I’m considering using the “U-blox NEO-6M GPS Module” (your SKU CE05949) in one of my projects, utilising an Arduino. I cannot find any data sheets/specs which describe this module. Despite being labelled a ‘ublox’ device, I cannot find it on their website (or it’s well hidden). The NEO-6M chip itself, as opposed to the module board, does of course appear on their website and it appears to be well documented, including interfaces such as I2C and SPI which are not exposed on the module board in question.
Core Electronics’ website lists a number of specifications for the board - where did these come from? Presumably there are some manufacturer’s specs somewhere to back this up?
The main areas of uncertainty are currently:
(A) The signal levels for Tx and Rx - there are numerous comments on various forums and tutorials as to whether a level convertor is needed when connecting the board to a 5V Arduino - the comments are inconsistent and contradictory. (Yes, I’d likely be transmitting data to the board from the Arduino). For example, https://core-electronics.com.au/u-blox-neo-6m-gps-module.html contains the warning “Do not connect the RX pin to 5V signals - it will damage the module. Use a logic converter . . .” etc, however the tutorial at https://randomnerdtutorials.com/guide-to-neo-6m-gps-module-with-arduino/ does just that. I prefer a more informed and accurate approach rather than ‘if it works once, it’s OK’ or ‘suck it and see’. With this area of doubt, I’d probably opt for a level convertor anyway.
(B) Similar boards from various vendors are marked GY-GPS6MV2, GY-GPSV3-NEO, and GY-NEO6MV2 - implying there is some original commonality of design - perhaps these are all variations on an open-source hardware design, or Chinese clones. . .?
In summary therefore, the question is: Where do these boards come from? If U-Blox, can you point me to the relevant specs/documentation? If open-source, and/or badly documented Chinese clones, what are they based on? In the latter cases, what documentation/specs coud you point me to?
I’m going to order a couple of these from you anyway, so this does not affect my purchasing decision - but a more ordered design approach would be preferred.
Here is the datasheet for the device on that module (NEO-6M)
The module as a whole is third party, using the above component and other components as recommended in the datasheet. There’s almost no complexity involved with this GPS module - it just outputs NMEA sentences which are exactly the same as other common GPS modules.
While the GPS module is 3.3V powered, you only need to connect the GPS TX to the Uno UART RX. There is no practibale reason to connect the GPS RX for most projects, which makes 3.3V/5V logic a non-issue. Just be sure there is a common ground between them both.
There’s no further information for this part, Sparkfun and Adafruit products will often come with additional information if that’s something that’s important to you.
They still have documentation for their products covering series 5 through to series 8 (current modules), and the Control Centre User manual covers configuring all these modules. (The control Centre is a Windows only program for setting up and configuring the GPS modules)
Thanks for your response - I appreciate the interest and responses received so far.
However I think my question has been misunderstood: as alluded to in the original question, there is a fair amount of documentation on the U-blox website, which I’ve already studied, and which makes sense.
I’m not asking how to do the various things with this board, such as connect and communicate with it, configure it etc - that information is already given in the U-Blox documentation, but that is in relation to the chip and is not explicitly stated in relation to this board. What I’m asking is (A) where did the board (not the NEO-6M chip) come from, and who manufactured it? (B) where is the manufacturer-supplied documentation?. Or, if it’s an open-source product (implying various manufacturers have created their own), where is the original design? Again, the similarity of markings on similar boards, such as GY-GPS6MV2 implies some common genesis.
My reason for asking this is that, coming from a background of developing critical high-availability applications on Windows, Unix and mainframe, it is ingrained that all design aspects for a project, including the documentation, be verified and trusted before relying on them - the specs provided on the Core Electronics web site seem reasonable, but all that they have said so far is that it is a ‘third party’ module - that in turn raises the question of where they got their specs from?
In my original question I’ve already raised the conflicting information regarding signal voltage levels - this is a good example of how things can get confused (and, hence, go wrong) when there doesn’t seem to be a reliable, accurate and consistent source of information. Perhaps the only option left is to examine the various chip identifications on the board, trace out the copper traces and determine the functionality from there.
One of the documents that UBlox produce to support their chips is the Hardware Integration Manual. This tells any makers how to connect the chip to the external environment. It is relatively easy then to design a board to implement as many features as the maker desires.
This also means that other than documenting the pin connections to the breakout board, the maker can then just point to the UBlox documentation, and that generally suffices to get the board connected and working.
Ok, so reading the above we don’t have access to a schematic or spec for the breakout?
I don’t think it is unreasonable to want even a basic spec for the breakout. Doing a bit of googling I found a schematic which may align with this module and it shows a TPS79133 Vreg. so the breakout can probably be supplied with up to 5.5V (but it’s an educated gamble) For a regulator to regulate Vin should be above Vout by at least Vdrop-out. Assuming you want the regulator to do its job then Vin to the breakout should be a minimum 3.45V (taking into account Vout max). Below this and you’ll get the NEO running at VCC minus some small ill-defined drop due to the regulator.