back to article 'Leap year' bug drives TomTom satnav users up the wall

TomTom's satnavs have been caught out by a "leap year bug" this week which has caused the company's GPS receivers to suddenly stop working, driving users crazy. The company coughed to the flaw this morning, posting a public confession and telling satnav owners that an update may be necessary to fix the problem. "Since …


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  1. Tony Carter-Inman
    Thumb Down

    It all makes sense now...

    ...that's why my TomTom took 30 minutes to find a satellite this morning!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It all makes sense now...

      Yes, perfect sense. When else would you experience a leap year bug other than the 31st March?

      Did they think there was no 31st March in a leap year? I vote any bugs uncovered between now and the end of year be designated leap year bugs. Sounds much better than "we didn't test it properly"

      1. HeNe

        Outsourcing, baby.

        You've got:

        (1) Ignorant / arrogant (typically, but not always, read: inexperienced-and-cheaper-to-hire) programmers "rolling their own" date conversions rather than using tried-and-tested code, and,

        (2) Managers who won't spend programmer time on proper code reviews.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a limited number of models have been having an issue getting a GPS position.

    Really, but you state that it's a software problem, and the software is exactly the same across all models is it not (I have a hacked £50 satnav running TomTom and as far as I can tell, it's the same software as TomTom models).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hacked £50 satnav

      ooooo! Which one!

    2. Wize

      Re: a limited number of models have been having an issue getting a GPS position.

      But the fix is only available to some satnav models.

  3. AndrueC Silver badge

    I blame Pope Gregory the 8th. However unlike TomTom I've been aware of how his system worked for several decades now.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet Another TomTom fail

    If TomTom have a testing and/or QA department I can only imagine that their capabilities match those of untrained monkeys; TomTom is in a permanent state of fail with it's products, earlier this year the Live Traffic (subscription) service wouldn't work for at least a couple of weeks after a major software update (the one where they forced users to stop caring about their privacy unless you didn't want to use some of the device functions you have purchased) which would seem to be a basic function to test during a release...will the device standard functions work!

    In the realms of time taken with a SatNav device (admittedly not a pre-occupation in life but it is a device that is supposed to make life easier else why bother) I have spent far too much getting it to just work or calling TomTom and telling them to get it to work; if they get a fix for this one in the next couple of days it will be a surprise compared to their usual slow approach, I'm sure they don't want to set a precedent of being competent.

    Wish I had my old Navman again, it was basic but at least it just worked...

  5. Christoph

    It's such a pain when something totally unanticipated and unpredictable like a leap year messes up your carefully checked software.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Mind you I did once screw up an array of month names many years ago leading to the infamous 'It's the 3rd of Monday' joke at our office.

  6. banjomike
    Thumb Up


    I've just powered-on my TomTom One and the time is one hour out. Manually changed the time and it picked up the sats fine. I don't know if that will work for all TomToms, or even for mine next time I power it on.

    TomTom join Apple in the list of companies who cannot test leap year and/or summer time changes.

    1. banjomike

      Re: Fix? -updated

      Yes, it still works.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plenty of helpful info then!

    Love how they helpfully provide a list of affected products to help figure out if I'm affected or not.

    On the plus side, this week sees a double bonus: friday off, plus with the bonus leap day on march 31 friday is now on thursday so it's a 3 day week.

  8. James Micallef Silver badge

    31st March??

    So it didn't notice 29th February until more than a month after? That's some serious leap year bug.

    @AndrueC - Yes, Greg has a lot to answer for! I seem to remember reading somewhere that at some point people were using a 30-day month X 12 months calendar, and then spend the extra 5 days in hardcore feasting to celebrate the new year. Surely by the end of the 5 days the extra quarter day would get lost in hangoverland, and presto! no leap year problem!

    1. Christoph

      Re: 31st March??

      Shire Reckoning (though that had 2 days at year and and 3/4 at midsummer.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like it could be...

    The DST bug in uClibc that was fixed last year? I wonder how many other embedded Linux devices have been bitten by this?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS Patents

    Looks like MS were right about Tom Tom infringing their IP as it seems to have fallen on it's arse a la Azure.

    Tom Tom should ask for their shakedown money back

  12. Coofer Cat

    TomTom better be careful...

    TomTom need to be careful - by co-incidence I did an update on the 31st (because they'd been telling me to do one by email a couple of times). I then found that my device could no longer search by postcode. After an approximated journey or two, I did some searching and found the fix - in so doing, finding that my device seems to think I'm either in the UK or in Vatican City, and that it had previously been able to locate postcodes in Luxemburg, but not the UK (or Vatican City, for that matter).

    In short, whatever the hell just got onto my device, it sure ain't clean and tidy. If they don't start making this stuff work properly they'll go the same way as Nokia. My Android phone is nearly as good as a TomTom (albeit only when there's 3G signal). It's only a matter of time before Android (or IOS) beats them hands-down.

  13. Alan J. Wylie

    Two years ago Garmin had similar problems

    Y2.01K hits Garmin satnav

    Garmin's Geko 201 GPS kit can't decide what year it is, flipping between decades every time it's switched on, though it's performing better on days of the week.

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