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POI Observer on Sony Nav-U50/70: full instructions
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Dippy
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Joined: Apr 04, 2006
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:02 pm    Post subject: POI Observer on Sony Nav-U50/70: full instructions Reply with quote

First, I'm sorry for the this HUGE post. It's necessary to explain fully what you have to do. It took me three days on and off to get it clear in my head and make it happen, but I'm a GPS/speed camera database novice, and have never worked with Windows CE or POI Observer before.



Here's the instructions that got my Sony Nav-U70T to show speed cameras using the free software called POI Observer. It's not for the complete novice, but it's not difficult if you do it step by step, as long as you understand Windows a bit!

Notes
-----

i) I have no idea whether this process exactly the same for a U50. I'd be very surprised if it's any different though.

ii) If you do not take care, or you make a mistake, you may stop your unit working entirely. I take no responsibility for that. Having said that, I did exactly that a couple of times and was always able to revive it by connecting it to the PC with Activesync and reinstalling the application from the supplied CD.

iii) This will all stay in place if you turn the unit off and on. But if you soft or hard reset it (ie poke a pin in the hole underneath or worse, turn it off underneath) then you will lose your desktop shortcuts and the dll you copied into the \windows directory (see below for full instructions on doing those operations). In that event, redo those two things and all should work again.

Ok, here we go. There's a lot of steps and fiddling but I've tried to be complete. You probably need to understand "Windows speak" a bit.

If you find errors or omissions or points that need clarifying then post here for the good of all!


Overview
--------

1) The Sony is a Windows CE device. You need access to the CE interface.

2) You need a copy of POI Observer.

3) You need to configure POI Observer.

4) You need to install POI Observer, make it run, and get it to be accessible each time you start the device.




Method
------
1) Access to the CE interface

The Sony unit automatically runs the Sony navigation software on startup. We first need to prevent that happening.

You need to get a copy of a program called showtaskbar.exe for Windows CE to do that. I got my copy from a site called GPS Passion. If you want to do the same then

a) Go to http://www.gpspassion.com and create an account, which is free

b) Go to http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=20018 and download "pack 150/220/240". That will be saved locally as custom150.zip.

Extract the file called showtaskbar.exe to your PC

Plug the Sony unit into your PC. You are going to use Activesync to copy the file across.

In Activesync, once connected, click "Explore".

Browse to Mounted Volume\Sony\Nav-U

Rename the existing Sony software from Nav-U.exe to Nav-u2.exe

Copy showtaskbar.exe to the Sony in the folder Mounted Volume\Sony\Nav-U

Rename showtaskbar.exe on the Sony as Nav-U.exe

Step 1 is complete. If you reboot your Sony now (after unplugging it from the PC of course) it will no longer boot the Sony software, but should give you a Windows interface, complete with start menu and control panel. You might find the task bar is minimized into a very thin grey bar right at the bottom of the screen, so be prepared to use a stylus, fingernail or cocktail stick or something to get the darned thing to pop up!

Now go to start\settings\task bar and start menu settings

Make sure "Always on top" is ticked - you'll see why later. Suggest you have autohide on as well.




2) POI Observer

Leave the Sony for a while. We'll now install the nightmare that is POI Observer. 99% of the support for this seems to be in German. The manual has some English in it though, so you can make head or tail of it if you are persistent, or can speak German! I can't. Hopefully these notes will make it easier if you've never seen it before.

The concept is as follows.

a) On the Sony, you need to install virtcom, which will read the GPS signals and copy them to a place where both POI Observer and the Sony software can get at them

b)The POI Observer program itself also needs to know where the speed cameras are - which you need to get from the database on this site of course

c) You need to use POI Configurator to convert the database to a form POI Observer can deal with

To get POI Observer, POI Batcher and Virtcom (and the manual ideally), go to

http://www.navifriends.com/phpbbForum/viewtopic.php?t=1368

You will need to create a (free) account there as well.

Unzip the files to your local drive.

We're going to get a test system running on the Sony now, but not the speed camera database yet (more fiddling later!)

First thing, on your PC, is to alter obsglobals.ini in notepad or other text editor as you see fit. It's all documented in the manual. The only changes I made were these two:

AutoSwitch=2 to make POI Observer minimize on launch
SpeedLimitDimension=mph otherwise it's all in kph


You can fiddle with any other parameters if you want to


Now reconnect your Sony to your PC and get back into Activesync.

Create a folder on the Sony called \Mounted Volume\My Flash Disk\POI Observer

Copy virtcommgr.exe, poiobserver.exe, poiobserver.ini and obsglobals.ini from your PC to that folder

Copy virtcomng.dll to the \windows directory on the Sony

The Sony software will now have to be told to expect GPS data on com port 0. Copy the file called prefs.ini from \Mounted Volume\Sony\NAV-U to your local hard disk. Edit it with notepad. Find the line that says comport = 5 in the [gps] section, and change it to read comport=0

Save it, and put it back on the Sony overwriting the existing prefs.ini (save a copy somewhere if you want)

Test time again. Unplug the Sony and reboot it

Go to start\programs\windows explorer

Navigate to \Mounted Volume\My Flash Disk\POI Observer

Double click Virtcommgr

Set the source port to com 5 (you'll see it's the GPS port)

Set the baud rate to 9600

Set the virtual port to com 0

Press Test Raw. You should see some numbers. If so, end the test

If you are in view of some satellites, press test GPS. You should see some GPS strings. If so, end the test

Assuming all is well, press the "res" button to make it resident, and the Activate button. (Ignore the "NF" button). If you get an error then you haven't put virtcomng.dll into the \windows directory, or you've reset the box, which erases it every time.

Ok, now the software is reading the Sony GPS signals and forwarding them to com port 0 from 5.

Launch POI Observer. It will complain that it can't find wav/bmp files nor a poi database - ignore all that and proceed anyway

Make sure the button in the second row says "Virtcom", not "Standalone". Press Activate. Press Minimize.

You should now see a coloured bell in the task bar at the bottom. Once you are in view of some satellites it will go green and chime at you.

Until then it will be yellow. If it's red then the whole shebang isn't working right, so go back and check you've done all the above steps!



3) Now to configure POI Observer

You'll be working on the PC for a bit again now.

You need a copy of some POIs - I'm assuming you've have a login and paid at this site and grabbed a copy of the speed camera database. You need the ASC format ones, as well as suitable .bmp file and .wav files

On the PC, run POI Configurator. Fill in the fields as appropriate. You need:

A name in the Cat name field, eg Gatso
A Cat no, eg 1
A number in the ZoTx field, eg 6
The path to your ASC file in the ASC field, eg C:\POI\Cameras.asc
A number in the ZoBM field, eg 6
The name of a bmp file with a dot in front of it in the BMP field, eg .gatso.bmp
A comma in the S column, eg ,
A number in the FoSi field, eg 8
A colour in the FoCol field, eg Black
A colour in the OuCol field, eg White
The name of a wav file with a dot in front of it in the IV WAV field, eg .gatso.wav
A number in metres in the IV Dist field, eg 500


If you press F1 you can see what these fields are, and play to suit yourself. NOTE THAT THE .BMP FILENAME MUST MATCH THE .WAV FILENAME

Fill in as many lines as you have .asc files for. I put in all the individual camera types (Redlight, mobile, 30 speed limits etc) as individual entries, so I can have a different sound and bmp for each.

Press Convert. If all is well it will create a file called Observer.obs in your local drive. If it fails, then EITHER your fields aren't correct or your .asc file isn't correct - two coordinates with no quotes around them and then the name of the poi in quotes, all separated by commas is what is required.

Now you need to alter the POI Observer.ini file on your PC so that it shows the right windows in the right places on the Sony screen at the right sizes when it kicks in

You can ditch all the sections for Observer windows we don't want. Mine just uses two windows, and looks like this:

[ANNO]
PosX=126
PosY=0
SizeX=48
SizeY=48
WindBorder=1
BackColour=0xff
TextColour=0xffffff
FontSizeX=8
FontSizeY=18
FontWeight=1
FontAngle=0
FontOrient=0
FontName=Tahoma

[ANDI]
PosX=126
PosY=46
SizeX=52
SizeY=18
WindBorder=1
BackColour=0xff
TextColour=0xffffff
FontSizeX=7
FontSizeY=16
FontWeight=1
FontAngle=0
FontOrient=0
FontName=Tahoma
Dimension=m
DimensionText=m



Nearly there now!


On the Sony, navigate to \Mounted Volume\My Flash Disk\POI Observer and make sure you have (or create if you have not) two folders there, one called Bitmaps and one called Sounds. If you are using my example names, then copy gatso.wav and gatso.bmp to these folders as appropriate.

Copy the observer.obs and the POIObserver.ini files into \Mounted Volume\My Flash Disk\POI Observer


Make a shortcut in the folder \windows\desktop on the Sony for each of the following: Virtcommgr.exe, POI Observer.exe, NAV-U2.exe

Disconnect the Sony from the PC


You're done! This is the final stage. Make some tea and then...

Restart the unit. You should get a Windows desktop with the shortcuts on.

Launch the virtcommgr from the shortcut. Set it to com5, 9600 as the source, and com0 as the virtual port. Click Activate.

Launch POI Observer. Make sure you get a yellow or green bell.

Launch NAV-U2.exe.


All done. You can now go test it on the road!


The final piece of the jigsaw:

If you turn the unit off then POI Observer needs restarting next time. But when you turn on the unit, the Sony software is still running,so you can't get at the desktop to launch POI Observer again, can you?

Yes you can, and this is how.

Just click on the taskbar (cos you made it always on top, remember? A stylus is REALLY useful for this as when the taskbar is in autohide mode it's really hard to get at with a finger. On the right, click on the input panel icon to get the virtual keyboard. Click CTRL and Q on that and the Sony software stops, and returns to the Windows CE desktop

So to use the unit you simply now:

Turn it on

Click the POI Observer shortcut and check all is well

Click the NAV-U2 shortcut

When done, use CRTL Q on the virtual keyboard to quit the Sony software

Turn it off

Hopefully that's all you need to get you NAV-U unit doing lovely speed camera warnings. Best of luck!
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2216
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Joined: Dec 10, 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A really big thanks Dippy m8. As I have said before when I have time I will follow your instructions. May be sometime later I can help you.
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2216
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Joined: Dec 10, 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dippy m8.
I hit a big problem, In the \mounted volume\Sony\Nav-u the file prefs.ini would not copy or in anyway able to change, so although virtcommgr and poiobserver could read the com port the Sony nav couldn't. If I right click on the file everything is greyed out. I installed everything following your idoit proof instructions and I really thought it was going to work. I wonder if anyone could print or send me the file. Again thanks for your time.

PS I have a navu-50t.

PPS Your instuctions are just great.
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Dippy
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Joined: Apr 04, 2006
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't edit the prefs.ini on the Sony direct. You need to copy it to your PC and edit it from there.


You MIGHT find it vanishes when you copy it to your PC. That's because it's a system file as far as Windows is concerned, and it hides it. If that happens, you need to do this to get it visible:

Put it on the PC in for example, c:\poi

Start\run\cmd

That gives you a DOS prompt

Type cd c:\poi

Type attrib -s -h -r prefs.ini

Type exit

You should now be able to see it in Explorer and edit it with notepad. You've removed the System, Hidden and Readonly attributes, you see. Then save it back to the Sony.

That help any?
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2216
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Joined: Dec 10, 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Dippy m8. It was because I should have tried to copy the file while the Nav system was deactive ie in windows CE screen, as it gave sharing violation error. Again thanks. I do hope others can share in your work to get it on the Sony.
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wingphil
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Joined: Mar 28, 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi
Not a windows ce user, but would it not be possible to put the short cut to poi observer into the startup folder?
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Dippy
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Joined: Apr 04, 2006
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can put shortcuts into the startup folder, but it will do you no good unfortunately. If the Sony is powered off normally, then Windows just hibernates, so on return it doesn't go through startup. If the Sony is fully powered down (reset) then on restart the contents of the Windows folders are rewritten.
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Saweetarab
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Joined: Jul 08, 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got stuck at the very start of this walkthrough. I have copied over the shotaskbar.exe file and renamed it but when i reboot it won't let me bring up the taskbar. It shows the normal screen but there is the grey taskbar, i just can't get to the start menu etc. I'm using a 50t with the latest update!!!

Any ideas?
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Dippy
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Posts: 124

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the taskbar very thin at the bottom of the screen? Use something pointy to click on it and it should pop up, showing the various icons.
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Saweetarab
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all good, i've got that part working now, could you pm me with some info about getting the speed camera database as i don't know which one to get for my nay-u50t
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raldred
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Joined: Jul 15, 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When i run the confirgurator add all the sections, eg, gatso, specs, mobile
i click convert and it says the following:

any one got any ideas
it doesnt create the obs file where it says it has
Code:


POIBatcher V4.2.0.1
Copyright 2004-2005, NaviGer
Download only allowed from www.navifriends.com.
No commercial use!

Processing configuration File:
C:\Documents and Settings\Steve Cuppello\Desktop\poi\POI_Observer_Batcher\PC\POI
Configurator.txt

0 POIs to observe converted to file:
C:\Documents and Settings\Steve Cuppello\Desktop\poi\POI_Observer_Batcher\PC\POI
\Observer.obs

Log file was written to:
C:\Documents and Settings\Steve Cuppello\Desktop\poi\POI_Observer_Batcher\PC\POI
ConfiguratorLog.txt

Hit any key to continue...


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dt1
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Joined: Jun 23, 2006
Posts: 8
Location: Berks, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First can I say thanks to Dippy for the helpful instructions (and of course the guys that wrote the programs, etc). I have it running on an NV-U50.

Raldred, I've noticed that the log file provides better information. You should see an error in there somewhere. For instance it may say that it could not find a wav or bmp file indicating that the path is wrong.

David.
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rulez22
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Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 5:57 pm    Post subject: Map update Reply with quote

Does anyone know how to update map and where i can get it? If there is any. I've updated the software but not the map, it says it takes upto 2 hours to update.
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Dippy
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't think there have been any map updates yet. Or did you mean swap the Europe A map for the Europe B map from the original supplied dvd?
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rulez22
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:55 pm    Post subject: map update Reply with quote

Sorry forgot to mention, i got NV-U50. No, I meant just update of current map, in some places it seems to be outdated.
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