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Sunday, May 18, 2008

More votes, more prototypes, more testing....

We hit 1000 votes today! This confirms that there is definitely enough interest in the module to keep on going full speed ahead :)

This week I have been busy building more prototypes. I had already built three with the old board and I have built another three this week. Prototyping goes a little faster now that I have the SMT rework station.

I have assembled two of the prototype II boards with a chip antenna (see the bottom two modules in the photo) and one of the old prototype I boards with a thinner patch antenna (see the right module in the middle row in the photo).

I have done some more field testing (that is inside, outside and in my car while on the road) and it does seem that the patch antennas work better than the chip antenna. The chip antennas also are very sensitive to board layout. I had to trim some of the copper on the board before I finally got these two chip antenna boards to work.

So I have decided that it is best to go with a patch antenna solution to guarantee performance. As such, there will be no room for a full dock connector but instead there will be a micro-USB connector which has a slimmer footprint than the mini-USB connectors and which is the new standard for mobile devices.

I also have an update regarding the LED indicator light. The prototype II boards have a bi-color blue/red LED. The blue LED is the power-on indicator and the red LED will flash until a GPS lock is found (combined with the blue it gives a pink/purple colored flash).

This week I will be working on the layout of the final board design for the patch antenna prototypes and I hope to have the board design frozen before the end of May.


Martin said...

how will it works with usb?

gps(with usb) - > cable -> iphone ?

GPS said...


The GPS module has a male dock connector which plugs into the phone. It also has a USB connector that can be connected to a charger in your car or to your computer for charging/synching.


hdd123 said...

To clarify, will the USB connector allow the iPhone to be charged when connected?

J D said...

To clarify further, will the USB connector allow a *standard computer* to use the GPS module?

GPS said...


Yes, you can charge/sync the phone through the micro-USB connector.

j d:

The USB port is directly connected to the iPhone/iTouch through the male dock connector on the module. If you want to use a *standard computer* to use the GPS module, you need a cable that converts the serial port signal (from the male dock connector of the GPS module) to USB signal. I could make this kind of cable available once the module is finished if there is interest for it.


Anonymous said...

Micro-USB??? Nooo!!!

Mini-USB!!! I have so many mini-USB cables and chargers laying around. I don't own one micro-USB cable and I don't know any iPhone accessories that use micro-USB. It's either mini-USB or the standard connector.

mugambokhushua said...

no micro-usb!!! actually never saw any micro-usb cables...i have so many mini-usb cables and its fairly small size also...we all have ditches out so many $$$ already so plz keep the price point in mind...plz bring this baby out soon...i want u to be the first person coming out with gps...g/l and g8 job man!!

J D said...

I don't think micro vs. mini is really that important, personally. Use whichever is more durable, or failing a significant difference in that regard, use whichever makes it easier.

igpsd said...

actually if the gps package can include the micro usb cable would be ok, otherwise seems impossible to find one even in Hong kong

:o( said...

When can I have one? WHEN?!!! I'm waiting for to long. One off these days some guy in China takes the idea and starts selling on ebay.


Rana Ardhita said...

Great post!!!
Keep up the good work, and please post how you do it and i will experiment on building my own homemade gps

Car GPS DVD Player said...

It's good now that GPS devices are having male dock connector as well as USB connector that easy connect with in some devices or gadgets in your car.