SparkFun Electronics will be closed in observance of memorial day on Monday, May 29th. We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, May 30th. Any orders placed after 2pm Mountain Time on Friday, May 26th will process and ship out on Tuesday, May 30th.
The LS20031 is a high performance, reliable, and inexpensive GPS module. It is the premier choice for most of our engineers, since it has a 5Hz update rate, a backup power source for quick locks (time to first fix), and a small form factor. The only downside is that it doesn't come with a connector. There is some minor assembly required, but it is very easy with the help of the LS20031 Assembly Guide.
Here are some good pieces of information to know about the LS20031, more details can be found in the datasheet:
You might notice there is not a connector on the GPS, only bare pads. The first thing that needs to be done is to solder headers onto the bare pads, so you can connect the GPS to the system of your choice.
Here is the LS20031 GPS Assembly Guide.
Keep in mind, you will need the following tools and supplies:
Here is a quick and easy test is to check to see if the GPS is sending out valid NMEA data. Remember, the GPS antenna needs to be in clear view of the sky in order to receive valid NMEA data. It might work inside or next to a window, but I wouldn't rely on it!
Here is what you will need:
LS20031 GPS FTDI Basic - 3.3V
Now you need to connect the FTDI Basic to the LS20031 GPS. Here is a list of the required connections:
After you have the GPS and FTDI basic connected, plug the FTDI into a USB cable connected to your computer. Depending on your OS, you will need to install drivers for the FTDI Basic.
See the FTDI Basic Quick Start Guide for instructions on installing FTDI Drivers.
If the FTDI driver install was successful, the FTDI Basic should enumerate as a COM port. To check this in Windows: right click on 'My Computer', goto 'Properties' -> Hardware' -> 'Device Manager'. In the Device Manager under 'Ports (COM & LTP)', you should see 'USB Serial Port (COMxx)'.
Next, you need to open a serial terminal program. Most Windows machines have a program called hyperterminal already installed. You can use hyperterminal or any other alternative, FYI, there are many, i.e. TeraTerm, Minicom, etc. To find hyperterminal, goto the Start menu, 'Programs' -> 'Accesories' -> 'Communication' -> 'HyperTerminal'. Open the program and hit the 'properties' button.
Make sure you select the same COM number as shown in device manager.
Also, click on the 'Configure' button and make sure 9600 baud rate is selected.
And finally, click the 'Call' button. (Note: if hyperterminal asks you to name your session, just name it whatever you like and move on).
Once you hit the 'Call' button or open the terminal, you should see the TX LED on the FTDI Basic blink and you should see NMEA data streaming in the terminal window. If you are inside a building or if you GPS cannot get a lock, you will see something like this: