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Posted on rec.aviation.owning this morning... - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
Posted on rec.aviation.owning this morning...
I have an old Airmap 5000. It stores the data on a PC card that slides into the unit.

My database is now 3 years old. Lowrance stopped providing data about 4 years ago, and a year ago Jeppson dropped support.

A web search didn't reveal anybody else selling databases.

Now, that data is on the 'net. I'm a reasonably competent programmer, and I could reverse-engineer the database format, and write code that would put fresh data back into that format, thus updating my database.

Here's the problem: I have no idea how to read/write to that PC card. Has anyone done this? Is there a driver somewhere, or am I going to have to write that too? I'd assume there was some sort of standard "data storage" PC API, just like there is for the data storage USB devices.

If I went to all this trouble, I'd be glad to update other people's cards for shipping costs, since there isn't any other way to get the data, and I'm guessing there are a reasonable number of these out there.

Any help would be appreciated!

Tina Marie

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3 comments or Leave a comment
sgillbee From: sgillbee Date: June 13th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Define "PC Card". It's a PCMCIA device? If so, that's just a system bus (like ISA or PCI or USB or whatever)... you need to write something that specifically addresses the hardware on the "card". There is probably a hardware-specific API for that... but good luck finding it.

Do you have the old software (and data) which updates the card? If so, it is possible to get "bus sniffers" which basically sit between the card and the bus and watch all traffic flowing across. At that point, you can sniff the data and reverse engineer the API, but that's not easy (at least for me). I bet you Glenn could do it... he's got a knack for that kind of thing (he once rebuilt the FAT boot partition on his HD byte-for-byte when it got corrupted, and he thinks in assembly).

Anyways, that's one approach. Another would be figure out the data format for the existing update software and just produce new data packs. Or get a software monitor which watches what that software does and reverse engineer it.

Just a few random thoughts :) Probably not useful.
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: June 13th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it's a PCMCIA card...

I don't have the old software. I got updates by sending my old card back to the provider, and they'd send me a new one with the new data. I've called and begged both Magellen and Jeppson (the people I got the updates from), but no one will give me any info.

Magellen only made aviation GPSs for a very short time - like 6 months - and they'd prefer to forget that they ever did, so that's not helping.

alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: June 14th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Try Linux

1. Find a machine with a PCMCIA slot.
2. Boot Knoppix 2.9 on it.
3. Insert PCMCIA card, look at the dmesg and see what it reports (and try various other utilities - I'm not sure if there's an equivalent of 'lspci' for cardbus, but I expect there's something in /proc).

That will tell you what it *really* is. Then google on that information. You may be lucky and find you can just read/write/ioctl etc. on /dev/somethingorother. Or even mount -t msdos /dev/thing /mnt.
3 comments or Leave a comment