By November 23, 2007

TomTom RDS-TMC addon review

You might be wondering why we are reviewing a product that has been out for over a year. The RDS-TMC addon for suitable TomTom units adds subscription-free traffic information, and is supplied in the UK by iTis.

iTis hold the national licence for an RDS datastream attached to the Classic FM service. Data is received by the unit, which then shows current problems on the mapping in the same way the GPRS Traffic subscripton works.

Sounds good? It is, but it’s not been easy for TomTom in the UK. The RDS-TMC service and signal are extremely weak in the UK anyway, and is not really suited to “wire” type aerials. There have been a lot of problems, a couple of major revisions, and now the latest update – the version we are reviewing/mentioning here.

Firstly here are a few really useful images from Mike Alder at www.PocketGPSWorld.com, showing the different versions.

The different RDS Receiver versions:

The original 4V00.000 with the plastic bubble at the end of the cable

The original 4V00.000 with the plastic bubble at the end of the cable

The European 4V00.010 with the plastic bubble near the connector

The European 4V00.010 with the plastic bubble near the connector

The New 4V00.013 with ferrites and straight connector

The New 4V00.013 with ferrites and straight connector

Note that the model number 4V00.013 is ONLY shown on the cable of the unit itself – NOT on the outer box!

Mike has also produced a POI fileset for TomTom units with the location and frequency information for the iTis transmitters. PocketGPSWorld.com forums will be able to help you find these.

So does the new version work? Well yes and no. Its a lot better, it does find a signal, sometimes with little effort. However theres still far too much time lost while the unit is scanning, looking for any kind of signal to use.

It’s important to read the additional guide information for the UK – you do need to specifically select ‘United Kingdom’ mode for it to work at all.

It’s a decent enough update I guess – but the missing external aerial socket is still a HUGE problem, especially if you have an Athermic windscreen.

I’ll be using it regularly over the coming months, and testing new method of positioning the cabling. With the help of the userbase on the PGPSW forums, I may also hack an external aerial connection onto it, and wire it into my DAB aerial (supposedly it’s better for data).

Posted by: Mark

Image credit to Mike at www.pocketgpsworld.com

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Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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