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GPS receiver design

GPS receiver design

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Published by Ionela
This article will cover GPS receiver module design based upon existing chip-set, component and firmware/software sources.
This article will cover GPS receiver module design based upon existing chip-set, component and firmware/software sources.

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Published by: Ionela on Sep 04, 2008
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GPS receiver designhttp://dev.emcelettronica.com/print/518551 din 1404.09.2008 18:26
Your Electronics Open Source
(http://dev.emcelettronica.com)
Home > Blog > allankliu's blog > Contenuti
GPS receiver design
By allankliuCreated 09/04/2008 - 11:44
Technology avl Design gps localizer trackingGNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) is a common name for all of the satellite basedpositioning systems, which are GPS (Global Positioning System) from US, Galileo from EU,GLONASS from Russia, and CNSS (Compass Navigation Satellite System) from China. GPS isthe first and most popular one among these systems.After 911, every cellular phone sold in US has to support positioning services. Meanwhile thenavigation devices are popular due to fast growing of private cars and mobile phones in theemerging countries. Thanks to Google, more and more consumers can easily connect their GPSdevices to the Google web services for navigation, virtual sight viewing or satisfying theircuriosity. All of these services are available free of charge.
Google's Inspiration
Google is a great web innovator.Everybody knows about GoogleMap and Google Earth. And itscompetitors like Microsoft andYahoo have to catch up. HoweverGoogle is not the inventor of theweb GIS. Actually web GIS hasbeen available for a long time.Never the less, Google promotesthe web GIS with its great influencein the Internet, and furthermoredeliveries the free services in aquick and elegant way (AJAX).More and more companies anddevelopers have identified thebusiness opportunities byintegrating the existing navigationtechnologies and web GIS. The newsuccessful stories spread the world and gain the attentions of the venture capitals. As a result,the GPS ecosystem becomes highly competitive and exciting.
Competitive Market
 
GPS receiver designhttp://dev.emcelettronica.com/print/518552 din 1404.09.2008 18:26
A successful GPS application is made up of GPS terminals, map data services and servicecenters. That means the GPS applications are blending businesses involve Internet, mobileterminal, mobile network, automotives, and consumer electronics. More and more industries arelooking for the new business opportunities in the navigation and location aware services viamerging and acquisitions. It is a clear trend that the map data and services are the key factors ofa business success. As usual, the silicon suppliers and device manufacturers have to fight forthe market share and making devices cheaper. The startup companies must release productswith unique features. Some suppliers offer dual mode or tri-mode satellite positioning chipsetsfor GPS, Galileo and CNSS. Some independent RFIC vendors team up with the softwaresuppliers to promote the software GPS solutions in reduced BOM cost. Some other vendors arepromoting the one chip RFIC for all RF features including Bluetooth, FM radio and GPS.
GPS Receiver Architecture
GPS works by making one way range measurements from the receiver to the satellites. In orderto arrive at a position fix we must know precisely where the satellites are and how far we arefrom them. These data are available to the receiver by reading the data message from eachsatellite which provides a precise description of the satellite orbit and timing information which isused to determine when the signal was transmitted by the satellite. Each satellite transmits on 2frequencies in the L band (L1=1575.42 MHz and L2=1227.6 MHz). Each satellite transmits aunique CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) code on these frequencies. On top of this thesignal is modulated with a 50 Hz data message which provides precise timing information andorbital parameters. Since the receiver knows which sequence is assigned to each satellite itknows what satellite the data is coming from. The receiver creates a copy of the sequence andcorrelates or integrates the received signal multiplied by this copy over a period of time (in ourcase 1 ms). The particular sequence transmitted by each satellite has been chosen to reducethe chance that a receiver will track a satellite transmitting a different PRN sequence. For moredetail on correlators see the Zarlink chipset documentation or some of the other references.The attached figure is atraditional GPS receiverarchitect (from Zarlink). It ismade up of antenna, RF/IFsection and a base bandprocessing unit, which usuallyhas correlators and anembedded processor. Thehost processor talks to theembedded processor in anindustrial standard protocolcalled NMEA (National MarineElectronics Association) or optional proprietary protocols. The physical links between theprocessors might be a standard UART, USB or Bluetooth. The communication over USB andBluetooth has to simulate a virtual serial port to talk with high level application software. Thedefault baud rate of NMEA is 4800bps, the higher rate doesn't make sense.
Antenna
Because of miniaturization and multi-functionalrequirements, the designer faces to more and morechallenges in antenna design. These factors includehuman interference, noises from embedded processors
 
GPS receiver designhttp://dev.emcelettronica.com/print/518553 din 1404.09.2008 18:26
and external interferences. It is better to copy thereference design from the application notes for aninexperienced engineer. Never the less, GPS antennadesign is still easier than the mobile phone antennadesign. We know, the latest mobile phone has to workon 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz with PA and faces to the big noises inside.The most commonly used antennas in GPS are the Helix and the patch antenna. Patch antennahas strong direction selectivity, which is used in most of the external GPS mice. The Helixantenna is much suitable for handheld GPS, which offers broader antenna angle, and it worksbetter than patch antenna when it is close to human.There are some off-the-shelf antennas available in the market. Most of them are externalantennas, which offer better performance.Sarantel offers GPS antenna in full Balun design, which offers 360 degree antenna receptionand highly frequency selectivity, and most of the noises can be eliminated. This company alsooffers the bulk ceramic antenna as the smallest antenna in the world.Mr. Mark Kesauer offers an inexpensive external GPS antenna design on Circuit Cellar. ThePDF document is available on here
[1]
. This design uses commonly available components andmaterials.
RFIC
The RF parts of a GPS from different suppliers are slightly different but most of these ICs aresharing same concept. The RF section includes LNA, filter, PLL and BPSK demodulator.Maxim’s MAX2769 demonstrates the general RF IC for GPS receiver.The RF front-end of a GPS receiver first amplifies the weak incoming signal with a low-noiseamplifier (LNA), and then downconverts the signal to a low intermediate frequency (IF) ofapproximately 4MHz. This downconversion is accomplished by mixing the input RF signal withthe local oscillator signal using one or two mixers. The resulting analog IF signal is converted toa digital IF signal by the analog-to-digital converter (ADC).The MAX2769 integrates all these functions (LNA, mixer, and ADC), thus significantly reducingthe development time for applications. The device offers a choice of two LNAs: one LNAfeatures a very-low, 0.9dB noise figure, 19dB of gain, and -1dBm IP3, for use with passiveantennas; the other LNA has a 1.5dB noise figure with slightly lower gain and powerconsumption, and a slightly higher IP3, for use with an active antenna.There is a provision for external filtering at RF after the amplifier. The signal is thendownconverted directly using the integrated 20-bit, sigma-delta, fractional-N frequencysynthesizer together with a 15-bit integer divider to achieve virtually any desired IF between zeroand 12MHz. A wide selection of possible IF filtering choices accommodates different schemes,such as those of Galileo.The overall gain from RF input to IF output can be tuned or automatically controlled over a 60dBto 115dB range. The output can be chosen as analog, CMOS, or limited differential. The internalADC has a selectable output of one to three bits. The integrated reference oscillator enablesoperation with either a crystal or a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO), and anyinput reference frequency from 8MHz to 44MHz can be used.

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