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We've received many emails from GPS users who say they have lost their PIN code.

For those of you that don't know what a PIN code is:

Some GPS manufacturers provide a feature, which allows the GPS owner to assign a unlock access code or PIN to their GPS.

The PIN is designed to prevent your GPS from being used by an un-authorized user. It was also meant to be used a a deterrent to thieves, making the GPS useless if stolen.

When you set up the PIN, you will be asked to enter in a code. After you enter the last digit, you will be asked again for the code. This is to make sure that both entries match and verifies that the PIN that you requested will be the one written into memory.

Your PIN is written into non-volatile memory..... it's not a file that is accessible via USB communications between the GPS and a PC. You can't clear it by disconnecting the power or disconnecting the battery or letting the battery run down. There is no jumper or switch inside the GPS to reset it, so don't waste your time tearing your GPS apart in an attempt to clear it.

Now, after you set the PIN, you will be asked to set the "secure" location. This can be anywhere.... your work location, home, local gas station, school, etc. In order to set the secure location, your antenna must be up and you have to have a satellite lock. If you don't have a lock, the "set" key will be grayed out until you acquire a lock.

The secure location is your "back-up key" in case you forget your PIN. If you have forget your pin, all you have to do is physically go to the secure location. Make sure your antenna is up and that you have a satellite lock. When you are in the secure location, your GPS will NOT ask you for the PIN when you turn it on. You'll then be able to reach the main menu and change the PIN and secure location to something else if you desire.

If you have forgotten both the PIN and secure location, you are out of luck. You'll have to send your unit back to the manufacturer to have it unlocked. The manufacturer may charge you for this service.

Note: If you do send the unit back to the manufacturer to be unlocked and you are found not to be the original & rightful owner of the GPS and it's determined to be stolen, the manufacturer may contact law enforcement (they're policy on this is right on their website under FAQ's).

Some Security Suggestions That Might Help You Someday

GPS Splash Screen

  • Always take your GPS with you when you leave your vehicle.

  • Use a friction mount rather than a window mount. A friction mount is easier to remove, won't leave a ring on your windshield (a sure sign to thieves that you use a GPS) and it's legal in all 50 states. A window mount is not legal in all 50 states.

  • Write down your units serial number and internal ID number and make a note of any blemishes or outstanding features, which would make your GPS unique to identify. Even if the thief removes your serial number tag, the serial number and ID number can be recovered with the use of a PC.

  •   Set your GPS with an access code. Try not to use an obvious number like your house address or year of birth. This makes it easier for a thief to narrow down the number of combinations to find your PIN number.

  •   Modify your start-up splash screen (as shown) to show your First Name, Email Address, Telephone Number and offer of reward for the safe return of your GPS. If you don't know how to do this, we can do it for you for only $5.00.

    To do this, all you have to do is connect your GPS to your PC, and look under the "images" directory for the file of the spash screen. Right click on the file, select copy and paste it into any directory on your computer. Using a graphics editor program, add the personal information listed above. Resave the file name by adding a "1" after the filename (ex. gps_splash_screen1.jpg) and copy it back to your GPS in the "images" directory. Now, all you have to do is select the new image as the start-up splash screen in your GPS. Select the new picture and your done!

    While these recommendations won't protect your GPS from being stolen, it will make your GPS less likely to be sold to a pawn shop for some quick cash. By setting the PIN, the thief won't be able to change the start-up splash screen, and the splash screen tells everyone who the GPS belongs to, especially the police.

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