USB GPS Dongle
This sounds like the newbiest of newby questions but I need advice on how to select a USB GPS dongle.

In my recent post "Preaching to the Choir" I said I was trying to convince my friend to use AR in Europe.

We visited him yesterday and after showing him:

* Dragging route to POIs (for Most Beautiful Villages in France)

* Dragging route to follow coast

* Detailed view of towns and villages (I also showed him how to use offline maps in Google Maps for this. The problem with this is you have to download map before you leave the hotel while you have Internet access. AR is always available.)

* Time of day planning

he says he will give AR a go.

He had already ordered the Dell Inspiron 3000 2-in-1 touch screen PC that I had recommended.

I have bought him a USB GPS dongle previously but he can't find it. He suspects he may have thought it was a faulty USB memory stick and thrown it out!

As far as I am aware:

* AR / S&T will only accept NMEA data at 4800 baud. Is this correct?


I was wondering whether baud should be capitalised because it is named after Émile Baudot. I misremembered Baudin.

The first letter of its symbol is uppercase (Bd), but when the unit is spelled out, it should be written in lowercase (baud) except when it begins a sentence.



[Second aside]

It is understandable that I misremembered Baudin because Nicolas Baudin is a famous French explorer of Australia, especially Western Australia where I come from. The two capes on the bottom left corner of Australia are Capes Naturaliste and Geographe after the names of his two ships.


Another interesting factoid is that there are places in WA named after crew members, eg Hamelin Bay, Cape Peron, Lake Leschenaultia, but, as far as I am aware, there is nothing named after him, though the Baudin's Black Cokatoo is. There is one screeching in the distance as I write this. That's why the name sticks in my mind!



South Australia
Baudin Beach, South Australia, named for the explorer, Nicolas Baudin
Baudin Conservation Park, a protected area in South Australia
Baudin Rocks, an island in South Australia
Baudin Rocks Conservation Park, a protected area in South Australia
Electoral district of Baudin, South Australia, in existence from 1977 to 1993
Nicolas Baudin Island, an island in South Australia
Nicolas Baudin Island Conservation Park, a protected area in South Australia
Hundred of Baudin, a proposed cadastral division on Kangaroo Island

Western Australia
Baudin Island (Kimberley coast), off Western Australia
Baudin Island (Shark Bay), off Western Australia

Not surprising that I hadn't heard of the 2 islands in WA. They are very small and a long way away in the middle of nowhere.


[/Second aside]

* Fransom GPSGate cannot change the NMEA speed. It can only create virtual COM ports. Is this correct? Is there any PC software that can reduce NMEA speed to 4800Bd?

This is the cheapest USB GPS dongle on AU eBay.


It is a Ublox 7 that, I believe, outputs at 19,200Bd. Is this correct?

In the fractured English description it says:

VK-172 automatically adapt the baud rate, the baud rate has any data output

Any idea what this means? Does it mean that if you install the Ublox software you can change the data rate?

If there is no software to reduce NMEA speed and if the Ublox 7 cannot be slowed down what cheap USB GPS 4800Bd dongle is recommended?
AFAIK, the receivers that are capable of different signal rates allow configuration via a manufacturewr-furnished utility program.

At this point in time, for a USB-connected receiver to use with S&T/AR, I don't see much reason to go with anything but a Bu-353s4, considering that they're available for under $20 from time to time, e.g.:
Maybe that one is a clone?

I'd think the original Bu-353 with the s3 chipset would be a lot less if you find one for sale.
Same goes for the receiver that was bundled with S&T. Should be even cheaper.
There is software to adjust the speed of the uBlox7. However, from my experience it is shipped at 4800 bps (that is bits per second not baud) and works directly with S&T.

One of the advantages of the BU353 (S4 or S3) is a cord between it and its USB connector. The uBlox device connects directly to the port. This can be an issue in less expensive tablets and laptops as they may be electrically noisy overpowering the small incoming GPS signal. Also, the uBlox doesn't appear to automatically load a COM driver when using Win 10.

Originally Posted by tcassidy
...One of the advantages of the BU353 (S4 or S3) is a cord between it and its USB connector.
...and the magnetic mount. And it's relatively waterproof. It should be an easy choice for a very good USB-connected GPS receiver on a budget.

IMO, the top choices for USB-connected GPS receivers are:

GlobalSat BU-353-S4
(best 1Hz refresh GPS receiver)
Holux M-215+ (affordable 1Hz refresh GPS & GLONASS receiver if you really need GLONASS, but lower sensitivity)
Columbus V-800 (best choice for user-selectable refresh rates up to 5Hz, with slightly better sensitivity than the GlobalSat BU-353-S4-5Hz at a much lower cost)
GlobalSat MR-350P-S4 (available in both 1Hz or 5Hz versions, this is the only economical bulkhead mount GPS receiver).
Ken in Regina
Originally Posted by werdnanostaw


I was wondering whether baud should be capitalised because it is named after Émile Baudot....

* Fransom GPSGate cannot change the NMEA speed. It can only create virtual COM ports. Is this correct? Is there any PC software that can reduce NMEA speed to 4800Bd?
Andrew, for the record it's 4800bps not baud.


Thanks for the clarifying link. I haven't used the term 'baud' since 300 bps modems. However, as the signal is just analog NMEA, I bet 4800 symbols per second (baud) could apply. It just adds another level of confusion in my opinion and that is why I prefer the 'bps' designation. The terminology is more concerned with amount of data conveyed during the transmission phase because of various modulation methods available.

Ken in Regina
Same here. I've had the advantage of knowing the difference ... and marveling at the ever more complex encoding schemes they came up with to push dial modems to 56.6kbps. Guess it comes with working in the engineering department of a telco.

Those encoding schemes aren't even as complex as some of the ones that give cable and fibre the bandwidth they have.

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