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Is my Nuvi 255 defective?

I bought a 255 (non widescreen) off a guy on Craigslist (well, it says 255 but it has traffic) . Today was more or less the first time I tried this Nuvi on the road - a trip of about 30 minutes. At the same time, I was comparing it to my Nuvi 755t (and also iGo for Android on the smartphone).

Both the 755 and 255 have had the latest firmware updates. Both have the latest maps (2012.10 on the 255). Both were configured alike (same avoidances, etc). Both positioned on the dash next to each other. At home, outside my door, the 255 found satellites a few seconds faster than the 755. But later in the day, when we started the drive, the 255 was out of commission for a long time, calculating the route. Throughout the trip it often seemed to get stuck at 80%, then I reboot thinking it may not go further. (Also during this trip, my 755 rebooted several times by itself!). Sometimes the 255 finishes recalculating, then starts recalculating from 0% again! Eventually it manages to surpass 80% and finishes calculating.

But the trouble doesn't end there. When I checked the itinerary, it had me going somewhere that was nowhere near my destination! (And yes, I made sure I entered the address correct). Before I could find out where, it recalculated. Secondly, the calculations are imprecise. The time of arrival was WAY way off (hours ahead of what it should be). Then, during the route it eventually catches up with the more precise time of arrival on the 755t, until by the END of the trip there, they were more or less matched. (At one point at the end of the trip back, the 255 ETA was slightly more accurate than the 755). I noticed near the end of the trip, the 255 doesn't always know what street it's on. It's a little slow sometimes in catching up to what street you've turned on to. Not including the ETA, the 255 worked correctly about 50% of the time we were en route.

Very disappointing. :( It's maddening to hear the 255 say "Recalculating route" dozens of times in a half hour trip. I read that the SIRF receiver on the 255 wasn't as good as the receiver on the 755. The test outside the house seemed to suggest otherwise. The on-road test told a different story. But there's "not as good" and then there's "useless". So I don't know if this is typical of the 255 or even the entire 200 series? Can it be possible for one unit to be defective like this? Any way to confirm such a defect?

Comments

  • I have a 255w and a 260 (the one that is basically a 255) and don't have any problems like your having.

    Have you tried a hard reset?
    Have you hooked it up to My Garmin?

    I am also curious as to the maps. A 255 with 2012.10 maps is odd. Either they had a lifetime subscription and updated it or bought a update for it in the last 4-5 months.
    I guess if they bought it in the past 6 months it would have been eligible for a free update, but it is getting hard to find a 255 new or refurb.
    Not acusing you, but the authenticity of the maps is a little questionable from what info you gave, and could be a source of your problem. They could also be completly legit and not an issue at all.

    Also, is the map on the unit or an SD card?
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Pauly, you have some strange GPS issues with both your 255 and 755 (see: http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/comment/162255/;highlight=#162255). I have a 205 and what you describe is certainly not normal. There are many, many happy owners of the 2x5 series - it's one of the most rock-solid that Garmin has ever produced and probably was on the market longer than any other series (just recently discontinued).

    Satellite reception is the kind of issue that might put your position off by 50 feet, and it doesn't cause the kind of problems you describe. Have you gone to Garmin.com to register your unit? That may provide a clue as to whether something weird is going on with the map (eg: whether it was legally purchased)

    I would also do a hard reset since it can clear up strange issues like this sometime. All I can say is that this is a good example for others of why you should buy units from authorized dealers and not questionable sources like Craigslist. If it was a Garmin authorized refurb, you would be covered by warranty.
  • Ok, so it looks like there's something awry with my 255. I will try a hard reset, thanks. But I still can't understand how one particular unit can be less precise or performing than another. I just finished telling my wife yesterday, when she said "perhaps this is why the guy was selling it", that that was impossible! Its like two different units of the exact same model, software version and configuration, calculating different routes for the exact same address. No, not even. It's like an electronic math calculator giving you "7 + 5 = 13"!

    blupupher: If by "MyGarmin" you mean the web updater, yes I hooked it up to the web updater and had it updated to the latest firmware. Why is a 255 with the latest maps "odd"? People don't update their maps unless they have current production models? I have no idea whether the map is on the unit or sd card, and not sure how to know. (I just got the unit, so I haven't even checked yet if there is an sd card in it!) But I also dont understand how the maps could be the source of the problem? I was not driving in any newly developed areas, and the 255 did find the same streets as the 755. It just didn't always find it as quickly. If anything, all this seems to point to a weak sat receiver. (Excessive recalculating could be due to losing the sat signal, no?). But its the same sat receiver as all other 255's, and it seems to me it either works or somehow doesn't, but how could the sat receiver be slightly defective?!

    Boyd: "Satellite reception is the kind of issue that might put your position off by 50 feet, and it doesn't cause the kind of problems you describe."

    My thinking is that like a radio, if it loses satellite reception, it loses information. It loses track of where you are and has to recalculate in order to recalibrate your new position with the route you programmed. e.g. Both units showed the exact same streets as I was driving, but the ETA on the 255 was off by several hours.

    I kind of suspected the 255's can not possibly be this bad, as they seemed to have a good reputation. In fact, I remember purchasing one once and using it briefly, before opting for the 755 model. The issues with the 755 are totally different, note. They are more like built-in defects.
  • Was the TMC turned on? In the Avoidances was Traffic with a tick? If so that may explain why your nuvi 155 wanted suddenly to recalculate your route. IMHO this tick is better to be unticked. You can perform the advices blupupher suggested like Master reset. Many times it helps.
  • Was the TMC turned on? In the Avoidances was Traffic with a tick? If so that may explain why your nuvi 155 wanted suddenly to recalculate your route. IMHO this tick is better to be unticked. You can perform the advices blupupher suggested like Master reset. Many times it helps.
    Thanks, I found out how to do a master reset on this thing, did that, and I will untick Traffic (and ALL options under Enabled) the next time I venture out and test the unit on the road. I can't recall with certainty if Traffic was ticked yesterday, but I do know that I configured both 255 and 755 Nuvis with the same options. So that still means the 255 went haywire, while the 755 remained relatively calm. It also doesn't explain why the ETA told me that a half hour drive will take 6 hours, or why I only remember seeing the traffic icon green. But if indeed unticking Traffic is the solution to the problem, that would mean that the Traffic feature is useless on the 255. I have no idea if this unit has lifetime traffic or if the seller had a subscription, but it would be a bummer if we couldn't use the traffic option. :(
  • t923347 432 Points
    According to the Garmin website, there wasn't a 255W with Lifetime Traffic, or at least there is no model called 255WT which would be how they normally would name a unit with Lifetime Traffic (T).

    There is a 265WT listed however. The only difference between this and the 255 would be that the 6 indicates the unit has Bluetooth support while the 5 doesn't.
  • kenp 92 Points
    ...But if indeed unticking Traffic is the solution to the problem, that would mean that the Traffic feature is useless on the 255. I have no idea if this unit has lifetime traffic or if the seller had a subscription, but it would be a bummer if we couldn't use the traffic option. :(


    Traffic is much more useful if traffic avoidances are off. Traffic data are not necessarily reliable, so it's better to stay in the loop and not let the unit react to it automatically. I have not had as bad an experience as you described, but the most bizarre routings I've had were from traffic avoidance enabled. Traffic is definitely useful with automatic avoidances off.

    Ken
  • kenp: Ok, so do not use "avoid traffic" for greater reliability. I agree traffic data is not necessarily reliable, from my experience with the 755t. But then when you see a traffic incident, how do you know what route to take to avoid it?

    t923347: The "W" refers to widescreen and mine is not a widescreen. It just says "255" at the bottom, but I call it a 255t, because my understanding is the regular plain jane 255 normally doesnt have a traffic receiver. This one did, it's built into the cable.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    No idea how it was originally purchased, but you won't find a model that says 255t, or 265t or 265wt anywhere on the device itself. The model names are the same regardless of whether a traffic receiver is bundled with them. None of the Nuvi's have a "t" on the device itself, it would only be on the original packaging.

    The GTM 35 receiver could have easily been purchased separately, or maybe as part of a bundle from the original vendor. I'm not certain, but have read that if you purchase the receiver separately, the included subscription to Navteq will NOT have ads. So if you don't see any ads when using the traffic receiver, that probably means it was purchased separately.

    https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=68325
  • kenp 92 Points
    kenp: Ok, so do not use "avoid traffic" for greater reliability. I agree traffic data is not necessarily reliable, from my experience with the 755t. But then when you see a traffic incident, how do you know what route to take to avoid it?
    If it finds traffic on your route, it will say "Traffic ahead" and the icon will turn yellow or red. Touch the icon, then the "Traffic on route" icon on the next screen, and it will give details. You can then choose avoid or ignore.

    You can also display a list of all incidents it has, or show a traffic map with problems marked in red or yellow.

    On what Garmin sold... I believe they did sell a 255T bundled with the receiver. Garmin never directly listed a 255WT, but some vendors (like Best Buy) did sell a 255WT package. I bought my 255WT at Best Buy. It came in a box labeled 255WT, which contained a 255W and a GTM25.

    If you go into the setup screens while the traffic receiver is plugged in, you should be able to see what service(s) it's subscribed to.

    Ken
  • Boyd: If you're referring to the plug, it says its a GTM 25. I'm assuming its not a lifetime subscription, but as I'm not the original owner, I can't know. But I do know that thankfully, I've never actually seen ads on my 755t. I guess you have to be in the States to see them. We're a little less capitalistic here up north. :)

    kenp: Thanks for the good tip on traffic avoidance. I will untick "avoid traffic" and just try that next time.
  • IIRC Best Buy had a Black Friday package deal on the 255 with bundled traffic receiver perhaps two years ago.
  • ...

    blupupher: If by "MyGarmin" you mean the web updater, yes I hooked it up to the web updater and had it updated to the latest firmware. Why is a 255 with the latest maps "odd"? People don't update their maps unless they have current production models? I have no idea whether the map is on the unit or sd card, and not sure how to know. (I just got the unit, so I haven't even checked yet if there is an sd card in it!) But I also dont understand how the maps could be the source of the problem? I was not driving in any newly developed areas, and the 255 did find the same streets as the 755. It just didn't always find it as quickly. If anything, all this seems to point to a weak sat receiver. (Excessive recalculating could be due to losing the sat signal, no?). But its the same sat receiver as all other 255's, and it seems to me it either works or somehow doesn't, but how could the sat receiver be slightly defective?!
    ...
    The reason I mentioned the maps is that map updates cost money. As far as I know, the 255 was never offered with a Lifetime maps, so in order for it to have the 2012.10 maps 1 of 5 things occurred.

    1. The unit was bought new (or refurb from authorized dealer) sometime between around January and July/August of this year to be eligible for the free Garmin map update to the 2012.10 map. (possible, I see they are still available on Amazon.com starting around $90)

    2. The previous owner purchased a one time map update (either download or DVD) between ~ March and August of this year and installed it on the unit.

    3. The previous owner had purchased a lifetime map update from Garmin and updated it.

    4. The previous owner bought a Garmin SD card with 2012.10 maps and left it in the unit.

    5. The previous owner downloaded a pirated map and put it on the unit before selling it.

    Number 5 could cause the problems your having if it is a "bad" map.

    It may say in MyGarmin when the unit was first registered (I think, the unit was either never registered or the previous owner deleted it from their account before selling is the only way you can get it to now register in your name).

    If the 2012.10 map is on a regular micro SD card (not a Garmin branded one), that increases the chance of it being pirated (but an update from online and I think a DVD copy could also be placed on a SD card).

    But as your wife said, maybe this is why the guy was selling it in the first place?
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Should be easy enough to find out.
    Have you gone to Garmin.com to register your unit? That may provide a clue as to whether something weird is going on with the map (eg: whether it was legally purchased)
    If you can't register then it is still registered to somebody else...
  • kenp 92 Points
    IIRC Best Buy had a Black Friday package deal on the 255 with bundled traffic receiver perhaps two years ago.
    Have you been tracking me? :)

    That's exactly when and where I bought mine. Widescreen version. Good deal because it was a weekend special, not just Friday, so I didn't risk getting trampled. I had to spring for another $60 to upgrade to Clear Channel traffic. Been happy enough with this combo that I just invested in lifetime maps.

    Ken
  • Well I got a chance to take the 255 out for a test again today, to try out the tips. I disabled ALL avoidances, including traffic. This time I had it on battery power, so the traffic receiver was not even hooked up, and it could not be an issue. I took a 15-20 minute drive, in an area that is very well established. The Garmin should not have a problem with this, but it did. In the first 5 minutes of the drive, it recalculated on several occasions, as though it had changed its mind about which way it wanted us to go. Even though we were following the route as prescribed. The rest of the way it was more or less ok. So although it did not go "recalc haywire" as it did on the first trip, this was still annoying enough that I would not call it acceptable. It seems to find the satellites fast enough though.

    I checked the map version since there was a lot of talk about that here, and I was wrong. I have 2011.10 maps on the unit, not 2012. I guess I misheard what the seller told me and presumed as much. So if the maps and the traffic is no longer an issue, and I put the latest firmware from the Garmin site on it, I'm even more in the dark about why the 255 should have such trouble "staying the course".
  • Well, surely this do not sound normal. Just one more point maybe will be usefull. Seems by your words nuvi is loosing sattelites signals or it can't possition itself due to low sattelite signal. This could explain the constant or unexpected recalculation of route. IMHO this could be because of a few reasons:
    1. There is problem in the nuvi (hope not)
    2. Something is interfering the good acuisition of GPS signal. This could be due to your front glass. Is the front glass of your car for example externaly heated? Or there is a big magnetic field infront. For example because of heavy electronics.
  • ddabcd277: We can completely eliminate no. 2, since I mentioned doing a test of the 255 vs. 755 on the same dash; and only the 255 gave me recalculation problems. That just leaves no. 1:

    "There is problem with the nuvi".

    I'm actually no longer certain today if my Nuvi 255 is somehow defective. I used it to go across town, about a half hour drive both ways. I cant say it really gave me problems this time. When it recalculated, it was because we did not follow the route; not because it was going haywire. And even then, it took about a second to recalculate. With the 755 next to it, the 255 gave me a slightly different route (both Nuvis configured equally), but its ETA was only longer from the 755 by a minute. Not 7 hours, like last time. Again: maps were 2011.10, avoidances: disabled (on the way there, and "avoid highways" on the way back), traffic: not plugged in (it was on battery power).

    So what does this mean? I can confirm there are definitely problems with the 255, as compared to the 755, but these might be inherent in the model. Because if today is any indication, there does not appear to be a permanent defect in the unit; including the sat receiver. Perhaps the sat receiver does not perform as well as the 755, and maybe I'm not used to the idiosynchracies of a unit with a less performing sat receiver. And perhaps the initial experience of the 255 going mad with losing the route was indeed due to enabling traffic on the avoidances menu.

    As always, I'm open to other speculations. But as I don't have the initial receipt, the question of returning it to Garmin would be moot.

    p.s. (As a side note, after 2 years, I FINALLY saw 3D buildings on my 755 today, driving downtown. I did not know this, but you have to zoom completely out before they will come into view. It's a rather underwhelming experience, even though it was one of the selling points for me! The shapes don't seem to correspond with what I see outside my window; and all buildings on the map have the same height. Even if in reality one is 30 stories above the other. So it certainly does nothing to make me feel confident I am driving in the right place. Street names are more useful).
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    There are two types of buildings. The low ones you describe are present on many of the Nuvi models and are usually called "building footprints". On other models (like the 2x5) they will only show in 2d view when zoomed WAY in.

    But the 3d buildings that first appeared on the 7x5 series are completely different and should be pretty realistic looking. Here's an example from my 3790.

    image

    But notice on the 3790, even the lower gray buildings show variation in height.
  • Thanks for the info, Boyd. The ones I saw on my 755 looked like the photo on the left, but only the upper left corner buildings. The "building footprints" you refer to. There were no other colors than gray, there was no detail whatsoever (as shown in your photos), and all buildings shown were low, no tall ones. Perhaps they just don't have good building maps for all major cities in Canada yet.
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