Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

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Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby John Lovaas » Aug 7, 2009 8:40 pm

Having done a quick online review of 'Disto-X calibration issues', I've learned that the Disto-X/PDA interface is, ahem, not going well for some folks.

I'd like to start a poll, but that option is not available to me. So here goes-

1) If you have a Disto X, did you calibrate it using PocketTopo?

2) If you did calibrate your Disto X using PocketTopo, what model of PDA are you using? Which version of Windows Mobile is it running, and which .NET framework is it running?

I'm starting to have The Fear that all these folks who are saying that the Disto X is the greatest thing ever are either A) not calibrating the instrument (which would make it a toy, rather than an instrument) or B) not using the PocketTopo software.

To be honest, I was excited about the possibilities of eliminating the need for manually recording and plotting survey data with PocketTopo. That was the only reason I bought into this concept. The graphics interface in PocketTopo would have been more than enough for what I planned to do with it.

Either I'll get this thing working, or else there'll be a Disto X and a really nice Hewlett Packard PDA on eBay pretty soon.
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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby rchrds » Aug 8, 2009 1:25 am

John- I'll be back from Afghanistan for a month on the 5th (September) I will be running up my DistoX at that time, and will let you know if I can get it to work. Sorry that isn't a really quick answer.

Jason
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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby John Lovaas » Aug 8, 2009 1:58 pm

Thanks for the reply, Jason- be safe, man!

Beat Heeb and Lynn Brucker both got back to me last night with the possible solution, and my problem was solved! My birthday didn't suck after all.

I'll explain it as I see it, as I don't understand computer lingo. It turns out that the PDA and the DistoX communicate using one COM port# (inbound?), and PocketTopo and the Disto X use another COM port# (outbound?).

So when my PDA recognized the DistoX, it was assigned COM1. Does that mean I select COM1 as the port in PocketTopo? NO! It would be one of the other available ports- 2-9 in the iPAQ 210. In my case, the correct COM port to select in the PocketTopo menu was 6. That did the trick.

So which COM port should be selected in PocketTopo? Trial and error, it sounds like. Lynn has a Dell PDA that has the Disto X and PocketTopo on COM8. Beat suggested I try COM5 or COM8 for the PocketTopo connection- I worked my way down from COM9, and found success at COM6.

I just surveyed my front lawn. Pretty cool. I like the potential for streamlining a sketcher's workflow, and I'm planning on using this for the sea caves on Lake Superior. It'd be likely that I'd be working by myself, and having the software lay down the plotline would be pretty cool, especially in choppy water! ;-) The graphics interface in PocketTopo might be difficult to use in big passage, but for my intended use, it will beat out a dive slate and protractor.
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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby rchrds » Aug 9, 2009 12:14 am

John, thanks for the update, I'm sure I would have hit the same problem.

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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby Footleg » Aug 11, 2009 4:18 am

I am using a Dell Axim 51v PDA (running Windows mobile 5.0) with a DistoX and PocketTopo. I can calibrate the DistoX fine, and the paperless surveying process works like a dream. The PDA is protected in an Aquapak PDA case which I can draw through the case giving a completely waterproof PDA. So if it gets muddy I just wash it in a stream.

A number of UK cavers are using DistoX and PDA set ups, and the UKCaving forum is a good resource for information and questions. You should be able to read it without needing to sign up. Take a look in the Surveying section:
http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php/board,59.0.html
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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby rchrds » Aug 11, 2009 6:34 am

Good to hear- I have a Dell Axim X51V also... yea! (Wish auriga worked in Windows Mobile.......please????
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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby lleblanc » Aug 11, 2009 9:12 am

by rchrds » Aug 11, 2009 6:34 am
Wish auriga worked in Windows Mobile.......please????


Actually, you can run Auriga in Windows Mobile using the 50$ StyleTap PalmOS Emulator (http://styletap.com). See the Auriga website for details. Last time I checked, they hadn't implemented the handling of a serial link over Bluetooth, but it may be worth bugging them if you want to connect a DistoX.


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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby Footleg » Aug 11, 2009 10:45 am

Or alternatively buy a cheap 2nd hand Palm PDA off Ebay to run Auriga on. I found a bluetooth Palm for less than $50 on there. So I have a cheap Palm for running Auriga and my Dell Axim for using with the DistoX (until Luc gets sketching capabilities into Auriga).
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Re: Disto X + PDA; what are you using?

Postby lleblanc » Aug 11, 2009 12:59 pm

Or alternatively buy a cheap 2nd hand Palm PDA off Ebay to run Auriga on. I found a bluetooth Palm for less than $50 on there.


Actually, whenever I suggested a PPC owner to get StyleTap for 50$, he found a real Palm OS PDA for cheaper, and decided it wasn't worth risking his high-end and often company-supplied machine underground...

So I have a cheap Palm for running Auriga and my Dell Axim for using with the DistoX (until Luc gets sketching capabilities into Auriga).


I'm targeting 2010. Splay shots should be supported in upcoming version 1.18. On the Palm OS side, a Tungsten E2 is a fine Bluetooth PDA for connecting a DistoX to Auriga.


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