there is not very good documentation on how to hack the tomtom. it took me a lot longer to understand what i needed to do than it really should of. i’m not sure if this is because it was late at night last night and i was tired or if it was because the documentation i was reading was bad. tomtom runs on am embedded linux platform, so there is all sorts of cool things that you can do.

the easiest thing to do is to have custom menus. the default menus for toimtom are pretty good and i’m used to them now so making a change to the menus can actually be counterproductive to my productivity.

the next obvious thing to do is install a better mp3 player on your tomtom. i’m trying out the tomplayer which seems to be the most mature product so far, but i’m going to take a look at a few others to see what i like the most.

if you are thinking about hacking your tomtom (i’m hacking the tomtom go 720), you can read on after the fold. otherwise, it’s gonna be a boring post for the rest of you.

custom menus
1) in the root directory create a folder called /sdkregistry/1
2) add your custom TomTom.mnu file in this directory.

the syntax of the TomTom.mnu file can be found at

3rd party applications
my biggest desire to install 3rd party applications was mostly to have a better mp3 player on my tomtom. it’s a little bonus that the mp3 player that i’m adding is also a video player. it is unfortunate that i have to re-encode video for it to play on the tomtom.2 i’m not sure if i would be willing to re-encode all of my video just for the tomtom, it’s a time consuming process.

the biggest thing i didn’t understand was that you have to put the start up .CAP files and the associated .BMP icons in the sdkregistry/ directory for tomtom to find the applications. once i had that figured out with the custom menus, it was a breeze.

the latest software update for tomtom has been a little weird. the directions that tomtom wants me to go doesn’t always seem to be the fastest route. tomtom also doesn’t like to make you make u-turns anymore. that’s a little odd. the most annoying thing is how the compass has been changed. it used to be that you could have a compass on the screen with an arrow pointing to the direction you are traveling AND a text representation in the compass3.

  1. people say that this is case sensitive, but i’ve also gotten it to work with SDKRegistry/, so YMMV []
  2. not only do you have to re-encode the video, but i have to muck around with settings that will work with tomtom. it’s a pretty slow processor and “video card” so i think around 250-300kbit is as much as i’m going to be able to push through the device. i’m not sure what the settings are just yet []
  3. lN, E, W, S, NW, used to show up on the screen, but not anymore! totally lame if you ask me. []