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Problems with GPSOut in FSX


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Pete,

As you have suggested in your ReadMe, I am posting a copy of this message to Microsoft.

A buddy and I use Flight Simulator in multiplayer mode nearly every weekend. We have used the FS9 version of GPSOut successfully with several GPS tracking applications for at least a year. Our weekend multiplayer sessions were the primary use of GPSOut. We expected the FSX version to be trouble-free.

To avoid problems, we don't run firewall software or virus scanners while FS is running.

Here's what we did this weekend:

  • Purchased FSUIPC 4.02 from SimMarket, downloaded it, and installed it.
    Started FSX and registered FSUIPC.
    Connected the FSX computer to a laptop's serial port. I ran Delorme Street Atlas on my laptop, and my buddy ran Topo USA on his laptop.
    Restarted FSX, and used FSUIPC's dialog to activate GPSOut. We selected the same communication options that we had used in the FS9 version.
    Street Atlas and Topo USA detected the signal from GPSOut and correctly tracked the plane's movements. We were encouraged.
    Each of us switched FSX to Multiplayer mode. My buddy hosted, and I joined via direct IP address. As we flew around, Street Atlas and Topo USA continued to get data from GPSOut, but now the data failed to contain updates of the plane's position. GPSOut was repeatedly sending the last known position from the previous FreeFlight mode.
    Went back to FreeFlight mode and resumed flying. Problem was still there. Data continued to flow, but the plane's position did not update in Street Atlas or Topo USA. The symptoms were identical on both systems.
    Shut down FSX, and then restarted it (in FreeFlight mode). GPSOut began sending correctly updated data again.
    Switched FSX to Multiplayer mode, and the problem reappeared for both of us.

While troubleshooting the problem, we discovered that the site where we bought FSUIPC did not have the latest version (FSUIPC 4.026), so we downloaded 4.026 and installed it.

We started FSX in FreeFlight mode. This time, GPSOut didn't even send a signal to Street Atlas or Topo USA at all. Nothing, zip, nada. Neither application detected a GPS signal.

GPSOut was one of our main reasons for buying FSUIPC for FSX, and it's crucial for it to work in multiplayer mode.

Any suggestions on how we can get it working?

MK

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Street Atlas and Topo USA detected the signal from GPSOut and correctly tracked the plane's movements. We were encouraged.

Each of us switched FSX to Multiplayer mode. My buddy hosted, and I joined via direct IP address. As we flew around, Street Atlas and Topo USA continued to get data from GPSOut, but now the data failed to contain updates of the plane's position. GPSOut was repeatedly sending the last known position from the previous FreeFlight mode.

Went back to FreeFlight mode and resumed flying. Problem was still there. Data continued to flow, but the plane's position did not update in Street Atlas or Topo USA. The symptoms were identical on both systems.

Was the FSUIPC Menu still there, and usable? Do you know if FSUIPC was still actualy in contact with FS or ont? It sounds notthe data used by GPSout is merely part of what FSUIPC is getting for any client programs. Have you got any others to check with? If not, try using, for example, the keypress or button assignments, see if they still work. Or the joystick calibrations. It sounds like Smconnect is just breaking when you start multiplayer mode.

This is looking very much like yet another FSX bug! :-( Multiplayer mode screwing up data notifications from SimConnect?

This needs to be reported to Microsoft with as much detail as you can, please. Best to produce a SimConnect log so I can see what is happening, and I'll report it direct as well.

To do this create a file containing these lines:

[simConnect]

level=Verbose

console=No

file=\Modules\SimConnect%01u.Log

file_max_index=9

and save it as Simconnect.ini in your "My Documents\flight simulator X files" folder. Then, keeping things a short as possible, reproduce the problem. close FSX, Zip up both the Simconnecxt log and the FSUIPC4.LOG and send them to me at petedowson@btconnect.com.

While troubleshooting the problem, we discovered that the site where we bought FSUIPC did not have the latest version (FSUIPC 4.026), so we downloaded 4.026 and installed it.

We started FSX in FreeFlight mode. This time, GPSOut didn't even send a signal to Street Atlas or Topo USA at all. Nothing, zip, nada. Neither application detected a GPS signal.

Check the settings again please -- it sounds like something go reset. And show me the logs too.

Any suggestions on how we can get it working?

If multiplayer mode kills Simconnect then it's going to take a patch for FSXfrom Microsoft. THere a lot of things needing fixing that we know about already. :-(

Regards

Pete

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Thanks for the suggestion. I'll create a log. Might be tomorrow, though.

Okay, but no need to send me anything. I reproduced it here straight away. I've never used multiplayer before, but I simply started a session as Host for a shared cockpit, here on my one PC, and I could see immediately that SimConnect stopped sending me any data -- EXCEPT oddly enough it still sends me the regular Frame events (i.e. it tells me another frame has happened so I can do other stuff -- like still send GPS data which, of course, isn't changing now! :-(

I can also read the weather, but for all intents and purposes the main functions of FSUIPC, to supply data to client programs, has been killed.

I am sending the data on this directly to my contacts in FS. Please, you report it too. Send the description, with the SimConnect Log, to tell_fs@microsoft.com. The FSUIPC4 log isn't needed, the SimConnect log shows it all.

I hope they fix this soon -- it effectively means that no SimConnect add-ons can be used with what is one of FSX's main attractions -- shared cockpits, shared skies, etc. :-(

Regards

Pete

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I hope they fix this soon -- it effectively means that no SimConnect add-ons can be used with what is one of FSX's main attractions -- shared cockpits, shared skies, etc. :-(

The Microsoft guys have reproduced the problem and are trying to work out a solution. It seems that it only affects a SimConnect client which is open at the time you switch to MP mode. If a client is started AFTER you switch it works okay.

That suggested a work-around, whilst we wait, possibly a long time, for an official FSX patch. I can detect a period of non-receipt of data from SimConnect, and then close the SimConnect connection and restart it. I've tried that here and it works. It does cause a few seconds extra delay at the start of the MP session but I think it would be okay as a temporary measure.

If you like I can send you an interim test version of FSUIPC4 to try. Let me know. It would be tomorrow (Wednesday) or Thursday.

Regards

Pete

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Pete,

I tried the test version (4.031), but I still get no communication between PC and laptop--even in Freeflight mode.

Just to recap the two different situations:

1. With version 4.02, GPSout works in Freeflight mode. In Multiplayer, it stops updating aircraft position, although it continues to send reports to the laptop.

2. With versions 4.026 and 4.031, the symptoms are different. GPSout fails to communicate with the laptop at all. Even in Freeflight, my mapping application reports that "no GPS receiver has been detected."

When I reinstall 4.02, GPSout works again, but only in Freeflight.

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Pete,

I did a brief test with 4.032, and it works in both Freeflight and Multiplayer.

I'll send it to my buddy. We can test it thoroughly in an extended multiplayer session this weekend.

I'll let you know if everything is okay or if we still have problems. I'm optimistic...

Thanks,

MK

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Pete,

We just tested the GPSout facility for about an hour and a half. It works as advertised, and we had a great time tracking our flight in real time with Street Atlas and Topo USA.

Larry Nusbaumer and I would like to thank you for giving this your attention and seeing it through to a solution.

MK

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Howdy Pete!

I'm hoping you are going to keep that fix in the next update as GPS Out does not work for me AT ALL with FSX. I'm using v4.030 and it looks like your test version of 4.032 fixed the snag, at least according to what I've read here so far.

Happy Contrails,

BC

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May I jump into this discussion? I just registered FSUIPC for the first time specifically so that I could interface my PocketPC based software (PocketFMS) with FSX. I am using version 4.04 and following the instructions outlined by the PocketFMS folks to make the connection, but can't get it to work. The pocketFMS instructions are to set GPSout to:

Sentences=RMC,GGA,GSA,GSV

Interval=1000

Port=\\\WCEUSBSH001

Speed=38400

Then connect, then disable the pocketpc USB sync.

Start FS and begin a flight (it was noted that this should result in a USB connection notice on the Pocket PC, and it indeed does).

Start PocketFMS setting auto detect for baud and port

enable GPS and check monitor...that's where I fall down. Everything goes according to plan, but I never seem to get any input.

Obviously my problem is different than the original poster's as I am not using multi-player. Also I should mention that I use only the built in XP firewall and not a third party.

Can you help?

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I never seem to get any input.

I've never managed to get anything working with my iPaq either. No idea how to make it work. I didn't know PocketFMS were giving official instructions even.

I'm not sure how even to check USB ports. For a regular serial port I would advise you to download PortMon from http://www.sysinternals.com, run that before all the above, and check that regular output is appearing. But I'm not certain that PortMon deals with things not even named "COMx". Worth a try though.

Obviously my problem is different than the original poster's as I am not using multi-player. Also I should mention that I use only the built in XP firewall and not a third party.

Oh, you are suspicious of it being a specific problem with SimConnect? Why? Have you had this working with FS2004 and the separate GPSout module?

Even if Simconnect data updates weren't arriving you would simply get the same position being sent all the time. However, to check this, go into the FSUIPC4 options, Logging page, and use the Monitoring facilities to monitor a typically changing value there -- e.g. offset 02B6 as type U16. Set the option for FS display and it will show the Ground Speed (in metres/sec) on the screen. If that changes as you fly, then Simconnect data is okay. In that case it will be something between FS and the USB port.

Regards

Pete

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Thanks for the quick response Pete. I conducted the monitoring test successfully, which must implicate the usb connection.

I don't know how significat it is, but I saw a post on the PocketFMS forum that indicated problems with the usb connection if your computer lacks a com port, as does mine. So I installed a virtual pair of com ports, via some trial ware, and set up a com1 and com2. This didn't help solve my usb to pocketpc problem, but I was able to use the PocketFMS program installed on the FSX computer successfully. For grins, I ran portmon, and curiously, it did not show any signs of activity on either com1 or com2...I'm guessing it has something to do with their being virtual ports. What I lack in intelligence, I make up for with tenacity, so I'll keep plugging away at this. If any of the above stimulates additional thought, please let me know....Thanks again!

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So I installed a virtual pair of com ports, via some trial ware, and set up a com1 and com2. This didn't help solve my usb to pocketpc problem, but I was able to use the PocketFMS program installed on the FSX computer successfully. For grins, I ran portmon, and curiously, it did not show any signs of activity on either com1 or com2...I'm guessing it has something to do with their being virtual ports.

That doesn't sound right. I'm think I get PortMon monitoring on virtual ports.

I'm not sure how you got virtual ports COM1 and COM2. Those are usually system-reserved, for motherboard COM ports (even if there aren't any there). It's to do with fixed BIOS addressing for theo ld hardware COM1/2 ports.

On most of my PCs I'm usually lucky to get virtual ports lower than COM7 or 8 -- the USB ports reserve some of them too!

Regards

Pete

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I used a trialware product called Virtual Serial Port Driver XP. The virtual ports show up under their own line in Device Manager, not under the Port listing. In fact, since my MB has neither a parallel or serial port, I have no port line in DM at all. Anyway, the utility for VSPDXP let me create any port assignment, so I tried a 1,2 combo as well as an 8,9. Neither seemed to make a difference. Many of the posts I see regarding this problem indicate that the com setting when using USB should be COM9, so perhaps a different virtual com driver would be worth a shot. Which have you used? Thanks again.

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I used a trialware product called Virtual Serial Port Driver XP.

There's a freeware one called MixW comEmul which I include in the GPSout ZIP and in the downloads section above.

Many of the posts I see regarding this problem indicate that the com setting when using USB should be COM9

Not sure why that should be. All I know is that COM1 and COM2 never appear to be available on any motherboard BIOS's, whether or not they actually have any incorporated. I think most have headers for them, though, and the chipsets support them even if they aren't brought to header pins.

Regards

Pete

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Pete. Just thought I'd let you know that I got it working. I think one of the keys was to install a virtual com port It was after I did this that I finally got through. Then beyond that, PFMS is VERY particular about the order in which things happen. Anyway, all's well that ends well. Thanks for your help.

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