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Questions about the BatchPCB service

Moderator: robacarp

By carlsnilsson
g'day all:
I just wanted to point out that there is large market for little breakout pcb's for the range of Ublox GPS modules - particularly the -5 and now -6 series. Sparkfun comes close with the GS-407 receiver, but does not quite fit the bill. Ublox used to make and market an evaluation board - the RCB-4H with the GPS TIM-4 module. This was discontinued, as UBlox seem to only want to sell heaps of modules. When I asked the Aussie agent for Ublox today about the legacy RCB-4H which I wanted, he said "none left for some time, but if I could get stock, I could sell 500 immediately". The Sparkfun GS-407 receiver board almost gets there, but does not provide access to the second UART which outputs binary data. What the world (including me) needs is a simple PCB adapter board rather like the SOIC to 0.1 inch DIP boards on which one could mount the Ublox modules with access to all 30 pins. A further step would be to extend the board to take something like a 20 pin MAX 233 to transform the two UART lines to RS232 and maybe a couple of simple regulators from 5V to 3V for Ublox module Vcc and Vant. Anyone looking for a project with sales in mind might do well to look at this - designing and making PCBs is one project too many for me, although it looks like a lot of fun.
Regards all
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By leon_heller
I made my own breakout PCB for the LEA-4 module, some years ago, interfacing it to a PIC16F88. It might be suitable for the current models.
By carlsnilsson
I believe it would be - my understanding is that the TIM-5 and LEA-5 are pin and software compatible with the older TIM-4 modules. Do you happen to have one (breakout pcb) left over or could you post the design? My one-off application is to incorporate the Ublox LEA-5H or TIM-5H with my single board computer in a prototype Flight Management System I have on board an ultralight aircraft.
Past one am here and this old codger needs to go to bed!
By carlsnilsson
Apologies for the delay in answering after your kind offer of help. I should be delighted to receive a copy of the Gerbers. I must admit that first I had to look up what the word "Gerber" meant, which shows how much I know about the whole process! Nothing like learning with an example of interest! How do you pass on files - can you do that person to person through this site or do you want my email address?
I just checked the LEA 5 datasheet and it shows a total of 28 pins for the chipset, just like the LEA 4, whereas the TIM-4 & 5 has 5 rf and 10 logic each side for a total of 30 with a different layout. So I can use the LEA 5 with your layout. (I haven't checked the pin arrangement in detail, but Iwill tomorrow - I'd lay money on it being the same).
By cpeacock

Is that Braemac that believe there is strong demand for development boards?

While I have used the modules in the past, I'm now using Smart Antenna's such as the Falcom FSA03. It has a UBlox G5010 complete with a Sarantel Antenna. The problem still exists that there isn't a nice development board for them.

What do you hook them into if you still use RS-232? (and not 3.3V Async Serial to a uC etc)
By carlsnilsson
Yes, it was a Braemac sales person who seemed to know what he was talking about who said that to me when I was enquiring about any legacy RCB-4H boards.
It seems to make sense, but very low volume users such as myself don't really count for much in the market for chipsets. There is no doubt that the ublox are very nice systems.

I make use of both the NMEA and UBX protocols; both go into a MAX233 to RS232 ports. in my case, they go to separate computers, but the UBX stays in the same box as the GPS chipset going into a Advantech SBC (an old one, the PCA 9571) via a port on a PC 104 bus 8-port module, (an Advantech PCM 3643). The whole project was a flight management system, attitude display and auto pilot system for a light aircraft. Very much a prototype unit for my own use. The essence of the system layout was to provide enough serial RS232 ports for all the various inputs and devices. One can say - why not go to something more exotic, but existing inertial management units, GPSs, altimeters etc that were within my reach five years ago all had RS232 outputs.
I'm sure there are other ways to skin that cat, but the 8 serial RS232 ports on a PC104 bus looked like a good solution to me with limited hardware and programming skills. Carl