View Full Version : Setting Up An OLD L/Top for GPS?

24th August 2009, 08:48 AM
Hi peoples, I'm totally new to this so cut me a bit of slack ok LOL. I've recently bought 2 older laptops on ebay, 1 for mapping only (I hope) & the other for general purposes when travelling.
The 1st one is a Toshiba Satellite Pro 430cdt (ram 48Mb - Hd 1.3Gb) which has Win95 on it, I know OziExplorer can run on 95 but am unsure whether it has enough "space" or how to go about it. I've just purchased a pcmcia card with 4 usb ports to help if needed.
Any advice/help would be muchly appreciated
Thanks :hatoff

ps also what type of gps reciever would be best?

24th August 2009, 09:03 AM
Will you only use the GPS in the vehicle?
Or do you think you may want to use it as a stand alone handheld for the odd bit of exploring on foot?
Have you looked at:

& read thru the threads in this section?

24th August 2009, 09:22 AM
Just in car as can't do the long walks anymore (to many open heart surgeries), also we are pensioners so have a pretty tight budget.
Thanks. :hatoff

Wahroonga Farm
24th August 2009, 11:11 AM
Raster maps (Ozi) are generally quite large.

It's easy to accumulate 16Gb or so, so the 1.3Gb hard drive is the first limiting factor. Upgrading old hard drives may be tricky and the old Bios/OS may restrict drive size. The Bios may need to be updated to the latest version. 160Gb compatible drives are advertised for this unit. The easiest way would be to use a usb drive to store stuff.

If you move to a higher OS (98 etc) it will benefit from a Ram upgrade (expensive). It'll run 40Mb of ram (8Mb standard).

However the Pentium 120MHz Intel CPU will surely struggle?

I really suspect the Toshiba (http://www.edgetechcorp.com/memory/upgrade.asp?cid=18657) Satellite Pro 430CDT may be a bit past it? :)

Load up the trial version of Ozi and see how it goes before proceeding.

You'll need a GPS mouse or perhaps better, a cheap hand held Garmin to get moving map up and going. The Toshiba will have a serial port ... which is perfect for the older bottom end Garmins.

24th August 2009, 11:32 AM
I suspect the Toshiba Satellite Pro 430cdt may be a bit past it.

Without any doubt.

48MB of on board RAM? More like 480MB because if it was only 48MB you won't be able to do anything with it at all.

Sell them and get one that has at least a 10GB hard drive and 512MB RAM.

Wahroonga Farm
24th August 2009, 11:42 AM
Could you could tell us what you want to achieve. :)

Wahroonga Farm
24th August 2009, 11:50 AM
From the Ozi (http://www.oziexplorer3.com/support/oziexplorer/ozi_support.html) site

Typical System Requirements

* Desktop PC or Laptop running Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista
* CPU Pentium 200MHz or better (higher CPU speeds will work better)
* 64 MB of RAM (preferably 256 or more)
* VGA Monitor 800x600 or greater preferred
* Mouse
* CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive (if your maps are on CD or DVD)

Additional Notes-

Hard Disk - OziExplorer does not require very much HD space (about 10MB), it is the maps you have which require the most space. The file size of maps can vary from approximately 1MB to 4GB per map. So the Hard Disk space requirement depends on the number of maps you have stored.

This is a guide only, you may be able to run OziExplorer on lesser systems but it would be very slow.

24th August 2009, 12:32 PM
The program requirements is one thing, adding Raster Maps is another when it comes to the measly 64MB or even 256MB.

24th August 2009, 01:26 PM
The Bios may need to be updated to the latest version. 160Gb compatible drives are advertised for this unit. The easiest way would be to use a usb drive to store stuff.
You'll need a GPS mouse or perhaps better, a cheap hand held Garmin to get moving map up and going. The Toshiba will have a serial port ... which is perfect for the older bottom end Garmins.

We have a Maxtor 250Gb external Hd, would this be any good? Do you know were those 160Gb drives can be found?
I've got to try & use this L/top if possible (it only cost $22 plus postage) as the mrs has already chucked a spat :angry2 & said mapping will be on this one only & not the Compaq Armada 110 which is to be our general use one.
Again thanks.

Wahroonga Farm
24th August 2009, 01:33 PM
Try here (http://www.upgradecomputermemory.com/ram.cfm/memory/T/Toshiba-Memory-Laptop-Notebook-Memory/Satellite-Pro/Satellite-Pro-430CDT/)

IMO upgrading will be far more expensive than the lappie is worth. :)

Try running Ozi Explorer as is and see what happens. You cannot run a mess of cables and stuff for external hard drives very successfully in a harsh environment (read vehicle).

I suspect your on a hiding to nothing, but give it a go as is and report back.

A 2nd hand 4.3" Nuvi would be my first choice with the good lappie for map planning.

24th August 2009, 01:34 PM
You should try to get more RAM for it, as much as pos!

The external hard drive should be fine for storing your maps, as long as it powers up thru the USB cord from the lappy, & it powers up from a cable to the cigarette lighter socket in the car.
Only draw back is that it may be a little slower than an internal hard drive for re-drawing the map as you move.
Maps can also be bought from:

13th May 2010, 10:10 PM
I was looking at doing the same thing and all this info has been very helpfull to me - thanks



14th May 2010, 11:17 AM
It's an old thread, but a few points to consider for other looking at this sort of thing:

1) If you're running on a low-ram system, make sure your maps are ozf format. The maps are paged in this format, so you don't need to load the whole file into ram just to display a section of it. Other formats (png, gif, jpg etc) need the whole file loaded. Avoid .bmp format maps at all cost.
Reducing the colour depth and zoom levels when converting to ozf can make the files considerably smaller, without much of a compromise.

2) If you're on a very slow CPU, you might see an improvement by using ozf2 format instead of ozfx3. The latter encrypts each map tile, which takes more processing power to decrypt/display than the unencrypted ozf2 format.
How much extra, I haven't tested - but with a P120, every cpu cycle would help ;)

3) On an old system like the one being discussed, USB will be 1.1, which is very slow.
Also, Win95's USB support is non-existent in the earlier releases, and buggy in the later ones. Win98 would be a minimum, Win98SE would be better.

4) Consider replacing the internal hard disk with a flash card. You can get a 4Gb card and IDE converter for under $50 (but that's twice the value of the laptop) - you not only have more storage, but it's solid state, so bumpy roads won't kill it.
It's also faster than an old IDE drive, which will be important because you'll need a decent swap file for virtual memory.

5) Ebay is a great source of old memory, I recently picked up a 256Mb module for an old IBM laptop for $5 from Hong Kong. It's also probably worth asking on this forum - I'm sure I'm not the only one here that has a box full of antique memory and other bits, just waiting to find a new home.

6) There's a lot of tweaking that can be done to Win9x/XP/etc to reduce the resource load, google can help with this.
This means faster startup and shutdown, less cpu/memory used by the operating system, and more disk space available.

7) 1Gb of space is OK for maps. You obviously won't be able to keep every map you own on the system, but if you have another laptop with more storage available, it's just a case of transferring the maps you need today/this week onto the small one. If you organise your maps into different folders for each trip leg on your "big" laptop before you go, it's as simple as deleting the maps off the small one and copying the next folder across of an evening (while you're backing up your track logs).

8) Before heading down the path of an old laptop, give serious thought to a winCE based PND instead. The 7" models aren't too expensive, and will do a far better job than an old laptop. They're smaller, faster, far more reliable, and just a better option IMHO.
They have an in-built GPSr and more storage, and run from 12v - they'll quite likely work out cheaper than even the cheapest laptop by the time you add everything needed to run ozi etc.
If even those are too expensive (7" ones are about $170, 4.3" one are about $80) keep an eye out for a second hand PDA, there are bargains to be had (but keep in mind you'll also need a GPSr for it).
Using a PND/PDA also reduces the problems with mounting and cables. Just stick it on your dash, plug into the cig lighter socket and go.

I gave up on carpcs/laptops for navigation a few years ago - mine managed to let me down on every single trip I went on in one way or another. I ditched the laptop setup and got a cheap PDA and have never looked back. I still take a laptop with me, but it only gets used around the campfire reviewing the day's trip and planning the next.
I do miss being able to view more of the surrounding map on the larger screen while on the move (laptop used an 8" TFT on the dash, PDA is a 4.3") but I'm considering upgrading to a 7" PND which will be the best of both worlds.