The FrSky GPS V2 Sensor is a great GPS receiver from FrSky for its SmartPort capable receivers. Let us dive right in and see what a GPS receiver is and how it works. In this article, we will look into what a GPS Sensor is, how it works and how you could potentially use it in your craft for Return to Home functions and mission planning and whatnot.

What is GPS?

GPS or Global Positioning System is a system of 24 satellites that surrounds the Earth and has global coverage 24/7.

GPS allows a device to calculate its location at any point on earth with precision(which depends on the environment). So with a handheld GPS device, you can basically know your exact latitude and longitude and altitude at any point of time. Cool, right?

GPS was first made by the United States for its military use and then was trickled down to civilian use. Although GPS is synonymous with Positioning Systems, it is not the only satellite constellation that is used for location-based tracking. Other constellations such as Europe’s “Galileo”, Russia’s “GLONASS”, China’s “BeiDou” and India’s “IRS” are all similar ones from other countries. All these constellations together form what is called “GNSS” or Global Navigation Satellite System, a system of satellites that move across the outer atmosphere providing location services to all points on earth.

How does GPS work?

GPS uses a system of 24 satellites that are revolving around the earth to calculate your position on the ground( or air ;) ). You will require a minimum of 3 satellites to pinpoint your latitude and longitude and an optional 4th satellite if you need altitude as well. In case of our crafts, obviously we will require a 4th satellite as we will need to measure our altitude as well.

The satellites send EM wave or Electromagnetic Waves (Basically RF signals, which we have already covered in a previous article) down to the earth. These RF signals have data that is encoded in them. The data consists mainly of the precise time at which the packet of data was sent from the GPS satellite (using an on-board atomic clock) along with few correction data (called parity) to verify the signal integrity.

When your GPS receiver gets the signal, it then calculates the time it took for the signal to reach the receiver from the satellite and with this information, it can basically find its know the radius of the satellites signal reach and so it is within that radius.

But this radius is quite large of few hundred kilometres. In order to get a more accurate location, the GPS receiver basically gets data sent from all the GPS satellites in its range which at any point of space and time would be a minimum of 3 satellites (The GPS Constellation is built so that at any point on earth, there will be 3 satellites within range) and it takes all these data and “triangulates” its location on earth with some clever math ;)

In the above image, you can see the intersection of all three satellites is where the user is located. Similarly, when you have the 4th satellite in range, you can also calculate your altitude as well!

And now you have your location down to the meter (provided your receiver is capable of such accuracy) with latitude, longitude and also the altitude. Not only this, but the receiver also calculates other factors like your velocity, acceleration and accurate time as well.

So the same principle can be applied to GPS enabled RC crafts, you can find the location to your craft if you lose it or maybe the speed of the craft while you are flying it. T

 

That’s cool! I want one on my craft!

That is a great decision. Enter FrSky GPS V2 Sensor. It is the latest GPS receiver FrSky has made and has improved upon the V1 sensor.

The FrSky GPS V2 Sensor uses the GPS satellite constellation (and possibly other constellations as well) in order to obtain its location - altitude, longitude, latitude along with the copter speed and UTC time which can be displayed real-time on your FrSky Transmitter or telemetry dashboard such as DHT-U/FLD-02/FSD etc.

You can use this receiver in conjunction with any FrSky receiver that supports SmartPort connectivity for telemetries such as X8R, X4R, XSR etc. or even the newer R-XSR or the 900Mhz R9 receivers. The GPS receiver only has 3 pins - VCC, GND and SmartPort which makes wiring extremely easy.

Here are few of the specifications of the GPS Sensor from FrSky

Weight: 11.3g

Dimension: 40*20*9mm

Operating Voltage Range: 4-10VDC

Operating Temperature: -40℃~85℃

 

In this article, we have seen what a GPS is, what are the different types of constellations that exist other than the GPS constellation. How the GNSS system works and what are its benefits. We have also looked at FrSky offering on the GPS receiver - GPS V2 Sensor and its specifications.