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Thread: GPS not working - unsure if it's physical/software related

  1. Junior Droid
    jeff.wilson2000's Avatar
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    Motorola Droid
    #1

    GPS not working - unsure if it's physical/software related

    Tried searching through the forums but can't come up with any definite solutions to this problem, so here goes:

    First, specs:

    OG Droid
    SS 5.3 (I try others, but keep coming back ;-)
    Chevy No1 LowV 1.0 Ghz kernel
    SetCPU OC'ing to 1000 Mhz

    My GPS stopped working about a month ago (roughly). I don't use it all the time, but often enough that it's annoying the hell out of me. Google Maps (for example) will never get a lock, the satellite icon just does the little pulsing thing like it's trying to find a satellite. It will get close, however - but I'm not sure if it's just pulling network data over the 3G connection (via antenna to tower triangulation or some other voodoo) to get close, and the GPS just can't seal the deal, or what. It will never get me closer than about a half-mile to where I actually am unless I am logged into a router via WiFi. It is turned on in the power widget, but I've heard that it is possible to "confuse" the phone if conflicting apps get ahold of something in the phone. I witnessed this personally when I tried Juice Defender - it was switching between 2G/3G like it's supposed to, but it was munging up other things on my phone (because I didn't do enough research, not because the program was faulty - it was more powerful an app than I thought when I installed it). So I disabled it, but even after disabling it, it left me stuck in 2G mode - I ended up having to do the *#*#4636#*#* trick to re-enable 3G mode (which worked - no one was more relieved than I). So is it possible that something like this happened to the GPS unit? (Note that this was a problem BEFORE I ever installed Juice Defender - though I can't point to exactly when it stopped functioning).

    I've tried the various methods of "repairing" it that I've come across on the the Internet (here and on other forums), none seem to have any effect. These include:

    1. Reboot the phone

    2. Plane mode on/off

    3. Wipe/reinstall the ROM (It was broken on 5.3 before, I installed MIUI a few weeks back, then went back to 5.3 a week or so ago, wiping each time)

    4. Run GPSTest from the Market and wipe all downloaded satellite data (the app shows NO satellites, by the way)

    5. Uninstall/reinstall Maps - the problem affects any program that uses the GPS (see #4 above)

    I am not up for a new phone until July, and I don't see a point in not getting an LTE phone, as this will be my last "New Every Two", since Verizon did away with that program. A replacement Droid will cost me $150, minimum (on Ebay, etc.) - money I'd rather put towards a new phone in July. I do not see GPS modules/replacement parts available on the various parts sites I've shopped on, so I'm assuming that it's part of the overall phone radio system? 3G seems to be unaffected by this problem.

    Now, in the interest of full disclosure: about a month ago my power button went south (it doesn't spring back like it used to, I have to push it in with my nail to get it to activate the switch). I tried fixing it with a replacement button that I purchased online (which, for the record, didn't fix the problem). There was a bit of prying as I initially missed one screw that would allow me to take the back of the phone off, so I can't say that I didn't bend/break something inside the phone. I don't remember noticing anything obviously damaged, however, and everything else works fine - so I'm not sure if it's possible to damage the GPS unit and not something else.

    This is not a dealbreaker for me, but it is quite annoying that it doesn't work. It was one of the features that I bought the phone for initially - the tight integration with Google Maps. Is there some method to tell for sure if the GPS unit is not being "seen" by the OS, or if the data is somehow being bottlenecked somewhere instead? Basically I don't know if it's physically damaged or if it's just "switched off" somewhere in the OS at a much deeper level than I am able to access (something like the *#*#4636#*#* thing might solve, though that wasn't an option when I was in there when I fixed the 2G/3G thing).

    Sorry for the long-windedness of this - but I wanted to give as much information as possible and avoid the general "Did you try rebooting the phone?" stuff that I've already tried. ;-)
  2. Droid
    Kickbut101's Avatar
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    Droid 4
    #2
    I too have GPS problems, the only way I can sometimes remedy it is rebooting, but like him I sometimes can't get the GPS to even connect, like the icon doesn't even show up, I don't know how to replicate the problem, but I just know its not reliable when I need it most.
    D1 & D3 & D4
    LauncherPro Plus
    GO SMS Pro
  3. Master Droid
    jimmydene84's Avatar
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    #3
    you did alot of things to try to fix it....did u try the simplest thing, run fix permissions?? thats what fixed it for me...
  4. Junior Droid
    jeff.wilson2000's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by jimmydene84 View Post
    you did alot of things to try to fix it....did u try the simplest thing, run fix permissions?? thats what fixed it for me...
    Should have mentioned that - yes, I ran fix permissions a couple of times as well. Thanks for the suggestion.
  5. Droid
    tcstakes's Avatar
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    #5
    Try downloading the app GPS Status - start it up and hit the menu button under tools choose 'manage A-GPS state' then choose reset. Reboot do it all again but this time choose download instead of reset. You can try choosing the download without rebooting first but if it doesn't do anything reboot and try.
    After you get it working, if GPS has issues you should just be able to hit the download button but sometimes you have to reset and then download.

    Good Luck!
  6. Junior Droid
    jeff.wilson2000's Avatar
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by tcstakes View Post
    Try downloading the app GPS Status - start it up and hit the menu button under tools choose 'manage A-GPS state' then choose reset. Reboot do it all again but this time choose download instead of reset. You can try choosing the download without rebooting first but if it doesn't do anything reboot and try.
    After you get it working, if GPS has issues you should just be able to hit the download button but sometimes you have to reset and then download.

    Good Luck!
    That was the deleting GPS data step I mentioned in my original post (I mistakenly called the app GPSTest), but I did it again today just to try it - no dice. Thanks for the suggestion though.
  7. Droid
    tcstakes's Avatar
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    #7
    Couple of questions - have you tried GPS in a non Gingerbread and/or non Froyo Rom? Both are known to have some GPS issues. This would help pinpoint whether it is software or hardware related.
    Have you cleared the data cache in Maps and maybe any other GPS program you are using (GPS Test, GPS Status, My Tracks, etc). You'd think a clean install would do the trick but can't hurt to try.
    Oh and in GPS Status, did you calibrate it? There are instructions to calibrate it that require turning it a few times on each axis in calibration mode.
    Hope you get it figured out

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