Analysis

GNSS receiver module supports multiple systems

20th December 2016
Mick Elliott

The u-blox EVA-M8Q, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver module is now available at Alpha Micro Components. The EVA-M8Q achieves superior positional accuracy by combining signals from up to three navigation satellite constellations simultaneously, but it still fits in a miniature, cost-effective EVA 7x7 mm package.

The module’s sensitivity, low power consumption, small size and thermal stability make it ideal for general mobile applications and also for overt or covert asset and vehicle tracking.

Accurate and sensitive, the module tracks its location from four separate satellite networks, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo, and can receive signals from three out of those four networks concurrently.

In the field, this means that the module could potentially have a line of sight to more than 50 satellites above the horizon – providing a rapid and accurate positional fix worldwide.

Building on the robustness provided by access to multiple satellites, the module further ensures uninterrupted coverage and resistance to counter-surveillance with a suite of anti-spoofing and anti-jamming features.

The module’s intrinsic high acquisition and tracking sensitivity mean that it can be equipped with a small antenna, but still determine its geographic location quickly and accurately.

The twin benefits of both a compact antenna and the module’s small 7x7 mm footprint lend themselves to applications in which a small device is more easily concealed and less prone to accidental loss or damage, such as covert operations, asset tracking, and stolen vehicle recovery – as well as being perfect for portable devices.

This module variant features a Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO), to provide far better reliability over a wide temperature range than other oscillator designs.

For a compact device, the primary benefit of a TCXO is to keep performance stable – and prevent frequency drift and loss of signal – in cramped or environmentally-exposed environments, where thermal control and heat dissipation are a challenge.

Without the rock-solid thermal stability of a TCXO, a tracking device may work normally under test, but still fail unexpectedly in the field, exhibiting hard-to-diagnose intermittent faults.

The EVA-M8Q is packaged in a compact QFN style (Quad Flat No-leads) format, making it suitable for medium to high volume production. The extensive support and documentation from u-blox for the EVA-M8 series helps OEMs accelerate time-to-market.

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