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Guides for product: Flora Wearable Ultimate GPS Module

This module is the best way to add a GPS to your wearable project. It's part of the Adafruit Flora series of wearable electronics, designed specifically for use with the Flora motherboard. Installed on the PCB is the latest of our Ultimate GPS modules, a small, super-thin, low-power GPS module with built-in data-logging capability! This module's easy to use, but extremely powerful:

  • -165 dBm sensitivity, 10 Hz updates, 99 search channels
  • Designed for wearable use with the Flora system
  • Only 30mA current draw
  • RTC battery-compatible - sew a battery on to create an atomic-precision real time clock
  • Built-in datalogging
  • Internal patch antenna + u.FL connector for external active antenna
  • Fix status LED

...all for under $25!

The breakout is built around the MTK3333 chipset, a no-nonsense, high-quality GPS module that can track up to 22 satellites on 66 channels, has an excellent high-sensitivity receiver (-165 dB tracking!), and a built-in antenna. It can do up to 10 location updates a second for high speed, high sensitivity logging, or tracking. Power usage is incredibly low, only 30 mA during navigation.

Please note that as of July 2021, the original module we used was discontinued by the vendor. We found and are using a nearly identical version of the module - it's a little taller (4mm) but has the same functionality. The commands for querying the antenna have changed slightly so existing projects may need to update their firmware.

The module is kept small and simple, we have a ferrite bead, filter capacitor and red fix LED on board. The LED blinks at about 1Hz while it's searching for satellites and blinks once every 15 seconds when a fix is found to conserve power. If you want to have an LED on all the time, we also provide the FIX signal out on a pin so you can put an external LED on.

Two features that really stand out about the MTK3333-based module are the external antenna functionality and the built-in data-logging capability. The module has a standard ceramic patch antenna that gives it -165 dB sensitivity, but when you want to have a bigger antenna, you can snap on any 3V active GPS antenna via the uFL connector. The module will automatically detect the active antenna and switch over! Most GPS antennas use SMA connectors so you may want to pick up one of our uFL to SMA adapters.

The other cool feature of the new MTK3333-based module (which we have tested with great success) is the built-in datalogging ability. Since there is a microcontroller inside the module, with some empty FLASH memory, the newest firmware now allows sending commands to do internal logging to that FLASH. The only thing is that you do need to have the Flora mainboard send the "Start Logging" command. However, after that message is sent, the Flora can go to sleep and does not need to wake up to talk to the GPS anymore to reduce power consumption. The time, date, longitude, latitude, and height are logged every 15 seconds and only when there is a fix. The internal FLASH can store about 16 hours of data, it will automatically append data so you don't have to worry about accidentally losing data if power is lost. It is not possible to change what is logged and how often, as it's hardcoded into the module but we found that this arrangement covers many of the most common GPS datalogging requirements.

Comes with one fully assembled and tested module. If you'd like to back up the RTC for faster fix-recovery, pick up a sewable CR2032 holder & CR2032 battery and sew it so the + side connects to the VBAT pad and the - side connects to ground.

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