The Global Positioning System (GPS) week number rollover is a phenomenon that happens every 1024 weeks, which is about 19.6 years. The rest of the story about why the week number rollover happened, you may read on it’s dedicated WikipediA page.

Back in 2010 I bought a very basic GPS, the iconic yellow Garmin Etrex H. I bought it for the single purpose of geocaching but ended up using it also as odometer while walking and basic GPS navigation on my motorcycle. It has spent the last 5 years in a box however. On the night of the 6th and 7th april in 2019, when the week number rollover happened, the devices still was capable of giving me the right directions, but the date wasn’t showing correctly anymore. It could be fixed by upgrading the firmware, but then I remembered that the last time I connected the GPS to my PC was with my previous computer, still running Windows XP, usign a USB to RS232 cable as apparently the stopped putting serial ports as a standard on PC more than 15 years ago.

Unfortunatly the USB to RS232 adapter wasn’t working on Windows 10 anymore, neither did the other 4 that I managed to find in my “junk” box. The sticks did work though, as I’m using them for connecting my radio to the PC, but they didn’t want to connect with, let alone upgrade the firmware of, the Garmin Etrex H.

Not wanting to take the risk any new USB to RS232 would also not work, I ended up buying a PCIE-Serial card for my computer.
For less than 8 euro, and while orders below 22 euro are still exempt from VAT, I dared to try my luck.

When the card arrived, I installed it in my PC and installed the needed drivers. These can be found on the manufactures website.

The Garmin WebUpdater app now recognised immediately the GPS and the firmware upgrade was done in a matter of minutes. My old GPS will again indicate the correct time for the next 19.6 years!

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