, some Acura dealers will load the needed files right onto the card for no cost. (Other dealers no longer have the equipment needed or they will charge for this service.)

It may also be that your CF card is fried somehow. But 512MB CF cards are dirt cheap these days. You could just buy a replacement. (Again, you would need the navigation files for your region.)

Seach the forum for "PCMCIA" for other potentially helpful discussions.

Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:13 PM
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Thanks. Paul doesn't think the problem is in the card, and unfortunately, I never backed-up the files. When I asked my dealer about that, they told me they don't upload files like that anymore. They simply don't work on systems that are non-DVD. Anybody know where I can download them from? I'm sure they are available somewhere.
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:19 PM
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Now that I read your post, plus what was recommended above, I'm thinking I MIGHT just buy a DVD unit. Is it worth it? I don't intend on leaving the state, so I don't really need nationwide coverage... But what else does it offer?

I'm just SO upset right now. Can't get one thing fixed properly without messing something else up...

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:12 PM
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I say if the problem is with the GPS not getting a signal, you should be paying more attention to the antenna, im not sure how the acura navi works, but if the gps tuner hardware is built into the receiver then all your problems point to there, what does the cable from the antenna look like? Is it just one pin or multiple?
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
Now that I read your post, plus what was recommended above, I'm thinking I MIGHT just buy a DVD unit. Is it worth it? I don't intend on leaving the state, so I don't really need nationwide coverage... But what else does it offer?

I'm just SO upset right now. Can't get one thing fixed properly without messing something else up...

Thanks for all the help.
I got mine on Ebay for around $250. works great, but I too have problems some with getting a signal. I took off the truck lid and looked at the antenna - looks to be the problem. Because the wire was very tight already and when I put the DVD unit in, the plug was slightly off so stress has been on the wires and connections. You may want to check yours out to make sure it is all good.

The DVD unit is still being updated vs. the hard disk that they quit updating in '02 so you will have much more coverage/points and it is much quicker
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:02 PM
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the weather does not affect the gps signal at all, it works great in any weather, and it even worked while I was driving down a parking garage, I did the hdd to dvd conversion for $605, I have dvd v 2.40
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
Thanks. Paul doesn't think the problem is in the card, and unfortunately, I never backed-up the files. When I asked my dealer about that, they told me they don't upload files like that anymore. They simply don't work on systems that are non-DVD. Anybody know where I can download them from? I'm sure they are available somewhere.
Esteban, what region files do you need? I have all of them, so whatever you need, let me know. I kinda doubt that it's a file issue myself, but it's worth a shot. It's interesting that you are running into this problem because I've never lost signal with my unit (and I've been in torrential downpours, heavy snow, long tunnels, etc). Although, I think I'm noticing that my system is slowly loosing accuracy. But as I said, if you want the files, just let me know what region.
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Old 02-15-2008, 10:18 AM
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Thanks, Fuzzy. I was able to get the file for my region. I still think the disk is fine, so I'm gonna go ahead and buy a new disk unit from Paul. However, I'd like to try to reset my unit following the directions in his site, but I can't do it. I have no access to the '"ok" button, so I can't complete the key sequence. My screen goes straight from the Acura welcome page to the message I described in my first post. I even tried doing the reset during boot-up, like Paul recommended, and nothing. Anybody know how I can reset the unit any other way?
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Old 02-15-2008, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
Thanks, Fuzzy. I was able to get the file for my region. I still think the disk is fine, so I'm gonna go ahead and buy a new disk unit from Paul. However, I'd like to try to reset my unit following the directions in his site, but I can't do it. I have no access to the '"ok" button, so I can't complete the key sequence. My screen goes straight from the Acura welcome page to the message I described in my first post. I even tried doing the reset during boot-up, like Paul recommended, and nothing. Anybody know how I can reset the unit any other way?
When you wrote that you're going to "buy a new disk unit from Paul", are you talking about the small hard disk replacement module that slides into the trunk-mounted navigation box? Or are you talking about buying the entire navigation box?

If you're just talking about the small slide-out unit, you can build one of those yourself very inexpensively once you have the navigation data files for your region. Like many other forum members, I built one of these myself using a 512 MB compact flash card and a PCMCIA adapter that I bought on eBay for about $7 shipped. The CF card and the PCMCIA adapter just snap together.
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Old 02-15-2008, 10:54 AM
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Thanks, Bob. No, I meant the entire navigation box, which is what Paul thinks got fried. I would use my existing PCMI disk with it.
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
Thanks, Bob. No, I meant the entire navigation box, which is what Paul thinks got fried. I would use my existing PCMI disk with it.
I understand. That makes sense and it probably explains why you can't get to the "OK" screen. I had problems like that when I tried to install a DVD-based navigation unit that turned out to be defective.

Also, before spending too much on another hard drive-based navigation unit, I would seriously consider buying a used DVD unit. The DVD system has much more map data and Acura is still releasing updated DVD discs. With the old hard drive unit you're stuck with 2002 data.

Paul sells the DVD units from time to time also. And you can also find these on ebay or on car-part.com. (Paul buys them on eBay also for resale.) I bought my DVD unit for $195 shipped via car-part.com and it came with a 90 day warranty. It's a Plug N Play replacement and it works great.
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob_F
Also, before spending too much on another hard drive-based navigation unit, I would seriously consider buying a used DVD unit. The DVD system has much more map data and Acura is still releasing updated DVD discs. With the old hard drive unit you're stuck with 2002 data.
I concur. In fact, I had decided not to upgrade to the DVD system last year, but now I'm thinking twice. My system still works fine, but it would be nice to have more map data.
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:21 AM
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I'm REALLY tempted to buy the DVD unit, but Paul says he can get me a disk unit for only $150, so there's a $300 difference between that and the DVD unit (not including shipping). I spent a lot of money recently on the tranny, so I can't really afford to spend even more on something that was fine to begin with.

Also, some members here said that the DVD unit doesn't always work fine with a 99 TL. Is this true? Let's say I buy the DVD unit, which already comes with the DVD disc, and I swap that with the one I have now... If that doesn't work... then what else can the problem be? I just don't want to spend 450 bucks on the DVD unit, have that installed and discover that the nav is STILL not working...
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Esteban
I'm REALLY tempted to buy the DVD unit, but Paul says he can get me a disk unit for only $150, so there's a $300 difference between that and the DVD unit (not including shipping). I spent a lot of money recently on the tranny, so I can't really afford to spend even more on something that was fine to begin with.

Also, some members here said that the DVD unit doesn't always work fine with a 99 TL. Is this true? Let's say I buy the DVD unit, which already comes with the DVD disc, and I swap that with the one I have now... If that doesn't work... then what else can the problem be? I just don't want to spend 450 bucks on the DVD unit, have that installed and discover that the nav is STILL not working...
I've been reading these forums for a couple of years and I don't recall any comments that the DVD units might not work in a 1999 TL. As long as you get a good box, it should work perfectly. Mine works perfectly and there are many similar reports from other forum members.

I suppose that these's some possibility that there's something else wrong with your system. But in that case, the $150 hard drive-based unit replacement will not help either.

The fact that Paul feels the unit is defective carries a lot of weight with me. He's pretty knowledgeable about these things and he once correctly diagnosed that a one DVD unit that I once bought was defective.

And there's not much more to these navigation systems than the trunk unit and the display screen. So if your screen is working properly the trunk mounted box would be the prime suspect.

But I understand your concern about the higher cost of the DVD solution.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

Bob
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Old 02-20-2008, 12:04 PM
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Ok, today I received a new hard-disk unit from Paul. Unfortunately, it's not working. I'm just clueless right now. I installed the new unit, it downloaded updates (don't know where from!), I entered the code, it took it... and then, same thing: "system is acquiring GPS signal"... bla, bla, bla... Waited for 15 minutes, nothing. One detail, though: for some reason, the clock is now working. It wasn't before. However, it's three hours behind and I have no access to the submenu to adjust it. I'm just lost and frustrated right now. More money wasted. Can anyone help with any advice?
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Old 02-20-2008, 02:41 PM
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Anybody? So, Paul tells me that the system acquires the clock info from the satellite. The other unit wasn't doing that, so this new one IS getting it from somewhere. What could be preventing it from also acquiring the GPS signal? And if the problem is not in the unit, nor the disk, nor the screen... where else could it be?
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:03 PM
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Here are some suggestions:

- Try to enter the diagnostic mode using the instructions I posted above. Try pressing the buttons at different points during the warm-up cycle after you turn on the ignition. You might have to enter the commands very quickly.

- Ask Paul Mooney if he has any other suggestions. Ask if he tested the hard drive unit. Or maybe it was damaged during shipping. Perhaps it's something as simple as another defective drive unit.

- Reload the navigation files onto your compact flash card in case they were somehow corrupted. That's easy to do if you have the files and a compact flash card reader. (In any case, you should have a backup of those files stored somewhere.)

- Along the same lines, consider replacing the 512 MB compact flash card with another one. These are dirt cheap these days. I've read somewhere that CF cards, when used as hard drive replacements, can fail over time after so many read/write cycles.

- Double check as much of the antenna wiring that you can access.

- Double-check all of the connections on the back of the hard drive unit. I would pull all of the connectors and re-seat them firmly. You can do this without getting in the trunk.

Good luck and post an update when you get a chance.
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:23 PM
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Thanks, Bob. Will try this once I leave work. A question, though. When you say:

- Double check as much of the antenna wiring that you can access.
Double-check all of the connections on the back of the hard drive unit. I would pull all of the connectors and re-seat them firmly. You can do this without getting in the trunk.
Where exactly is the antenna located? How can I pull the connectors without getting in the trunk?
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:31 PM
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I'm not really familiar with the antenna wiring and locations.

But check out the DIY non-navi to navi thread:

https://acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114084

There might be some helpful information there. You might even want to post your problem in that thread.

And you can pull and re-seat the connectors by leaning into the trunk and reaching behind the unit. You do have to use feel but it's pretty easy if you're just removing a connector and then immediately re-installing it. I've done this a number of times now.

Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:29 AM
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Well, still no luck, but this is what I've found/think:

I know it's not the disk/compact flash card, because I've tried the original one, the one made by Acura/Alpine that came with the car and that I later replaced with one of Paul's compact flash cards, and with that one (the original) inside the drive unit I would immediately get a "hard disk error" message. Paul also thinks the problem lies somewhere else. The drive unit in the trunk is working, reads the disk and accepts it, then gets the clock information from the satellite, but for some reason doesn't go any further and can't get the GPS signal.

I tried different locations, etc, but still the car can not get the signal. I have no tint in my car.

Now, while replacing my original unit with the new one, I noticed the connector to the very far left (the one for the antenna, I understand) is missing the grey plastic cover that "protects" the connector. In other words, the connector is there, but I'm thinking that maybe the missing plastic cover might be an issue? I mentioned this to Paul and even sent him a picture. He told me that that may be it, and to fiddle with that connector, which I did, but still no luck. What do you think? If this cable/connector is the issue, can this be replaced?

Also, somebody suggested it can be a fuse. What do you guys think? If it were a fuse, shouldn't the whole unit/screen combo NOT work at all?
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:09 PM
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Smile

I guess I'm not positive that installing your non-working hard drive tells you anything more than the fact that it's not working. Paul may know better, but I wonder if you can get different failure modes and behaviors. Maybe a partially malfunctioning CF card-based unit could allow for a time update but not a full connection to the GPS satellites. (This is speculation on my part.)

Now if you had a working spare hard drive or another CF card based replacement, then installing that could eliminate that component as being the source of the problem. (BTW, you can make one of those CF-card based units for $20 or less. The PCMCIA adapters can be found on eBay for about $7 shipped and 512 MB CF cards are $15 or less these days.)

But, since you're running out of ideas, why not reload the files onto your compact flash card to see if that might correct things? If you're not comfortable doing that yourself, perhaps Paul would do it for you if you mailed him the CF card.

Did you ask Paul if he tested the hard drive box before he shipped it? If it was untested, perhaps you just have another bad unit.

On the connector issue, I would also wonder if that might be the problem. You might want to check with Acura to see if you can buy a replacement connector. But it might just come a part of the entire wiring harness and that, of course, would be pretty expensive. Another option might be to buy one from Alpine. (There's Alpine contact information on the Acura Service Bulletin that Paul links on his navhelp.com site.)

And it's possible that another forum member might have a spare connector. You could ask about that on the non-navi to navi thread that I linked above.

I doubt it's a fuse because both the trunk unit and the nav screen are clearly getting power.
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:06 PM
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like a few of us have said, if you are going to spend any money on the navi system you might as well put it toward a DVD unit so you will be up to date - I have a '99TL and it was a simple plug and play replacement. just keep an eye out of Ebay and you will be much happier.

The plastic cover over the connector should not do anything unless there are some bare wires or loose wires somewhere.
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:13 PM
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yep, thats what i said

now you have ANOTHER HD unit that no one uses.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:08 AM
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I hear you guys, but based on what Paul told me, the problem is not on the Compact Flash card. I e-mailed him again this morning with your comments, to hear his opinion, though. I'll let you know what he tells me. I didn't get the DVD unit because, like I said, I'm still not sure where EXACTLY the problem lies, and after spending more than 2K on the tranny, I can't afford to spend another $450. Now, if I knew 100% that the DVD unit would work, of course I'd buy it, but right now I'm just trying to eliminate variables from the equation to try to identify the problem... It might be on the antenna or the wiring, who knows?
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:36 AM
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Well, Paul replied and he says it's NOT the card, and that the unit is working. He thinks the problem might be in the antenna and that's why I can't get a signal. What do you guys think? The connector in the antenna DOES look kind of weird. I tried applying some electric tape in case it needed shielding, but no luck. But I don't see any loose wires there...
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:32 AM
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You can also send Paul the link to this thread as he's a long time member of these forums.

I took a look at my Helm manual and the time signal is received from the GPS satellites. So your system was able to connect to the satellite system as Paul suggested. If Paul is convinced that the unit is fine I would be inclined to believe him. He has a lot of experience with these boxes.

Regarding the GPS antenna, it's located under the left rear shelf. You might just want to remove it and take a close look at it.

To access it, according to the Helm manual:

1. Remove the rear speaker grill and left rear shelf.

If you can ever make it into the "System Diagnosis Test" screen, there is a "GPS" test option available on the "Unit Check" that allows you to check the antenna connection.

This is from the Helm manual:

'99 Model:
When the connection is NG, check the GPS antenna. If the connection is OK, replace the GPS antenna.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any details on how to check the antenna itself.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:43 AM
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Thanks again, Bob. Paul e-mailed me a link to buy an antenna. It goes for around 100 bucks, direct from Acura. I'm gonna look into that based on the details you just gave me. My brother is visiting from out of the country and this will be our last weekend together for a while, but hopefully early next week I'll be able to make some progress with this. I'll let you know.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:29 PM
  #37  
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it could be your antenna - and like you said it is around $100 and VERY easy to replace. only 2 bolts hold it on once you take off the rear deck (it is on the driver side). when I replaced my navi unit I was a little rough with my antenna wire and it pulled apart. I took it to someone and they fixed it but i do have issues some of the times with it finding a signal - so it really could be that simple. keep us updated if you do in fact replace it.
good luck
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:42 PM
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Anyone here know how to remove the "rear speaker grill and left rear shelf."? Are they bolted in place or snap into place? Anyone have pics?

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:17 PM
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Has anyone been able to get the rear center speaker out so you can get to the GPS antenna. I have a big trip coming up in the morning and I need to put my new GPS antenna in (using the trunk today seems to have finally killed my GPS antenna that would work with some coaxing...but I do have a new one ready to go in). I tried to remove that center cap (Part 8 in diagram below) with a small flathead screwdriver but it won't come out and I am starting to mar up the plastic!!!! Man am I pissed right now! I see no way to get the center shelf out so I can get the left shelf out so I can get to the GPS antenna! Why did Acura design this so it's near impossible to get out without screwing up the finish of the plastic????

http://www.acuraautomotiveparts.org/...s=&view=normal
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:16 PM
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Well, I finally got that cap off the center shelf (using the thinnest blade screwdriver I could find and gentle pushing and prying it in the top rear crack)....but there is no bolt in there holding the center shelf in place!! Just a threaded hole that still has original part covering the threads in hole (there must not have ever been a bolt in there). But I can't get the center speaker shelf to lift out and I can't see what's holding it in place! And I am out there trying to do this with a flashlight, that does not help....

Any suggestions on how to get the center speaker shelf to lift out? It is not budging....I know I will have to unplug the speaker in the trunk to fully lift it out, but this is not moving AT ALL and I can't see what's holding it in place???

To the guy who said the GPS antenna is "VERY easy to replace"......well, first you need to get access to it! And that aint easy.
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