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Garmin 2.6 Nuvi Update SiRF InstantFixII


Over the past couple of months we have had numerous people writing to us to say that they have been having trouble getting satellite reception in their Nuvi 700 series devices, and a few people reporting similar problems with Nuvi 200 series devices. These reports prompted our article about tips for GPS satellite reception which helped a few people out. It didn’t completely solve the problem for all users though. But since Garmin’s update version 2.6 and something called SiRF InstantFix (now version II), those troubles have largely gone away.

I had seen some of the troubles myself with a Nuvi 760. After both had been turned off for more than 48 hours I took a Nuvi 200 and the 760 outside with an unobstructed sky view and turned them on. The 200 connected in less than two minutes while the 760 was seemed confused and didn’t lock on for about 40 minutes. When I performed the same test after the update, the 760 and 200 both acquired a fix within seconds.

After the Garmin Firmware version 2.6 was recently released for Nuvi 700 series models (and 3.6 for some of the 200 series), the acquisition problems have largely gone away according to most user reports. That was from 700 series owners but owners of the Nuvi 260 have also reported similar success.

SiRF Instant Fix IISo how did it suddenly get better? The answer seems to rely with the recently announced SiRFInstantFixII system as users have seen a reference to that phrase on their devices since the update. (Indeed we have now seen it too, click on the image at the right.) How does it work? While most people will just be glad “it works”, here is a more technical description from SiRF.

While in theory determining location using GPS satellites is a simple process of triangulation, the reality is much more complex. First, the GPS receiver needs to find and “lock” onto enough satellites to be able to calculate its location, a process called acquisition. With its 200,000 correlators, SiRF’s innovative SiRFstarIII architecture made the acquisition of satellites very fast. To calculate accurate position, however, the GPS receiver needs to know where each of these GPS satellites is in the sky with a very high degree of accuracy.

Every satellite requires 30 seconds to broadcast its precise location, and the GPS receiver must be able to download this data from each satellite it needs for a fix. This data is typically valid only for two to three hours. If anything interrupts the signal while receiving this data, such as a building or tree, the receiver has to wait another 30 seconds to completely download the data from the satellite.

In real-world conditions, where the GPS receiver is usually moving, it can take up to several minutes to obtain all the data the receiver needs to perform its calculations and obtain a fix, resulting in a long period with a great deal of location uncertainty before navigation can begin.

So if you have a Nuvi 700 series or 260 and you have been experiencing long acquisition times, be sure to fire up WebUpdater and download the latest firmware update. It could make a world of difference for you.

10 Responses

  1. Maybe I’m silly to ask this, but since I’m away from my “WebUpdater” computer (don’t ask), is there a SiRF update for any of the 300 series Nuvis? I’ve got a nuvi 370, and it has a fairly old version of the SiRF (2006). I’ve been noticing that it takes a bit longer than I expected to lock onto a signal. Thanks for any help!

    Brian G. - February 15th, 2008
  2. Is the SiRF InstanFix II technology available for the Nuvi 660? If so, starting with which firmware version?


    C. Palman - April 14th, 2008
  3. C. Palman – Not that I know of.

    Tim - April 14th, 2008
  4. is the garmin 260w the best gps for the money at this time. is a refurb a good deal from the maker.

    george - November 25th, 2008
  5. i have a nuvi 250 and when my satnav starts up it says sirf 2007 tecnology.used webupdater and it says my software up to date.how do i check which firmware my machine is using and if it needs updating ,how do i do it.many thanks

    nigel hill - December 23rd, 2008
  6. I was driving down the road today when my Garmin Nuvi 200 suddenly showed it was doing a firmware update… It showed the percentage as the update went on until it was 100% done and then went back to normal operation…

    Can the firmware be updated without being connected to the computer? What happened?

    Al - December 23rd, 2008
  7. Hello. I want to know if I buy a new Garmin Nuvi 760 or 650, do they already have the SiRF InstantFixII, or it has to be downloaded?. Thanks for the info….

    Diana Romero - April 16th, 2009
    • You won’t be able to confirm that ahead of time, Diana. But I don’t think they ever offered it on the 650.

      Tim - April 17th, 2009
  8. I tried to register my Nuvi 760 and it was not accepted. Can anyone give me the secret on how to register. I filled out the application and gave it the serial number but it was not accepted. Has anyone had this problem before.

    Joseph - April 26th, 2009
    • Call Garmin, they should be able to help with that. It happens from time to time.

      Tim - April 27th, 2009

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