1. OCAU Merchandise now available! Check out our 20th Anniversary Mugs, Classic Logo Shirts and much more! Discussion here.
    Dismiss Notice

Using cheap ebay GPS's for other things...

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by MWP, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. MWP

    MWP Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    4,632
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Hi all,

    Has anyone played much with these cheap 3"-4" touchscreen GPSs that are on ebay at the moment?

    I was going to design an build my own ATMEGA128 based 320x240 mono touchscreen for a project, but these ebay items look like a much better idea if they can be reprogrammed.

    I know most run WinCE... anyone know how difficult it would be to write my own WinCE apps to run on them?
    I would prefer to run Linux if porting and loading would be possible.

    Ideas?
    Links with info?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  2. alvarez

    alvarez Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,622
    Location:
    Geelong 3218
    Ive seen plenty of hacks and tweaks for GPS devices so its possible if you are up to it.
    The hardest part would be finding any technical data on a yumcha ebay GPS
     
  3. tin

    tin Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2001
    Messages:
    6,414
    Location:
    Narrabri NSW
    Some are really hard to get 3rd party apps running on.... A friend has a 2 DIN in dash cheapo no name GPS navigator that we tried to get running various other apps. We got it to run some, but others didn't. And registry settings all seemed to be reset when it was powered off.

    On the other hand, a different friend bought one of the 3 inch portable things Crazy Clarks was selling about a year ago... And it had a USB plug to charge it, and happily ActiveSynced, which allowed me to run remote registry editors, etc and it now runs Explorer as a shell instead of the lame supplied one.
     
  4. jezza323

    jezza323 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,374
    Location:
    Brisbane
    you can write Win CE apps with the .Net compact framework very easily, whether they will work or not is another problem :)
     
  5. OP
    OP
    MWP

    MWP Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    4,632
    Location:
    Adelaide
  6. Pacifist

    Pacifist Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2002
    Messages:
    1,949
    Location:
    Gosford
    I used to program WinCE embedded devices for a living.
    It should technically be possible to customise any cheapie GPS that uses a standard ARM or MIPs CPU and memory. It might mean starting from scratch though. You'd need to create then load redboot for the RAM, flash CPU combination using a JTAG cable. Once you have redboot on you can then load up whatever OS you want via ethernet (if available) or serial.
    However chances are the unit will already have a functioning Redboot bootloader on it (if not redboot, then at least some type of bootloader). So it's just a matter of opening it up and finding where the debug serial port comes out. The debug serial should give you options to load an entirely new kernel when the device is first powered on.

    Tin, i can tell you why the settings were lost on power off. WinCE loads the registry off flash at boot and puts it into RAM. The modifications are not saved unless RegFlushKey is called. So if you can write an application that calls RegFlushKey to the device and run it you can save the registry. Getting program files saved to the devices filesystem permanantly is hard unless the device has a removable SD card though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  7. OP
    OP
    MWP

    MWP Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    4,632
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Thanks for that info Pacifist.
    Ill only use WinCE if i cant get Linux loaded.

    The only other thing that i can think of being a problem is interfacing it.
    If the USB port can run in host mode, itll make things a whole lot easier.
    If not, ill have to dig into the PCB to see if i can find some spare IO pins :Paranoid:
     
  8. Daemon

    Daemon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    5,471
    Location:
    qld.au
  9. OP
    OP
    MWP

    MWP Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    4,632
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Thanks for that!
    I was liking the idea of a 4.3" widescreen unit, but that price and available info make it rather attractive.
     
  10. noboundaries-au

    noboundaries-au Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,571
    Location:
    Canberra, ACT

    Indeed, most cheapo gps' can be hacked in this way, the other easy way is because most run a script to load the gps program off the usb flashdrive. Just replace that exec with say explorer.
     
  11. ford ftw

    ford ftw Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,449
    What GPS's?
     
  12. who0sh

    who0sh Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Sydney
  13. 2xCPU

    2xCPU Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    3,328
    Location:
    Saigon
    I don't think ford was asking "what is GPS?", I think he was asking "which GPS?" (at least I hope so!)

    2.
     
  14. noboundaries-au

    noboundaries-au Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,571
    Location:
    Canberra, ACT
    If so, then the vast majority of them.
     
  15. Daemon

    Daemon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    5,471
    Location:
    qld.au
    http://electronics.search.ebay.com.au/_GPS_W0QQcatrefZC12QQsacatZ34288QQsassZitstore07

    Here's another lot that are cheap and supposed to be easy to add additional software.

    I have a radio receiver I want to control via serial cable (the receiver has no front panel), so my thinking is to buy one of these and bypass the GPS connection if I can. That way I get a cheap LCD based interface that I can write for, at worst I'll have a GPS navigation system!
     
  16. Azrael

    Azrael Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Come and have a play with my Navsoon sometime. Its only a 3.5" device, but runs WinCE nicely, does ChronoGPS and if i could figure out a way to get bluetooth into it i assume it would do the OBD2 logging too.

    Its the one off DX btw.
     
  17. Daemon

    Daemon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    5,471
    Location:
    qld.au
    What's the quality of the screen like? Also, does it look easy to pull apart?
     
  18. Azrael

    Azrael Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Screen quality is pretty good, obviously not as good as a proper XGA panel, but on par with my QVGA X51v. Pulling apart wise, looks like 4 screws.
     
  19. aargee

    aargee Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    90
    I've pulled apart the little Bluetooth GPS modules, basically they seem to consist of a GPS Engine that talks RS232 to a BT module, the whole lot powered by a Nokia phone battery with some battery charging electronics.
     
  20. Iceman

    Iceman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    6,647
    Location:
    Brisbane (nth), Australia
    What gps routing software / map source do these cheapies use? Can you update them a la tomtom? Not that tomtom is good at releasing maps..
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: