Not getting any GPS Data - but I used to!

I’m using the same set of commands to set up a device tracker with my Notecarrier AF boards - one with a Swan and one with a Feather:


With the OOB configuration BOTH devices gave me GPS location information from the device. After I tried to customize it using the aforementioned commands, NEITHER DEVICE will return the GPS location from the device. They both return some data:

“event”: “b50b7fb3-fb58-4549-b64c-1db53ecc01c5”,
“session”: “7a483cf1-45a7-47d9-a7ac-5c760f618992”,
“best_id”: “dev:868050047666819”,
“device”: “dev:868050047666819”,
“product”: “product:com.empowermentoring.john.landgrave:cartman”,
“received”: 1661784838.09487,
“req”: “note.add”,
“when”: 1661784804,
“file”: “_track.qo”,
“updates”: 1,
“body”: {
“jcount”: 1,
“journey”: 1661784620,
“motion”: 4,
“status”: “usb”,
“temperature”: 27.9375,
“voltage”: 3.7773438
“best_location_type”: “tower”,
“best_location_when”: 1661784837,
“best_lat”: 39.760337500000006,
“best_lon”: -86.752203125,
“best_location”: “Heritage Lake IN”,
“best_country”: “US”,
“best_timezone”: “America/Indiana/Indianapolis”,
“tower_when”: 1661784837,
“tower_lat”: 39.760337500000006,
“tower_lon”: -86.752203125,
“tower_country”: “US”,
“tower_location”: “Heritage Lake IN”,
“tower_timezone”: “America/Indiana/Indianapolis”,
“tower_id”: “310,410,19979,48824584”

But because there’s no GPS fix I’m not getting important data like velocity, bearing, etc. This is for an asset tracking system for expensive, heavy equipment and I need to get accurate tracking data when the device is in motion and be asleep otherwise. Not getting a good feeling about this technology based on the available information. I assumed a QuickStart would work exactly as coded but that’s not the case. I can only imagine how difficult - or impossible - and advanced case might be to configure.

FWIW - I have left BOTH devices outdoors with full view of the sky for >30 minutes and neither of them has been able to get a GPS location lock.

Hi @jlandgrave62,

At first glance, I’m thinking your cellular radio and GPS are battling each other for supremacy. Your outbound parameter in hub.set is 1 minute, while the seconds param of card.location.mode is also 1 minute. Since cellular and GPS cannot be active at the same time, this is likely the cause of the conflict.

Unless you need your data to be relayed to the cloud immediately, I would recommend setting outbound to a much higher value.


I’m trying to do “near real time tracking” when the asset is in motion but infrequent updates when it’s stationary. In an average day the asset would be in motion less than 4 hours a day and stationary the rest of the day.

If you need “real time” tracking, you would need to use an external GPS module (since on the Notecard only cellular or GPS can be enabled at a given time). If, however, something like a 15 minute lag time would be acceptable, that’s easily accomplished by using periodic mode with outbound set to 15.

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I was able to get a reasonable set of data by using periodic mode at 15 seconds and outbound set to 2. I can likely increase the outbound once I do some tuning. However, I figure out why one of my notecards was not capturing any gps signal no matter what I did. It appears that either the gps cable OR the gps antenna is defective on the Note Carrier AF boards I have. When I moved the notecard to a NoteCarrierF and used the Molex antenna I was able to get GPS almost immediately and got all of the data I was expecting.

Do you have any examples of the code required to collect the GPS data using a microcontroller but then sending the location data through the NoteCard? I have some Feather MCU’s which have onboard GPS devices and I could text that approach as well.

I don’t believe we have any examples that demonstrate using an external GPS module, but the documentation article I posted above should be all you need. As long as you have access to TX and RX on the GPS module you should be able to configure the Notecard accordingly to look for the external module.