Category Archives: MMCX

ProMark 3, MobileMapper CE, MobileMapper CX Batteries

The factory batteries are all gone. I checked with the manufacturer in China and the outer mold that was used to build batteries for Thales and Magellan Professional is unusable, thus original equipment batteries are far too expensive to build.

pm3battery

However, there are a number of replacement batteries available on eBay. Search for “ProMark 3 Battery” or “111141 battery” and you should get a fairly large list of them. This [ item ] is available for $18.45 including shipping. They are shipped from a location in the United States.

Batteries are also available with free shipping from Hong Kong [ here ] for a slightly higher price.

I suspect that the cell life is not as good as the original batteries, however what choice do you have?

Mark

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Filed under MMCX, PM3

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

Internal Batteries in ProMark 3, MobileMapper CX and MobileMapper CE Receivers

If you have ProMark 3, MobileMapper CX or MobileMapper CE receivers…

…sit down, grab a beer and take a deep breath….

We (iGage) believe that the internal battery backup batteries in these receivers are reaching the end-of-life now.

First, it is not the end of the world. We can replace the batteries for $150 for a single receiver or $250 for two receivers. [ Click Here For More Info ]

Okay, take another breath now and I will share the details:

We have gotten complaints that these receivers are taking forever to begin tracking SV’s

We have gotten complaints that these receivers are not detecting the external antenna (see below for additional information)

We have gotten complaints that receivers are loosing the date/time (well actually this has ALWAYS been an issue, but it seems worse now)

I think that the receivers are losing the GPS ephemeris when the main battery is removed from the receiver for more than a minute or two. This has been verified by measuring the voltage on the backup batteries (actually super caps):

Image

The voltage is 3 volts when the batteries are new, on the five receivers that I opened and checked this week, the voltage was 0.4 Volts or less.

We replaced the batteries in a couple of units and sure enough, they track SV’s in a minute or two after having batteries removed for a while.

You can get around the lost ephemeris issue by turning the receivers on 15-minutes before you need to use them and let them acquire SV’s with the internal antenna while you are driving to the job. You can also keep a charged main battery in the receiver and swap them quickly when exchanging.

But there is a danger in not replacing the batteries: they can leak acid which can eat the adjoining traces. Luckily the batteries are not too big, so they don’t leak much.

More on Not Detecting External Antenna

If you are encountering problems with the PM3 or MMCX not detecting the external antenna, remember that the antenna status is not correctly reported until after the receiver tracks enough SV’s to get a position:

AntExternal

So even if an external antenna is plugged in, it will not be reported until AFTER a position is displayed.

If your battery is dead and you have to wait for 5-minutes for the PM3 to track SV’s, then it may appear that the external antenna is faulty. Not so.

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Filed under MMCX, PM3, Uncategorized

New Ashtech Firmware

  • MM100-PM100-PM200 New Service Layer
  • Cad-File-Converter for FAST Survey
  • PM500 Update

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Filed under Carlson, FAST Survey, MM100 - PM100 - PM200, MMCX, PM500

FAST Survey vs. Carlson SurvCE

Today’s release of new firmware for the ProMark 500 brings up an interesting consideration:

Is it better to pair FAST Survey or Carlson SurvCE with Ashtech equipment?

At first glance, both pieces of software are identical other than the initial splash screen. But release dates and versions expose an important difference: Carlson SurvCE releases do not match firmware updates in Ashtech equipment.

Continue reading

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Filed under FAST Survey, MM6, MMCX, PF500, PM500

GNSS Solutions 3.6, PM100 FAST Terminal, End of Sales MMCX/PM3/MM6 and more…

There has been an interesting development in the WAAS PRN 135 saga, Intelsat regained control and command and is working to place it back into useful orbit. There is a pretty good article at GPSWorld [ Rouge WAAS SV ] with all the details.

GNSS Solutions V 3.6

GNSS Solutions V 3.60 has been released. Detailed information is available [ GNSS Solutions V3.6 Information ]

You can download V3.60 from the ftp site (290 Meg, 62 folders, 282 files ) [ FTP Link ]

I have provided a single file, ZIP Archive on the mirror [ GNSS Solutions V6 Archive ] it should be much easier to download and install than grabbing the individual files via FTP.

I have installed this new version and checked it out with my standard jobs. the new version produces higher confidence intervals (better) and addresses some issues with CORS download. I think it is worth the download and install time.

ProMark 100 Field Terminal

A dedicated part number (PN 800981-12) for a ProMark 100 Field Terminal with FAST Survey is now available. The kit includes a ProMark 100 data collector with Internal/External GNSS FAST Survey, the standard accessories (battery, cradle, power supply, USB cable) and a pole bracket. The MSRP is $3,995, which is a pretty good deal.

This new product release is comprised of these existing part numbers:

MobileMapper 100 990631 $3,295.00
FAST Survey 990645 $1,000.00
FAST Survey External GNSS 680634 $500.00
Bracket for Pole Mount 802124 $75.00
Total if Purchased Separately $4,870.00

A savings of $875!

However, it is not quite as inexpensive as a MMCX with FAST Survey (PN 800981-11), which it is replacing, at $2,750.00. (We do have MMCX receivers and MMCX FAST Survey terminals in stock!) The MM6 with FAST Survey may not be available any more.

I just finished testing the latest FAST Survey (2.5.1) on a MobileMapper 100 with a Bluetooth Connection to a ProMark 500 receiver. This latest FAST version really works well. It is… well, really fast.

ProMark 500 on CDMA (Verizon/US Cellular) Networks using Mobile Hotspot!

The MM100 with FAST 2.5.1 handles using WiFi to deliver network NTRIP and Direct IP connections seamlessly. (The MMCX could never accomplish this, it was too slow!) This used to theoretically be possible using Bluetooth, but it did not work well. The MM100 makes WiFi connections automatically, the range is exceptional (with the SpecTec SDIO card) and the MM100 is fast enough to move the data around.

To use a WiFi configuration, you connect the MobileMapper 100 to a WiFi hotspot (think iPhone with Mobile Hotspot on the Verizon network, Droid, PalmPre or a construction site trailer). The MM100 makes the connection to a GPS network through the WiFi connection and passes the corrections up the Bluetooth link to the ProMark 500.

It is a great CDMA solution for the ProMark 500 and it saves having to pay to enable the GSM modem on the PM500 Receiver (this means you don’t have to purchase “PN 680528 GSM/GPRS Activation”: saves a cool $990.00!)

Errata

Release Notes are now available for the 2.5.1 FAST Survey Release [ Notes ]

Camera Application Note

There is also a new ‘Camera Application Note’ that details a shutter issue on the MM100/PM100/PM200 device: [ Note ].

In a nutshell: When you push the center button to take a picture, the MM100 makes a clicky noise, then waits 3 seconds, then takes the picture. The note promises a solution and recommends holding the camera/GPS still for a couple of seconds after pushing the button.

End Of Sales: MMCX, PM3, MM6

EOS

The MobileMapper CX, Mobile Mapper 6 and ProMark 3 are allocated and available in limited quantities. There are still a few available, and the replacements (PM3 -> PM100; MMCX -> MM100) are more expensive.

Remember that ‘End of Sales‘ does not mean ‘End of Life‘!

I suspect that the ProMark 3 static receiver will be sorely missed. You can’t touch the performance / price without spending an extra $1,000 for the ProMark 100. We still have plenty in inventory, but don’t delay if you are thinking about getting a third receiver or a RTK Pair because factory allocation means they will be hard to get.

Ashtech will continue to support these devices for a minimum of three years after they are declared ‘End of Life’, and if the continued factory support/service of the Z-Surveyor is an indication, perhaps for a very-very long time after that.

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Filed under FAST Survey, MM100 - PM100 - PM200, MM6, MMCX, PM500