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Author Topic:   Lowrance LMS 525C DF GPS Antenna Problems
Landlocked posted 06-08-2008 11:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for Landlocked   Send Email to Landlocked  
I'm experiencing problems once again with the GPS [receiver] of the LOWRANCE LMS 525C DF. Shortly after purchasing I had to have the antenna replaced due to a "gps not responding" message. That fixed the problem. Worked fine up until I put the boat up for the winter. Uncovered last night to get ready for the river and it wasn't working.

I know wiring is correct and the network is powered. I'm getting no error message. Unit is not [receiving] any satellite signals. Sonar is working perfectly.

I've done hard and soft resets without any luck. Anyone had a similar experience? Have sent a support inquiry to Lowrance but no reply as yet.


Hal Watkins posted 06-09-2008 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
I have a one year old Lowrance [unclear, possibly LMS 522c iGPS] unit. Are you giving it plenty of time to obtain its position? I [also] have a Garmin 60Csx. The Lowrance can take 5 minutes to find itself while the Garmin takes less than a minute. The Lowrance will also lose signal under a significant bridge and in a deep lock (on the [Mississippi] river), where the Garmin [keeps its position fix]. I have the Navionics premium chip North and really like the one foot contours and navigations aids. Good luck from MN, Hal
Jefecinco posted 06-09-2008 09:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Sending an e-mail support inquiry to Lowrance is often a very slow process for problem solving.

I believe you would be far better off to call technical support on the toll free number provided in the owner's manual.

My experience using the toll free number has been very positive.

Meanwhile, you may find it helpful to disconnect and clean your battery terminals and power bus connections. Corrosion can build up in unseen places over the winter storage period. Also ensure the antenna power switch is on and that the terminals are free of corrosion. Double check the fuse in the antenna power feed during the process.


davej14 posted 06-09-2008 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
I get this annoying message from time to time when first powering on the display. So far I can always resolve it by power cycling the network power while the display power is left on. You should have installed an on/off switch for the network power feed. Have you tried this?
floatinghat posted 06-09-2008 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for floatinghat  Send Email to floatinghat     
When [the Lowrance LMS 525c DF] worked, what were your thoughts [about its performance]? I was going [figure of speech using a violent metaphor for "purchase] either the 525c or the RAYMARINE A60 in the [next] couple of weeks.
Landlocked posted 06-09-2008 05:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
When it worked, thoughts were very positive. Very clear display, good availability of cartography, easy to use.

Now, with two antenna [malfunctions] within about 1 year, I'm starting to wonder.

Yes, I installed a power switch on the network. I've turned on off, even going so far as to bypass the switch and hardwire. I've left unit on for over 1 hour without it acquiring a fix. Not only does it not lock in, it does not show reception of any satellites at any signal strength. Just a blank blinking screen.

It is not location - took the boat to the river yesterday and never could get a satellite even in the wide open center of the channel.

Now, I know the antenna is sending out some type of signal because if I turn off network power - I immediately get the gps module not responding message. When I turn power back on, it immediately goes away.


davej14 posted 06-09-2008 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Considering that it was working when you moved it to storage this sure sounds like another bad antenna.
jimh posted 06-09-2008 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I do not believe that the LOWRANCE LMS 525c DF uses an external antenna. It uses an external GPS receiver. The device, which resembles older GPSr antennas, contains the entire GPS receiver, and the receiver connects to the control head unit via NMEA-2000 networking.

The Lowrance LMS 525cDF has some NMEA 2000 networking diagnostic screens, as I recall, and these might be useful to determine if the remote GPS receiver is seen on the network.

An LMS 500-series device that I recently reviewed and bench tested had a LCG-3000 GPS receiver. In my testing I noticed that the LCG-3000 GPS receiver did not seem to be able to acquire and track GPS satellites as fast or as easily as some other devices I have tested in the same location (such as Raymarine A60 or the GlobalSat BU-353 receivers). So I would not characterize the Lowrance LCG-3000 receiver as being at state-of-the-art sensitivity or speed.

It may also be that since you have had your Lowrance unit for a while that you have an older model of the GPS receiver such as the LCG-2000. In that case ignore my comments about the LCG-3000 model, as it is different from yours.

ASIDE to floatinghat: I have authored rather complete reviews on both the Lowrance 500 series devices and the Raymarine A60. These are in the REFERENCE section, and I think you will find that reading them will give you a good basis for comparison of these two devices.

Landlocked posted 06-09-2008 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
Jim, you are correct, it is a stand alone GPS module. Yes, I have model LGC 3000. I have accessed the diagnostic menus and the antenna is recognized as being on the network. It's status is listed as "OK".

Tonight, I removed the long extension cable and hooked the short antennal lead directly to the "T" connector and cleaned all pin connectors. No improvement. I also downloaded the latest software patch and installed. Again, no change.

Can't seem to get home in time to call Tech support during business hours but I did send a new email with detailed description of problem. If I don't hear back from them tomorrow, I'll try calling during the day from work.

I think its the antenna/module again which is concerning. Why should a $600+ unit be so prone to failure. I've got a $200 Magellan Merridian series that has never failed me in years of hard use.


davej14 posted 06-10-2008 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Although it is most likely the "antenna module" I wouldn't rule out a possible problem with the head unit. If there is a data communication problem over the network then it could be at either end. Two "antenna module" failures is unusual and I would suspect the head unit could be contributing to the problem. Call Lowrance, the hold time is not usually unbearable, and see if they are willing to replace both.

Another thought, are you certain that you have the "T" connectors and the correct terminators properly installed? LowranceNET-Marine-Networking-System/Sample-LowranceNET-Marine-Network/

There is quite a bit of information on this error message on the Lowrance site (search "gps module not responding"):

Landlocked posted 06-10-2008 12:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
T connectors are correct... Unit worked fine last time boat was out - nothing has been changed.


jimh posted 06-12-2008 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Does your Lowrance device offer the user interface option through which you can tell the GPS receiver its approximate location and set the approximate time and date?
Landlocked posted 06-12-2008 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
Yes - I can tell it where it is to speed acquisition of sattelites and I've done that. I've been unable to set time and date - I believe it retrieves that automatically from the sattellites.

Still no word from Lowrance via emails and I've had no time to call. It's high on my list - will post results when I do.


JMARTIN posted 06-12-2008 12:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
If I remember correctly, my Lowrance GPS module thingy that looks like a hockey puck, has it's own power supply. Maybe an in line fuse or poor connection?

I do experience the same "GPS module not responding" but it always cures itself. I did lose it for over an hour once. When I got the unit, the GPS would not work and Lowrance sent me a new one. John

Landlocked posted 06-17-2008 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     

Lowrance just contacted me via-email. Based on my serial number - the unit is 8 weeks out of warranty. However they stated that they stand behind their products and will fix or replace for free. I'll be returning it this weekend.

I have to say, I'm now a loyal Lowrance customer from this point forward. Not many companies would have honored an expired warranty.


RobertRibley posted 06-22-2008 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for RobertRibley  Send Email to RobertRibley     
Chris -

While fishing Friday I noticed my new Lowrance LCX-27C GPS unit not tracking. The pointer in the screen was flashing with a question mark. I had just bought this for our Whaler at Christmas because my wife likes to water ski at an exact speed. I assume the flashing question mark means that the GPS antenna is not functioning. I did to the tee almost everything you did - checking wiring, both hard drive and soft drive restarats, with no luck. I did not update with the new software because I have not figured out how to do that. The antenna is the safe as your Lowrance LGC-3000. I wonder if they've had problems with these? I will be calling Lowrance in the morning, hopefully for a replacement. I just installed the LCX-27C in the Outrage May 1 and have only used it four times. All times previously to now it worked great. Of course, I'm still learning how to use it. The continuous wave is such a great site to help out fellow Whaler enthusiasts. I tseems no matter what the problem is, someone on this site has experienced it and has advice. Now, if someone can tell me how to go across the wake harder without going out the front....


Jefecinco posted 06-22-2008 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
When my LGC-2000 failed the first time last August Lowrance e-mailed a troubleshooting guide. It was a decent guide.

Last Thursday the LGC-2000 failed again while in use. My plan has been to update with a new LGC-3000 but you fellows have me wondering if I shouldn't try another manufacturer's module.


jimh posted 06-22-2008 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
These anecdotal reports are not precisely scientific survey data, but, nonetheless, it seems like we have at least three reports of problems with a LOWRANCE GPS module in their LCG-X000 series. That seems like a large number of problems from what has to be a small sample group.
Landlocked posted 06-22-2008 11:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
All I can add at this point is that while I'm no where near the experienced boater many of you on this site are - I am quite experienced with GPS equipment. In my work - I use gps equipment ranging from simple hand held consumer models to survey grade units costing in excess of $30,000. I can say without any doubt that the Lowrance unit on my boat is installed correctly and that I have checked everything that can be checked at the consumer level. The antenna/gps module is malfunctioning and this is the second unit to fail in about 1 year.

The antenna was left on the boat all winter but the boat was covered and there is no sign of water intrusion. The display was kept indoors over the winter in my boat bag.

Nevertheless - Lowrance has told me that they will stand behind their product and that they will fix it or replace it for free regardless of warantee status. Granted I'd prefer that there had never been a problem but knowing I'm "covered" goes a long way. I'll post results when I get the unit back. Perhaps they do know they have a problem and that's why they were so willing to help - don't know. But, it seems they are going to do the right thing. Can't ask for more than that.


Jefecinco posted 06-24-2008 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I just got off the phone with Lowrance. Tey will repair my LGC-2000 at no charge even though it is out of warranty. That's good service.

A replacement Maretron GPS Module is about $225 plus the red/blue network adapter. A new LGC-3000 direct from Lowrance is about $230 plus the adapter. I'm considering getting the Maretron to use as the primary module and having the LGC-2000 for backup. I dislike being without a GPS. Very few of our channels are marked and I have become fairly expert at finding the bottom. I suppose you could call me navigationaly challenged.

By all accounts the Maretron is plug and play.


David1877 posted 07-01-2008 01:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for David1877  Send Email to David1877     
I have a Lowrance 337 with an external "hockey puck" GPS antennae.

The unit worked fine last year but this spring it lost communication with the antennae.

I was advised to spray a little WD-40 in the plugs.

It worked. No more communcation problems.

Jefecinco posted 07-01-2008 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Excellent! Perhaps I should have tried that. Because my GPS antenna/module failed while in use in mid-season it did not occur to me to clean up the connection.

I do believe my connection is pretty air tight as it is somewhat difficult to disconnect. Today I'll track the status of my repair job at Lowrance.


bobski posted 07-01-2008 07:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for bobski  Send Email to bobski     
I would try some dieletic grease on the connectors.
Jefecinco posted 07-02-2008 09:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Somehow I got the idea that dielectric grease is grease with high resistance to current flow. Is that wrong?

If dielectric grease has high resistance would that not be something to be avoided in waterproof connections?

Thanks for clearing that up for me.


Jefecinco posted 07-07-2008 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
This is a followup to my post of 24 June.

I mailed the LGC-2000 module to Lowrance on 26 June and received it back today. Since I used plain vanilla first class mail and there were two weekends during the period I'm pleased with the service.

It's pretty hot out there this afternoon so I wont try out the module until tomorrow morning.

BTW, they repaired my original module for the second time. I would have been happier with a new one but as there was no charge for this out of warranty repair I will not whine.


Jefecinco posted 07-09-2008 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I installed and tested the LGC-2000 GPS module between showers this afternoon. It performed flawlessly and I hope it continues to do so.

Because of my experience with two failures of this module I'd be tempted to seek an internal antenna GPS unit if I were in the market.

I am seriously considering a Maretron GPS module as a running spare (back up) for my LCX-111.


jimh posted 07-18-2008 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There have been some anecdotal reports that the external GPS receivers used by LOWRANCE in their LCG-x000 series of products appear to be sensitive to interference from nearby RADAR transmitters, and there have even been reports that exposure to the radiation from nearby RADAR transmitters are linked with Lowrance LCG-x000 units that failed.

Cf.: where a boater says his Lowrance GPS failed after a police boat came nearby with its RADAR operating; where a boater says that Lowrance informed him that his older unit was not shielded and could be affected by RADAR.

In light of those reports, I ask readers here to comment if any of the problems they experienced with their Lowrance LCG-x000 units could have been related to operation near RADAR transmitters.

Jefecinco posted 07-19-2008 08:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

In the case of my two LGC-2000 failures radar could not have been a factor. The first failure was in my driveway. The second was in a remote area with no nearby boats.


Landlocked posted 07-21-2008 10:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
My unit is still in the shop - have not heard a report yet on cause of failure.

That said, failure ocurred in my driveway. Unless it was radar from one of the doppler sites or from a passing plane - I doubt that's the culprit.


Jefecinco posted 07-21-2008 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

With your RA# you can determine the repair or shipping status of your GPS module on the Lowrance web site.


Landlocked posted 07-21-2008 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
I checked today... Still just says it was recieved on the 17th.

I delayed sending it in after my initial posts because I needed the sonar unit (which still worked) for a fishing trip I'd had planned for some time.

I suspect I'll hear from them before too long.


Landlocked posted 07-25-2008 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
I just recieved an email from Lowrance Customer Service. My unit is on its way back. Antenna had failed - no reason given but they replaced it for free.

Let's hope this is the end of it. Will report back when I get it back on the boat.

All in all - I'm pretty happy with Lowrance's service. It only took them about a week to replace a unit they didn't have to replace.


Jefecinco posted 07-25-2008 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

That's good news. I expected Lowrance to repair or replace your unit without charging you.


Landlocked posted 07-25-2008 11:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
I can't say enough positives about the customer service experience. Very satisfied.

But - I can't help but wonder what's going on with these GPS units. Did a search tonight out of curiosity. Google returned tons of similar complaints. I'm seeing some that say its a function of mounting antenna too close to the base unit. Others say its a radar issue. Still others say its electrostatic... I don't know but I hope they fix the problem and I believe there truely is a problem.

According to one site I read - there has been additional shielding added to newer antenna/gps modules and there is a tag on them indicating this is the case. If my new one has a tag I'll let you know.

Any Lowrance employees out there that can give us the scoop? Again - I'm happy the company is doing the right thing by standing behind the modules and replacing them but I think we really need to know for certain that they recognize there is a problem and they are going to fix it.


Jefecinco posted 07-26-2008 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Of all the aforementioned potential causes of early failure of the LGC-x000 GPS modules only one makes any sense to me.

Radar transmits a signal and the closer to the radiator the stronger, or more concentrated, the signal. But, given the long history of GPS use on radar equipped boats and aircraft it seems doubtful to me that radar is the culprit. Your unit failure and one of mine seems to have happened on the driveway at home ie. while the unit was turned off.

Because the head unit is passive and emits no signal I can't believe mounting the GPS module near the head unit can be the cause. One of my two failures happened while the unit was on and that was after many hours of use. My unit IS mounted close to the head unit. Surely Lowrance would issue some warning to users if this was causing failures. In my case the fix would be simple as my module is mounted to a ratchet mount antenna mount. I would only have to add a section of pipe of the necessary length. Another thing that mitigates against the theory is that there are those with an integrated antenna which seems to somewhat counter the theory.

ESD or electrostatic discharge(???) also seems unlikely but as I know so little about it I'll reserve comment and judgement. I have read that some recently repaired modules were returned with a tag indicating they were "ESD Protected(?)" if you can believe everything you've heard.

We'll just have to see what develops but if I have another module failure I will try another brand of module. Right now Maretron heads my list of potential replacements.


Landlocked posted 07-26-2008 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
You would also think that the designers would have taken all three of those potential sources of error into consideration when they built the unit.

I don't know - my unit is mounted on the shephards crook. To be safe - I may go ahead and move it to the port/stern rail near where the sonar transducer is mounted.

Also - while researching last night - I ran across one post where the user had wired the NMEA output of his Garmin hand held into the head unit. Seeing as how my Old Magellan Merridian Marine has not failed in over 5 years of use and abuse - I'm definately going to see if this will work.


Landlocked posted 07-28-2008 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
I have my new LGC-3000 antenna/gps module in hand. It does indeed have a sticker on the bottom that says "ESD Protected". My old disc antenna definately did not have this.

Chance of rain tomorrow so don't want to uncover the boat. Will post results when I get around to re-installing.


ncsinct posted 06-30-2009 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for ncsinct  Send Email to ncsinct     
I also have a LMS 525c df and had issues with 'gps unit not responding' last year. Lowarence sent me a new LGC 3000 module and the issue was resolved. I left the 'antenna' on the boat covered this winter but took the LMS in to the house. This year I cannot get a fix. I noticed the date and time have reverted to 2000. I cannot find a way to reset it. I cannot set local time with a fix. I spent 45 minutes on the phone waiting for support, once I got connected the call was dropped. Any ideas on what to check or how to reset Greenwich time?
Jefecinco posted 06-30-2009 07:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I recommend you refer to your user's manual and proceed with the steps for an inital set up of your unit, ie. as if it was new.


ncsinct posted 07-01-2009 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for ncsinct  Send Email to ncsinct     
Thank you for responding Butch.

I did check the manual and the UTC time is set at the factory. It says I can reset the time by going to the local time setting but when I navigate to that feature I get a message that I cannot set local time without a fix...a catch 22! I'm going to stop at a local dealer to see if he has any ideas. I'm guessing I need to send it in for repair. Either the internal battery is dead or the circuit is defective.

Each time I turn the unit on, UTC time is 00.00.00

ncsinct posted 07-01-2009 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for ncsinct  Send Email to ncsinct     
I just got off the phone with Lowrance customer support. Got lucky with a 20 minute wait. The support person was very helpful. After describing my issue he asked if there was 12 volts at the GPS receiver (yes), he said he'd send me a newer model receiver since the issue has not been resolved or returned from last year. All I had to do is give him the serial number of the current (my second) receiver. Feeling much better about their support.
Jefecinco posted 07-01-2009 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Lowrance has been hammered a bit recently for being non-responsive to customers. I believe this has been due to a recent consolidation of customer service for makes other than Lowrance under the larger corporate umbrella. Very recently there appears to be far fewer complaints and Lowrance Customer Service seems to be back to it's former service levels. If your experience is an indicator things are returning to normal.


Landlocked posted 07-02-2009 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
My unit is still working flawlessly with the new antenna.

Again - I only have positive comments to make about the customer service I recieved from Lowrance. The "extra's" they gave has resulted in me recomending their products to several friends.


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