BC337 Compact Flash GPS FAQ


1.) Q:Can the mount support my PDA from the suction cup alone?
1.) A:No, it is recommended that you bend the arm into a shape that allows a section of the arm to rest on the dashboard to relieve the stress from the suction cup. Due to bumps in the road, temperature of the windshields and the weight of your PDA, unsupported, suction cup mounting could possibly cause damage to the PDA should the arm become disengaged.

2.) Q:Why am I not getting any or very weak GPS signals even though my GPS receiver is directly under the windshield glass?
2.) A: Certain vehicles may be equipped with special windshields that contain metal in the glass that prevents GPS and RF signals from being received properly. Customers with these types of windshields must use an exterior GPS antenna for improved results for GPS applications. If you are unsure about whether your vehicle has one of these types of windshields, contact your dealer and request more information. This vehicle list may not be complete and may updated from time-to-time.
See: http://www.e-zpassny.com/static/info/exteriortags.html

3.) Q:How to install CF GPS on Windows XP?
3.) A: See details

4.) Q:How can I reset the GPS data protocol back to the default NMEA setting?
After changing my GPS receiver to send data to my PC in SiRF format, which was configured using the included SiRFDemo utility program, my GPS receiver's LED is now very dim and no longer is sending data to my mapping application.
4.) A: Leave your GPS receiver un-plugged from a laptop or PDA for approximately 12-days, whereby the internal power for the temporary memory will be discharged and the GPS receiver will return back its default NMEA GPS format.

5.) Q:How do I activate WAAS on my CF GPS Receiver?
5.) A:Click here to see the step-by-step instructions to active WAAS by using the SiRFDemo utility, which came on the CD-ROM, or download it from our web-site.

6.) Q: How can I confirm the Compact Flash driver is installed properly on Windows platforms?
6.) A: 1. First make sure your PCMCIA Adapter is connected to your notebook PCMCIA port.

6.) 2. Open your device manager. For example on Windows XP:
right-click on "My computer"
select properties
select "Hardware"
click on "Device Manager

6.) 3. Confirm that the Compact Flash hardware is found:
Open the device manager (if it's not open) and look for an entry that states "Ports (COM & LPT)" and verify "Compact Flash OX16CF950 (COMx)" entry is viewed.
If you don't see this, then the Compact Flash device is not being found. Double check that the card adapter is connected in well on both ends.

6.) 4. Once again, confirm that the Compact Flash hardware is working properly:
Right click on the "Compact Flash OX16CF950 (COMx)" and select "Properties"
You should see that the current Device status is OK.
If this doesn't seem right, it might be that the driver is not installed or working properly. You can uninstall the driver by selecting the "Driver" tab and clicking uninstall. Then re-install.

6.) 5. Confirm that the Compact Flash driver appears as a virtual serial console:
The Compact Flash driver appears as a serial port, so if you expand (click on the '+' sign) by "Ports (COM & LPT)" you should see the usual 2 or so "Communication Ports (COMx)" (depending on how many serial ports your computer has), possibly an LPT port (if your computer has a parallel port) and finally, if the Compact Flash driver is installed properly, "Compact Flash OX16CF950 (COMx)".
Right click on the "Compact Flash OX16CF950 (COMx)".
You should see that the Device status is OK.
If this doesn't seem right, it might that the driver is not installed or working properly. You can uninstall the driver by selecting the "Driver" tab and clicking uninstall. Then re-install.

6.) 6. If this all works you should be able to open a terminal emulator on the serial port. You can use HyperTerminal: Start->All Programs->Accessories->Communications->Hyperterminal
When asked for a name type a random name and click on "OK". A "Connect To" window will appear, with a field labeled "Connect With" and a click box for selecting which COM port. Select the COM port found in step 6 above and click on "OK". A "Port Settings" window will open. This doesn't matter - click "OK". Finally in the terminal window you should see a bunch of seemingly meaningless characters. These are the ASCII representations of the binary data your Intro module is sending out. About every second you should see a new string of characters.

7.) Q: What to look for first to know which SiRF firmware version is oldest/newest?
7.) A: Here's a little insight into SiRF version numbers: 2.3.2-GSW2-2.05.024-C1PROD1.0_6A -- the GSW2 means standard SiRFStar II software, and 2.3.2 is the release version number. The 2.05.024 or similar numbers are internal numbers into the engineering data base. C1 is the build variant, a number that varies with each software type, but can relate to flash builds vs. RAM (debug) builds, builds with or without SBAS support (WAAS), builds with one or two serial port support, NMEA or binary protocol default, etc. Prod means this is a released rather than a beta (test) version. 1.00 means the release is without any post-release bug fixes. If there is a letter or letters after the Prod1.00, like Prod1.02b, this would mean that some specific "patches" have been added to provide interim fixes for known bugs. After that, anything on the line is likely added by the manufacturer for internal version control. A number like 0000003729 with XMitac2.0 means this is XTrac 2.0 customized by SiRF for Mitac. In general, an X in the number will imply XTrac software, while GSW2 or GSW3 will indicate standard code for SiRFStar II or SiRFStar III, respectively.

8.) Q:
Can we upgrade our SiRF firmware? What' s needed for the process?
8.) A: SiRF provides the new versions to our direct customers, but it is up to them to determine if they want to provide an update mechanism to their end-user customers. While the process is relatively simple, unless there is a hardware way to put the receiver into flash upgrade mode (internal boot mode is our term) there is a chance to get things stuck so you have to send it back to the manufacturer or a repair depot to recover. Further, you must be supplied with a flash programming utility to do the job since you cannot access the flash directly -- you have to go through the ARM processor on the SiRF chipset."

9.) Q: What is the meaning of "baud rate"?
9.) A: Baud rate is really the rate of bit transitions on the serial data link. Since each byte of data adds a start and stop bit, it is 10 bits long, and 38400 baud is 3840 bytes per second. Faster bit rates transfer more bytes per second, i.e., greater bandwidth.

10.) Q: What is static navigation?
10.) A: Static navigation when enable, velocities lower than 1.2 m/s for 3 seconds we will freeze the position, and leave them frozen until velocity exceeds 1.4 m/s. Static navigation is a mode designed for motor vehicles, which causes the position to become pinned at one location when velocity is determined to be low enough. This is designed to make navigation systems operate more reasonably when the GPS Selective Availability (SA) signal degradation is turned on.

11.) Q: What is trickle mode?
11.) A: The Trickle mode allows for an increase in battery life by putting the GPS module in sleep mode for very short periods of time, such as 300ms per 1s cycle, which will result in a battery life increase of about 40% according to my testing. It can be useful for certain types of applications but there is a hit on performance as the receiver will have to get "back on its feet" when it wakes up. It is especially problematic in difficult reception conditions. Starting with FW 2.3, SiRF has added the "Adaptive Trickle" mode, which as its name implies will adapt the power savings to the conditions of reception. In optimal conditions, I found that the battery life increase amounts to about 30%.

12.) Q: How can I find whether my device is an X-Trac or STD model?
12.) A: There are several ways to check whether the device is X-Trac or not: 1. Serial number is X....., it's X-Trac 2. The bottom sticker with Red dot, it's X-Trac 3. Use GPSinfo to cold start the device, it shows Xtrac after $Version, it's X-Trac.