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Old 17-02-2008, 22:10   #61
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For what it's worth, NMEA (0183) is technically RS-422, not RS-232 - it just turns out that taking the positive leg of the differential RS-422 signal is "close enough" that it will drive a typical RS-232 input...
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Old 17-02-2008, 22:55   #62
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scotte,
So in simple English for us under educated folks this means what exactly?
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Old 17-02-2008, 23:15   #63
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Dacust,
The problem I think I have is that SeaClear does not open a comm port as it is initially loading, heck with trying to talk to a GPS after it is loaded. This message comes up during the program loading sequence, not after. This happens before the map screen even appears.
I believe my Garmin GPS is working and communicating with this computer properly. I used it today to talk to two other, different charting programs on this computer and it worked well.
This laptop has 4 USB ports and 1 serial port so SeaClear should see something it likes, if it looked.

Keep thinking... ;-)

thanks

Ken
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Old 18-02-2008, 08:22   #64
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Retcoastie,

Here's what I would do (and if you already have tried this, I apologize). Start up SeaClear, and go into setup ("Tools->Properties"), then Comm tab.

Set "Tx/Rx 1" to the com port you know your GPS is on, 4800 BPS.
Set "Rx 2" to Com "0" (to disable)
Set "Rx 3" to Com "0" (to disable)

Save the config.

Double check your GPS is configured for NMEA mode.

Now go to "Tools->System->NMEA Input Monitor" and see if you are getting NMEA data in the monitor window that pops up.

My guess is that SeaClear is trying to open a configured port that doesn't exist. I've also noticed with my serial-USB adapter that I need to plug it into the exact same USB port on the computer each time or it gets enumerated as a different com port.

Also which other programs did you use? That might help in understanding/narrowing down the problem. As I already mentioned, Mapsource is a bit of a different beast, since it uses the GARMIN protocol instead of NMEA. Also note SeaClear will not work using the Garmin USB cable to your GPS since that is a different wire protocol entirely (I'm not talking about using a serial-USB adapter, that works fine and in fact is what I use).

Not sure if that helps, just a few things to try...
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Old 18-02-2008, 10:17   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy's Dream View Post
scotte,
So in simple English for us under educated folks this means what exactly?
I made an attempt to write this up in a new post at http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...2-a-12967.html but note that since this is a fairly technical discussion it's pretty hard to avoid techtalk.
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Old 18-02-2008, 10:30   #66
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Free vs. Paid vs. Open Source

Just to clarify about the free programs vs. commercial, there's different types of "free".

Open Source - This is licensed and is guarenteed to always be free. Also, as long as the project has interest, there will normally be many developers working on it. When a bug is reported, often it is fixed in hours or days, instead of weeks of months. If enough people wants a new feature, odds are there's a developer that agrees and will do it. The only way it will cease to be supported is if people loose interest in the project - something better comes out, something like that. If it's a popular piece of software you can safely bet there will be developers interested in working on it.

Free from individual or company - This is not guarenteed to be free nor is it guarenteed to be maintained. They may develop it into a commercial product, cease to provide fixes, etc.

Free - limited features. Same caveats as "Free". If it has the features you need as is, then it essentially is the same is the free version.

Free - Trial. Just does what it says, lets you try it for a little while.

The reason the above is noteworthy is this: If you are going to be buying special charts, making purchasing decisions (like brand/features of a GPS, etc.) based on the package you are going to use, then it's a good idea to make sure it's got a good chance of continued development and support. Also, it takes an investment of time to become comfortable with the use of a software package. With SeaClear, it's really just the time investment since you should be able to use off the shelf GPS and free charts, or purchased BSBs that can be used with almost all other systems out there.

I'd rate them, in order of safety:
  • Paid with paid support contract
  • Paid with free support (depending on the company, this may be as good as paid support)
  • Open Source
  • Free from individual or company (There are pros/cons that at least for me seem to even out between individual or company).
  • Free - limited features
I didn't include "Free - Trial" because I look at that as a seperate animal altogether.

Of course, being a paid package doesn't mean it has guarentees either. Because I wanted S57 support, I started looking for something to replace Nobeltec. Then they added support for S57s, so I paid for the upgrade to the latest version that supports them. NOW, just a few months later, they have suddenly pulled the support back out of their latest release.

What it comes down to, do your research and make sure that you know what the dependancies are, how big is your investment, what all will you have to replace if you need to change for some reason, and what is the likehood that that could happen based on what you are buying. I'm reluctant to stay with Nobeltec OR to go with a free (non-open source) for the same reason: I can't depend on continued support of the features. But at least with something free, you haven't lost the purchase price. Hmm, maybe in my list above, the free stuff should rate above the paid...

-dan
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Old 18-02-2008, 12:30   #67
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Hellosailor, sorry, I missed your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
dacust-
"Thing is I am not familiar with anything that will make a usb device communicate as a serial device. Someone mentioned an emulator for a particular brand. So I'd check with the manufacturer of your antenna and see if they have one."

this has got nothing to do with antennas. USB stands for "Universal Serial Bus" and in fact all USB devices ARE serial devices. What they are not, is dumb old "RS-232" aka "NMEA" serial devices though.
I stand corrected on the USB part, it is of course serial. I meant to say I was not familiar with anything that would make a USB connected device look like a COM port to the software.

About the antenna, I don't remember exactly what he said, but either he has a USB antenna that his program could not see or he was wonder about getting one to solve the problem that the program wasn't seeing his Garmin. It would be possible for there to be a driver that would see the USB device and emulate a COM port for the software to see. Someone posted that the manufacturer of their particular GPS had this. I'm not aware of anything universal that will do this. As a clarification for those who don't know this, a USB GPS antenna is actually a GPS receiver and antenna in the same unit.

As far as dumb old RS-232 aka NMEA, RS-232 is a hardware connection. NMEA is a communication protocal for navigation information. A USB or TCPIP connected GPS will still use NMEA to talk to most navigation programs (Gamin to Mapsource being a notable exception. SeaTalk being another). So NMEA can be going through RS232 COM ports, USB or over CAT-5/6 via TCP/IP.
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Old 18-02-2008, 13:01   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotte View Post
Retcoastie,

Here's what I would do (and if you already have tried this, I apologize). Start up SeaClear, and go into setup ("Tools->Properties"), then Comm tab.

Set "Tx/Rx 1" to the com port you know your GPS is on, 4800 BPS.
Set "Rx 2" to Com "0" (to disable)
Set "Rx 3" to Com "0" (to disable)

Save the config.

.
This is what I had to do to get Seaclear to work as well. I also had to try the USB plug in several different spots to open the correct port.

My advice to the original poster would be to keep the Garmin separate and purchase a new USB or serial port GPS off Ebay. They are about $14 now. I paid $120 for my 23 channel unit a couple of years ago and keep my old JRC unit as backup.

There is also a dedicated GPS nav forum at gps-navigator : GPS and utilities Not always much activity there but members consist of professional navigators plus the designers of several commercial products.
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Old 18-02-2008, 14:49   #69
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SeaClear Problem Details

Well, here is today's effort.

Laptop: Uninstalled SeaClear using Control Panel; Programs: Uninstall. I got a window that said SeaClear and all its components had been removed. I went to Explorer and checked C:\Program Files and a folder named SeaClear was still there, Hmmmmm. I deleted SeaClear folder from C:\Programs Files. I searched C:\ for "sea" and found nothing to resemble SeaClear. I installed SeaClear from a disk I had D/Led it to. I checked the Chart folder, only the four world charts. I opened SeaClear. I got the "Could Not Open Communication Port 1" window on a plain blue screen. I "OK"ed. SeaClear continued to load and showed a chart of Paris Landing on the Tennessee River. Checked Tools: Preferences: Comm and found NMEA Connection Tx/Rx 1 was Com 1 and 4800 BPS.Rx 2 and Rx 3 were 0.

Desktop: Installed SeaClear from the same disk. Opened SeaClear. Seaclear opened directly to the Z_World chart with the boat position at the prime meridian on the equador.Checked Tools: Preferences: Comm, and found Tx/Rx on 1, Rx 2 and Rx 3 at 0, 4800 BPS.

No GPS connected to either computer.

My Conclusion....I have a corrupt install of SeaClear but cannot uninstall all the components to attempt a clean installation. This makes me think that no matter what I connect, or don't connect, the problem will not go way on this computer. Therefore, rather than spend money on antennas, adapters, cables or GPSs I should just go get an older, used, cheap laptop to use on the boat. Boy I hate to do that. It just kills me to be defeated by a machine.

So, I'm still looking for thoughts of what to do. Keep 'em coming. One question tho for the SeaClear users. What happens on your computer if you start SeaClear without a GPS connected?

Thanks for all the efforts on my behalf. Its nice to know I'm not totally alone.

Ken
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Old 18-02-2008, 14:55   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retcoastie View Post
Well, here is today's effort.

. Boy I hate to do that.

Ken
I am no computer whiz, but maybe format the laptop you are using and start over...........yet again???
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Old 18-02-2008, 16:39   #71
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Too many other important things on here to re-format the hard drive. I'm to tempted to back up everything and try a re-format. But, when I have done that in the past I invariably miss backing up something. I do have all photos and business files backed to disks. Programs are another can of worms.

What else???
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Old 18-02-2008, 16:57   #72
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One of the reasons that a program cannot open a com port is because another program is using the port. Your laptop may have either a modem or IR using the com port.

Download a NMEA monitor program and use it to verify that your computer com port does not have a conflict.

I did a quick google and downloaded GPS NMEA monitor for Windows

When it starts up a setup window appears. In the lower right hand corner of the window is a box to setup your serial port. At the bottom is a scan button. This will scan all com ports on the computer and tell you if a GPS is found.

I think Seaclear always leaves the empty folder when it is removed.

Bob Stewart
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Old 18-02-2008, 17:30   #73
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Quote:
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Just to clarify about the free programs vs. commercial, there's different types of "free".-dan
Hey Dan, nice post but what does this have to do with Seaclear?

The program is free, and NOAA charts are free. There are no hidden costs.

As for the S57 charts. When you learn paper charts and are used to paper charts, it's difficult substituting vector based data. They look like a darn video game. I'll take the BSB's any day of the week as they are my paper charts.... only digitized.
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Old 18-02-2008, 17:35   #74
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My Conclusion....I have a corrupt install of SeaClear but cannot uninstall all the components to attempt a clean installation. This makes me think that no matter what I connect, or don't connect, the problem will not go way on this computer. Therefore, rather than spend money on antennas, adapters, cables or GPSs I should just go get an older, used, cheap laptop to use on the boat. Boy I hate to do that. It just kills me to be defeated by a machine.
Ken
I'm a little confused. If your ports ,in Seaclear, are configured to talk to a GPS and there is no GPS, you will get that error message.

When you remove the GPS, you must reconfigure the Seaclear options and tell Seaclear not to look for a GPS on any port. In this mode you can use the software all day long without errors.
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Old 18-02-2008, 19:18   #75
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One question tho for the SeaClear users. What happens on your computer if you start SeaClear without a GPS connected?
It just goes into DR mode in that case. I imagine if it's complaining that it cannot find COM1 then that's because COM1 doesn't exist and the GPS is actually on another port. I'm still not convinced your GPS is on COM1.

I would go into Windows device manager and look at all the COM ports that are listed there.

I really think it's unlikely it's a bad install, it sure smells like a configuration issue still to me.
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