Pharos GPS 150

Several months ago I purchased a Pharos GPS 150 at Fry’s for $149 with a $50 Mail-In-Rebate.

The Pharos GPS 150 is identical to the Pharos GPS 250 except with a smaller screen; and both run Windows CE and their own Ostia mapping / navigation software.

It’s a nice device, the only real short coming of it is that inability to manage addresses from a computer… but the mapping software is loaded onto an SD card, and it’s easy to remove — just break that warranty seal on the side and under it you’ll find an SD slot with a 1GB SD card in it.

To do any of the hacks you’re going to need to invest in a 2GB SD card.  I would recommend getting a fast card, because the performance of the device will suffer if you get a really slow card.  But that said, for $10 or less you should be able to buy a 100x 2GB SD card (I got one at Fry’s for $7.99 and got one free at Micro Center).

There are a number of hacks for the GPS, from adding more applications to it to allow you to watch videos, play music, view documents.

The other hack of interest is to take Tom Tom’s software they sell for Mobile Phones (and other Windows CE devices) and load it onto the GPS.  You could of course purchase the software from Tom Tom, and you can probably find it on a P2P network if you just wanted to try it out before you bought it.  Again, this software isn’t what they load onto their GPS units, but it is very similar.  Oh, if you want to try Tom Tom, make sure you get some maps (preferably of your immediate geographic area).

The instructions for hacking the GPS are fairly straight forward, but remember, copy your original SD card to somewhere safe, copy it to somewhere to modify it, and put the original card in a safe place… and don’t put your original SD card back into your computer.  If you manage to destroy your backup then it’s time to take a break and get away from the computer.

For a $100 GPS the unit’s quite capable without any hacks applied; but the ability to “customize” it makes it that much better of a buy.

FYI: retailers sell the Pharos device under private labels, and you should be able to hack those devices as well, but read up on the forums before you spend any money on what you think is a private label Pharos device.  While you can probably get the sticker off and put it back on without anyone being the wiser, some retailers charge restocking fees for non-defective GPS units, and only allow exchanges for defective ones.

Here are some useful links, you can do a search to find more.


Pharos GPS 150 Product Information

Pharos GPS 150 Hack – Details, with Tom Tom Information

Pharos GPS 150 Hack – Simplified, with Extra Applications

Originally posted 2008-05-15 21:34:33.