Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Hackery

I received a couple of GPS modules from Ebay over the last couple of days. Along with the ARM board I'm diddling with, I plan to make a device that helps me map my bike rides and walks (both of which are helping me regain proper control of the ankle I had fixed). One of them came with an amplified antenna, so now I have all I need to get my project hacked together. The board pictured is part of an evaluation kit that came with a ridiculously long antenna cable. I'll probably ultimately replace it with a little ceramic patch antenna, but for testing the software and experimenting, this will work fine.

Ebay is a wonderland. I have bought thousands of dollars worth of electronic and scientific gee-gaws for a hundred bucks or so total. It takes a certain amount of determination to find what you want in a form you can use. But I have found super nerdilicious bargains. There is a subculture on Ebay of hackers looking to buy and sell techno goodies, and the best of them will include links to manuals and datasheets. I was able to find all the data on the GPS modules this way, so I knew what I would have to hook up, and how I would need to communicate with the boards long before they arrived.

I plan to spend my free minutes over the Christmas holiday working on making this stuff talk, and gathering data. I saved some vacation time so I could hang out with the family, but after they go to bed, I commence to programming and soldering. And they all like to sleep in, so I have some time in the morning. I should be thoroughly exhausted by the time I have to go back to work. It will be glorious...



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