Category Archives: PM3

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


Filed under MM100 - PM100 - PM200, PM3

What to do for Absolute Antenna Calibrations, when there are not any?

I could write a book on the difference between relative and absolute antenna calibrations, but I don’t need to and you should not spend much time wondering about why. Or if. You ‘Just need to make the change to Absolute Antenna Calibrations’ for everything.

But, depending upon which antennas you own, you may find there is not an absolute calibration for your antenna! What to do?

First a little background. Let’s look at a couple of sample antenna:

Relative ASH111660       NONE L1 GPS/GLONASS, base of RF connector->N  NGS (  3) 10/06/02
       0.3      -0.7      75.4
Absolute ASH111660       NONE L1 GPS/GLONASS, base of RF connector->N  NGS (  3) 10/06/02
       0.9      -1.1      57.3
The Absolute calibration is -18.1 mm from the relative calibration.
Relative MAG105645       NONE L1/L2 GPS                                NGS (  2) 00/12/21
       0.6       3.6      65.6                              
Absolute MAG105645       NONE L1/L2 GPS                                NGS (  2) 00/12/21
       1.2       3.2      47.5
The Absolute calibration is -18.1 mm from the relative calibration.                   

In general, this trend continues for most antenna because they were NOT actually re-calibrated for absolute calibrations, the absolute values are 18.1 mm less than the relative values. This is because this is the difference between the reference AOAD/M_B Dorne Margolin B Chokering:

Relative AOAD/M_B        NONE Dorne Margolin B, chokerings (Rogue)     NGS (  0) 97/10/27
       0.0       0.0      78.0                              
   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0
   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0
       0.0       0.0      96.0                              
   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0
   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0
Absolute AOAD/M_B        NONE Dorne Margolin with chokerings (Rogue, A IGS (  0) 11/03/25
       0.6      -0.4      59.8                              
   0.0  -0.2  -0.9  -1.9  -3.2  -4.6  -6.0  -7.1  -7.9  -8.2
  -8.1  -7.4  -6.2  -4.6  -2.3   0.7   4.5   9.1  14.2
      -0.1      -0.6      88.3                              
   0.0  -0.1  -0.5  -1.1  -1.8  -2.6  -3.4  -4.2  -4.8  -5.2
  -5.3  -4.9  -4.0  -2.8  -1.3   0.5   2.8   5.7   9.4

The L1 difference (59.8 – 78.0) = -18.2 mm (sorry, I don’t know why it is 18.2 instead of 18.1)
The L2 difference (88.3 – 96.0) = -7.7 mm

So if you have an antenna like the NAP 100 with a relative calibration north : 1.0mm, east : 3.8mm, up : 73.2mm above ARP; which would look like this:

Relative MAGNAP100         NONE L1    GPS
       1.0     3.8      73.2

I believe it is safe to say the absolute calibration would be:

Absolute MAGNAP100         NONE L1    GPS
       1.0     3.8      55.1

By the way, if you are still using L1 only receivers to do static work (I will forgive you if you are running Stop and Go) you need to sell them (PM2, PM3) on ebay and trade-up to X90-OPUS receivers. The days of L1 only should be numbered!


Filed under GNSS Solutions, PM3

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.


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?


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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):


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:


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.


Filed under MMCX, PM3, Uncategorized

FAST Survey 2.4; Almanacs; Carlson Survey Special for FAST Survey Users, Upgrading from Pre Version 3.2 FAST Survey

1. Pre Version 2.3 FAST Survey Notes

If you have a data collector with pre-Version 2.3 of FAST Survey, you should consider upgrading to the latest version of FAST Survey.
There is more information at the end of this note (section 4) on the update details, the upgrade is currently free.
2. Almanacs on the Ashtech FTP Server

Almanacs (used for mission planning) are no longer (as of November 15, 2010) being placed on the Ashtech FTP server!
From now on you should use the online tool: [ Online Mission Planning ]
It is a great tool, plus it handles GLONASS data. I won’t miss the old planning software very often and when I do, I guess I can pull an almanac off one of our receivers.
3. Killer 2010 End of Year Special for FAST Survey Users

Normally I try to keep the commercial chatter turned off on the AshGPS mail list, however this deal is too good to not share with you!
Carlson Software has just announced a fantastic offer for all FAST Survey users (with post Version 2.3—see the note at the end of this message for instructions on how to update to latest version at no charge) in the United States:
Until the end of 2010, Ashtech FAST Survey users can purchase one copy of the Carlson Survey 2011 package for $750 per FAST Survey license! The Carlson Survey 2011 package is FULLY FUNCTIONAL.
The regular price for Carlson Survey 2011 is $1,500, this special offer is a 50% discount.
FAST Survey is the Ashtech/Magellan/Thales ‘House Brand’ of Carlson Software’s SurvCE, the primary difference between FAST and SurvCE is the opening splash screen.
Carlson Survey 2011 is a full function CAD package and is the desktop companion tool to enhance FAST Survey.Carlson Survey 2010 directly reads FAST Survey CRD files, RW5, CL, PRO and SCT files; raw, centerline, profile files and alignment files.
All of your field work produced in FAST Survey will quickly transfer to Carlson Survey. All the office work produced inCarlson Survey will transfer to FAST Survey.
If you are interested in Carlson Survey, drop me a note by email or call, I need your FAST Survey serial number and the FAST Survey version you are running. Once I verify your eligibility, I will send you a written quotation.
Carlson Technical Support

One of the best values of Survey is Carlson Technical Support is FREE. No contract required. No credit card needed. You do not even need to be on the latest version. If you have a question, they want to answer it.
Maintenance is optional at Carlson, not a required expense like with other software.
For More Carlson Survey Information

Carlson Survey 2011 [ Info ]
Carlson Survey 2011 [ User Manual ]
Top Ten Reasons to Purchase Carlson Survey: [ Top 10 ]
Carlson Survey Training Videos: [ Videos ]
1-year additional ‘Upgrade Maintenance’ can be added to the ‘Carlson Survey 2011’ purchase giving you 1 full year of automatic updates: $150.
Network enhancements are also available with a slight additional cost: $150.
Carlson Survey Demos

You can demo a 30-day fully functional copy of Carlson Survey 2011, with a simple download. Click for the demo request form:
choose ‘Igage Mapping Corp’ as the dealer
click on the ‘+’ left of ‘Survey’ under ‘Select Product’
check the ‘Carlson Survey (ICAD / ACAD Addon) 2011
check ‘Email me with download site and demo serial number’
fill in your contact information
You will receive download information and a demo serial number by email.
The demo is valid for 30-days after you install, but don’t delay in placing your order for this special deal too long, it expires Friday December 31st, 2010!
4. Upgrading Older Versions of FAST Survey (Pre V2.3)

The current version of FAST Survey is 2.4.
You can check your version by starting FAST Survey and selecting “Equip: About FAST Survey”
Version 2.4 was released November 1, 2010 is available from the Ashtech FTP site [ here ]; this version is compatible with all but the most ancient data collectors:
YES:   MMCE, MMCX, Allegro CX, Allegro MX, MM6, FT-1
NO:    ProMark 3 using the internal receiver, Allegro CE
If you are using an older version of FAST Survey (pre Version 3.2), your older serial number won’t work with the latest version of FAST Survey!
I should be able to help you exchange your old FAST Survey serial number for a new style serial number.
Old (pre V3.2) FAST Survey versions have a number like:
Registration Code: 154-387
Serial Number: 1507-2475701-304081
Change Key: 25364
New (post 2.3)FAST Survey versions have serial numbers like:
If you have one of the receivers listed above under ‘YES’ and it does not have a xxxxx-CAA30-xxxx serial number, send:
  • Your Old FAST Survey Serial Number:
  • The Registration Code:
  • The Old Change Key:
  • The Serial Number of your data collector:
  • Your Name, Address, Phone and Email
to me by email ( ). It will take me a day to return you a new Version 3.2 serial number. (You can only update a receiver once of course.)
Then you can update the FAST Survey program on your data collector with the correct file from the Ashtech FTP server.
As part of the registration process, you will visit this web address:
where you will input the particulars of your receiver and the new serial number. The web site will register your data collector to you and return a Change Key for the new software.
Written details of the new version are available [ here ]

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Filed under Carlson, FAST Survey, PM3, Specials