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TFAC Review MG 30

22nd July 2003

   

Introduction

TFAC stands for the Taiwan Falcon Aerospace Corporation and they are a relatively new name to be seen in Europe and North America.  TFAC have been going for quite some time, designing GPS boards mainly for GLONASS (the Russian Global Positioning System), but they recently ventured into GPS Retail by creating several new GPS Receivers for the NavStar constellation, the one we are reviewing here is the TFAC MG 30.  This is a mouse type GPS Receiver, with a PS/2 connection plug/socket and terminates in an accessory plug to be powered in-car. 

 

TFAC are going to be on a winner with this design, the receiver looks pretty sexy!  We've seen some nice designed receivers over the past year, but this one reminds me of a futuristic space buggy.  The receiver is hidden behind the black domed Perspex, and above this (left) there is an LED to signify power and satellite acquisition.

 

Seeing that a lot of GPS receivers are now coming with a PS/2 connection, in theory providing the pin-outs are the same throughout (no reason why not), then you should be able to pick up additional cables quite cheaply.  The cable terminates in a Y connector like most GPS Receivers, and the accessory plug will power the GPS Receiver and charge the Pocket PC at the same time.

 

One of the great things about the MGL 30 is it's completely waterproof, unlike a lot of GPS mouse receivers.  The MG 30 comes with a magnetic base, so if you wanted to place it on the roof of a car, you won't have any worries here.  One of the downsides about this receiver is the base doesn't have a felt pad (which is something that a lot of manufacturers forget.  Which means if you want to place this on the dashboard, it will slip and slide around, unless you anchor it down with sticky back 3M pad or some double sided velcro (not supplied).

 

The MG 30 can be used both on a PC and PDA.  Cable sets are available terminating in a 9 pin RS232 Serial connector, USB connector and also various PDA's including the 3600/3800/5400/2200/1900 range of Compaq/HP iPAQ connectors.  The serial connector comes with a model type of MG-30R, the USB as a MG-30U.

 

 

Features

  • 12 channel in parallel

  • L1, C/A code

  • Operating with low power

  • Operating with 5V

  • Serial, USB or PDA cable sets

  • Easy use

  • Fast start0up

  • NMEA 0183 data communication protocol supported

  • Built-in antenna

  • Built-in data recorder (MGL-30)

  • Support software

  • Light and handy shape

  • Waterproof enclosure

Technical Specification

  • Position Accuracy (15 meters CEP, without SA)

  • Velocity Accuracy (0.1 meters/second, without SA)

  • Max Speed (515 meters/sec / 1000 Knots)

  • Acceleration (4g max)

  • Jerk (20 meters/sec - 3 max)

  • Max Altitude (18,000 meters or 60,000 feet)

  • TTFF Cold (45 seconds)

  • TTFF Warm (8 Seconds)

  • TTFF Hot (0.1 Seconds)

  • Update Rate (1 Second)

  • Receiver Sensitivity (-172dBW)

  • Map Datum Supported (WGS-84)

How well does the TFAC Receiver respond ?

The TFAC MG 30 responds very well.  TTFF's are a little slow, the fastest TTFF we received from cold was 1m 17s, and the slowest 2m 11s, bringing the average cold TTFF to 1minute 37seconds, which is slower than the average GPS mouse when compared to a Leadtek, Holux or Sapphire, but when the TFAC locks onto a 3D fix, it won't let go!  This is one of the most important factors when choosing a GPS, TTFF is important and it's one you'll encounter every day, but there's not much use having a GPS receiver that will lose fix every 30 seconds, and the TFAC performed very well.  Re-acquisition time is also very fast (difficult to time), so if you did lose signal through heavy foliage, expect to get a signal back very quickly!

 

 

GPS Hardware TTFF (Time To First Fix)

 

Cold

Test 1

Cold

Test 2

Cold

Test 3

Cold

Test 4

Cold

Test 5

Cold

Test

Average

Warm

Test

Hot

Test

CoPilot CF 1m 22s 1m 8s 56s 1m 17s 54s 1m 07s 52s 16s
Emtac Sleeve/CoPilot 40s 37s 42s 37s 46s 40.4s 10s 9s
Emtac/Socket BT GPS 47s 53s 42s 36s 38s 43.2s 10s 17s
Garmin eTrex 39s 44s 40s 41s 43s 41.4s 8s N/A
Garmin eTrex Summit 38s 41s 45s 39s 42s 41.0s 8s N/A
Garmin eTrex Vista 37s 57s 32s 35s 38s 39.8s 17s N/A
Garmin GPSMap76 42s 34s 23s 56s 32s 37.4s 12s N/A
Garmin GPSMap76S 32s 53s 32s 39s 36s 38.4s 11s N/A
Garmin Geko 101 1m 37s 45s 38s 44s 41s 53s 15s 13
Garmin Geko 201 34s 45s 38s 43s 40s 40s 19s 10
HaiCom 302 CF 50s 33s 1m 25s 36s 1m 25s 57.8s 23s 10s
HaiCom 303 MMF 42s 1m 05 s 41s 1m 02 s 1m 18s 57.6s 36s 3s
Holux GM-210 42s 38s 35s 37s 42s 38.8s 30s 4s
Holux GM-270 54s 1m 07 s 1m 03s 50s 1m 12s 61.2s 39s 4s
Holux GM-270U 46s 49s 42s 1m 01 s 49s 49.4s 35s 3s
Holux GR-230 1m 02s 55s 50s 49s 52s 53.6s 39s 5s
LeadTek 9531 / 9532 29s 37s 39s 41s 43s 37.8s 9s 5s
Magellan Meridian Range of GPS 38s 53s 43s 33s 35s 40.4s 18s 15s
Magellan SporTrak Range of GPS 37s 47s 46s 41s 41s 42.4s 19s 16s
Navman 3000 (ROM 2.0.0) 49s 52s 1m 33s 3m 23s 8m 5s 2m 56s 20s 11s
Navman 3400/3420 (ROM 2.1.2) 1m 33s 2m 30s 1m 32s 52s 1m 17s 1m 32.8s 20s 12s
Navman 3450 (ROM 2.1.2) 57s 50s 1m 09s 48s 1m 0s 56.8s 20s 11s
Navman 4400 53s 1m 03s 1m 19s 54s 53s 1m 00.4s 0s 0s
Pretec Compact CF 1m 28s 2m 47s 57s 45s 1m 2s 1m 23s 1m 16s 12s
Pretec Compact LP CF 3m 48s 5m 32s 4m 59s 1m 53s 4m 02s 4m 04s 52s 33s
Rikaline X5 41s 41s 34s 41s 42s 39.5s 39s 0s
Rikaline X6 34s 60s 44s 48s 57s 48.6s 38s 0s
RoyalTek Onyx 1m 28s 1m 39s 2m 23s 1m 38s 1m 35s 1m 46s 1m 24s 17s
RoyalTek Sapphire RGM 1m 02s 1m 0s 56s 41s 55s 54.8s 37s 10s
RoyalTek RBT-3000 57s 46s 43s 41s 55s 48.4s 30s 9s
RoyalTek RGM-2000 48s 52s 40s 45s 39s 44.8s 33s 7s
SysOnChip BT GPS 48s 77s 66s 67s 51s 61.8s 37s 4s
SysOnChip CF Plus (SIRFXTrac) 40s 30s 33s 38s 39s 36s 30s 0s
TFAC MG30 Mouse 1m17s 1m 26s 1m 38s 1m 36s 2m 11s 1m 37s 34s 4s
TomTom Bluetooth GPS 48s 52s 46s 59s 51s 51.2s 37s 3s

 

Fastest

TTFF

Cold

Tests

Slowest

TTFF

Cold

Tests

Manufacturer

Stated

Times

Warm

TTFF

Tests

Manufacturer

Stated

Times

Hot

TTFF

Tests

Manufacturer

Stated

Times

CoPilot CF 54s 1m 22s Not Stated 52s N/A 16s N/A
Emtac Sleeve/CoPilot 37s 46s Not Stated 10s N/A 9s N/A
Emtac/Socket BlueTooth GPS 36s 53s 1m 20s 10s 45s 6s 10s
Garmin eTrex 39s 44s 45s 8s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin eTrex Summit 38s 45s 45s 8s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin eTrex Vista 32s 57s 45s 12s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin GPSMap76 32s 56s 45s 12s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin GPSMap76S 32s 53s 45s 12s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin Geko 101 38s 1m 37s 45s 15s 15s 13s N/A
Garmin Geko 201 34s 45s 45s 19s 15s 10s N/A
HaiCom 302 CF 33s 1m 25s 48s 23s 38s 10s 8s
HaiCom 303 MMF 41s 1m 18s 48s 36s 38s 3s 8s
Holux GM-210 35s 42s 45s 30s 38s 4s 8s
Holux GM-270 50\s 1m 12s 45s 39s 38s 4s 8s
Holux GM-270U 42s 1m 01s 45s 35s 38s 3s 8s
Holux GR-230 39s 1m 02s 45s 39s 38s 5s 8s
LeadTek 9531 / 9532 29s 43s 48s 9s 38s 5s 8s
Magellan Meridian Range of GPS 33s 53s <2m 18s <1m 15s <15s
Magellan SporTrak Range of GPS 37s 47s <5m 19s <1m 16s <15s
Navman 3000 49s 8m 05s 2m 0s 20s 48s 11s 18s
Navman 3400/3420 (ROM 2.1.2) 52s 2m 30s 2m 0s 20s 48s 12s 18s
Navman 3450 (ROM 2.1.2) 48s 1m 09s 2m 0s 20s 48s 11s 18s
Navman 4400 53s 1m 19s n/a 0s n/a 0s n/a
Pretec Compact CF 45s 2m 47s 1m 0s 1m 16s 45s 12s 8s
Pretec Compact LP CF 1m 53s 5m 32s 2m 10s 52s 45s 33s 20s
Rikaline X5 34s 42s 45s 39s 38s 0s 8s
Rikaline X6 34s 1m 00 s 45s 38s 38s 0s 8s
RoyalTek Onyx 1m 28s 2m 23s 45s 3m 0s 45s 17s 20s
RoyalTek Sapphire 41s 1m 02s 45s 37s 38s 10s 45s
RoyalTek RBT-3000 41s 57s 45s 30s 38s 9s 8
RoyalTek RGM-2000 39s 52s 45s 33s 38s 17s 45s
SysOnChip BT GPS 37s 77s 45s 37s  38s 4s 8s
SysOnChip CF Plus (SIRFXTrac) 30s 40s 45s 30s  38s 0s 8s
TFAC MG30 1m 17s 2m 11s 45s 34s  8s 4s 0.1s
TomTom Bluetooth GPS 48s 59s 45s 37s 38s 3s 8s
 

Where to purchase ?

The main UK retailer for TFAC is Routeplanners.  The retail price whilst writing this review was 99.99 inc VAT from Routeplanners which includes a 38xx/39xx/54xx/22xx connector cable and is a bargain!

 

 

Summary

The TFAC MG 30 gives good overall performance, TTFF's could be quicker, but if you're really looking for a receiver that won't lose a fix under heavy foliage, and you're looking for something that looks stunning whilst it sits on your dashboard then the MG 30 could be the receiver for you.  It's a shame that a felt bottom to the mouse wasn't included as part of the mouse, but the overall look and design makes up for this.  TFAC also have another GPS mouse called the TFAC MGL 30 which also includes a data logger built in for tracking where the GPS Receiver has been and this can be downloaded to a PC.

 
Conclusion  
Manufacturers Website http://www.tfac.com.tw
Pocket GPS Reviewer Dave Burrows
Pocket GPS Reviewer Website http://www.daveburrows.com
   
Rating  
Construction
Installation
Useability
Robustness
   
Overall Rating 92.5%
How did we achieve these ratings ? Review Ratings
 

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