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Evolution in Design

Among the things sent to me by Dexter Industries was also the latest incarnation of the dGPS, a GPS sensor for the NXT. This latest one is equipped almost exclusively with surface mounted components, making it a lot less likely to knock off one of the capacitors and giving the sensor a very professional look.  The mounting holes on either side of the board make it super easy to attach it to your creation.

Top side of the new dGPSThe bottom of the new dGPS

The old and the newThe new one is also equipped with a battery to back up the positions of all the satellites it has found in the past (known as the almanac), so you don’t have to wait as long when cold starting it. It should last at least a few years on standby and in any case, a replacement battery will set you back about $2, so you have some time to put a little money aside each month.

I was lucky to have received one of the earliest prototypes before it came out and I thought it would be cool for you to see just how much it has changed since then. The ugly blobs of hot glue on the caps are my own doing.  I had to remove the main controller a number of times to reprogram it to test new versions of the firmware, so in order to stop me from accidentally breaking them off, I “enhanced” them with some nasty looking blobs of melted plastic.  Aesthetics are for people with too much time!

As with the WiFI sensor I posted about earlier, it’s really great to see how quickly the looks of the Dexter Industries sensors have changed to make them look more professional and robust.

About Xander

Xander Soldaat is a Software Engineer and former Infrastructure Architect. He loves building and programming robots. He recently had the opportunity to turn his robotics hobby into his profession and has started working for Robomatter, the makers of ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Words.