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Old 21-04-2019, 05:19   #1
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Use GPS Time on PC

I'm getting O 5.0 in working order on my ship's computer, and am loving it!! Kudos to the team. For some reason, 5.0 runs MUCH smoother and faster on my machine, than the previous version , and the new UI is a great leap forward. O just gets better and better


One problem I have unrelated to the software is my wonky system clock, which plays hell with my logbook. I am running a low power Atom based PC with Win 10, and I guess the system clock battery failed or something.


Does anyone know whether it is possible somehow to make the system clock update with GPS time, or just USE GPS time when it's available?


This would solve a bunch of problems for me.




Mr. Google has turned up a number of network time servers using GPS time, but nothing for a freestanding machine.
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Old 21-04-2019, 05:32   #2
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

This looks like the business, but quite old and probably won't work on Win 10:


GPS Clock PC Time Sync NMEA Receiver Atomic Software Timing Server Utilities System Tools Download
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Old 21-04-2019, 05:33   #3
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

Bit the bullet and install the wonderful signalk then in addition to everything it does it will sync system time to gps. (so it says anyway, not tried it)

https://www.npmjs.com/package/@signalk/set-system-time
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Old 21-04-2019, 05:37   #4
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

"Hardware Devices That Are Supported by the Windows Time Service

Hardware-based clocks such as GPS or radio clocks are often used as highly accurate reference clock devices. By default, the Windows Time service NTP time provider does not support the direct connection of a hardware device to a computer, although it is possible to create a software-based independent time provider that supports this type of connection. This type of provider, in conjunction with the Windows Time service, can provide a reliable, stable time reference.
Hardware devices, such as a cesium clock or a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, provide accurate current time by following a standard to obtain an accurate definition of time. Cesium clocks are extremely stable and are unaffected by factors such as temperature, pressure, or humidity, but are also very expensive. A GPS receiver is much less expensive to operate and is also an accurate reference clock. GPS receivers obtain their time from satellites that obtain their time from a cesium clock. Without the use of an independent time provider, Windows time servers can acquire their time by connecting to an external NTP server, which is connected to a hardware device by means of a telephone or the Internet. Organizations such as the United States Naval Observatory provide NTP servers that are connected to extremely reliable reference clocks.
Many GPS receivers and other time devices can function as NTP servers on a network. You can configure your AD DS forest to synchronize time from these external hardware devices only if they are also acting as NTP servers on your network. To do so, configure the domain controller functioning as the primary domain controller (PDC) emulator in your forest root to synchronize with the NTP server provided by the GPS device. To do so, see Configure the Windows Time service on the PDC emulator in the Forest Root Domain."


https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/win...-service-works
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Old 21-04-2019, 05:50   #5
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Bit the bullet and install the wonderful signalk then in addition to everything it does it will sync system time to gps. (so it says anyway, not tried it)

https://www.npmjs.com/package/@signalk/set-system-time

OK, maybe worth a try. But is it possible to install the software without the hardware?
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Old 21-04-2019, 06:20   #6
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Bit the bullet and install the wonderful signalk then in addition to everything it does it will sync system time to gps. (so it says anyway, not tried it)

https://www.npmjs.com/package/@signalk/set-system-time
It will sync the time on the Rpi.
It would be a great addition if it provided a timeserver for all onboard devices.
I will suggest that to the developer.
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Old 21-04-2019, 06:46   #7
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

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OK, maybe worth a try. But is it possible to install the software without the hardware?
No need for any hardware, it has a little dummy script to play with plus there's a sigK app to create tailored dummy data.

You need to install node-js first then the signalk server >

Can't remember which tutorial I followed but this looks familiar
https://www.guru99.com/download-install-node-js.html

Then Signalk using npm (node package manager)>
https://github.com/SignalK/signalk-server-node

If it looks OK start the server
in a terminal > signalk-server,
Hopefully will be then up and running in a browser at localhost:3000

No doubt there will be some flaming hoops to jump through along the way...
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Old 21-04-2019, 07:04   #8
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

OK, I cracked it another way.


Unfortunately it is rather kludgy. Maybe SignalK is better, but I've already wasted half the day on this and I have a long list of boat jobs.


Here it is:


1. I used this app, "GPS Time and Test": https://download.cnet.com/GPS-Time-a...-10446293.html


2. It needs GPS time date via a COM port. Unfortunately that COM port can't be in use for anything else So I can't use the boat network datastream being used by OpenCPN


3. However, I have a USB connection to my AIS black box, which throws off that data. And so if I connect the AIS box and do NOT run ProAIS2, the program which connects to the black box, THEN GPS Time & Test WORKS




Note however that it does not work as it automatically loads upon startup. I have to shut it down, and then "Run As Administrator", in order for it to have authority to change PC clock time.


Et voila! I hope this helps someone with the same problem I had.


Actually I think that system time is a non-trivial issue which must affect MOST offshore users. For proper function of lgbook and VDR, you must have accurate time. When you are connected to Internet, your system can correct the time itself. But offshore without Internet, you will have some time drift at best, and at worst some time breakdown like I have.



I bet the OpenCPN developers could write a small program which would extract GPS time from the datastream running in O, and bomb the system clock with it. I'll add it as a feature request.
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Old 21-04-2019, 07:59   #9
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

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Maybe SignalK is better, but I've already wasted half the day on this and I have a long list of boat jobs.
Gave up on the laptop as well, microsoft doinf some wierd stuff conflicting with node.js.

But it really is worth getting signalk up and running, very powerful, if you want to get data from anywhere, send it to anywhere or do anything you want to it like save or make a pretty chart like SOG & AWA ..
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Old 21-04-2019, 09:18   #10
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

When you have time, you might consider replacing your ATOM Win10 box with a Raspberry Pi running OpenPlotter.

Very easy to set this all up and have SignalK and OpenCPN running.

The software is maturing rapidly. Next Off-Season would probably be a good time to try it.

Bit of a learning curve switching to Linux, but the OpenPlotter distribution makes Linux knowledge mostly unnecessary.
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Old 21-04-2019, 09:58   #11
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
When you have time, you might consider replacing your ATOM Win10 box with a Raspberry Pi running OpenPlotter.

Very easy to set this all up and have SignalK and OpenCPN running.

The software is maturing rapidly. Next Off-Season would probably be a good time to try it.

Bit of a learning curve switching to Linux, but the OpenPlotter distribution makes Linux knowledge mostly unnecessary.

I'm an old Unix guy, so Linux is noooo problem.


But I'm not going to switch anything, if it's working. I have too many things to do to the boat, to get distracted playing with computers.


I'm very happy with the little Atom box, which I believe has 8 cores, and uses something like 3 watts. Except for the carpy system clock
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Old 23-04-2019, 11:55   #12
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
OK, I cracked it another way.


Unfortunately it is rather kludgy. Maybe SignalK is better, but I've already wasted half the day on this and I have a long list of boat jobs.


Here it is:


1. I used this app, "GPS Time and Test": https://download.cnet.com/GPS-Time-a...-10446293.html


2. It needs GPS time date via a COM port. Unfortunately that COM port can't be in use for anything else So I can't use the boat network datastream being used by OpenCPN


3. However, I have a USB connection to my AIS black box, which throws off that data. And so if I connect the AIS box and do NOT run ProAIS2, the program which connects to the black box, THEN GPS Time & Test WORKS




Note however that it does not work as it automatically loads upon startup. I have to shut it down, and then "Run As Administrator", in order for it to have authority to change PC clock time.


Et voila! I hope this helps someone with the same problem I had.


Actually I think that system time is a non-trivial issue which must affect MOST offshore users. For proper function of lgbook and VDR, you must have accurate time. When you are connected to Internet, your system can correct the time itself. But offshore without Internet, you will have some time drift at best, and at worst some time breakdown like I have.



I bet the OpenCPN developers could write a small program which would extract GPS time from the datastream running in O, and bomb the system clock with it. I'll add it as a feature request.
Get around the com port issue with a mux, OCPN could do it or I prefer to use GPSGate client. I run all my serial inputs through it, filter as necessary, and run the outputs to virtual com ports and/or TCP UDP network. Takes all the pain out of connecting Com ports
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Old 23-04-2019, 12:49   #13
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

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Originally Posted by Moo View Post
Get around the com port issue with a mux, OCPN could do it or I prefer to use GPSGate client. I run all my serial inputs through it, filter as necessary, and run the outputs to virtual com ports and/or TCP UDP network. Takes all the pain out of connecting Com ports

How can you do it with O?
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Old 23-04-2019, 22:07   #14
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

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How can you do it with O?
Use O's mux capabilities to output to a time setting utility. Input from the COM port and out to whatever via network.

If your time utility is COM port input only you'll have to use a COM port mux such as GPSGate or similar and use virtual ports.

Consider machine latency in your choice but what is a second or so between friends
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Old 23-04-2019, 23:18   #15
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Re: Use GPS Time on PC

My first thought is fix the clock... I assume you aren't doing particle physics experiments...no reason it shouldn't keep time accurate to the nearest second for a few weeks at a time and that should be good enough for most navigational purposes. Then when you are connected to the internet, you can update the time off the net.

You could just update it every few days manually. I don't have access at the moment but I have a USB GPS puck and the troubleshooting software would show the GPS time or even use a handheld GPS would achieve the same thing.

We use something similar for traffic signals where we don't have communications...it's actually a standard Garmin mushroom antenna but the signal controller manufacturers actually had to do some programming to take the data in and process it (nothing to difficult as it's standard NEMA data format). Modern controllers are just environmentally hardened PCs, so it shouldn't be hard to do something similar.

I think your problem is finding a canned application to do it because if the clock is functioning correctly, it's not an issue.
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