GPS Data Logging

Teensy 3.1 GPS Shield
We finally have GPS data logging operational on the Teensy GPS Shield.  Once again, we can thank Dario for that!  Currently the Teensy GPS Shield is under beta test and we have several software developers who are working to complete the software and verify the hardware.  There will be two models available.  Option 1 will include CAN bus and option 2 will be stripped of th...
Read More

ATTiny13a Power Control

BalloonGPS_FR4_weight
Finally had time to work on my GPS Balloon project which now uses the ATTiny13A for power control. The goal here is to make a small light weight GPS device that can be attached to a party balloon and track and log it's position. The most recent challenge has been to manage the power consumption of the device. GPS receiver modules tend to be power hogs (50mA or greater for...
Read More

Distraction #37

Si7013
Finally finished my Si7013 temperature/humidity sensor breakout board. Not long ago my TX4U sensor failed for my LaCrosse weather station. I went to buy a new one and they wanted $50 for it! Of course my initial reaction on everything is I should build one! So, another distraction begins and I built up a small Si7013 breakout board that is 5V compatible. It would have been ...
Read More

GPS Ground Plane

GPS Ground Plane Assembly
Today I ran some tests using an aluminum sheet metal for a GPS ground plane and the Venus638FLPx with a passive W3011A chip antenna.  The manufacturer of the antenna recommends a minimum of 80 x 37 mm ground plane.  My PCB only measures 50 x 30 mm and indeed has antenna performance issues.  To create a ground plane, I used a 260 x 100mm sheet of aluminum and cut out a notch whe...
Read More

GPS Tracker v3

After a long hiatus from this project, I finally had some time to revive my GPS Tracker project.  Although the original goal on this project was to create a tiny super-lightweight tracker, I've added a USB connection to make easier for testing and troubleshooting.  For this revision I used the SeeedStudio Fusion PCB Service.  The service is awesome and for small boards like...
Read More

Ground Planes Are Important

So the past couple weeks that I spent testing my GPS pcb design I discovered that ground planes are just as important as the antenna.  Duh!  I'm using various ceramic chip antennas for the GPS receiver and decided to see what kind of performance I would get using a very small pcb and minimal ground plane.  The manufacturer recommended ground plane size is 80mm and my GPS bo...
Read More

Dorkbot PCB Success

GLA01 Passive Antenna
The re-order of my GPS pcb from Dorkbot was a success!  The last order I received from Dorkbot was missing the drill holes, however, this time the drill holes are in  place.  The first thing I tried was soldering the LGA pins from the bottom side of the printed circuit board.  The pcb has thru-holes at every LGA pad and I was hoping to get enough solder paste into the hole ...
Read More

Dorkbot PCB Problem

I received my first Dorkbot PCB order and unfortunately there is a problem.  The image  above shows that everything looks pretty good except it's missing most of the drill holes.  To be honest, the problem was my fault even though Laen at Dorkbot PCB is attempting to take the blame. The requirements listed on his website specifically state that all pcb orders must have d...
Read More

SparkFun Venus638FLPx Breakout Board Analysis

I was looking at the SparkFun Venus638FLPx breakout board and noticed that they don't even connect any of the LGA pins.  This is odd because the LGA I/O pins include GPIO, I2C, 3.3V, GND and RF GND.  It's a shame they didn't break out the I2C bus.  Also, I would think that not connecting the power and ground pins would hamper the chips ability to operate properly.  I wonder...
Read More

Venus638FLPx GPS Breakout Board Layout

I've been working on the Venus638FLPx breakout board layout.  I decided to go ahead and break out all of the I/O in case I want to use it.  I created 2 designs that I'm submitting to DorkbotPDX PCB.  This will be the first time I've used Dorkbot.  They appear to have great prices with a reasonable turn-around time.  Normally, I've been purchasing my test boards through Batc...
Read More