Leap year bug hits TomTom satnavs

TomTom’s apologized for a leap year bug that’s caused some of its satnav systems to malfunction.

It says a problem with the GPS firmware within the devices – provided by a third party – has been preventing them from being able to identify their location. It’s created a fix, it says, which can be downloaded here.

The company warns that the fix can take a few minutes to work, that the device will need a clear line of sight to the sky, and that itmay need to be reset more than once during the process.

The affected models are the Start 20/25, Via 120/125, Via LIVE 120/125, GO LIVE 820/825 and GO LIVE 1000/1005/1005 World. Users of these models have been presented with a gray screen and the message that the device can’t find a GPS signal.

Some have been getting intermittent access, but only when the unit has been able to pick up a signal from at least four satellites.

The problems started on 31 March, affecting customers worldwide. Many found that rebooting ther unit fixed the problem – but only temporarily. The TomTom support forum is jammed with complaints from users, many of whom were far from home and totally lost without the device.

“We are living in Zurich. When can you fix this problem by? As we (and I am sure a lot of other people as well) will be going on a road trip on Friday for Easter holiday! Please help!” pleaded one user.

Look out for more bewildered travelers if you’re on the road this week…