SparkFun’s latest GNSS breakout board features u-Blox NEO-F10N L1/L5 dual-band receiver for urban environments

The SparkFun GNSS L1/L5 Breakout is a standard precision GNSS board with meter-level positional accuracy that features the u-Blox NEO-F10N dual-band module, an SMA antenna connector, and a USB-C port for power and data.

As its name implies, the board relies on the L1/L5 bands of the NEO-F10N instead of the more commonly seen L1/L2 bands and delivers better performance in urban environments. That’s because the L5 band falls within the protected ARNS (aeronautical radionavigation service) frequency band leading to less RF interference.

SparkFun GNSS L1/L5 Breakout Board

SparkFun GNSS L1/L5 Breakout specifications:

  • GNSS
    • u-Blox NEO-F10N module with L1/L5 dual-band GNSS receiver
    • Concurrent Reception of GPS, Galileo, and Beidou
    • Integrated SMA Connector
    • Time to First Fix: 28s (cold), 2s (hot)
    • Max Navigation Rate for Single GNSS Configuration (GPS): 20 Hz
    • Positional Accuracy (GPS) – 1.5m
    • Time Pulse Accuracy – 30ns
    • Operational Limits
      • Max G: ≤ 4G
      • Max Altitude: 80km
      • Max Velocity: 500m/s
    • Supports NMEA, UBX over UART
    • Antenna – SMA connector
  • USB – 1x USB Type-C connector connected to CH340C USB-to-Serial converter and ESD protection diodes for USB data lines
  • Misc
    • LEDs – Power and Pulse Per Second (PPS)
    • “Jumpers”
      • USB Shield (SHLD)
      • USB 5V (USB-5V)
      • Measure (MEAS)
      • USB Transmit (USB-TX)
      • USB Receive (USB-RX)
      • External 3.3V (EXT-3V3)
      • Power LED (PWR)
      • PPS LED (PPS)
  • Power Supply
    • 5V DC input via USB-C
    • 5V or 3.3V but all logic is 3.3V
    • AP2112K 3.3V/600mA voltage regulator
    • Backup battery to aid in hot starts
  • Power consumption – 21mA-26mA @ 3.3V (varies with constellations and tracking state)
  • Dimensions  – 50.8 x 38.1mm not including SMA connector
  • Weight – 9.75 grams
GNSS L-Bands: L1 L2 and L5 frequency wavelength
L1 vs L2 vs L5 bands

The board can also take BlueSMiRF v2 through its 6-pin UART header to transmit data over Bluetooth. The “u-center” Windows program allows the visualization of the data and configuration of various parameters including the baud rate (38400 baud by default), odometer, spoof detection, external interrupt, and pin control. The SparkFun GNSS L1/L5 Breakout is supported by the same Arduino library as other u-Blox-based GNSS boards from Sparkfun, and the documentation website provides instructions to get started along with Arduino examples.

The SparkFun GNSS L1/L5 Breakout also happens to be the most economical PNT ( positioning, navigation, and timing) solution from Sparkfun so far, going for $39.95. But that does not include an L1/L2 GPS antenna such as the u-blox ANN-MB1 active antenna that adds an extra $60

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