This week’s EYE ON NPI (video) has an EYE TO THE SKY, it’s a new MAX-M10 series of ultra-low-power GPS modules from u-blox.
u-blox is famous for their high quality GPS modules, they’ve been making them for about 20 years and they’ve never stopped iterating on their trusted designs. This new generation of modules, the MAX-M10 series, comes in two flavors for cost vs tracking-sensitivity optimization.
The MAX-M10 modules are the same footprint, and both support the four active or soon-to-be-active GNSS constellations: GPS (USA-launched satellite system), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (Europe) and BeiDou (China)
The MAX-M10S-00B S series has a temperature compensated oscillator a.k.a TCXO for the frequency tuning, so you’ll get better sensitivity and tracking: -167dBm sensitivity compared to the M series’ -164dBm, but at higher current draw and pricing.
The MAX-M10M-00B M series has a regular crystal a.k.a XTAL, for lower cost and power usage, but will take longer to get initial fix and won’t have as good sensitivity. Also, the M series can run 1.8-5.5V, where as the S series is 1.8-3.3V max and has a SAW filter and LNA.
Both modules have UART and I2C support, which is great news because so many microcomputers and ‘controllers do not have lots of spare UARTs. I2C has a built in buffer and you can query the current size and then read bytes out of it. Do note that I2C has clock stretching so you will need to either slow down the baud rate or verify your controller can handle the stretching. For UART mode, default baud rate is 9600 but can be configured higher.
Unlike some basic all-in-one modules, the MAX M10s require an external antenna. You can use either passive or active antennas An active antenna only needs a few passive components. If you want to really have a fancy setup, you can enable an antenna supervisor circuit which can tell you if the antenna is connected, shorted, or even open.
The recent GPS modules from u-blox also support their native IoT cloud asset tracking system called CloudLocate also known as ThingStream which seems to do a very cool thing where you don’t actually need to get a fix or download the ephemeris data, you can stream timing measurement deltas immediately and the calculation of GPS coordinates is done by a computer that has almanac data all loaded up. Of course this works only if you have a LoRa/Cell/WiFi connection already but for asset tracking it’s a cute idea!
Wanna upgrade your GNSS product to the very latest and greatest u-blox 10th generation series today? You can because the MAX-M10S-00B is in stock right now at Digi-Key for immediate shipment!
And while you’re waiting for your next-day shipment to burst out the warehouse doors and make its way into your arms, be sure to sign up for the free webinar on October 12th on Accelerating Your Wireless Solution Development which will use the u-blox XPLR-IOT-1 dev kit for quick LTE / NB-IOT / WiFi / GNSS development.