HOW TO CONNECT GPS 9-PIN SERIAL PORTS

Problems with GPS and Computer Serial Ports may be frustrating. Is the problem with the GPS, your Cables, Power, or with the Computer Hardware? This MiniTester can help diagnose your Hardware Problems. The MiniTester may be left in-line to continuously monitor your GPS data transfer and solve problems as they occur in the field (such as intermittent connectors, or power, or cables).  The MiniTester works with built-in Serial Ports on Windows Mobile Handhelds and Laptops, as well as with most USB-Serial Adaptors.

                                                       Lighting for correct GPS operation shown. 
                              (Check any lights different from this picture in the table below to find your problem.)
                                         StarPal MiniTester

Pin
Number:

Purpose:
Fixing 9-pin Serial Port Problems
Color of each light on the StarPal MiniTester:

RD (2)
GPS
Data
OFF
RED
FLICKERS
GREEN
GPS turned On?
GPS Navigating?
GOOD
GPS Frozen
GPS Power?
GPS Output Enabled?
(if different
Reset GPS
GPS Data Cable?
Check Setup on GPS?
from TD)

TD (3)
Computer
Data
OFF
RED
FLICKERS
GREEN
HGIS running?
GOOD
Ports Switched
Computer Frozen
COM Port Open?

See text below.
Reset Computer
Computer Data
Cable Bad?

Add
NULL MODEM

RTS (7)
and
DTR (4)
Computer
Ready
OFF
RED
FLICKERS
GREEN
If TD = RED
Old Version of HGIS
Bad cable
GOOD
then bad cable,
(v7.33 or earlier)
wiggle cable

or bad port.
use NMEA Generic get worse?

CD (1)
Switchbox
(Red Switch)
OFF
RED
FLICKERS
GREEN
GOOD
Non-standard,
Bad Cable
GOOD
Switch is OFF

wiggle cable
Switch is ON
CTS (8)
Switchbox
(Black Switch)
OFF
RED
FLICKERS
GREEN
GOOD
Non-standard.
Bad Cable
GOOD
Switch is OFF

wiggle cable
Switch is ON
DSR (6)
Not
Used
OFF
RED
FLICKERS
GREEN
GOOD
Non-standard
Bad Cable
Non-standard
Ground
(5)
Signal
Common
Red Light = Negative Voltage with respect to Ground
 Green Light  = Positive Voltage with respect to Ground

Check first if the GPS is sending any data( not necessarily valid Navigation Data), RD should be YELLOW, or flickering Red/Yellow (different GPS Receivers will display different patterns of flicker, but any difference from the color of TD indicates GPS data.) Check the above chart for the location of your hardware problem.

If RD lights instead of TD without the computer connected, this means you have a non-standard GPS Data Cable. Add a NULL MODEM available from your local computer store in between your tester and the GPS. A NULL MODEM will switch RD with TD. Like the MiniTester, a NULL MODEM has a male connector on one end and a female on the other end.

Next, plug the computer into the MiniTester (without the GPS connected) and Start GPS to open the GPS Port. To confirm the computer is working correctly, and the computer cable is good, TD should be SOLID RED and RTS and DTR SOLID GREEN.

Note: If the computer Serial Connector is female, then it requires a NULL MODEM and GENDER CHANGER. All of the ruggedized computers in our approved list below have male Serial Connectors and do not requre additional adaptors to connect to the MiniTester.

To test a StarPal Switchbox, connect the switchbox between the MiniTester and GPS and check the above chart while turning switches ON and OFF. (If you connect the Switchbox between the Computer and MiniTester, it will work, but the pin numbers will change.)



 
How to install the USB - Serial Adaptor (XP/Vista/7)

The EdgePort Serial Adaptor may be used with Laptops running Windows XP/Vista/7, as well as Windows Mobile handhelds supporting a Master USB port(a master port is flat like on your laptop). Higher accuracy GPS receivers usually support Serial ports. The Adaptor uses 1 USB Master Port.  If your handheld has this flat connector (example: TDS Nomad), then this adaptor will work. Does not work on Handhelds with a Square USB (Slave) connector.

Also available with 2, 4, or 8 Serial Ports for use with HGIS SensorTrack.

USB Serial Adaptor


Installation of the USB - Serial Adaptor
1) Connect the Adaptor to any spare flat USB port on your computer.  Install the driver that came on the CD with your adaptor (there are different drivers for Windows Mobile, Windows XP,  and Windows Vista).  You may download the latest driver from www.digi.com/support
2) Turn on and configure the GPS (NMEA, SIRF, or TSIP).  Set parity to none if an option.http://www.bb-elec.com/product11.asp?sku=9PMTT
3) Connect the GPS Serial cable to the Mini-Tester.  Light RD should flicker.  If RD is not flickering, check the table above and correct the GPS problem.
4) Connect the USB-Serial Adaptor to the computer.  The computer will beep when it first finds the adaptor and windows will assign your adaptor to a random port  Later when you connect the adaptor to the same computer, Windows finds the adaptor, and will always assign the adaptor to the same port as the first time(If you install on a different computer, Windows may choose a different port for each computer.)
5)  Press "Find Ports" and look for "USB-Serial COM Port" Choose this port and OK/Next. Choose "Standard GPS" and the baud rate you set for the GPS.
6) When you open the port in HGIS, Lights RTS and DTR will turn GREEN, and TD will turn RED.



 
Ruggedized computers with built-in Serial Ports we have tested.
 (Sorry, we don't sell computers, check our dealer page.)

Trimble TDS Nomad
Windows Mobile 6 and later
1 Serial Port
Master USB Port
Trimble TDS Recon
Windows Mobile 5 and later
1 Serial Port
Juniper Systems Archer
Windows Mobile 5 and later
1 Serial Port
Juniper Systems Allegro CX
Windows Mobile 6 and later
2 Serial Ports


We recommend these links to purchase the MiniTester and USB-Serial Adapters.

USB Serial Adapter
http://www.amazon.com/Digi-301-1001-15-Egdeport-Converter-2-Meter/dp/B00007FYP6/

MiniTester
http://www.bb-elec.com/product11.asp?sku=9PMTT