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Peter Andersson

I've already got a female to worry about. Her name is the Enterprise.
-- Kirk, "The Corbomite Maneuver", stardate 1514.0


As a computer geek and a sailor I want to have navigation system on-board. The obvious choice is OpenCPN which is an opensource navigation system.
When it comes to hardware it is a little bit more tricky. A balance between money and what you get. I have for several years wanted a Panasonic Thoughbook but they cost alot. It is hard to motivate that price when it will be used just a few weeks during the summer. After browsing ebay I find a used Panasonic Thoughbook CF-19
for a reasonable price, €170 incuding shipping form Germany. I have to live with that the keyboard is not Swedish. When the computer arrived I found that it was equipped with a builtin GPS reciever. That is very handy 😉
This article describes howto get the builtin GPS receiver working with gpsd.

Pre requirements

*Panasonic ThoughBook CF-19 with a builtin Gps receiver
*Operating system with Gpsd installed, I use lubuntu. Lubuntu has modest requirements on the hardware and for such an old box it is good to not have all the bells and whistles.

How to

Bios settings

I tried to use the auto settings in the bios but I never managed to get that running. So I changed the GPS settings to enabled.


After some googling it looks like the gps receiver is attached as a serial port number 3, in linux that is /dev/ttyS3

peter@Tough:~$ ls -al /dev/ttyS3
crw-rw---- 1 root dialout 4, 67 Mar 10 15:28 /dev/ttyS3

So the group owner of the serialport is dialout.

To get access to the serialport for the gps daemon I modify the /etc/group file

To get gpds to understand which port the gps is connected to i modified /etc/default/gpsd
# Default settings for the gpsd init script and the hotplug wrapper.

# Start the gpsd daemon automatically at boot time

# Use USB hotplugging to add new USB devices automatically to the daemon

# Devices gpsd should collect to at boot time.
# They need to be read/writeable, either by user gpsd or the group dialout.

# Other options you want to pass to gpsd

Start gpsd

sudo /etc/init.d/gpsd start


To test that you have contact with the gps receiver there is several options, some of them are:

  • xgpsmon
  • gpsmon
  • gpspipe

An example of how gpspipe can look like:
gpspipe -r

3 Responses to “Using the builtin GPS with Linux and Panasonic Thoughbook CF-19”

  1. Mikael Falkvidd Says:

    Hur exakt är den? https://www.google.com/maps/place/59°27'23.6%22N+17°55'19.6%22E/@59.4564929,17.922272,19z

  2. peter Says:

    Verkar väldigt exakt

  3. Glenn Says:

    For my Toughbook CF-31 the GPS is attached to /dev/ttyS0. Once I set this in the gpsd init script (where your’s references /dev/ttyS3) it started streaming GPS data.

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