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Thursday, June 26, 2008

First design of the housing

Top view:
Bottom view:


I have completed a first draft design of the housing. Here are a few comment on the housing:
  1. Take a close look at the Apple design of your dock connector. I have managed to take that connector apart without destroying it. It's a pretty sleek design, consisting only of two parts: a sleeve that goes around the connector and a cap that slides over the connector and inside of the sleeve. I have made the housing for the GPS module in a similar rounded/flat shape as the Apple sleeve. Apple's sleeve is 26.1mm x 9mm x 5.6mm (width x length x thickness). The GPS module housing is 25.4mm x 22.2mm x 8mm. So it is a little thicker as the dock connector and about 2.5 times as long.

  2. You can see the micro USB connector on the left side of the module (top view).This plug can either accept micro USB-A or micro USB-B cables. I have found a trust-worthy supplier for the micro USB-B cable and the cable will be included with the GPS module to make life easy :).

  3. On the top view you see a small green light. This is the LED indicator that displays the status of the GPS module: flashing orange means the module is searching for a satellite lock. Once a lock is found, the indicator will light steady green. My plan is to make this indicator aperture similar to Apple's MagSafe power adapter that is used on the MacBook.
In the meantime, I am playing with some more ideas to make the housing design even simpler...

16 comments:

Vincent said...

don't know how it could be simpler than this !

I think the design is great and the inclusion of the microUSB cable is a nice +.

Really can't wait for this...let's just hope for compatibility with the apps that will be designed for the iPhone 3G GPS !

esales said...

Nice to see your quick updates on the work in progress. It make me feel as good as i am involved in this project. Since most hardware part is done now, if you have spare time, can you speculate a little about the software.

andi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

oh, you're such a tease.

I like rounded edges like the iPhone itself.

GPS said...

@andi: I cleaned up your comment a bit (;-)

andi said:
It could be shaped like a -----, if it'll work well (and won't be too expensive ;)) i'll buy it

Vincent said...

@GPS : Have you ever tried your prototype within a car ? Does the windshield (and/or the casing) reduces a lot the GPS reception ?
Although I consider this module more as a pedestrian-GPS, I would really love to use it in my car but I'm afraid of bad reception...

J D said...

@vincent: I would be very surprised if the GPS on the 3G iPhone is anything other than another simple NMEA device. It will probably be very possible to hack support for PmgR's GPS into the 3G software.

J D said...

Also, PmgR: you've done a huge amount of work in a short time, and I feel confident voting that now is the time to freeze it. Nothing at all is wrong with the current housing design.

Vincent said...

"and I feel confident voting that now is the time to freeze it. Nothing at all is wrong with the current housing design."

TOTALLY agree with that comment !

hdd123 said...

I would concur, the current housing design is more that suitable!

Any alterations would stem from a change in the circuit board - since this has been frozen I don't see the need to give options.

Anonymous said...

Nice work I am really impressed.
Why creating an connected modul why not using Bluetooth GPS modules?

Vincent said...

@anonymous : You seem to forget that Bluetooth profile used in iPhone v1 doesn't allow you to connect to anything else than headphone.
Only way to go wireless is wifi.

zhou said...

How about the software of gps? And also the map problem? I don't think we can install all the map of US into ipod/ iphone. Your module is great, but these two problems are very important.

GPS said...

@vincent: regarding the even simpler solution, it won't look too much different, just easier to assembly in production. Regarding iPhone 3G apps, most likely after the 2.0 software is jailbreaked, people will most likely find a way on how to interact with the location based services and feed it GPS data from the serial port through a daemon.

@esales: Thanks for the compliment. My philosophy is that being open and up-front with the people you work with (be it customers or suppliers) is the best way to go while building a good relationship. For the currently available software, please see my post here. Also, Morten is working on porting RoadMap to the iPhone.

@vincent: Yes, most of my testing is done in the car. How fast you get a lock depends on how old the satellite data in the GPS receiver is. If it is fresh, you will get a fast lock, even inside a car. If it's not, you will need to wait a few minutes (having it below the dash or on the passenger's seat). You can speed that up a bit by putting the phone up on the dashboard closer to the window. Another option is to make sure the module is locked before you enter the car (as I have described before, a locked module is more sensitive, so even if you have less signal inside of the car, it won't loose its lock).

@j.d.: I think you are right on regarding a possible 3G software hack.

@j.d., @vincent and @hdd123: Regarding the housing freeze, that is dependent on feedback from contract manufacturer. I might need to make changes to the board for manufacturing. Once they give the OK on the PCB design, the housing design will be frozen.

@anonymous: as Vincent mentions, no Bluetooth access (yet) on iPhone or iTouch (which doesn't even have bluetooth; correct me if I am wrong). Besides, it would require another battery and charger for the Bluetooth device.

@zhou: see my comment above on software and you can also check this link on how to use maps offline.

zhou said...

I know that there is some kind of app to store google map into iphone. However, the map is too huge. It is impossible to store all the map of US into iphone if you want to drive across US. I am thinking that since some GPS have the map of US and Canada, what kind of express technique they use for their map? Can it be used into iphone? If so, iphone with gps module can be a real gps.

J D said...

zhou: See what gps said about RoadMap.