Garmin GPS w/ SyncUp Drive (T-Mobile)


Here's an odd one and, arguable not all that important. Still odd.

I picked up a T-Mobile SyncUp Drive for my car as I'm a T-Mobile customer AND want to use it with my Escort Max360C (radar detector) without my phone being the middle man. The phone being a middle man via bluetooth with Escort's application is kind of a PITA.

I have 2 Garmin GPSes:
- DriveSmart 51 LMT-S
- DriveSmart 61 LMT-S

Both work fine via WiFi:
- My home
- via My T-Mobile phone as a hotspot

With those two variables esablished we know:
- WiFi works on both units
- T-Mobile isn't blocking anything on their network.

Neither work with the SyncUp Drive hot spot. I've made sure signal is good to it (full bars) and WiFi in the car is fine. I've gone through the router settings on the hot spot and there's nothing there blocking it.

My only guess is that it takes just a tad longer with mobile vs home internet BUT the Garmin takes ages to time out. It will literally just sit there with the, "Checking for latest versions," screen.

Granted, you can certainly make the argument that updates to the GPSes are few enough and far enough between that you just haul it inside but, still, it ought to work, and it really shouldn't be that big of a deal, at this point in time, to download a few GBs of firmware or map data.

Has anyone else tried or experienced this?

Reading from t-mobile site

I have no experience with SyncUp Drive. Have you tried to connect a laptop or phone(with no other connectivity but using SyncUp HotSpot) to see if you can get to yahoo/Garmin website? I assumed you did that but I didn't get that from reading your post. If you can get to yahoo/garmin website, I know your hotspot is working and issue is elsewhere. My suspicion is your SyncUp hotspot is not working thus neither devices can talk. If I'm right, you can follow the setup direct from the SyncUp Drive manual: . Good Luck.

Can other WiFi devices

You told us about 2 Garmin devices that can't connect to the internet thru SyncUp hotspot. Can other WiFi devices connect to the internet? How do you know the problem isn't the hotspot itself (ie. no connection to the internet for whatever reason)?

Sorry: I've tested other things

chewbacca wrote:

You told us about 2 Garmin devices that can't connect to the internet thru SyncUp hotspot. Can other WiFi devices connect to the internet? How do you know the problem isn't the hotspot itself (ie. no connection to the internet for whatever reason)?

Yep. I can connect via my phone. I can stream music through it (made sure phone cellular was off) and can connect to various websites.

I can get to via my phone through the SyncUp.

On thing that doesn't work:

Using Garmin Speak -> my phone (bluetooth) -> Wifi (SyncUp Drive) -> T-Mobile

Garmin Speak through my phone's connection (cellular) works fine. Just not through WiFi/SyncUp.

Chatted with Garmin

I chatted with Garmin today and they've opened a ticket to check it out and will have me test some things on my side the next time I'm in my car and report back to them.

To me, it seems like there's could be a future in Garmin GPSes being IoT-type devices that don't need the phone as the middleman between them and the internet. This could be solved by either using a car's built in WiFi (more and more of them have it) or just having devices that connect to mobile networks.

Automatic Pro (not a hot spot - it's an OBDII connector that monitors your car) has done this without any monthly fees. They guarantee it'll work for 5years after you buy it. If you think about it, paying the mobile carrier some minimal fee per device for very minimal data which could be prioritized makes a lot of sense.

Having a single WiFi hot spot in your car also brings it altogether under a single umbrella as a counter argument.

Either way, a Garmin GPS getting data from the cloud w/o a middleman (re: smart phone), IMO, would be really nice. Traffic, Weather, Yelp!, Trip Advisor, ...whatever.. It doesn't need to be a browser, just a standard format for displaying data like they do now.

Now I have to remember, "Wait - Did I start that app?"

Found one issue...

The LTE / WiFi radio may be bad in my mobile hot spot.

If I run Speedtest against it on my phone (WiFi to hot spot) then I get varying results with it sometimes failing. Running it specifically on my phone: no problems.

It looks like it may be dropping packets.

I'm going to go to the T-Mobile store tomorrow morning and there was a guy there (employee) who had a SyncUp and said he loved his and I'm going to see if he'll let me put his in my OBDII port and run the same test from the same spot. That'll give a good benchmark as to whether it's the radio or the location.

When I hold my phone down near that spot I have no problems. Different device and, no matter how I slice it, different placement, even if it is close.

I'll post here what I find just in case any one is interested.

Fixed: Using a different hotspot now

I swapped out the SyncUp Drive hotspot for a different hotspot (Coolpad Surf) and the updates work as you'd expect. My radar detector also connects and is happy.

One thing that had me just a bit concerned with the new hotspot: Was it going to auto-start / turn on when I turned the car on and the USB port received power?

It does. Right now it all "just works".