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tuomas

GPSOut.dll and Garmin Aviation GPS units in FS200x

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Someone is going to search for this stuff on the forum anyway, so I thought I'd write up some stuff so they know this stuff works :)

So, as of the last version or so of GPSOut, there's support for AV400 format. This is the "Aviation" format that some Garmin (and other brand) GPS units use to talk to each other. So the panel mounted unit can output the gps location, heading and airspeed etc to the other device. Handy if the other thing has a better antenna etc.. This in real life. For simulator use we have other ideas..

So, I found this document that describes this protocol, and mailed it to Pete. In short, he sent me back a test dll and it worked pretty much "out of the box" - the Garmin was convinced that FS2004 was actually a nice panel mounted GPS device instead of a $50 game. Very handy if you bought a GPS for real-life flying.

So the point is: If you have an aviation GPS unit, you can now practice to use it at home with real scenarios. So that when the day comes when you *really* need the thing, you can already use it with your left hand without looking.. Could be useful in a bad day I guess. Those times are not the best time to pull out the manual to learn how the thing works :)

Anyway. The config file (gpsout.ini) needs to look like this:

[GPSout]

Sentences=AV400

Interval=1000

Port=COM1

Speed=9600

Pretty simple. This makes it output the "Aviation" protocol instead of NMEA. Set the port to whatever your serial port is, and the speed apparently needs to be 9600 baud. I dont know if it helps any to set the interval less than 1000ms, the protocol defines 1 second update intervals. Some units might update faster with higher frequency, but I found the 1 "fps" update rate adequate and very useful.

From the GPS "Interface" settings you need to set it to use "Aviation In" protocol. You might need to put the GPS in the training "simulator" mode where it doesnt try to look for satellites itself.

What this doesnt do? It wont drive your autopilot in the simulator, the data transfer is one-way only. It seems to work great for me, but your mileage may differ. My unit is a Garmin GPSMap 196 aviation GPS.

If you get it working with your unit, it would be fun to read about it, so post a followup telling your setup and impressions :)

aav.sized.jpg

Tuomas

(Edit: fixed the photo url since I moved stuff on my site around)

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Tuomas,

I'm trying to make this work with my new Garmin GPS Pilot III... and it doesn't.

I've used your config settings. Set up the Garmin with simulator on and Aviation In protocol, and no luck. Is it the order we do these things? Can you think of any other settings which might matter.

Thanks

RIchard

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Hi Tuomas and All,

Some GPS receivers (Garmin 76C, for instance) hava NMEA IN (in addition to NMEA OUT)capability, as described in their manuals. Anyone tried listening to Pete's GpsOut with such a unit (using the more mundane NMEA sentences)? Maybe in simulator mode, while GpsOut is sending streams of data?

Best regards,

Bruno.

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Tuomas,

An afterthought to my last post here... I see that your model (GPS196 - oustanding!) also has the NMEA IN feature I described above. Have you tried to connect GpsOut to your unit and see if it will receive data from FS with the "NMEA IN/OUT" interface format? If not, could you be so kind to give it a try if you have the time?

I have to think that an NMEA "IN" format option should enable the receiver to get data from its port in the NMEA format... and display it. Maybe (as already suggested here) the unit has to be in simulator mode).

I am planning to purchase a GPS receiver, and this feature would be very nice indeed. I am trying to determine if I need to narrow my choices to those receivers with the "AVIATION IN" format in order to have the GpsOut tracking feature.

Thanks for your time,

Bruno.

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I actually tried GPSOut into a marine (shipboard) GPS. It is an older model (heavy as a brick), but it works nicely. No graphical display, only text, but right on the money with a decent update rate.

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dfournie,

Thanks for your input.

Is there such thing as a "simulator mode" (receiver OFF) in your marine GPS? Didi you have to use this mode in order to get data from GPSout?

Best regards,

Bruno.

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It has a NMEA input mode. It more or less just acts a display and decodes incoming NMEA sentences. I assume for another ships GPS unit to send steering commands or other data into it. It has about 10 different transmit/receive modes; (NMEA 1.8, 2.0, charting, ASCII text out, NMEA input, etc...) I also tried it connected to my real Garmin GPS III in NMEA out mode, with the same results.

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I got to try this recently on an almost-10-years-old Garmin 45XL. Although it has a "NMEA/NMEA" interface option (implying NMEA input/output?) it did not read any data from GPSout. All of the unit's other data input/output are functioning properly. The unit is set to read NMEA (0183 version 2.0 - to be confirmed) sentences. I may get hold of a more recent receiver (a friend's Garmin 76) and experiment with it.

Best regards,

Bruno.

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I got to try this recently on an almost-10-years-old Garmin 45XL. Although it has a "NMEA/NMEA" interface option (implying NMEA input/output?) it did not read any data from GPSout. All of the unit's other data input/output are functioning properly. The unit is set to read NMEA (0183 version 2.0 - to be confirmed) sentences. I may get hold of a more recent receiver (a friend's Garmin 76) and experiment with it.

Best regards,

Bruno.

The problem with NMEA in is that the GPS wants to listen to its own satellite receiver rather than the serial cable.

The NMEA input in the Garmin units seems to be more or less for manipulating waypoints and downloading track data etc.. It does not seem to work for position information.

That's the reason I approached Pete in the first place and we got it to work with the AVIATION AV400 protocol. But that is not available in the non-aviation Garmin units.

Looks like the marine GPS is programmed so that NMEA position pushed to the unit makes it update. Good. That just doesnt seem to work for my GPS196 though.

//Tuomas

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Thanks, Tuomas, for bringing this subject up.

we got it to work with the AVIATION AV400 protocol. But that is not available in the non-aviation Garmin units.

I am considering a new GPS, but I am still not sure if I this feature will tip the scale towards an aviation-specific unit. My intended use for flying will be pretty much limited to situation-awareness and amenities like ETE to waypoints, recovering a flight's track, things like that. But there are some cost-effective mapping, non-aviation models that could be put to good use with the above in mind and also allow user map (and of course data) upload, have color displays, etc.

But... displaying FS2004 positoin in a real-world GPS receiver would be *very* nice, and far superior to the unit's own simulator mode (for learning), too.

Tough decision.

Looks like the marine GPS is programmed so that NMEA position pushed to the unit makes it update. Good. That just doesnt seem to work for my GPS196 though.

That didn't work in my old Garmin 45XL (marine), either. Too bad. I asked Garmin about this for one of the models I am interested in (GPSmap 76C), and this is the relevant part of their answer:

Waypoint or route information that is in NMEA format can be sent to the unit. So if using a third party software that will send and receive data from a NMEA device the 76C will more than likely work with that software.

But... "more than likely" is different from "yes" :? .

The plot thickens.

Best regards,

Bruno.

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Waypoint or route information that is in NMEA format can be sent to the unit. So if using a third party software that will send and receive data from a NMEA device the 76C will more than likely work with that software.

But... "more than likely" is different from "yes" :? .

The plot thickens.

Yea. Waypoint & Route is the "upload stuff from your PC to the GPS, to store/retrieve tracks and waypoints etc. Not the "make the GPS believe our position data".

dsc_8888.sized.jpg

dsc_8919.sized.jpg

For myself it is a very valuable thing that I can use the same GPS unit on the real plane and on our simulator (we built a C172 sim in a C152 fuselage at our aviation club, see http://www.simkits.com builders section for some pics) The above picture is from today, we had wonderful weather when we visited Kumlinge airport in the very pretty finnish archipelago. See http://www.mik.fi/gallery/efkg040926/ for more pics if you are interested... (oh btw, http://fisd.fsnordic.net has a very good freeware scenery for Kumlinge (and several other airports), should you want to enjoy the scenery virtually)

I am not sure if something like AV400 exists for non-aviation units.

//Tuomas

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Tuomas,

I agree that it is unlikely that gen purpose receivers have AV400 capability. It seems I will have to choose between this and some eye-candy colored display!

[later, after looking at your pics...]

WOW. You put really first class crafstmanship into the simulator! I had seen (pictures of) Simkits before, but your panel is truly awsome. A must-see for anyone interested in hardware cockpits! It is a very nice departure from the current trend of glass (Airbus and Boeing) cockpits. What kind of display are you using? From the picture it does not seem to be a simple monitor placed in front of the windshield. Is it a collimated visual system (like the airline-type simulators)?

Also... Great, great pictures of your flying environment. Beautiful. We have a little airport near Rio, called Angra dos Reis (SDAG, Should be iin FS2004 default scenery) that somewhat resembles Kumlinge. But in our case, there are some hills not too far off the threshold opposite the coastline, which can make approaches a bit uncofortable (both in real life and in FS2004) until you get used to the place.

I downloaded the Kumlinge scenery (and associated files). Will try it out when I get home from work later this evening.

Best regards,

Bruno.

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WOW. You put really first class crafstmanship into the simulator! I had seen (pictures of) Simkits before, but your panel is truly awsome. A must-see for anyone interested in hardware cockpits! It is a very nice departure from the current trend of glass (Airbus and Boeing) cockpits. What kind of display are you using? From the picture it does not seem to be a simple monitor placed in front of the windshield. Is it a collimated visual system (like the airline-type simulators)?

To set facts straight we have about 5 people on our club plus additional help when there was a need to actually make the sim a reality. Lots of work but it truly is a very nice sim.

Also... Great, great pictures of your flying environment. Beautiful. We have a little airport near Rio, called Angra dos Reis (SDAG, Should be iin FS2004 default scenery) that somewhat resembles Kumlinge. But in our case, there are some hills not too far off the threshold opposite the coastline, which can make approaches a bit uncofortable (both in real life and in FS2004) until you get used to the place.

Yea. The approach over water to Kumlinge is easy since there are no obstacles on that end - and in calm wind takeoff towards water is nice too. There's a small sloping hill on the other end with trees cut off, but given the 600m or so runway it is not very comfortable for a larger plane or even a C172 with full cross weight. Awesome place in any case.

I downloaded the Kumlinge scenery (and associated files). Will try it out when I get home from work later this evening.

Make sure to install Finnterrain and Finnclass from the page too - it basically recreates the whole land / water shoreline of the entire Finland - the archipelago of the Kumlinge area is just incredible with Finnterrain. There's also Mariehamn scenery which is very close, in the main island of Äland.

For maps and charts check out http://www.ilmailulaitos.fi/fcaa_ais_en - or http://vacc.fi/downloads/charts/ for other finnish stuff especially for VATSIM pilots. Kumlinge chart doesnt seem to be online :( but Mariehamn has several ifr approaches and also all the charts available on above places.

Anyway, sorry for the offtopic stuff :)

//Tuomas

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Tuomas,

Will check out the charts. Thanks.

Anyway, sorry for the offtopic stuff

Great chat. Enjoyed every bit. I even discovered that a local Garmin distributor did not know about the "aviation in" interface, and promised to take a closer look at this after prompted by my inquiries.

Pete, if you are listening, sorry for the offtopic conversation :oops: . Somewhere along the thread we drifted from AV400 sentences via FSUIPC to wonderful flying places, outstanding simulators built by a team of enthusiasts... isn´t this what it´s all about? ...Will try to adhere more strictly to the topics in the future, though.

Best regards,

Bruno.

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Hi All

Before I invest in a Garmin 196, can someone that has one of these units just verifiy something for me?

In addition to FS2004 I fly Lomac which means I'd like to add mapping information from around the Black Sea, the bad news for me is the units I buy in Australia have very little information around that part of the world. The good news is I can upload ground based maps which include cities, rivers, and locations of airports, just not the detail the Jeppson Maps provide.

The question is "does the GPS when in ground mode still take the location information provided by the serial port?" ie will it still listen to information location whether it is in Aviation mode or not?

Ta muchly

Peter

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Interestingly enough, I tried GPSout.dll running in AV400 format into a real Honeywell MFD-640 moving map/TCAS/Terrain awareness display and, after some re-config, it liked it. Normally this $30,000 unit runs with ARINC 429 as an input, but it appears to accept this as well on another set of input pins. Also, the Apollo Precedus (combo handheld gps/nav/com radio) seems to use this format (AV400) as it's default output. I was also able to drive a couple of other moving map programs with GPSout by selecting the Apollo format as the input. I recall this format is also used in some ARGUS moving map displays.

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Tuomas

I am trying to get a garmin 295 to work with FS9 using gpsout problem is it is not showing my correct place in the world.When I am in slc,UT it shows me south of japan,place plane in cal, and it shows in N Canada

Track is good ,speed is good,alt is good .

I'm using the cable that came with the gps for updates 9pin computer end and 4 pin on gps end,which is pin 3(com port)=data in(gps) and pin 2(com port)=data out(gps)

I've tried changing the ini to different things but can't find the one that works

I have gps set to "aviation in "interface and simulator mode

"WSG84 " map datum

"hddd'mm.mmm' "format position

"

gps out ini is: Sentences=AV400.

Interval=1000

Speed=9600

PosTo6Decimal=Yes

port=com1

(com 1 is seeing gps for updates ,and sees speed and alt on gps thru gpsout)

tried turning off any addon scenery,rebooting

would appreciate any help thanks Brent

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I am trying to get a garmin 295 to work with FS9 using gpsout problem is it is not showing my correct place in the world.

...

gps out ini is:

Sentences=AV400.

Interval=1000

Speed=9600

PosTo6Decimal=Yes

port=com1

Try setting the PosTo6Decimal to "No". Maybe the excess digits are mucking it up. I really can't think of anything else it might be. Certainly nothing in your FS scenery add-ons.

Regards,

Pete

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Pete

I tried that to "NO",also tried "4800" on speed,also tried leaving different lines out of ini. Maybe the garmin 295 takes a newer type of

"aviation in"format than the 195?

Brent

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Pete

I tried that to "NO",also tried "4800" on speed

I just checked -- the 4 or 6 decimal place option doesn't apply to the AV400 format in any case. That's fixed as defined in the AV400 spec (more below).

But most all of the output must be right as you said "Track is good ,speed is good,alt is good". I can't see how the device can get those correct yet screw up the latitude and longitude. It doesn't make sense. If you had anything wrong with the connection data none of the values would be correct.

Maybe the garmin 295 takes a newer type of

"aviation in"format than the 195?

Well, the actual protocol I implemented is called "Series 400 Aviation Format", so maybe there are other "Series XXX" versions. Isn't anything mentioned in your GPS documentation?

If you can get details of whatever protocol is used, and it isn't too far removed from what I do already, I can consider adding it to GPSout. Maybe you can get stuff from Garmin?

Regards,

Pete

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Do you know what cable Tuomas used to connect his 195 to his computer

No idea, sorry. But your cable must be fine if you get some good data.

Pete

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