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Hi Peter,

I'm looking to buy a Garmin 296 and hook it up to my computer to practice using it with flightsim & GPSOut. My current computer does not have any serial ports, and the Garmin only comes with a USB connection - it would cost about $100 for the Garmin serial cable and a USB to Serial adapter, so I would prefer just to have it hooked up via USB cable.

I've read in past posts that you can connect USB devices via GPSOut but that finding the GPS's USB port address is tricky. How do you go about finding out what the USB's port address is, how complicated is it to coordinate that with GPSOut?

Just wanted to know if it's going to be complicated to get it hooked up via USB or if I should just spend the $100 on the serial cables.

Thanks, David

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I'm looking to buy a Garmin 296 and hook it up to my computer to practice using it with flightsim & GPSOut. My current computer does not have any serial ports, and the Garmin only comes with a USB connection - it would cost about $100 for the Garmin serial cable and a USB to Serial adapter, so I would prefer just to have it hooked up via USB cable.

I'm pretty sure others have done that. You'd need to search some threads, but I also put some details from one user in the documentation.

I've read in past posts that you can connect USB devices via GPSOut but that finding the GPS's USB port address is tricky. How do you go about finding out what the USB's port address is

I've no idea because I've never been lucky enough to have a GPS which I can interface to FS. But it is mainly just a name structre -- there's an example in the documentation.

Just wanted to know if it's going to be complicated to get it hooked up via USB or if I should just spend the $100 on the serial cables.

Sorry. if the documents don't help and you cannot find the other threads for help, I hope someone else will see this thread and answer you.

When GPSout was written it was with the intention of linking FS to moving map type software on a separate PC. In that role, FS was effectively simulating a GPS as for as the mapping software was concerned. Linking a GPS simulator to a real GPS has always seemed a little odd to me, but I do see the point. Good luck!

Regards

Pete

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Thanks for the reply Pete. From what I've read it's only a matter of figuring out the USB port number, but I haven't figured out how you do that. I want to avoid using a serial cable if possible as the GPS can't use external power when its on one (just the way Garmin set it up for whatever reason) and I'd rather not use up battery cycles on flightsim. I'll surf around to see if I can figure out how to do this.

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Thanks for the reply Pete. From what I've read it's only a matter of figuring out the USB port number, but I haven't figured out how you do that. I want to avoid using a serial cable if possible as the GPS can't use external power when its on one (just the way Garmin set it up for whatever reason) and I'd rather not use up battery cycles on flightsim. I'll surf around to see if I can figure out how to do this.

Well, you know a Garmin 296 will work with GPS because others have done it. So when you have it and have connected it to your PC, we can try and find out then. I suspect it's a matter of trial and error, but it shouldn't be too hard -- I think others have used the device name I suggested and it works directly. If not it can't be many numbers off that.

One thing, you need to stop the device's own software grabbing the port as soon as the device is connected. They usually use an "ActiveSync" program which runs when you load Windows and waits for the connection. It will probably show in the Windows system tray (bottom right), and you should be able to open it and tell it not to connect automatically, but if that doesn't work you might need to kill it.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete. I have the GPS hooked up to the PC, no Garmin software installed or running (Win 7 recognized it as a Garmin GPS immediately), its hooked up via USB and running in Simulator mode - Com1 Serial Data Format is set to Aviation In.

In FSUIPC 4 / FSX I have GPS enabled, AV400 checked, enter a unique port name checked, now here's the tricky part, what's the port name.

Windows is showing the GPS's location as Port_#0005.Hub_#0001 -

Windows shows also the following in the USB device Properties window...

Physical Device Object name \Device\USBPDO-7

Legacy bus type 0000000F

Bus Number 00000000

Enumerator USB

Address 00000005

Location paths PCIROOT(0)#PCI(0B00)#USBROOT(0)#USB(5)

Device Instance Path USB\VID_091E&PID_0003\5&13FA7037&0&5Parent USB\ROOT_HUB\4&1F0C074E&0

Any idea what to write for a port name?

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Hi Pete, I tried some combinations of the above

USBPDO-7, the hub & port name etc. - nothing worked there.

Er"USBPD0-7"? I've never seen any USB name like that at all!? It doesn't look anything like a port name!?

I'll try that port listed in the docs - I assumed it was just for PDAs but there's no harm in trying I suppose.

Right -- honestly, I assumed all USB connections would have port names constructed in the same sort of way. Maybe I'm wrong. It isn't something I can even try here.

However, searching on the Microsoft developer site I did find this:

In a desktop application, when opening a handle to a USB function client device through the USB serial host driver, wceusbsh00x represents the xth instance of a USB function client device. For example, to open a handle to the first instance of a USB function client device, use "\\.\wceusbsh001"

...

It supports multiple USB function client devices. For example, use "\\.\wceusbsh002" as the handle to the second instance of a USB function client device, use "\\.\wceusbsh003" to open a handle to the third instance of a USB function client device, and so on.

so it could (even should?) be one or other of those, depending on how many serial USB devices you have connected.

Of course, not wanting to be pessimistic, but, it may well turn out to be impossible that way. I've searched through all the previous threads with folks connecting any sort of Garmin to GPSout, and all of the definite successes used a USB to Serial port adapter. I'm surprised at the price you quoted though. Adapters the other way round -- to connect a serial port device to a USB socket -- are really cheap (from around 7 UKP here, so I suppose $10 US). I suppose that derives from quantity -- more demand now that modern PCs don't have serial ports.

Regards

Pete

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The \\\WCEUSBSH001 port number didn't work either.

I think there's a '.' missing there. And even then, you may need to try 002, 003, ...

.. Oh, sorry, I see the little text doc in the FS9 GPSout ZIP has that missing -- it was copied verbatim from a user, and I was unable to check that at the time. The FSUIPC doc has it with both the . and without. I'll fix that too, as it certainly looks like you need the .

Pete

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Hi Pete,

Ya I was just using the FS9 docs up to now but I pulled up the FSX docs up last night and tried it with the . in it. I haven't tried different numbers though so I'll just keep counting up to see if I get a connection.

Either way I ordered the Garmin serial connector cable (going to be a week wait for that) - but if I can get it working Via USB either way I'd prefer that as when you're on USB you can connect the external power cable and run off that, but on serial it is battery only as the Garmin serial cable connects via the external power port.

From what you said there it seems that is a generic windows USB address and not just Palm PC's as I falsely assumed. I'll give it a whirl when I get home - thanks again for all the help!

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Hi Pete, I emailed Garmin asking if data can even be sent in the USB port, this is the reply, figured this can help you answer any further questions - short answer, it's only serial port / aviation format.

Dear David Voogd,

Thank you for contacting Garmin International,

The 296 can send GPS and NMEA data out, but can only receive "Aviation In" data through the serial cable (this format would be selected if the 296 were receiving data from a 430/530 GPS).

With Best Regards,

Jason W

Product Support Specialist

Pilot Operations

Garmin International

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Hi Pete, I emailed Garmin asking if data can even be sent in the USB port, this is the reply, figured this can help you answer any further questions - short answer, it's only serial port / aviation format.

Right. We knew the data format was AV400 from previous users' attempts. Shame about the USB connection.

Regards

Pete

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