PalmOne m100 & RAM Mount
4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!
Palm m100 |
Palm Connectors | Palm Software
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market is quite fickle. Today's hot new device that barely stays
on the shelf is tomorrows cast-away in the bargain bin. Some
devices don't answer the claims their manufacturers make; others are
victims of their own success and the evolution they stimulate. The
Palm or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) has continuously evolved.
Today, most portable phones provide a significant portion of the
functionality (and indeed new features) of yesterday's PDA.
So I never
seriously considered what happened to all those "old" PDA's once their
owners had lost interest in them and set them aside. And it never
occurred to me that a problem I had with my GPS would be solved by an
Chris contacted me about
taking a trip with a group of people on the Expedition Portal discussion
group. We finalized trip plans and met at the camp for a
wonderful weekend that was memorable in many ways. The weather
was just about perfect for a guy like me who prefers cool, dry sunny
days in the woods. The kids were very well behaved for the most
part and we had a chance to do some fall camping, foliage sight-seeing,
four-wheeling, and hiking to waterfalls, views and geocaches. It
just doesn't get much better than that.
Chris uses a
that shares the same casing and many of the same features of my
Garmin GPS V.
Both GPS units are discontinued, but very feature-packed and still very
good devices for trips like the one we took. I also run a couple
GPS-12's so that between
the three GPSr's that I have, I can
usually load all the waypoints I need, and record without over-writing
all the track logs I record during a trip.
But too often, even
with three GPSr units, I find that I have run out of track memory or
want to have more than the allotted waypoints at my disposal. This
caused me to begin considering the replacement of the GPS-V with a unit
that has more track, waypoint and map storage capability. In fact
the Garmin GPSMap 76CSx
perfectly fits that description and would be a likely candidate.
But how does one justify the purchase of yet another GPSr when there are
already four units in the household? Let's just say there are
plenty of things that need attention before I worry about getting
Then along comes
Chris with an alternative: A device that can be used to store
tracks, waypoints and routes off the GPSr during a trip!
This means I can leave the laptop at home unless I have a need to upload
maps to the GPS! I was immediately expecting the device to cost
too much money to make it a viable solution.
But the good news
was that the device he used, the
PalmOne m100 was selling on eBay for a few dollars. He showed
me how he connects it to his GPS using the Garmin cable and the Palm
cable, with a null modem connector in between.
Very simple stuff.
I was sold. Even better, the software for the Palm is free, so it
meant simply downloading and installing the necessary code to make it
work. And that was it.
GPilotS Menu Example
GPS Track Display
In the time it
takes you to read through this page and click the links, you will have
everything you need on it's way to your home. One more read
through this page and you will have it working. It took me an hour
to pull the pieces together and another 20 minutes to get it working
when all the parts were in my hands. It took me longer to write
I got on eBay
and did a
search for the Palm m100. I found a few from sellers who
take PayPal and have 100% feedback ratings, set the bid and waited.
Soon enough I had won an auction and a few days later the device
arrived at my house.
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Just a note for
myself - the Palm m125 can be run on external power and a cable that
would provide power to both the GPS V and Palm m125 in the car is
here. This might be a better Palm option for a hard-mount
solution relying on vehicle power... Separate Serial cable for
the m125 can be ordered from Amazon
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So far the
preparation of this device has been mindlessly easy: Buy some
commonly available connectors. Get some commonly available
batteries. Purchase and wait for delivery of a commonly
available, cheap electronic device. So easy in fact it could
be done by clicking the links on this page and waving a credit card.
When all the
parts were assembled in the same place I started through the task in
- Install Palm
Desktop for Windows XP on my PC. (Click the install file...)
- Configure the
Palm Desktop by adding a user and a profile (type in your name
Connector and Gender Changer together to make male-to-male DB9
connector that connects my GPS serial cable to my Palm m100 serial
cable. (it only goes together one way if you buy the radio shack
parts; skip this step if you buy the male-to-male connector from the
- Install AAA batteries.
(a seven-year-old can do that for you while you read this)
- Turn on and run
through the Palm m100 start up menus.
- Identify which
COM port you are using on your PC to connect the Palm (I started my
MapSource program with my GPS connected and it told me when I chose
the the Download to GPS function...)
- Unzip GPilotS
and MathLib files
- Connect the
Palm to the PC using just the Palm cable. (If you don't have a
serial plug on the back of your PC, you will also need a
USB To Db9 Serial Adapter
though I would expect if you have been using the GPS you already
have this solved.)
- Get the Palm to
synchronize with the Palm Desktop - put a dummy appointment in the
appointment book so you can check that it got over to the Palm.
- Open the
Installer and drag the GPilotS and MathLib files over for
installation to the Palm. Complete the install according
to the directions.
the GPS cable to the Palm cable.
- Start the
GPilotS program on the Palm and navigate the menu to download
from your GPS!
I had to make a
couple configuration changes to the GPilotS program to get the
tracks and waypoints to download with all available information.
The GPS V keeps altitude in the waypoint and tracks so I had to use
the GPS Option menu to set GPilotS to 'etrex' emulation to get
altitude data included in the upload and download, but this was easy
to change on the options menu of GPilotS.
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So once I got
all the assembly and installation out of the way I tested the unit
by downloading the current contents of my GPS V. It was track
data from the last several days commute, and waypoints from the last
trip I had made. None of it was important so I could afford to
lose it if things didn't go well.
The download to
the Palm worked right the first time I tried it. All of the
tracks I stored in my GPS as well as the active log, and all of the
waypoints were safely stored on the Palm.
Field Test 1
I didn't bother
to try uploading to the GPS that night. In the morning when I
was waiting in the line at the drive-up window, I tried to
auto-route to work and found that I had deleted all the waypoints
from the GPS. So I connected the Palm and uploaded the
waypoints from the test session. It finished before I got my
turn to order. And the waypoints were all there.
Later, I used
the Palm m100 to upload the saved data to my PC. This was
after all, the point - to be able to cache track and waypoint data
in the Palm and uploaded it to my store of track and waypoint data
when I return from my travels. This test revealed the need to
select the GPS emulation I needed to preserve the altitude data from
the GPS V. It also revealed that the Palm Desktop application
"owns" the COM Port as long as it is running and will not give it up
for another device (like a GPS or a Palm m100). So be sure the
Palm Desktop application is not running when you try to use the COM
software made the decision to segment my 2999-point track into
several smaller sections when it saved it to my MapSource
application on the PC, but that's not a big problem.
Field Test 2
We took a hike
to Henry Clay
Furnace in Cooper Rock State Park. When we finished the
hike I transferred the GPS V data to the Palm. It worked
Thanks to Chris for getting
me started on this and for the temporary loan of his images!
Field Test 3
With a little more
time to play I connected the Palm to one of the GPS 12 units and
explored the menus of GPilotS a bit more. I found that there
is a "live" tracking feature that is interesting. Move to the
GPS Track screen, select a track and then go to the Display Menu and
The track is displayed
in a fashion familiar to GPSr owners. An array of single
characters across the top of the screen provide display options:
Select "t". This
brings up a track view and a box with an "X" in it. The "X" is
the current position of the GPS. A basic view with just the
"X" and track...
With "w" selected, The
view with waypoints, the "X" and track...
With "g" selected, The
view with grids, waypoints, the "X" and track...
As you move the box
moves. This might be very useful for folks with GPS units like
the DeLorme EarthMate that has no display. It will also be
useful for me because it would allow me to have tracks stored in the
Palm that are not stored in the GPS units and still be able to find
myself on one of those tracks, and optionally load it to the GPS if
I decide it might be useful. It does not appear to save this
data - when I recentered the display the track that was building up
There is a Speed
Profile option that displays the speeds recorded on a track.
Mine was pretty interesting...
There is an option to get
the version data from the connected GPS.
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RAM Mount -
Naturally, a hard mount is
needed to keep the Palm wandering around inside the Jeep... RAM
Mounting Systems Inc. provides a generic palm cradle that suits me well.
I removed the mount that I used to use for my cell phone and mounted the
bracket in its place.
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