Pimoroni PA1010D GPS Breakout

Hi All,

Problem: GPS signal data is all blank

Just ordered a Pimoroni PA1010D GPS Breakout. I’ve attached it to my Raspberry Pi4 and am able to detect it by running
sudo i2cdetect -y 1

 0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f
00: 03 – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – --
10: 10 – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- –
20: – -- – 23 – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – --
30: – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – --
40: – -- – -- – -- – -- – 49 – -- – -- – --
50: – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – --
60: – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – -- – --
70: – -- – -- – -- 76 –

I’ve installed the python library by running:
git clone https://github.com/pimoroni/pa1010d-python
cd pa1010d-python
sudo ./install.sh

When I run the example code the GPS data returned is all blank as below:

T: 00:43:17.869000
N: 0.0
E: 0.0
Alt: None
Sats: 0
Qual: 0
Speed: 0.0
Fix Type: 1
PDOP:
VDOP:
HDOP:

This is despite the device running for more than an hour and having direct line of sight to the sky.

Any advice on what is happening would be very much appreciated.

How is it connected to the Pi, breakout garden hat or pHat etc?
What else do you have connected, I see some other i2c entries?
Are you running the example from an IDE or command line?
Running it in python 2 or python 3?

The Adafruit Guide for their PA1010D breakout has this big notice in red:

GPS modules will always send data EVEN IF THEY DO NOT HAVE A FIX! In order to get 'valid' (not-blank) data you must have the GPS module directly outside, with the square GPS module pointing up with a clear sky view. In ideal conditions, the module can get a fix in under 45 seconds. however depending on your location, satellite configuration, solar flares, tall buildings nearby, RF noise, etc it may take up to half an hour (or more) to get a fix! This does not mean your GPS module is broken, the GPS module will always work as fast as it can to get a fix.

So I assume “blank” data means your board doesn’t have a fix. When you say a direct line of sight to the sky, is the breakout not in a case, and with the ceramic chip pointed upwards?

Hi Everyone,

Ok so believe it or not simply turning the board 90 degrees so the antenna faced up was enough to get a lock and return a position. I’m really suprised about a few things. First the Pimoroni would supply a product with a right angle female header and instructions which state “We’ve designed this breakout board so that you can solder on the piece of right angle female header and pop it straight onto the bottom left 5 pins on your Raspberry Pi’s GPIO header (pins 1, 3, 5, 7, 9).” Second that it is so difficult for a GPS module to get a GPS lock.

Anyway, it’s working now so thank you to both of you for providing some advice and ideas.

I think the instructions were an oversite. Most of the other breakouts work just fine vertically and that was likely a clip and past that went on every breakout garden i2c breakout. There is a contact us like on the shop page that you could use to mention this oversite to them. I’ve done it a few times and they are pretty cool about fixing instructions to make them better. I’d put a link to this thread in that e-mail if you go that route.

When something this small tries to sift out incredibly distant signals from the cacophony that is the modern RF environment, it’s a wonder GPS works at all. That’s why cellphones augment GPS with cell-tower triangulation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS

I have the Adafruit Ultimate GPS Breakout - 66 channel. Even with the external add on antenna, the first fix is way off. If I plot the fixes over time it looks like somebody is throwing darts at the map and slowly getting better and better aim, lol.