So in India, this is the only very affordable GPS receiver I could find. It seems bizarre to me, it has a VGA port? I suppose it's used for serial communications, but there isn't any relevant information about using such GPS receivers in answers to this question. If this doesn't work with an RPi, could I interface it with an Arduino instead?

Furthermore, I plan to use the GPS for high-altitude weather balloon tracking (read 100000 feet). I don't think this GPS supports 60000+ feet tracking, so my question is, does the GPS permenantly disable itself at high altitudes? Or will it continue to work normally as soon as the GPS descends through 60000 feet?

  • Find a different GPS receiver. One powered from 12V will be very expensive to power in a balloon. Look at the overall flight cost.
    – joan
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 5:31
  • @joan It says 3-5V on the module itself. Commented May 22, 2015 at 8:30
  • I'd guess there might be a certain obvious logical conundrum in having the GPS automatically restart itself when it goes back below a certain altitude (in which case it would be easy to try and periodically initialize instead). I'm sure there are better places to ask that question though (e.g. Electrical Engineering).
    – goldilocks
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


I have checked the link to GPS and it uses regular serial port (RS232). Checking the second image, you can see 9 pins for the connector and it is regular RS232.

Regarding locking - as far as I know GPS does't lock. When there is no signal, there is no signal, and when enough satellites appear the signal gets received. The similar thing happens if you turn on GPS indoors or under water.

Check how to communicate over serial port and get some documentation about NMEA protocol (e.g. Wikipedia).

  • Um IIRC it's fairly well known that at high altitudes or ground speeds (mach 1+) GPS units stop tracking to avoid crazy people making DIY intercontinental nuclear missiles Commented May 22, 2015 at 8:32
  • 1
    Might be an exaggeration to say it is "fairly well known", considering the number of people interested in using inexpensive consumer GPS units at stratospheric altitudes and supersonic speeds; this is the kind of fact it is better to spell out in the question rather than assume everyone else understands what you are implicitly referring to.
    – goldilocks
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:32

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