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Garmin Nuvi 200 as a Strava Device

Today's electronic gadgets are wonderful things. Heres how a Garmin Nuvi 200 navigational GPS unit was repurposed into a Strava ride recorder.

The Garmin Nuvi 200 is a 2007 or so vintage navigational GPS designed to be used in an automobile but that also has an internal rechargeable battery. Although not intended to record 'tracks' for use by tools such as the Strava website it has all the necessary hardware to do so. A custom firmware upgrade patch has been written to support the track feature. All the information regarding this patch is available from this forum thread:

http://www.malsingmaps.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9014&st=0&sk=t&sd=...

Different versions of the Nuvi 200 require different patches. It is important that a mistake not be made determining which version of the firmware patch is appropriate. A fair amount of caution needs to be taken in identifying your Nuvi gps unit, choosing the correct patch, and applying that patch to prevent permanent damage to your Garmin Nuvi.

After following the steps and directions you will now have the ability to start and save 'tracks'. These tracks are binary files with a '.bin' file suffix. The Strava tool, however, does not recognize .bin files. So the next step is converting these .bin files into the more common '.gpx' file format files. A free utility named Nutrak exists for this purpose. I chose, however, to port that functionality into some alpha quality PHP code. Someone hoping to use my php file will need access to an environment that has a PHP command line interpreter. This file is hosted as a .txt file to prevent it from being executed by Apache. The end user will need to change the extension back to '.php'.

nutrakphp.txt

The php executable receives the name of the '.bin' file to convert on the command line. On a Windows system executing it will look something like this:
php.exe nutrakphp.php nuvi_file_to_convert.bin
During conversion a new '.gpx' file will be written to the filesystem with a name based on the current date an time. This '.gpx' file will be recognized by Strava and other applications designed for modern GPS track file types.

Please be warned that the php code supplied via the link is not production quality. It has little error checking and zero guarantees.

I went through all the steps listed above and found that I really enjoyed using the online Strava tool. I also found that the Nuvi 200 had inadequate battery life for my needs and a pretty poor user interface. Although I enjoyed the challenge in converting my Garmin Nuvi 200 into a Strava device I don't think I'd recommend it. I purchased a cycling specific GPS unit less than a month after completing this project.