Alcorn Mcbride | 8 TraXX | GPS for 8-TraXX + DVM - Alcorn McBride, Inc.

GPS for 8-TraXX + DVM - Alcorn McBride, Inc.
Using GPS with an 8-TraXX and DVM
This application note describes the use of the DVM7400/G video machine and 8‑TraXX
audio machine presenting multilingual audio/visual programs for tour bus applications.
The system provides up to 18 mono or 9 stereo audio tracks with a video display all
triggered to present local site information which is map location dependent. The power of
GPS signaling is finding its way into many applications and Alcorn McBride has
embraced this technology. GPS receivers are smaller and more convenient than ever
before. Alcorn McBride audio visual players also use GPS receivers to trigger the
playback of files in order to present location dependent content for tour vehicles.
Hardware Connections
The DVM is the GPS control unit for the system and plays the video content and a single
stereo channel (left and right) of audio. The 8‑TraXX is the multichannel audio play back
unit that supports 8 stereo channels. The 8‑TraXX is connected by RS232 using the cable
supplied with the unit and is connected to the port labeled RS232. This connector is
located just to the right of the volume control. The GPS mouse is connected to the GPS
module of the DVM/G by the round 6-pin din connector labeled GPS. The 9-pin
connector in the same module labeled Serial is an RS232 output only port used for
sending data to an optional vehicle information sign. Vehicle power is supplied to both
units and is standard 12-14 volts DC. The DVM7400/G have two power connectors, one
round two pin connector to the far left bottom and the other is a 4-pin square Molex type
connector located to the far right on the GPS module. It is not necessary connect power to
both power ports.
GPS Antennas
There are three types of antennas, two magnetic (mouse) antennas and the bulkhead
mount. The older type mouse antenna is dark blue with the Deluo logo on the top. This
antenna will connect directly to the USB adapter when connected to the PC but will need
a cable adapter to connect to the DVM or AM4.
The new type mouse antenna is black and will have the Alcorn McBride logo on top. This
antenna will require the cable adapter when connected to the USB adapter because it was
designed to plug directly into the back of the DVM with the /G module without the cable
You may want to use the bulkhead antenna in place of the magnetic antenna for
permanent installations. This antenna will connect directly to the DVM/G.
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Just a note, the USB and cable adapters are needed if you want to drive the route to enter
waypoints. These adapters are needed only to interface the antennas to a PC and are not
needed for normal operations.
The CF card in the DVM will contain two types of files. The first type is the video files
and the second are playlists. The 8‑TraXX will have a CF card that will contain the MP3
audio files.
Playlists contain commands to play files and control the player during normal operations.
There are two types of playlists general and GPS. The difference between the types of
playlists is the source of the triggers. GPS playlists are triggered by latitude and longitude
position information which comes from the GPS antenna while general playlists are
triggered by other means. The GPS playlist may be created by GPS Builder a software
program available from Alcorn McBride. The software is free of charge and can be
downloaded from
The GPS playlist acts like a wakeup call to the DVM when the unit comes into the range
of the waypoint set by the parameters in the playlist. The waypoints are longitude and
latitude map coordinates with a range value. While the map coordinates are very specific
the range parameter will provide a custom circle size to fit the tour requirements.
The range value may be set by distance from waypoint or by the speed you’re traveling.
The speed parameter will be translated into a distance value and placed in the tolerance
field. When using distance the value will be used to calculate the size of the circle the
surrounds the waypoint so all coordinates with in the circle will become the trigger. When
using speed the circle will change in size based on your vehicles speed. Your speed is
determined by the rate of change in the coordinates received by the GPS antenna. The
slower the vehicle is traveling the smaller the ring around the waypoint will be. This will
allow the content to play about the right time. For example, the slower you approach the
waypoint the closer you will be to it when the content starts conversely the faster you
travel toward the waypoint the earlier the content will start to play. This parameter is
resolved to a numerical value that is in meters.
Building a GPS Playlist
The GPSBuilder software gives the user the ability to pick waypoints from the “Google
map”. This is a nice feature when the map is detailed enough to pick the waypoints
needed for your playlist. The zoom feature permits selection of waypoints within 50-100
foot resolution. The latitude and longitude coordinates will appear in the windows when
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the location is left mouse button is pressed. These can then be copied to the fields in the
In some cases, the map graphics may not have the resolution or may not be detailed
enough to select the needed locations. It is worth noting the resolution of the map and
mouse movement can put your selected waypoint 100 feet or so off the point you
intended. If this is a problem then you may use a notebook running the GPSBuilder
software and drive to each location and store the location in the playlist by hitting the
space bar. This entry method would require the magnetic (mouse) with a cable adapter or
bulkhead GPS antenna and the Deluo USB port adapter. These two options, Google maps
and GPSBuilder/PC, give you the freedom to create and edit the routes needed.
If you are familiar with the command and structure you may want to skip to the Player
content section. To get started with GPSBuilder, begin by running the software and
selecting the beginning operation form the startup dialog.
The options are New, Open and Open Example. The example that is supplied with the
software details a basic playlist to get you started with the AM4 player. This application
note will use the DVM/G in place of the AM4.
Open the example playlist “ply00001.gps” supplied with this applications note. The
commands are available by dropdown menus which are opened by the button located at
the right of each line in the command column. In fact, every line in each column has a
control button to supply the user the needed dialog for completing the form.
The playlist will be located on the CF card for the DVM when the system is put together.
The first line will trigger the video player to play file 1 that is named “vid00001.mpg” on
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the CF card. The second line “Play to 8‑TraXX” will play file “1” when the vehicle is
traveling in the “compass direction” of 351 degrees and within the circle center located
“Latitude” and “Longitude” coordinates with its size given by the tolerance parameter.
The tolerance parameter is entered in distance, circle size in meters, or by the speed the
vehicle is traveling. It is a strong suggestion to set the distance to a high number and then
reduce it to the desired area. Start out with 20 or 30 meters or larger if the waypoints are
not too close together. If the circle size is selected by speed set traveled speed to a high
mph value then drive the tour slowly if possible to test your route. Remember the faster
you set your speed the larger the circle will be and small circles will make the waypoint
hard to hit every time.
Compass headings are in degrees from 0 to 360, where North is 0 or 360 degrees, East is
90, South is 180 and West is 270, so in this case the vehicle is traveling in a westerly
direction. The file “1” will be played only if the direction, location and tolerances
parameters are met. If Direction parameter is empty, the waypoint will be triggered from
any direction the vehicle enters the circle. This parameter is useful when the route is on a
boulevard or divided path where sites are on both sides and attention is given to one side
or the other at a time.
The following lines show how other commands can be run to produce a show that is
interactive with the progress of the vehicles path through the tour. You need only select a
map location from the “Map” tab at the bottom of the window and copy and paste the
latitude and longitude coordinates from the map to the playlist fields to select the
waypoint. Note: The Google map may startup in a completely blue screen; this is not an
error but viewing an Atlantic Ocean location. Zoom out until you see land then pan the
map as needed.
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Player Content
The DVM will play the video files for each site location and may play a stereo track of
audio as well. If video is to be played without audio tracks, the video content must have
an empty or no volume audio track present in the stream to play properly.
The 8‑TraXX player content is MP3 files and may contain two different language tracks
per channel if stereo audio is not required. As an example English played on the left side
and Spanish on the right for channel 1. This will provide the system with up to 16
available audio selection or 18 if the audio channel of the DVM is used.
The DVM/G will detect the trigger points and send the commands to the 8‑TraXX unit as
required by the playlist. The playlist command “Play To 8‑TraXX” will command the
8‑TraXX unit to play the selected file with the waypoint is reached. In the play list for
The first line will trigger the DVM to play file 1 when the GPS coordinates are reached.
The field labeled Data1 contains the file number. If you notice the second parameter
“260”, this number is the compass direction and is an optional parameter. If it is present,
the trigger will happen only when the vehicle is heading in the westerly direction when
the location is reached.
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The DVM will then signal the 8‑TraXX to start playing the following files on the selected
channels. The Data1 field contains the file number or name and Data2 field will contain
the 8‑TraXX channel number 1-8. All the lines under the one that has the coordinates will
play until the next line with additional coordinates is found. The system will wait until
the vehicle reaches the next set of parameters. When the next location is reached a new
set of files will start to play.
At this point, we have a functioning system capable of entertaining and educating the
passengers on your tour. The content can be changed to accommodate new sites and
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