Category Archives: MM100 – PM100 – PM200

Quick Fix for ProMark 3, ProMark 120, 220 (100 & 200) and MobileMapper 120 (100) External Antenna Cables

There seems to be an endemic number of failing external antenna cables for these devices. You will know that you have a bad cable because the antenna will be detected, then not detected, then detected, then not detected. Shaking the cable results in more intermittent connections.

In many cases, the issue is pretty simple to fix. It turns out that it is not the cable, but the ground connection on the TNC connector is not making contact on the antenna side. (I know this is hard to believe, but I have seen a lot of this lately and I believe it to be endemic.)

Here is what you need to do:

Bend out the ground connectors

Bend out the ground connectors

Take a pen knife (or toad stabber as we call them here in Utah) and bend out the six ground connectors on the inside of the TNC connector, just a little (perhaps 2 mm). Of course, you should be careful to not stick your self with the toad stabber, because you are not a toad.

That is it. I have found that this fixes at least half of the errant cables. And the fix seems to last forever.

If you really do have a bad cable, you can purchase a new factory cable [ 702058 ] but this cable [ IG702058 ] (that we build here at iGage) seems to last longer and not pull out of the receiver when it rotates around the receiver body.

Stay grounded my friends!  Mark

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Filed under MM100 - PM100 - PM200, PM3

Nuts for Antenna Connector on [ PM3, MMCE, MMCX, MM100, MM120, PM100, PM120, PM200, PM220 ]

I lost the antenna connector nut on my (pick one: PM3, MMCE, MMCX, MM100, MM120, PM100, PM120, PM200, PM220) GPS Receiver!

The antenna nut is critical piece of the receiver. Without it, the connector will push into the body. The body will not be watertight. You won’t be able to use your device.

Below, I have links to where you can purchase the nuts for about $2 each.

Here is some background information and pictures:

1The connector on a PM100, with .LC style nut shown

2What the nut screws on

3How this fits into a receiver body (MMCX in this case)

The connector is a Lemo connector part number EPE.00.250.NTN. You can find the connector on the top of page 18 in the [ LEMO_CATALOG_47-00262-001 ].
The nut is shown on page 30 of the same [ LEMO_CATALOG_47-00262-001 ].
The nut is a M7 (7 mm) by 1/2 mm thread, panel nut. It is doubtful that you can purchase this nut from a secondary source (I checked all the nut and bolt shops here in SLC with no success.)
The part description is “GEC Conical nut” and the part number is shown as GEC.00.240.LN:
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I believe the part number is printed incorrectly in the catalog and should actually be: GEC.00.240.LC.
You can purchase this nut directly from Mouser: [ GEC.00.240.LC ]
If conical nuts are out of stock, consider purchasing the hex nut version from Mouser: [ GEC.00.240.LN ]:
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or the notched version [ GEG.00.240.LC ]:
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they will set you back about $2.00 each.

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Filed under MM100 - PM100 - PM200

ButtonOff Revisted

The previous post Turning Off MM and PM Receivers  generated a firestorm of activity.

Clearly my method for short-cutting the OFF buttons on these devices:

MobileMapper 100, MobileMapper 120

ProMark 100, ProMark 120, ProMark 200, ProMark 220

is popular.

However, it is a lot of work to copy and paste the shortcut. So I am now providing an automated tool to build the shortcut.

This link [ ButtonOff.exe ] will download a short windows program. If your receiver is ActiveSync’ed or connected with Windows Mobile Device Center this program will automatically build the link for you.

Here is what my tool looks like when you run it:

 

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Clicking button 1 will display some basic information about your device (assuming it is connected):

2Finally clicking button 2 will build the ButtonOff link under the Start Menu on your device.

You can now turn the device off (without worrying about the Standby Mode) from the touchscreen:

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Turning Off the MobileMapper and ProMark Receivers

Update: Automated tool available: [ https://ashgps.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/buttonoff-revisted/ ]

If you have a MobileMapper 100, MobileMapper 120, ProMark 100, Promark 120, ProMark 200 or ProMark 220 then you already know how difficult it is to turn the receivers off. (We made a movie about it ‘Turning Off a …‘ )

A quick review of this problem: On, Off, Standby:

If the receiver is OFF, pushing the button and holding for 1-second will turn it on

If the receiver is ON, pushing the button and holding for 1-second will put it in Standby

If the receiver is ON, pushing the button and holding for 5-seconds will turn it off

If the receiver is in STANDBY, pushing the button and holding for 5-seconds will turn it back on

I am going to go out on a limb here and say “There is no advantage to putting the receiver in Standby” and worse than that, it can be impossible to get a receiver out of standby because the buttons are too stiff. For the same reason, when I turn off a receiver, more often than not I put the receiver into standby by accident.

The solution to this issue has been staring us in the face for a long time. But I have only discovered it this morning.

Before I give you the solution, let me first promise you that we are going to preload this solution on all new equipment that we ship. I suspect that our competitors will follow.

Also, let me say that the following steps are detailed in PAINFULL detail. Anyone who can turn on the receiver should be able to follow them.

Here we go with the solution:

Click on the start button (this will be slightly different depending on 100 or 120):

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Click on “File Explorer”:

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Click on the little drop down arrow to the right of the current folder:

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Select ‘My Device”:

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Drag down a bit and click on the folder icon to the left of Windows:

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Drag down and find the “ButtonOff” icon and program. Click and hold on the ‘ButtonOff’ until a pop-up menu is displayed. Click on ‘Copy’:

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Drag up and find the folder called ‘Start Menu’, click on the folder:

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Click on the ‘Programs’ folder icon:

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Click on ‘Menu’:

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Then “Edit: Paste Shortcut”:

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Drag down to the bottom, then click and hold on the s’Shortcut to B…”

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Click on ‘Rename’

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Change the shortcut’s name from “Shortcut to ButtonOff to just ‘ButtonOff’:

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Click on the whitespace below to ‘save your changes’:

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Click on the ‘X’ in the corner to close the File Explorer:

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Now find the ‘ButtonOff’ program at the bottom of the Start menu. Click and hold on it until a “Move to Top’ option is shown. Click on Move to Top:

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Now, from the main menu when you want to turn off your receiver, just click on the Start flag:

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Then the ButtonOff icon:

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After 15-seconds the receiver will turn itself off:

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Problem Solved.

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Filed under MM100 - PM100 - PM200, Uncategorized

A Better Precision Antenna Cable for the PM3, PM100, PM120, MM100, MM120 and PM220

We sell a lot of replacement antenna cables for these GPS receivers:

ProMark 3, MobileMapper CE, MobileMapper CX
ProMark 100, ProMark 120, ProMark 200, ProMark 220
MobileMapper 100, MobileMapper 120

The factory part number is 702058 and the factory cable looks like this:

702058 Precision Antenna Cable

This cable is reasonably priced ($85) and relatively well made, but….

It suffers from some endemic issues:

1. If the heat shrink on the right-angle end fails and the RG-58 coax rotates in the barrel the cable is toast. (This happens a lot.) The connector can not be repaired because the access screw is super-glued in place.

2. If this cable is used on these receivers:

ProMark 100, ProMark 120, ProMark 220
MobileMapper 100, MobileMapper 120

and the connector and cable are rotated 360 degrees, the connector will ALWAYS pull out of the receiver. Always.

S0 we have engineered an alternative cable:

iGage PN IG702058

This cable has a straight connector for the receiver, uses LMR100 microwave coaxial cable and has a braided sheath for cable protection.

This is what it looks like on a pole mounted receiver:

Additional information is available [ here ].

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Filed under MM100 - PM100 - PM200, MMCX, PM3

Working In Impossible Places

We tested a unique solution to a common utility problem today. I took the opportunity to take some pictures.

The application is storing attribute data for demarcation points on homes and businesses.  Lets say you are mapping the telephone demark on the north side of a building. How do you get an accurate location?

Method 1: Shoot two offset points in the open and then tape in to the demark location.

For example on the north side of our office there is a telephone demark. You could shoot point 1, then point 2 and make a note that the demark is actually 61.2 feet from point 2, along the line from point 1 to point 2.

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If you are only doing one or two per day, this would be fine.

Of course if you are shooting 1000 demarks per day, it would be a lot of work in the field and a boat-load-lot of work in back in the office. A heck of a lot of work. And lots of opportunities to screw it up. (Think line from 2 through 1 on to the demark.)

Method 2: You could actually snap this from the corner locations of the building as georeferenced in on aerial photography. The image above is from maps.google.com; it is within 3-meters of being correctly referenced. Thus a distance along the south edge of the Shingleton’s building from the south east corner might be within 8 feet of the correct location.

Method 3: Just take the shot with a handheld and hope for the best. (I will show you this in a moment.)

Method 4: Big Prism Pole! Over the past five years I have sold a half dozen of these:

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This is a ProMark 120 with GLONASS and MobileMapper Field. The customer will use MMField because they have lots of data to attribute at the demark and they can use the internal camera to take pictures and the microphone to take voice notes which get attached to each demark record.

MMField also gives them an opportunity to add post-processing if they need better than the 1.5′ real-time accuracy and there is no RTK network available. Since the PM120 includes RTK and NTRIP options standard, you can make a network connection if they are available.

We custom make the antenna cables so they are the correct length when a 15’ prism pole is fully extended. It makes a neat package.

Now it is not perfect:

  • A 15’ prism pole weighs 14 lbs
  • The receiver bracket has to go on the bottom of the second extension.
  • There is a real risk of electrocution if you move with the mast up.

But there is NO LOSS of accuracy when shooting GPS positions in IMPOSSIBLE locations. Like this:

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The antenna is actually above the gutter/roof  line of both buildings (and our building to the south is 14.7′ tall!)

Here are screen shots of the position and SV plot with the external antenna:

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And without:

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While the PM120 with GLONASS kicks butt in a crazy bad location with the internal antenna, there is no loss of accuracy at all when using the elevated external antenna. And the Big Prism Pole works when the buildings are metal too.

In case you are wondering, here are the displayed coordinates:

40 44 10.41048 N 111 51 33.78588 w nad83; ExtAnt
40 44 10.42980 N 111 51 33.75420 w nad83; IntAnt

The Internal Antenna measured 3.1 ft South-51 deg-West. Which is pretty amazing considering the awful GPS environment.

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Z-Blade on a ProMark 120–Pretty Cool

Yesterday (Mon Nov 18) we got the first four ProMark 120/220 receivers. I have been excited to test the Z-Blade engine’s fix with multiple constellations (US and GLONASS) and poor constellation. I put a external antenna 2″ from the west side of our office building and after 20 seconds:

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A full position fix with five SV’s: three US and two GLO! And this was not a fix that was obtained with a higher US count and then dropped. It is a full fix, from an ambiguous location (receiver last turned on in France, then shipped to Salt Lake City.)

Z-Blade really works and will make your life better if you work under canopy, in open pits, on the north side of mountains or a couple of inches from our office building 🙂

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