|Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2010 - 04:28 pm: |
BEWARE OF SHOPS OFFERING ANTENNA REPLACEMENT / REPAIR SERVICES
I've seen some really misleading ads on eBay & Fixya.com regarding antenna replacement/repair services for the Nuvi 3xx & 6xx.
One ad is from a fellow in California that is offering to "replace" your defective antenna with another.
First, to understand the legitimacy of these ads, you have to fully understand the cause of the antenna failures in the first place....and I do.
As an Engineer, it's my job to understand "why" something has failed, so that I can come up with a permanent solution to the problem.
So let's try to simplify the issue so anyone can understand. Let's say you go out and purchase (4) new tires for your car. The tires are supposed to last for 60,000 miles but they end up only lasting for 5,000 miles.
If the tires haven't been abused in any way and your car is properly aligned, then clearly it's a manufacturing or material defect.
If you do some research and discover there are many others like yourself with the same brand of worn out tires, would you put the same brand of tires back on your car again? Of course not.
The same goes for any product, including GPS antennas. Now first, let's be factual. It's not the actual internal antenna that fails. The antenna has no parts that can break. It's essentially a square, paper-thin, silver-plated piece of copper mounted on a ceramic insulator.
Typical GPS Antenna
The antenna is part of what I call the "GPS Receiver Assembly". It's the entire part that you flip up. The internal antenna is on one side of the assembly and the GPS receiver IC (SIRF chip) is on the other side within a shielded enclosure.
It's the GPS receiver assembly that fails, not the physical antenna itself.
The reason it fails is because there is a component that fails. The reason why the component fails is because it isn't robust enough for the application... the job it was intended to do.
So, if you have your GPS receiver replaced with a working identical one, it too has the same part which can fail and in time, it will. This is why you don't want to simply have your GPS receiver "replaced".
The other problem with antenna replacements is that they come from harvested GPS units. Their condition may be questionable; meaning that the component that fails may already be partially damaged and may fail shortly thereafter.
The other issue is, once the fellow runs out of harvested antennas, he'll be gone for a while until he finds more units.
BEWARE OF FREE SHIPPING CLAIMS
Also beware of those offering "Free Shipping". Is anything really free? How well will your unit be packed and protected when shipped back to you? Is it insured? What shipping method are they using? Priority Mail? First Class Mail? Parcel Post? Media Mail? A letter envelope? Is there a tracking number?
"Free shipping" can be pretty vague. How about "Worry-Free Shipping"? You get what you pay for!
Now, lets move onto another fellow from Nashville, Tennessee who claims the problem is a result of:
"The root cause of the malfunction is due to insufficient heat-time during the soldering/manufacturing process resulting in poor solder joints throughout the antenna PCB."
He goes on to add that he has expensive equipment to fix the problem:
"employing a Professional Hot-Air/Infrared Rework Station, a specially designed Jig..."
Well, I can tell you that the problem is not caused by bad solder joints as he claims and I can also tell you that the only tools he really used was a pencil-type soldering iron and pair of wire cutters/strippers.
How do I know this? Because I had a friend of mine, send him a defective "marked" GPS receiver to "repair" because I knew bad solder joints were not the real cause of the problem. I wanted to see if my theory of what I believed he was actually doing was correct.... and it was!
So what did the fellow from Nashville do? He merely soldered a 1" long piece of red insulated wire from the internal antenna to the external antenna jack and charged me $50.00.
What I also found very interesting was that the actual cause of failure, the defective component, was STILL in the RF input path. He never removed it.
The defective part WILL degrade receiver sensitivity, as it has now become resistive, shunting a portion of the incoming RF signal to ground and may eventually short to ground causing the GPS receiver to once again lose reception.
The jumper wire also prevents the capability of using an external antenna in the future, as he has now shorted the internal antenna to the external antenna port. This will cause unpredictable performance.
So, I knew when I saw that the defective part was still in the circuit, that the fellow from Nashville really didn't know the true cause of this problem and was performing a procedure he read about on a popular GPS forum. He is also being deceptive and dishonest to GPS owners with this problem and that is disturbing.
So, what is the correct way to fix this problem? The correct way is to completely remove the defective part and replace it with a part that is more robust. By doing so, full receiver sensitivity will be restored AND your GPS receiver assembly will work with either the internal or external antenna as it was originally designed to do by the factory.
So, please be cautious when considering having ANYONE repair your GPS, especially the GPS receiver assembly. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Check their references. Be informed.
Don't blow $50.00 on a 1" long piece of wire. This really isn't the proper solution to this problem and is being performed by someone who really doesn't know the true cause of why this problem occurs.
(Message edited by admin on February 28, 2012)
MikeR (Unregistered Guest)
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
|Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 10:03 pm: |
How much do you charge to repair the internal antenna problem? Is this the $30 antenna fix listed on your pricing page? My Nuvi 660 only works if I put a small wire in the external antenna jack.
|Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 10:11 pm: |
Yes it is. We can eaily resolve this problem on your Nuvi 660.
Ross McNally (Unregistered Guest)
Posted From: host86-130-186-214.range86-130.btcentralplus.com
|Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 01:35 pm: |
How much would you charge for postage to repair items from the UK, or could you recommend someone reliable over here?
|Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 09:25 am: |
We have performed repairs for customers in the UK. Uninsured shipping is under $10.00 USD.
We used to know of a fellow in the UK but he hasn't responded to my emails in quite some time. He may not be in the business anymore.
Tobin Bostick (Unregistered Guest)
Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 05:58 pm: |
What is your current work load looking like? I would like to send in my NUVI 660 for internal antenna repair soon.
What is the current cost for such work?
|Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 11:48 pm: |
Hi Tobin, we've sent you information on how to obtain a quote.
Damon Brown (Unregistered Guest)
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2010 - 01:40 am: |
I've been checking your quote page for several months but I think I've been missing your availability windows for this particular repair. Are you still booked up or is there a waiting list I could apply for?
|Posted on Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 01:27 pm: |
Yes, we are VERY busy. We typically get a week's worth of work in just one day. We're sorry that you have had trouble getting a quote from us. We've sent you some info on how to do just that.
Damon (Unregistered Guest)
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 02:31 pm: |
Got it, thanks! And no worries - busy is good. It's because you're so awesome!
|Posted on Monday, October 25, 2010 - 11:17 am: |
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