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wheelerbg

GPSOUT Dual Serial Port Feature

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Hello, Pete. Have you ever thought about designing GPSOUT to handle dual serial outputs? I use FSX and the latest FSUIPC, and recently installed a dual serial port card so that I wouldn't need to change the cabling around to run my Garmin GPS as well as a small tablet PC running Jeppesen charts with GPS utility.

With the Garmin, I use, as your manual recommends, Aviation data output, Com 3, 9600 bps. With the tablet PC, I use all the standard NMEA outputs (unchecking the Aviation), Com 4, 4800 bps. It would be super if GPSOUT could configure for 2 individual serial ports, so that both devices would remain configured for their respective ports and be operational at the same time. Then I wouldn't have to reconfig GPSOUT when I want to use the other device. I fly a Cessna 182 RW, and it would be helpful to be able to practice with both of these in the simulator at the same time. Is this feasible? Thanks for considering!

Barrie Wheeler

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Have you ever thought about designing GPSOUT to handle dual serial outputs?

No, not at all.

Do you have a second PC? If so you could use WideFS and drive a serial connection on each PC. On the FS PC you'd have to run WideClient with the "ClassInstance" parameter set to avoid it clashing with FS. I use this system.

Regards

Pete

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Do you have a second PC? If so you could use WideFS and drive a serial connection on each PC.

Thanks for the reply, Pete. But wouldn't it be simpler and save space if GPSOut could allow for the configuration of more than 1 serial port from the one PC? It does more closely emulate real flying as if you were using dual GPS's. If by chance you ever get around to looking at/designing this, I would certainly be able to use it consistently. Thanks again for considering.

Barrie Wheeler

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But wouldn't it be simpler and save space if GPSOut could allow for the configuration of more than 1 serial port from the one PC? It does more closely emulate real flying as if you were using dual GPS's. If by chance you ever get around to looking at/designing this, I would certainly be able to use it consistently. Thanks again for considering.

Well, I'll add it to my list for FSUIPC4. I take it you are talking about FSX or ESP use? I'm a rather more reluctant to mess with the ten year old code in GPSOUT.dll.

Regards

Pete

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I take it you are talking about FSX or ESP use? I'm a rather more reluctant to mess with the ten year old code in GPSOUT.dll.

Yes, this is for FSX (not sure what ESP is). Thank you for putting it on the list - don't want to load you down too much. But I believe this would make the GPSOut feature just that much more useful to those trying out multiple devices. Thanks again!

Barrie

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Yes, this is for FSX (not sure what ESP is).

ESP was Microsoft's "Professional" simulation platform, initially based on FSX but ultimately aimed at simulating almost any real world operations (railways, factories, haulage, etc) for commercial concerns. There were a lot of big names taking an interest. It stopped development at the same time as FSX did, with Aces Studio's demise.

Thank you for putting it on the list - don't want to load you down too much. But I believe this would make the GPSOut feature just that much more useful to those trying out multiple devices.

Well, odd then that I don't recall it requested before, in the 10 years since GPSout was produced. Maybe it has been and I've forgotten, but I don't think so. ;-)

Nevertheless, if it is easy I will slip it in soon. If not it will have to wait a bit.

Regards

Pete

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Interesting word on ESP. Thanks - had not been aware of such an initiative.

Well, odd then that I don't recall it requested before, in the 10 years since GPSout was produced. Maybe it has been and I've forgotten, but I don't think so.

I guess I'm not too surprised. Have been into FS9 and FSX for @4 years and this is the first time I've felt a need. I think it became more of an issue once the FS community figured out how to configure a real Garmin x96 GPS for use with FSX (relatively recent). Before that, I'd just been using a laptop with GPSOut. Now I have both a Garmin and a tablet PC, both of which are legitimate flying aids, each requiring individual configuration. It would be super to not have to reconfigure every time I switch from one to the other. Really appreciate your efforts!

Barrie

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Really appreciate your efforts!

You'll be pleased to know I added the facility for two outputs today. Testing now. Either two serial connections or one WideFS and one serial, with different parameters possible for each output. The only restriction is that the interval has to be the same for both. I tried allowing separate intervals but I got too many problems then keeping the values in sync -- it made it much easier generating the values for both and sending them out together (well, nearly together).

I'm not able to test here with two serial ports, but it looks good with one WideFS and one serial port. I'll provide a link for you to download the interim version first so you can test it one two ports for me. Some time tomorrow (Saturday).

Regards

Pete

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I'm not able to test here with two serial ports, but it looks good with one WideFS and one serial port. I'll provide a link for you to download the interim version first so you can test it one two ports for me. Some time tomorrow (Saturday).

Okay, I've managed to test it with two ports as well, not with connected devices but by using a serial port monitor and checking the data being sent.

So, FSUIPC4 version 4.519 is released in the Downloads Announcement now, and you can get it (until the next update) via this link:

http://fsuipc.simflight.com/beta/FSUIPC4519.zip . Here's the note about it:

15.[FSUIPC4 only] The GPSout facilities are extended to drive one or two separate devices, or operate via WideFS and a serial port, at the same time. Difference port speeds and sentence selections can be used in each, the only restriction being that the interval has to be the same for both. In other words the outputs, although possibly different, are synchronised, or nearly so (synchronised at the port queuing level). All settings can be managed via the AutoSave/GPSout tab in the Options -- just use the two little scroll arrows, top right on the GPSout side, to swap between the two outputs.

Please let me know how you get on with two real devices!

Regards

Pete

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Please let me know how you get on with two real devices!

Pete, you are fast! I will be able to test this Monday PM, as my tablet is in another locale right now. I installed the new .dll, and tried the Garmin on the 1st and then the 2nd output (Com 3 and Com 4). Works like a champ to this point. Beautiful little option you gave it with the buttons to move back and forth between outputs. Having the output screens essentially overlay each other also makes it easy to compare the settings. The interval remaining the same for both outputs should not be a problem. I'll let you know Mon/Tues when I've tried both devices connected at the same time.

Thanks for an amazingly quick action on this request!

Barrie

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Pete, I connected both devices and put them through about a 2-3 hr test.

Everything looks good with one anomaly. The altitude is giving erroneous readings. This occurs on both the Garmin with Aviation inputs, as well as the tablet with NMEA inputs. It also occurs whether I have just one connected, or both, and also shows if I swap serial ports. The erroneous altitude shows the same on both devices. The field elevation as properly shown in FS is 1180ft, but GPSOut shows 3760ft. The altitude indicator in the plane shows as it should, 1180ft. As I climb out, the altitude increases about 3 times faster than it should, so if I'm climbing at 300ft/min, it will reflect about a 900ft/min rate. Again, the plane's VSI shows normal. So, when I get to 9,000ft, the 2 devices are showing over 25000ft.

Everything else looks super: GS, distances, DTK, ETA, etc, are all accurate on both devices. The only thing I've seen to this point is the altitude. Also, if I revert to the previous FSUIPC.dll, the altitude shows up normal as always. It's only showing an error with the new .dll. What do you think might be sending the false altitude reading?

But it's really nice to be able to work with both devices at the same time. At least doubles the learning curve. You've done a great job with this and thanks again.

Barrie

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The altitude is giving erroneous readings. This occurs on both the Garmin with Aviation inputs, as well as the tablet with NMEA inputs. It also occurs whether I have just one connected, or both, and also shows if I swap serial ports. The erroneous altitude shows the same on both devices. The field elevation as properly shown in FS is 1180ft, but GPSOut shows 3760ft. The altitude indicator in the plane shows as it should, 1180ft. As I climb out, the altitude increases about 3 times faster than it should, so if I'm climbing at 300ft/min, it will reflect about a 900ft/min rate. Again, the plane's VSI shows normal. So, when I get to 9,000ft, the 2 devices are showing over 25000ft.

Hmm. Sounds like there's a conversion from metres to feet when it is already in feet.

Is this ONLY when there are two devices? I didn't notice it here, but maybe I didn't look closely enough. And maybe it is only in certain sentences -- can you tell me what sentences/modes the devices use for altitude?

If you can fill in these details I'll look at it tomorrow.

Regards

Pete

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Is this ONLY when there are two devices? can you tell me what sentences/modes the devices use for altitude?

It happens when either, or both, devices are connected. If the Garmin is connected by itself, I see the error. And if I have the tablet connected by itself, I see the error. When they're both connected, I see the error. I'm not sure what sentence(s) actually provide the altitude component. What I have configured:

Com 3 - Garmin connected

AV400 only is checked. Nothing else.

Com 4 - Tablet PC connected

RMA RMC VTG GGA GLL GSA GSV are checked.

If I switch back to the previous .dll, using the same exact sentences/inputs, the altitude readings are all good/normal. Thanks.

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If I switch back to the previous .dll, using the same exact sentences/inputs, the altitude readings are all good/normal. Thanks.

Okay. It was easy to fix. Silly error. When I added the second output, in order to avoid discrepancies between latitude/longitude/altitude owing to timing changes i changed the way I was reading them. I had assumed I wanted the altitude in feet, but in fact some sentences use metres, so the values is supposed to be left in metres and only converted locally to feet for those outputs needing it.

I've fixed it in the official new main user release, 4,52, which I've made available in the Updates Announcement above until I can get the Schiratti page updated.

Thanks & Regards

Pete

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Ok, Pete, that's got it. Altitude showing properly as feet now, and all other readings looking good. Thanks again! I really appreciate your time and effort to build this feature into FSUIPC.

Barrie

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Brilliant work, Pete. I too, have wanted this feature for a while but got around the issue by purchasing a third party program (GPSGate by Franson Software). Unfortunately the third party software won't let me do exactly what I've wanted until you expanded this functionality of GPSOut. I would like to respectfully request 2 more instances of the new function you added to allow 4 COM ports -total-. Is this possible?

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Brilliant work, Pete. I too, have wanted this feature for a while but got around the issue by purchasing a third party program (GPSGate by Franson Software). Unfortunately the third party software won't let me do exactly what I've wanted until you expanded this functionality of GPSOut. I would like to respectfully request 2 more instances of the new function you added to allow 4 COM ports -total-. Is this possible?

Four!? What on Earth are you connecting?

Really, that would need a rewrite to allow multiple GPSout threading, as otherwise it will be far too inefficient. I managed to squeeze in code to send the second output serially without a noticeable deterioration in FS performance by re-optimising another part. I cannot take on a complete re-write, not at this stage. Sorry.

Regards

Pete

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I'm actually connecting 4 (as of right now) non-PC, pieces of standalone test equipment/actual GPS units, that, because of their age, only use plain old RS-232.... Thanks for the reply, Pete. Having two will still make things work easier.

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