The plain GPS breakout is meant to be used with a microcontroller that has a 3/5V UART and has all the GPIO pins exposed on the bottom 0.1" header

The USB version doesn't have those GPIO pins broken out. Instead it has a single USB serial port. There's 4 pads to the right side that are the USB pinouts for when you want to solder it directly to a USB host controller.

Breakout Power Pins

These are the pins that are involved with powering the GPS. Starting from the right are the required power pins:

  • VIN - power input, connect to 3-5VDC. It's important to connect to a clean and quiet power supply. GPS's are very sensitive, so you want a nice and quiet power supply. Don't connect to a switching supply if you can avoid it, an LDO will be less noisy!
  • GND - power and signal ground. Connect to your power supply and microcontroller ground.

Then, on the left are some optional power pins:

  • VBAT is an input pin - it is connected to the GPS real time clock battery backup. We suggest using the battery spot on the back but if you have a project with a coin cell or other kind of battery that you want to use (and its under 3.3V) you can connect it to the VBAT pin. For V1 and V2 modules: If you do this, be sure to cut the trace on the back between the RTC solder pads
  • EN is the Enable pin, it is pulled high with a 10K resistor. When this pin is pulled to ground, it will turn off the GPS module. This can be handy for very low power projects where you want to easily turn the module off for long periods. You will lose your fix if you disable the GPS and it will also take a long time to get fix back if you dont have the backup battery installed.
  • 3.3V is the output from the onboard 3.3V regulator. If you have a need for a clean 3.3V output, you can use this! It can provide at least 100mA output.

Breakout Serial Data Pins

Next pins you'll want to use are the serial data pins:

  • TX - the pin that transmits data from the GPS module to your microcontroller or computer. It is 3.3V logic level. Data comes out at 9600 baud by default
  • RX - the pin that you can use to send data to the GPS. You can use use 3.3V or 5V logic, there is a logic level shifter. By default it expects 9600 baud data, and remember you need to send it checksum'med NMEA sentences

Breakout Other Pins

FIX is an output pin - it is the same pin as the one that drives the red LED. When there is no fix, the FIX pin is going to pulse up and down once every second. When there is a fix, the pin is low (0V) for most of the time, once every 15 seconds it will pulse high for 200 milliseconds

PPS is a new pin output on V3 modules. Its a "pulse per second" output. Most of the time it is at logic low (ground) and then it pulses high (3.3V) once a second, for 50-100ms, so it should be easy for a microcontroller to sync up to it

This guide was first published on Aug 23, 2012. It was last updated on Feb 23, 2024.

This page (Pinouts) was last updated on Apr 20, 2016.

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