Extremely inexpensive gps modules

Paul Theodoropoulos paul at anastrophe.com
Mon Aug 13 00:47:08 UTC 2018

On 8/8/2018 19:48 PM, Gary E. Miller wrote:
>> I doubt it works as well as an M8N.  If gpsd sees it as a NEO 6M I'd
>> complain to the seller and to e-bay.  The sale item clearly said NEO
>> M8N.
I built it out on a Pi Zero W with a protoboard, was able to 
successfully wire up PPS. Installed software from scratch via the howto 
(generating a lot of updates to the howto in the process), and it runs. 

The startup blast from the module identifies it as

$GNTXT,01,01,02,u-blox AG - www.u-blox.com*4E
$GNTXT,01,01,02,HW UBX-M8030 00080000*60
$GNTXT,01,01,02,ROM CORE 3.01 (107888)*2B
$GNTXT,01,01,02,FWVER=SPG 3.01*46

M8030 is the same chip as is inside a NEO M8N - So they are building a 
module with the correct chip, but not necessarily the same peripheral 
components that are inside the can of a genuine M8N, which are the 
secret sauce for the M8N's performance.

It's running the current ROM, but not from an external flash chip, which 
the NEO M8N has - therefore not upgradeable. No great loss. As for the 
other features that are supported on the M8030 but which are included by 
default on the M8N - SAW filter, TCXO, RTC -  no idea. I may be able to 
learn more after the USB-TTL adapter I ordered arrives, so I can run the 
ublox uCenter software which is only available on Windows. I'm not going 
to try taking the lid off.

There's no evidence that the 'battery' (or more likely 'super' cap) on 
the package actually  is connected to anything. It seems to lose 
everything on a power-cycle.

Still, it was a cheap thrill.

Paul Theodoropoulos

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