TapAdvent GPS 400 and ActiveSync

This is a follow up to my review of the Advent GPS 400 Personal Navigation Assistant.

When you get the device they provide a CD containing a copy of ActiveSync (v3.7.1). This is a Microsoft program that is designed to handle the communication between PDA devices and a PC for things like the synchronisation of address books and the like. Most of that is irrelevant to the GPS though, as it is running Windows CE under the covers, it could probably be made to act like a proper PDA if you loaded the right software. As it is, you can probably ignore most of the features of ActiveSync but it is still worth installing. When you first connect the device it asks you for a name for it and then asks what you want to synchronise. You may as well untick all the boxes as none of them are relevant. When the main ActiveSync screen starts up, select Tools -> Backup/Restore and set it to (incremental) backup each time it connects. While you are at it, you could do a backup now, it will take a few minutes. Subsequently it will back up each time you connect the device but that only takes a few seconds as the only things that have changed will be small files like your favourites.

Pray that you never have to Hard Reset the device using the concealed on/off button underneath. If you do then ActiveSync will think that it is a different device and go through the install process again. It will NOT let you chose the same name.

As I mentioned to Dean in a comment to the original posting, if you want to copy new maps onto the device you need to open it as a plain storage device. You can do this from My Computer or you can use the Explore button in Active Sync. In here you will find the memory card as “Storage Card”. Just use Windows drag and drop to copy the new maps onto the device … and wait, as it takes a very long time. It is best to do it from the computer hard drive rather than direct from the CD. Then to activate the new map use the big Map button on the front screen (I am embarrassed by the length of time it took to discover this). It will then shut down the navigation and the next time you start it will be on the new map. Note: the device is not capable of navigating across the map boundaries e.g. from England through to France.

While we are in Explore mode on ActiveSync, it is worth noting that the files that are changed when you store new favourites etc are in the \My Flash Disk\mnav_ucf\ folder. If you want to take a safety copy then copy them by hand into a location on your PC (usual drag and drop or select, copy and paste). Although we have set the machine to automatically backup in the section above and there is a restore command I have no confidence in it and the backup file is in some obscure internal format so that selective restores are not possible. I would rather be safe.

If you want to use the Sync Files feature of ActiveSync then, as far as I can tell, it only synchronises the \My Documents folder on the device with a matching folder in My Documents\DeviceName on your PC and even then I couldn’t get it to work properly—the Sync seemed to work but when you plugged the device in again it deleted them from the PC. If anyone does get this to work then please let me know. Similarly the device has a MP3 Player mode, when I selected Add Song it couldn’t find any—perhaps they have to be in a particular location, it couldn’t find ones that I know were there on a card from another PDA.

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