New TomTom fails to work, wild goose chase ensues

Last weekend, I bought another TomTom GPS for the car.

The old one, a TomTom One, was great, but its battery never held a charge – frustrating if I wanted to put a location into it without it being plugged in.

So I went to Halfords and bought a Start 20.

The smiling woman behind the counter took my money.

And then she said that if I had any trouble I was to update the software inside, reset the unit, and leave it outside for 15 minutes.

She pointed to a small sticker on the box saying ‘mandatory software update’.

Now, I live in a world of lying marketeers.

A world were airlines tell you that you need to add £58 to the ticket price AFTER they have all your personal details, and you can’t remove them if you cancel the transaction.

A world where ‘Important Message, Do Not Discard’ is printed on envelopes containing double glazing ads.

So I thought ‘mandatory software update’  meant

‘We will be data-mining your personal details if you fall for this’.

What the sticker should have said was

Do not buy this TomTom if you run Ubuntu
‘This product cannot possibly work unless you have ALL of the following:
A, modern PC running windows*
B, broadband
C, luck
* delete ‘luck’ if you have a Mac

Anyway, my Start 20 worked once, and then could not find any satellites.

I googled the issue and found out that no modern TomTom could work after 1st March because their programming failed to include 29th Feb.

An that the update was ‘essential’ if you want the thing to work, but not ‘mandatory’ as I was not compelled to do it by a third party, said Alice-the-pedant.

I borrowed an 1.8GHz PC running XP – a combination approved by TomTom,

And after four hours had downloaded the cheerfully-named MyTomTom programme many times, but had not managed to install the onto the PC once.

 - Let alone transferred any new code to the unit (which additionally would require manually flushing the cache on two pieces of PC software according to TomTom – Why Mr TomTom?).

So I got out my old 700MHz laptop with Windows XP, and left it overnight to update itself to the latest of everything including SP3.

With the same useless result when it came to MyTomTom.

Only when a friend bough a Mac around did the whole update process work – with no fuss whatever, and in about three minutes.

I never did find out why the programme would not install.

If you look around the web, there are lots of stories failed TomTom updates, including map updates (which cost money) failing part way though and the units having to be replaced.

My advice would be, don’t buy a TomTom until unless the factory has already updated the software, or you have the luck of Teela Brown – when your time would be better spent buying lottery tickets anyway.

By the way, the updated unit works fine.
Although the screen is not so clear as the old model in general use, despite being larger.
I think this is because the new unit has more complex and more subtle graphics, when the graphics just need to be bold.

As an aside, my ancient laptop takes ages to boot XP, so I think I will treat it to Linux Mint and see if it gets a new least of life.
Although with my luck with software…..   

‘Alice’

Please don’t respond below as our spam blocking system doesn’t work and the inbox is overwhelmed by a multitude generous offers from annoying people.
Should you feel the need, respond to alice@electronicsweekly.com with ‘Alice’ in the title.
No email addresses are collected for marketing (or any other) purposes from responses to this blog. I will keep it that way for as long as possible.

Tags: Alice, Engineer in Wonderland

Related Tech News

1 Comment

  1. John Burgoon
    June 21, 2012 12:10

    Thanks so much for your article. I not only know who Teela Brown is, I know I am in no way related to her, thus having none of her genes.
    Considering that plus your comments, you saved me from buying one of those POS* Tom-Toms. If that was your intentions, rest well my friend knowing that your pain was my gain – or, at least, my lack of loss.
    May misleading marketeers rot in Hell, consumed in flames fueled by their junk mail.
    Cheers from the US,
    John
    *POS – American acronym for Piece of S***

Share your knowledge - Leave a comment