I've read a couple of posts on here about getting the GPS to work on the UK Vodafone Dell Mini 9, but none that really explained what to do, so I thought I'd share what I managed.
First of all, GPS does work, it spits out NMEA codes which can be used by something like Earth Bridge to go to Google Earth (I've tracked myself going home on the bus with it perfectly). Some people have said that the drivers that you install gives you a named COM port in system devices, but I didn't get this. I wiped the SSD
and installed XP Pro instead and used all of the drivers off the Dell site, including the Dell branded connection manager rather than the Vodafone version (not sure if this made any difference).
To get GPS working, you first have to tell the card that thats what you want it to do. When you first open Hyper Terminal, you'll be ased for a connection description, call it something like GPS or similar. The only way that I've managed to do this is by opening up Hyper Terminal and connecting to any of the COM ports that are listed. You want to keep connecting until you find one that gives you a *EMRDY: 1 response (I found that it was COM5). Now you have to give the GPS module the commands to start sending out NMEA codes. To do this, simply type the following:
AT+CFUN=1 (hit enter, you'll get an OK response)
AT*E2GPSCTL=1,10,1 (again hit enter, again you get an OK response)
AT*E2GPSNPD (hit enter and it'll pause before giving you NMEA codes, which aren't really human readable)
At this point, you have GPS working! A couple of points:
- In the AT*E2GPSCTL line, the 10 part refers to how often you want to poll for a new result, you can change this value to say 5 and get a result every 5 seconds, rather than 10. I found that 3 is a nice compromise.
- It takes a while to get a lock, but once you do it should be fine
- If you close the lid of your Mini then the reception is very poor and you'll lose your position
- Going into standby will stop the GPS unit from sending out NMEA codes, you'll have to type the Hyper Terminal stuff back in
- Once activated, your Mini will be polling for a GPS signal until it restarts, or goes into standby. I don't know enough about it to figure out how to stop polling yet. The plus side of this is that once started, your mini will constantly poll even without Hyper Terminal running. This allows you to use Earth Bridge or similar software.
I have a VBS file that pops open CMD, loads Hyper Terminal, loads a saved session (when you close down Hyper Terminal, it asks whether you want to save the connection so next time you double-click the file and your straight at the EMRDY stage), types in the codes and closes both Hyper Terminal and CMD. I would post here, but VBS files are gonna make me look like a virus spreader, here is the actual code from it instead:
Set oshell = createobject("Wscript.Shell")
set oshell = nothing
I saved my connection as gps.ht and whacked it on the C: drive, and had to move Hyper Terminal to the Windows directory to make this work. Copy that code, open up Notepad, paste it in and save as a .vbs file instead. Double-clicking it will run it.
Hope this helps someone