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Garmin Aera 500 series


felixk2
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Hi,

I am trying to connect my Garmin Aera to GPSOut. I have widefs connected to COM4 (where my GPS is), but for some reason it doesn't work. I have Sentences set to AV400, and my GPS is in simulation mode. Widefs is connected, and I can see Widefs sending data on the serial port to the GPS.

Anyone successfully get their Aera working in such a manner?

Thanks

Felix

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I am trying to connect my Garmin Aera to GPSOut. I have widefs connected to COM4 (where my GPS is), but for some reason it doesn't work. I have Sentences set to AV400, and my GPS is in simulation mode. Widefs is connected, and I can see Widefs sending data on the serial port to the GPS.

WideFS or GSPout? WideFS only talks to other PCs, ones running WideClient.

How are you seeing the data being sent on COM4?

Anyone successfully get their Aera working in such a manner?

This is the first I've even heard of a Garmin Aera. Just googled it -- looks like a nice piece of equipment! Not cheap! :)

Assuming it does actually support Aviation format data on its serial connection (I assumed you checked that?) the only other thing you need to do is get the communication speed ("baud rate") correct. Whilst most NMEA-compatible devices standardise on 4800, some devices allow a selection of speeds, and the Aviation format data probably has a different default in any case.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete,

Thanks for the response.

I have FSUIPC installed on my FSX. It sends GPSOut to WideFS connected on another computer. My Aera is connected to the other computer via a serial connection.

I setup the widefs client to connect to COM4 which is where my GPS is connected. I can verify that WideFS is working properly because

1. In the logs it successfully connects to COM4.

2. My serial to usb has a RX/TX light, and i see it light up every second (i set the delay in widefs to be 1000 so that it sends data to my GPS every second).

The Aera 550 has "Aviation In" as well as various other options (and I have WideFS set to AV400). I have a feeling I am probably just not setting the baud rate correctly.

On a side note, before i started this i wanted to see if i can read NMEA data out from the Aera. I connected to the com port with hyperterminal and a baud rate of 9600. I see various characters flying by, but they aren't NMEA sentences. Just random ASCII characters. I figured I must have the wrong baud rate, so i tried them all and still nothing.

Anyway... I was searching on the forums here, and noticed 1 person with an Aera 500 that was able to get it working. So i'm still hopeful i just have an incorrect setting somewhere.

Thanks,

Felix

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 months later...

I also have a Garmin Aera 500 and was wonding if I could just use the USB to connect to my computer since I have FSX running on my laptop. Is a USB-Serial cable necessary to make this work with GPSout?

I did get my Aera 550 working with GPSOut. It took me weeks to figure out that I was using a bad serial to usb adapter. I went to my local computer store and bought another model and it worked fine.

Problem with the Aera 500s is that they don't sell a Serial cable. Instead they sell a $60 (i hate garmin sometimes) bare wire cable. So you need to have a soldering iron and a visit to radioshack to buy a serial female cable. I had to solder the pins according to the serial port pin layout.

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  • 1 month later...

Trying the same with an Aera 560 an a registered version of FSUIPC4 4.70c on FSX

Got AutoSave.GPSout set to "Check to enable this GPSout"

COM1 which is the only com port on this pc.

speed 9600

msecs 1000

And only AV400 selected.

The Aera 560 interface setup to "Aviation In"... The GPS keeps diplaying under "Aviation Input Status": Disconnected

I've set the GPS in normal NMEA output mode and I can read the NMEA string with hyperterminal. Easy cable do to for a DB-9 (in face DE-9), pin 2 and 3 (and 5 ground) with the GPS in and out... reading the GPS output on the PC, meaning I have the other input/output (GPS-RS-232) ok too, I'm assuming...

Tried 4800... no change... was wondering if there was something to do to "wake up" the connection or something... there's no monitoring option so can't be sure data is going out on COM1... and presently don't have a null cable so can't connect another PC to monitor if FSUIPC4 is able to use com1 for output...

That's what I'll have to do unless anyone else have an idea...?

Thanks in advance!

Sylvain

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COM1 which is the only com port on this pc.

speed 9600

msecs 1000

And only AV400 selected.

The Aera 560 interface setup to "Aviation In"... The GPS keeps diplaying under "Aviation Input Status": Disconnected

Is the device connected to a real COM port, on of those 9-pin or 25-pin D-types? You PC actually has one of those?

I ask because COM1 is almost never available for a USB serial adapter, with COM1 and COM2 being BIOS-controlled hardware ports even if not actually mounted on most modern motherboards.

I've set the GPS in normal NMEA output mode and I can read the NMEA string with hyperterminal. Easy cable do to for a DB-9 (in face DE-9), pin 2 and 3 (and 5 ground) with the GPS in and out... reading the GPS output on the PC, meaning I have the other input/output (GPS-RS-232) ok too, I'm assuming...

Sorry, I don't fully understand that part. Is that connecting to the real COM1 port on the PC too?

Tried 4800... no change... was wondering if there was something to do to "wake up" the connection or something... there's no monitoring option so can't be sure data is going out on COM1... and presently don't have a null cable so can't connect another PC to monitor if FSUIPC4 is able to use com1 for output...

FSUIPC can use any port it can open. If it cannot open the port there will be a message saying so in the FSUIPC Log file.

I think you can use a serial port utility like VSPE (http://www.eterlogic.com/Products.VSPE.html) to loop COM1 out back to a virtual port on the same PC, no cables needed. Or probably easier you can use the freeware PortMon utility from http://www.sysinternals.com to check what is going on on serial ports, or, better, the (payware) Advanced Serial Port Monitor from http://www.aggsoft.com -- you can use it free for a trial period.

Regards

Pete

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I'm using the Garmin cable with bare wires made to interface with the Aera 500 series as displayed here:

http://www.pilotshop.com/garmin-aera-aviation-mount-bare-wires-p-5286.html

I've done a simple cable with a female DB-9 and the Garmin cable with the bare wires above. From what I have, I've connected the black to pin 5 (ground). Blue (GPS TX Data out) to pin #2 and the Yellow (GPS Data In) to pin #3 of the DB-9 female connector.

Like I've said, I can receive from the GPS @4800 when in NMEA mode... with Hyperterminal I see it all. When place in Aviation In mode, and the software at 9600 (or any other speeds) the GPS Interface Setup Page remains in "Disconnected" mode for the "Aviation Input Status".

Wondering if it's my cabling?

I've tried with 2 different serial ports and same results.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Sylvain

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I've done a simple cable with a female DB-9 and the Garmin cable with the bare wires above. From what I have, I've connected the black to pin 5 (ground). Blue (GPS TX Data out) to pin #2 and the Yellow (GPS Data In) to pin #3 of the DB-9 female connector.

Like I've said, I can receive from the GPS @4800 when in NMEA mode... with Hyperterminal I see it all. When place in Aviation In mode, and the software at 9600 (or any other speeds) the GPS Interface Setup Page remains in "Disconnected" mode for the "Aviation Input Status".

Wondering if it's my cabling?

It may need the control lines connecting too -- DTR probably (pin 4 on a DB9) and maybe RTS too (pin 7 on a DB9). normally the lack of DTR means "disconnected".

Regards

Pete

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It may need the control lines connecting too -- DTR probably (pin 4 on a DB9) and maybe RTS too (pin 7 on a DB9). normally the lack of DTR means "disconnected".

Regards

Pete

Hi again. Nothing to do with the control lines since your software is sending the data and there's no lines for that on the GPS.

I found out that it is actually working... did not realize it until I switch the GPS on map display... the interface still shows "Disconnected" but the unit in GPS Simulation mode still is receiving the data and working.

Thanks for the help.

Perfect way to get handons experience on the unit still on ground... and with FSX in real weather mode, the Aera 560 with XM Aviation Weather data pacakge... just fantastic.

Sylvain

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Hi again. Nothing to do with the control lines since your software is sending the data and there's no lines for that on the GPS.

I don't use CTS/RTS to enable or throttle data, but I've always raised the control signals so that devices which do check for them will accept the data.

I found out that it is actually working... did not realize it until I switch the GPS on map display... the interface still shows "Disconnected" but the unit in GPS Simulation mode still is receiving the data and working.

Ah, good.

Pete

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Hi Pete,

Just so you know, I've reported this to Garmin and already in communication with them. Again, as for the control lines, the AERA 500 series only have out/in/ground... so, none.

The problem so far is just that the unit still displays "Disconnected" on the Interface page when in Aviation In mode even when it is actually processing received data input... some data detection test a Garmin programmer has not done right... We'll see where it goes from here.

For the record, the Aera 560 I have is running the latest software, version 3.1

Thanks again, great product "and support!" :-)

Sylvain

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Just so you know, I've reported this to Garmin and already in communication with them. Again, as for the control lines, the AERA 500 series only have out/in/ground... so, none.

The problem so far is just that the unit still displays "Disconnected" on the Interface page when in Aviation In mode even when it is actually processing received data input... some data detection test a Garmin programmer has not done right... We'll see where it goes from here.

Okay. So it's more of a misleading annoyance than an actual problem, now you know?

Regards

Pete

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  • 1 year later...

Informational: I can confirm that FSUIPC 4.853 works with an Aera 500. (Et Sylvain, je te remercie encore pour le cable!) The setup is quite simple. If your computer doesn't have a serial COM port, get a USB-to-serial cable. (Cheapest is not best: expect to spend about $30.) (Make sure your port is configured to operate at 9600.) In FSUIPC on the GPS Tab, select "Check to enable the GPSOut", select the COM port across which the communication will occur. For port speed and interval, I am using 9600 and 100 (one hundred). The only box that should be checked in the message types is AV400. Then the interesting part the Garmin cable to serial port. On this, the solution I have is an official Garmin "Bare Wire" cable which plugs into the back of the Aera and has cables dangling off the other end, as described in appendix D of the user manual. Yellow wire pin 3 data transmit, black wire pin 5 ground. Final part is the configuration on the Aera. On the tools/setup/interface,, change the interface setup to "Aviation In". It will say "Aviation Input Status: Disconnected" - just ignore. On Tools/GPS Status/Menu, select Start Simulator. Then go back to the map page... and enjoy! Hope this is helpful for someone :-)

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  • 10 months later...

I can confirm also it all works as advertised. I have the Garmin Aera 500, FSX, and Windows 7.

There is one limitation I have found in what appears to runway 'off-set' after flying a short while, and I don't know what causes it. For example, placing the airplane on the runway, holding in position for takeoff, and re-setting simulator mode in the Garmin results in a perfect alignment. I can see the lat/lon in FSX matches lat/lon on the Garmin position page, as does the visual on both screens.

If you fly a simple traffic pattern, and re-land, the position of the airplane after landing can be as much as several hundred feet off. I have noticed the new position is not always consistent, sometimes it can be within 50 or 100 ft, and on different parts of the runway. If you re-set 'simulator mode' on the Garmin position page, the alignment is correct.

If we assume the Garmin is operating in a real airplane, WAAS enables accuracy to within 10ft lateral with enough satellites operating, and you need to use your pressure altimeter in the aircraft for vertical guidance, especially on hot days. So for practical purposes, steering mode is always spot on in the real airplane. I have many real world tracks that confirm this fact when imported to Google Earth, I'd swear the lateral accuracy is down to 1 foot.

In simulation mode, I would assume there should be zero errors. I have confirmed Garmin AV IN requires 9600 baud, but I am wondering if a 100 ms interval is too fast, perhaps 200ms might produce better results since the screen re-fresh time is 5 hz.

But I am only guessing, wondering if anymore might have the answer as to what would cause the lat long to be correct in the beginning of the session, then be so far off in only 5 minutes of flying.

UPDATE 1/24/14 : Using interval of 200ms vs. 100 does not improve the "offset" problem. So for now, I am just re-setting "simulator" mode in the Garmin prior to landing to force a re-alignment at the critical stage.

Pretty cool stuff!

Edited by wxGuy
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