GPS and Windows 8

Hey Gang – this note isn’t specifically about Mysticetus. Rather, I’ve encountered an issue can impact people running Wild, WinCruz, VisSurvey, or even any custom data collection application hooked to a GPS. I’ve spent the past couple days researching why a particular GPS doesn’t hook up to certain computers correctly and I wanted to share the results of this investigation with the community at large.

Exec Summary:
If you are running with Global-Sat “hockey puck” GPS’s, make sure you are running the -S4 variants (such as BU-353-S4). If you are running some other “hockey puck” GPS, check the “chipset version” carefully to make sure it is still supported.
Mid-level manager Summary:
– Most “hockey puck” GPS units use some variety of a chipset from Prolific Technologies. That is, the GPS is built by the GPS company, but they buy some of the underlying technology (the “chipset”) from Prolific Technologies and put that in their GPS.
– Prolific only supports their newest chipsets on Windows 8 (and moving forward, Win9, Win10, etc.)
For example, if you are using the (older) Global-Sat BU-353 GPS, it will *NOT* work reliably on Windows 8. Instead, you need to use the Global-Sat BU-353-S4. As expected, Global-Sat builds their newer GPS units with newer Prolific chipsets (imagine that). Luckily, these GPS units cost about $40 so it’s not the end of the world to throw the old ones away, or designate the older ones for use on archaic versions of Windows (7 or Vista).
People doing actual work Summary:
– Global-Sat BU-353 – Chipset “Prolific PL-2303 XA / HXA” – No longer supported by Prolific. Does not always work on new versions of Windows (8, 9, etc.).
– Global-Sat BU-353-S4 – Chipset “Prolific PL-2303 HXD” – Current supported version. Works on Windows 8.
Let me know if you have any questions, or additional data for the community at large.
P.S. Prolific released a new driver YESTERDAY (26-Feb-2013). It is available at
If you are running a GPS powered by a Prolific chipset, go get the new driver and install it on your PC, regardless of Windows version.

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