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ProLink Golf Course Management - GPS Receiver/Transmitter

Posted on 2013-05-14
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Last Modified: 2013-05-22
This is some very vague information, about a software package that isn't around anymore, running on ancient hardware...and it would be really awesome if I could get it running!

My local golf course uses ProLink CMS 4.x, it is a SQL/IIS package that runs on Windows 2K Pro.

ProLink was bought out and the golf course decided not to pay the increased maintenance fees (They aren't swimming in cash).  So there is no support available.

I was brought in and the 'server' wasn't booting, I was told that someone was 'cleaning up cables' and when they tried to boot the server back up they just got a blue screen.  We ran virus scans, malware bytes, HD tune, and didn't find a single thing wrong.  We put the drive back in the system and all of a sudden it boots up.

So now the server appears to be running, but it doesn't seem to have any connectivity to the GPS hardware.  This is where I get lost.  There are 2 devices plugged in via db9 serial cables, 1 runs to a device that isn't labeled, it is an aluminum case with an antenna, it has 3 lights that are all green.  

The second serial cable runs to an antenna on the roof which I'm told communicates with a 'repeater' that is installed at a high point on one of the holes.

The specific problem I can relay is that when you open the web page loads, and I view the course map, there is a message stating "Connection to switchboard has been lost", nobody there knows what the switchboard is.

There is also a "ProLink ReadPipe" service that doesn't start.

There is no information I can find regarding this program, so hopefully someone out there has used this software.

Or does anyone have experience with serial GPS devices?  I can't find any configuration that specifies com ports...so I am at a complete loss as to how to get the hardware to talk...

I've got my fingers crossed here...let the good info flow.
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Question by:ITDharam
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 39169604
I can offer some general guidance on how to keep this running once you figure out the issue:
Get a machine that can run the free vmware esxi. You'll be surprised how lightweight it isI have an old core 2 duo desktop with 4gb ram and I can run 4 win7 virtual machines with 1gb of ram each just fine.
Use the free vmware converter to pull the current server to a vm. You'll have to then get some USB to serial adapters most likely unless you can find a pci serial card recognized by esxi. Serial ports are hard to find these days.

Once it's virtualized you'll be able to keep it running as long as you want (make backups). That hardware is gonna die and once it does it could be irrecoverable.
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by:ITDharam
ID: 39169687
Thanks for the advice, I'm totally with you on that.  I'll tackle that piece once we're up and running.
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Assisted Solution

by:Aaron Tomosky
Aaron Tomosky earned 100 total points
ID: 39169810
Even if you don't fully understand the gear you can still troubleshoot by isolation. Try plugging a know good serial device in to the computer and see if it works to verify the port is good
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Davis McCarn earned 400 total points
ID: 39172811
With ProLink now totally defunct (!!!), its awfully hard to find anything; but, here, at least is the patent info which has numerous diagrams, schematics, and documents: http://www.google.com/patents/US6525690

Have you verified that repeater is still up there and turned on?
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Author Comment

by:ITDharam
ID: 39173184
Hi DavisMcCarn, that is some good info, it confirms that one of the 2 serial devices is most likely not a cellular modem used for remote administration, one is a GPS receiver, and the other is used to communicate with the carts via the repeater.

I haven't personally verified the repeater is up, they have another guy who they used to replace fuses and such, he is supposed to come out and check things.  I don't believe he knows anything about the ProLink server though.

Good info, still have my fingers crossed.  Anyone else out there actually support ProLink?
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 39174530
When you Google it as Prolink GPS, you get lots of hits about it being installed a various courses.  I myself might try calling a few to see if they have a manual and/or somebody servicing theirs.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ITDharam
ID: 39188727
This was a really obscure one, and I was impressed by the patent documents which did in fact help me clarify what to expect.

In the end I'm only marginally closer to when I started, next step will be most likely as DavisMcCarn suggested, calling around and seeing if I can find someone to talk to me.

I appreciate the effort!
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 39188774
as soon as it's working, virtualize that box!
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