GPS takes minimalist approach to reduce cost and power

Nass, Richard
January 2005
Portable Design;Jan2005, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p34
The article reports that the low cost is a testament to the design work and integration that takes place inside the Thales's Magellan Explorist 200. When one opens up the box, there are very few components inside. The key components are an analog front end (AFE), an ARM7 based processor, memory, a display controller, a display, and an antenna. The AFE is placed under a metallic shield to ward off the evil EMI signals. For the same interference reasons, the analog circuitry is on one side of the hoard, including the power supply, while the majority of the digital circuits are contained on the other side. A GPS operates with a very low power signal. Hence, it doesn't take a lot to interfere with, or destroy. Thales could have chosen from various AFEs that are fairly similar. The biggest difference between them generally lies in the amount of integration, such as in the LNAs. But the radio functions are generally the same. From beginning to end, the design took about nine months to complete. Before the commencement, about a year's worth of customer research and concept development took place. The product officially shipped last June. Since then, over 100,000 units have shipped.


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