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Lowrance / Lei Mapcreate Tips

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Since there seems to be a growing Lowrance group here (and because the MapCreate software is sometimes a bit buggy), I thought I'd start a specific thread on it. I hope it will stay focused on tips and troubleshooting for Lowrance/LEI MapCreate products.

 

I'll start with a few things I have learned (even though they've been posted elsewhere) to collect them into this thread.

Edited by lee_rimar

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FIXING MOST PROBLEMS WITH THE CARD READER ON WIN 2000 AND XP

 

When you install the drivers for Lowrance's card reader, the installer may put an extra and unnecessary drive on your system. Go to your system's "Add/Remove Programs" control panel and check for this item:

 

GENERIC USB MASS STORAGE DEVICE

 

Unless you are running some flavor of Windows 98, you DO NOT NEED this driver. Remove it from your system, and in most cases any problems you were having with the card reader will go away.

 

Just be sure to keep the "USB 2.0 MMC/SD CARD READER" driver. That's the one that really makes the card reader work with MapCreate. On some older versions, it may be called just "USB..." instead of "USB 2.0..."

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YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THE LEI CARD READER

 

Well, yes you do, at least for a little while. When you first set up MapCreate, you do need the LEI card reader to REGISTER your SD cards. But once you register the cards, you can put the LEI card reader away and use ANY card reader you want.

 

For those of use who use other card readers (like my multi-format Lexar Trio) drive, it's really nice to NOT have to swicth the thing out to use LEI's proprietary one.

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YOU CAN CREATE MAPS THAT ARE NOT LOCKED TO A SPECIFIC SD CARD

 

This applies to version 6.3 of MapCreate and is unnecessary in 6.2 or earlier.

 

NOTE 1: This tip will not circumvent most of LEI's copy protection. You still need the original product CD when you launch MapCreate. You still need their card reader/dongle to register your memory cards. You still need a registered card in the reader when you start to create the map file.

 

NOTE 2: Making maps for your own use with software you bought is a legitimate purpose. Creating maps and letting other people use them without buying the software is copyright infringement. Don't do it! As this tip potentially lets people do just that, discussing it may be a violation of the DCMA, or worse, Groundspeak's forum policies. I'll let the forum moderator make the call.

 

1) Locate the folder \Program Files\LEI\Mapcreate...\RES on your hard drive. The exact path name may vary by the exact version of MapCreate you have, but the leaf name will be RES. For future use, you might also want a shortcut to this folder on your desktop. Open the RES folder.

 

2) Go through the usual steps of creating a map border, and SAVE the map border file with a distinct and appropriate name (e.g., "XYZZY").

 

3) After saving the border file, click the Create Map toolbar button or menu item. The program will prompt you to put one of your REGISTERED cards into the card reader and tell you that this map will be locked to this specific memory card and unusable on any other card.

 

4) Click Okay and let MapCreate churn away for however long it takes to create the map. BUT when it presents you with the "Save File..." dialog to save the map file, don't click anything.

 

5) Go to the RES folder you opened earlier (you can bring it to the foreground by clicking on its item in the taskbr). There will be file with the same as your map border but an extension of AT5 (e.g., "XYZZY.AT5").

 

6) Right click on this AT5 file, and select "Send To... " to make a copy either to your desktop, the "My Document's" folder, or any other location you like.

 

7) Go back to MapCreate and CANCEL the save file dialog.

 

The resulting AT5 file is not registered to any specific memory card, and may be loaded on any MMC or SD card in your collection.

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Lee - thanks for the tips! I won't be getting Mapcreate until Christmas, but I know your tips will come in handy when I get it. I have a couple of MMC questions?

 

Do you know the MMC card limit? The documentation says 512MB, but I heard 1GB would be OK.

 

I’ve been using a 128MB PNY SD card to transfer Waypoints. I’ve noticed $40 SD cards by PNY and pqi, and was wondering if certain cards don’t work in the LEI reader. Maybe it doesn’t matter if I can register the card that comes with Mapcreate, then use your technique to save the data to the 1GB card.

Edited by lost02

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...Do you know the MMC card limit? The documentation says 512MB, but I heard 1GB would be OK.

I have no problems with SanDisk 1 gig SD cards. I haven't used MMC cards so I have no info on them.

 

I’ve been using a 128MB PNY SD card to transfer Waypoints. I’ve noticed $40 SD cards by PNY and pqi, and was wondering if certain cards don’t work in the LEI reader.

I don't know if performance with the LEI card reader is at all brand-sensitive. But I know the tendency of many users is to find a brand that works and stick with it. I've been buying SanDisk for a long time and never have any problems.

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I don't know if performance with the LEI card reader is at all brand-sensitive. But I know the tendency of many users is to find a brand that works and stick with it. I've been buying SanDisk for a long time and never have any problems.

I've only purchased a couple SD cards and haven’t had a problem with any of them in my Palm or camera, but I heard the LEI reader could be a little temperamental. I usually end up buying whatever is on sale when I need one (I've only purchased SD cards too).

 

I also have a question for you concerning saving maps. In “YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THE LEI CARD READER” you indicate you don’t need the LEI reader once you register your card(s), but in “YOU CAN CREATE MAPS THAT ARE NOT LOCKED TO A SPECIFIC SD CARD” it doesn’t look like you use your registered card. Like I said previously I don’t have the software yet, but from your procedures it looks like you don’t have to use the LEI reader at all, and you don’t have to register any cards. What am I missing? :ninja:

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I’ve been using a 128MB PNY SD card to transfer Waypoints. I’ve noticed $40 SD cards by PNY and pqi, and was wondering if certain cards don’t work in the LEI reader.

I don't know if performance with the LEI card reader is at all brand-sensitive. But I know the tendency of many users is to find a brand that works and stick with it. I've been buying SanDisk for a long time and never have any problems.

I purchased a Kingston brand SD card for my H20 and it would not work. It seemed to register Ok and accept a map file but the GPS would not recognize it. Lowrance support suggesting trying another card so apparently the devices do have a card prefrence of some sort.

(The Kingston card works fine in my PDA.)

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...In “YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THE LEI CARD READER” you indicate you don’t need the LEI reader once you register your card(s), but in “YOU CAN CREATE MAPS THAT ARE NOT LOCKED TO A SPECIFIC SD CARD” it doesn’t look like you use your registered card....

1) Yes - you need to HAVE a registered card when you create the map, or MapCrfeate won't proceed at all. The point is that the map you create doesn't have to be locked to that specific card (which it ordinarily would be).

 

2) Yes - you do need the Lowrance/LEI card reader to REGISTER the cards initially. After the card is registered, any card reader will work.

 

You mentioned you don't have the program, so I can see how this might be confusing. After you've got MapCreate and used it the regular way, it will probably make more sense.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Any info on bypassing the CD requirement? I *HATE* having to find my CD when I want to use the program. MC 6.3.

 

Thanks for the tips. I'd love to hear more.

 

On SD cards, I use a Corsair 60x 1GB card. It doesn't seem any faster than the normal card in the GPS, but it loads maps faster from the computer. It was on sale or I probably would have gotten the normal speed one.

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Any info on bypassing the CD requirement? I *HATE* having to find my CD ...

I'm not keen on it either - but if (when) I find out, I might not share that information. That's too close to cracking a valid copy protection scheme for my comfort.

 

I had some doubts about posting some of the info I already placed here. But you DO still need the CD, and Lowrance's card reader, and a registered memory card - so I feel I'm still within a legitimate use guideline. I expect some people might disagree even there - I wouldn't be surprised if some of these loopholes close on a future MapCreate release or iFinder firmware update :ninja:

Edited by lee_rimar

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It's sad that they can't figgure out that this copy protection crap just makes life difficult for people who pay for the stuff. Pirates bypass all of that and just distibute the cracked versions. I know where to find info on how to do things like that, I guess I'll have to take the time and do it. I'm rapidly being reminded of the reasons I used to do such things. That's what I get for paying, I guess.

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You're certainly entitled to your opinion - but this straying from the technical intent of this thread. Please let's not devolve into a debate about copy protection. And even if you do find that particular hack, don't post it here -- as I'm sure it would go against the Groundspeak forums guidelines and get this thread zapped.

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You mentioned you don't have the program, so I can see how this might be confusing. After you've got MapCreate and used it the regular way, it will probably make more sense.

Right, I'll wait until I get the package - thanks for the info.

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You're certainly entitled to your opinion - but this straying from the technical intent of this thread.  Please let's not devolve into a debate about copy protection.  And even if you do find that particular hack, don't post it here -- as I'm sure it would go against the Groundspeak forums guidelines and get this thread zapped.

 

Fair enough. Your thread, your rules. I don't see how it's any worse than unprotected map files, but whatever. Thanks for the tips in any event. They are quite usefull and I may have to go buy a better card reader for general use, saving the LEI one for regestering cards. FWIW, I have bypassed the CD requirement, and it's very nice. I can now put my CDs in a safe place and not risk scratching them whenever I want to use my software that I paid for. I don't consider my way around it to be against any laws as I still need the CD to get it working the first time. If anyone wants to know, take it to email.

 

As for the thread topic, I thought I would share a little tip for newbies. This is probably old hat to most seasoned Lowrance users.

 

I use my GPS for "normal" stuff in addition to caching. Things like finding my way in unfamiliar cities. I have some waypoints I want to keep in there for my own uses. Things like my home, family locations, work, the hotel I'm staying at, things like that. I save those into a seperate file on the SD card. That way, I can erase all the waypoints and load caches for the area I'm in, AND load the file with my personal waypoints so they are always there. You can have loads of files on the card, so make use of that. Since the GPS can only hold 1000 waypoints in internal memory at any given time, it's a great way to "swap" waypoints without losing any information.

 

Waypoint files are VERY small, so even a tiny 4MB card will work fine for this. If you have an old MMC or SD card that is too small for your camera, for example, it will work fine for waypoints. You also don't need the MapCreate software or the special LEI card reader. I use GSAK to create files for caches and the GPS for personal points and address searches. I don't know if address searches are usefull without the detailed maps though.

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I’ve been using a 128MB PNY SD card to transfer Waypoints. I’ve noticed $40 SD cards by PNY and pqi, and was wondering if certain cards don’t work in the LEI reader.

I don't know if performance with the LEI card reader is at all brand-sensitive. But I know the tendency of many users is to find a brand that works and stick with it. I've been buying SanDisk for a long time and never have any problems.

I purchased a Kingston brand SD card for my H20 and it would not work. It seemed to register Ok and accept a map file but the GPS would not recognize it. Lowrance support suggesting trying another card so apparently the devices do have a card prefrence of some sort.

(The Kingston card works fine in my PDA.)

I have had no problems using a Kingston SD card. I did ask Lowrance support about it before I installed it, and they told me the cards that they hear the most problems about are Lexar, Kodak and PNY.

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Lee rimar, i'm interested in how you got a reader other than the LEI reader to work.

 

I have one registered card. I have a defective LEI reader and a perfectly good sandisk reader. I have the LEI drivers installed (not in use with the good reader) and I have no "generic usb mass storage" drive listed in the "add remove programs" widget in Control Panel.

 

When I make a map border file I get a message saying the drive is write protected and I can get no further. The drive is not write protected and the registered card is in the drive. I'm using MapCreate 6.3.282 with WinXP Home.

 

I'm very interested in getting this working, even if the replacement reader Lowrance is sending does work.

Edited by moishe

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Lee rimar, i'm interested in how you got a reader other than the LEI reader to work.

 

I have one registered card. I have a defective LEI reader and a perfectly good sandisk reader. I have the LEI drivers installed (not in use with the good reader) and I have no "generic usb mass storage" drive listed in the "add remove programs" widget in Control Panel.

 

When I make a map border file I get a message saying the drive is write protected and I can get no further. The drive is not write protected and the registered card is in the drive. I'm using MapCreate 6.3.282 with WinXP Home.

 

I'm very interested in getting this working, even if the replacement reader Lowrance is sending does work.

I guess I should have read this thread before I replied on the other one.

 

If you have no generic mass storage driver installed and you're pretty sure the reader you have is genuinely defective - I'd say wait until the replacement arrives from Lowrance.

 

Alternately, if you have one card that has been properly registered (questionable, if the card reader was broken), remove the LEi "SB 2.0 MMC/SD Reader" and see if that's what's interfering with your SandDisk hardware.

 

Again, good luck :huh:

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I got a map extracted and saved using the sandisk reader.

 

Here's what I did.

I opened the card registry dialog in MapCreate. I clicked "Register this card" with the card in the sandisk reader selected.

After that it worked like it should.

 

I thought I couldn't register a card without the LEI reader?

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...I clicked "Register this card" with the card in the sandisk reader selected....I thought I couldn't register a card without the LEI reader?

Bizarre - it shouldn't work that way at all and I haven't been able to duplicate that. But I guess working is better than not :rolleyes:

 

Um... you don't by chance have BOTH card readers plugged in at the same time? On different USB ports? I haven't tried that and I'm not sure if it would confuse the matter.

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got my replacement LEI reader today and it works the first time. Hallelujah

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lee rimar

with respect to

5) Go to the RES folder you opened earlier (you can bring it to the foreground by clicking on its item in the taskbr). There will be file with the same as your map border but an extension of AT5 (e.g., "XYZZY.AT5").

 

6) Right click on this AT5 file, and select "Send To... " to make a copy either to your desktop, the "My Document's" folder, or any other location you like.

 

7) Go back to MapCreate and CANCEL the save file dialog.

 

The resulting AT5 file is not registered to any specific memory card, and may be loaded on any MMC or SD card in your collection.

 

What do you do next. the .AT5 files seem to be converted to another file format when it is saved to my card, and I cannot figure out how to take this .AT5 file and get it on my GPSr.

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...the .AT5 files seem to be converted to another file format when it is saved to my card, and I cannot figure out how to take this .AT5 file and get it on my GPSr.

I'm not sure I understand your comment.

 

If you create XYZZY.AT5 on your computer, and copy XYZZY.AT5 to your SD card, and put that SD card in your GPS - then it should work.

 

When you say "files seem to be converted to another format" are you saying the name changes to something else, or that the maps don't load, or you get some error message... any additional details you can give me might help us figure out what's happening.

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ALTERNATIVE TO MAPCREATE

 

I use MapCreate to extract street level detailed maps to load on my GPS, but that's all. For working with waypoints, routes, and tracks, I've started to use Google Earth.

 

GPSBabel includes the ability to convert between Lowrance USR files to Google Earth's KML format.

 

The only gripe I have so far is that I haven't really automated the process yet. Because I'm using a Mac, I still have some scripting to do to make it easier.

 

But even so, it's much easier to set waypoints, create routes, and view tracks in Google Earth in MapCeate. It's really nice to see your GPS data overlaid onto an aerial photo with pinpoint accuracy.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Okay. It worked. You are awesome thank you so much. The first map I loaded was .lcm So I thought they all had to be that file. I should have experimented a little more earlier but I was afraid.

 

You know the bum deal of it all is that we can only have 5 cards whether maps are registered to them or not. What happens if you lost all 5 at one time for example? Or if the cards eventually have problems. Bummer deal.

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... we can only have 5 cards whether maps are registered to them or not. What happens if you lost all 5 at one time ...

That would be a very bad thing. Fortunately, it's very easy to prevent.

 

Though I own many SD cards (for cameras, PDAs, GPS, etc), I have only registered ONE of them. The only thing I use it for is MapCreate, and it never leaves my desk. Unlikely to lose it - but if I did lose it, or it failed to function, I could register another card.

 

I never actually copy any maps to it either - using the trick outlined earlier, I create AT5 files and copy them to other, unregistered cards.

 

SO... What if a series of disasters occurs and you eventually registered AND lost 5 cards?

 

There's an application called OneTimeSerialPurge.exe that Lowrance made to let you reset the registered card count in MapCreate. You don't get it with MapCreate and they don't publicize it. But if you really got stuck, you could phone their tech support and they would tell you how to download this program from their FTP site.

 

Hope this sets your mind at ease.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Lee - got MapCreate for Christmas, registered the 64MB card that came with it, and used your procedure to load a map on my Palm/iFinder 128MB (unregistered) card. It worked great. Thanks.

 

I am having a small problem. I can't seem to use the software to write maps to my card unless I'm a user with "administrator" provides. My "normal" user can see the drive and card, but when I run the software I get an error/dialog:

 

Please insert an MMC/SD card.

 

If I select Card Registry, I get this sequence repeated twice: "GetBinKEyValue() failed" Dialog twice, then "MapCreate Error: Could not determine card limit (Card library missing librarian). Then the Detected MMC/SD Cards Dialog comes up, but doesn’t show any cards registered.

 

I guess it's not a big problem - I just have to log in as the Administrator to make maps. I'll probably give LEI/ Lowrance a call to see what they have to say.

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... I'll probably give LEI/ Lowrance a call to see what they have to say.

I'm pretty sure the software needs admin rights to install, but I'd be a bit surprised if it really needs admin rights to run. Anything is possible, I guess.

 

An easy way to check would be to temporarily "promote" your user account into the Administrators group (logged in as Administrator, with with Users and Groups control panel). See if upping the account's privileges lets MapCreate work. Or create a new admin-level user to test it with.

 

Another possibility is that the installation will only work correctly for the user profile that actually performed the install. Perhaps they set some environment variables in that specific user profile and don't share these with all users? Again, creating a new admi-level user might help determine if this is the problem.

 

If you get any answer from Lowrance/LEI, please share it here, thanks.

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Hi Lee,

 

I got one for you, an annoying automation error. Sometimes a simple restart will clear it up, but I usually have to re-install the whole program.

 

Upon inserting the disk, and opening Mapcreate, a pop up box displays "automation error" and some more info that can be copied. (I'll get that if you want to see.)

 

I'm running Windows 98SE. Ever heard of this? It's annoying, and I usually manage to fix it, but I do wonder if anyone else has this problem.

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"Automation error" ... I usually manage to fix it, but I do wonder if anyone else has this problem.

Never seen that. What do you do to fix it, just restart the program? Or reboot Win98SE?

 

There's probably an error number or some other information that would help narrow this down. First place I'd look is Microsoft's knowledge base...

 

<http://search.microsoft.com/results.aspx?q=automation+error>

 

Returns over 800 hits, but you could narrow that down by adding the error code (or some specific words from the error message) to the search phrase.

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Date: 12/29/2005
Time: 10:05:38 AM
Number: -2147287031
Source: MapCreate
Module: frmMain
Procedure: MDIForm_Load()
Last Dll Error: 0
Description: Automation error
Message: 

 

This is the message I receive after hitting "details." Here is a screenshot too.

 

screenshotlei9hi.th.png

 

Click to see it bigger.

 

Sometimes I can fix it with a restart, but I do have to re-install it most of the time.

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Ah, that explains it. In technical terms, it's broken :antenna:

 

Seriously, I haven't got any idea how to help you on that. My guess is that when you call Lowrance they'll probably ask you for the exact version of MapCreate you have, and maybe point you to the latest set of patches on their FTP site.

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It may (??) have something to do with another program I installed. I'll Un-install it and re-install Mapcreate. This has happened before. Thought I'd mention it in case anyone else has seen it.

Thanks.

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MS Flight Sim 2000, it's big, takes up space, and doesn't work like I want most of the time. I thought the extra 64MB RAM I had installed would help it run, but it looks like it didn't help much. I believe when I installed it, it may have altered files.

 

Mapcreate seems to be sensitive to any other programs I install, it will change the way it behaves. So every time I change another program, I have to work on Mapcreate as well.

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If you get any answer from Lowrance/LEI, please share it here, thanks.

I temporarily change my account to have Administrator privileges and I could access the card without any problems. I then called the technical support number that came with the CDs (Lowrance), and the technical support person said you have to be an Administrator to see the MMC card. I asked if there was a plan to "fix" the problem, and they said no, they want it to work that way. Something about companies wanting to ensure that only Administrators install software on their computers. ;) I'm guessing the copy protection scheme they use requires Administrator privileges. Anyway, like I said before, not a big deal. I just have to log in as Administrator when I want to make maps, but I can use the software as a Normal user to view maps and work with Waypoints – which is what I do 99% of the time anyway.

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Question:

 

Sort of ontopic---Anyone know where I can get MapCreate ver. 4? Does anyone have a copy they could sell?

 

-or-

 

Failing the above----Does anyone know if later versions of MapCreate (e.g. ver. 5) will work in an Airmap 100?

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...know where I can get MapCreate ver. 4?

Google it <http://www.google.com/search?q=mapcreate+%22airmap+100%22>. Might check eBay too <http://search.ebay.com/MapCreate> though there doesn't seem to be any up there at the moment.

 

know if later versions of MapCreate (e.g. ver. 5) will work in an Airmap 100?

I don't think so, at least not as far as I can tell from any of the product descriptions I found.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Here is the Info page for Mapcreate 4 on Lowrance's website.

 

So far I haven't found it for sale anywhere, I checked the Lowrance accessory sales site.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!!

 

Thanks for the responses.

 

I check google and ebay every day. I saw it on ebay once. I'm still kicking myself for not picking it up. :unsure:

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O.K. im a newbe to this and this look like a fourm with people that know about the Ifinder i have an ifinder pro, sd card, easyGPS and GSAK (havnt really figured the progams out) i hear that you can load waypoint on to/or off of the gps through the SD card but im haveing problem figuring it out? do i need to have the serial conetion or some program that converts the files so there are reconized.

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splatsprack,

 

One, do you have a SD card reader? I assume you do.

 

You'll need GPSBabel, it can be found on the Geocaching website under the resources area I believe. This will convert the .loc or .GPX files into the Lowrance .usr. ALWAYS put .usr on the filename, it will not be automatically attached.

 

Welcome to the forums and caching. :D

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Lee, this thread was extremely helpful and I thank you for starting it. (In fact I joined this site based upon a google search on this topic.)

 

I was having difficulty registering a SD card (PNY 1GB). What finally ended up working was plugging in the LEI 2.0 reader, but also my SANDISK multi-card reader. I could register using the drive referenced in the SANDISK.

 

Now if I could figure out how to apply the firmware patch on my H2O C I could read the Navionics card I just spent $199 on... Waiting for Lowrance tech support to get back to me since I get a "signal error" when loading the update.

 

BTW, I want to use this for fishing trips I take to plot where I've been. Worked great out in the FL gulf last weekend. The content in Mapcreate 6 was accurate for the ICW markers and even wrecks and sandbars. Pretty cool.

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Ok i got Gpsbabel downloaded and up and running i have got it to convert waypoints from my gps to loc fiiles and i could look at them on easyGPS but when i take the file from easyGPS and try and convert it to USR i get this with version 1.2.7.

 

XML Reader:Parse error at 1: syntax error

 

and on the beta version it says:

 

gpsbabel.exe -w -i geo -f "C:\Documents and Settings\Andy Spracklen\Desktop\waypoints\geocaching.loc" -o lowranceusr -F "C:\Documents and Settings\Andy Spracklen\Desktop\waypoints\geochaching.usr"

 

XML Reader:Parse error at 1: syntax error

 

thanks for all the help.

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...having difficulty registering a SD card (PNY 1GB).  What finally ended up working was plugging in the LEI 2.0 reader, but also my SANDISK multi-card reader.  I could register using the drive referenced in the SANDISK. ...  Waiting for Lowrance tech support to get back to me since...

Y'know, "moishe" said something similar back in late November on this thread. You could scroll back and read it if you haven't already, but in short: Had a lot of problems with the LEI card reader, was able to register a card using a Sandisk reader (which should not have worked), but still had flaky operation - until Lowrance replaced the card reader.

 

Maybe they had a bad production run, or there's a hardware difference in some of them. I think you're on the right track getting in touch with Lowrance for a replacement. But it's best to phone, they're not great about replying to email.

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gpsbabel.exe -w -i geo -f geocaching.loc -o lowranceusr -F geochaching.usr

XML Reader:Parse error at 1: syntax error

Doesn't sound like a Lowrance or mapCreate problem, more a GPS Babel usage question.

 

My only guess is the file "geocaching.loc" isn't saved in the format you think it is, so the -geo switch isn't right. Feeding GPSBabel a mismatched set of file formats and command line options is a sure way to make it choke.

 

Maybe if Robert Lipe (Chief Babel Head) will have something to add.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Well I'm back. I just bought a SanDisk 1.0gb sd card today. Opened mapcreate and put the card in my reader and tried to register it........mapcreate doesn't even recognize there is a card in the reader. I tried to create a map and register the card that way and I get the standard -make sure a card is in the reader- when I hit okay I am prompted to put a card in the reader even though I have the new one in there. Do you think the card is bad??? Or am I not doing something correctly??

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