I have designed a device using an STM32 Nucleo board, a GPS module, a GSM module, some discrete components, and a bread board. It is a sort of a car tracker.
I have decided to design my own custom board which includes all the modules that I have bought separately. I have designed some boards before but I haven't gotten anything fabricated yet. There isn't much info on the topic and what little is written on the internet does nothing but confuse me more.
I came across an article on this website, which says that I need to either buy a GPS simulator which costs around 10 to 15 thousand dollars or add an entire pre-built module to my PCB. What confuses me is:
- How can I add an entire module to my PCB? Should I add round pin holes to my PCB and connect them to my MCU using traces and then solder the entire module to those pin holes? That sounds a bit silly to me but that's what I understand when they say "use a module instead of a chipset" because I can sort of "reverse engineer" the module that I have and discover which components are present but then I still don't know the stack up.
- Given that I am going to buy a GPS antenna as well as a GPS receiver chip, I thought all I needed to design were the transmission lines. Why would I need a simulator? (Isn't that used to test your GPS antenna? I'm buying a pre designed one.) I am planning to use a SIM808 chip and there is a hardware design guide for it on the internet but it doesn't say anything about a simulator there, only that some traces must have their impedance limited to 50 ohms.
- When they say a GPS module which one of these do they mean?
I guess I could just wing it and design something and get it manufactured to see if it works or not but making sure that I understand everything correctly before I do so could save some time and money.