Adding Aftermarket Internal GPS to the CF-28

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by Toughbook, Nov 19, 2007.

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  1. Toughbook

    Toughbook Drop and Give Me 20!

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    I think we ought to start with one of the eval boards that Cadillac suggested. It gives us a protected platform, it's available, it's inexpensive, it's available, it's pretty much made for our application, it's available.... See my point. He also suggested moving on to a better GPS engine. One with a newer chipset and without the useless antenna.

    Just a thought.
     
  2. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Notebook Guru

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    I think Modly was planing along the same lines as I am in using the pad layout for the EM406 and 408 modules, so if that works out it would be sticking to the same plan.
    cheers
    EDIT if the forum had a mudometer I'd be well into the brown by now :) I meant the ET-312 SiRF III module:
    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8268
    I was looking at the pad layout on the USB evaluation board.
     
  3. Modly

    Modly Warranty Voider

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    I am all for any other GPS module to use, provided it is fairly easy to wire in.

    However I think using the eval boards might be a step backwards from progress. I think a good key element to a good GPS setup is that it looks like it was professionally done and that it should have been there, and using an eval board we'd have to splice into the ribbon cable (Which I had originally planned to do before we got the boards running).

    However I do see that there is a need for a solution in the duration while a board is developed.

    The big negative on progress though, is I had a good rough board layout done last night with the 50pin connector, GPS, resistors (not proper value, but spots for them), grounding the 37, etc. Still needs plenty of work though.. But my G5 was my only box with SATA support, and my new one won't be here til after the new year.

    I guess I can start working on another board though on my toughbook. It'll be a lot easier now that I know how to use Eagle a bit better.
     
  4. Toughbook

    Toughbook Drop and Give Me 20!

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    Well... Should I keep these SMD 50 pin connectors then? If you guys are going ahead with the board development we'd need them, right?

    I am all for a plug and play solution. I'd prefer to keep it looking exactly like the stock daughterboard. If all I have to do is solder 5 pins and pop it in... I'm done! BUT... I need something to play around with. Plus... With the eval board we could try to do something a little extra... Like adding another 2 USB ports on the side of the laptop. Though I'm not sure if they'd be waterproof. I'll have to check to see if they make them.

    Anyway... it would be fun to poke around with and see what I could end up with. (Hopefully not a fried motherboard!) :eek:
     
  5. Modly

    Modly Warranty Voider

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    Ha, yeah, one fried board is enough ;) At least I can poke it and handle it rough now and not care.

    I think you should keep the 50-pin connectors. We'll get to use them before too long.
     
  6. cadillac

    cadillac Notebook Consultant

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    I liked the ET-333 when we started this but bought the EM-408 in the interest of the group, thinking if we where all working with the same components one of us was bound to get lucky and the others could fallow to confirm.
    That said we now know we can make the 408 module work with the RIM daughter board and get good performance from this combination.

    Now there are some that would like to take this to the next step by installing these in computers or offering them in some form of kit for resale and I think this would be a great service for those that can not do it for them selves but would like the benefits of a working internal GPS.

    So I still think from all the currently available module’s or engine boards the ET-333 is a good choice with the ET-332 not far behind and if I where going to go through the trouble of making a board or use an available Eval board I would look real hard at these.
    http://www.usglobalsat.com/p-49-et-332-sirf-iii.aspx

    http://www.usglobalsat.com/p-48-et-333-sirf-iii.aspx

    If I where going to make my own board I would certainly look at the new modules coming out at the first of the year with the newer chip set and make sure I could plop one of these bad boys on without reinventing the wheel even if I planed on using the older one for now.
    http://www.globalsat.com.tw/eng/product_029_00001.htm

    The 408 served us well and is still is a good choice for all the reasons we used in the first place but with its narrow voltage requirements useless antenna and lack of battery backup I would not consider it your best choice for what we are talking about now.

    How’s this for mud Stan.

    Jim
     
  7. gravitar

    gravitar Notebook Deity

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    Is the built-in antenna totally useless? If we could mount it in a similar fashion to the stock CF28 GPS antenna would it still not pull in a decent signal? That's where I would like to go with mine, that way I can have an internal antenna and provisions for an external one as well.. I want to see if the plastic "bump" that is used with the stock setup is available at a decent price from heartlands, and then figure out if the whole 408 unit can be shoved in there (doesn't look like it), and if not can the patch antenna be desoldered and attached to a short pigtail. Does anyone have a junk 408 I can try this on? :) I don't want to ruin mine without having somewhat of a plan of how to go about this!
     
  8. Toughbook

    Toughbook Drop and Give Me 20!

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    A junk 408? <laughing uncontrollably> I don't think the bump would be anywhere near big enough for the 408. BUT... I think a patch antenna would fit. I wonder if the stock antenna would aork well with the 408? It would be worth a try.

    Cadillac... I like the et-333... It's a GPS and board in one! AND it is less than what we have been paying for the 408!
     
  9. cadillac

    cadillac Notebook Consultant

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    Gravitar.
    You would be better off getting one of the little antennas that Rick is using for $18.00 and jamming it in the hump IMHO.
    Another option would be to remove the module from an old BU-353 same thing as a 406 module and fit it in the hump. A little smaller than the 408 and would be easer the jam in there.
    Jim
     
  10. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Notebook Guru

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    Lol, that mud looks transparent to me Caddy.
    Now I can't resist getting it looking guinness colored again :)
    Most of the modules above are using the sirf III chip so they should all be similar in reception and communications.
    Most of them are also tiny things that would look very tidy with a good support and cable, possibly even better than the standard panasonic setup.
    As for a board, there will be (no a political type 'will' but a real one) a board design from either Modly or myself within the next few of weeks. We are both up to speed with the design software but have not yet made any fixed plans on which module or where to mount the usb rocket launcher.
    If anyone would like a pcb layout to get a very simple board etched with pads to mount a ribbon cable socket and holes to wire a module to then either of us should be able to get something out quickly.
    However, 0.5mm pitch PCB's are not cheap to get etched and IMHO it would be better to decide exactly what is wanted on a board, including mounting points for what may be wanted later, and get a batch of fully featured boards made up.

    Hmm.. not muddy looking yet. Why does the antenna your using have power leads? Active antennas normally get their power from the coaxial, the center pin is at 5v and the shielding at earth. Doesn't effect the signal as its an AC kind of signal and the DC just moves it up a bit. With the metal case and the short lead it 'should' make no difference at all to the signal strength over a normal antenna. At least that's what I read on the net (and everything is always true there...).
    cheers
     
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