SparkFun GPS Logger Shield

The SparkFun GPS Logger Shield equips your Arduino with access to a GPS module, µSD memory card socket, and all of the other peripherals you’ll need to turn your Arduino into a position-tracking, speed-monitoring, altitude-observing wonder logger. The shield is based around a GP3906-TLP GPS Module – a 66-channel GPS receiver featuring a MediaTek MT3339 architecture and up to a 10Hz update rate. The GPS module will stream constant position updates over a simple TTL-level serial port, which you can then log to a µSD card and/or use for other purposes.

Everything on the shield is highly configurable: A switch allows you to select the GPS module’s UART interface between either hardware or software ports, the µSD card operates over a hardware SPI port, which should be compatible with most Arduino layouts, and extra prototyping space should allow you to add those last, few components you need to complete your project. The GPS Logger Shield’s main voltage supply is taken from the Arduino 5V header pin. This voltage is regulated down to 3.3V, which is supplied to both the GPS module and the µSD card. These two components should consume, about 30mA on average, but they may very occasionally spike to around 100mA. We also highly recommend a 12mm Coin Cell Battery, which fits into the GPS Shield’s battery holder.

Note: The shield does not come with headers installed; we recommend the Arduino Stackable Header Kit.

  • On-Board GP3906-TLP GPS Module
  • 12mm Coin cell battery socket
  • µSD memory card socket
  • Standard Arduino sized shield
  • Prototyping area
  • GPS Module Pins Broken Out
  • Arduino reset button
  • UART switch controls serial communications

SparkFun GPS Logger Shield Product Help and Resources

GPS Logger Shield Hookup Guide

February 11, 2016

How to assemble and hookup the SparkFun GPS Logger Shield. Never lose track of your Arduino again!

Changing the Update Rate of the GP3906 Module

If you want to fiddle around with the update rate for the GPS module on this shield you can do so by sending MTK NMEA commands via the UART pins for the module we have broken out on this shield. Here are a few helpful links to get you started:

MTK NMEA User Manual

MTK Command List

CheckSum Calculator

Please note, you will need to change the baud rate of the module to run at a faster speed in order for the module to accept the higher update rate commands.

Standby mode.

Standby Mode: In this Mode the receiver stops navigation and internal processor enters standby state current drain at main supply VDD is reduced to 200 μA typ.

Standby Mode is entered by sending NMEA command: $PMTK161,0*28. Host can wake up the module from Standby Mode to full Power Mode by sending any byte via host port.

The shield only draws about 7mA after the command is issued.

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Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

1 Soldering

Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

3 Programming

Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Customer Comments

  • Why not pick a GPS module that has external antenna input with a uFL connector? Limits your application possibilities to just use the module’s antenna.

  • Hi,

    Does this unit has its own RTC or should we externally integrate one? In the schematics I could not see it and need to make sure.



    • There is no RTC, but if using GPS you can grab time from the GPS unit which I believe was the intention.

  • Is there any information about the max altitude this module will work up to? I’m looking at using it for high altitude ballooning and I wanted to make sure it works up to at least 100,000ft before using it. Quick skim over the datasheet didn’t provide any altitude info…

  • Is there an arduino board this is supposed to fit snugly on? On my uno R3 it gets blocked by the USB port, and on my redboard by the power port. I have extra tall headers so its not a big problem, just seems like it should be able to sit snugly

    • Sorry I didn’t see this before now. This should fit on any Arduino Uno R3 or the SparkFun Redboard. You do have to solder headers to the shield though. Once the stackable headers are soldered on it sits higher on the boards that it looks like at first glance.

  • I’m stepping my game with arduinos and now I am looking to 3,3V arduino. Unfortunately, I found that most of the shields (like this one) use 5V as main. Is there any tutorial to hack this shields to be fed with 3,3V?

    • This shield is made to be compatible with most 3.3V or 5V Arduinos - I bet yours’ll work. The board takes its power in from what is usually the Arduino’s 5V pin. But even if your Arduino has 3.3V there, that should still be enough to feed the 3.3V LDO regulator on-board.

      You’ll also need to make sure the IOREF pin is tied to 3.3V as well. Or, if your Arduino doesn’t have an IOREF pin, you can set the IOREF jumper to 3.3V on the shield. There’s more info in this section of the hookup guide.

      • Thanks for the replay. Actually I’m working with a Redboard and looking to 3.3V arduino pro since the majority of the sensors that I’m working with are 3.3V.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

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Easy to setup and start using

Easy to setup and start using, and the fact that the programs are on the website allowed me to start logging and testing.