GPS Shield Assembly Guide


Assembling the GPS Shield is simple. All you need to do is solder stackable headers onto the GPS shield PCB (printed circuit board), just like the photo below. The following guide will show you step-by-step how to professionally solder your headers.


I recommend you start with a nice clear work area to make your job easier.

You'll need some tools to assemble the kit so you might want to make sure you have them all together now:



  • Soldering iron (e.g. TOL-00085)
  • Solder (e.g. TOL-09161)
  • Work area (You'll probably want to protect the surface of your work area with something non-flammable to avoid marking it if you drop molten solder on it.)

These tools are optional but you might find them useful:


All the parts you need to assemble the kit are shown below so let's see what you should have in front of you:

  • 1 x GPS Shield PCB
  • 2 x 8-pin Arduino Stackable Header (PRT-09279)
  • 2 x 6-pin Arduino Stackable Header (PRT-09280)

Instead of using stackable headers you might prefer to use standard Break Away Headers - Straight instead. See the header section for more discussion of this.

If you are missing any parts email SparkFun customer service and we'll get the correct parts out to you as quick as possible.

Got extra parts? Well, lucky you, free stuff!

All parts present and accounted for? Great, let's start to put the shield together.



If this is your first time soldering you'll probably want to check out our introductory soldering tutorial first. Read the guide and you'll pick up some good tips that will help your first soldering experience go more smoothly.

Now it's time to solder the headers. You'll notice in these images and the parts list we use the stackable headers which allow an additional shield to be stacked on top of this one.

So what's the advantage of using the stackable headers in this case? It means you can still insert jumpers into the headers to gain access to the unused pins.

Let's start by soldering one of the six pin headers into one of the 6 pin holes on the GPS Shield.

Insert one of the 6 pin header into the correct location and tack one of the pins down with solder, like this:


Be sure the header pins are coming out of the pin holes at right angles, so the shield plugs cleanly into the Arduino Main Board! The reason we start with soldering just one pin is because it makes it easier to obtain the correct alignment and fix any mistakes.

Once you've soldered one pin you might want to test the alignment by inserting the shield into an Arduino as shown below. Just be careful when you do so, because the header is still only held in place with one solder joint.

Your headers should cleanly plug into the Arduino Main board headers and the shield PCB should be parallel to the Arduino Main Board PCB. Drop the remaining headers into place to see if everything will fit.

If the alignment of the header isn't quite right carefully reheat the solder joint and move the header slightly. Don't move it after you've removed the heat or you'll end up with a poor or broken joint.

Once you're happy with the alignment of the header you can solder another pin into place—my recommendation is to solder the pin at the opposite end of the header to the first pin you soldered. The reason for this is that once the two end pins are in place the alignment won't change. I recommend double checking the alignment is still okay again by connecting it to your Arduino once more.


Now, repeat the above process for the remaining 3 headers. Make sure you solder the 6 pin headers into the 6 pin slots and the 8 pin headers into the 8 pin slots on the edges of the Arduino.


Completed Soldering

Once you have finished soldering all 4 sets of headers, your board should look something like this:





Now's the time to double check all your soldering and fix up any problems:

  • Do the joints all look shiny and volcano shaped?
  • Do you have any "shorts" or "bridges" between joints where you've accidentally connected the two joints with solder?

Check out the soldering guide for advice to avoid these problems.

Don't be too fussy though because re-heating and moving the joints is to be avoided if possible.


Completed shield

Plug an EM-406 GPS module into the connector, as shown below. You can fix the GPS to the shield with some double sided sticky tape.

Plug your shield into the Arduino and you are ready to move on to the Quickstart Guide! Good Luck!


Have a suggestion for how we can improve this assembly guide? Steps missed? Instructions unclear? Please let us know. You can leave a comment below or email us Also let us know if this is the most awesome assembly guide you've ever encountered and we'll stop trying to improve it.

Comments 6 comments

  • what’s the little piece of adhesive foam for?

    is it the “double-sided sticky tape” that you refer to for mounting the module to the board?

  • I have a problem here, the shield is well soldered and plugged to the arduino uno. But now the arduino is only recognized if it has the shield on it and the shield turned on. More, the driver is not compatible with the arduino+shield on Windows. What can I do?

  • Has anyone notice that the assembly guide’s Shield does not match the current GPS Shield –
    I am not saying this to be mean but there are something’s on the new shield that does not make any sense. There is a little Bat/3.3 jumper above the logo on image 2 which the pads look like the same SJ1 and SJ2. It’s not a through hole connector which Jumper 31-2 is. On the Schematic it shows a battery, but nothing equates to this object (I think it’s a jumper 31-2- but it does not reflect the what the part looks like) on the PCB (Batt/3.3V).
    The other thing that shows up on the new GPS shield that does not show up on the Schematic is the UP501 GPS silk screen on the PCB. The silk screen pins for the UP501 is not even labeled, unlike everything else is on the GPS shield. YES, there is the EM406 that has six pins, but nothing on the schematic that indicates that it matches up with the UP501 GPS silk screen. I think the dead horse has been hit enough… Will someone at Sparkfun please fix all of this? Thanks. -BlackLab.

  • Having the same waiting for lock problem :S anyone?

  • Need trouble shooting advice.
    All go well except the last step, …waiting for lock… forever. I just cannot get a lock. What can I do from here?