Garble is a command-line tool to communicate with a Garmin GPS over the serial port. It's distributed as part of GpsDrive, and therefore comes standard with Knoppix, but it's a little buggy and no longer supported by the official sourceforge page. This source tarball here contains some bug fixes and has been tested with a Garmin etrex Vista. The owner is no longer contactable so this is being made available here as version 1.1.0.
There is a known bug with the timezone handling, whereby both the current time and the track timestamps are off from local time, but it's still very usable for downloading waypoints, tracks and screen grabs.
Extract the contents of the compressed tar file into an appropriate directory:
tar -xvf garble-version.tar.gzThen use
maketo compile the source:
cd garble-version make
This should produce an executable called
garble in the current directory.
Firstly you need to know where your serial port is on your machine. You can do this using
minicom or just by experimenting.
The device to use is given as a command line option to garble, as follows:
garble -d /dev/ttyS1 --get-time
This command should interrogate the connected GPS device and display the current time. Other commands can be listed by typing:
The most useful ones will probably be
Make sure the GPS device is connected to the serial port, switched on, and with the mode set to "Garmin" and not NMEA.
For completeness, and because these old versions of Garble are scattered over various internet sites, here is a selection of previous iterations of the software.
For some reason garble is being distributed along with the GpsDrive application, even though the interaction between the programs is somewhat weak. The version number reported by garble is 1.0.2 and is dated August 2002. The whole source bundle (including GpsDrive) can be downloaded from gpsdrive.de.
Referenced from the home page of the author Douglas De Couto (at mit.edu), this version is dated January 2001 and reports the version number 1.0.1 (confusingly unchanged since the previous version). It includes changes by Danilo Beuche to provide support for Garmin's eTrex range of GPSs.
Available from the sourceforge download page, this version 1.0.1 is dated May 2000 and is shown as providing bug fixes to the original 1.0 release. This version shares the number 1.0.1 with the eTrex version, see above. This means that untarring them to the same directory will overwrite files.
The first release of Garble from Douglas De Couto, available from the sourceforge download page. This tar is dated February 2000 and (for some strange reason) contains two identical copies of the source files.