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Linux TomTom GPS Watch Utilities

Provides programs for communicating with TomTom GPS watches and processing the data they collect.

  1. ttwatch - USB communications program for performing various operations with the watch, including downloading activity data, updating GPS data, and updating firmware.
  2. ttwatchd - Daemon program that automatically performs specified functions when a watch is connected to the PC.
  3. ttbincnv - Post-processor allowing conversion of the ttbin file formats to either (currently) csv, gpx, kml or tcx files, using broadly similar formats to the official TomTom file formats.
  4. ttbinmod - Post-processor allowing modifications to be made to the ttbin file. Currently, adding/modifying lap markers and truncating the file at the end of the workout (last lap, goal completion etc) are supported.
  5. - script that enabled uploading to a MapMyFitness account that is linked to a MySports account. Automatically converts the ttbin file to a TCX file before uploading.

System Requirements

This program requires the following libraries to be compiled and installed before attempting to build it.

  1. cmake (required version 2.8 or higher). Available from
  2. openssl (tested against version 1.0.1f, other versions may work). Available from
  3. curl (tested against version 7.38.0, other versions may work). Available from
  4. libusb 1.0.16 or later (tested against version 1.0.19). Available from
  5. protobuf 3.6.0 or later (tested against version 3.6.0) Available from
  6. protobuf-c 1.3.0 or later (tested against version 1.3.1) Available from

Prebuilt packages should be available for most systems using the system's built in package manager (dpkg, yum, apt, rpm etc...). Make sure that the -dev version of the packages (eg. libssl-dev, libcurl-dev, libusb-1.0-0-dev) are installed so that the headers are available.

Build Instructions

The ttwatch binaries are built using cmake. Both in-source or out-of-source builds are supported. A simple in-source build is done as follows:

$ cmake .
$ make
$ sudo make install

An out-of-source build can be done as follows:

$ mkdir build
$ cd build && cmake ..
$ make
$ sudo make install

The advantage of the out-of-source build is that to do a clean, you just do rm -rf build to remove the build tree so you can start again.

Setup for unprivileged access

In order to have permission to access the USB devices when running as anyone other than root, a udev rule must be set up to allow access for unprivileged users. The rule I have set up is:

$ cat /etc/udev/rules.d/99-tomtom.rules
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="1390", ATTRS{idProduct}=="7474", SYMLINK+="tomtom", GROUP="usb", MODE="660"
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="1390", ATTRS{idProduct}=="7475", SYMLINK+="tomtom", GROUP="usb", MODE="660"
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="1390", ATTRS{idProduct}=="7477", SYMLINK+="tomtom", GROUP="usb", MODE="660"

The value for idProduct depends on the model of watch that you use. For original models, 7474 is correct. For Spark watches, the idProduct value is 7477, although 7475 has also been found. Please check dmesg output, for the correct value.

The ttwatch distribution includes a 99-tomtom.rules file as above. To use this file, copy it to the udev rules folder as follows:

$ sudo cp 99-tomtom.rules /etc/udev/rules.d

After creating the udev rule, you need to reload the rules to make udev aware of them, by running:

$ sudo udevadm control --reload-rules

The above udev line basically gives access to USB devices to members of the "usb" group. Some systems already have a "usbuser" group, and feel free to reuse that one in the udev line.

If you do not reuse an existing group, then you need to create the "usb" group and add yourself to it using:

$ sudo addgroup usb
$ sudo usermod -a -Gusb <your_username>

Note: If you leave out the -a option on usermod, you will remove your user from every group except "usb", rather than just adding "usb" to the list of groups the user belongs to, so be careful... Note: You will have to log out and then log back in to see the change in group membership.

The makefile includes a special rule (install_udev) that will perform all these steps to make installation easier. It will associate the user that runs make (as printed by the logname command) to the usb group. Simply run:

$ sudo make install_udev

If your system uses devfs instead of udev (such as FreeBSD), configure as follows. Firstly, add the following lines to /etc/devfs.rules:

add path 'usb/*' mode 0660 group usb

Next, add the following lines to /etc/rc.conf:


Lastly, create the usb group and add the required user to it (these commands must be run as root):

# pw groupadd usb
# pw groupmod usb -m <your_username>

Initial Setup

Before being able to use most of the commands the program provides, the watch needs to be set up, similar to the initial setup routine that the Windows client does. This is done by running

ttwatch --initial-setup

Doing this will create a default XML preferences file on the watch, as well as create default races for the different activities. Most of the functions rely on the XML preferences file existing, so this must be done first.

Daemon Mode

The ttwatchd program runs as a daemon, which will wait for a watch to be connected, then automatically perform whichever operations are specified on the command line. The following four operations are supported, and at least one of them must be specified to start the daemon:

  1. --get-activities: Download the activity files and store them, including converting them to other file formats as specified in the watch preferences downloaded from the watch.
  2. --update-gps: Updates the GPSQuickFix information in the watch from the internet.
  3. --update-fw: Checks for firmware updates, and updates the firmware in the watch if newer firmware is found.
  4. --set-time: Sets the time on the watch to match the local system time.

All four options can be specified with the -a (or --auto) option

The daemon must be started as root (run by init or sudo), but the --runas parameter can be specified to provide an alternative user (and optionally a group - such as the usb group mentioned above) to run as. Note that if the default group for the user does not have access to the USB devices, then group must be specified on the command line, For example, if user fred has a default group of fred (which is usual for most linux systems), but the group with access to the USB devices is called usb as above, then the parameter will need to be --runas fred:usb, otherwise there will be permissions errors trying to communicate with the watch. Note that in this case fred will also need to be a member of the usb group, otherwise there will be permissions errors also. Note when starting the daemon with the --runas parameter the home directory used as the default activity store location ~/ttwatch is still the home of the root user who is starting the daemon and not the home of the user running the daemon. In this case the activity store location must be specified on the command line or in the configuration file /etc/ttwatch.conf pointing to a location where the unprivileged user has write access.

Note: The daemon is not supported under FreeBSD as the FreeBSD version of libusb does not support hot-plug detection and causes compilation errors. To resolve this, run cmake -Ddaemon=off to force the compilation to remove the daemon support.

Multiple Watches

The ttwatch program has support for multiple watches. When running from the command line a list of available watches can be displayed using the --devices option. A particular watch can be selected using the -d option with two different parameters possible:

  1. a string that matches the watch serial number
  2. a string that matches the watch name

Both pieces of information are displayed when listing available watches with the --devices option.

When running as a daemon and the watch serial number or name are specified, the daemon will only process that particular watch. This can be used to store the activities from multiple watches in different users' home areas by starting multiple instances of the daemon running as different users, specifying different watches.

Activity vs History Data

Many people have wondered why they are not getting activity files downloaded to the computer even though they can see history entries using the --list-history option. Put simply, the two are almost unrelated. The activity data is logged every second and contains all the information collected during the activity. The history data is a summary of the activity data that is generated when the activity is completed. The history data is small, and is retained on the watch permanently (unless manually deleted) to support the race function and to view past activity details on the watch itself. The activity data is large, and is deleted from the watch as soon as it is successfully downloaded to free up space on the watch for new activities. This means that each activity can only be downloaded once. If it is subsequently deleted from the computer, it cannot be recovered (unless it is backed up separately).

Unsafe Functions

There are various options that can be given to the ttwatch program that read and write raw data to/from the watch. Used incorrectly, these could destroy the contents of the watch. For this reason, they are disabled by default. To enable these options, run cmake with the -Dunsafe=on option. Note that I don't guarantee what will happen if you use these options without really knowing what you are doing.

Config Files

The ttwatch programs supports loading some settings from config files. Three config files can be used: global, per-user, and per-watch. They are located in the following locations:

  1. /etc/ttwatch.conf
  2. ~/.ttwatch
  3. [activity-store-location]/[watch-name]/ttwatch.conf

This means that some settings can be overridden by specific users or by which watch is being used. Note that the per-watch settings are used either by the daemon (when a watch is connected), or when downloading activities from the command-line, not for any other operations. The per-user config file is not used when being run as root.

The config files are very simple, and are just lines in a "option = value" format. '#' is used to denote a comment; anything after a '#' is ignored. Applicable options (not case sensitive) and their values are as follows:

  1. ActivityStore: specifies an absolute path to the place where activities are stored. Relative paths (and paths such as ~) cannot be used. This is a string value.
  2. PostProcessor: specifies a script or executable that is executed for every activity that is downloaded from the watch, with the filename of the ttbin file as the only argument. The executable is run from the directory that the ttbin file is stored in. Note that for security reasons, this executable is not called if the program is running as root. This is a string value.
  3. RunAsUser: this can only be specified in the global /etc/ttwatch.conf file, and indicates which user (and optionally which group) the daemon runs as, similarly to the command-line argument. An error is shown if this option is specified in a non-global config file. This is a string value.
  4. SkipElevation: tells the program to skip downloaded elevation data from the internet for each downloaded activity. This is a boolean value.
  5. Device: specifies which device to use, as per the -d (--device) command-line parameter. Note that only one device can be specified at the moment (if anyone wants to modify the code to work with multiple device names here, feel free to send me a patch). This is a string value.
  6. Formats: specifies a list of file formats that should be created when an activity file is downloaded. The supported file formats are listed by the help command (-h or --help command line options). This list can be either space- or comma-separated, or a combination of the two. This is a string value.
  7. Ephemeris7Days: specifies that a 7-day GPS ephemeris should be uploaded to the watch, rather than the default 3-day ephemeris. This is a boolean value.

The following options only take effect when running the ttwatchd daemon:

  1. UpdateFirmware: tells the daemon to check and update the firmware of any watch that is connected. This is a boolean value.
  2. UpdateGPS: tells the daemon to update the QuickGPSFix data of any watch that is connected. This is a boolean value.
  3. SetTime: tells the daemon to update the time of any watch that is connected. This is a boolean value.
  4. GetActivities: tells the daemon to download any activities from any watch that is connected. This is a boolean value.

Boolean values can have a value of ('y', 'yes', 'true', 'n', 'no' or 'false'). These values are not case-sensitive.

An example global config file to set the activity store location, default daemon user and group, and normal activities when a watch is connected could be:

ActivityStore = /mnt/data/watch
RunAsUser = jsmith:usb
GetActivities = true
UpdateFirmware = true
UpdateGPS = true
SetTime = true

A per-user config file could be added to specify a list of file formats to make:

Formats = csv,gpx,tcx

Recovery / Older Firmware

It may be possible to reset a watch with damaged firmware or file structure using the Recovery Mode, which requires TomTom's official MySports Connect software (Windows or Mac only): [information from TomTom support] (

Watches with extremely old firmware (prior to 1.8.x) may not work with the ttwatch software. In this case, the solution is to use the official MySports Connect software to perform a firmware update. After this, the ttwatch software will work.

Third-party Applications

Note that I have not tested these, and do not endorse or provide support for them, nor guarantee their functionality or safety. This list is for information only.

TT Watch Synchronizer - UI for ttwatch to manage your watch and tracks and optionaly upload to strava


Linux TomTom GPS Watch Utilities







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