Monthly Archives: August 2022

More GPS Module Fuckery

I have this on-going project to find a GPS Module that works with my Uniden SDS200 police scanner.  Obviously this is so the scanner will auto update its location when a GPS Module is connected.

Uniden sells one for $50, so the goal is to manufacture one for less than that amount of money.  Actually, I’ve succeeded several times, with my last build costing about $20.

So, what’s the problem you ask?

Almost every GPS Module I have purchased is FAKE.  The GPS Modules that I know are not fake are from Manufacturer recommended sources, and all cost more than $50.  More like in the $70 range.

The most commonly counterfeited chips are U-blox and specifically the NEO-6 series chips.  An actual, REAL NEO-6M CHIP, not module at  Mouser in the US for is $60 for one.  A NEO-7 CHIP, not module, can be purchased from Digikey for $31 and I did find that Digikey calls the NEO-6 series “obsolete”.  In fact U-blox says the NEO-6 is an old product as well.

6=OLD, 9=NEW

So how is that you can do a search for GPS Modules and find $8 NEO-6M modules all over the place? If a legit chip is $31 or more how can a complete module be $8 or $12?

Answer: It can’t. It’s fake.
Continue reading

Beware The Fake GPS Modules

I just started dabbling with GPS modules.  I got my first one from Amazon for about $12.  I didn’t know almost anything about GPS chips but I did know that U-blox chips are pretty prevalent in the Drone community, so I set out to purchase a module with a U-blox chipset.  The Amazon one I linked above (which now shows as unavailable, and I hope I had something to do with that) indicates that it has a NEO-8M chip on it.

Let’s see.

I plugged the GPS into my computer and started U-blox U-center software.  The GPSTXT data indicated

??:??:??  $GPTXT,01,01,02,u-blox ag - www.u-blox.com*50
??:??:??  $GPTXT,01,01,02,HW  UBX-G70xx   00070000 FF7FFFFFo*69
??:??:??  $GPTXT,01,01,02,ROM CORE 1.00 (59842) Jun 27 2012 17:43:52*59

Rebranded Old Chip

Say What? I got a U-blox chip all right but it is a U-blox 7th generation with firmware from 2012. Here’s what the label indicated on the chip.

It says NEO-M8N.

Soooooo, someone took a 7th gen chip that is 10 years old and rebranded it to a current production version.

Not only that, the 7th gen chip does have a firmware upgrade however you can’t apply it because whoever made the module board didn’t include flash rom so it simply cannot be upgraded.  How cool is that?
Continue reading