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"teching" Out A Gps Receiver


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The day I learned of geocaching I came across a book for "GeoHacks". :D

 

It instructs on many things such as hotwiring purchased solar-panels to your GPS receiver, temporarily mating the Receiver to a cell or satellite phone, creating an antenna to receive coordinates anywhere, etc. Has anyone successfully pulled off any of these Frankenstein-esque creations? If so, I would love to know the source of your information.

 

Also, I don't want to make any assumptions (even simple ones can fall victim to this motto: "Assumtion is the mother of all #$@!-ups!"), but if a GPS receiver comes with a USB port, then it is possible to use a removable hard drive on it, right?

 

If that's the case, then you can extend the memory of your GPS receiver to the amount it comes with PLUS the amount of the removable hard drive. Mine for example has 512 MB (and is smaller than a key chain) - so I can store all sorts of maps and information that (hopefully) my little GPS receiver can use. What I want to know is, assumptions out the window, is this actually possible? :)

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Business Guy :D

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Nice idea!!

 

However, I think you are confusing the plug&play capability of many new computers via USB devices and the devices themselves.

 

Your GPSr is simply a device that has a USB type cable connection for your computer to talk to it. The computer contains all of the "know-how" for the communication to/from devices and how to use it.

 

Simply put, your GPSr would not "know" how to send/recive data from a portable hard drive. In fact, your computer looks at the GPSr as little more than a portable hard drive on which to store files.

 

Clear as mud????

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I recall an article somewhere about a guy who de-soldered the memory chip in a Garmin V and soldered in one with a higher capacity. Definitely not for the faint of heart…

definately not if it was a surface mount. One cold solder joint will mess you up if you happen to drop the thing one day.

 

I used to work at a place where we replaced chips and whatnot on circuit boards, some of the things we did required magnification, and very precise tools.

 

As for any mods that I've made, well, not quite yet, but I did aquire a delorme tripmate that I'm going to be converting into an APRS tracker which I'll have in my car with me. Theory is it'll be all self contained and running, all I'll have to do is make sure it's plugged in to the cigarette lighter, and it'll do the rest. What good will that do you say? It'll allow me to report my position while I'm driving around caching/whatever. Since I don't own a cell phone (personally I just don't like to be always be reached by people, when I'm away, I like to be away), this will be handy if anyone needs to know whereabouts I am.

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I recall an article somewhere about a guy who de-soldered the memory chip in a Garmin V and soldered in one with a higher capacity.  Definitely not for the faint of heart…

definately not if it was a surface mount. One cold solder joint will mess you up if you happen to drop the thing one day.

 

I used to work at a place where we replaced chips and whatnot on circuit boards, some of the things we did required magnification, and very precise tools.

 

As for any mods that I've made, well, not quite yet, but I did aquire a delorme tripmate that I'm going to be converting into an APRS tracker which I'll have in my car with me. Theory is it'll be all self contained and running, all I'll have to do is make sure it's plugged in to the cigarette lighter, and it'll do the rest. What good will that do you say? It'll allow me to report my position while I'm driving around caching/whatever. Since I don't own a cell phone (personally I just don't like to be always be reached by people, when I'm away, I like to be away), this will be handy if anyone needs to know whereabouts I am.

If not a cell phone what does that use to broadcast your position?

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I did aquire a delorme tripmate that I'm going to be converting into an APRS tracker which I'll have in my car with me. Theory is it'll be all self contained and running, all I'll have to do is make sure it's plugged in to the cigarette lighter, and it'll do the rest. What good will that do you say? It'll allow me to report my position while I'm driving around caching/whatever. Since I don't own a cell phone (personally I just don't like to be always be reached by people, when I'm away, I like to be away), this will be handy if anyone needs to know whereabouts I am.

If not a cell phone what does that use to broadcast your position?

Ham radio, if I'm remembering properly from when I read about APRS trackers somewhere online.

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I recall an article somewhere about a guy who de-soldered the memory chip in a Garmin V and soldered in one with a higher capacity. Definitely not for the faint of heart…

Yes, he had all the tools to deal with surface-mount devices. Unfortunately as I recall, he still couldn't get the firmware to recognize the extra memory space so it could be used for holding more maps. You'd also have to transfer the basemap data over to the new memory chip since it's stored in the same 32 MB device as the downloadable maps (13 MB basemap + 19 MB download = 32 MB).

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I recall an article somewhere about a guy who de-soldered the memory chip in a Garmin V and soldered in one with a higher capacity.  Definitely not for the faint of heart…

Once I upgrade I'd be willing to try that with mine. Looks like it's not as cut and dry as you would hope.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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Ham radio, if I'm remembering properly from when I read about APRS trackers somewhere online.

Yes, we use APRS when we run our annual bike ride for about 2000 women. Each of the support vehicles has a GPS and APRS radio so the central location can see them all displayed on a laptop showing the DeLorme Street Atlas maps and all the support cars. Makes it easy for them to see where more vehicles are needed and to contact the nearest one if someone needs help.

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You can solder in larger chips all day long (assuming you have a wave soldering station) but that doesn't mean that the chip selects are programmed, the additional address lines are driven or decoded, the memory map has adjacent space, the firmware knows how to use it and so on. It takes more than a larger pin-compaitible chip to be laid down on the pads for it to be usable.

 

The days of piggybacking 27064's or 4016's are over.

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Cranking up the memory on a GPS V (if possible) might seem like a neat trick. But.. if the "PC serial connection" means it takes nearly an HOUR to load the existing 19mb with maps/data, how much more chip size could you tolerate?? A 256mb chip would take 12-13 hours to load..

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I would be ok with that, if it meant that I could get all the maps I need on the memory. Start it loading in the evening, the next morning it would be done. Never have to do it again.

 

Better than spending an hour loading maps everytime I go to a different area, or not being able to use it on a long trip because I couldn't load all the maps I need.

 

Of course, if it won't work, then it doesn't matter.

Edited by Docapi
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I recall an article somewhere about a guy who de-soldered the memory chip in a Garmin V and soldered in one with a higher capacity.  Definitely not for the faint of heart…

Yes, he had all the tools to deal with surface-mount devices. Unfortunately as I recall, he still couldn't get the firmware to recognize the extra memory space so it could be used for holding more maps. You'd also have to transfer the basemap data over to the new memory chip since it's stored in the same 32 MB device as the downloadable maps (13 MB basemap + 19 MB download = 32 MB).

that is true, but in case 60c/cs there is 76c/cs which have twise the memory.

I wonder what will happen of one swap the memory chip between these two.

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Increasing the size of the memory does not mean the software will be able to use it. It depends on how the software is written. If it "knows" what unit it is in and expects a certain size of Flash, then it might not even work with a larger chip since they can require different programming procedures. But if the software is written to be generic across the product lines and it "knows" how to talk to the larger chip, it may work just fine.

 

Another fly in the ointment is the software storage. It is very likely that it is stored in the same Flash chip. So how do you plan to get the software into the new chip?

 

I am an electrical engineer and this is not a mod I would attempt unless I was willing to accept the death of the unit. Even if your soldering skills are good, it may kill the unit.

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Increasing the size of the memory does not mean the software will be able to use it. It depends on how the software is written. If it "knows" what unit it is in and expects a certain size of Flash, then it might not even work with a larger chip since they can require different programming procedures. But if the software is written to be generic across the product lines and it "knows" how to talk to the larger chip, it may work just fine.

 

Another fly in the ointment is the software storage. It is very likely that it is stored in the same Flash chip. So how do you plan to get the software into the new chip?

 

I am an electrical engineer and this is not a mod I would attempt unless I was willing to accept the death of the unit. Even if your soldering skills are good, it may kill the unit.

60C/CS and 76C/CS have the same firmware.

I am not sure if firmware is in the same flash chip as maps, even if it is I suggested to take chip from 76C/CS and put it into 60C/CS.

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60C/CS and 76C/CS have the same firmware.

I am not sure if firmware is in the same flash chip as maps, even if it is I suggested to take chip from 76C/CS and put it into 60C/CS.

hmmmm interesting idea....same firmware..... :huh: I'd like that extra memory on my 60C.... :huh:

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I am not sure if firmware is in the same flash chip as maps, even if it is I suggested to take chip from 76C/CS and put it into 60C/CS.

The firmware is in a separate device. The 76c/cs models have a 128 MB flash chip to store the 13 MB basemap and up to 115 MB of downloaded maps. The 60c/cs models have a 64 MB flash chip (8 MB basemap + 56 MB downloadable).

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I recall an article somewhere about a guy who de-soldered the memory chip in a Garmin V and soldered in one with a higher capacity. Definitely not for the faint of heart…

 

Never done that to a GPS receiver, but I did perform that sort of operation on a HP48G calculator with success. It means soldering SMD chips ... the ones that solder flat onto the PCB instead of having holes for the pins. Definitely nothing for the inexperienced and you better have a 5W soldering needle ... your standard 30+W household thing will possibly fry those chips.

 

Jan

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Well, I was playing around with my Expedition C on the bench two weeks ago, and I managed to put 15 volts into it. I heard a "pop" from inside, and it was history! :D

 

So, I went to Bass Pro Shop and bought another...

 

The following tuesday, (this was the recent holiday weekend), I took the bad one to work and thought I'd 'see how well this thing is built.'

 

So, I took it apart, and found that the external antenna jack IS rather well mounted (as I had worried about this before...)

 

Anyway, I found a 10uF electrolytic capacitor had exploded and measured a dead short. (This is a cap that, I must assume, is used to filter incoming power.) I removed the cap and the short was gone. Upon putting the thing back together - it actually worked! It still works today, so now I have two Expediton C's - and $300 less 'mad money'!

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