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Speculation: The GPS issue is a hardware problem

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by ZDroid1, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. ZDroid1

    ZDroid1 Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Some people are reporting that their GPS is working, while some are saying it's failing. We know the software on all the Captivates is the same, but it's conceivable that some units came from batches that had hardware defects.

    Therefore, a hardware defect, or at best variance, is more likely to be the cause.

    This could mean one of two things: Either the problem is not fixable as a result of it being a hardware issue, or it's fixable if the said hardware issue could be compensated for somehow by special treatment from the software.

    It's not likely that there's software variability.

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  2. mongstradamus

    mongstradamus Android Expert

    I am leaning toward its an hardware issue , since when you first get the phone gps works pretty well for first few days, then all of a sudden it craps out. if its an pure hardware issue dont if or how they will be able to fix it other then full recall which would be a debacle
  3. NaplesBill

    NaplesBill Well-Known Member

    What you guys are saying in actuality suggests it is software not hardware. The same device (mine included) can be made to work just by reloading the ROM via ODIN. While this may be a temporary situation, it is easy to reproduce. It would appear to boil down to either a memory leak, driver issue or something not releasing hardware resources properly.

    I have been in IT support for 20 years and in my professional and personal opinion, this issue has all the signs of a software resolution.

    I even returned one device for a new one and can produce the same results.
  4. JHannaman82

    JHannaman82 Newbie

    But a hard reset cures the GPS temporarily it seems. Like it was brand new, which points to it not being a hardware issue. :shrugs:

    I've been a hardware analyst for over a decade, and I vote firmware issue.
  5. DT

    DT Android Expert

    I agree, and with the inconsistency of the operation (which can be resolved in some cases by running other apps), I'd add the possibility of some kind of resource contention in the driver stack.

    I think at least the hardware GPS circuit itself is common and recognized as a quality component made by Broadcom (and in use in a number of other devices).
  6. thindery

    thindery Well-Known Member

    But if this is really a software issue, why not just come out and say something by now? Even if it takes them till the rest of the year to get the software side fixed, just say so! Software is less minor then hardware and more easily fixable.

    That's why I don't think it is software, otherwise they would have said something by now. 23 days since the US launch and no official comment about what the problem is and if/when it will be fixed... not acceptable imo.
  7. clipse94

    clipse94 Lurker

    I am voting that it is a software/firmware/driver issue. I read on another forum that when you are in the gps settings menu, if you clear out the old gps data and then run a test, it starts working again. It did for me just fine. And I was inside my house. I had assisted gps turned off and I was getting accuracy to 5 meters. considering that before this I couldn't get a lock on any satalites at all since the first day, I'm pretty stoked.
  8. emuneee

    emuneee Android Enthusiast

    This is a firmware issue.

    Just in general, many hardware issues can be fixed in software as well. :)
  9. skinien

    skinien Android Enthusiast

    Exactly. One really good indication that it's a software issue can be seen when you're using the LbsTestMode utility. Satellites can be seen but a fix isn't obtained. It seems like the phone is continuing to look for satellites instead of trying to obtain a fix. It can be optimized to fix on the first three satellites it finds, and then improve the accuracy by continuing to fix on better signals in the "background".
  10. Sledutah

    Sledutah Member

    Software/firmware issue.
    When I first got my phone I couldn't get it to lock on any satellites. I tried all the combinations that everybody was trying and saying their gps was working. I couldn't get anything to work.
    1 1/2 weeks ago I got fed up from the huge lag problems I was having since the day I picked it up and performed the factory reset. That took care of the lag problems, but I still could not get the gps to lock in. So, I decided to play with the gps settings again. I now can get a lock within ~1 minute, once it's locked on it follows me.
  11. skinien

    skinien Android Enthusiast

    Another point that shows it's a software issue...

    I don't know about anyone else, but once I sit around for the 60 - 120 seconds to obtain an initial lock, I can close Maps, open it back up and it will get a lock VERY fast. I don't see how this would indicate a hardware issue.
  12. jmreed97

    jmreed97 Well-Known Member

    Did you check this in google maps? Yesterday I cleared out the data, then got 5 meters accuracy. Checked it in google maps and the Blue arrow was jumping around like crazy. 100 yards north, 50 south, 25 South, 30 east... It was exactly where I was for about 2 seconds before moving again.

    Toggled back to LbsGPS again,and it still said 5 meters accuracy.
  13. Regalicious

    Regalicious Well-Known Member

    They did acknowledge it

    Samsung promises update for Vibrant and Captivate GPS issue | Android Atlas - CNET Blogs
  14. jmreed97

    jmreed97 Well-Known Member

    I think you maybe on to something. It appears to me that it is hardware issue(long lock times, losing lock easily indication of faulty antenna). But there is also some indication that samsung has been playing with the drivers some. Over on XDA there was an analysis of the GPS performance for the different I9000 firmwares. One would track more accurately, but drop lock quickly. Another would be less accurate but hold a lock well, This person speculated that Samsung was using the software to connect the dots between GPS locations. If you moved one direction the GPS would assume you kept moving, then backtrack later. All software workarounds for the hardware problem.

    If it is hardware I wouldn't be surprised if they do attempt a software "fix." But it will be similar to the Apple, "we adjusted the calculations for the signal indicator, so you will now see more bars than before, even though the signal is still crap."
  15. jmreed97

    jmreed97 Well-Known Member

    "Samsung Mobile is aware that under certain conditions, the GPS on our launched U.S. Galaxy S devices may not be meeting performance expectations," Samsung spokesman Kim Titus told CNET. "We are diligently evaluating the situation and will provide an update as soon as possible."

    Where in that quote do you see them say it is software or hardware? Where in that statement does it say they will actually fix the problem? Where does it say it can be fixed?

    It doesn't...

    Cnet misslabeled the headline. It should have been "Samsung admits there are widespread GPS problems with the Captivate and Vibrant; says they'll get back to us regarding how or if they will address it."
  16. NaplesBill

    NaplesBill Well-Known Member

    There is a great post after that article. Here is the quote:

    chicknlil and DT like this.
  17. BigCiX

    BigCiX Android Expert

    If one day it works and the other day it doesn't then it's a software issue. If it just plain Jane doesn't work for nothing, then it's a hardware issue.
  18. lawerence

    lawerence Newbie

    I just exchanged my captivate today for a new one.
    My new phone picks up gps signal instantly and i have used it several times today.
    Before i would get a 1500+ ft. radius if anything at all; new phone is easily within 10 feet.
  19. skinien

    skinien Android Enthusiast

    As we've been telling everyone who says this. Please report after a few days of use. Mine seemed to work great when I first got it but no longer functions that well. Also, use My Tracks to see how accurate your GPS is while driving, running, biking, heck even swimming :p.
  20. lmps56

    lmps56 Lurker

    This week Monday the Vibrant was release in Canada on Bell. Went to a Bell booth on launch day in our local mall and played with it. Awesome phone and GPS worked just fine. However, I went again today and when I tried to open the Navigation app it just kept saying "Waiting for location" while that spinny thing was doing its turns.
  21. I stand firm that this is a hardware issue and Samsung is trying to not get Apple'd.
  22. myrv

    myrv Member

    I reinstalled my stock rom via Odin and since have had amazing GPS coverage whereas originally I didn't have GPS from day one. So far it has been a week and I am still not having any GPS issues, though I realize this can change rather quickly. I was all set to return my phone (which was why I flashed the stock rom) until GPS started working. I also turn off satellite GPS when I am not using it to save on power, though your mileage may vary.
  23. skinien

    skinien Android Enthusiast

    What's the logic behind your opinion?
  24. SamsungVibrant

    SamsungVibrant Android Expert

    LOL, I love how everyone is suddenly an expert on these forums with years of experience. People talking about how they are software engineers for 20 yrs, or hardware, other people in the GPS forums talk about being GPS experts, and everyone is writing long explanations about the GPS problem and whats exactly wrong with it. Truth is maybe 1 percent of the people here even knew how GPS worked before this fiasco. If everyones an expert then why hasn't someone on these forums found a fix.

    Truth is everyones talking outa their brown eye, none of you know for certain if its hardware or software.

    I vote software though, but i'm starting to lean towards hardware. Actually its a mixture of both problems, software and hardware. I mean, after all, I'm a ceo of a company that makes GPS software, so I think I would know.
  25. NaplesBill

    NaplesBill Well-Known Member

    First of all, way to take things people say out of context. There is nothing wrong with providing background when stating an opinion. The only things being stated here are opinions with reasoning behind it.

    Some parts of this issue are obvious and some parts of it are not so obvious. Now, just because you can't form a real argument (argument is not a negative word in this case) you resort to posting some nonsense that tries to downplay the opinions of all other people, many of which DO HAVE experience dealing with these types of issues. Troubleshooting hardware and software issues is not something everyone is capable of. I haven't really seen anyone claim to be a GPS expert but many hardware and software issues are similar regardless of the hardware in question.

    I'm sorry if a little reasoning and troubleshooting, from people who have done it for years, bothers you in some way.

    I'm really doubting the CEO comment so it must be sarcasm. Besides, what would a CEO actually know about the product?

Samsung Captivate Forum

The Samsung Captivate release date was July 2010. Features and Specs include a 4.0" inch screen, 5MP camera, 512GB RAM, Hummingbird processor, and 1500mAh battery.

July 2010
Release Date

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