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  1. #1
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    Default Garmin Marine Unit 8212 Charts

    Hi All. I've got a Garmin GPSMAP 8212 marine unit and it comes with pre-loaded charts. I want to add uypdated charts but according to Garmin there is no way to access the hard drive/SSD in the unit to add, delete, change, alter the maps/charts.

    Garmin somehow loaded the Charts originally internally to the unit, so was it done whiel the unit was still disassembled at the factory, or is there some hidden way to gain access to the charts and firmware in the unit?

    On the automotive units, you can push the screen in certain areas to gain access to hidden menus.

    I am guessing it can be done on the newer Garmin marine units too. Once accessed, I suspect you an make the units load new charts from the SD card.

    Also, someone on this forum asked me for a copy of the firmware files, but I don't know how to access them to copy.

    I know this forum is more about automotive units, but I also know that there are several members who have marine units.

    Does anyone have any idea how to get to the internal memory of the new "buttonless" units?

    Thanks !

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  3. #2
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    The firmware update files for GPSMAP 8212 are bundled along with like a gazillion other units in a non-separable download over 600MB in size:
    Code:
    Please Login or Register to see the links
    You would need to extract it to see the individual firmwares which are probably only identifiable by HWID rather than individual model numbers. Once you have the firmware, it's possible to examine it in a hex editor to see which commands are available to write from a card to the unit: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
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  4. #3
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    Thanks Neil.

    My main problem is how to even get to the files that are loaded on the unit. I want to try to load maps to the internal memory or hard drive of the unit, but there is no USB port or ANY external port that is accessible if the unit is mounted in the dash of a boat. No USB ports.

    Other than the SD card slot, any other ports are located on the back of the unit.

    I figured that there "may" be a hidden menu accessed by pressing and holding a certain area of the touch screen the way you do with the automotive units.

    But I just really don't know...... As I said, I don't even know if it's a hard drive or merely internal memory that holds the pre-loaded charts.

    The unit supposedly has 64GB of factory memory, so I assume there isn't a hard drive, but rather all files are in onboard memory.

    At this point in time, if you want to switch charts, you have to swap out SD cards for each chart/map.

    Any suggestions or help ?

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    Well even if it does have a pre-boot mode as in nuvi-type units, without a USB or Serial port it's not usable to load anything anyway.

    With a flash drive that big it's obvious that it's intended for the unit to hold more than one detail chart so there should be a way to add/overwrite maps.

    The only obviously possible way to me would be by writing from an SD using text commands [update.txt] to transfer files from the card to the internal flash memory. Therefore download that massive software pack and look for your unit's firmware. Once you have that and confirm it's the usual Garmin proprietary OS you can check the fw in hex to see if it support the various commands mentioned in the first post of that thread i linked [e.g. rrgn, xrgn, copy etc]. Then it should be an easy task to extract the boot.bin from the firmware to use as ldr.bin to execute commands. With a large SDXC card [probably need to reformat from exFAT to FAT32] you could dump all the flash memory's regions 1 to 255, the largest of them [probably 48 or 83] will be the unit's internal file system so you'll have its structure and the map placement and naming conventions. The file system bin file can be opened with a program like PowerISO to view and save the actual files. Then writing a new chart back should also be possible.
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  6. #5
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    Neil.

    Thanks for the help. I had the same thought about being able to load additional charts using the SD card.

    To me, it defies logic that you can't add new charts or at least chart updates to the internal memory.

    But Garmin doesn't always seem to follow logic.

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    Garmin is Garmin my friend . It does seem strange on the surface that they would supply a unit with such a huge internal memory and no obvious way to write additional charts or for that matter any other files to it. Are you sure there's no USB port on the unit anywhere? It would be waterproofed so could be behind a hidden flap or panel on the rear or edge of the plotter. Another thought is that something can be done by Garmin using one of the NMEA ports, i really know nothing very much at all about the data transfer capabilities of NMEA sorry, but if that's not possible there's also it's WiFi capability to consider. If none of that's helpful I guess everything has to be done by SD card like with software updates and other data transfers such as Waypoints, Routes and Tracks [see p36 of the manual]. Interestingly, p36 also says this:
    Before you can copy data to the chartplotter, you must have the latest version of MapSource® or HomePort software programs loaded on your computer and a memory card installed in the chartplotter.
    Select an option:
    Copy the data from HomePort to the prepared memory card.
    Etc ....
    There's a strong implication in the above of a way to connect the 8000 series to a PC. Maybe it's just badly written and they mean the memory card is to be installed in the plotter after the data has been written to it.

    You could also try to copy some files or folders from the unit to the SD using update.txt just to test that function without even first looking for the command in firmware. If you get that group pack then find your unit's correct firmware it should be easy to extract ldr.bin to use for SD text commands. Trying to write FROM the unit as a test is unlikely to cause any problems, but if it writes that way it should also write TO the unit as well.
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    Hi Neil.

    This definitely will warrant further detective work.

    As far as copying data from Homeport to the SD card.... Homeport allows you to create navigational routes and mark waypoints using your laptop/pc, and then copy that info to an SD card.

    You can then put the SD card into the unit and copy the route or waypoints.

    I think that is what they were referring to in the manual. But then again, Garmin writes some pretty poor manuals.

    I do not see any hidden USB port, but several NMEA ports, so maybe Garmin somehow uses those port to transfer information in and out of the unit.

    I don't know anything about the NMEA protocals, so it's a possibility.

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    Hi timp4411 have you looked at trying the Garmin Communicator Plugin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish11 View Post
    Hi timp4411 have you looked at trying the Garmin Communicator Plugin.
    Hi fish11.

    The problem is that there is no physical interface to utilize any software programs. At least no interface that I have discovered.

    No Serial Port, no USB port.

  11. #10
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    @timp4411
    Did you isolate a copy of your firmware from that huge group pack download? If so, we can look to see if there are commands in it to allow copying from the SD card to the unit. It might be your only way to get charts onto the internal memory.
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