Brighthand FAQ: How Do I Set Up a Windows Mobile Device with a Bluetooth GPS Receiver?

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Ed Hardy, May 30, 2008.

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  1. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    If you have a smartphone or handheld you don't need to buy a stand-alone GPS navigator; you can save some money by using what you already own.

    But unless your device has a built-in GPS receiver, your going to need to buy an accessory that adds this function. These are much less expensive than a full unit, because they don't need a screen or storage or things like that.

    The one I use is the Freedom Keychain GPS, but there are several of these available. What these have in common is they talk to your main device over Bluetooth.

    Once you have one of these, you're going to have to get it set up with your smartphone or PDA. Unfortunately, the process for doing this with a Windows Mobile device can be surprisingly difficult. That's why I've put together a set of instructions to walk you though it.

    Part I: Pair the Two Devices

    To start off, you'll need to pair the two Bluetooth devices. This should be easy, especially if you're familiar with the process with other accessories, like maybe an externalkeyboard.

    First off, turn on the GPS receiver andput it in Discovery mode. You mayhave to refer to the manual to find out howdo this with your particular accessory, but most of the external GPS units I've tried have always been been in Discovery mode, so you just have to turn them on.

    [​IMG]Next, go to your Windows Mobile device and hit Start > Settings and tap on the Connections tab. Look for the Bluetooth icon and open it.

    Tap on "Add new device". Your smartphone/PDA will look for the GPS receiver, and its name will show up when it's found it (see image at right). Tap on the name and then hit the Next button.

    Next you'll be asked for the GPS receiver's passcode. This is another thing you'll need to look up in the manual, but if that's missing there are some standard ones you can try: 0000, 9999, and 1234.

    [​IMG]Once the passcode has been accepted you'll be able to choose a display name for your GPS receiver, and then you'll see a list of services supported by the Bluetooth accessory. Be very sure you put a checkmark next to "Serial Port", then hit the Finish button (see image at left).

    Part II: Set a COM Port

    Pairing the devices is something many of you are probably familiar with if you have other Bluetooth accessories. The second part of this, though, requiresyou to set up a COM part, something I've only ever had to do with a GPS receiver. Don't be worried, this isn't hard. But it's something that cries out to be simplified.

    Go into Start > Settings > Connections > Bluetooth > COM Ports

    (If you just got through with Part I of these instructions, just tap on the COM Ports tab at the bottom of the screen.)

    [​IMG]Now, tap on "New Outgoing Port", select your GPS receiver from the list of devices, and hit Next. On the next screen, assign this Bluetooth connection a port (I suggest COM6) and check that this a Secure Connection (see image at right). Hit Finish.

    Then go into Start > Settings > System Tab > External GPS
    Make sure the GPS Program Port is set to something different from the COM Port you just assigned (I suggest COM5).

    [​IMG]Next, without leaving the External GPS app, switch to the Hardware tab. Now set the GPS Hardware Port to the port you set in the first step, the one I suggested be COM6. Set a Baud rate of 4800. (Faster isn't better.)

    And you're basically done. You can run the Navigation application of your choice, but in some cases you'll have to tell it which COM port to use. Most of them, however, will know to automatically check the External GPS settings.

    GPS Suggestions

    If you're in the market for an external GPS receiver for your mobile device, the one I use is the Freedom Keychain GPS Receiver.

    And if you have a Windows Mobile smartphone and you want to get started with GPS navigation, I'd suggest you try out Google Maps Mobile. This isn't a webservice like the regular version of Google Maps; it'sa stand-alone application. It works with a GPS receiver and, best of all, it's free.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  2. rkevwill

    rkevwill Mobile Deity

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    Ya know Ed, I read this with some interest. The only GPS I have ever tried on Winmobile, is the GPS10x from Garmin. This package came with both the puck (the gps10x itself) and the Software and maps. All I had to do was do the discovery, pair it, and it was ready to go. No com ports, no setting up of anything. Perhaps the software took care of that itself, but nevertheless, it was a painless setup. (this was on an ipaq 24xx, with 5.0)

    After that, the main problem, as you and I have discussed before, is the woefully low speaker volume on many pda's for spoken directions. One needs external speakers to hear it. I will say however, that many of the phones, have speaker phones loud enough to hear these directions. PDA's.....not the case.
     
  3. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    It's no surprise that high-end navigation software will take care of this process for you, but I wrote this up for people who aren't using the high-end apps.

    -
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  4. holvoetn

    holvoetn Still a moderator ...

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    Side note:
    The application itself might be stand-alone, it looks like you always need to be 'connected'.
    I was already wondering how the maps themselves where loaded on the device (wanted to check about possibility to use this in Europe), now I know ...
    Unfortunately this will not fly with the outrageous costs for a decent data-plan here :mad:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  5. ipmark

    ipmark Mobile Deity

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    Depending on your device, TomTom, iGo and a few others that escape me at this minute should be available for europe. I was going to say Earthcomber too, but apparently "earth" only includes the US.
     
  6. CalebSchmerge

    CalebSchmerge Mobile Evangelist

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    Nice little article. I keep debating about getting a GPS receiver to use for future trips with my dog (lots of hiking and skijoring - you can go far fast).
     
  7. holvoetn

    holvoetn Still a moderator ...

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    I have a GPS solution (see signature: T3 + GPS Dongle + ViaMichelin SW), I was merely wondering if Google Maps could also be used.
    Not without a dataplan, so it seems ...
     
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