SparkFun GPS NEO-M9N Hookup Guide

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Contributors: Elias The Sparkiest
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Hardware Overview

Power

Power for this board is 3.3V and we have provided multiple power options. This first and most obvious is the USB-C connector. Secondly, are the Qwiic Connectors on the top and bottom of the board. Thirdly, there is a 5V pin on the PTH header along the side of the board that is regulated down to 3.3V. Make sure that power your provide to this pin does not exceed 6 volts. Finally, just below the 5V pin is a 3.3V pin that should only be provided a clean 3.3V power signal.

Power Pins

Battery

The small metal disk in the upper left corner is a small lithium battery. This battery does not provide power to the IC like the 3.3V system does, but to relevant systems inside the IC that allow for a quick reconnection to satellites. The time to first fix will about ~29 seconds, but after it has a lock, that battery will allow for a two second time to first fix. This is known as a hot start and lasts for four hours after the board is powered down. The battery provides over a years worth of power to the backup system and charges slowly when the board is powered. To charge it to full, leave your module plugged in for 48 hours.

Battery for Hot Start

LEDs

There's is a red power LED just to the left of the bottom Qwiic connector and near the board's edge to indicate that the board is powered. There is another LED just above the power LED labeled PPS that is connected to the Pulse Per Second line. When connected to a satellite, this line generates a pulse that is synchronized with a GPS or UTC time grid. By default, you'll see one pulse a second.

Status LEDs

Jumpers

There are four jumpers on the underside of the product, each labeled with its function. At the upper right of the picture is a three way jumper labeled I²C that connects two pull-up resistors to the I2C data lines. If you have many devices on your I2C data lines, then you may consider cutting these. On the left side of the board is a jumper labeled PWR. If you cut this trace it will disconnect the Power LED. Just below is the PPS jumper that when cut disconnects the PPS LED. Finally, there's a jumper labeled SPI which enables the SPI data bus thus disabling the UART functions on those lines. For more information, check out our tutorial on working with jumper pads and PCB traces.

Jumpers on the Back

Chip Antenna, U.FL, or SMA

The SparkFun GPS NEO-M9N with Chip Antenna has a GNSS antenna near its left Qwiic connector while its cousins have either a U.FL and SMA connector in which you can connect a patch antenna.

Chip Antenna u.FL SMA
Chip Antenna U.FL SMA

Qwiic and I2C

There are two pins labeled SDA and SCL which indicates the I2C data lines. Similarly, you can use either of the Qwiic connectors to provide power and utilize I2C. The Qwiic ecosystem is made for fast prototyping by removing the need for soldering. All you need to do is plug a Qwiic cable into the Qwiic connector and voila!

I2C Pins and Qwiic connector

SPI

There are four pins on the right most header that are labeled with their corresponding SPI functionality. As mentioned in the jumpers section, you'll need to close the SPI jumper on the underside to enable SPI.

SPI Pins

UART

There are two pins on the right most header labeled for their UART functionality.

UART Pins

Broken Out Pins

There are four other pins broken out: Pulse per second (PPS), Reset (RST), Safeboot (SAFE), and finally the interrupt pin (INT). The first pin PPS, outputs pulse trains synchronized with the GPS or UTC time grid. The signal defaults to once per second but is configurable over a wide range. Read the u-blox Receiver Protocol Specification in the Resources and Going Further tab for more information. The reset pin resets the chip. The next pin, SAFE is used to start up the IC in safe boot mode, this could be useful if you somehow manage to corrupt the module's Flash memory. The final pin INT can be used to wake the chip from power save mode.

Additional Pins Broken Out

Board Dimensions

Overall, the boards are 1.30"x1.60". The location of a majority of the components are the same with the exception of the SMD chip antenna and the u.FL connector.

Board Dimension for Chip Antenna Version Board Dimension for u.FL Version Board Dimension for SMA Version
Chip Antenna Version u.FL Version SMA Version

Click on image for a closer view.

GPS Capabilities

The SparkFun NEO-M9N is able to connect to up to four different GNSS constellations at a time making it very accurate for its size. Below are the listed capabilities of the GPS unit when connecting to multiple GNSS constellations and when connecting to a single constellation.

Constellations GPS+GLO+GAL+BDS GPS+GLONASS+GAL GPS+GLO GPS+BDS GPS+GAL
Horizontal Position Accuracy 2m2m2m2m2m
Max Navigation Update Rate PVT 25Hz 25Hz 25Hz25Hz25Hz
Time-To-First-Fix Cold Start24s 25s 26s 28s29s
Hot Start 2s 2s 2s 2s 2s
SensitivityTracking and Navigation -167dBm -167dBm -167dBm -1667dBm -166dBm
Reacquisition -160dBm -160dBm -160dBm -160dBm -160dBm
Cold Start-148dBm -148dBm -148dBm -148dBm -148dBm
Hot Start -159dBm -159dBm -159dBm -159dBm-159dBm
Velocity Accuracy 0.05m/s 0.05m/s 0.05m/s 0.05m/s 0.05m/s
Heading Accuracy 0.3deg 0.3deg 0.3deg 0.3deg 0.3deg


When using a single GNSS constellation:

Constellation GPS GLONASS BEIDOU Galileo
Horizontal Position Accuracy 2m4m3m3m
Max Navigation Update Rate PVT 25Hz 25Hz 25Hz 25Hz
Time-To-First-Fix Cold Start 29s 27s 32s 42s
Hot Start 2s 2s 2s 2s
SensitivityTracking and Navigation -166dBm -164dBm -160dBm -159dBm
Reacquisition -160dBm -155dBm -157dBm -154dBm
Cold Start-148dBm -145dBm -145dBm -140dBm
Hot Start -159dBm -156dBm -159dBm -154dBm
Velocity Accuracy 0.05m/s 0.05m/s 0.05m/s 0.05m/s
Heading Accuracy 0.3deg 0.3deg 0.3deg 0.3deg