Arduino UNO and Adafruit Ultimate GPS Breakout : First Impressions

During these days i was searching for something modular and scalable that can gives me a clear PPS  (  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse_per_second ) from a GPS satellite with some datas like UTC times.I’ve tested the Arduino UNO board with  the Adafruit GPS module.

20141017_213715

It’s very easy to use them on a little breadboard. The Adafruit GPS is a little receiver with many useful characteristics:

  • -165 dBm sensitivity, 10 Hz updates, 66 channels
  • 5V friendly design and only 20mA current draw
  • Breadboard friendly + two mounting holes
  • RTC battery-compatible
  • Built-in datalogging
  • PPS output on fix
  • We have received reports that it works up to ~32Km altitude (the GPS theoretically does not have a limit until 40Km)
  • Internal patch antenna + u.FL connector for external active antenna
  • Fix status LED

All for 39$. You can take into your hand or create a little circuit , you neither have to configure the UNO to start collect some datas. Just connect wires in the right locations and let the receiver connect to a GPS satellite.

20141018_224438Using Arduino software is very easy to connect to the board’s UART (serial) and see directly satellite data  with position and precise time from Cesius/Rubidium clocks inside the GPS satellites.This is a first output without putting an “echo” code inside the board (no code is required, just connect and wacth  for serial output) :

gps

But, if you want to read data in a more human  format ,you can use a code and upload into the board, remember before to intall the GPS library  ( you can dowload them as zip file from github https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-GPS-Library ) and put this code (you can also find it into examples)  http://www.sidmonitor.net/gallery/pasedcode.txt you will have this output instead:

gps2So now that we have our circuit operational, let’s check out the PPS value with an oscilloscope :

pps

We have here a clear PPS with a freq of 1.00 Hz and a period of 1 s,  anyway it’s a good result for a little gps not bigger than a coin and 40 dollars. Next step we’ll see how can build a Stratum 1 NTP server using a board (Radxa/Wandboard or Raspberry) and  see the performances on a DSL link! Stay cool!

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