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Delorme Topo USA 8.0 + BU-353 + Acer Aspire One = Compatible?
crusader
Hi all,

Kind of new to the whole notebook-as-GPS-receiver thing. Not sure if this fits better in the hardware or software section, sorry; I've searched for some answers I seek with mixed results.

First off, I am hoping to set up my Acer Aspire One (running Windows 7 starter) to run Deloreme TOPO USA 8.0 using a GlobalSat BU-353 antenna. Are all these items compatible? I'm especially concerned with the ability of the software to run on the minimalist Windows 7 Starter OS. My goal is to have great off-road mapping capability as well as street navigation capability in one package.

And...

I've seen posts by people who have purchased Topo USA 8.0 promising a review of the software, but I don't see any follow-ups with a thorough review. Can someone point me in the right direction to find the promised reviews or, if there aren't any, can somebody post a review of their Topo USA 8.0 experiences?

Thanks!

--Mark
tcassidy
Topo 8 runs fine under Windows 7 HP and the starter verion has everything needed so that should not be a problem. Topo 8 should see your BU-353 if you set the Device to Generic NMEA and Port to the appropriate COM port under Options>GPS.

I have Topo 8 but can not test it as it does not include Canadian coverage. I do note the startup for the program is incredibly slow even on a fast computer.

Terry
Ken in Regina
My experience is the same as Terry's except that my Acer Aspire One has Windows XP on it. Topo 8 runs fine on it and works with the BU-353. Like Terry, I'm also in Canada so I can't really do a good review. No topo coverage without massive downloads of raster images and the road coverage isn't great. In particular, routing is an issue in Canada.

Topo 8 is a powerful program and I suspect that for offroad use in the continental United States it will be a great benefit. If you want aerial images to supplement the topo maps in specific areas, it's great because you can download aerial imagery from DeLorme's site and add them to Topo 8. This is a great way to supplement the topos. But it's not the way to provide default coverage for large areas. The downloads are large. That means they take quite awhile to download, quite a bit of disk space to store and add to the time it takes to load the program.

As Terry said, it takes quite awhile to load the program even on a fast computer. Once it's loaded, panning and zooming over large areas can be slow as well.

The only program I've encountered that is as slow to load and as slow for panning and zooming is Garmin's Basecamp. Both do gorgeous map displays and have a lot of flexibility in the map views you can display. But both require a lot of patience to work with if you are trying to pan and zoom over fairly large areas. As long as you stay in a relatively small area of the map, they are fine to work with.

...ken...
crusader
Thanks Terry and Ken- Sounds like I won't have any issues, aside from the risk of hard disk damage from off-road travel with a very stiff, 37 year old Land Rover...

--Mark
steven4mcg
Hi Mark,

I had the exact question with all the same hard and software. So how did it work out. I have had NO luck keeping Windows 7 Starter from crashing on the Acer. I've done 4 restores so far. Very frustrating.

Did you have to download a new driver for the BU=353?

Steve
tcassidy
You should send the netbook back for a replacement before the warranty expires. There is no reason Win 7 should crash if that is what the computer came with.

Terry
steven4mcg
You read my mind. Thanks for the reply.
crusader
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven4mcg
Hi Mark,

I had the exact question with all the same hard and software. So how did it work out. I have had NO luck keeping Windows 7 Starter from crashing on the Acer. I've done 4 restores so far. Very frustrating.

Did you have to download a new driver for the BU=353?

Steve

Well--I haven't had any trouble with the computer and Windows 7 Starter, though I really limit this computer's exposure to Internet risks like freeware/shareware downloads, etc. I do all that stuff on my lousy desktop.

By coincidence, I just received my BU-353 today, so I don't have a lot of time messing around with it. I've had Topo USA 8.0 (Eastern) on both computers for about a week, and Topo by itself works just fine. Not too slow--I can forgive a little jerkiness in the 3D mode sometimes, dependent on how complex the presented image is.

I have had the Topo program lock up several times with the BU-353 plugged in and tracking. Sometimes it happens when I try to start or stop the GPS or change the GPS options or other options. Having no DVD drive, I just downloaded the drivers from the manufacturer's website. Sometimes I could kill the locked up Topo program from the Windows Task Manager, sometimes I had to restart Windows and once I had to remove the battery to get the computer to shut down.

I think my woes are caused by the BU-353 driver. As I attempted to reply to this thread a few minutes ago, I got the old "blue screen of death" saying that there was a problem with a driver (I had Topo US 8.0 running in the background with the BU-353 plugged in and idling in Nav Mode).

I have gotten it to display the moving map without issue as I drove to work today. On the way home after work, I set it to follow a simple stored route from my work to my house and Topo froze up about halfway home while I was fiddling with some of the features and map zoom (in 3D mode).

I'm going to have to record the exact circumstances when the program freezes up and try to figure out what triggers the problem. Again, as a stand alone mapping/route planning program, it's smooth sailing, but when I add the BU-353 it becomes prone to lockups.
tcassidy
Sounds like the netbook is struggling to manage the amount of work required to run Topo in nav mode. Especially when you are performing other, even minor, tasks.

Terry
steven4mcg
I've been using Delorme topos for about 10 years now and have always had some degree of problems on shakey off roads. But I can't even get out of my neighborhood now.

Sounds like the UB-353 driver might be common to our problem though.
I downloaded the driver for Windows 7/etc but now I might try the one for vista 32 bit since our computers are 32 bit.

USGlobalSat Incorporated

Do stay in touch, I may return the Acer tomorrow just to see if I can.
crusader
I changed the flow control to "hardware" in accordance with the user comment at the very bottom of this page. I couldn't change the buffers because it says I don't have write permission to do so. I'll see if changing the flow control has any effect and report back when I know something...
steven4mcg
LOL that's what I'm doing too. Except I'm stuck at finding "ports" in Device Manager.
tcassidy
Expand the Ports(COM & LPT) heading. When you plug in the BU-353, it should say something like 'Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port(COMx)'

Terry
steven4mcg
Where is the Ports Heading?
tcassidy
I thought you were in Device Manager. Just look down the list...you can't miss it.

Terry
Attached Images
ports.jpg  
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