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Haicom 302 Compact Flash GPS Review

27th July 2003

 Review by Dave Burrows

  

Introduction

Haicom is a well known brand in the GPS Market, and have a whole range of GPS Receivers depending on what you're really looking for.  Haicom currently have the the Haicom 302 CF, the new 303MMF CF card that can be angled to varying degrees, the 302 LP (Low Power Edition), the Haicom 202E USB GPS Receiver and finally the more popular Haicom 203E which is the GPS Mouse of choice for many.

 

The GPS Receiver we are reviewing here is the Haicom 302 CF.  This holds a Compact Flash Type I form factor.  This means that any device be it Pocket PC, PDA or Laptop that supports Compact Flash Type I, Type II, or PC-Card will be able to use this as a GPS Receiver.

 

Haicom 302CF GPS Receiver

Versions

The card itself is very light weight and comes in several designs.  Haicom are renowned for their OEM receivers.  Haicom have several versions of the 302 CF, one is a solid coloured plastic housing, and the other has a coloured see through housing.

 

The Haicom 302 CF comes with an impressive selection of stats.  Manufacturer TTFF times are quoted as 48 seconds from cold, 38 seconds from warm, and 8 seconds from hot standby. 

 

The GPS Receiver is a 12 all-in-view satellite receiver using the NMEA protocol 0183 v2.2 at 4800 baud and sports a SiRF II/e chipset.

 

Drivers

One thing in this day and age I always hate is drivers.  Why are they really needed ?  Surely we know enough about most product sets now to include generic drivers ? 

 

Luckily, the Haicom 302 CF doesn't require any drivers.  If you run up a diagnostic program like WinFast Navigator (on our downloads page) then insert the Compact Flash GPS Receiver, you'll see the COM port assigned immediately to this receiver.  After you know that, it's real easy to configure the application you're going to use the Haicom with, just simply specify the COM port you're Haicom is using, select the NMEA protocol and 4800 baud, and you're all set!

 

 

Form Factor

Compact Flash GPS Receivers tend to be a little more sensitive compared to GPS mice and Bluetooth receivers, partly due to their small design, but mainly due to they are never in an optimum position in-car pointing to the sky.  Some people find depending on the surroundings, and for in-car use that an external patch antenna is required to boost signals.  Quite a few Compact Flash GPS Receivers don't come with such a solution, but the Haicom 302 CF does.  You'll see below that not only is the Haicom 302 CF thin and not bulky, but on the right hand side of the receiver is an MMCX socket allowing you to connect any patch antenna with an MMCX plug into this socket to re-transmit the signal down the cable to the GPS Receiver.  Although external patch antennas aren't necessarily required, they can boost signal by 2-4 sats when mounted in difficult positions.  With a GPS mouse or a Bluetooth mouse, it's very easy to move these around on the dashboard giving maximum exposure, the patch antenna which is optional with the Haicom 302 CF is magnetic, and can be placed on the roof of the car giving maximum signal exposure.

 

 

 

 

Haicom Patch Antenna

The Haicom 302 CF Patch Antenna comes with a magnetic base and a long flex of cable which terminates in an MMCX plug.  Any MMCX antenna will do, or you could use this antenna on other GPS Receivers with an MMCX socket.  With the antenna on, we did find satellites in view increase by around 2 sats in normal conditions when the receiver was hanging from a vent mount in-car.

 

One thing to bear in mind with Patch Antennas is the MMCX plugs aren't usually that well made.  This is no real reflection on Haicom, just the standards on the plug.  When you plug in an MMCX antenna into an MMCX socket, there is a very tight grip between socket and plug.  Unplugging this sometimes requires a lot of strength to pull it out of the socket, and as you'll see on the Haicom MMCX connector to the right, there's really not much to grip onto.  If you are plugging and unplugging an MMCX connector on a daily basis, then don't expect the MMCX plug to last that long.  Again this is no direct reflection on Haicom, we've had lots of emails regarding Pretec's, and other makes where people prefer not to leave the patch antenna connected to the CF card and wear and tear sets in quite quickly after several months use.  Patch antennas although they're not expensive, they're not cheap either, some come in between 20 and 40.  So you don't really want to be purchasing one every couple of months.  If you think you're going to need a patch antenna, leave it connected all the time, if you need to, the antenna cable will coil up nicely and you can leave both receiver and antenna in the glove box in-car and nobody would be the wiser.

 

How does it compare with other receivers ?

The Hiacom 302 CF did very well.  We did find about 1 sat more than the Pretec Compact which really is a great GPS Receiver, and many Compact Flash GPS Receivers are never this close, so the Haicom did very well.  In-car we lost satellite signal without the external patch antenna once, but this was in a high foliage area but re-acquired very quickly without fail.  From a Time To First Fix perspective, we received very good results from the Haicom receiver, in-fact much faster than the Pretec in previous tests.  One of the bonuses about Compact Flash GPS Receivers are they are good if you want to use them outside the car.  They will drain the Pocket PC battery quite a bit, but if you've just arrived at a location, parked up in a multi-storey car park and need to complete the rest of your journey on foot, you need something that you can take out of the car and complete this journey with.  The Haicom works very well under this scenario.

 

Other accessories included

Apart from the GPS Receiver and CD, a nice novel accessory included in the box is a Haicom leather case.  This allows you to clip this to your belt and carry the GPS Receiver around rather than having it sticking out of your Pocket PC all the time.  This is good when you want to put a Compact Flash card into your Pocket PC and then have nowhere to put the GPS Receiver.

 

 

 

GPS Hardware TTFF (Time To First Fix)

 

Cold

Test 1

Cold

Test 2

Cold

Test 3

Cold

Test 4

Cold

Test 5

Cold

Test

Average

Warm

Test

Hot

Test

CoPilot CF 1m 22s 1m 8s 56s 1m 17s 54s 1m 07s 52s 16s
Emtac Sleeve/CoPilot 40s 37s 42s 37s 46s 40.4s 10s 9s
Emtac/Socket BT GPS 47s 53s 42s 36s 38s 43.2s 10s 17s
Garmin eTrex 39s 44s 40s 41s 43s 41.4s 8s N/A
Garmin eTrex Summit 38s 41s 45s 39s 42s 41.0s 8s N/A
Garmin eTrex Vista 37s 57s 32s 35s 38s 39.8s 17s N/A
Garmin GPSMap76 42s 34s 23s 56s 32s 37.4s 12s N/A
Garmin GPSMap76S 32s 53s 32s 39s 36s 38.4s 11s N/A
Garmin Geko 101 1m 37s 45s 38s 44s 41s 53s 15s 13
Garmin Geko 201 34s 45s 38s 43s 40s 40s 19s 10
HaiCom 302 CF 50s 33s 1m 25s 36s 1m 25s 57.8s 23s 10s
HaiCom 303 MMF 42s 1m 05 s 41s 1m 02 s 1m 18s 57.6s 36s 3s
Holux GM-210 42s 38s 35s 37s 42s 38.8s 30s 4s
Holux GM-270 54s 1m 07 s 1m 03s 50s 1m 12s 61.2s 39s 4s
Holux GM-270U 46s 49s 42s 1m 01 s 49s 49.4s 35s 3s
Holux GR-230 1m 02s 55s 50s 49s 52s 53.6s 39s 5s
LeadTek 9531 / 9532 29s 37s 39s 41s 43s 37.8s 9s 5s
Magellan Meridian Range of GPS 38s 53s 43s 33s 35s 40.4s 18s 15s
Magellan SporTrak Range of GPS 37s 47s 46s 41s 41s 42.4s 19s 16s
Navman 3000 (ROM 2.0.0) 49s 52s 1m 33s 3m 23s 8m 5s 2m 56s 20s 11s
Navman 3400/3420 (ROM 2.1.2) 1m 33s 2m 30s 1m 32s 52s 1m 17s 1m 32.8s 20s 12s
Navman 3450 (ROM 2.1.2) 57s 50s 1m 09s 48s 1m 0s 56.8s 20s 11s
Navman 4400 53s 1m 03s 1m 19s 54s 53s 1m 00.4s 0s 0s
Pretec Compact CF 1m 28s 2m 47s 57s 45s 1m 2s 1m 23s 1m 16s 12s
Pretec Compact LP CF 3m 48s 5m 32s 4m 59s 1m 53s 4m 02s 4m 04s 52s 33s
Rikaline X5 41s 41s 34s 41s 42s 39.5s 39s 0s
Rikaline X6 34s 60s 44s 48s 57s 48.6s 38s 0s
RoyalTek Onyx 1m 28s 1m 39s 2m 23s 1m 38s 1m 35s 1m 46s 1m 24s 17s
RoyalTek Sapphire RGM 1m 02s 1m 0s 56s 41s 55s 54.8s 37s 10s
RoyalTek RBT-3000 57s 46s 43s 41s 55s 48.4s 30s 9s
RoyalTek RGM-2000 48s 52s 40s 45s 39s 44.8s 33s 7s
SysOnChip BT GPS 48s 77s 66s 67s 51s 61.8s 37s 4s
SysOnChip CF Plus (SIRFXTrac) 40s 30s 33s 38s 39s 36s 30s 0s
TFAC MG30 Mouse 1m17s 1m 26s 1m 38s 1m 36s 2m 11s 1m 37s 34s 4s
TomTom Bluetooth GPS 48s 52s 46s 59s 51s 51.2s 37s 3s

 

Fastest

TTFF

Cold

Tests

Slowest

TTFF

Cold

Tests

Manufacturer

Stated

Times

Warm

TTFF

Tests

Manufacturer

Stated

Times

Hot

TTFF

Tests

Manufacturer

Stated

Times

CoPilot CF 54s 1m 22s Not Stated 52s N/A 16s N/A
Emtac Sleeve/CoPilot 37s 46s Not Stated 10s N/A 9s N/A
Emtac/Socket BlueTooth GPS 36s 53s 1m 20s 10s 45s 6s 10s
Garmin eTrex 39s 44s 45s 8s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin eTrex Summit 38s 45s 45s 8s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin eTrex Vista 32s 57s 45s 12s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin GPSMap76 32s 56s 45s 12s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin GPSMap76S 32s 53s 45s 12s 15s N/A N/A
Garmin Geko 101 38s 1m 37s 45s 15s 15s 13s N/A
Garmin Geko 201 34s 45s 45s 19s 15s 10s N/A
HaiCom 302 CF 33s 1m 25s 48s 23s 38s 10s 8s
HaiCom 303 MMF 41s 1m 18s 48s 36s 38s 3s 8s
Holux GM-210 35s 42s 45s 30s 38s 4s 8s
Holux GM-270 50\s 1m 12s 45s 39s 38s 4s 8s
Holux GM-270U 42s 1m 01s 45s 35s 38s 3s 8s
Holux GR-230 39s 1m 02s 45s 39s 38s 5s 8s
LeadTek 9531 / 9532 29s 43s 48s 9s 38s 5s 8s
Magellan Meridian Range of GPS 33s 53s <2m 18s <1m 15s <15s
Magellan SporTrak Range of GPS 37s 47s <5m 19s <1m 16s <15s
Navman 3000 49s 8m 05s 2m 0s 20s 48s 11s 18s
Navman 3400/3420 (ROM 2.1.2) 52s 2m 30s 2m 0s 20s 48s 12s 18s
Navman 3450 (ROM 2.1.2) 48s 1m 09s 2m 0s 20s 48s 11s 18s
Navman 4400 53s 1m 19s n/a 0s n/a 0s n/a
Pretec Compact CF 45s 2m 47s 1m 0s 1m 16s 45s 12s 8s
Pretec Compact LP CF 1m 53s 5m 32s 2m 10s 52s 45s 33s 20s
Rikaline X5 34s 42s 45s 39s 38s 0s 8s
Rikaline X6 34s 1m 00 s 45s 38s 38s 0s 8s
RoyalTek Onyx 1m 28s 2m 23s 45s 3m 0s 45s 17s 20s
RoyalTek Sapphire 41s 1m 02s 45s 37s 38s 10s 45s
RoyalTek RBT-3000 41s 57s 45s 30s 38s 9s 8
RoyalTek RGM-2000 39s 52s 45s 33s 38s 17s 45s
SysOnChip BT GPS 37s 77s 45s 37s  38s 4s 8s
SysOnChip CF Plus (SIRFXTrac) 30s 40s 45s 30s  38s 0s 8s
TFAC MG30 1m 17s 2m 11s 45s 34s  8s 4s 0.1s
TomTom Bluetooth GPS 48s 59s 45s 37s 38s 3s 8s

 

Technical Specification

  Snap Start 2 sec.

  Hot Start 8 sec.
  Warm Start 38 sec.
  Cold Start 48 sec.
  Reacquisition Time Accuracy 100 ms
  Channels 12
  Position Accuracy 25m CEP without SA
  Voltage DC 3.3V +10 %
  Max.Current n/a
  Avg.Current n/a
  Receiver L1,C/A code
  Protocol NMEA 0183 V2.2, 4800,N,1
  Interface Type 1 Compact Flash Ver 1.4
  Maximum Altitude 18,000m
  Maximum Velocity 514 m/s
  Max. Update Rate 1 Hz
  Antenna Type Bulit in active antenna
  External Antennal Interface MMCX
  Dimension 43*93*29 mm
  Weight without cable <60g
  Default 30% duty cycle LED
  Navigation Update Indication  
  Operating Temperature 0 to +60
  Storage Temperature -10 to +70
  Operation Humidity 95%,NO Condensing

 

 

Summary

If you're looking for a GPS Receiver that can be used in-car but also on foot when you're walking, then you can't do much wrong with the Haicom 302 CF.  Haicom provide with the receiver, a nice belt clip leather case which you can clip to your belt and put the GPS receiver in when you don't need it in the Pocket PC, and this is a nice addition.

 

One thing to bear in mind with Compact Flash GPS Receivers is for most GPS Navigation maps you need a storage card to store maps, 32mb or 64mb of ram just isn't, this then means if you're going to use it with an application you need to make sure you have two storage slots, one of which obviously has to be Compact Flash Type I or II.

 

 

 

References

Manufacturers Website

http://www.haicom.com.tw

Pocket GPS Reviewer

Dave Burrows

Pocket GPS Reviewer Website

Dave Burrows.com

Rating

 

Durability

Windscreen Suction Mount Strength

not supplied

Air Vent Mount Strength

not supplied

Car Power Cable Quality

not supplied

Overall Rating 70%

How did we achieve these ratings ?

Review Ratings

 

Comments ?

Have any comments about this review ?  Post them here.

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