Like a lot of folks out there, I picked up an old DeLorme Tripmate GPS at a rummage sale for only a few bucks. No, I haven’t done a thing with it since then, but I’ve kept it around because one day I will have the time to play with it…really, I will. Honest.
Self Start Modification
This mod is definitely first on my list to try. When power is first applied to the unit, it enters a standby mode and must hear the word “ASTRAL” on its serial port before it will start receiving satellite data. The great news is that while it is in standby mode, it also sends the word “ASTRAL” every second; thus, the most straightforward hack seems to be to jump the two solder pads on the PCB so that it tells itself to enter receive mode.
- TripMate Self Start Modification by Scott Gillis
- GPS Stuff: Tripmate Self-Start and External Power Mod by Jason in Greenbackville, Virginia
- Clie’ GPS cable for Delorme Tripmate by Woody A. Poolson [similar hack]
This GPS runs on four 1.5v AA batteries. According to several sites, the battery life is not great. And if I recall correctly, there is no external power port and no off switch. The most popular mod is to add a power regulator so that the Tripmate can be powered by a wall mole, auto adapter, etc. Some of the solutions linked below are duplicates of the links for the Self Start Modification.
- TripMate Self Start Modification by Scott Gillis [12v]
- GPS Stuff: Tripmate Self-Start and External Power Mod by Jason in Greenbackville, Virginia [6v]
- TripMate/Earthmate II/Delorme Tips, Tricks and Pinouts by Beverly Howard [5v]
The Tripmate is obviously designed to connect to a computer’s DB9 comm port, which is becoming increasingly uncommon since the advent of USB. Here are some alternative insterfaces.
- PIC16F88 Delorme Tripmate GPS Logger on Semifluid [reduces output to lat/long]
- An Arduino powered, easily extendable GPS Datalogger by Boris Landoni [generic; stores NMEA data on SD card]
- Getting GPS To Work On A Raspberry Pi by Peter Mount [generic]
- T4 Tracker Project by unknown author [Byonics TinyTrak3; includes self-start and ext. power hacks]
- A Tripmate GPS Adaptor to work with the Tinytrak 3 APRS Controller on KD5OM.com [Another TinkTrak3 solution]