NavSpark / XBee Adapter

As I wrote last month, I recently got a set of NavSpark NS-RAW receivers. These can be used as a RTK GPS receiver system, but some sort of data link is needed. For shorter distances, XBee modules work well. Since I needed a convenient method for connecting the two devices together, both for the base station and the rover, I created an adapter board.

Front of NavSpark / XBee Adapter

The schematic, KiCad design files, and Gerber files are all released under the Creative Commons Attribution license. For the base station, the board is assembled with the headers, C17, C18, C20, and U5 installed; additionally, the solder jumper is bridged, and pins 23 and 24 of the NavSpark header are bridged. The device is then powered through the NavSpark’s USB port. For the rover, all the components are installed, but the solder jumper isn’t used, and no pins are bridged. The device is then powered through the adapter board’s USB port, and both serial data streams are connected through the FTDI FT2232H chip. This way, only one connection is needed to the rover computer. For convienence, here is a Mouser part list.

Back of NavSpark / XBee Adapter

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9 Responses to NavSpark / XBee Adapter

  1. John Nivard says:

    Hai Matthew Petroff,

    Intresting, I am just starting in this field and I did buy two modules in the campain and like to get started. Do you have a reference to the software you use and perhaps some more detailed info how to build the project

    Kind regards
    John

    • Matthew Petroff says:

      I’m using RTKLIB. As for the hardware, I don’t have any more details as there’s nothing besides assembling the circuit boards that isn’t already mentioned. It does, however, include fine-pitch surface mount parts.

      • John Nivard says:

        Is there a description/tutorial, how to use the RTKLIB in your configuration. Your setup is very interesting I did order the prints
        and waiting for them.

        Kind regrads
        John

        • Matthew Petroff says:

          There’s nothing particularly interesting or unusual about my specific RTKLIB configuration, so I would look for general RTKLIB tutorials. It’s just set to Kinematic mode, with both the rover and base station inputs configured as SkyTraq serial streams.

  2. Andrew says:

    What are your Xbee settings? I am doing the same thing using the UART pins to Xbees but get not satellite data from the Ublox connected to the Xbee.

    • Matthew Petroff says:

      They’re both configured with identical wireless settings, with the baud rate matching the GPS modules’ baud rate.

      • Andrew says:

        In rtkrcv (in using linux) for RTKLIB, I do get a data stream, but rtkrcv does not recognize it. If I cat /dev/ttyO4 I do get NMEA strings mixed with some binary streams. If you could post or email me the Xbee settings that would be greatly appreciated. I’m at a stand still until I can get the Xbee’s singing…

        • Matthew Petroff says:

          I’d have to read the settings off the radios. As it’s also dependent on the GPS receiver settings, you can’t just blindly apply settings.

          • Andrew says:

            I understand. I have figured it out. I am using 9600 Baud. I believe the issue was a proper ground plane on the RF module. Thanks!

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