SparkFun GPS Breakout (ZOE-M8Q and SAM-M8Q) Hookup Guide

Contributors: Elias The Sparkiest
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Which GPS Unit Do I Pick?!

Size and GNSS Antenna

In each of the Hardware Overview sections we laid out the characteristics of the two GPS boards. Let's begin with the more obvious differences between the boards. The SAM-M8Q is a larger board with dimensions of 1.6 x 1.6 inches. The relative larger size of the board helps to enhance the product's GNSS antenna that houses the GPS unit inside. The ZOE-M8Q is 1 x 1 inch board that does not have an onboard GNSS antenna, and instead has a U.FL connector to connect to an external one. This gives you the option to use something that can be attached outside while the GPS unit is inside connected to your microcontroller. If you want to try out a number of different antenna shapes and sizes, we have a GNSS Evaluation Board for the purpose of finding the best antenna that works for your project.

This picture shows the size difference between the two GPS products.

GPS Capability Comparison

These two GPS units are so similar in their capabilities that the difference is negligible. The one difference between the two is that the SAM-M8Q does not connect to the Chinese GNSS constellation BeiDou.


Both have I2C and serial capabilities to receive your NMEA data, but only the ZOE-M8Q has SPI capabilities. Enable SPI by closing the jumper on the underside of the product labeled SPI.

This picture shows the SPI jumper and header on the underside of the ZOE-M8Q board.