Professional Grade Centimeter Accuracy GPS 'on the cheap" - Page 2

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  1. #11


    Well some bad news .... This module only does RTCM 2.3 (DGPS) which is pretty much worthless in North America because of the US WAAS system which does essentially the same thing, increase accuracy from 2.5 meter CEP to 1 meter or slightly below. The uBlox module that does the superior RTCM 3.1 true RTK and gives you the centimeter accuracy costs around 200 bucks. However I did find an outfit out of Taiwan that sells one for $50 plus shipping ($10-20) but it is GPS only and only a 1 Hz update. To go to 5 hz updates brings the cost to $75 plus shipping but to get the system I want which will use the Russian GLONASS system and the EU Galileo system that just came online in late December AND has 5 Hz updates costs around $125 plus shipping. I could make the Neo-M8N work for centimeter accuracy but that means getting another module and building my own 'base station' here at home and 'phone in' to that but I'd also need to have Windows computers running each GPS and processing raw UBX data and translating that to NMEA 0183 and I'd be limited to a 10 mile range with accuracy falling off the further you get from base and the Lost Grove Lake I'm mapping will be right on the fringe of the 10 mile range meaning accuracy out there would be 10's of centimeters. That's just too much hassle and I likely won't get much better than the 50 centimeter (0.5 meter) accuracy I expect from the new module because it uses the GPS GLONASS and Galileo systems at the same time. More locked satellites = better accuracy

    However the NEO-M8N is still a great upgrade for $20-30 and since it uses the Russian and EU systems as well as the American GPS system I'm getting HDOPs as low as .6 meters in my "Adverse Conditions" test setup (Patch antenna sitting on the sill of my basement wall with two large trees out front) and expect to do even better out in the open and will get even better yet over the next couple of years when the EU gets all their Galileo satellites into orbit, they only have about half in place so sometimes I can lock 4 and sometimes there aren't even any available. The other night I had locked 10 US birds, 2 WAAS birds for corrections as well as tracking, 4 Russian and 4 EU birds ..... That's 20 satellites plus WAAS corrections which isn't even possible using the US GPS system alone with just 24 active birds spread across the globe. Basically for $30 bucks I'm doubling my accuracy which is pretty cost efficient by any standard so I'm happy with that

    I was hoping that Minn Kota had also upgraded their GPS module in the new iPilots along with the Bluetooth and heading sensor upgrade but I cracked mine open and it still uses the uBlox NEO-6M which is the exact same module I'm replacing and used the last two seasons. It's still a good module but it can only use GPS or GLONASS but not both at the same time so the new NEO-M8N blows it away. However it is a pin for pin direct replacement so all Minn Kota has to do is slap in the new module and add a couple of tweaks to the firmware so I wouldn't be surprised to see them upgrade to it in the next year or two. Besides the NEO-6M just went out of production so when the existing stock is sold then that's it and Minn Kota will have to upgrade but like I said it's just a matter of slapping the new module on the existing PCBs and a firmware tweak.

    Maybe one of you Humminbird users knows for sure but I assume that they are also using the uBlox modules in the Humminbird finder/plotters since both companies are owned by Johnson Outdoors. That's a good choice IMO and uBlox has a good reputation in the high performance DIY drone community which is worldwide and maybe even larger than the marine/fishing market. The differences between the drone autopilots and the Minn Kota system are minor with the drones being slightly superior because they need altitude and and pitch control and boat autopilots don't. Both are mostly using the exact same STM32xx ARM-M microcontrollers, GPS and accelerometer/gyro/heading sensors and I bet Minn Kota is using the same Open Source code for the basic control and throwing their own code in for the user interface and memory functions just like all the finder/plotters run on top of Open Source Embedded Linux with a custom user interface and sonar processing code.

    That's why I say don't cuss those drones because without them driving the state of the art in autonomous control and positioning we wouldn't have affordable autopilot systems on consumer grade marine gear. They are also driving RTK/GNSS technology and I expect centimeter accuracy will be common on smartphones, tablets and their derivatives like consumer marine gear within 5 years or less. Currently the consumer cost of adding autopilot to trolling motors is about 400 bucks and I expect that will drop to 200 or maybe even 100 bucks in the next few years and not only that they too will all be centimeter accurate

  2. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by riverbud55 View Post
    Great info John!! Think n in Johns garage AKA the skunk works he is really building the new B-21 Raider and only works on boats as a cover up,,, Always good tech info from John ,,, tell ya one thing the cost of gps stuff sure has become more affordable,,,, bought a gps drone for $135 month ago dang thing can fly a half mile away hit a button and come back and land within a foot of where it took of from
    About 4-5 years ago I noticed one of my neighbors named his WiFi router "FBI Surveillance Van", obviously a prank so I named mine "The Pirate's Den" since my nickname has been Longjohn since the 80's .... Anyone scanning wifi on their smartphone while driving by or visiting a friend in the neighborhood is probably going "WHAT THE ___?"

  3. #13


    Quote Originally Posted by Longjohn119 View Post
    About 4-5 years ago I noticed one of my neighbors named his WiFi router "FBI Surveillance Van", obviously a prank so I named mine "The Pirate's Den" since my nickname has been Longjohn since the 80's .... Anyone scanning wifi on their smartphone while driving by or visiting a friend in the neighborhood is probably going "WHAT THE ___?"
    thats funny named mine DEA x-ray,,, kinda funny sure seams the one neighbor has less visitors then it use to

  4. #14
    kingneck76's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2007
    Jeff City MO


    Lol mines "DEA remote #359". I live in the sticks though o only friends and family see it. My mom still won't connect to it. Lol

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