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Old 23-01-2012, 21:12   #1
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BU353-Based GPS " Puck " Receiver - Is It Precise ?

I am thinking of getting a Globalsat BU353-based USB GPS receiver "puck", which appears to work both with Linux and OpenCPN. However, someone in the .no OpenCPN forum discouraged the use of "pucks" for naval use, since according to the poster, "it reacts to reflected GPS signals, give off wrong position in a few areas, and is generally suited for the living room table and cars" - loose translation. Can anyone verify or dismiss this allegation? And if necessary suggest an USB-based alternative which won't break the bank?

Edit: The "Seiwa WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS 50-channel smartsensor" were recommended as a good replacement for the "USB pucks", but a) is 3-4 times more expensive, and b) is not listed or flagged as compatible in http://opencpn.org/ocpn/gps_devices . The posting I got the info from is here: bit.ly/y0MO2u (google translate).
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:23   #2
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

I have used one for a few years with both Maptech and OpenCPN. I have not had any problems. In close quarters I rely on the Mark I eyeball, regardless of what system I am using.
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:27   #3
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

I would be inclined to dismiss it.

Had no problem using this device with OpenCPN and PolarView during an almost three month coastal cruise earlier this year. This was on a Mac and a PC.

The puck and computer were in the cabin with a monitor mounted on the companionway, while being operated from the helm with a cordless mouse. It had no problem working from inside the cabin as well.
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:33   #4
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

"reflected" gps signals, eh?

a gps satellite is 5' x 5', 12k miles in the air, with an effective radiated power around 500 watts, and sits in the 1500MHz band range which means it has reflecting abilities without taking into account the incredibly weak power.
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:46   #5
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
"reflected" gps signals, eh?

a gps satellite is 5' x 5', 12k miles in the air, with an effective radiated power around 500 watts, and sits in the 1500MHz band range which means it has reflecting abilities without taking into account the incredibly weak power.
Woo, these were fast replies - no sleep for the wicked, eh? 8)

Sounds like the Globalsat is good enough, then. Don't know what he meant by "reflected" - scattered/indirect signals from environmental factors such as coastal terrain/the cabin? Should think the system were designed to compensate for that... there's something strange here (with the posting I referred to).
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:53   #6
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

I would recommend a utility called Xport (XPort) for confirming com ports.

I using start GPSinfo to ensure I have a good data stream and then shut it down before starting OpenCPN.
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:55   #7
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

Quote:
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Woo, these were fast replies - no sleep for the wicked, eh? 8)

Sounds like the Globalsat is good enough, then. Don't know what he meant by "reflected" - scattered/indirect signals from environmental factors such as coastal terrain/the cabin? Should think the system were designed to compensate for that... there's something strange here (with the posting I referred to).
Just think of all those in-car GPS systems sitting under and around metal and glass (not to mentions planes with the same). If "reflecting" gps signals were a problem it would fairly well documented and much more of an issue. If it does happen, you're talking about minuscule errors that probably wouldn't even show up because of the software that handles the acquisition which checks for steady state signal. The SIRF technology has a lot going on to deal with stuff like that.

Bigger issue is just not banking on your GPS to deliver you safely where you need to go. It's a handy tool, but give me a triangle protractor and a paper chart any day of the week, if I had to pick one over the other.
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Old 23-01-2012, 22:02   #8
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

Been useing a Puck type GPS reciever, with The Capn for about 15 yrs and find the gps to be a lot closer then the charts LOL can this Open CPN be used with the capn program ?? sorry but Im sorta a dummy bout puter stuff Connie uses the capt way more then I do Thanks Bob and Connie
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Old 23-01-2012, 22:04   #9
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

More than likely, the "something strange", is that the person who doesn't like this puck has a much more expensive option. And in order to sleep well at night feels compelled to put down the less expensive option that actually works.
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Old 23-01-2012, 22:20   #10
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I would recommend a utility called Xport (XPort) for confirming com ports.

I using start GPSinfo to ensure I have a good data stream and then shut it down before starting OpenCPN.
This looks like a Windows binary - I use (Ubuntu) Linux now, but will use Navigatrix (Ubuntu-based) once I've cleared out the Acer Aspire 150 notebook. Is the software you mention necessary, and if so, is there a Linux equivalent?

If someone makes an IP67-compliant version of the Beagleboard or Raspberry, I'll get that - see (BeagleBoard.org - hardware , FAQs | Raspberry Pi

(As an aside, I've taken an initiative to have such a box produced to be the "brains" in a 6-800 euro
OpenCPN-based CPU/monitor/receiver combo, all IP67 or better, especially targetted at the rather big small sailboats/low budgets market. PM me if this sounds interesting to you!)
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Old 23-01-2012, 22:28   #11
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

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Originally Posted by Skipper Solo View Post
This looks like a Windows binary - I use (Ubuntu) Linux now, but will use Navigatrix (Ubuntu-based) once I've cleared out the Acer Aspire 150 notebook. Is the software you mention necessary, and if so, is there a Linux equivalent?
Xport is not necessary, just nice. GPSinfo comes with the 353.
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Old 23-01-2012, 22:30   #12
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

I have a puck type GPS. I recently got it to work with OpenCPN-Linux. I've also used it with other programs for navigation, usually vehicle. I have not had any issues with it. If being used on a boat, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work when you're more likely to have an open view of the sky and clear signals from the satellites. Although I have an Android with integrated GPS, I'm still leaning more towards a computer w/puck GPS as a means for electronic navigation once I get started. I don't see any reason to doubt it's functionallity.
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Old 24-01-2012, 09:47   #13
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Re: BU353-based GPS "puck" receiver - is it precise?

Windows folks,if you want to get a little more elaborate monitoring your gps error...
VisualGPS?
a freebie...can run concurrent with o using xport or some other emulator.

there's also this for sirf gps
Falcom: SiRF

but<DANGER>it's a very SHARP tool<DANGER> you can get inside your gps and tweak it.
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Old 24-01-2012, 13:32   #14
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Re: BU353-Based GPS " Puck " Receiver - Is It Precise ?

And another SIRF from Pharos GPS-360 with USB plug. Heard some guys are using it but Prolific driver is not available from Prolific. Does anyone have some experience using it with Open CPN ?
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Old 24-01-2012, 13:37   #15
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Re: BU353-Based GPS " Puck " Receiver - Is It Precise ?

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And another SIRF from Pharos GPS-360 with USB plug. Heard some guys are using it but Prolific driver is not available from Prolific. Does anyone have some experience using it with Open CPN ?
Which Proflic driver are you looking for?

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