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Sunday, June 1, 2008


I had a busy week. I have frozen the board design and sent out two PCB designs on Friday.

Both boards have the same functionality, but one of them is pushed to the smallest limit in terms of size (15.2mm x 23.4mm, see the left side of the photo). It will have to be seen if this board can be manufactured and assembled automatically with components. In case not, I have the second PCB design which is a little bigger (17.7mm x 23.4mm, see the right side of the photo) and which should not have any problems for fully automatic manufacturing and assembly.

I will be spending the next couple of weeks on the mechanical design of the package. This package will be based on the larger board. The two PCBs have been laid out in a smart way such that both will fit in the same larger package.

If it turns out that the smaller board can be assembled automatically (or if hand assembly of one or two components is not a problem), then the mechanical package can be shrunk in size by just changing one single dimension of the package! That's why it took a little while to come up with the current frozen board design.

You can also see that I have redesigned the website slightly and re-arranged some things: posts in the center, polls and the blog archive in the left side bar, and my human rights related links in the right side bar.

Upon request, I have also added a donation button on the left top for anyone who wants to donate. In addition, I have added some Adsense ad-links throughout the page. I have noticed that they are quite on the topic of the blog and they will also bring in a little bit of revenue when people click on them.

I am glad I was able to get this final board design out the door before the end of May :)


Vincent said...

This is GREAT news !!!!
Just one "cosmetic" question (as I, unfortunatly, can't be of any help regarding tech design) : If you have to go for the "large" board, will it be possible to get the case in black color ?
It's purely cosmetic but it would match better iPhone's design.

Once again, this is great news !

Vincent said...

BTW, I can confirm your "donate" button works ! ;-)

Let's hope the small contributions I made will be followed by many more and allow you to dedicate all the time you need to this great project.

J D said...


Donation on the way :)

I want to agree with vincent about the black color; if that's possible I'd really be glad to see it.

So, let's see: GPS via PMG's design. Buttons via the iControlPad project.

I don't think there will be any reason for me to upgrade to the next version of the iPhone for one or two more generations :p

Also, PMG, do you think it will be possible to have the GPS module on an "extension cord" of some sort such that the module's receiver can sit on the front of a car's dashboard (for example) and the iPhone/iPt itself can sit in a retaining clip of some kind closer to the driver?

I wouldn't want this to be the default operation mode, but it would be nice to have the option.

GPS said...

Vincent: regarding colors, what is shown in the picture are just some connectors I have collected. They are not the final package design. The final package will be more in the shape of the left black housing. And regarding color, I will make it standard black as that indeed matches the phone the best. If people want to see other colors as well, please put in your request. It is not that big of a deal to change color during the plastic injection molding process to get a few options. Maybe I will put a poll on the blog for this if needed.

J D: for the color, see my response above. Black will be the standard color. Regarding an extension cable, I have two kinds in mind: (1) like you said, a cable from the iPhone/iTouch to module (male dock to female dock), and (2) a connector that hooks up to the GPS module male connector and will enable you to use the GPS module on a laptop or desktop through the USB plug.

And thanks for the support! :)


Vincent said...

Another package input:

As the module is so small (I actually had to use a meter to realize how small it is), I plan to use it as a GPS module for my car but also as a "pedestrian" (you know, when you get lost walking during vacations).
But I don't want to have the module connected to the iPhone all the time, therefore I will most likely keep it in my pocket.

Do you think it could be possible to use a housing case with some kind of "hole" so it could be attach to a keychain when not in use ? and maybe a protection on the connector side so it doesn't get damage ?

Branden Russell said...

This is so great! I'm excited for this to be finished.

Matt said...

have you considered working with on a universal device for the Touch that would combine GPS/microphone/speakers and would fit nice and flush to the bottom of the device? Touchmods already has a great microphone and SIP calling application for the Touch, and that combined with gps and a speaker would make a dynamite peripheral that would bring the Touch up to snuff with the iPhone. I would dole out big for something like that.

Matt said...

besides Touchmods has already started working on a GPS device for iphone/ipod touch, so it may be worth your while to cut your losses and work together on something that kicks ass.

Tom Parker said...

Wow this looks great am looking forward to ordering one from you. I guess it is too late but I had a request for an external antenna connection. I much prefer a mag antenna on the roof, it means you can put the unit anywhere in a car.

J D said...

I don't see any reason PmgR and Touchmods couldn't coexist. So far it seems Touchmods has focused exclusively on microphones for VOIP; they mention GPS but there doesn't appear to be an actual project for it.

Matt said...

I saw someone posted a good-looking prototype for a dock connector/case for the touchmods mic. I don't know what happened to it, but it would be awesome if the two of you combined your products in this form.

here's a sketch of what it was like, if I remember correctly.

the sketch

Anonymous said...

Hey, not to be negative but, at the rate you're piddling with this, the new 3g iPhone with integrated GPS will be available.

Better get cracking jr.
'Cause the market will for your little doodle will quickly vanish.

Seriously, this thing should have been done months ago.

In a couple of weeks it won't matter.

Vincent said...

@ anonymous : not every iphone user v1 are willing/able to upgrade to iPhone v2.
I'm personnaly waiting for a well designed GPS module and this one seems to be a good one ! (moreover, i like how its designer has shared its research and dev)

Now, what this gps really needs is a "turn by turn" guidance software.

Matt said...


You forget about iPod Touch users too. I seriously doubt any new versions of the iPod Touch will include GPS, so there will, at least for a while, be a great market for this.

Anonymous said...

i too think this shud have been months ago...similar thing is already done here and they will also have the voive guided directions...

Matt said...

I thought this was gomite.

J D said...

No. This is not Gomite. Gomite is terrible and extremely inferior to PmgR's solution for a number of reasons. First, because the GPS tracking is limited to how fast your browser refreshes, which is a REALLY STUPID way to do things, combined with the fact that you'd need to either create an ad-hoc network between the Gomite and iPhone/iPt or make the Gomite an AP, which would be a big battery hog for it. It's just a bad device architecture. This solution is much better.

Vincent said...

@j_d : on the other side, Gomite also has its "pros" like :
- maps and guidance system included
- wireless (lets you colocate their module where its more convenient for better reception)
- no need for Jailbreak (let's hope we'll have guidance software thru the AppStore)
Now, that being said, Gomite will probably be way more expensive than this solution.

@GPS :
- Have you got any feedback from your PCB maker regarding which design will be finally used ?
- Does you module works with this software ?

Anonymous said...

i think gomite has 2 kind of wifi and other is serial connector which will depend on whether apple will allow the serial connection via charging port, which is similar to the gps solution here??

iGPSD said...

both have good and bad side , but Gomite is most likely to fit the apple model. As the product use the serial dock most likely have to sign with apple in iPhone 2.0 , 3rd party developer less likely to enter the App Store if need to hack the serial dock conntion.

J D said...

Gomite used to work on serial receivers but have abandoned that project after talking to Apple and being told that there was no way in Hell they would allow a serial GPS receiver to be part of the "made for iPhone/iPod" program.

Apparently they don't think there's much of a market for jailbroken hardware. I can't wait to help make PmgR rich and prove them wrong ;)

Anonymous said...

what if apple comes out with bt receiver profile in 2.0?i think we won't have to buy anything besides some nice sf...

GPS said...

@vincent: regarding the keychain approach/protector, I have something cool in mind for that! More on that in a later post.

@matt: regarding the current module, the design has been frozen in order to get the module to market asap as is. Sound is available through the headphone jack. Maybe a next version of the module will include both speaker, mic and GPS, especially for iTouch. Interesting sketch you posted. Btw this is indeed NOT gomite.

@tom: the current module does not have an external antenna option. If you don't mind the cable you could always place a serial cable between the phone and module and move the module somewhere else.

@vincent: I don't have any feedback yet regarding the PCB. Regarding the xGPS software, wait for a bit...

@anonymous: regarding a BT receiver, that could be possible but means you will still need to buy a BT GPS module (which will need to be charged separately).

Chris chan said...


if that happen , then most like nobody will buy the module or the gps cable from us, but at least more gps application will come out , still it is good to the iphone/ipod user.