Pyle PSWGP405BK GPS Watch Software and Firmware Updates

Today, I discovered that the New Balance NX990 GPS Cardio Trainer Watch, like the Pyle PSWGP405BK, is just another Latitude Limited Nav Master II clone.  Following my hunch, I searched for the NX990’s accompanying software, and lo and behold, it’s just rebranded version of GPS Master! Best of all, it’s an updated version, v2.0.16.124, vs the older v1.2 version that I got from Pyle. Besides the red background, it has a much improved interface, showing a google map of your track, and a zoomable graph with user selectable data that tracks your stats live on the map.


So for instance, you can select the point on the graph where your heart rate is highest, and see where you were located on the map.

Best of all is the new Data Transfer->AGPS menu item. A-GPS (Assisted GPS) lets you use the Internet to download GPS satellite almanac data. Your GPS watch can download the almanac data directly via the satellites, but it is a very slow procedure. By connecting your watch to GPS Master once a week and downloading new AGPS data, you can get a hot GPS fix a lot faster. I wasn’t sure if my Pyle firmware had A-GPS support built in, so I took a risk, and used Setting->Watch firmware update to update my Pyle watch to the latest New Balance firmware. I’m happy so say that my watch did not get bricked! [DISCLAIMER: YMMV. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU DECIDE TO INSTALL THE NEW BALANCE FIRMWARE ON YOUR WATCH, AND IT TURNS INTO A PAPERWEIGHT] The New Balance v1.20 firmware appears to have all of the functions of my Pyle firmware. The most obvious difference is just that the screen fonts are more squared off looking. Some of the menus look slightly different, too. I took my watch outside after updating the AGPS data, and it got a GPS fix basically instantly!!

Another great discovery is that unlike my GPS Master 1.2, NB 990 GPS’s exported GPX track files now contain heart rate data! This means when upload your GPX track files to web sites such as RunKeeper, your heart rate data will be saved and displayed, as well. Meaning that you don’t have to use the csv2gpx/csv2tcx utilities that I wrote yesterday in order get your HRM data into other platforms.

All and all, I am very happy with both the software and firmware updates. I took my watch and HRM out for a workout today, and they worked flawlessly with the new firmware.


NX990 GPS Master PC Software
NX990 GPS Master User Manual
NX990 User Manual

Update 2015-03-15:

Here are some open source goodies for the watch:

Crane GPS Watch Client : command line utility. Most notably, it exports TCX files, which is important if you like to use the watch with the GPS turned off, since GPX files that contain HRM data w/o GPS data aren’t valid.

kalenji-gps-watch-reader : exports a multitude of formats, including Garmin FIT. Also performs elevation corrections via Google Elevation API.

GPX and TCX output from GPS Master Software

A couple of years ago, I bought a Pyle PSWGP405BK GPS watch with Heart Rate Monitor.


It’s been a great device, though it’s big, and a bit ugly. The battery far outlasts my wife’s Garmin watches, and I love the customizable screens. My main problem has been the lack of a useful way to extract heart rate data. The problem is that the GPS Master software offers only two ways to export heart rate data: 1) TKL format, which is an undocumented file format used only by GPS Master, and 2) CSV format, which isn’t compatible with any web sites or software that I use.  Although GPS Master can directly export GPX files, they do not include the heart rate data.

I finally got sick of it today, and after wasting some time looking for an easy way to adapter existing converter software to work w/ GPS Master’s CSV files, I gave up, and decided to write my own programs. So, I give you csv2gpx, and csv2tcx. csv2gpx takes a GPS Master CSV file as input, and outputs a GPX file with heart rate data embedded. csv2tcx takes a GPS Master CSV file as input, and outputs a TCX file with heart rate data. Both programs have a simple command line interface. I have supplied full source code on github, so anyone can compile them to run on their own platforms. For Windows users, I have supplied EXE files. The command line syntax is quite simple:

csv2gpx workout.csv


csv2tcx workout.csv

The output will automatically be generated as workout.gpx and workout.tcx, respectively.

Here is a sample session:

C:\git\csv2gpx\test>csv2gpx 20150125074851.csv
Lincomatic GPS Master CSV to GPX Converter v0.2

Converting 20150125074851.csv -> 20150125074851.gpx
Avg HR: 131
Max HR: 159
Trackpoints 2398

Note that the output file is the same as the input file, but with GPX extension. csv2tcx works in a similar fashion.

I think csv2gpx and csv2tcx should work with any other watches that work with GPS Master, as well. Runtastic’s watch looks identical to my Pyle, as well as several other models that I’ve seen. For instance, the New Balance NX990 also uses GPS Master, and looks identical. As I’ve stated in a previous article, the watch is built by Latitude Limited, and the OEM calls it the Nav Master II.

Update 2015-01-27: Argh! I just confirmed that the fancy new updated version of GPS Master bundled with the New Balance NX990, aka NB 900 GPS, now exports HRM data inside its GPX files! So I wasted my time writing the utilities above yesterday! It has some nice UI enhancements, as well. Highly recommended! You can read my detailed description: Pyle PSWGP405GK Software and Firmware Updates.

Downloads: csv2tcx and csv2gpx executables for Windows

Accuracy of Pyle PSWGP405BK vs RunKeeper Revisited

This morning, I repeated my Eaton Canyon loop with the Pyle PSWGP405BK and RunKeeper on the iPhone 4S.  This time, both of them were quite a bit more accurate than on the last hike.



This time round, the Pyle tracks the shapes of the switchbacks fairly accurately, albeit with an offset.  There is a fair amount of overshoot, however, in the last switchback.

RunKeeper on iPhone 4S


RunKeeper on the iPhone 4S again does much worse than the Pyle, but still much better than in my previous recording.  Out of the various iPhone tracking apps I’ve tried, I still find RunKeeper to be the most accurate.  I would like to try this route with an Android phone sometime, to see if it does a better job with outputting accurate location data. Here’s the tabular data:

Distance (mi) Calories
RunKeeper 3.47 491
Pyle PSWGP405BK 3.31 593
Pyle PSWGP405BK track on 3.43 475

Interestingly, the disparity between RunKeeper’s distance calculation of its own track vs its calculation of the Pyle’s track was much smaller today, but this can be explained by the fact that RunKeeper didn’t meander as badly today, so the tracks lined up more closely.

On the other hand, disparity between the results I got today and my previous post show how GPS accuracy can vary, even in similar weather conditions, at a similar timeof day on the same route.  I would conjecture that the increased accuracy today has to do with a more optimal geometry of the satellites in the sky. Unfortunately, since the devices I used don’t output detailed satellite signal and skyview data, there is no way to verify for sure.

This evening, I again pitted RunKeeper against the Pyle, walking on a very flat route, composed mostly of straight lines. Here are the surprising results:


Distance (mi) Calories
RunKeeper 3.38 381
Pyle PSWGP405BK 3.22 355
Pyle PSWGP405BK track on 3.27 354

Like this morning, the RunKeeper and Pyle tracks were a lot more similar than on previous days. RunKeeper’s distance was .11mi longer than its calculation of Pyle’s track, which makes sense, because its track was more wiggly, as usual, which adds distance.  But what’s inexplicable is that on this track, the difference between the Pyle’s own distance calculation versus RunKeeper’s calculation of its track is only .05mi, only 1.5%.  Contrast that to this morning’s hike, where the difference was .12mi or 3.6%.

Previous Related Post:  Accuracy of Strava vs RunKeeper vs Pyle PSWGP405BK vs Garmin Forerunner 10


Accuracy of Strava vs RunKeeper vs Pyle PSWGP405BK vs Garmin Forerunner 10

I went out for a hike today, with Strava and RunKeeper simultaneously running on my iPhone 4S, and the Pyle PSWGP405BK on my wrist.  Unfortunately, my wife had the Garmin Forerunner 10, so I have to use an old track, recorded last week, at approximately the same time of day. I know that it’s not an ideal comparison, but it will have to suffice for this article.  The route was in mountainous terrain, through a canyon … a much more challenging for a GPS than the flat route that I used in my last comparison.  Here’s RunKeeper’s take on the track: rk2 Strava’s take, running simultaneously on the iPhone with RunKeeper: strava Strava’s exported GPX file, imported to stravaonrk What’s revealing is that given the same data, and Strava calculate essentially identical distances. This becomes important when we compare them to the Pyle. Strangely, shows a 13 second shorter duration, but identical average pace. The data downloaded from the Pyle and displayed in GPS Master are identical to what displayed on the watch: gpsmaster I used the Pyle’s included wireless heart rate monitor on this hike, and its connectivity was flawless during the entire recording.  I didn’t have to moisten the contacts in order to get a good reading, which was also nice. GPS Master shows my average heart rate was 121, and the max was 155.  The plots above are speed, altitude, and heart rate. The GPX file exported from GPS Master and uploaded to pylerk A comparison table gleaned from the above data:

Distance (mi) Calories
Strava 3.7 N/A
Strava track on 3.71 600
RunKeeper 3.53 422
Pyle PSWGP405BK 3.27 526
Pyle PSWGP405BK track on 3.40 555

Once again, the Pyle PSWGP405BK and GPS Master displayed identical data, and the calculated distance was shorter than RunKeeper’s calculation using the Pyle’s exported GPX data.  I am convinced that the Pyle’s distance calculation is too conservative… 3.27mi vs 3.40mi calculated by on the same data.  Strava calculated 3.7 mi, which is too long, due to its poor filtering of the iPhone’s noisy data stream.  The Google Earth plots below will reveal more information.  Here is a Google Earth plot of Strava (green), RunKeeper (red), Pyle (blue), and Garmin FR10 (yellow) in the most challenging part of the track: all Strava (green) vs RunKeeper (red) stravark Viewing the track reveals why Strava calculated the longest distance.  Strava’s filtering algorithm is clearly inferior to RunKeeper’s in handling the iPhone’s poor quality location data stream. Pyle (blue) vs Garmin (yellow) fr10pyle Again, not an entirely valid comparison, since the Garmin track was recorded on a different outing, but it’s quite obvious that the Garmin outperforms the Pyle in accuracy.  The Garmin is the only device that was able to trace all of the switchbacks on the trail. Even in the less challenging parts of the track, the Pyle wanders a bit.  Still, the Pyle’s accuracy far exceeds that of the apps running on the iPhone. I am very disappointed that several reviewers said that the Pyle is very accurate.  Clearly, they didn’t do their homework.  The Pyle PSWGP405BK consistently calculates distances too short.  The Forerunner 10 kicks Pyle’s ass.  But the Pyle has a compass, navigation, and heart rate monitor for about the same price, and is not that bad, as long as you don’t mind the fact that it miscalculates distance, and have to use other software in order to extract the correct distances from its track. If you want to play with my data, you can download the tracks an view them in Google Earth yourself: Strava doesn’t export KML, but Google Earth can easily import its KML file.  I have also included full size image files of the screen shots I showed above.  In case you decide to compare the gory details of the tracks, when I got to the top of the winding trail above, I took a little break to fix my socks in a tree-covered area.  The FR10 track doesn’t show me deviating from the trail, because I didn’t take the detour during that outing.

Previous Related Post: Garmin Forerunner 10 vs Pyle PSWGP405BK

Next Related Post:  Accuracy of Pyle PSWGP405BK vs RunKeeper Revisited

Garmin Forerunner 10 vs Pyle PSWGP405BK

While I like my wife’s Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch, it’s irritating to me that it is a GPS device which is not capable of displaying GPS coordinates (latitude/longitude). This makes it essentially useless to use as a navigation device. After browsing around the web, I happened upon the Pyle PSWGP405BK.


What struck me immediately was that for a list price of $150, it has a GPS, wireless heart rate monitor, digital compass, navigation functions, and is waterproof to 30m. Though there were few reviews of this GPS watch, they were generally favorable, and I was able to purchase a “used – good condition” unit from for $27 after getting a $50 credit for applying for their credit card, and got free 2-day shipping with a trial subscription to Amazon Prime.  When I received the unit, I was delighted to find that it was actually a never used, open box item.  The Pyle PSWGP405BK is essentially the same device as the Runtastic GPS watch, in slightly different packaging.  It is also available from several other companies with various names. As far as I can tell, the manufacturer is Latitude Limited, from Hong Kong.  It’s called the Nav Master II on their website.

This article is not meant to be a detailed comparison between the Garmin FR10 and the Pyle PSWGP405BK, but here are some of the differences:

  • Battery life with GPS on: Pyle – 8hr, Garmin – 5hr
  • Pyle has digital compass,navigation functions, tual time, and 5 alarms
  • Pyle is bigger and heavier
  • Pyle comes with clunky PC software, called GPS Master, which runs only on Windows.  Garmin interfaces to their Garmin Connect online service.
  • Pyle is much more customizable, and displays more types of data
  • Pyle has wireless HRM, Garmin doesn’t support HRM
  • Garmin is simpler, easier to use, at the expense of less functionality
  • Pyle takes a bit longer to get a GPS fix
  • Pyle outputs GPS track points at selectable interval in seconds, Garmin uses an adaptive approach, outputting GPS points at varying intervals depending on terrain

For me, the clunky PC software and lack of online service is a non-issue, because the included GPS Master software easily exports to various formats, such as GPX, TCX, KML, and even NMEA. Many of the phone softwares have online services which allow uploading of externally gathered GPS data, so I upload my Pyle tracks to Today, I had a chance to wear both watches and simultaneously track a workout.

One minor inconvenience of the Pyle vs Garmin is that when you press the start button on the Garmin, it automatically waits for a GPS fix before it lets you start the workout. On the other hand, the Pyle will happily start the workout clock even when it doesn’t yet have a fix, so you must first start the GPS, wait for a fix, and then start the workout. Also, I found that the Pyle took a bit longer than the Garmin to get an initial GPS fix. Minor irritants, but how about GPS performance? The overlaid tracks below tell a big part of the story, Garmin in red, Pyle in blue:


The Garmin FR10’s track is noticeably more accurate, especially at the bottom of the plot. However, the Pyle PSWGP405BK is no slouch, it is still significantly more accurate than anything running on an iPhone. However, there is a significant bug in both the PSWGP405BK and the accompanying GPS Master software’s distance calculation. Here is a synopsis of the above route:

Distance (mi) Calories
Garmin Forerunner 10 2.43 153
Pyle PSWGP405BK 2.37 242
Pyle PSWGP405BK track on 2.44 247
Garmin Forerunner 10 track on 2.43 232

Notice how the Pyle came up short on its distance calculation: 2.37mi vs Garmin’s 2.43mi, a difference of .06mi.  However, the Pyle’s GPS track uploaded to comes up .01mi longer than the Garmin track.

Though the Pyle’s GPS accuracy is not as good as the Forerunner 10, and there is a glaring bug in its distance calculations, for the $27 I paid, it’s a keeper.  I like its extensive customizability and functionality, and I don’t mind the distance calculation bug, because I always upload the tracks to an online site for analysis. Please take my results with a grain of salt for now… I have only used the Pyle for one workout so far.  I have not seen any reviews which complain about the inaccuracy of its distance calculations, so maybe today’s track was just an aberration.

Update 2015-01-26: GPS Master’s exported GPX files don’t contain heart rate data and the only usable export format is CSV, which isn’t compatible with any software or website that I could find. Therefore, I have written two utilities, csv2gpx and csv2tcx, which you can use to convert the GPS Master CSV format to GPX and TCX files containing heart rate data. You can read more at: GPX and TCX output from GPS Master Software

Previous Related Post: Accuracy of Garmin FR10 vs RunKeeper vs MapMyRun

Next Related Post: Accuracy of Strava vs RunKeeper vs Pyle PSWGP405BK vs Garmin Forerunner 10