the Gallery

Hacking the Roadstar RGPS404

I have recently acquired a Roadstar RGPS404 "Personal Navigation Device", or sat nav as normal people call them. It's a bog standard sat nav with a 4" touchwidescreen, running Windows Core 4.2 as the OS, and Destinator ND as the navigation software. It has a 400MHz ARMv4 CPU and an SD card slot, so there is plenty of potential for interesting uses of this machine. The device itself isn't actually manufactured by Roadstar, the OEM is Shinco, and as such this device is more commonly known as a Shinco GM-400EU. Another incarnation of it is the Invion 4v106, targeted at the North American market, which differs slightly in having a built in VHF broadcast band FM modulator and video player. I haven't actually disassembled the device in order to determine if it actually has the FM modulator hardware on board; the reason I suspect it may do is that when this device was being prepared for the market, personal FM modulators technically weren't legal in the UK.

What I like

What I don't like

Drivers for Windows

The drivers required to access the RGPS404 via ActiveStink are not supplied by Roadstar, which I personally think is a bit of a poor show. Attempting to find drivers for the Shinco GM-400EU or Roadstar RGPS-404 will lead you on a long and fruitless journey. Luckily, however, our friends at Invion are a lot more helpful, putting up a zip file with them in: If that zip file ever disappears, the files you're interested in are wceusbsh.inf and wceusbsh.sys.

Mapping data

There were two sets of mapping data supplied on my unit, UK_Ireland version 2006.Q1.4156 and EURoads version 2006.Q1.4190. The maps whilst not 100% accurate are enough to get you 99% of the way there. One annoyance is how some postcodes seem to be missing, usually in the middle of nowhere when you need them the most.


Various DLLs to help run apps on Core

Main menu

To edit the main menu [mine currently shows Navigation, Player and Settings buttons], you need to edit a file called \ResidentFlash\DestinatorApps\Dshell\Schema\SCHEMA.INI. This is a simple plain text file with each [Section] defining a button with its coordinates and color. Adding extra applications to this menu should be trivial.
UPDATE: 28-03-2008: Well, it lasted six months. Whilst I was driving I deviated from the route, and noticed it didn't re-route. Gave it a reboot and now it pops up a little message saying "The system can't find navigate the software in the Flash, please check it, then re-start the system." Presumably it is now dead so I will be returning it for a refund.
UPDATE: 21-04-2008: Maplin are refunding my money. They haven't said what the problem is.
UPDATE: 24-04-2008: Bought a Tomtom Go 520 from John Lewis
UPDATE: 02-09-2008: Returned my Tomtom Go 520 to John Lewis. It doesn't boot any more, or show up as a device when plugged into the four PCs I've tested it on :-(