Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Texas Instrument introduces DIY sports watch

Texas Instrument has released a development kit amazingly cheap only $49. It includes a watch that has temperature and altitude/barometer sensors, and also a 3-axis accelerometer (like the Wii remote).
It also has a wireless link to other sensors like HRM, pedometer or USB-dongle. The bad thing is that the link is 868 or 915 or 433 MHz. It is not 2.4GHz ANT+ like the Suunto and Garmin equipment.
Anyway, there exists HR-belts with R-R measurement. The watch also has log functionality for several hours.
The display is a bit limited compared to the dot-matrix type of the Suunto watches, but since you can program it freely, you can get lots of info output with some creativity.
Included are a lot of open source sample programs.

If we cannot get what we want from the Suunto watches, this could be a candidate. It is a lot cheaper than a T6C for sure. And freely programmable.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Use the T6 USB cable with GPS Pod

Here's part of a message with photos from Daniel Rubio who apparently made a hack to connect the original T6 USB-cable. I have a T3C watch, so I have not tested this.

Hi Anders, taking your notes I have modified the GPS POD and added three external contacts without wires to be able to use the Suunto interface cable. It works wonderfully.

Here's some pics of my modification...
1- This is the outside...I used the metal pin from DIL IC sockets.

The pin-out as seen in the pic are:
TX to POD, GND, RX from POD

2- Note the cut out needed (for connection pins) on the plastic part that holds the PCB in place
3- Details of the Suunto I/F cable connected to the POD and the laptop

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Suunto GPS pod to GPX downloader

I have compiled the source that I got with the new GPX option. I used the free version of visual studio from microsoft.
But it turns out that the time and date was not converted from GPS-time-of-week in the source that I received, so it was useless with all normal GPX uploading, if you want to use the time to calculate instant speed for example.

However, I found source code at another place to convert the time and included this in the source as well, and now you get time and date in the GPX file, even with milli-seconds if you configured the GPS to log with this.

Here is a link to the .exe file:

And here is the source:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Logfile directly to GPX

I put together a small conversion Basic program in OpenOffice to convert the logfiles to have real date (instead of GPS time, which is Time of week in seconds, and week number since 1/1 1980). This tab separated file I had to upload for conversion online, to get a GPX file. It was then opened with the Traxmeet uploader program, that then uploaded it to my account at traxmeet.

Yesterday I received sourcecode that I requested from Fasttrax. It is c-code for talking to their GPS modules (which is inside the Suunto GPS Pod). The source code actually has more functions than the compiled .exe version that you can download, and now supports GPX writing directly from the GPS Pod!
What does this mean?
I should be able to compile this to a new .exe file which has GPX export directly, and also I could compile it (with some modifications of the serial port handler, which is made for windows) for OS X, and Linux and even other systems.
All commands are possible to send, to set or get the time for example, and also to extract the almanac and ephemeris as I was talking about earlier.
I will experiment with this, and get back on it when I have something usable. I'm also planning to make an adaptor, that could be put on the opened Pod to get an USB-serial port connection, without any soldering!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Plotting of route

Here is some first plots from the Suunto GPS pod. It is very accurate, only around 5 meters of track, maximum. The altitude was not set to use decimals, so it is not so good looking, but you can configure the GPS to use that instead. The batteries went dead just before the point were I turned around so it did capture the complete route, but I did not go corrupt either!

Traxmeet route 19 may Anders

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A-GPS with the Suunto Pod

The next step to do after finished logging software support would be to use ephemeris and almanac data, either from another itrax unit or from other online source.


This would help to keep the startup time to minimum, if the almanac and ephemeris are up to date.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How to store GPS routes in the Suunto GPS Pod

I found out how to, without changing the firmware in the GPS pod, can store GPS-points and later export them to for example Google Earth.

You need 2 things
You have to solder cables to the gold plated test point-pads inside the GPS pod, and put 3V power supply instead of the battery. I used clips for the + and - from a 3V power supply. I have not figured out how to put a connector inside without making holes in the plastic.

* Black is ground
* Orange is TX to the Pod
* Yellow is RX from the Pod
* Note that the signal levels has to be 3.3V

* Power on the unit with the power-on button.
* Connect the USB pin connector to the PC.
* Install the drivers from FTDI page (if needed)
* Make note of which COM number is used
* Start the log program with "logtool.exe -PORT 25", where 25 is the number where your USB port is initialized.
* Start logging by "S" and the "3"
* then choose for example "0x173" as logging mask
* use the following as example: 0, 1, 10, 5, 20, 0, 25.
  • See this page for more info, download the 3.41 tool (for iSuite protocol):
  • Use the POD as normal
  • After use, turn off with button (if not auto shut-off already was activated)
  • Use the logtool again to extract and save logfile.
You can use the cut+paste method
Change the column of "H.Vel" to "Speed" and "Dir" to "Heading" to make the conversion recognize these columns.
I'm not finished with how to convert Week/TowSec to date and time. It should be quite easy.

Example of log file:
Lat Lon Alt Week TowSec H.Vel Dir V.Vel NumSVs FixInfo HDOP
59.6229663 17.9122084 0.000 1484 402395.000 25.70 219.36 0.00 6 1 1.1
59.6221188 17.9107953 0.000 1484 402400.000 25.38 219.94 0.00 6 1 1.1
59.6214219 17.9096339 0.000 1484 402404.000 25.52 221.32 0.00 4 1 5.7
59.6208064 17.9082934 0.000 1484 402408.000 25.30 230.73 0.00 6 1 1.1
59.6202879 17.9068213 0.000 1484 402412.000 25.06 239.73 0.00 6 1 1.1
59.6198951 17.9051879 0.000 1484 402416.000 25.58 248.04 0.00 7 1 1.8
59.6196104 17.9034713 0.000 1484 402420.000 25.26 254.10 0.00 6 1 1.1
59.6193868 17.9017109 0.000 1484 402424.000 25.58 256.01 0.00 6 1 1.3
59.6191211 17.8999788 0.000 1484 402428.000 24.98 252.58 0.00 6 1 1.2
59.6186985 17.8983940 0.000 1484 402432.000 25.42 236.09 0.00 7 1 1.3
59.6180869 17.8970510 0.000 1484 402436.000 25.68 221.91 0.00 6 1 1.9
59.6172961 17.8960658 0.000 1484 402440.000 26.38 206.65 0.00 7 1 1.0
59.6163538 17.8954978 0.000 1484 402444.000 27.70 190.56 0.00 7 1 1.0
59.6153458 17.8954339 0.000 1484 402448.000 27.68 175.44 0.00 7 1 1.1
59.6143722 17.8959146 0.000 1484 402452.000 27.52 159.70 0.00 7 1 1.1

I have now changed to thinner wirewrap cables.
It is now possible to close the unit and use the batteries as power while communicating. I keep the connector while using it, it is maybe a bit less watertight. The pin connector fits directly to the FTDI cable

I have made some test of the logging, and it seems like it will log while doing running on average every 2 seconds. This will make with 4686 "items" a total log time of 2 hours and 36 minutes.
For safety reason the GPS will not fill the entire memory so you can expect a bit less usable time.

CAUTION: I will not be held responsible if you use this info, and brick your GPS unit. (Though it should be quite safe, since there is no firmware upgrades involved).