It happens that I have an ASUS R700 GPS device. Although a good piece of hardware, ASUS has dropped the software support for it, leaving the users only with map updates possibility (from Naviextras site) – but even this one only until 1 May 2016, the date from which map updates support for this device has also been dropped.

The original ASUS GO GPS application provided with the R700 was from the beginning (and remained) a sort of beta version of the Nav N Go iGO GPS application, with poor or broken automatic map overview in 3D mode, occasional software crashes and skipping full support for possibly additional map features on newer map versions. The latest software update from ASUS site occurred in 2008.

Note: Naviextras, which providesd official map updates for R700, also providesd a patch, required when connecting the device with their Naviextras Toolbox map update application; installing the patch also updates the ASUS GO application to a 2009 version (at least this is what the ASUS GO “About” menu says); although newer, apparently it retains the same functionalities and limitations of the original ASUS GO version (for example, the smart zoom button at the bottom of the map screen still does not seem to work).

Installing the newer Nav N Go iGO8 version on ASUS R700 GPS device is described and discussed on many sites.

Note: weird, but it appears that the iGO8 software version cannot be purchased officially and installed legally on ASUS R700 GPS device; according to support representatives as stated on Naviextras forums,

PNA devices are sold with embedded software versions, you cannot buy a navigation software for these separately. The PNA-versions are different from the PDA version and therefore not compatible with each other.

ASUS R700 GPS device is a PNA.

Once installed in one way or another, the iGO8 software works fine, but on R700 in particular there are at least two issues left. In the following I provide a solution for these issues, or (in chapter (i) and then (ii)) just a way to get rid of the standby countdown annoyance that may be applied also to the original ASUS GO software:

  1. The standby process (button & power sensing) (may be applied to either ASUS GO original version or iGO8 version)
  2. Start iGO application directly with the map screen (may be applied to either ASUS GO original version or iGO8 version)
  3. The battery indicator (required only for iGO8 version)

Important:
When speaking about “device”, I am referring to the ASUS R700 GPS device, except if otherwise clearly stated.
In the following I assume that the device on which the patches are to be applied uses either the original software provided by ASUS (suitable for chapter (i) and (ii)), or an iGO8 software installed instead of the original ASUS GO version on the internal FlashDisk; the patches provided here can be applied in other scenarios as well, but I have no intention to provide support for those; feel free to reconsider the installation description or to modify the scripts in order to suit your particular needs.
I assume that the low level technical details of the device are familiar and that the person who reads this article (and wants to put it in practice) knows how to access the system partitions and files of the device.
I have done this just for hobby and retain no responsibility for whatever happens to your device if you apply the patches described below; the patches are provided “as is”; the responsibility for the success or failure of these operations belongs exclusively to the person that applies them !


(i) The standby process (button & power sensing)

Over the time there were a few things that constantly annoyed me during the use of it:

  • the device always starts with the ASUS main menu; although this may be tolerable at the start of a trip when mounting the device on the windshield, it for sure makes no sense later at each stop when the device enters and then returns from standby (which is likely to happen on short breaks, like at gas stations or similar); I simply want a GPS that, once set the destination, requires no further intervention from my part
  • the device is detecting the loss of external power and automatically enters the standby after ten seconds of countdown; the standby process can be canceled during the countdown period only by touching the “Cancel” button on the device screen, regardless if the external power is eventually connected back during the countdown period
  • in case of upgrading to iGO8 software version, the standby process based on the ASUS interface (including the hardware standby button and power sensing) no longer works

The solution provided here offers the following features:

  • when either pressing the hardware standby button or by disconnecting the external power, depending on a configuration script parameter, the device can do one of the following:
    • no action (standby request is deactivated)
    • asks for standby confirmation with a standard Windows CE dialog type; the dialog waits forever, until:
      • the user touches one of the “Yes” (confirm standby) or “No” (return to GPS operation) dialog buttons
        or
      • the user presses the hardware standby button or the device is powered again (in case the external power was removed), in which case the dialog disappears and the program remains in GPS mode as if nothing had happened
    • asks for standby confirmation with a countdown dialog type; the dialog waits until:
      • the countdown reaches 0, in which case the device enters automatically in standby (default script is after 20 seconds)
        or
      • the user touches one of the “OK” (confirm standby) or “Cancel” (return to GPS operation) dialog buttons
        or
      • the user presses the hardware standby button or the device is powered again (in case the external power was removed), in which case the dialog disappears and the program remains in GPS mode as if nothing had happened
  • (works with either ASUS GO original version or iGO8 version)

Note: the standby dialog type can be specified only by editing the script (value 0, 1 or 2 for the last parameter in line 25 from “navigation.mscr” file; default script is 2, i.e. countdown dialog type).

  • when returning from standby, the GPS software enters directly, without the annoying ASUS main menu
  • (works with either ASUS GO original version or iGO8 version)

Note: even so, the GPS software itself will not enter the map screen directly, it still starts with the “Find”, “Settings”, etc. dialog; for a complete self-operation when returning from standby, the hack described in chapter (ii) must be applied.

  • the new standby dialog provides multilingual support, except for the “Yes”, “No”, “OK” and “Cancel” words (software button strings); the actual language depends on the Windows CE system language which is set by the ASUS main menu and not by the GPS software own language setup
  • (works with either ASUS GO original version or iGO8 version)

Disclaimer: the script provided here include simple translation text files for English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian and Spanish; because – except for Romanian – I am not native speaker of those languages, I am not 100% certain about the spelling on most but Hungarian text file, which was provided separately by Laszlo Gere; please check the string in your language before installing, or even add some more translation text file(s) in case your language is missing; after installing, the translation text files will reside in \FlashDisk\Programs\Secarica\locale\; each translation text file must be in UTF-8 encoding format, with BOM; each filename must include the decimal version of the Locale ID (LCID) for that language; take a look here for decimal LCID values of various languages.

  • the standby process, including the hardware standby button and the power sensing, is compatible with the iGO8 software version
  • after returning from standby, the bluetooth connection is restored to the state it was when the standby was entered
  • after returning from standby, the FM transmitter remains deactivated, regardless the state it was when the standby was entered (I don’t know how to enable or disable the FM transmitter programmatically in silent mode, but I also consider this to be a stupid and useless feature, so I don’t see any reason to waste my time with it)
  • the patching is reversible, in that the original functionality can be restored at anytime
  • it is based on MortScript scripting program and language
  • it uses a few freeware programs (Off and TroNik’s PowerButton) that are part of the MioPocket package

With the standby patch applied, the standby flowchart looks like this (click on the image for a SVG version):

Note: the SVG may not be viewable with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Standby flowchart with the standby patch installed
Flowchart of the standby scenarios with the standby patch installed

To install the patch, follow these steps:

Note: current patch version is 1.2 (click here for versions history)

Then:

  • extract somewhere the content of the archive, enter there the “FlashDisk” folder, then the “Programs” folder
  • connect the device to a computer, in a way that all internal partitions of the device are visible
  • on the device, enter the “FlashDisk” partition
  • create there (if not already exists) a folder named “Programs” and enter it
  • copy the whole “Programs” folder content from the extracted archive into the “Programs” folder on the device
  • on both the extracted archive and the device, step back one level from “Programs” and enter the “Navi” folder
  • on the device, rename the file “navigation.exe” to “iGO8.exe”
  • copy the whole “Navi” folder content from the extracted archive into the “Navi” folder on the device
  • make sure that all transfers have finished successfully and disconnect the device from computer
  • switch off the device

That’s all. The device is now ready to be used with the new standby flowchart in action.

When invoked, the popup standby dialog should look similar to one of the snapshots shown below. Remember that the standby dialog type can be specified only by editing the script (value 0, 1 or 2 for the last parameter in line 25 from “navigation.mscr” file; default is 2, i.e. countdown dialog type) and that the standby dialog language matches the Windows CE multilingual user interface setting (or will fallback to English if the standby dialog translation is missing), which in turn is set by the ASUS main menu and not by the GPS software own language setup.

Snapshot of the countdown dialog type and Spanish translation
Example with countdown dialog type and Spanish interface
Snapshot of the standard dialog type and Romanian translation
Example with standard dialog type and Romanian interface
Snapshot of the standard dialog type and French translation
Example with standard dialog type and French interface

After resuming from standby, for a short period of time the display will show something like this:

Snapshot of the waiting for SD card loop
Waiting for the micro SD card to become ready while resuming from standby

Important: the standby script provided here checks for the readiness of the micro SD card; this is done by trying to read the “AsusGo” folder on it, which is true for the original ASUS GO software. Leave this folder as is, do not delete it, even if it’s empty ! If the micro SD card is not inserted, or if it is inserted but the “AsusGo” folder does not exists, the program will remain in a waiting loop. This check can be skipped by pressing the hardware standby button or by simply modifying the script, but I do not recommend this.

Note: an explicit status message can also be implemented instead of the system hour glass, but in my opinion the hourglass looks nicer :)

To deactivate the installed standby patch and return to the original ASUS behaviour, delete the file “navigation.exe” provided by this patch (or rename it to some random name of your choice) and then rename the file “iGO8.exe” back to “navigation.exe” as it originally was.


(ii) Start iGO application directly with the map screen

In my opinion, the standby patch presented above becomes truly complete only if the iGO application will start directly with the map screen. Follow the steps below for this to happen.

Note: this is not my solution, I reproduce it here only as a completion to chapter (i); the credit for this solution goes to user guigvenant from the (now dead) Mioskins forum .

  • connect the device to a computer, in a way that all internal partitions of the device are visible
  • on the device, enter the “FlashDisk” partition, then enter the “Navi” folder
  • copy the “data.zip” file from the device to the computer
  • !! make a backup copy of it and keep the backup copy in a safe place !!
  • open the working copy of the archive; inside of it go to the file \ui_igo8\common\ui\start.ui
  • search for the label sc_GoToStartState
  • modify the code as follows:
    <script sc_GoToStartState>
      GETSYSENTRY "start_state" "interface" "" vTmp
      runifnot vTmp "" 'STATE vTmp'
      else_run 'STATE st_NavigateMap'
    </script>
  • close the archive
  • replace the “data.zip” file inside the device with the modified one
  • make sure that all transfers have finished successfully and disconnect the device from computer
  • switch off the device

Voilà ! :)


(iii) The battery indicator

After installing iGO8 on ASUS R700, the battery indicator no longer works. It remains blue as in external power mode, regardless if the device is running on battery, or the actual level of the battery.

Here is a working solution for this, but take note that the solution is not perfect: although the visual indication is correct over almost the whole range of the battery level, when the battery level is only 5% left, the indicator turns back to the blue external power mode indication. But take the half full part of the glass: when running that low on battery, the blue indicator just notify something like “hey, put me quickly on external power, else you will be lost !” :)

The working solution:

Then:

  • connect the device to the computer, in a way that all internal partitions are visible
  • on the device, enter the “FlashDisk” partition, then enter the “Navi” folder
  • copy the “data.zip” file from the device to the computer
  • !! make a backup copy of it and keep the backup copy in a safe place !!
  • open the working copy of the archive; inside of it go to the folder \ui_igo8\common
  • replace the “status_minibattery.bmp” file with the one downloaded just before
  • close the archive
  • replace the “data.zip” file inside the device with the modified one
  • copy the “sys.txt” file from the device to the computer
  • open the copied text file and look for a category line called [modules]
    • if the [modules] category already exists, leave the category line unmodified; make sure that below of it either ASUS_BATTERY or other IBATTERY_something are commented (simply put a ; character in front of that lines)
    • if the [modules] category does not exist, create one (say, at the end of the file)
  • right below the line with [modules] make a new line with this content:
    IBATTERY="BATTERY_UNIDEF"
  • save the file
  • replace the “sys.txt” file inside the device with the modified one

That’s all. The battery indicator should work ok now, except for the 5% remaining battery level amendment stated at the beginning of this chapter.

The correspondence in percents for the battery level indicator is shown below; percents were reported by the system in 5% steps, using the BatteryPercentage script command within a MortScript test script:

displayed
battery icon
actual battery percent
battery icon 100% 100% ? (during the tests I have never seen this percent when on battery)
battery icon 90% 90-95%
battery icon 80% 80-85%
battery icon 70% 70-75%
battery icon 60% 60-65%
battery icon 50% 50-55%
battery icon 40% 40-45%
battery icon 30% 30-35%
battery icon 20% 20-25%
battery icon 10% 10-15%
battery icon external power 5% or external power

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