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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Exactly 200 GPS modules left!

It's been a little while since the last post. Things have been very busy for a number of reasons.

As the title of this post already announces, at the time of writing this post, there are only 200 GPS modules left for sale.

I expect these remaining modules to be sold out within the next 5 weeks, so if you are considering buying a GPS module, you have to be quick!

Back when the first production run was initiated in September last year, I wanted to make 1000 modules available to you all. As a matter of fact, at that time, it was unclear what the yield of the module in production would be and as such I decided at that time to make 1100 modules instead of 1000. As nothing yields perfectly (100%) in production, I decided to put a safety margin of about 10% to cover for any yield loss.

Interestingly enough, the yield has been a lot better than that! To give you some statistics about the 1100 modules that have been produced so far:

  1. Assembled PCB boards
    • One board had a short in a copper trace. This short was removed.
    • One board had a defective blue LED. The LED was replaced.
    • One board had an open contact on the USB connector. The connector was resoldered.
    • Three boards had a non-communicating GPS engine, rendering the boards in-operable (real yield loss).

  2. Injection molded housings and lenses
    Considering the issues that had come up during the housing development, I had 1200 housings with lenses made instead of 1100.
    • Housing top: about 90 pieces were screened out because of imperfections.
    • Housing bottom: about 55 pieces were screened out because imperfections.
    • Lenses: about 65 pieces were screened out because of imperfections.

  3. GPS performance (open and clear sky)
    • All tested modules passed (1097 pieces)!
So when it comes to the PCB, the yield has been extremely good (>99%). Only the housing has a relatively large yield loss (5%-10% overall) and I have already talked with the housing supplier to get this improved for the next run. The housings will no longer be bulk-packed and shipped by a courier (which I think has been the main factor of the imperfections). Instead each housing top and bottom will be layer packed with foam for the next run and I will go and pick up the housings myself to avoid possible damage during shipment.

Looking back over the last six months, sales have been a slower than expected, especially January was a slow month. Sales have picked back up in February, and especially March has been very busy.

As the remaining units are expected to be sold in about 5 weeks from now, I have had to put myself into high gear the last two weeks getting everything ready for the next production run. Typically, it will take another 4-6 weeks before we can expect new modules ready to ship from this second production run.

Since this is a second production run, hopefully things will go a lot smoother than was the case for the first run and hopefully no unexpected problem will show up.

In any case, I want to thank everyone for their support over the last year (yes, it's been already more than a year; the first post on this blog dates back to February 2008).

It's amazing to see that when one person in a certain country orders a module, shortly afterward a couple of more orders from the same area in that country come in! So keep on spreading the word about the module!


Varman said...

So your not making anymore after 200 is gone?!?

GPS said...

@varman: as posted, I am currently gearing up for the second production run, so there will be more modules :-). Depending on how quickly the remaining 200 sell, there could be a brief backlog while we wait till new modules from the second run will be come available.

Plak said...

Any development with the mobile substrate?

Eduardo said...

Do you think that will be possible to use the module with a no jailbroken ipod touch 2g after the 3.0 OS?? And do u ship it to Brazil?? What's the price?? Thx.

Plak said...

OK when those last 200 modules are sold is there any chance that we see a development in mobile substrate effort?

Anonymous said...

Product Suggestion: External GPS Antenna connector or Dock Extension cable.

In my experience with GPS systems, the optimal location for the user's screen is not always the optimal place for the GPS receiver. I am _very _ interested in buying your GPS receiver, but I would want a way to place it some distance from my iPhone.

I see that there are insanely expensive Dock Extension Cables available for $26:

and there are external GPS antennae available for $7:

I suppose you folks could easily make an extender cable for <<<<$26 since you already sell the m/f connectors so reasonably.

Please consider making either an extender cable and/or putting an external antenna port on the next model. Thanks!

GPS said...

@Plak: unfortunately, nobody has provided a clue yet on how to change the code to get the position updated automatically. I was hoping that some of you out there would be able to come up with some answers/suggestions as I have run out of ideas. Maybe a developer out there has the answer...

@Eduardo: it will all depend on Apple as there are rumors that you will need some kind of authentication chip from Apple to get things to work (which pretty means they didn't really open up the dock connector). Yes, we ship to Brazil. Check the online store for shipping options and pricing.

@anonymous: just to make things easy for you: the iGPS360 module will work fine and have good reception when it is plugged into your device directly. There is no need to add an additional cable and place the module somewhere else to get better reception. It will work fine without it :-)