BU-303 GPS

Submitted by cliff on Thu, 04/03/2004 - 16:29

This post is a legacy post from my old weblog, it has been included as it seems to still have some hits. Old comments are included

I saw some search request for the BU-303 GPS in my logs. And yes I had some information about it on my site. So here it is again :)

The BU-303 is shipped by two companies so far as I know. They are Deluo and NaviLock. They cost about 90 euro's in the Netherlands and are available from any retailshop that get's their stuff from JavoCom The driver for the BU-303 for Mac OS X can be found here (29-03-03: Link Fixed!). Actually it is not the driver for the BU-303, but for the Prolific 2303 chipset that is used on the BU-303. This chipset is actually an USB-to-Serial convertor that is needed to support the serial SiRF chipset (the actual GPS chipset) on the BU-303.

It works fine on Mac OS X with this driver. I have no windows machines that have need for the GPS and I have never used it on Windows. Usage under Linux is possible with in-kernel drivers, however the Linux 2.4 driver is very unstable and can lead to crashes after using the GPS for a while. According to Greg Koah (of Linux USB fame) this has been fixed in the Linux 2.6 kernel. However I have NOT tested this.

The BU-303 works fine using KisMac and works correctly using Route66, however the update interval using Route66 is rather slow. This is probably Route66's fault AND NOT the fault of the BU-303 GPS.

UPDATE: (03-08-2004): I see that a lot of people make use of my BU-303 article in my weblog. At the moment there is only a download for the Mac OS X driver, but with this overwhelming hits on BU-303 (according to referrers). I will make more drivers available here in the future. 

UPDATE: (20-09-2004): Thanks to Jaap there is a new version of the BU-303 available. It is downloadable here, this is version 1.0.8, the old version is 1.0.6. Also Jaap found another driver for the BU-303 which can be downloaded here which he found at MacGPSPro . I Haven't tested the drivers myself as I don't use my GPS that often and the current driver works just fine for me. Thanks Jaap!

UPDATE: (20-11-2004): It seems there are some BU-303 units which have faulty soldering bonds. I found this link describing how to fix this issue if it happened to your unit. The page also has some more technical details about this unit.

Hello I read this article, and i wanted to ask you a question.
I have this gps bu-303, with windows it works but on linux i don’t know how to install it, you wrote abount a in-kernel driver, but on kernel 2.6.4 I haven’t found it. What shall I look for? wich driver i must compile to use it on linux sistem?
Thanks for the help.
Running on : Slackware 9.1 , kernel 2.6.4
alessio (Email) (URL) - 24 March '04 - 16:16

You should try the USB Serial driver. Don’t look for a GPS driver, look for the prolific 2303 driver that’s in kernel!
Cliff (Email) (URL) - 24 March '04 - 17:50

I am also having trouble getting the driver to install or work. I am not a unix/linux person and don’t konw how to do all that text stuff, Isn’t there just a icon I can click on to install the driver for the BU-303 on Mac OS X? Please help with the install , with details so a normal person can do it. thanks
marcus paulson (Email) - 21 July '04 - 09:24

Thanks for this article.
Ian Wright (Email) (URL) - 22 July '04 - 12:58

I have a Bluie bluetooth GPS, very small in size… I use it with Route66 on Mac OSX 10.3.5.
No driver, I just used Bluetooth Serial Utility, and it was recognized.
But the update is lagging. After 5 min of driving the GPS is 1.5 min behind me! That is totally useless. I don’t know if the fault is the GPS or Route66….
Kent Jonsson (Email) - 11 September '04 - 08:05

I bought the BU303 for use on my laptop (Win XP) with Route66 Europe 2005. But it can only find 1 to 2 satelites and is therefore unusable.
Any hints in my direction??
Rene (Email) - 24 October '04 - 21:41

I have purchased a BU-303 from laptopsforless.com.. I have tried EVERYTHING on this page and every other page I can find and cant get my mac to see the device.. PLEASE help.
Ray (Email) - 04 December '04 - 01:15

Sorry, but without a detailed problem report I can’t help you. First diagnose if your bu-303 unit actually works, is it detected and viewable in System Profiler ? Is it detected on another system (for instance a PC) ?
Cliff (Email) (URL) - 04 December '04 - 09:27

has the latest driver by Prolific for windows.
Otto Didakt (Email) - 15 December '04 - 01:12

Sorry that the above BU-303 driver link was temporary. 
wd_pl-2303h_hx_x.zip (for windows) from http://tech.prolific.com.tw in the download section then
USB Smart I/O Cable IC , USB 1.1 , PL-2303 USB to Serial Bridge Controller
It is a poorly made site so you might have to poke around. 
After trying several gps programmes of the ‘net which didn’t work GPSS.co.uk worked straight away and has free rego. The only thing was that the magnet came off the bu303 and all readings were half a world away.
good luck
Otto Didakt (Email) - 30 December '04 - 23:59

Just some info on the BU 303… The manufacturer says that it is water proof. Well to an extent yes. Mine started to fritz, so I picked it up and looked at it and I felt a sloshing inside of it. I then opened it and what do you know, water. I use my BU 303 for work all the time so it was staying on top of my vehicle. Well I live in the Pacific NW and we get rain. So call it a learning lesson. If you can use it from within your vehicle, that would be best or wait until the sun shines or give it as minimal exposure to the rain as possible. Also, if you need the drivers for windows, let me know. I have them. I run a Dell laptop that has only USB ports and my O/S is XP. Happy GPSing.
Tom Kichenmaster (Email) - 19 January '05 - 19:34

There’s a newer driver from prolific for OS-X (v1.0.9b3):
however i’ve got the problem that i can’t receive any bit off the gps (/dev/tty.usbserial) on Mac OS-X (tried all drivers listed on that page) – has somebody got a solution to that one? it’s weird ‘cause the device is created but it just returns nothing (cat /dev/tty.usbserial).. help is welcome..
on linux (kernel 2.6.11) however the kernel-driver works fine!
blk - 24 March '05 - 18:59

Does anyone know where I could find the specification for the circuit board of bu-303. I want to talk directly to the rs-323 interface. I have found an unused connector next to the usb connector. The idea is to be able to design my own hardware to makke a stand-alone gps-unit which do not need a computer to display coordinates.
Thanx, Daniel
Daniel Hedberg (Email) - 06 May '05 - 15:13

Hi, I am a real beginer with all this GPS stuff, so be easy ! I have the the BU-3030 running Windows XP and Route 66 but can only find 1 maybe 2 satelites. i am based in central london would have thought I would find more ? Am i doing something wrong ?
Jamie (Email) - 16 June '05 - 01:53