Poor GPS performance on a new install

Your new Android headunit has just been installed, and you want to try out the GPS features immediately. Unfortunately, the sat nav can’t get a lock on your location, and things get frustrating.

GPS

GPS or Sat Nav is a crucial feature of Android headunits. The large display is ideal for navigation and is right in front of the driver. Satellite Navigation relies on the GPS to pinpoint your location. If the GPS signal is poor, it may fail to calculate your location and can’t process the sat-nav data.

GPS Aerial

The GPS aerial for the sat-nav is a small black box with a long wire attached. The little black box can be placed on the dashboard to pick up the GPS satellites’ signals. You can also place the box on the roof; this may be a better location while testing. Placing it on the roof becomes more critical if a heated or metallic reflective windscreen is fitted. This particular windshield may be blocking the GPS signals, and repositioning the antenna, even temporarily, can help detect if this is your problem.

Time

It can take time for the GPS sat nav to get a lock on your location from the cold. Be patient and leave the sat nav app running for at least 10 minutes to allow it to get the data it needs. Subsequent sat nav runs should take less time; the initial out-of-the-box data collection takes the most time.

Connection

A pitfall you may have fallen into with the installation is the connection of the GPS aerial to the head unit. The end of the very long cable has a connector, and this needs to be attached to the rear of the headunit. Some manufacturers use the same connector for Wi-Fi and 4G as they do for GPS; this saves money but can cause an issue. The problem is that while it may be possible to attach the GPS antenna cable to the Wi-Fi socket or the GPS to the 4G connector, the GPS won’t get a signal with the Wi-Fi antenna or the 4G aerial. It would help if you used the GPS antenna connected to the socket for the GPS.

Solution

If you have made a mistake and confused Wi-Fi, 4G, and GPS connections, it doesn’t matter. Disconnecting each of the two plugs and swapping them over to the right connections is a simple process and should then give a much improved Wi-Fi and GPS signal.

Check

You can check the GPS signal on the Android headunit by following the steps in this post. To observe an improvement in the number of satellites visible.

Marshmallow
Marshmallow
I am an android-headunits.com staff blogger. I have been using Android on my devices for many years and have learned a lot about the features and best hardware to keep up with the latest Android versions. I also make the coffee ☕

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