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centuridude    9

I am new to this forum and have recently bought a 2009 Avalanche C4. This particular model has a Mercmonitor monitor system and a GPS100 GPS unit.

 

The speedometer is driven from the GPS. What I have found is sometimes (not always) the GPS can take 10+ minutes to acquire a signal, thus making my speedometer inoperable during that time. This happens with the boat out in the open without any obstructions to the sky.

 

I had a conversation with customer support at Mercury and they claim that they haven't seen this problem before. However, they did say that there is a battery inside the GPS unit that may be bad, causing the GPS to take longer to lock onto a signal. They recommended that I replace the GPS100 with their current model GPS400.

 

Before I go and drop $400 on this new GPS unit, I wanted to check here and see if others have had a similar problem. If so, what do you do to fix it?

 

 

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WakeDirt    21

I am new to this forum and have recently bought a 2009 Avalanche C4. This particular model has a Mercmonitor monitor system and a GPS100 GPS unit.

 

The speedometer is driven from the GPS. What I have found is sometimes (not always) the GPS can take 10+ minutes to acquire a signal, thus making my speedometer inoperable during that time. This happens with the boat out in the open without any obstructions to the sky.

 

I had a conversation with customer support at Mercury and they claim that they haven't seen this problem before. However, they did say that there is a battery inside the GPS unit that may be bad, causing the GPS to take longer to lock onto a signal. They recommended that I replace the GPS100 with their current model GPS400.

 

Before I go and drop $400 on this new GPS unit, I wanted to check here and see if others have had a similar problem. If so, what do you do to fix it?

 

 

I have a 09 Avy, and have the exact same issue. Where is your puck located? Mine is behind my gauges in the dash. I pulled the speedo and tach and merc monitor mount and saw it back there. I was going to relocate it to the exterior of the boat, in front of the driver windshield. There is some extra cord to move it, but of course my sub is in the way and have to pull it also. :rant:

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WakeDirt    21

When I called Mercury they said to move it. I was also suspecting that my tint 5% (like limo) is interfering? But the merc guy said probably not. Do you have a link to the GPS unit that you would use to replace the existing? Do you have a pic of the puck you currently have?

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centuridude    9

My GPS "puck" is located behind the MercMonitor inside the dash, probably in the same place as your.. I do have pics, but I don't have access to them right now, so I will have to post them later.

 

Here is a link to a GPS 400 on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mercury-Marine-SmartCraft-GPS-400-/261942062864

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WakeDirt    21

Did they say if it would be "plug and play?"

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centuridude    9

Wakedirt,

 

I got the impression that the GPS 400 is plug and play, but didn't ask specifically. It would be worth asking before making the investment.

 

I did pull my puck out a couple of weeks ago and placed it above the windshield for testing. In that case, it would lock in just over a minute. However, I am not totally convinced that it is just a location problem. I did open up my puck and found the battery that is in there. It is a tiny watch-style battery that would need to be unsoldered to be replaced. From the literature that I have found on the GPS100, it sounds like it should lock up very quickly if you are doing a "hot start" on the boat (meaning that the GPS was locked just recently). Apparently the battery is used to keep record of the satellites that it was last locked to, making it quicker to lock the next time it is powered up. So if that battery is dead or weak, then you lose that record and it needs to start from scratch locating satellites again -- hence the long acquire time. At least that is my theory...

 

I'd be interested to hear your results if you decide to move the puck.

 

I just noticed that you had already started a thread on this a few days ago. Sounds like it may be a common problem.

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WakeDirt    21

I wonder if it would be that hard to swap the battery... def worth a shot instead of shelling 400. How does the puck mount? Remove the three screws, then do you have to unthread the puck or does it pull straight up?

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centuridude    9

When I opened up the puck, I was intending on replacing the battery. However, once I saw how small it was and couldn't identify it to buy a replacement, I decided to hold off on replacing it. It will be very tricky to replace it as it is soldered in and it is difficult to get to the pads to unsolder it. I will likely pull it out again in a few weeks (once my summer starts to slow down) and see if I can replace it.

 

How long have you had your Avalanche? Has the slow lock time always been a problem for you? If not, then that would point to a battery problem in the puck.

 

Removing the 3 screws on the bottom side of the dash will allow the puck to become free. You will then need to pull up on the puck (it is not threaded) and remove the connecting cable to remove it completely. The connecting cables looks to be about 5-6 feet long.

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WakeDirt    21

Slow lock has been, but the boat is new to me also. I will be mounting exterior regardless, I think that's how the new boats are, and technology has only improved so keeping it in the dash seems silly, I just don't want to pull my damn sub box, it's tight

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WakeDirt    21

Update:

So I relocated the unit to the front drivers side by the windshield, and it seems to update with more consistency, but not as fast as it "should." Does the boat like to be moving for it to calibrate? I want to call Merc and see if the new unit would be able to use the existing 5 pin, that's what I meant by plug and play. I didn't have to pull the sub box, I was able to contort and get the unit out.

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centuridude    9

I am almost positive that the GPS 400 is plug and play as far as the cabling goes. Where I am not certain if it is plug and play would be the software difference of the much newer GPS unit interfacing with the older software (my is V5) of the MercMonitor. I think a call to Mercury would be in order to make sure that they are compatible software-wise. I do know that Mercury will NOT update the MercMonitor to make it a current version (it is something like V7 now).

 

A stationary GPS is going to acquire signal quicker than a moving GPS. So it will be good for you to test the new GPS location when the boat is moving.

 

Please post a picture of the re-located puck. If it was a pretty simply change, then I will probably do it too.

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WakeDirt    21

So I have been doing some testing. Letting the key be off for a while, then turning it back on, the average sat pickup is MUCH quicker and more consitant. Basically a minute, he'll I can't launch my boat that fast so I am good with it for now. It hasn't been "lost" since relocation. PM me your phone umber I will text the pic, it says it's too large to upload here, and I'm too lazy to fix that.

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WakeDirt    21

Here it is, I drilled a 1" hole, and attached it via silicone. If it works and I like it as is I will attach with 4200.

post-427-0-53978500-1438969480_thumb.jpg

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centuridude    9

Looks really good. Glad to hear that it was a pretty easy modification. Let us know how it works out when you get out on the water.

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WakeDirt    21

Will do, but for now I am comfortable saying that relocation is key.

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Cenuridude

I know it's been a few years since you and Wakedirt have been talking but sounds like I have the exact boat as you and exact problem as you. I have put up with it for 9 years. Same thing I talked to everyone  and they said they have never had that problem before. Did you ever remedy the problem? My gps is located under the dash behind the gauges. 

I finally talked to someone at a boat show that knew what I was talking about. He asked me if I have ever had the files upgraded. Apparently you can download software and there is supposed to be a USB port under the dash??

Haven't tried it yet as it is still winter here. Lol 

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InfinitySurf    306

You can get your software updated thru that usb port, any dealer can get the update you need and do it....sometimes they will even download it onto your usb key so you have it in case you need to reload it in the future, fairly easy process. You may also be able to email Fineline directly with your HIN# to get the update you need emailed to you so you can download it to a USB key. I think relocation is going to be your best bet to solve GPS connection issue tho. It's possible, but seems unlikely that a software update will speed up your GPS connection. Over the years, I have seen multiple people talk about having this issue (seems like interference was usually the issue due to it being under the helm and the puck needed to be relocated) factory also started mounting the GPS pucks in front of windshield like above pic showed (that is how my 2014 boat came from factory, puck just looks different). I think under the helm, there is just enough interference where it takes a while.

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centuridude    9

I did end up replacing the battery inside the puck, but that didn't do anything to fix the problem with the "slow satellite acquire".  So, out of frustration, I ended up replacing the GPS puck.  That took care of the problem and now it doesn't have any problem acquiring satellites.  It will acquire within a couple of seconds.

My Avalanche was a 2009 and I am pretty sure there was NOT a USB port (or RS232 port) on the MercMonitor for software updates. 

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centuridude    9

Oh - I should also mention that I did not relocate the puck when I replaced it.  I left it in the original location behind the dash.

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