U-blox 7 and PCIe RS232 card....new GPS+PPS project

Looking at the u-blox setup in the picture, it does run off 5V as it has a 3.3V regulator on it (I have a near identical board, as most of the cheapy u-blox GPS modules are all the same 3 or 4 board setups).

Did you program the u-blox first on a PC with the U-Center software? Could be its not set to default settings (usually 9600bps for serial), AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, u-blox serial is NOT compatible with standard serial voltages as it is TTL serial. You need a TTL to Serial converter to adapt the TTL voltages to serial. It will not work without one and you may end up killing the GPS module with the higher serial voltages.

Since it has a USB port, I’d verify first with the U-Center software that it’s working fine via USB and that you didn’t kill it.

Cheap TTL to Serial converters: https://www.amazon.com/HiLetgo-MAX3232-Converter-Module-Serial/dp/B00LPK0Z9A/

You’ll have to fiddle around with how to get the 5V to the chip, but since the PCIe card you have can supply 5V over one of the unused pins, you could probably work with it. I would verify first though that the pin is really unused on the adapter and doesn’t have a trace going to the chip. There’s plenty of other styles of TTL to Serial converters available too, some more expensive that come with a cable and housing to make it look like a regular serial cable.

U-Blox U-Center: https://www.u-blox.com/en/product/u-center

It works with Gen 6 through current Gen 10 u-blox chipsets. Plug via USB to your PC, connect via serial in the software, open a Packet Console View (F6), and change the buad rate till you see data coming through. Default is 9600 but who know what your chip was programmed to. If you need help with the setup, I can walk you through since I use u-blox GPS’ exclusively in everything I do in regards to GPS.

Edit: Quick little primer on the difference between TTL and normal Serial (RS-232) signal levels. https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/215

1 Like

Tested u-center, it installs the driver but then u-center doesn’t find it.

It’s dead allright. :rofl:

I stick with Garmin :slight_smile:

Bas: don’t give up after first try :smiley:

I’ve got the ublox M7T Module which Dave mention in another thread. The delivery was realy fast. Also they provided me a Pin Header descriptione after asking. Maybe this is something for you too.

Will need to wire it up :slight_smile:

Ahh and maybe take a look at https://www.navilock.de/ they aren’t the cheap but have a good quality (only if you want to try something out :slight_smile: )

Sorry, my Garmins work well…I stick with them.

For the moment my experiments are on hold.

I do have a spare USB-Ublox with PPS via USB…if somebody wants to play with it.

It’s pretty good. But the Garmins are better :rofl:

Are you sure it’s dead? If nothing was trying to transmit from the PC to the GPS module, then it wouldn’t be hit with any high voltage. And even if it was, it could possibly be only the serial interface that is dead (USB would still work). I’ve made the mistake of connect a U-Blox serial straight to PC serial, but nothing bad happened with the module and it still works just fine.

When you connected via USB to the PC, was the module even detected by ‘Device Manager’? It should show up as just a serial device, and checking it’s properties would show you what port it was assigned to. There shouldn’t be any special drivers needed as the USB port is just a built in serial to USB converter.

On a u-blox, it is a separate dedicated USB “port” on the chip, independent of the serial UART port(s) the chip may have.

On Windows, even serial to USB converters need special drivers. That is also true for the special USB device as which the u-blox chip presents itself.

I wouldn’t muck around on Windows and with u-Center, too many variables and things that can go wrong, for a first step. Plug into Linux (which does have the needed driver on board in most typical cases), and point gpsmon at it. While the device presents as serial UART-like device, it really isn’t one, e.g., in the sense that baud rate would have any meaning. I.e., speed settings don’t get in the way.

You’re right. I just looked over the Data Sheet again and it is a independant data line. I’m so used to just plugging the TTL serial output on all my boards into my USB adapter that I totally forgot about that.

I just checked with one of the U-Blox boards I have that have a built in true USB port (not serial to USB) and it comes up with the stock built in Windows driver. No additional driver needed, and just as you say, no need to change port speed even though it shows up as a Com port. If it didn’t show up in Windows and they couldn’t connect with u-Center, good chance it’s dead, but I’d still give it a try again on Linux as you said, just to be sure.

Hmm, curious, doesn’t match my experience, so interesting to see/learn about. Maybe it depends on the version of Windows, and how it is being managed. Just out of curiosity, are you sure you didn’t previously install the u-blox driver, and it is just being reused? Or that it was downloaded automatically from Windows Update? Who is named as author of the driver?

At the end of the day, the device seems to appear as USB CDC class device on Linux, so if the corresponding generic driver works on Linux, why shouldn’t that also be possible on Windows. I always kind of wondered about that, but it wasn’t pressing enough to investigate, or I thought the special driver would maybe add functionality that the generic one wouldn’t have, but I never found anything lacking on Linux.

It’s dead allright.

USB is seen in Linux and in vBox-Windows, but no commands pass.

Pretty sure I killed it :slight_smile:

No biggy, it was just an experiment…that failed :crazy_face:

I’m running Windows 11, and I do not recall having to install any drivers for the real USB u-Blox board. I only had to install driver for the TTL Serial to USB adapter I use.

The direct USB u-Blox driver shows as:

usbser.sys
Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Date: 2006-06-21
Driver Version: 10.0.22621.4
Digital Signer: Microsoft Windows

1 Like

Thanks! Quite interesting, I wasn’t aware of this. It’s a while since I last connected a u-blox device to a Windows machine for the first time, so memory is a bit fuuzy, and I now cannot rule out anymore maybe having preemtively installed the u-blox driver without first checking whether that was really necessary. Will pay more attention next time I connect a u-blox to a “fresh” (at least in that respect) Windows machine.

Sorry to hear it. Sure, didn’t cost too much, but those little, cheap devices are surprisingly powerful and versatile. E.g., it’s just a configuration change to get 5PPS instead of 1PPS (and various other rates), no need for a completely separate device.

Gave it a nice funeral :rofl:

I know U-blox can be programmed, until you blow the permanent-settings-fuse, like many cheap Chinese GPS’ses have done before delivery, then you can’t change anything.