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Connecting GPS receiver to W10 Surface Pro 4


David Sparkes
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I have forced myself to advance 10 years, to get a decent display that can be used at home, in the pub, and in the car, supported by a PC running a current OS, at a reasonable speed.

Needless to say, I'm feeling a little out of breath, and am seeking some virtual support!!

One of the shortcomings of the Surface Pro 4 is the lack of a built-in GPS receiver, but I confess that I thought this would be reasonably simple to solve, using one of my Bluetooth connecting receivers, specifically the HOLOX BT-541.In practice, this receiver 'struggles', in that while it is recognised by the PC, GPS information fails to get through to MemoryMap, on which I pre-plot routes, and use 'live' to show where I am whilst driving, or being driven.
I have discovered my 'Fortuna Clip-on' receiver does connect to the PC, unfortunately it struggles to reliably connect to the GPS satellites, which means it's not a practical solution.

Researching, I am told that a W10 update was released in October 2015, which pre-dates my W10 purchase, so I have to assume is incorporated. W10 declares itself as fully up-to-date. However it is claimed this update only applies to 'something' v1.2. Unfortunately I cannot re-find that thread so cannot be certain what the 'something' was; it might have been a 'SIRF stack'.

I'm sort of resigned to buying a new GPS receiver mouse, and I'd prefer Bluetooth rather than wired.

Has anyone else been there, done that, and got a proven solution? :-)

Thanks.

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I can't help, sorry, but will watch for answers to your query.

Work provides me with a Surface Pro and one of the downsides is that I can not get either of my bluetooth GPS units to work with it on Windows 8.1 (though it will recognise both, a GNS1000 and a BT 338). The BT unit worked fine with a previous Windows XP netbook and the GNS1000 works with my MacBook Pro and iPhone, plus an Android tablet, so it is disappointing. Google hasn't helped much - it just seems that bluetooth GPS support is poor in Windows 8. I wonder if Windows 10 will be better?

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The Surface tablets are pretty poor, if i were you I would sell it and buy a android tablet.

That's pretty far from the truth, except for the first Surface (not Pro) with Windows 8 RT.

Anyway, a serial connection over bluetooth has been a problem since W8. For some reason it likes closing the connection, I've ran into this trying to get a bluetooth OBD2 adapter working. I haven't tried a bluetooth GPS receiver in a long time though, but I imagine it suffers from the same issues. A USB connected receiver should work fine.

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The Surface tablets are pretty poor, if i were you I would sell it and buy a android tablet.

I've already done that, a Sony Xperia 4, and the problem is that it runs 'programmes for tablets', which I found are 'crippled' versions of the proper PC programmes. Certainly this applies to MemoryMap. The display is great, all I wished for, and while I learnt to adapt to the limitations of the Tablet version of the programme, it was always a poor stop gap until the Surface Pro 4 started shipping in the UK.

The Surface Pro 4 is a PC first, that will also work as a tablet, with or without a keyboard. It loads and runs proper programmes designed for PCs.

Moving on ...

As always sometimes happens, it appears I have found an answer myself, in this case without initially realising it.

Of course, realisation struck not only after I had posted here, but also after I had posted to the Microsoft Support community as well !! That involved doing the research so I could quote an update patch number, a version build number, and researching more modern GPS receivers, at £50 quid a throw!

OK, this is how I found the solution.

Working from a comment in a forum somewhere, where a poster said he was "going 'RFCOMM' ", I downloaded a file and ran it. No benefit appeared immediately, but this morning I was checking which COMM ports were enabled and found Port 10, which I had not seen in use before. Investigations showed it was not associated with my GPS receiver (Device Manager > Ports > Right Click / Properties showed it as 'on Bluetooth Device (RFCOMM Protocol TDI).

I went back to MemoryMap, set the GPS port to 10, and as if by magic, the flashing position indicator lit up!!

Bleeding Hell, or words to that effect.

You get many, MANY results from Googling RFCOMM, even adding qualifiers such as 'Bluetooth', and / or 'Driver'.

The download site I used was driverscape.com/download/bluetooth-device-(rfcomm-protocol-tdi, precede that with www, of course. It's given as file version 8.5, with a file size of 2.33M (In my Downloads directory this is shown as 2,392 KB).

On that page there are different versions for different OS, I used the one for Windows 10 64 bit, make sure you use the correct one for your OS.

The rest should be straightforward <evil grin>

Good Luck.

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