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GPSout 2.41 and USB port


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is it possible to use GPSout 2.41 with an USB port instead of a serial port?

No, sorry. I have no idea how to use a USB port without specific drivers for the connected device, and I'm not getting into that are of Windows complications.

Anyway, the NMEA standard applied to GPS connections with computers currently only specifies the formats for serial port connections, at least the versions of the specification I have seen -- are there any real GPSs with USB connections?

You can get little devices with drivers which provide COM port simulation on a USB port. They aren't expensive -- I saw some recently at only £14 (about $24). I use on one on of my PCs because I ran out of COM ports.

Regards,

Pete

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  • 1 year later...

Too bad you're not planing on upgrading GPSOUT to USB. I just purchased the new Garmin GPSMAP 96 and it seems that the new GPS units will all be interfaced throught USB.

I was planing on using GPSOUT to train using FlightSim (very handy to train to use your GPS before a long xcountry and not try to find out what button to press when flying the real things at the same time...) but I realize that will not be possible...

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Too bad you're not planing on upgrading GPSOUT to USB. I just purchased the new Garmin GPSMAP 96 and it seems that the new GPS units will all be interfaced throught USB.

But as far as I know there's no NMEA protocol defined for USB, so there's no way that will be used for NMEA connections. The USB connection to GPS's and PDA's is for transfer of data, not for real-time updating of position from an external GPS, which is effectively what GPSout is simulating.

The NMEA protocol appears to defined ONLY for a serial port. Check your GPSMAP 96 specifications more thoroughly and I think you'll find there's no way of getting it to track a position supplied externally via USB.

Regards,

Pete

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Actually, according to Garmin, there is a NMEA 0183 protocol for that GPS.

Does that mean there is hope?

No. It means little. Almost all GPS's, and certainly all Garmin ones I know of, support NMEA 0183 for output, in the same way as my GPSout does.

Don't forget that the whole principle of the GPSout module is to make the entire PC + FS + GPSout system look like a GPS which is outputting standard NMEA 0183 data, for input into something else which understands it, as an input.

It is quite unlikely that any ordinary GPS will act as a slave moving map or something like that for another GPS.

I have two Garmin GPS devices, both outputting similar NMEA 0183 sentences to those provided by GPSout. Neither accept NMEA 0183 positioning from outside. They have their own aerials and position detection systems, and the only input they accept which can override that is some external aerial/beacon input which is certainly not NMEA 0183 at all.

Regards,

Pete

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... why is it then that the GPS III Pilot and GPSMAP 196 can act as external devices and not the 96?

I didn't say the 96 couldn't. I don't know anything about it. All I said was that just because it provides NMEA 0183 support for output to a PC (as they all do I think) doesn't mean it accepts it as input from a PC.

I'm not sure, but I think the other two you mention don't even use NMEA 0183 format for input in any case? Aren't they the ones with "Aviation 400" protocol supported, which I added to GPSout specifically? Please see, for example, this thread: http://forums.simflight.com/viewtopic.php?t=16610

Really, you need to refer to the documentation you should have got with your GPS. If it is possible for it to be set into a "slave" or "simulation" mode, bypassing its own receivers, then it should tell you somewhere in the manual how to do it and what protocol it uses. I'm afraid I only know about the units I have, neither of which will do this at all.

Regards,

Pete

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would like to point you in the direction of just what you are talking about doing, only this is for using the AnywhereMap software with a PDA.. I don't know if you can use a standalone Garmin/Lowrance, etc GPS to do this.. for the reasons already noted because I am not sure if you can provide a NMEA INPUT to the standalone units since they have their own built in GPS antennas...

but anyhow, for PDA..

It appears that Flight1 has made this for Control Vision and it's all USB based... check out this thread: http://forum.controlvision.com/viewtopic.php?t=1015

So to answer the previous concern, YES there is obviously a way to output NMEA data from Flight Sim 2004 THROUGH the USB cable, and then into the device. In this case it comes through the usb cable out of the computer and into the PDA cradle. Then the AnywhereMap software running on the PDA gets the NMEA input and THINKS it is hooked up to a REAL GPS just like you would do in the plane.

Now the biggest question all of this gives me is, how ACCURATE is the NMEA posistion data outputed from Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004? Meaning, if you are actually flying for real say over Lake XYZ and you look at your gps you will see the REAL COORDINATES of this lake. Now you go home and fly over the same lake in Flight Simulator 2004.. will Flight Simulator 2004 output the SAME EXACT gps coordinates as you got in real life? If so, that's great, it just makes me wonder, how the heck did Microsoft get all the EXACT gps coordinates correct throughout the whole country as in their Flight Simulator software? this seems like it would be a HUGE task to do accurately and completely?

And the second part of this question is, why did Microsoft include this feature to output NMEA data from Flight Simulator 2004? Was this software designed to serve this purpose and be hooked up to GPS systems for training purposes?

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It appears that Flight1 has made this for Control Vision and it's all USB based... check out this thread: http://forum.controlvision.com/viewtopic.php?t=1015

As far as I can see, from all the references, this is using the USB connection as a standard serial port. If it looks like a serial port to GPSout, and the program you are sending it to can read that serial data, in NMEA format, yes, of course it will work.

The problem I have with my iPaq on its USB cradle is that the USB link, although it certainly seems to be emulating a standard COM serial link, appears to be permanently "owned" by Microsoft ActiveSync at the PC end and some synchronising program in the iPaq end. I expect I could kill both processes and get access to the link as a normal COM port.

But I've not really tried. To start with I have nothing for the iPaq which could make use of the data in any case. Quite honestly I prefer to use FliteMap and other programs on a proper PC with a nice large screen! :wink:

So to answer the previous concern, YES there is obviously a way to output NMEA data from Flight Sim 2004 THROUGH the USB cable, and then into the device. In this case it comes through the usb cable out of the computer and into the PDA cradle.

I'm pretty certain there will be a USB driver there which is making the USB link operate as a COM link. I use this already with GPSout because I ran out of COM ports and had to use USB.

Now the biggest question all of this gives me is, how ACCURATE is the NMEA posistion data outputed from Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004? Meaning, if you are actually flying for real say over Lake XYZ and you look at your gps you will see the REAL COORDINATES of this lake. Now you go home and fly over the same lake in Flight Simulator 2004.. will Flight Simulator 2004 output the SAME EXACT gps coordinates as you got in real life?

I think that depends on the scenery you are using. The Latitude/Longitude system used in FS can measure down a lot more accurately than GPS in any case -- that's how scenery designers position things to the nearest fraction of a metre -- but if the resolution of the scenery is poor or someone's made a mistake and placed the lake in the wrong place, obviously they won't match.

how the heck did Microsoft get all the EXACT gps coordinates correct throughout the whole country as in their Flight Simulator software? this seems like it would be a HUGE task to do accurately and completely?

Microsoft make accurate detailed scenery for some areas, less detailed and possibly less accurate for others. Most of it will be derived automatically from satellite survey data and other databases which are available. There are many add-on scenery packages which are coming out with greater detail and, hopefully, more accuracy. They also often use satellite or aerial survey data to base their work on. In fact the UK VFR scenery is not only very accurate, it is made from real aerial photographs -- I can navigate over that using UK Ordnance Survey maps at 1:50000 scale with great accuracy as all that detail is present.

And the second part of this question is, why did Microsoft include this feature to output NMEA data from Flight Simulator 2004?

It doesn't. There are add-ons (GPSout is one) which take data from FS's innards, process it into NMEA format, and chuck it out on a selected COM port.

Regards,

Pete

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