SailNet Community banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Yo no soy marinero.....
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Garmin Montana 600 has USB interfacing for PC based navigation software. I can't figure out the settings for Polar View NV (trial ver) to talk to the GPS unit.

Is there anyone else using a Garmin and Polar View?
Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
David
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,834 Posts
I am not familiar with the Montana unit, but most garmin chartplotters do not output GPS data on the USB port. The port is for software updates, and POI / track data transfers.

PolarviewNS needs a USB "puck" to work. There is a recommended USB puck in the Polarview document ation.
 

·
Yo no soy marinero.....
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yup, the Montana 600 has several types of interface protocol.
This includes NMEA in/out at 4800 & 9600 baud.
Polar View accepts NMEA at both baud.

I've seen The Puck you mentioned, but the PV manual does not state
that its the only device available for interfacing.

I suspect the issue may be in assigning a virtual serial port.

However, I would like to hear from anyone who has interfaced
to a good piece of charting software.

Thanks
David
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,834 Posts
I have a Garmin GPSmap 478. I also run PolarviewNS.

The GPSmap 478 has a USB port and outputs NMEA 0183 data on the serial lines that share the power connector. However, it will not output GPS data on the USB port.

Not saying that the Montana is the same, but I suspect that it may be.

I run PolarviewNS on a laptop at the nav station with a GPS puck attached. My GPSmap 478 (at the helm) is connected to my VHF at the NAV station via NMEA 0183 to enable DSC Distress calling. My laptop with the puck and the GPSmap 478 / VHF do not communicate.

Good luck.
 

·
Yo no soy marinero.....
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ooooh. Okay I get ya now

The Montana 600 does: USB serial, Garmin Spanner, NMEA, Text, and something else called RTCM.

I was hoping to be able to plot waypoints and routes on the laptop while the M600 fed live stream data to the software.

So far I have yet to get PV to acknowledge the GPS even for plotting.

d
 

·
Old enough to know better
Joined
·
4,354 Posts
Doesn't garmin have its own windows application? Could you set it up to see if it is connecting. Then see what settings it uses. You could also try open CPN it is free and they seem to have good support.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,613 Posts
You can do exactly what you want. The Montana can make a great USB puck for your PC, with excellent sensitivity and accuracy.

Garmin Chartplotters and model 478 are totally different devices from your Montana, so their advice is not really relevant to you.

I have the Garmin Oregon, which is very similar to your Montana. The issue is that most programs (Polar, OpenCPN, and other computer software) expect to see NMEA, which is a serial protocol (COM port), but the Oregon/Montana output on USB exclusively. The best way to overcome this is with PC software that runs in the background and takes in the USB feed and redirects it to a virtual serial port. The best free software for this is Garmin's Spanner, which you install on your PC, and then put your Montana into "Spanner" interface mode. The Spanner software creates a virtual COM port to output the data, and you set Polar up to receive the data on that COM port.

Only problem is that Spanner is not formally supported for Windows7 or later. You might get it to install on 32-bit versions of Windows7, but I have not tried it on anything other than XP. For Windows7 and later, Garmin recommends GPSgate, which has a free version that's somewhat crippled, and requires payment for full functionality. It's been so long since I tried it that I don't remember how it works - I used Spanner under XP instead.

I'd recommend trying to get Spanner to install. If your computer runs XP, you'll be in great shape. If you can't get Spanner to install, try GPSgate and let the rest of us know how it works.

Spanner: Garmin: Spanner Updates & Downloads

GPSgate: https://support.garmin.com/support/searchSupport/case.faces

If you can't get either of these to work, you can find dedicated GPS pucks with their own software that will do this independently of your Montana. The GlobalSat BU-353 is very popular, and can be found for about $20 if you shop around. I'd pay money for an extra GPS puck before paying money for software that might break with the next Windows release.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flint

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,834 Posts
While I stand corrected about the Montana, I am confused by the some of Takefive's reply.

USB is Universal SERIAL Bus.

Perhaps he means to state that PolarviewNS expects NMEA over a COM port, but this is not the case (USB pucks use USB ports) Older versions of PV-NS required / included a separate application, PolarCom, which mapped USB to COM ports. However, that is no longer necessary, as this function is now embedded in Polarview.
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,834 Posts
Bottom line is that a USB puck would be your easiest course of action.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,613 Posts
While I stand corrected about the Montana, I am confused by the some of Takefive's reply.

USB is Universal SERIAL Bus.

Perhaps he means to state that PolarviewNS expects NMEA over a COM port, but this is not the case (USB pucks use USB ports) Older versions of PV-NS required / included a separate application, PolarCom, which mapped USB to COM ports. However, that is no longer necessary, as this function is now embedded in Polarview.
USB serial is different from NMEA serial. NMEA 0183 expects RS422, but is also backward compatible with RS232 as long as your wire runs are not too long.

Taking USB input and making it "look like" RS232 on Windows requires COM port emulation, which is always done in software. That software could be embedded in a larger program (you say PolarNavy does this), or it could be a small free-standing serial emulator utility. The latter can be done by Spanner (for Garmin), DeLorme Serial Emulator (for Delorme GPS), GPSgate, etc. But make no mistake, there's always software involved.

Bottom line is that a USB puck would be your easiest course of action.
I'm not sure that this is any easier, since most USB pucks come with their own software that does the same thing. I haven't bought GlobalSat puck, but the descriptions I've read indicate that it needs its own emulator software too.

His Montana is a GPS puck (with a nice little chart display built in). He just needs software to interface it, just like every other USB puck.

Buying a $20 puck might be the most economical solution, but not really any easier. Any time you deal with interfacing hardware, you have these issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flint

·
Yo no soy marinero.....
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, that's excellent news!! Thank you.

I have just downloaded Garmin Spanner and will install it on the test machine after work.
When the sailing season returns I have an older 12" XP laptop that will be dedicated to this job. I have previously known how to assign virtual serial ports from within Windows - its been a while and I just can't remember the sequence.

Part of the reason for picking the Montana was that it was recommended by Garmin for marine use, could be interfaced, its not only water proof - and It Floats!!! :)

I will give this a try this evening and report back.
Thanks guys
David
 

·
Yo no soy marinero.....
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
:D
Fantastic!!!

Garmin Spanner loaded and cofigured seamlessly; Polar View connected using its port manager; select Live Mode and the system found me even at

N69°22.555'
W81°48.035'

Absolutely awesome! I'm going to put it through some paces, see how it works with the GPS in simulation mode on some of the NOAA charts of Lake Ontario.

cheers
David
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,834 Posts
Thank you for the follow up report!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,613 Posts
I am glad that it's working well for you.

I looked a little closer at the Montana specs, and that's a REALLY NICE handheld. Definitely a good next-generation follow-up to the Oregon, with bigger screen and better daylight viewability. However, be careful with it around the water, because I believe that it does NOT float. (Neither does the Oregon.)

I never liked plotting routes on the Oregon - it's just too small. It's much nicer to plot on the computer and transfer to the handheld for use on the boat. I've done this with OpenCPN, and if Polar products will save in .gpx format, you can transfer them. However, it's not as simple as just copying the .gpx file through USB. You need to load it into Garmin PC software and use their software to put it in the device. I bought HomePort to do this, but I believe that their free BaseCamp software will do it also. Give yourself a couple hours to figure it out, because the user interface of all Garmin's PC software really sucks.

If you're trying out free PC software, I'd recommend also trying OpenCPN in addition to PolarView. It has really advanced in features, and will be launching version 4.0 in a week or so. I like it so much that I installed it on a tablet that I mounted in my cockpit as my primary chartplotter. I still use the Oregon to record my tracks, and as a wet weather backup.

 

·
Yo no soy marinero.....
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
:laugher Good thing then I didn't rely on it floating. I got it with the marine bulkhead mount so will keep it well secured. The Montana is more like operating your tablet or smart phone. A wide variety of useful applications, most of those apps can be nested into each other in the "Dashboard" feature. So you can quickly toggle back and forth to from Map to Compass. The home-screen can hold most needed icons like "Mark" "MOB" "Where to", while at the same time displaying lots of user selected data in its header.

I'll probably mount it high on the bulkhead and a small XP laptop on an elbow mount, perhaps just inside the companionway.

Simulation mode seems to be entirely internal and does not send data to the serial port.
Even for the $50 Polar View works well. I'll definitely check out Open CPN, thanks. I'm a bit of a tech geek so no doubt I'll be looking for a way to get the system to run the AutoHelm next.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,613 Posts
If you have a leftover XP laptop that you want to repurpose, that's fine. Get a sturdy RAM mount for it.

If you're buying new, I'd suggest a Win8 tablet. Much lighter, better form factor, and tapping icons on a touchscreen is much nicer than moving a mouse cursor with a trackpad. Some of them have internal GPS, so you might not need to run Spanner. There's a whole lot of discussion of this over on the OpenCPN forum - and a few threads that I've posted here. Let me know if you want links. It's too late for me to dig them up now.

By the way, OpenCPN can run my Autohelm in track mode. In my case it's done wirelessly via Bluetooth. There's a really geeky thread here telling how I did the hardware setup. I plot the route in OpenCPN, and the Win8 tablet sends the waypoint information to the autopilot. It can do a whole multi-point route, but more frequently I will just tap a location on the chart, select "navigate to here," and the autopilot will do a straight line route to the waypoint. In lumpy seas, the boat's heading seems to stay more stable in this mode than trying to maintain a constant heading, where the sea oscillations can cause the heading oscillations to get larger over time (despite adjusting the gain). The explanation is complicated, and gets into PID control theory.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top