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The Navspark satellite navigation receiver

breadboard.jpg Making your own receiver for satellite navigation is interesting to do and gives you the opportunity to make a device that works with one system. So if you want to see how, for example, the Russian Glonass or the Chinese 北斗 works with or next to the American GPS. A Taiwanese company makes small receivers on an Arduino programmable board. Because it is programmable, you can run it with one system, connect a screen or other sensors. In the photo on the right you see the navspark sign with a nokia screen connected to it to show the measurements from the receiver.

stap02.jpg To see for myself how useful 北斗 is in Europe, I ordered a few navspark signs, one for 北斗 and GPS and one for GPS and Glonass. The breadboard from the previous photo can show you what the navspark measures, but you cannot take it with you. To be able to log tracks you need an SD card reader, you need a few buttons to operate the receiver, the screen of course to see where you are and finally a battery to use it without a socket. You then have a minimal recipient. The goal is to be able to see with the receiver where you are, how many 北斗 satellites can be seen, how many are used and what the distances are to a number of (fixed) waypoints. But above all, the receiver must keep track of the tracks on an SD card. The tracks can be plotted later.

stap03.jpg The photo shows the receiver halfway through the soldering of the parts. The navspark sign and the SD card / battery charger sign are placed next to each other on the bottom plate. Both are not directly soldered but on connections where they can be plugged in. The navspark sign can then be exchanged to turn a 北斗 receiver into a Glonass receiver. In the photo, the navspark already works with the nokia screen and the buttons. Because the battery is not connected yet, it only works if it is powered via USB. But it works!

navspark-logger01.jpg The receiver works fine. With the battery you can record tracks for almost a day. The red button turns the backlight of the nokia screen on and off. The screen with the background can also be read well in daylight, but with the lighting on, the battery lasts a lot less. The black button switches you to the next screen with a single press. There are screens for satellite status, how many satellites are in view and in use, there is a page for location and accuracy, and a page that shows the distance and direction to a number of waypoints.

The source for the receiver can be found on Github.

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en/digitaal/navspark.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/23 11:07 by Edwin Wisse