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GPS Time (Week) Reset, 4/6/2019

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  • GPS Time (Week) Reset, 4/6/2019

    Most of you have probably heard in the news media that the week parameter in the GPS satellites was limited to 1024 weeks and today (4/6/2019) was the day that the week data was rolling over to zero in GPS satellite communications. Devices which were not programmed to accept this reset were subject to malfunction of the time and various other problems including complete inability to function.

    I went outside today and turned on my 11-year old Garmin GPSMAP 76Cx (bought in 2008) and the time, satellite screen, and location came up normally. I took a short out-back walk (0.9 mile) with data collection interval at 30-50 feet. The resulting tracklog was normal. The out and back points matched each other normally. I conclude that my specific unit was programmed to accept the week change without a problem.

    Thank you, Garmin.

  • #2
    You'd be lost without your Garmin.
    I might be kidding...


    • CatskillKev
      CatskillKev commented
      Editing a comment
      In answer to your question, yes, I think a carpenter would be quite helpless without a hammer, to fix his mistakes, if nothing else.

    • JoeCedar
      JoeCedar commented
      Editing a comment
      I take this GPS on fewer than 1% of my hikes, and then mostly for safety in winter. As the saying goes "...getting back is mandatory".

    • CatskillKev
      CatskillKev commented
      Editing a comment
      Not sure if the keyword is "this", since I think that you carry a GPS 100%.

  • #3
    Thanks, Joe. I read about the "week counter rollover" in the news a month or so ago, and contacted Garmin to ask them about any impact on my InReach SE. They said that the InReach SE was first manufactured after 2011, so there would be no impact. So it's good confirmation that your slightly older GPS is also not impacted.


    • #4
      The previous week function rollover was August 21, 1999, before the U.S. government in 2000 removed "selective availability", which degraded the quality and accuracy of the GPS signal. This change greatly improved accuracy of consumer GPS devices and paved the way for development of the consumer devices we use today. It makes sense (if it was technically possible) that Garmin and other manufacturers would include in the software the capability to deal with the next rollover.

      We will probably see in the news which devices did NOT survive the rollover.


      • #5

        I came here to write about the GPS epoch rollover but see that Joe has already beat me to the post. I'll just add a few details for those who have devices that are affected by it.

        I turned on my circa 2008 Garmin Rino 530 HCx and, for a fleeting moment it displayed today's date, then it displayed August 21, 1999.

        To fix it, I installed a software update.
        • Go to Garmin's Support page:
        • Enter your GPS model and let it search for it.
        • You'll be presented with the Support page for your GPS receiver.
        • Click 'Software'.
        • You'll need to download installer software. New models use Garmin Express whereas old models, like the 530 HCx, use Garmin WebUpdater.
        • Download and install Garmin WebUpdater.
        • Connect your GPS receiver to your PC via its USB cable.
        • Run Garmin WebUpdater.
        • In my case, it claimed my device already had the latest available software.
        • However, if you continue it will indicate there is a 'GPS Update' available.
        • Select it and allow it to install the update.
        • When done, the GPS receiver will restart.
        • Initially there will be no date. Give it time to establish a connection with the GPS satellite constellation and 'do its thing'.
        • Some time later, your trusty old GPS receiver will have the correct date again.

        If you're interested to learn more about the epoch rollover, here's a helpful article: GPS rollover event could have some side-effects.

        Looking for Views!


        • #6
          Trail Boss, great to see you found that Garmin has an update for older units.

          Interesting that two models of the same approximate age gave different results. Mine is still working correctly today, a day later. I did install a couple of firmware updates through the years when it was still supported by Garmin but don't know if the updates contained this fix.


          • #7
            I have two Garmin. Appear to be OK. Both got date and time correct and found my location.
            Oregon 600

            Unsure of how many software updates I've gotten.


            • #8
              Garmin Oregon 450t (c. 2014) --- date/time/location all OK
              Garmin eTrex (c. 2006) --- date/time/location all OK

              And just to be different and find an example of one that didn't work.... The Cobra 100 (c. 2003) that I bought used ten years ago on eBay for $30 as a backup to the eTrex turned on with the correct date/time/location, then within two minutes displayed "low battery" and shut off despite having used new batteries, and now will not turn back on. Cannot say for sure if the unit is old/broken or the malfunction was because of this week reset/rollover.


              • #9
                Fenix 5X [Sapphire] is good to go.
                My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.