Hacking the V7 Navigation 1000 GPS

On Boxing Day I picked up a cool new toy – a V7 Navigation 1000. It’s an in-car GPS unit with quite nice hardware and software (albeit perhaps matched up and configured by monkeys, and somewhat buggy too). As with any new electronics gadget, I set out looking for updates as soon as I had my hands on it – which lead me down the road of hacks for similar GPS units. It turns out that the software the V7 unit runs, MyGuide, is just iGo re-branded and is exactly the same as what many other common GPS units run under various names such as MioMap.
While it’s great that the Navigation 1000 has all its maps on an included 1gb SD card, this lead to the problem that they did not include any way to access the rest of the files on the device (such as the configuration files for MyGuide). Devices like the Mio DigiWalker C310S have a USB port since their maps are stored on internal Flash memory and not an SD card, and this let their owners do some simple software hacks to get full access to reconfigure the GPS software as well as directly use Windows CE. Yes, these babies run on Windows CE!
Knowing that there was Windows CE under the hood, and that there was a quite powerful processor powering the device (400MHz ARM), this lead me to assume that there must be a USB port hidden somewhere inside – perhaps behind what looked like covered up ports? After all, if I was developing a Windows CE device, I’d want a USB port for development and debugging!
And so it began…
As with all hardware hacks, please do not attempt this unless you are experienced in electronics and soldering, and have all the necessary equipment. You’ll want a good soldering iron with a very fine tip (made for SMD work, not through-hole!) – not the kind you get at RadioShack.
First, start by taking off the front case. There are 4 small phillips screws on the back of the V7 Navigation 1000 that you’ll have to remove. None of my phillips jewelers screwdrivers were small enough to fit into the screw hole, so I used one of my medium-sized flat-head jewelers screwdrivers – it worked fine. As with most gadgets, the case is also sealed by plastic clips around the edge. After several attempts with my trusty jewelers screwdriver that had just saved me, I gave up and used my thumb nail. In no time I had the case open. Woohoo!
With the case open, the first thing you’ll see is most of the PCB is covered in shielding tape (which is very sticky!). I’ll tell you now – all the interesting components are inside a metal shield on the back of the PCB, and it’s soldered down pretty damn well. After I came to that realization, I almost packed in the towel as I assumed that any way to access USB would also be hidden in there. While I did some last minute poking around the PCB, I saw 4 test points marked J3. Test points marked as a jumper? Very odd… and being that USB uses 4 wires (+, -, D+, D-), I had a “eureka!” moment.
Where will you find these golden test points (no, seriously – they are gold plated)? At the very top of the front of the PCB, nearly in the centre (above a whole lot of VIAs as it would seem that the ARM chip is in a BGA package). To get to them you will have to remove the shielding tape from the top of the PCB – it’s easy enough as it’s only stuck to the top of a few components, so just take it slow and be careful.
If you look closely at J3, you will see that of the 4 test points, the left-most test point is separated from the other 3. This is VCC (V+). Looking closely at the right-most test point, you can see that it is connected to the ground plane. This is GND (V-). As for the other 2, I had no idea other than the standard order is V+, D-, D+. GND. As V+ and GND were in the correct order, I went with the assumption that D- and D+ were too. I was right. At least some people follow standards! :)
We now have a way to connect to this device by USB, all we need now is to connect it up. I had the choice of soldering a USB cable directly to the PCB or putting a mini-USB connector in the unit and being able to plug a standard mini-USB cable in, and would definitely have gone with the later if I wasn’t in a rush to see if all my assumptions about the USB pinout was correct (or if it even was a USB port). As such, I found a spare mini-USB cable, cut off the mini-USB plug, and stripped the 4 wires. If your USB cable has shielding (it should), just cut that back also. You’ll want about 10cm of the USB cables shielding stripped back, as it’s too fat to route through the GPS unit. Next, strip the ends of the 4 wires in the cable. You only want to have 1-2mm (that’s a bit less than 0.05-0.1″) of bare wire at the ends, as the actual test points that you’ll be soldering them to are about 1mm in diameter each and any extra bare wire could easily make contact with other wires or components causing all kinds of grief (and likely a dead GPS and perhaps PC too if it’s connected at the time).
You can see that I’ve soldered them in the order (left-to-right) Red, White, Green, Black. These are the standard colours for VCC, D-, D+, and GND respectively in USB cables, and as such they should be the same in any USB cable that you cut up for this hack. If they are not, or if you just want to be extra careful (I was!), you can always use a continuity tester on the mini-USB connector that you cut off from the end of the cable (pinout).
You should also note the use of heat-shrink tubing (and further on the use of electrical tape) to prevent any of the USB wires (and shielding of the USB cable itself!) coming into contact with the PCB or components where they shouldn’t.
Next up we need to make a hole to feed the USB cable out from. I chose to make use of the area above the power button as it looked like it was originally designed to have a port there (the PCB even had room for an unknown connector – but it wasn’t USB). You can make it anywhere on the case obviously, another good location would be the top next to the stylus as that would minimize the internal-routing of the USB cable (given the amount of shielding the GPS unit has, this would likely be a good thing). Dremel time!
When routing the USB wires, be careful to avoid blocking the front-panel buttons and their backlight LEDs. I found it was quicker to just turn the unit on than to look around the PCB for the 4 LEDs. When that’s done, you should have something looking like this.
Snap the case back on and put the 4 screws back in, and you’re done! You might want to turn it on now to make sure that it still works…
Download and install Microsoft ActiveSync (here) as this will let you access the device just like it was a PDA. Plug the GPS unit into one of your computer’s USB ports, and you should be good to go! If you click ‘Explore’ in ActiveSync, Explorer will open to allow you to browse around the file system. The first thing you should do is back everything up, though there are some files that you cannot (system files).
One easy hack you can make right off the bat with MyGuide is to add a button from the startup screen to run Explorer on your device. To do this, copy \Flash Disk\IGOPATH.TXT to your PC and create a backup copy of it also. Rename the file on the device to IGOPATH.bak. Back on your PC, open IGOPATH.TXT in Notepad and add the following line to the end of the [Multimedia] section (so this should be the last line in the file):

Explorer= “icons/files.bmp”, “\\Windows\\Explorer.exe”

The file should now look like this:

[pre_init]
LangSyncOn = “\\flash disk\\langsync.exe”
[pre_quit]
LangSyncOff = “\\flash disk\\langsync.exe”

[modules]
Settings = “icons/settings.bmp”, “settings”, 1
Multimedia = “icons/media.bmp”, “Multimedia”, 0

[Multimedia]
Picture= “”, “\\Flash DIsk\\XImage\\XImage.exe”
Movie= “”, “\\Flash DIsk\\XMovie\\XMovie.exe”
Music= “”, “\\Flash DIsk\\XMp3\\XMp3.exe”
Explorer= “icons/files.bmp”, “\\Windows\\Explorer.exe”

You can now copy this file back to the V7 Navigation 1000 (under \Flash Disk\, of course), then power-cycle the device so it gets the new configuration. If you click on Multimedia on the first screen now, it will list Music, Movie, Picture, and… Explorer! Tap on Explorer, and there you have it – Windows CE Explorer is running on your V7 Navigation 1000.

From here you can go ahead and install lots of normal Windows CE software such as games, and utilities, or just mess around with MyGuides configuration (custom skins, hidden features, and more are all possible… maybe even bug fixes). Since the Mio uses the same software, a lot of its hacks should be portable to the V7.
The GpsPasSion forums are a great source of information on Mio hacking, so should be one of your first stops.
Happy hacking, and if you find something cool, drop me a note!
Jan 1st, 2007 | Posted in V7 and MyGuide
  1. vaillam
    Jan 24th, 2007 at 09:05 | #1

    I do the modification and add USB port. After that I do the software mod and everything was working well. Then I try to move ffw and try to install european map and I srew the file under flashdisk/myguide/_______ Now navigation wont start because of licence db (no matter if I put the original back) It is possible for you to give me the file under the path below.

  2. vaillam
    Jan 24th, 2007 at 09:17 | #2

    Could you contact me at
    1-613-936-5238 or 1-450-267-0240 or
    vaillam@navcanada.ca

  3. Richard Sim
    Jan 24th, 2007 at 09:55 | #3

    vaillam,
    I wasn’t sure if you wanted the original Data.zip or license.db, so I’ve sent them both in emails – let me know if the attached files get blocked by your mail server. If that happens, I’ll upload them to my website so you can get them.

    Good luck!

  4. Poubelle
    Jan 31st, 2007 at 08:45 | #4

    Hi there, first … my name is Gilles and of course not “poubelle.vide” which is just an email address!!

    Secondly, I also own a V7 Nav 100 and desparately seeking for european maps. Apparently you managed to fin those european maps.

    Would you help me please by letting me know where I can find those?

    Regards,

    Gilles.

  5. Chris
    Feb 1st, 2007 at 04:45 | #5

    Please contact me

    info@media2000.info

    my name is Chris

  6. MrShunt
    Feb 2nd, 2007 at 03:50 | #6

    Ciao a tutti! Fantastica modifica. Non perderò un solo minuto, anche se vorrei mettere una porta mini-usb anzichè il cavo: sarà possibile? Però vorrei sapere se ora che avete sbrandizzato il V7 riuscite ad ascoltare gli mp3 durante la navigazione? Grazie per le future risposte.

    Hi, Fantastic hack, I will not lose any minute but I’d like to put a mini-usb port rather then wire: is it possible?I’d like to know if, after unlock V7,you can play MP3 during running Navigation by Myguide. Thanks for your answers.

  7. Tyler
    Feb 9th, 2007 at 16:52 | #7

    Hey can you email me the xmp3.exe and xmovie.exe file. For some reason I decided to delete it :( .
    My email address is t_bone54@hotmail.com

    Thanks

  8. Alok
    Feb 17th, 2007 at 19:59 | #8

    I own a v7 1000 and was wondering, since it can be hacked and it runs windows OS, is it possible to download Google maps (for pda/smartphones)on it and then use those for navigation, instead of the outdated Canda map it comes with ? please reply at al.sinha@gmail.com

  9. Philip
    Mar 10th, 2007 at 21:05 | #9

    After using it to watch movies, my unit suddenly lose the sound from speakers in the back, and I can only hear sound of right side from earphone at a certain angle.

    So I opened it up and found that a soldering point of the phone plug was lose. I am going to get my soldering iron and see if it will solve the problem.

  10. dj
    Mar 23rd, 2007 at 22:07 | #10

    philip – how are u able to watch movies on this unit?
    i copy my mp4 encoded files over to the SD card, rename them to .avi and launch the movie player. however, it immedietly returns error :play0109 and you have to hit OK to exit the application.
    then iam simply returned to the main menu

  11. Frederic
    Apr 1st, 2007 at 04:43 | #11

    Anyone knows if the battery can be replaced easily once you open the case? Is this unit using a standard battery or is it proprietary?

    Thanks!

  12. hk
    Apr 8th, 2007 at 18:23 | #12

    Hello

    I am new to GPS. Got my unit from factorydirect.ca @ $249 (brand new; not refurb). It’s MyGuide branded (not V7) but looks identical even the case. Comes preloaded with 50 states+Canada. Everything is OK so far except I would’ve preferred AC adapter to be included. Looks I have to spend $30 to get one on eBay.

    I have 2 questions:

    1) Did any one successfully apply the 070202 Hotfix that fixes the time problem? I have English version of CE installed and looks like the fix is in German.

    2) Did anyone successfully install European maps? I came across several versions of the license.db file on the Internet; tried to install one of them (that claimed to be universal) but got a rather menacing message (something about changing hardware) and backed out.

    Thanks in advance, Harry

  13. stan
    May 6th, 2007 at 17:44 | #13

    Richard,
    Your illustration is very useful for us to add a Usb port on V7. Before I work on it, may I ask you somthing I am not sure:
    1. Can I use Avtivesync from my PC to install Win CE programs permanently into V7? My experience is that even I install some program from the SD card directly to V7, it will lost all change when I power off V7.
    2. Can I connect some removable devices like Usb harddisk to the V7 new Usb port and it will be recognized?
    3. Can I get power form the V7 new USB port to run some addition devices and can I charge the battery of V7 form my PC?
    Thank you som much if you can help.
    My email: sttse@yahoo.ca
    Stan

  14. jeffrey
    Jul 19th, 2007 at 14:41 | #14

    European Maps:

    I have a Navicube 350, a CE machine which uses Smart2go. Nokia makes GPS phones that use Smart2go and makes maps available for these phones free. Has anyone succeeded in loading any European maps into any CE machine, and has anyone tried the Nokia maps?

  15. ohno
    Aug 10th, 2007 at 06:43 | #15

    thank u very much in this great tutorial. think this is what i need to repair my v7. do you thing i can have a copy of your backup files (the flash disk)
    thanks
    oskar@bboy.com

  16. Eastsider
    Sep 27th, 2007 at 21:06 | #16

    Messed up the flash on my unit. I have too many files or the files are too large. I get a missing voice file in /flash/disk/myguide/voice. When I try to copy one in manually I get a disk out of space. Lot’s of room on the SD.
    If someone can hel send e-mail to pierresurpenant11@sympatico.ca.

    Thanks

  17. NoSoySauce
    Oct 27th, 2007 at 21:48 | #17

    I bought a v7 1000 a few months ago and now when I turn it on it says, “HardwareIDchanged”. I did some research and found out that I need a licence.db file for the unit to work. I checked the SD card and did not find any such file. If anyone has it, PLEASE send a copy to me. My e-mail is nosoysauce@hotmail.com Your help is greatly appreciated.

  18. K
    Nov 4th, 2007 at 00:09 | #18

    i also got the “HardwareIDchanged”. i would be grateful if someone could e–mail me the licence.db file
    thaseedsower@yahoo.com
    thanks

  19. GPSUser1
    Jan 22nd, 2008 at 14:01 | #19

    I have a 2-year old MyGuide 3000 which is suddenly experiencing an unusual power problem.

    I have made no modifications to the unit and up until now it’s worked fine.

    This past weekend I pluged it into my cars 12V outlet with the provided cord, (like I always do) the battery indicator went to zero and the unit shut down. At first I thought was the power cord, but it had infact blown the 3A250V fuse in the plug and also blew the 10A fuse in the cars fuse panel.

    I replaced the 10A fuse and tried my cell phone charger and it worked fine. I replaced the 3A250V power cord fuse, plugged in the GPS and sure enough, it blew both the fuses again.

    At this point I was wondering if it was the DC power cord, perhaps it was pinched and had a short. I checked it for continuity on a Fluke DMM and it checked out fine. So I again replaced the 3A250V fuse and this time tried plugging it into a 110V-12VDC wall adapter and oddly enough, it charged the battery and the MyGuide 3000 powered up like normal.

    However, when went back to the car and I plugged the GPS back into the car outlet, it once again blew the 3A250V fuse (but not the cars 10A fuse)the battery indicator was at zero and the system shut down.

    Is it possible there’s a diode or something internal to the GPS that’s at fault?

    Your comments are appreciated.

  20. Steven
    Jan 31st, 2008 at 22:20 | #20

    I am having the exact same problem. my fuse keeps blowing. any reasons why??

  21. p_a_treasure
    Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:16 | #21

    hi guys found your forum while looking for a cd replacement i cant find my cd that came with my v7 nav 1000 if any one of you could kindly help me out been over a month now i had formated the sd to lend my girlfriend and now i am suffering no games no maps mine had us and canada please some one help me thanks or give me a link i will pay for it if the cost is reasonable. thaks pablo
    dainty_lover203@yahoo.com

  22. p_a_treasure
    Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:29 | #22

    hi guys found your forum while looking for a cd replacement i cant find my cd that came with my v7 nav 1000 if any one of you could kindly help me out been over a month now i had formated the sd to lend my girlfriend and now i am suffering no games no maps mine had us and canada please some one help me thanks or give me a link i will pay for it if the cost is reasonable. thaks pablo
    dainty_lover203@yahoo.com

  23. p_a_treasure
    Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:30 | #23

    hi guys found your forum while looking for a cd replacement i cant find my cd that came with my v7 nav 1000 if any one of you could kindly help me out been over a month now i had formated the sd to lend my girlfriend and now i am suffering no games no maps mine had us and canada please some one help me thanks or give me a link i will pay for it if the cost is reasonable. thaks pablo
    dainty_lover203@yahoo.com

  24. p_a_treasure
    Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:56 | #24

    hi guys found your forum while looking for a cd replacement i cant find my cd that came with my v7 nav 1000 if any one of you could kindly help me out been over a month now i had formated the sd to lend my girlfriend and now i am suffering no games no maps mine had us and canada please some one help me thanks or give me a link i will pay for it if the cost is reasonable. thaks pablo
    dainty_lover203@yahoo.com

  25. ChiPPy
    Aug 6th, 2009 at 19:40 | #25

    I know this is a really old post, but I’m hoping you still read this. I recently followed your tutorial, and some how, deleted my license.db file from my flash directory. It now has a 0kb file size. I have tried other files, but they all give me a device error. Could you possibly email me the original V7 1000 license.db file so that I can use my GPS again?

    Thanks

You must be logged in to post a comment.