USGlobalsat ND-100S GPS receiver works with USB Host library

ND-100S GPS receiver connected to USB Host shield

ND-100S GPS receiver connected to USB Host shield

After posting an article about interfacing USB GPS receiver to Arduino I started receiving e-mails from people asking about a decent inexpensive GPS receiver compatible with USB Host library. After some research and testing I finally found a device which I really like.

ND-100S from USGlobalsat is small, inexpensive (less than $30 shipped at DealExtreme) GPS receiver with excellent characteristics. Below are some bullet points:

  • Lightweight – my scale shows 19g for the dongle without connector cover. It is possible to get weight close to 15g by removing the case, USB connector and hardwiring the module to USB Host shield.
  • Sensitive – SiRF Star III high sensitivity GPS chip allows this module to lock in less than a minute from my basement (!). Outdoor performance is simply amazing while power consumption stays around 50ma.
  • Easy to use – the module uses Prolific PL2303 USB to serial converter supported by USB Host library 2.0 and the sketch from the previous article works without any modifications. Also, the module has status LED showing when GPS position is fixed – comes in handy during field tests when serial console is not available. The dongle ships with semi-rigid USB cable which can be used as a raiser.

Overall, ND-100S is very small, sensitive and inexpensive GPS receiver. It can be used with USB Host shield using PL2303 USB to serial converter support in USB Host library rev.2.0. I have a couple of projects in mind which would use this receiver – will post as soon as I have more information about it.