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Mini PCIe GPS add-on
2112
Did some searching but didn't find anything, so please excuse if this has been covered elsewhere...

Here's what I want to do:

Add a mini-PCI-e GPS module where the mini-PCI-e WWAN card would be in a Dell Latitude D620. Should I expect any problems with this (aside from antenna and software issues)?

The next bit of trouble will be finding the hardware necessary to pull this off.

Thanks!
tcassidy
I doubt you would find such a device. GPS needs a clear view of the sky to produce a good output. The mini pci-e slot would proably be at the bottom of the laptop, not only blocking the signal but surrounding it by competing electronic noise.

Using the antenae built into the lid of the laptop would probably also not help. They are not the right configuration for the signal required by a GPS module.

If such a device was available and had an external antenna, it would have to be placed away from the laptop in a position giving it a clear sky view. Why not just use a USB GPS receiver. Even better, get a Bluetooth GPS receiver and you can always place it in the best possible position and have no wires hindering the placement of your laptop. The 620 might even have built-in Bluetooth or an optional Bluetooth module available.

Terry
2112
Thanks for the reply, Terry.

I did find a suitable card (model GPS-M01) at azwave.com. However, they are listing only a UK distributor... so getting one might be difficult and expensive. I'm still looking for reasonable antenna options.

I already have a BT GPS unit... a BT-338 with which I'm quite pleased. In this case, elegance is the primary goal, and an internal solution gives me that. If I can't make it happen, I'll stick with my BT unit.

Thanks again!
tcassidy
That is certainly an interesting product. I think it is aimed at the production market for building in to a laptop design. Proper placement and/ or the use of a built-in passive antenna might produce a great result. The GPS portion doesn't sound like the latest design though.

Terry
2112
True... wish it was Sirfy... course if that thing's too too expensive, they can keep it.

tcassidy
Compared to the MTK chipset the SirfStar III is yesterday's news.

Terry
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2112
I did find a suitable card (model GPS-M01) at azwave.com. However, they are listing only a UK distributor... so getting one might be difficult and expensive. I'm still looking for reasonable antenna options.
This is an interesting product. I didn't know something like this existed. But what kind of antenna are you thinking of using for it. Would it be an antenna attached to, or built into your laptop? Or would it be an external antenna attached to your laptop via a cable?

If it's the former, the performance may be limited. If it's the latter, you would be better off buying a plain and simple USB GPS unit, such as BU-353 for $35. It is a GPS receiver and a GPS antenna in one unit. No need for the PCI GPS board, and most likely the performance achieved would be better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcassidy
Compared to the MTK chipset the SirfStar III is yesterday's news.
As far as sensitivity to weak GPS signals, MTK and SiRFstarIII chipsets are almost identical, or the older SiRFstarIII is actually slightly better (Tracking Sensitivity: MTK -158 dBm vs. SiRFstarIII -159 dBm). But it also depends what particular units you are comparing. For example Microsoft/Pharos GPS-500, which has SiRFstarIII, but a smaller antenna, will perform worse in difficult environments than for example i.Trek M7, with its MTK chipset, but a larger antenna.

But the higher refresh rate option of MTK chip based units is nice to have.
2112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
... what kind of antenna are you thinking of using for it. Would it be an antenna attached to, or built into your laptop? Or would it be an external antenna attached to your laptop via a cable?
Hi, Marvin... thanks for entering the fray...

The plan would be to keep everything internal. The laptop wouldn't look any different after than it did before. This may take some creative routing of tiny feedline to get the antenna up into the spaces around the display inside the case... mine's a 13" inside the same enclosure that they sold with the 14" panels, so I expect there to be some room to move around. At 1.2-1.5 GHz, the antennas wouldn't be too big, and if I choose the type wisely, I think I could pull it off. It looks like there are all kinds of suppliers for the feedline and the connectors, but I might have to harvest the antenna out of another unit to have something usable.

The only time I'm using the GPS is when the laptop is mounted in the car. It sits on a pedestal in front of the dash. Considering that my BT-338 has no problem seeing 8-9 sats in a pocket on my front-seat organizer, I don't think that I'll have too much problem getting a lock from the panel's frame. Unless of course I get interference from the monitor itself, which has apparently been a problem with some add-GPS hacks on the Asus Eee PC line of netbooks.

I thank y'all for the feedback...
tcassidy
Most of my real world testing has been with a SirfStarIII GPS (GPS10x) and older Garmin proprietary GPS receivers. The SirfStar was considerably more sensitve. I don't have any high density cities to test in around here but there is a cut through the mountain on the road to Victoria that the older Garmin receivers could not get any satellites (even mounted on the hood or with an active antenna on the hood). The SSIII had no problems there. I have not had the opportunity to test my MTK receivers there yet but desk testing says they should do better.

Although very little information is provided with the listed GPS receiver for this product, what is does not look promising for a harsh environment such as inside a laptop. Past experience says manufacturers always overstate the product's capabilities or put glowing descriptions of features that make little difference to real world performance.

Terry
Marvin Hlavac
2112, that's indeed very interesting project. Some laptop computers and UMPCs can be bought with integrated GPS, but I highly doubt the performance of any of them comes close to what an external GPS (antenna) can achieve. I'm glad you have your BT-338 for comparison, when your project is done.

Let us know how it goes. Feel free to post some photos. Good luck.
2112
Alrighty... after reading the responses here and on another forum I posted this too, I decided to go ahead with purchasing a Dell 5270 Mini PCIe WWAN card on Sprint with GPS (that can be used without activating a contract). Got it for $50. A D630 laptop lid (the part behind the panel) with the antennas will be about $20. So, for $70 (what my BT-338 cost me last year), I should be able to pull this off.

It prolly won't perform as well as my BT-338, but that's okay. As long as it performs adequately, I'll be happy.

I'll see about posting some pics of the project when everything gets in.

Thanks!
2112
Well... marvelous!

Things couldn't have gone much easier or better with this.

Picked up the Dell 5720 mini PCIe WWAN card, popped off the hinge cover, removed three screws and a connector to take off the keyboard. It turns out that all the antennas were *already installed*!! So I just pooped the card in, connected the antennas (the hardest part of the whole thing), and reassembled.

Made the registry hack, and now the computer has internal GPS for under $50. I also added internal bluetooth and upgraded the RAM while I was inside. I didn't even need to the buy the D630 lid.

Of course I was too lazy to venture out into the cold, dark night to see if I could get satellites (my house has a metal roof). But I will tomorrow. :-D

Thanks, y'all!
Marvin Hlavac
Let us know how it performs!
rbrumfield
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2112
Did some searching but didn't find anything, so please excuse if this has been covered elsewhere...

Here's what I want to do:

Add a mini-PCI-e GPS module where the mini-PCI-e WWAN card would be in a Dell Latitude D620. Should I expect any problems with this (aside from antenna and software issues)?

The next bit of trouble will be finding the hardware necessary to pull this off.

Thanks!
See if this link is what you want to do:
http://mydellmini.com/forum/integrated-gps-on-my-mini-9-t167.html
bigblue
Hey, I would like to do the same thing. I picked up the M01 from Azure, but my laptop does not recognize it... In any case, I live in Canada, if I buy the Dell 5720 and stick it in my WWAN slot (the antenna wires are already installed), would it work? The only Dell 5720 cards I can find are for Sprint :S but I really want to find a Mini PCIe GPS module for my laptop.

Studio XPS 1645
Windows 7 Ult 64bit
8gig DDR3 Ram,
I have a 553 Dell Bluetooth,
Intel Advance Celeron 6300 WiFi card.
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