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Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS Receiver review

March 07, 2005
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Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS ReceiverIf you want to get started with GPS navigation and you already own a Bluetooth enabled PDA then the Fortuna clip-on is a good alternative. A bonus is that you will be able to use the GPS device with other Bluetooth enabled devices like smartphones and laptops (notebooks in some countries).

There are many Bluetooth GPS devices on the market but currently only the Fortuna devices supports dual SiRF modes: both the standard low-power SiRF Star IIe/LP chipset and the latest high sensitivity SiRF Xtrac chipset.

SiRF Star IIe/LP mode is good while the unit has view of clear sky. The unit will lock on to fewer satellites and transmit less data resulting in faster scrolling maps and lower battery consumption.

This is great while you have view of clear sky but if you are moving in weaker signal areas such as under heavy leaf cover or between tall buildings older GPS will loose the satellite signal.

With the Fortuna clip-on you can switch to Xtrac high sensitivity mode which can even provide a signal lock while indoors.

I have been using the Xtrac mode exclusively and have found very quick lock-on times and good precision. Since I am using the unit for short trips only, I have never had any problems running out of batteries. Reported battery life is 8 hours in the Star IIe/LP mode.

The major deciding factor whether you will have a great or bad GPS navigation experience is what navigation software you choose. This is another discussion but I am using TomTom 3 and have had only minor problems.

Now it seems that some users have problems connecting their Fortuna clip-on to an iPaq running TomTom navigation software. You need to select the NMEA 0183v2 38400 from the list of selected drivers and choose Bluetooth serial port COM 8 which is the "in" port. Don't forget to place a tick in the little square box on the left hand side of the two settings (driver and com port).

In rare cases the clip-on needs to be resetted and the only way to do so is to remove the batteries for up to 24hrs. This has helped all other users that have had connection problems.

The button to switch between Star IIe/LP and Xtrac modes is tiny and you need a sharp pencil or pin to move it. You can only switch between the modes while the unit is turned of.

Feel free to use the Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS Receiver forum for any questions, discussion or feedback.



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Comments

  1. Luis A Says:

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    Where can this unit be purchased in the USA?

  2. Peter Says:

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    I have one of these and find it very good but want to hardwire my car and want to know whether this unit can be connected directly to PDA rather than using Bluetooth?

  3. Philip Says:

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    I have no problem using Belkin bluetooth GPS (same as Fortura clip on bluetooth) to connect to a Dell Axim bluetooth PDA using com port 7 but can't connect to a laptop. Laptop's Com port starts from 18, 19, 20, etc. My GPS does have a problem with 'Out of Memory' using PDA since PDA's memory is only 64 mb. Using a laptop to compute route list, I had no problem starting in NY to San Fran, 3000+ miles 4800+ km
    route list.
    BTW, I read that iGuidance V.2.1.1 mapping software solves the 'Out of Memory problem'.

    David says:

    The COM port you select is specific to the device you are using. It may be port 7 on a PDA but on your laptop it will be a different port.

    Check the documentation for the LAPTOP BlueTooth manager. It should give you advice on how to communicate with external BT devices.

    The Fortuna clip-on does not care what kind of device it is sending the data to!

  4. dave Says:

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    is there any drivers i can download for the clipon bt-gps thanks

    David says:

    I think the point with Bluetooth is that it is a standard and does not require any additional drivers for each unit.

    If you device supports serial communication over BlueTooth it will support the Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS Receiver.

    Of course, the GPS protocol is a sperate issue which the a navigation application has to handle.

  5. Pete Says:

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    I have bought the Fortuna GPS receiver but even though the instructions say that there is no pass needed both my N93 phone and my dell laptop require it for pairing.... I've tried putting in 0000 (4zeros) but still doesn't work... what should i do?

    David says:

    Hmm, even the official FAQ says to use 0000 as pass key. Are you able to pair the Nokia or Fortuna with any other device? Maybe try again?

  6. Pete Says:

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    the nokia i can pair it with my laptop and vice versa.... with any other device the nokia phone works well with the fortuna it doesn't let it pair even with the 0000 code... :( and the laptop i got it to pair once without a code and it pairs it to COM10 or 11 and so on.... did it once cant do it again(had to do it again for the gps progs to find the device in order to work...) :S

    oh and another thing is that the fortuna device i have isn't the one with tx sx or whatever the buttons are... (if this makes any difference...)

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