Friday, March 11, 2011

A Cheap GPS Enclosure

Well, I'm down to the wire. Saturday my friends and family will either come over and see my robot crash spectacularly or actually succeed in its maiden mission.

After Saturday, I'll be slowing down the pace of blog posting to once or twice weekly until the big day. Hopefully the deluge of posts this week has been entertaining.

Meanwhile, for Saturday a GPS is somewhat important. With the Locosys LS20031 GPS back in business, it was time to mount it. But it's just a bare board with four holes in it. No protection from the elements.

What if it snows or rains during the 2011 Sparkfun AVC? What if a piece of gravel kicks up in just the wrong way?

I thought and searched and finally decided on a perfect, compact, $4 enclosure: a container of Oral B Guide dental floss!  (Or, use the floss first and it's free!)

Open the lid, crack the case, pull out the metal floss cutter and the floss, and the tinted window. Then clip the floss spool post.

LS20031, upside down, stuck to case back
Using double sided sticky tape, affix the antenna side of the GPS module to the back of the case. Don't stick the bottom side, because the only thing there to stick to is the very fragile RF shield which will pop off (ask me how I know)

Hope the connector fits...
Cut a hole in the case for your 4-pin connector (Vcc, TX, RX and GND. There are two ground pins; solder a jumper across those). Now guesstimate where the hole goes in the lid, mark it, and cut.

Ooo, I nailed it!
I sliced off the bumpy printing on the back and stuck on a simple label with packing tape.

Not bad for $4 and a few minutes' work
It's not waterproof, but it offers much more protection than the bare module and should fend off light rain or snow.

For an added bonus, the GPS indicator LED is clearly visible through the case as a red glow. Cool.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.