When using a PNA with LK8000 it's awesome to be able to simulate flying with it. This makes sure you know LK8000 well and therefore enables you to get the most out of it. Maybe even more importantly, you spend less time fiddling in the cockpit so you fly safer.
GliderTools makes an awesome cable
just for this purpose: linking Condor to your PNA with LK8000. Though its price is reasonable, it may be a bit steep for some and it can be done cheaper for sure... by hacking your own cable together!
The GliderTools cable uses a prolific PL2303 chip, which is very widely used in USB-to-serial communication. One such cable that includes exactly the same chip is the CA-42 data cable (alternative: DKU-5) for Nokia cellphones. They are available on Ebay
for very cheap (I bought one for € 4,17 delivered).
Luckily, this cable has been hacked already and on this guy's blog
the features of the cable are explained in detail.
The cable simply has a TX, RX and GND line. The below picture (from the above blog) shows the pin connections.http://jethomson.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/ca-42_dku-5_pinout.jpg
pin 7 = phone TX data = PC's RxD line << We can disregard this one as the PC doesn't have to receive any data
pin 8 = GND << We need this one
pin 6 = phone RX data = PC's TxD line << And this one for sending the serial data to the PNA and into LK8000
The next trick is connecting it to the PNA. And you might say: doesn't the PNA have a USB in instead of a serial in? Yes, but a lot of PNA's have a 'hidden' serial port. The only thing you have to do to invoke it is to connect pin 4 (of the mini-USB plug) to GND, or in the case of Wayteq and Oudie to +Vcc I believe (not sure). That's why there are 2 different versions on the GliderTools website.
Normal mini USB cables don't have the 4th pin included. The 4th pin is a feature of mini USB cables to permit distinction between mini-A and mini-B plugs (according to Wikipedia, the pinout of a mini-USB jack is here
). You can buy one from ebay (just search for 5-pin mini usb
). Then cut the cable. If you're lucky, it has 5 strands and one of them is pin 4. If you're not that lucky, you can open the connector and usually the 4th pin sticks out but is unconnected and you can solder it to ground (which was the case with my cable). I bought my cable for € 2,49 which brings the total cost to € 6,66 (super-evil hack?).
So I simply cut the CA-42 cable, then probed the phone plug to find out which colours I needed (in my case, blue was GND and yellow was TxD) and soldered GND to my USB plug pin 5. Then I connected pin 5 to pin 4, and then I soldered TxD to pin 3.
After double checking if I made the right connections, I plugged in the USB cable. It installed itself. Then I just fired up Condor and selected setup > options > NMEA output and set it to COM4 (my cable's com port, if it isn't obvious you can find yours by going to device manager).
I use a Mio M400. I set the device input (setup system > screen 8 > Device A) to COM1 and a baudrate of 4800 (which is what condor uses). It worked perfectly! No extra configuration is needed.
First step, probing connector and writing down wire colours:
Soldering to the mini USB plug, I made this one before so I used some wire I had lying around, otherwise just solder the cable directly to the plug:
Picture of the finished cable:
The only thing to do now is to finish it nicely, that means adding some glue and housing to the mini USB plug and to do the hack below to get power to the PNA.
Useful additions: You can pry open the moulded USB connector housing and connect the 3rd wire (white on my cable) to the USB plug's 5V (pin 1 of the standard USB pinout). You can then solder the 3rd (white) wire to the mini USB connector's pin 1. This allows you to charge your PNA while playing. You can then even use this cable to charge your PNA while flying for real (enables you to use those cheap USB charging batteries)!
Note: You can also use a generic PL2303 module from ebay like this one
, it is even slightly cheaper but I like the USB connector and cable of the CA-42. Also, make sure it has (the option of) 3.3v levels, 5v levels will be harmful to the PNA.
Also, to upload tasks to your PNA, use Condor2Nav,
some great free software that translates a saved task to LK8000 and puts it on your device. Simply connect your PNA with the original USB cable (for data) to upload the task, then switch to this adapter cable and you're ready to fly. Be sure to set LK8000's root path in the condor2nav.ini configuration file, something like: H:\Internal memory . Don't use a path starting with a \ as it's only for activesync connections.