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Garmin GPS III Plus date problem

I have a Garmin GPS III Plus mounted on my Honda Quad. I know there are newer model, but this one fits so nice on the handle bar mount. I bought a used second unit for back-up the other day. It seem to work fine, but the date is show 21 march 1995. I can't seem to find a way to change it to the current date. I know it gets the date and time from the satellites, but the date is wrong. Can anyone help?


  • DaveM 161 Points
    Hello and welcome,

    I had a GPS III Plus it was a great unit that I hated to see die.

    There is no way I know of to set the date. However I worked on testing a lot of our equipment at work and writing new software for Y2K. The biggest problem I found was incorrect display of date after 12/31/1999. Based on this I would guess that if you updated to the latest software it would start working.
  • Boyd 2044 Points
    edited October 2014
  • Buckyjay 80 Points
    edited October 2014
    I have updated the firmware to the latest for that model. It is Ver 2.06. I know it's old, but I just love this design. I actually have 4 of them to use as spare. I keep one permanently mounted on my Quad to track my routes in the desert where I live. I guess someday I'll have to upgrade.

    Thanks for the advice. I know about the Memory battery problem, but I don't think that is causing this issue. I have had several show up with the "Memory Battery Low" message showing. But fresh batteries and a little time took care of that.
  • DaveM 161 Points
    Is the date always 21 march 1995 or will it be 22 March 1995 tomorrow? As you said it should be getting it's date from the satellites. I'm wondering if it's getting the date and displaying it wrong or not getting it at all.

    You could try taking the batteries out and waiting for the internal battery to go dead and then power back up. If it's something in memory that should clear it.

    The only other thing I can think of would be to download Ver 2.06 again and then reload it to the GPS again, in case it was corrupted during downloading or loading to the GPS.
  • I have the same problem as Buckyjay - my GPS iii+ shows the correct time and location, but wrong date, currently showing 15 Apr 1995 (today=29 Nov 14).

    To answer DaveM, every day, the date increments one day.

    This has firmware version 2.06. The last time I used it about 2 years ago, the date was correct. It has had no batteries in it for about 2 years when I recently started it up; after the first fix, it has had the wrong date ever since. I have attempted to reset the GPS several times by pressing power and menu keys, which indeed appeared to reset the unit, but it did not fix the date.

    Any suggestions as to how I can get it to the correct date?
  • DaveM 161 Points
    edited November 2014
    It looks like you have about the same offset as Buckyjay. It might even be the same if he checked the date and posted a few days later. Based on that I don't think it's corrupted software I wouldn't think that software on 2 units would become corrupted with the same error.

    It sounds like it's reading a date based on the fact it changes.

    I would try doing a reset I think the one you want is to hold down the "mark" key and power up. Note this will lose all your data and settings so have a backup of anything you would like to keep.

    You could also try holding the "Page" key down and powering up. This should cause an auto locate.

    After doing ether of the above resets take the unit where you have a clear view of the sky. Power the unit up and let it get a good fix. After it gets a good fix let it download the almanac before moving it or powering it down.

    It's been a long time since I had my GPS III+ but the way I remember it took a long time to get a fix after a reset or moving a long way powered down. Thinking about it some more after the last post it also seems like I remember the date was updated after it got a fix and the almanac was downloading. I think you will need to reset the time zone after it's reset and updates the almanac.

    Let us know if this helps. If not I will see if I can jog my memory a little more.
  • I have tried it all! Nothing works. The accuracy of the unit does not seem to be impaired. All other functions seem to be fine. Just the date is wrong. The time is correct. I guess you don't really need to know the date. If you don't know the date, you probably should not be going out in the field anyway. Probably should not even be leaving you house...
  • sussamb 959 Points
    Not sure about your model but if you can try updating the timezone map .... latest is version 15.
  • I re-set the unit 3 more times as DaveM suggested above, no change. The date now reads 18 Apr 95.

    Any other thoughts on a fix?

    (I use this unit for deer hunting and it would be nice to have the correct sunrise / sunset; also for documentation of tracklogs and waypoint creation dates).

    Since some software is able to transfer waypoints onto the GPS iii, (such as TrackMaker), I was wondering if perhaps there is software out there that could similarly transfer date information - just an idea.
  • DaveM 161 Points
    I don't think there is any way to change the date ether on the GPS or from your computer .

    I think it must have something to do with the internal battery going dead you said yours didn't have batteries in it for about 2 years and the one Buckyjay has problems with was used so I would guess was left without power for some time. It sounds like Buckyjay has one that works OK. Now that the internal battery should be charged I would try reloading the software and see if that resets anything.
  • Boyd 2044 Points
    edited December 2014
    I wonder if this is just a Y2k firmware bug? With a little googling I found an old article with a link to a non-existent government webpage. Using the wayback machine at I was able to access it however

    If I understand this correctly, if your unit did not have firmware that takes this into consideration, then the date would be shown as 1980. Now 1999 - 1980 = 19 years. And 2014 - 1995 is also 19 years. So maybe Garmin never fixed this in their firmware? Or maybe there is some newer fimware?


    GPS System Time will roll over at midnight 21-22 August 1999, 132 days before the Year 2000. On 22 August 1999, unless repaired, many GPS receivers will claim that it is 6 January 1980, 23 August will become 7 January, and so on. Accuracy of navigation may also be severely affected. Although it appears that GPS broadcasts do contain sufficient data to ensure that navigation need not be affected by rollover in 1999, it is not proven that the firmware in all receivers will handle the rollovers in stride; some receivers may claim wrong locations in addition to incorrect dates.

    Some manufacturers have already solved the problem, but some have not.
  • DaveM 161 Points
    Good find Boyd. I think it's a Y2K problem.

    I have also done some googling but all the links I thought might have something no longer work. I know that some but not all of our equipment when I was working that had a Y2K a problem was OK if the date was reset after the rollover.

    I'm thinking that the GPS III+ will work as Buckyjay has one that if I understand works and I think ver 2.06 software came out after the rollover. That's why I'm thinking that if we can force to to start over with the date by resets or reloading software it will be OK unless the internal battery runs down again and gets it back where it is now. The resets I know of don't seem to be working so the only thing I can think to try is a software reload.

    I wouldn't trust it with the date wrong unless I tested it at a known location or with a working unit. With the date wrong it's possible that the location could be wrong as the sats are not where it thinks they are. If the location is correct I think it's using the correct date but displaying it wrong.

    If it were me and the location is correct and I couldn't get the date correct I would keep using it as is and hope for an answer later.
  • Buckyjay 80 Points
    edited December 2014
    I currently have three of the GPS III plus units. All three have the latest firmware update (2.06). I've tested all three to match the location and accuracy. One unit, the one I am talking about with the wrong date, shows the same coordinates as the other two that are showing the correct date. All three match the locations within a few feet. So I think you are correct is saying that the date is just displayed incorrectly, and that it is having no effect on location. I know they are all very old, but the III plus fits very nicely mounted on my Honda Quad. I use it to keep track of my route when exploring the desert around my home. I also use it to Mark locations of oddities I find in the desert so that I can always go back for another look later on. The one with the wrong date I just use as a backup or when I leave the Quad and hike a bit. I don't want to continually remove the mounted unit all the time.
  • DaveM 161 Points
    Thanks I hope we can find an answer but if not it's good to know that it will work with the wrong date.

    Have you tried reloading the software to see if that will force it to reset the date?

    The GPS III + is a nice GPS when mine died I couldn't find a replacement that I liked anywhere near as much.
  • I never tried to reload the firmware. Maybe I'll do that this weekend.

    My first III Plus was purchased at a WalMart store in Merced California sometime around 1998 or 9. I loved that unit. I used it continuously until about two years ago. Once I created and loaded in a route to help me navigate the water channels of the San Joaquin Delta on a fishing trip. That Delta is a maze of narrow waterways that lead from Stockton California to the main Sacramento River around Rio Vista. If you don't know the area well, and I didn't, then you could get lost out there. I created the route through the main channels being careful to navigate around the many small islands. The destination was a body of water called Franks Track. Supposedly there was some good Striped Bass fishing in there. We launched the boat early in a dense fog. Couldn't see any more than about 20 feet in front of us. We followed the route in the GPS and turned when it said to turn. It took us more than an hour at 5 MPH to finally get to where the GPS said was the last Waypoint in Franks Track. When the fog finally did clear, we found that we were indeed right where we wanted to be. It was so cool to navigate out there and never see land.

    Unfortunately, I somehow lost that original III Plus out in the desert about three years ago. The ones I have now I bought off eBay. I got three of them so I could have a spare. Good little units...that's for sure.
  • Just a note to say I am having exactly the same problem. My GPS III has been in a drawer for a couple of years. I turned it on a couple of days ago to find the data showing as 21 Mar 1995 - even though the location and time were correct. Came here in the hope of finding a fix.
  • cjba850 40 Points
    Hi Guys.

    I have a GARMIN GPS III (not plus), and I had the 1995 problem (mine was showing may) that you seem to have.

    I discovered it could be a combination of the Y2K bug, and the End of Week problem. Apparently around in 1999, the way GPS was operating needed to be updated, so they changed a few things in the method. The End-Of Week issue was solved by an update for GARMIN GPS units (including the GPS III).

    I found a link at that (near the bottom) spoke about the end-of-week problem. The Readme file from Garmin (and the Zip file) are linked, but it links to:


    Zip File:

    I know this says GPS38, but it seems it was a generic problem in many units (one program to fix all), and the software seems OK on my GPS III

    I had the serial cable for the PC, so I powered up my GPS, attached it to the computer, and ran the GPSEOW file on my PC. After I got the serial port working in (COM1 - COM4, rather than COM5 I had by default), it connected, and updated my GPS. It now has Jan 2015 (correctly)!

    It does need to autolocate after the update, so having an antenna and the sky handy is useful, but that seemed to behave OK after it got a fix.

    So, even with my Win8.1 PC, and a USB-Serial adapter in 2015. I can get it to update fine.

    Hope that helps someone else.

  • alanb 557 Points
    edited January 2015
    cjba850 said:

    I have a GARMIN GPS III (not plus), and I had the 1995 problem (mine was showing may) that you seem to have....So, even with my Win8.1 PC, and a USB-Serial adapter in 2015. I can get it to update fine.

    ... on a 18 or 19 year old device ... remarkable!

  • mr_zurkon 0 Points
    edited February 2015
    Just confirming - I also had the 1995 problem on a GPS III Pilot I just recieved, followed Cjba850’s links here to uploaded the date, and it worked perfectly - did need a fair bit of ‘sky’ after the upload, initially decided it was 2016 but corrected.

    Used a USB - to serial and loose wires between the GPS and the Serial cable… a ‘lash-up’ I guess - pinout as follows

    Serial GPS III
    ------ ---------
    GND ------ Negative
    Tx --------- R
    Rx --------- T

    Now my question is - can I put road software on this thing - I don't fly :)
  • DaveM 161 Points
    If by road software you mean maps the answer is yes. It has limited memory so you will need to load sections of maps. If you go to a different area you will need to delete them and load a different section.
  • Oh my God! Give the man a cigar. It worked on my III Plus easy as pie. Can't believe how long I've had that problem and how easy it was to fix. It did show 2016 at first as indicated, but corrected as soon as it acquired the current position. I did a "manual located" to speed things up. Fantastic.
  • tchanter 0 Points
    Thank you very much! Worked like a charm on my GPS76 and GPS II Plus!
  • Many thx for the steer, Boyd and cjba850 - your '20 yr offset' turned out to be 19yrs7mths16days (Aug22 1999 - Jan6 1980) which when I did the arithmetic is the same as the difference showing on my 1998 vintage GPS12 turned on today for first time in many years (displayed 19Oct 1995 and today is 4June 2015). That told me it was the EOW problem so following your links it was a cinch to download the EOW prog, upload the correct date, turn off the GPS and turn it back on to subsequently correct its date......only it didn't, twice! boohoohoo....but what the hell, I don't mind Groundhog Daying in '95, better than 2015 for me anyways
  • Buzby27 0 Points
    I received a very helpful email from Garmin. I also used the EOW patch and followed the directions below. Everything works perfectly.
    The problem you are encountering is due to the fact that the GPS III Pilot devices have a small rechargeable battery that is responsible for maintaining the contents of RAM and the contents of the internal real time clock and that battery is getting very old by now. What that means is that if the GPS receiver is not operated frequently enough, it will not have any idea of what date it is and it will rely on the program default value that is programmed into the firmware. Then when it gets the current GPS week number from the GPS satellites, it will choose the date that is closest to the program default value that also uses the same GPS week number. The GPS week number is a 10 bit representation, so the maximum amount of time that can be represented by the GPS week number is 1024 weeks. The result is that ever since March, 2015, any GPS III Pilot that does not have a current date in its real time clock will calculate a date that is exactly 1024 weeks in the past.

    The solution is to first charge up that internal battery by operating the GPS receiver for about 2 days continuously. This can be done without an antenna connected or with an antenna connected. The next step is to power down the GPS receiver and power it back up. Then reconnect the antenna and let the GPS receiver get a position fix. It will then calculate the correct date. In order to collect complete ephemeris and almanac data, it's advisable to allow the GPS receiver to continuously track satellites with a valid position fix for at least 35 minutes.

  • I have a GPS 12 that had the same end of week issue affecting the date. The software update that cjba850 referred to worked well on this unit earlier this morning. Went from 8 Jan 96 to 24 Aug 15 after installing the software and restarting. Not sure if I would have found the solution on my own so many thanks to the users within this forum.
  • I have a GPS III+. The software update to which cjba850 referred work perfectly for me! I now have the correct date. THANKS cjba850!
  • Hi All, I'm new here and did try searching for my problem with no luck. Seeing as you guys did such a good job in resolving my date problem, I thought I'd give you another challenge! It's a GPS III Pilot that shows the incorrect magnetic variation when set to Auto Mag (Setup, Units, Heading). In my case it is showing "W015", whereas my other units show "W018". The Garmin agent says he has never seen this before, and that it must be a firmware glitch that he can't fix. Has anyone heard of this before, and hopefully a solution?
  • privet01 231 Points
    edited April 2016
    Unless your gps also has a magnetic flux sensor, then I'd have to think that the magnetic variation is just the chart being out of date. If your gps does have a magnetic flux sensor, then you still have the issue of local physical disturbances.

    Magnetic variation changes over the years.
  • I doubt the GPS III Pilot has a flux sensor, but could be wrong. I think most likely the chart is out of date. But how to get up to date charts? The startup screen says "International Land Data 1.01 1996 Garmin Corporation"
  • privet01 231 Points
    I don't know if you can get a map update for a unit that old. Maybe another forum member knows, or you can check with Garmin. If you registered it with the myGarmin website, it should tell you.

    Garmin has been moving to Garmin Express to handle updates and as a go between for letting their servers communicate to your Garmin devices. I don't know if they use that at myGarmin instead of the old Garmin Communicator, but if they do, then Garmin Express may not support your old device.
  • Nope, can't get it from Garmin, although I'm trying different avenues - Africa, Europe and USA. Unit has passed it's sell by date! With a bit of luck a member here will have a fix. Thanks for your help.
  • Many thanks to Cjba850 your solution fixed my Garmin III Pilot.
    My problem was the GPS worked but had the wrong date, 1997.
    I used a Plugable USB to serial adapter, on my HP Laptop running windows 10.
    Connected to GPS with standard Garmin serial cable.
    Downloaded the file, changed the port to comm3 (for me) clicked update time.
    Had GPS locate sats.
    Worked a treat.
    I now have a fully working Pilot III, an old but great GPS for backup when flying.

  • I also thank Cjba850 for the solution. Bought a used gps III+ on ebay because the gps II on my boat only works on supplemental power, not batteries. The gps III+ had the date problem which I cured using the posted solution, all is happiness.
    There was a question on magvar above. It could be (speculation) that garmin uses the nga model to generate magnetic variation from true. It is a three dimensional curve fit which is supposed to estimate magvar within one degree world wide. It uses constant coefficients in the curve fit which are updated every five years. See "The US/UKWorld Magnetic Model for 2010-2015" on the internet. I use a "c" code subroutine version to generate an AF form 70 type document for flying, and have updated the coefficient file 3 times now in 15 years. I use this document on my kneeboard for time, distance heading and fuel information while airborne. I use a Gpsmap 196 while flying.
  • I have to say - it's always great to see an email from this thread - it's a great feeling when someone else stumbles by and finds a new way to use their old GPS. I hoped the fix would help someone - and it seems it may have. Glad to have helped in some way. :) Thanks for the kind words too.

    For me, my motorbike still gets around with the GPS III, and with a new motherboard battery, it's happy as can be. Probably a little out due to the magnetic shift (garygobel that C subroutine sounds interesting - post a link if you can), but that hasn't stopped me - I'm just using it for speed/distance/relative position/travel time/etc anyway.

    Keep on travelling.

  • The link is:
    It is an interesting site, and amazing to me that magnetic variation changes as much as it does over time. It is usually just a couple of degrees over the 5 year coefficient cycle, and I probably can't hold heading that well anyway, but over 10 or 15 years it can really build up. Remember that it is a curve fit model, and an approximation although reasonably accurate of the actual variation at the locations of interest.

  • jimlp1 0 Points
    I came here because I have a used Garmin GPS III I got from It had the same Date problem as those listed above in this article. My problem is solved now and today I used the GPS like it was brand new..! Two months ago I bought some Duracell Quantum batteries for it and set them in the box until today, I put them in the GPS and it would not power up..! The new Batteries were dead. I put 4 regular Duracell's in it "AA"'s and it worked but the date displayed in the 1990's. The date is set by the Satellites so there's no option to set it or correct it. Upon returning from desert hiking this afternoon, I started to Google the date problem. I found this site: that explains and corrects the "date" on Garmin GPS III and Garmin GPS III+ devices. Go to the site and download the GpsEow_v1.20_PC_Software. Using your Garmin programming cable insert one end into the 4 pin socket on the GPS and the other end into an available USB port. Open the program and it'll tell you which Comm port your in, mine happened to Comm Port 3, yours may vary. ..follow the short instructions on the screen, and tada, it's fixed. It took about 5 seconds. Turn the GPS off, disconnect the cable and go outside and turn the GPS back On with a full view of the open sky....let the Satellites located your GPS and the date will now be current...! Hopes this helps everyone...!
  • Hi All,
    Reverted to the web to find out why my Garmin III plus date would not update the time after being in the draw for some years. Had the "internal battery low" message up and thought it really was the end, it did finally recharge and all was fine but the date was really annoying me! Found this site and @cjba850 response and hey presto updated the date through the download, magic! All is good in the world of a Garmin Gps III plus.
    One thing I would mention, ensure that the III plus does not have access to satellites when installing the EoW update, once installed allow the receiver to "Search the Sky" to get a position fix once the EoW software is installed. Date then updates to, in my case 31/12/2016

    Once again, many thanks @cjba850

    Jim :-)
  • alanb 557 Points
    edited January 2017
    I just find it amazing that a 17 or 18 year old GPS is still usable and/or useful ... sort of like using a Windows 98 computer with a 40 MB hard drive. That said it is great that you are able to get solutions through the forum users on a device this old.
  • I too have a GPS III Plus with wrong date. When trying to download the above fix my computer immediately see it as malware and halts/deletes it. I am running Windows 10, could that be the problem? I can turn off the Windows Defender that halts it but hate to corrupt a computer if something is wrong. any ideas appreciated
  • privet01 231 Points
    What is reporting it as malware? I just downloaded the file and I did not get any messages.
  • Windows Defender, the default anti-virus for windows 10. I'll move to a backup computer with Windows 10 and turn off Defender and see what happens. That computer has 2 hard drives, one with Windows 10 and the other Windows 98 to run old programs offline that aren't compatible with the new stuff. Can't even download it to a thumb drive to move to the backup. It gets flagged as Malware as soon as I click on the link. I can risk the Windows 10 backup drive but not the Windows 98 as it has backup files for 3 computers and stays offline. Thanks for helping. Will advise as I learn more.
  • privet01 231 Points
    That's interesting. I have Windows Defender turned on too. Latest updates. I just tried with both Chrome and Firefox and didn't get anything on any of the links I used to get to the download file.
  • Took some doing but I got it done. Had to use second computer with ALL antivirus disabled to get the file to save to a thumb drive, then moved to old XP computer not connected to the net but it connects to the GPS easiest and updated the file and all is well. Thanks, everyone.
  • Here's another thanks going out to Cjba850. Now my recently acquired Garmin GPS V doesn't think it is still living in '98. Now on to the next difficulty, finding someone with a Ram mount for it so I can mount it on my XR650R.
  • Buckyjay 80 Points
    edited April 2018
    I know this thread is quite old, but I wanted to make a comment anyway. I am still using my old Garmin GPSIII Plus handhelds on my Quad. I now have three of them, and all three are still working just fine. The mount I have for my Quad works perfectly. I can't remember where I got it, but it was on the Internet somewhere. My cousin bought a GPS V the same way. He is also using the same mount to put it on his Quad. On our first trip out to a ghost town with it, he had problems getting it to say turned on. It kept shutting off every few minutes. This was about two years ago, so I don't remember the exact details. But the problem turned out to be a setting in the unit. He had to turn off something in the program. It was something with letters like "EWOS" or some combination like that. I just don't remember now. But once he turned that off, the unit has worked perfectly ever since.
  • alanb 557 Points
    edited April 2018
    You are probably thinking of "EGNOS", which are geo stationary satellites that augment the normal GPS satellite constellation and help provide corrections to increase accuracy. It used to be talked about frequently in the forums, but I seldom hear it mentioned any more, although AFAIK they are still in operation. I don't think the EGNOS satellites are "visible" to GPS receivers in all locations on earth.
  • Buckyjay 80 Points
    That could have been what it was. I just know it had four letters in it in some combination. Too long ago for this old mind!
  • Boyd 2044 Points
    EGNOS stands for European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. Here in the US we have a similar system called WAAS for Wide Area Augmentation System.

    My guess is that there is a menu option called something like WAAS/EGNOS that will select whichever system is relevant based on your location. Anyway, I don't think that this is something that would inherently cause a shutdown. Most likely it's a bug in the firmware of the old devices.
  • Buckyjay 80 Points
    Yes...yes...that's it...WAAS. My cousin had to turn that off to prevent his GPS V from shutting off all the time. Once he turned that off, he never had a problem again. That was two years ago, and he uses it all the time.
  • Thank you to all who helped me solve my date problems with my lll Plus. I had to get a replacement for the one that has been hard wired in my truck for 18 years and never turned off. Still working good but the display is going bad. ^:)^
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