Two dead TomToms

by Volker Weber

TomTom G0 720 and ONE Europe

My TomTom GO 720 T had a bad surprise for me today. It would turn on, but not boot. This is a known problem which you can't solve without a computer and lots of time on your hands.

I spent a couple of hours trying to fix the problem. In vain. The computer won't even write to the internal memory when connected through USB. It is able to see the device but both Windows and Mac fail to format it for a fresh install.

No problem I though. Last week I had received a test sample of the TomTom ONE Europe. So I thought I should give that a try. Hooked it up to my computer, TomTom Home suggested to download and install a new application version, the GPSfix almanach and map updates. I followed all instructions diligently and it displays the same blinking cross as the 720 did this morning for the first time ever.

TomTome Home tells me:

A new application has been installed on your device and you need to restart your device.

1. Disconnect your TomTom device from the computer.
2. Re-Connect your TomTom device to the computer.
3. Your TomTom device may ask if you want to connect to the computer. If this happens, tap 'Yes' and continue

If I do just that, it either returns to the "cannot boot" screen (when disconnected) or the instructions above (when connected). This again seems to be a known problem.

Two dead TomToms in one day. I will put them in a box tomorrow and send them back. Now digging for the Navman N40i. Boy, this has challenged my trust in TomTom like nothing before.

Update: TomTom Home offered a different version of the device software, and the TomTom ONE is alive again. It's now running 7.522.

Update: TomTom Home now offers to install version 8.010. Do I dare to install that? Of course I do. And this time it worked.


I am using an HP Windows Mobile device with TomTom Software.

Thats working great. good as Windows Mobile devices

Michael Kobrowski, 2008-06-10 22:00

Same with me: TomTom on PDA - lacks all the new fancy features though, but does work well on its "core competence", navigating. But you can store it on an SD card and it auto-installs again when the PDA needs a full reset due to lack of power (my HP is running still on WM 2003).

Axel Koerv, 2008-06-10 22:18

And here I sit and wonder because I was quite sure I told you that both of my old TomTom devices died on me with no apparent reason. Anyway, the TomTom ONE Europe is still working, even after the last update. Although I believe it should better be renamed to "TomTom ONE Parts of Europe" as I found out just last week. Stopped working some kilometers before the border from Italy to Slowenia. And last time I looked, Slowenia was still part of Europe (as well as the part of Italy I was driving in when the map ended). Not to speak of the quality of the maps of Italy, but that's probably not entirely TomToms fault. Still, I was quite dissatisfied with the quality of the "enter your changes" menu whihc wouldn't allow me to add a new street at my current position but instead defaulted to the "next best street in the vicinity" - which unfortunately didn't help much because that street was another faulty one (two parallel streets of which TTO only knew one). So in the end I couldn't tell the TTO to navigate to my actual residence but had to set it to some point some kilometers away and use my personal navigation skills to make the last mile ;) So in short, my next nav-dev won't be a TomTom.

Stefan Rubner, 2008-06-11 01:33

I'm using TomTom on a Nokia N80 - works great. Why don't you go for a new iPhone with GPS? (TomTom announced that they'll release for the iPhone, too (AFAIK))

Timo Zimmermann, 2008-06-11 08:07

Stefan, I doubt switching the manufacturer just because of errors in the map data will help much. AFAIK almost all use either Teleatlas or Navteq data and both have errors or gaps. I don't think one of them is significantly better than the other in this area.

Are there other devices that allow to make changes at all?

Oliver Regelmann, 2008-06-11 10:11

Actually, my real problem is not with the maps but with the devices dying on me. And since I've used TT devices for quite a long time now, I think it's time to try something new. Navman most likely, Garmin is a definite no-no. What I'd really need is a slightly different selection of the maps than what's currently offered by most vendors (think DAI instead of DACH).

Stefan Rubner, 2008-06-11 10:55

I have repaired two Tom Toms in the past few months, a ONE and a GO. Both had been written off by their owners. Both had faulty SD cards. Both now work flawlessly.

Simply replacing the SD card in each case and then reloadingthe device software and maps via a USB connection from a PC was enough to get both working again.

Flash memory starts to fail after only a few hundred thousand write operations. If I understand correctly how these things work, Tom Toms seem to write to the SD card quite a lot so you'd expect to have to replace the SD card in a well used Tom Tom quite often.

Chris Linfoot, 2008-06-11 12:31

I agree with Chris on this. Half a year ago I had a One XL for some tests and IIRC the complete system was on the SD card. It was possible to change this e.g. for a bigger one, then reinstall the system and e.g. add more maps or tools.

vowe, have you tried writing to the SD card with a card reader?

Oliver Regelmann, 2008-06-11 13:29

The newer ONEs don't have any SD card anymore.

Stefan Rubner, 2008-06-11 14:04

@Stefan - the quality of the TT maps in Spain is pretty abysmal too - I bought the latest version of the Europe maps before setting off for Spain last week, and you wouldn't believe the number of roads and roundabouts that are missing or wrong. It makes navigating in towns very exciting. (The locations of the radar cameras in Spain seem to be completely up-to-date however, which is quite handy!)

John Keys, 2008-06-11 18:31

I have a similar problem with my Garmin gps. One fine day it would not turn on,it would show the Garmin splash screen and die. I thought it was the bast and so tried it with the USB , but no luck. I finally found there was a hidden "reset" switch under the sliver frame around the touch screen, I had to remove the frame with the Garmin name on it to find this. Hitting this reset the garmin and it works fine now. So thats another hidden one to look for

rajiv thomas, 2008-06-11 22:40

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Ceci n'est pas un blog is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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