farmer boy 3:56pm, 24 April 2012
Has anyone messed about with one of these GPS receivers? I have one that works fine with my laptop and I was told that it would also provide a GPS input for the radio. Problem is, that the VHF has bare wires for it's GPS input and the BU 353 has a USB connector. I was wondering if I could cut off the USB and find out what the wires do and use it that way?
Anyone done it? If so, how can I identify which colour wire does what? I have emailed the company but no reply so I assume they don't want people cutting off the USB connectors!

ps launching on Friday so I shall see if it floats!

Amelie (Bazzo-nl) 7 years ago
Hi. Just search on ebay, location "Hongkong" (or so).. If you know what kind of connector you need, insert the name in the search string ("gps receiver mmcx" for example)..
You suddenly don't want to mess about with the pinout if you see the prices.. Unless you need it by friday ofcourse..
pjbharrison 7 years ago
Don't think it can be done. You may have been misinformed.
farmer boy 7 years ago
You are right - just got an email back from the company (US Globalsat) who tell me that the USB version will not work because it requires a USB host (whaterver that is!). However the serial version of the same thing will work - BU-355... we shall see. If it works it will be a cheap and very low power way to get GPS info to the radio and the AIS. We shall see!
pjbharrison Posted 7 years ago. Edited by pjbharrison (member) 7 years ago
The BU-355 comes with a PS/2 connector, like a computer keyboard connector. There doesn't seem to be a way to connect it to VHF either. The GlobalSat webpages make no mention of being able to connect it to a VHF either. Did they mention a way of connecting them or what adapter is required?

farmer boy Posted 7 years ago. Edited by farmer boy (member) 7 years ago
Yes, there is a description and pinout diagram for the PS/2 connector on the Globalsat forum. (connected to a VHF) You can either cut into the wire or get a connecter with bare leads. I think I may buy one and try it. It is VERY low power consumption and apparently very accurate. I have a Nokia phone charger that will give me 5V from the 12V battery. If it does not work I shall use it as a spare laptop GPS.

more info here as well....
farmer boy 7 years ago
here is the link to the forum topic....

.....does it make sense to you?
pjbharrison 7 years ago
Not sure I'd like to be relying on it. I've read some other forums on it and some people seem to have a lot of trouble getting it to work reliably.
I'd buy a female PS/2 socket and wire into that rather than cut the cable on the unit.

If I'm correct in my understanding of the instructions the Nokia charger should connect to Pin 2. Pin 5 to Green and Pin 1 to black.
What colour are the wires from the radio.

Have you talked to Neil?
farmer boy Posted 7 years ago. Edited by farmer boy (member) 7 years ago
Yes, Neil seems to think it has all the "correct" specifications... I guess it is not much money and if it works it will be an economic solution.
Thanks for the link to the female PS/2...
....if this does not work I shall buy one of the Garmin hand held units... Neil uses an old Geko which is good or the newer version which I think is the Etrex - I will still need to cut into cables to connect to the VHF and AIS.
I have used the BU-353 (the usb version) with my Windows laptop and my Macbook Pro and both seem to work fine....
Hopefully I will end up with 2 laptops with GPS and CM93 (OpenCpn) charts, an Iphone and an Ipod touch with Navionics charts an AIS with position info and a VHF with position info.... oh and some paper charts as well.
Bet I still get lost!

ps I have stripped the Nokia phone charger wires and have them in a connection block - multimeter says 5V (red pos) will have to check the radio wires... it is peeing it down and I am staying indoors today!
jendave1 7 years ago
Or learn to use a sextant...
farmer boy 7 years ago
May just do that!
rothwell_neil Posted 7 years ago. Edited by rothwell_neil (member) 7 years ago

Checked this out, any RS232 device will output 'raw' signal and if this can be set to NMEA 0183 then will drive any standard package. The RS232 version of the 353 is NMEA and the garmin geko, etrex etc can all be set to be NMEA. they also double as hand held gps devices for waypoints, SOG, COG, bearing as well so if you can get a geko for the same price as a 353 then better value as multi function. You do need a £10 cable as well but it does do 12v to 5v power as well as comms.
farmer boy 7 years ago
Nice one Neil.. I plan to get a Geko or similar as well.. 3 belts and 2 sets of braces! I am working on the principle that the sextant will remain an ornament - did you get the email about Monday?
rothwell_neil 7 years ago
No email received yet.
farmer boy 7 years ago
hmmm.. have sent again...
farmer boy 7 years ago
just to finish this off....
I bought the BR-355 Gps receiver, cut off the plug, wired it to the VHF and bingo! We have GPS input! .... so I also connected it to the NASA AIS radar thingy and bingo again!
So... the BR-355 will send a gps (NMEA) signal to both units at the same time and it is powered by an old Nokia phone charger (6V) - total cost = £25...
Nice for something to go right for once!
pjbharrison 7 years ago
Thanks for finishing the topic, John.
May be useful in the future. Did you draw a wiring diagram for the process? Can you upload it to site?
Don't suppose you'd like to start a tutorial/topic on the opensource CM93 charts and how to use them?
farmer boy Posted 7 years ago. Edited by farmer boy (member) 7 years ago
I managed to download all the CM93 charts for the world - (yes the whole world) . I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called but Neil will remember. He has a fast connection and put them all on a DVD...
then it was just a matter of downloading the free OpenCPN software which makes your laptop into a chartplotter with GPS input from the usb version of the BU-353. (not the same one I used for the VHF!)
ended up with charts for the world with laptop chart plotter and GPS input to the AIS and GPS all for the price of a couple of GPS receivers - about £25 each.
I am seeing Neil tomorrow and see if we can put together some helpful tips....
farmer boy Posted 7 years ago. Edited by farmer boy (member) 7 years ago;topics...
.... includes a pinout for the GPS receiver - the other connections where as per the instructions with the VHF and the AIS eg green wire is the GPS input. It was very simple when I got hold of the right GPS receiver.

All the opencpn stuff is here...
pjbharrison 7 years ago
Thanks John & Neil
rothwell_neil 7 years ago
Will put links on how to get the charts but may be worth a DVD for those interested. The russian site they came from also had a full set of RNC charts and these can then be used on an android using Marine Navigator Lite. This is highly recommended and very capable for a free app, specially coupled to the 'free' RNC charts. The site also gives access to licence free copies of many other plotting packages that work on RNC NOAA and CM93 formats. I got them all working one wet weekend, not the easiest but then had I followed the instructions on the site it would have probably been easier! I actually have a paid for copy of the the UK and Ireland so don't use them as I don't intend going further. They do however work well. Will be trying the Marine Navigator and the RMC charts for Croatia when I go sailing there.
rothwell_neil Posted 7 years ago. Edited by rothwell_neil (member) 7 years ago
This site is a library of the types of chart, until a month a go this worked for download but seems to have been closed down. You can still get these off peer to peer downloads looking for the file name. I can't post the sitye name as flickr won't let me but it can be found looking for seablock and narod in the url with a dot between them and a ,ru at the end

Second edition charts are easier to use than third edition as these need to be used with one of the programs that are also on the site and the licence 'hacked'. Second edition work as they are with opencpn. There were also lots of books available. I have many of these electronically.

Opencpn also supports the BSB and ENC chart formats but not the old HDR ones.

Mapmedia charts work with Maxsea program which is quite good and can be downloaded from this site.
farmer boy 7 years ago
Nice one Neil...
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