Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How I resurrected my TomTom GO 920

This stuff probably applies to any hardware TomTom device, including GO 520, 720, 920, ONE, XL, etc

I have owned my TomTom GO 920 since 2007. It worked pretty well, but during the last trip to Spain started failing.

Symptoms included:

  • Doesn't turn on after put to sleep
  • Reset button doesn't work (that hole at the bottom of the device)
  • Hangs during operation, reset turns the screen off, can't turn on anymore

I thought my TomTom was bricked for good - anyway this seems like a hardware problem to me and no solutions on the net helped.

However, after the device was just gathering dust for some months, I have decided to give it another try: I plugged it into the USB and the device turned on again! But only until it hanged again and reset stopped working again.

So, here are the steps I used to resurrect it:
  1. Leave the device laying around without the power source until the battery completely drains
  2. Plug it into USB, turn it on by holding the power button for a few seconds (it should turn on by now if battery indeed was empty - I have tested it several times)
  3. If it asks whether to connect to the computer - choose YES
  4. Start TomTom HOME (yes, that stupid Windoze-only program - I used VirtualBox for running it - doesn't work under Wine)
  5. Go to manage my TomTom
  6. Check The Application (the TomTom GUI interface) and choose to delete it from the device
  7. Close TomTom HOME, restart it
  8. HOME will detect you don't have the Application installed and will offer you to do so
  9. Let it reinstall the Application
  10. Delete and copy the map as well, either with TomTom HOME or just manually

That's it! TomTom will now turn off and turn on again. However, occasionally it still needs the reset button to be pushed after put into sleep - but now the reset button works at least.

I guess the problem was with data corruption: when you turn on or reset the device, the bootloader takes control and tries to run the Application, but it mysteriously corrupted and fails. If the above steps don't help, you can try updating the bootloader as well - there are instructions on the net on how to do it, but you still need the working USB mass storage, so let the battery to drain first.

Hopefully this solution is not too temporary, but it works for 3 days now already!