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Keep Losing Satellite Connection on 3590

Ever since installing the latest Garmin software for the 3590 (v. 7.1)AND installing Map Update NA 2013.20, I have had CONTINUOUS problems with my “satellite acquisition.” Before that update, I had just occasional problems keeping the connection while driving, and thus finally did a Hard Reset, BUT without any noticeable effect. I was actually looking forward to overcoming this occasional issue with v. 7.1, since the Garmin Update notice for the 3590 stated that it…”Fixed an error that caused the device to periodically lose GPS signals.” Foolish Me! Aaargh! :x

Then I installed the Map Update and software v. 7.1, and did a hard reset afterwards. Ever since, I almost always lose the satellite connection just after starting each drive, and press a soft reset via the Power button while driving; that usually gets the connection within a minute (with 4-6 satellites, at about 50% strength). However, even with that reset while driving, I usually lose the connection again within 5-10 minutes. Once I reset it again, the 3590 behaves normally the rest of that trip. However, if I stop and turn the Nuvi off while out of the car, I usually again go through the same “lost satellites” issue during the next leg of my driving. It makes no difference if I reset the Nuvi to sleep/restart, or turn it completely OFF for 15 seconds, and then Restart: It fails both ways.

[NOTE: I usually turn my Nuvi on in the house just before driving, thinking that by acquiring the satellites for a minute or so, that it will help get a stable connection; however, I do put it right to “sleep,” to avoid a poor connection while backing the car out of the garage, where it does lose the signal easily.] :(

All of this behavior is occurring while in normal city driving; I have checked my GTM-60 cable, and it is properly connected inside the car. This unit was reliable for the first several months of ownership, but has been problematic throughout August.

Does anyone have any advice? Is it likely that Garmin technical support will be able to actually do me some good?


  • Boyd 1853 Points
    DId you backup your nuvi? If so, is there a gupdate.gcd file? That is the firmware installer. You should always save the old gupdate.gcd file on the device before installing a new update.

    If you have the old gupdate.gcd file, copy it over the new one on the device (after backing it up). This will allow you to reinstall the old firmware when you restart the Nuvi. After reverting to the old firmware, you can test your "theory" and see if you no longer have these problems.

    Garmin used to keep the old firmware archived on their site but they no longer do (AFAIK). So you really need to make it a point to keep your own backups in case you want to revert.
  • willyboy 68 Points
    Have you tried using the Nuvi in a different vehicle?

    Some vehicles have metal oxide embedded in the windshield causing the GPS to lose reception.
    This may or may not be true in your case. There is no harm in trying.

    Read It Here:{1ecec270-f106-11e1-c91e-000000000000}&event=1&view()=c%7Be2c02260-1b6d-11dc-eb67-000000000000%7D&objectId=&eksObjectId=&objectType=Case&isJumpEnabled=false&isContentJumpEnabled=false&vendorKey=&versionId=105&objectScore=96&from=results
  • nuvifan 109 Points
    Boyd: Thanks for the quick response and logical suggestion. It was only because you and others urged me to backup the Nuvi when I first got it (in April), that I had the GUPDATE.GCD file. However, since installing that yesterday (and having the 3590 automatically do a Hard Reset), I continue to have the CONTINUOUS problem of losing satellite connections. [Thanks for reminding me AGAIN to backup my most recent map and software, before my most recent “adventures.”]

    In fact, reception today was the worst ever! The unit receives sufficient satellite signals inside the house (waking from sleep, usually within a minute), but when I wake it from sleep in the car (after leaving the garage), it struggles to find enough satellites to connect. If it does get a signal, it loses it within a couple blocks; today, I soft reset it about three times while driving to/from a local destination, but never did get it to hold the connection. Most of the time, I had ZERO satellites.

    Boyd (and anyone else): I would still appreciate any suggestions to retrieve my previously reliable 3590 signal quality, BUT you can read about my temporary solution below…

    Thanks willyboy: I do know about the metal oxide foil at the top of the windshield; in fact, I have lived with that as a sometimes obstruction for the past 2-3 months, but still did have generally reliable signal connection…until two weeks ago. That’s what makes the current situation so maddening, since nothing else has changed but the Map Update and software v. 7.1 (although I now have replaced that with the previous GUPDATE file).

    My next move is to STOP using my Arkon Vent Mount, because it places the 3590 right beneath the foil part of the windshield. I will switch to a Garmin dash mount, which had been stored away. I’m pretty sure that my signal reception will be more reliable, even though I won’t like the Nuvi being a bit farther away and harder for me to read (and reach).
  • Boyd 1853 Points
    If everything is as you describe, even with your old firmware you now have reception problems that you never experienced before. If the unit is mounted in the same location as before, that certainly sounds like some kind of hardware problem.

    If it worked fine in the vent mount previously, then why should you need to change it now? Only other variable I can think of would be a different constellation of satellites such that large buildings (or something) are now blocking them as you leave the garage. Somebody else might be able to suggest a website where you could check that?

    Are you sure nothing else is different in your car? Could it be some other electrical/electronic equipment interfering either inside or outside the car?
  • willyboy 68 Points
    It certainly sounds like your vehicle is causing the problem since you say it keeps the signal while in your house. But that too is not a definite since you're stationary as opposed to a moving vehicle.

    Simple test would be just place the Nuvi it in another vehicle outside your house, then take it for a ride. If satellite signal remains you know it's your vehicle or position of mount.

    After you try the dash mount, let us know if the signal improved.
  • Boyd 1853 Points
    It certainly sounds like your vehicle is causing the problem since you say it keeps the signal while in your house.
    That doesn't explain why it no longer works in his car yet it previously did....
  • nuvifan 109 Points
    Boyd and willyboy: I really appreciate the continued speculation and suggestions, but… I have only one car (and since it has not changed, nor the windshield, nor the vent mount, nor the cable connection (red diode light is still active), nor any new electrical devices inside, nor obstructions outside along my local streets…I don’t know what else might be causing my poor satellite connection. The software was changed to v. 7.1, but then I reverted to the previous version (or actually, only the GUPDATE.GDC file that changed, back to the one before 7.1). Perhaps its simply that my 3590 hardware has become defective.

    Question: Is the GUPDATE file the entire Software v. 7.1, or is that something that just affects satellite reception?

    Sure, I could try a neighbor’s car for a short test drive…and I may just do that. [That would be the ultimate test to determine is the Nuvi is really defective!] First, however, I’m taking the Nuvi for more local driving this AM, with the Garmin “Friction Mount,” placed where it should be less affected by the foiled window. I do expect that my reception will improve, but if so, I would have to forego future use of the Vent Mount (or pay for a windshield replacement without foil :roll: ).

    Is it possible that there is a Nuvi Setting that I might have inadvertently changed? I am using what seem to be my normal settings, after making adjustments following each Hard Reset. Updates to follow…
  • Boyd 1853 Points
    There aren't any setting that affect satellite reception (aside from turning it off completely).

    I believe you will find separate version numbers for "GPS software" and "unit software" (or something like that). The GPS chipset should have its own firmware. But I believe this is all bundled in the gupdate.gcd file.

    Maybe popej can enlighten us on this? I wonder, let's say your old firmware version was 2.0 and the new one was 2.1. Now if version 2.1 contains an update for the GPS chipset but 2.0 does not, is it possible that downgrading would have no effect on the GPS chip? In other words, is the code for the GPS chip part of every firmware update, or only some updates?

    I don't know the answer to this.
  • willyboy 68 Points
    It certainly sounds like your vehicle is causing the problem since you say it keeps the signal while in your house.

    That doesn't explain why it no longer works in his car yet it previously did....
    But how well did it work?
    He did say "Before that update, I had just occasional problems keeping the connection while driving.".

    As suggested, just try in a different vehicle (friend/neighbor) to see if it has the same problem. Take a short drive out of the neighborhhod to eliminate an area specific problem.
    If problem remains then it's a GPS issue.
  • nuvifan 109 Points
    Did two local road tests today and still totally mystified why my 3590 had become so undependable, but at least now I have a good solution to satellite acquisition: Use my Garmin Friction Mount (=FM).

    Began driving this morning with the 3590 on the FM from inside the garage, and had a good signal by the time I backed out onto the street. [And that’s without a warm-up of the Nuvi in the house!] Moved it from the FM to the Vent mount, and it actually worked as good as it had the past few months (= 4-8 satellites, most at about 50% strength). Thereafter, when on the FM, my signal was MUCH better than I’m used to, with about 9-10 satellites, and most at full strength. I made a point of trying to place the FM at virtually the same location as the Vent mount, both horizontally and vertically, but the FM stayed super. It’s was as if the Vent mount had some electronic glitch, despite being in virtually the same spot as the FM.

    While parked, but accessory switch on, I played with both mounts: I found that the FM was almost always full strength signal, and as soon as I moved it to the Vent, the signal went way down to about half that of the FM…over and over. I actually moved the Vent mount two inches to the right (and even more under the foiled windshield), and it seems to get a bit better signal there.

    Despite the Vent mount now working about the same as it had in recent months, I believe that I will stick with the Friction Mount: I actually am able to place it in the same spot as the Vent mount used to be, by bracing it in between the relocated Vent mount and the outer edge of the “speedometer/rpm console.” [That puts the Nuvi on a rounded slope virtually adjacent to the steering wheel, where it is closest to my eyeballs, and within easy reach for manual manipulation.] I'm not used to having a super strength satellite connection!

    I have NOT seen my issue of poor or unreliable satellite connection reported by any other 3590 owner, in several GPS forums or Amazon User Reviews; I also don’t recall any other Nuvi owners reporting this issue in other models over several years. I believe that my issue is primarily due to using the Vent mount in combination with the foiled windshield; however, I don’t know why it got much worse during the past week. Regardless, I need to stop relying on the Vent mount, despite my loving the convenience of it being permanently affixed on my dash…versus storing and resetting up the FM version upon most every exit/entry to the car. I will just have to accept the fact that from now on my signal strength will always be much better, and that I don’t have to keep checking “Satellite Strength” and constantly worrying if I’m about to lose my connection. I also reduce the complaining about it from my wife: Lucky Me!

    Thanks again to Boyd and willyboy for getting involved and persistently trying to solve my issue.
  • SergZak 240 Points
    One of my past Sony head units was the source of some kind of interference (only when a CD was playing) which played havoc with the GPS signal. The closer I had the GPS to the head unit, the more the satellite signal dropped. If I mounted it up on the dash, they were far enough away from each other that the interference was not affected. My mount is now on top of the dash, next to the A pillar.

    I no longer have that Sony head unit.
  • willyboy 68 Points
    nuvifan, that's good news, glad you got it sorted out, now you can enjoy your GPS once again.
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