Connecting a Legacy Z-Max to VRS Network
This method works with both ‘SurvCE’ and ‘FAST Survey’.
The easiest way to connect a Z-Max (or Z-Extreme) to a NTRIP or Direct IP is not with the factory GSM module. It is with a data collector, connected to the internet by Wi-Fi through a Mi-Fi device (or Bluetooth to cellphone,) and a serial connection from a COM port on the data collector to the Z-Max.
To use Wi-Fi you will need a data collector that has Wi-Fi and a hardwired serial port (Carlson Surveyor+.) You may alternatively use a BlueTooth connection to a cell phone and a hardwired connection to a serial port (Ashtech MMCX, MM100, PM100, PM200, Carlson Allegro.)
Advantages of Using Mi-Fi to Data Collector Method
- You can see the status of your internet connection on the Mi-Fi screen:
With a glance, you know your MiFi device is online.
- The Wi-Fi connection from a Surveyor+ to the MiFi is bullet-proof. It just happens and works every time.
- You can get a Mi-Fi device from Verizon for use where ATT and TMobile have no service.
- Typically the price for a Mi-Fi subscription is lower than a sim card. And because no phone service is associated with the Mi-Fi, there is no tax on the service.
- You can use the Mi-Fi with other devices (tablet, laptop, multiple rovers), leveraging the internet service investment.
Disadvantages of Using a SIM Card in a Rover’s Internal Modem
- Once you make a connection, you can’t read the signal strength on a ZMax.
- Entering all the passwords, user names, server names is a pain in the butt.
- The GPS internal modem does not support 3G and 4G connections.
- The Data Collector modem does not support 3G and 4G connections.
- The card can only be used with one device, unless you remove it which is difficult.
Here is how to make this work:
- Connect your data collector to the internet. If you are using a Carlson Surveyor+ (or a Ashtech FT1), turn on internet by clicking on the ‘Wi-Fi’ button in the Wireless Manager:
- Follow the on-screen prompts to connect your data collector to an external Mi-Fi internet device. My Mi-Fi device has an ID of ‘IGAGE’:
- Start the ‘Internet Explorer’ on your data collector and browse to a website to make sure you are really connected to the internet:
- Connect COM2 on the back of the data collector (Surveyor+) to Port B on the back of the ZMax:
- Start SurvCE or FAST Survey normally, enter a job.
- Connect to your receiver with Bluetooth. (If you are doing a Z-Extreme, you are going to need two serial cables-one for COM1 to PortA and a second for COM2 to PortB.)
- Go to EQUIP tab, click on ‘GPS Rover’ button. Check Manufacturer and Model:
- Setup Bluetooth or Cable as needed on the Comms tab:
- Configure the Receiver tab:
- On the RTK tab, choose Device: “Data Collector Internet”:
- Click on the hammer/wrench button to right:
Set the ‘DataCollectorRTKPort:’ to COM2. Click on the green check mark in the upper right corner.
- Choose ‘Network:’ as NTRIP, TCP/IP Direct, UDP/IP Direct, NTRIP or SpiderNet as required for your network server:
- Click the hammer/wrench button right of the Network and configure your network connection:
Click on the green check mark. SurvCE will connect to the network and download the mount table. Choose the correct mount point.
- Finally click on the ‘GPS Rover’ green check mark to configure the receiver:
- After a few seconds, choose appropriate multipath and Ambiguity Fixing:
Click the green check mark.
- If you chose a VRS connection, SurvCE will wait for a GPS reading so your position can be sent back to the VRS server:
- After a while, you will see ‘Successful Connection’:
- Check to make sure the ‘Correction’ LED (second from left) is blinking green once each second. Those are the corrections being received from your network server.
- Your instrument should float, then fix normally.
10 responses to “Connecting a Z-Max/Z-Extreme to Network/VRS/DirectIP without a GSM Module”
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Thank you for posting this. It. Is. Awesome! I was actively looking for a GSM module for my ZMAX but they are hard to come by. I’m using a Carlson 600+ with only one serial port so I had to use COM1 instead of COM2 for that connection.
This tutorial is great. I want to bypass the GSM module of the Z-Max receiver and connect it to the internet by GPRS (a 3G cellular phone). What I would like to ask you is a step-by-step configuration (ports, cable type, etc.) and also what cable I need to connect the MMCX to Z-Max. The phone will be connected by Bluetooth to MMCX. I use it only as rover.
You are on your own there. I no longer support any connection method other than MiFi to WiFi to Data Collector. Ever. No exceptions. Really.
Thanks for the message. What about a USB-type connector 3G modem? Practically is a WiFi hotspot. I need drivers to install it? … because the MMCX did not detect it automatically. Can you help me with that? Thank you! Appologize if I become annoying.
No drivers, no support. Your only option would be Bluetooth which is a PITA.
There was a specific WiFi adapater that worked with the MMCX, but I don;’t know the part number, I don’t think they are available and I don’t know much about them.
Thanks. It remains to find myself how to connect it by mobile phone.
I have a old GPS receiver Zxtreme (2000 year to brought), i need a connect this receiver to internet for a base geodetic network, what kind to modem can i connect.
How is it accurate with a zmax.net rover only and ntrip ? less than 1 meter ? less than 10cm
Great post thankyoou