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Author Topic:   Portable GPS Receivers with Data Loggers
number9 posted 11-24-2008 11:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for number9   Send Email to number9  
Thought I'd mention [a portable GPS and data logger, the Velocitek SC-1]--an easy to use device. Picked up [a Velocitek SC-1] this spring to use primarily for speed readouts. It's supposed to update speed information faster than typical GPS and found it useful finding my optimal trim angle of motor. It is portable, has a huge display and you can even download the last 40 hours of your path.

Anyone who does a lot of boat rigging and the subsequent in water testing might find [a portable GPS with data logging] very useful.

jimh posted 11-25-2008 01:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
How does [the Velocitek SC-1] measure speed?
number9 posted 11-25-2008 08:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for number9  Send Email to number9     
It uses GPS to measure speed, direction and position. The main differences are it's 0.1 knot speed and 1 degree resolutions. The display updates once every 0.5 seconds. The update speed is why the recommendation for use in rigging. Without hooking it up to a computer it doesn't have all the functions of what we've come to expect from our on board GPS or hand held navigation units. Would venture to say that until the high dollar mark is reached in GPS units their resolutions and update speed are less. They primarily market it as a tool for blow boaters participating in class racing. I only have knowledge of these because of a eBay auction site, my research prior to bidding, getting it for a song and use.

jimh posted 11-26-2008 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
At $500, it better be one heck of a great GPS.

You can get a modern USB GPSr 20-channel receiver with WAAS for $35.

Chuck Tribolet posted 11-26-2008 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     

1. You gonna take that USB GPS and your laptop out on a snotty
day? The Velocitec is SERIOUS waterproof (75', that's 2.3
atm. more than the surface, or about 34 PSIG. JIS-7 is 3')

2. Does that USB GPS have a 2 Hz update rate? Most are about
1 Hz.


jimh posted 11-27-2008 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am sure that for the small niche in the market of competitive sailboat racers who desire waterproof and portable GPS receivers, the Velocitek SC-1 provides a solution, and even at $500 as racing sailboat gear goes it is not too expensive. But for most small boats you can get a GPS that works as well, along with a small chart plotter for that same prices, and, in my estimation, that sort of combination would be much more useful.

The update rate of most modern GPS receivers is now about 4-Hz, and if you look into the details of the SC-1 its GPS receiver chip specifies that same rate. I don't think that there is a world of difference about a 4-Hz update and versus a 2-Hz update in the typical navigation of a small boat, but I would be open to an explanation of why it might be crucially important and provide a distinct advantage.

No, I wouldn't tank my $2,000 laptop on an open cockpit racing sailboat to use as a display for a $35 GPS receiver, but my point was that other than a GPS receiver I don't see a whole lot of value-added in the SC-1 to differentiate it from another GPS receiver.

If you want GPS receiver and data logging for later playback and tracking, you can get units that do that for about $70 these days.

jimh posted 11-28-2008 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here's a vendor that sells battery operated GPS receivers with displays that have data loggers.

The prices range from $60 for a device that just logs the data and has no display, to about $220 for a waterproof device with display.

For example:

Wintec WSG-1000BT G-Trender Sport Bluetooth GPS Data Logger (LCD, Barometer, Electronic Compass, Water Proof, Dual BT/USB Interface)

This device uses the uBlox ATR0625 chipset. The SC-1 mentioned above uses the uBlox Antaris LEA-4A. You can find the details of these GPS receiver and compare them at uBlox website:

My brief review showed that the update rate was the same, 4-Hz, and both were 16-channel parallel devices.

Most of these non-marine devices include software which can extract the logged data and manipulate it for use with a mapping program such as GOOGLE EARTH. The SC-1 sells their replay software application for $50.

http:/ / www. velocitek. com/ community/ news/ velocitek-launches-new-ra ce-replay-software-with-integrated-background-maps

I watched the video [linked above] and found it interesting. It certainly would appeal to a yacht club or group of sail boat racers who were interested in gathering the information and reviewing it later.

jimh posted 11-28-2008 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is another GPS receiver and data logger which could be very interesting to use for recording your trips in small boats:

i.Trek Z1 Bluetooth Data Logger GPS Receiver (Solar, MTK, WAAS, Auto On/Off, Bluetooth, USB, Data Logger with Google Earth Integration) (Free GpsGate Utility)

This device costs only $70. It has software for the Windows operating system, and there is also third-party open-source software available which can be compiled for unix systems like the MacOS. It has a solar cell to generate power, as well as batteries. I have been thinking about getting one of these and carrying it aboard on my next cruise. At the end of the cruise I would have a detailed record of my trip. The MacOS software looks a bit flakey.

You can also install one of these data loggers in a car. Because the logger records position and speed, you can keep an eye on your teenaged driver, where we went and how fast he drove, if you are so inclined.

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