processor frequency may mess up your GPS navigation system

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According to a study at Swedish Defence Research Agency a modern day computer can interfere with your GPS reception and cause it to behave awkwardly or not work at all.

Using a computer in a car, plane, boat, or anywhere a GPS system is used, can mean that the sat-nav device starts working incorrectly. Many modern processors with high clock frequencies – such as those from Intel with frequencies of 1.7GHz, 2.992GHz and 3.2GHz – have been highlighted as possible sources of interference.

Good news is you have no reason to use a sat nav device next to your desktop computer, and most laptops stay under 2GHz anyways. If you still experience problems just try to increase the distance between two devices. Or just have some aluminum foil ready.

Our source goes as far as saying that on one flight all GPS equipment failed to function after a passenger used their cell phone mid-air. We would love to hear from our readers who use their cell phone next to their sat nav systems. Or it could be your wife talking on the phone and you driving. Who cares as long as there’s a call and the GPS is on. Did you ever experience an interference? No need to register to leave a comment.

17 Responses to “processor frequency may mess up your GPS navigation system”

  1. Los procesadores producen interferencias en los GPS | Actualidad GPS Says:

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  2. Funny, Cool and Weird - Newgadgets.info » Blog Archive » Can Your CPU Mess with Your GPS Unit? Says:

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  3. Gadget News » High frequency processors could put your GPS on the fritz Says:

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  4. High frequency processors could put your GPS on the fritz » Girls Love Gadgets Says:

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  8. Peter Rockwell Says:

    Although I wasn’t conciously looking for interference and may have missed it, I have used my cell phone while my wife was driving with her Garmin GPS car navigation system and didn’t notice any aberrant behavior.


  9. Jerry Says:

    Yes, my Motorola Razr cellphone completely shuts down my Earthmate USB GPS unit.

    Interestingly, contrary to the article, the ONLY time I use my GPS is when it’s connected to my laptop via the USB port. The laptop’s 1.8 GHz processor causes no problems. I use the Delorme maps and Earthmate GPS package with my laptop when I travel by car.


  10. Dean W. Armstrong Says:

    The GPS uses 1.2 and 1.575 GHz signals. I wonder if it wasn’t the CPU clock speed, since it probably isn’t very efficient at radiating given the size of the die, but a bus to the memory that was doing the interference. Having a cell phone knock out your GPS unit usually means the front-end of the unit is too broadband (aka not selective enough) and being overloaded from the cell phone.


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  13. Gadgets: Can Your CPU Mess with Your GPS Unit? | everygizmo.com Says:

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  16. Gps Man Says:

    So can the pc you use to update your Sat Nav Device Burn the memory?


  17. girlgeocacher Says:

    I used to run my GPS out of the USB port on my iPhone charger (DC port in car) and one day my GPS totally went on the fritz. Would not even look for satellites. Garmin sent me a new chipset via zipfile which I loaded and all seemed fine, except the compass is frequently off and has to be recallibrated frequently. Today, while geocaching, I noticed that it was consistently 20-25 feet off the mark when I made a find. I am afraid I will have to get a new one, or is there a way to recondition it?


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