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Old 04-06-2007, 01:37 PM   #1
guzzimental OP
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Question CAP Repeaters - What GPS's

My question is - the cap repeaters supplied by the likes of ERTF and TouraTech are normally connected to the GPSs supplied by ERTF, but, can they be connected to any old unit that spits out NMEA like my Garmin V?
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Old 04-06-2007, 02:24 PM   #2
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I wouldn' t have a clue what data the ERTF units put out. Their website is probably the best place to find out. All I know is I plugged it in and it lit up with the data.

I don't now that you really need one unless you're hauling ass. Many riders in the Dakar didn't have them. Me, I don't like looking down any more than I have to at speed but on a regular dual sport ride it isn't really an issue.

Good luck

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Old 04-06-2007, 03:56 PM   #3
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I'm interested in the answer as well.
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:48 AM   #4
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According to Touratech communication is indeed NMEA 183, however they sell their NAV Assistant specifically for Garmin or for Valsat.

As I gathered from the Nav assistant german manual, the Garmin ready unit will read Route information from the GPS and will automatically take as a good cap the one pointing to the next waypoint on the Route being followed, while the Valsat unit only reads actual CAP from the GPS, the rider having to set the desired course direction manually via remote push buttons.

This would make sense as the Valsat isn't preprogrammed with a "Route" detailing all of the Dakar roadbook points, but it has instead a very rough route with a dozen or less waypoints for a whole stage. The route isn't acessible for the riders to see and their waypoints reveal themselves when you reach a certain distance to them.

So the desired course heading as to be read on the roadbook and told to the Nav assisntant.

Probably the unit is the same for Garmin and Valsat, the software would be different. As I recall NMEA will spit sentences regarding both desired course and actual cap. The Valsat Nav Assist would be listening just for actual heading ones. Why does it have to be a specific unit i don't know.

Scott, am I making sense???? My German sucks much more than my english. You guys can see this at Touratech's site here
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:26 AM   #5
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I suspect the difference betweeen the Garmin and Valsat TT units will just be the connectors.

Doing a bit more digging I found from this old ERTF page a description of the repeater output.
It says it is NMEA string VTG which is described below and taken from http://gpsinformation.org:

VTG - Velocity made good. The gps receiver may use the LC prefix instead of GP if it is emulating Loran output.
$GPVTG,054.7,T,034.4,M,005.5,N,010.2,K*33

where:
VTG Track made good and ground speed
054.7,T True track made good (degrees)
034.4,M Magnetic track made good
005.5,N Ground speed, knots
010.2,K Ground speed, Kilometers per hour
*33 Checksum

Note that, as of the 2.3 release of NMEA, there is a new field in the VTG sentence at the end just prior to the checksum. For more information on this field see here.

Receivers that don't have a magnetic deviation (variation) table built in will null out the Magnetic track made good.


So, theoretically it should work with any GPS that sends out that info.

The reason for asking this in the first place is so that I could practice using the repeater without having to go buy a full-on race GPS from ERTF but rather use what I already have.

I think I'll hook up my Garmin to a serial port and have a look and see what it's putting out.
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:55 AM   #6
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Hey Guzzi, you have any success with your garmin/cap repeater setup?
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:20 PM   #7
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Stumbled over a used MLR Valsat-P package over at ERTF.
This GPS was used previously on rally raids and is now replaced by the GPS Unik/Iritrack/Sentinel combo.



My question is if the Valsat could do a fair job providing CAP-data for either the Schattat repeater or the ERTF CAP-repeater. The Touratech Nav-Assistant equipment seems overpriced in comparison.

Objective: Emulate the Rally Navigation teqnique as close as possible outside the racing arena. If my keyboard resources are correct the Valsat should be OK for adventure-riding navigation purposes.

Valsat-P user manual:
http://www.ertf.eu/photos/fiches/valsatp_ma_uk.pdf
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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Tony Schattat makes (made?) a nice CAP repeater that you can hook up to your garmin units.

He's an inmate here.
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehdutchie View Post
Tony Schattat makes (made?) a nice CAP repeater that you can hook up to your garmin units.

He's an inmate here.
I'm aware of that. His CAP-repeater requires a Garmin GPS with serial NMEA interface (not USB-compatible):



Question for Tony Schattat:
- Can you make a more solid & waterproof interface cable for the MLR Valsat-P for your CAP-repeater?
I read in another thread you said the Valsat was more vulnerable contact-wise than the ERTF GPS Unik.
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F650Dakar_Norway screwed with this post 01-19-2011 at 05:11 PM
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:03 AM   #10
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A bit of off-topic regarding the Valsat: anyone remembers the famous words "GPS di merda!!!!" ?

There should be a video somewhere, I'll try to dig that out. :) Found it:




Regarding the Cap Repeater, if you are not running a rally and just emulating one, the only info you'll be able to repeat will be your CAP (heading). You could just use an old Garmin V set on "Big fields", select Heading in the two big fields and you are set. The Garmin V is not much bigger than a Cap repeater, is very sturdy, has an horizontal mode, can accept an external antenna to improve a bit its sensitivity and you can mount it in the same spot above the roadbook as you would mount the Cap repeater. It shows up on ebay for 60 to 80 euros.




Just a suggestion...
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Carlos M screwed with this post 01-20-2011 at 02:13 AM Reason: found the clip
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:29 AM   #11
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Hehe, I've seen that video also. Fabrizio Meoni obviously didn't like the Valsat after that navigation error.
That relic GPS is now for sale for € 120,- and I wouldn't mind checking it out in real life just to gain
more insight about the navigation challenges of that rally raid era.

I know already about the default heading option on certain GPS'es.

That's not my main objective. I want to replicate a system where a heading indicator (arrow) pointing towards the next WP only activates at a given distance from that WP. I also want to be able to adjust this activation distance from said WP.

That way I'll have to use the Roadbook actively in combination with the ICO odometers while still having the situational awareness a functional CAP repeater gives on my adventure rides.

We can't buy or use the ERTF GPS Unik/Iritrack hardware outside the rally raid racing arena, only rent it after having entered the race procedures. I simply want to use the roadbook on a preplanned WP-route in combination with a CAP-repeater ergonomically placed up front on the nav tower.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geode View Post
That would be a reverse "guard zone" type function. I'm not sure any current GPS units have such a feature. But many have a guard feature that can be set to a certasin distance from the WP, so you'd have to write some code to flip the function.
Here's from the Valsat user manual:

"Code, waypoints and route:
A special code will be given out every evening at the briefing. Entered by yourself into the GPS, it will access
the waypoints and the route of the next special. Your GPS will be automatically downloaded and you do not
therefore have to enter waypoints into your GPS.
If a waypoint need to be modified, the organisers will give you a second code."


Guess I'll have to chuck an e-mail in the general direction of ERTF to get this more explained. If I can download a route myself and code the waypoints accordingly by myself, no sweat.

If there's some fancy "automatic, coded download procedure only done by ze french organisers" I won't buy it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F650Dakar_Norway View Post
I want to replicate a system where a heading indicator (arrow) pointing towards the next WP only activates at a given distance from that WP. I also want to be able to adjust this activation distance from said WP.
Will you be able to that on the Valsat?

I think it worked just like a conventional early ages GPS only that codes were used to make the routes stored inside visible.

I once played a bit with one unit, the software looked like one of the primordial GPS units, routes, goto's and not much else. The owner was using it as simple cap indicator, he had no idea of other functionalities.

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Old 01-20-2011, 05:07 AM   #14
F650Dakar_Norway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geode View Post
Sounds like they are passwording the data section by section. Each day's segment having a different password.

Which is very different from making your own GPS function like one of their units so you can practice navigating.
If I can do that coding myself - no problems. I deal with longitudes/latitudes daily at work, so that's not a big issue as long as I can do the route planning on my laptop and download the coded sections before gunning it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:13 AM   #15
F650Dakar_Norway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geode View Post
That's why I suggested flipping the guard feature many GPSs already have programmed into them.

The marine (water) world uses guard zones, sometimes calls them the "anchor watch feature". You plug in the WP (where you are anchored) and set the guard zone to the distance you need and then if your vessel leaves that zone an audible alarm goes off to warn you your anchor is dragging. So the GPS already has the WP vs DTW algorithim in the software. You just need to tap it in reverse.
That sounds like good idea.

Did some research on the Garmin GPS compatible with Tony Schattat's CAP repeater ( having an NMEA 4-pin serial port in addidition to the USB mini port ). These currently available portable Garmin GPS'es have that NMEA-port feature and anchor-point + proximity alarm features:


GPSMAP 60, 60CX and 60CXS


GPSMAP 76


GPSMAP 78, 78S and 78SC

Previous generation Garmin's ( i.e. the 276/278/37x/47x ) also have that 4-plug NMEA port and can be hooked up to Tony's CAP-repeater.

The latest GPSMAP 62 series only have USB port and won't communicate with Tony's CAP repeater.
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