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Thread: Earthmate spits out crap but works

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Earthmate spits out crap but works

    I have the USB delorme earthmate (not the lt-20). I purcahsed the serial cable for it. When I open up hyperterminal to it, all I see i jiberish. I know that I have the correct serial settings. When it is spitting out jibberish, Street Atlast still works and is able to fix on my location. Destinator on the otherhand is not able to find the GPS.

    Sometimes with no apparent cause the earthmate spits out goood data. I can read it correctly with hyperterminal and Destinator is able find and use the GPS. This usually happens after a reboot but certainly does not happen after every reboot.

    Anyone else had this problem?

  2. #2
    FLAC Jahntassa's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Conyers, GA
    Are the settings on your serial port wrong? Is the operating system limiting the baud rate or something?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    The Earthmate outputs a format called Rockwell Binary. This is not a normal format used by most software. The normal format is NMEA. The reason the GPS works with the software it came with is because it knows what Rockwell is and how to translate it. Not all hope is lost though, there is a Rockwell Binary to NMEA adapter available that allows you to run the output through it and it outputs standard NMEA that can be used by just about everything out there GPS navigation wise. Check out

    Since the Earthmate is not standard, I have avoided it and just make sure to buy products that are more in-tune with standards like Garmin and Deluo.

    RPC Electronics

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate wi77iam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chester Springs, PA
    The Earthmate, LT-20 or otherwise, is NMEA compliant. If set up properly with the correct usb-serial emulation driver, it will display NMEA strings in Hypertemrinal and can be used with any mapping software that requires NMEA. Street Atlas can be run with the Earthmate set to the usb mode only or set to the serial emulation mode. You are probably not using the usb-serial emulation driver, so there really is no com port to connect to with Hyperterminal and it is displaying gibberish from whatever com port you selected.

    I cannot understand why so many people have so much trouble with the Earthmate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    I have the USB earthmate that came out before the LT-20. It does output in NMEA. Additionally, I purchased a serial cable for it so that I dont need any USB-serial emulation software or special drivers.

    When the earthmate is spitting out crap Street Atlas works and Destinator does not. When it is not spitting out crap both work. I have saved my hyperterminal settings so I know that those are never changing (and are correct).

    If it is spitting out crap I can reboot my computer. After that it *may* start outputting good data that destinator can understand or it may not, it seems totally random.

    Any ideas?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Thumbs up Figured it out

    I finally figured out what was happening. I determined that the GPS reciever would output good data after a cold boot up (i.e. not just restarting the computer). Destinator would work just fine and I could read the data coming over hyperterminal.

    I then launched Street Atlas and that worked fine too. I closed SA, opened hyperterminal back up and the GPS was spitting out crap again. Destinator would not recognize the GPS. So the problem was somehow related to SA. Only cutting power to the GPS and restarting it would solve it.

    I then started looking at the GPS settings for SA. It was set to read the GPS at 9600 baud rate rather than 4800 like it should. PS. I dont know why SA would work correctly despite the wrong baud rate being set. Changing the baud rate to 4800 still did not fix the problem. As soon as a ran SA, the GPS would start spitting out crap.

    SA was set to look for a Earthmate GPS device. I changed it to look for a Generic NEMA device. That fixed it! Somehow SA was sending some command to the Eearthmate GPS that would make it spit out crap, but still work with SA.

    Now I can switch back and forth between SA and destinator with no problems. The GPS keeps outputting good data the whole time.

  7. #7
    What can I say? I like serial. Curiosity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Florence Yall, BFKY
    It's probably switching it to SiRF. That's about the only command there is to change the data format.

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