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SSI-SDIO-1000 Stellus StarNet GPS for Pocket PC review
Posted on 6-Mar-2005 19:00 by M Freitas. | Tags Filed under: Reviews.

The SSI-SDIO-1000 by Stellus Systems is a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver with a Secure Digital Input/Output (SDIO) interface and is designed to be used with mobile devices, such as Pocket PC, equipped with SDIO Now! interface.

The first we heard about the SSI-SDIO-1000 was during the CES 2005. This is an interesting product, with application in different areas, including in-vehicle navigation, boating, asset tracking (when combined with a Pocket PC Phone Edition for example) and more.

The device we have tested was tested on a Telecom New Zealand Harrier Pocket PC Phone Edition (also known as Verizon XV6600, read our review), running Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition OS.

The SSI-SDIO-1000 is FCC and CE certified. The manufacturer also has certificates in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The GPS was bundled with drivers. After the software installation and inserting the GPS into the SD slot on my Pocket PC I had to find what COM port was assigned to this new device. The full package comes with a program called ipaqsdion that shows the assigned COM port. The program is automatically downloaded from the PC when installing the drivers.

Using the SSI-SDIO-1000 is very easy: install the drive, insert it into the SD slot and forget it. I tested it with two GPS tracking programs, VisualGPS and 158574 GPS Speed Sentry without a problem. You only have to know what serial port to enable on the GPS software - in my case COM7.

The device fits into a SD card slot, but it doesn't reach all the way - half centimetre of its very thin connector body is visible - and this seems like a weak point. It seems like a great solution for use in-car or boat, where the combination Pocket PC/GPS can be attached to a windscreen (windshield for our American readers) and can be used while walking, but with care not to drop the devices (I woundn't want to drop my Pocket PC even withouth the GPS anyway).

Image gallery: click an image to see the larger version

An advantage of this combination is that the SSI-SDIO-1000 will be powered by the Pocket PC, not requiring extra power supply for the use of this GPS - unlike a Bluetooth GPS for example that requires its own battery or charger in addition to that for the Pocket PC. The GPS uses a 3V interface (standard for SDIO Now!), and will use 225 mW while in search or acquisition mode, 195 mW in continuous run or tracking mode and less than 18 mW when in sleep mode (clock enabled).

It can track up to 12 channels simultaneously, with an updated rate of 1 Hz. It supports the industry standard NMEA-0183 protocol.

The GPS receiver sensitivity is 150 dBm, and it is accurate to 3 m (CEP) or 6 m (2DRMS) for position and 0.2 m/s for speed.

The specification says that we can expect a hot start time of 8 seconds, warm start of 28 seconds and cold start of 45 seconds. I can say that the cold start was a little longer, but I think this is related to it first being used in the Southern hemisphere just after being shipped from the USA. As for the other times they are very similar to what I have observed during its use.

The 3rd party software supplied, VisualGPS, is simple to use, but provides lots of information. Best of all, it is compatible with Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, support landscape mode as well. The developer also lists a shareware version called BeeLine GPS, which provides more functionality. The latest version of VisualGPS provides a list of COM ports available on your device, including the name, thus making it easier to start using this GPS device: look for "\Drivers\SDCARD\ClientDrivers" and that will be the COM port created by the SDIO drivers.

Main screen of VisualGPS: current status

Satellite tracking

Meters with speed, altitude, bearing and vertical speed

Averages and sample control

All information received from the GPS can be logged into a text file, that can be later used in other software to track or map your trip. Below is an example of this file:
  • Easy to use: install driver, insert GPS, use it
  • Works with a variety of GPS software, incluiding tracking and mapping software
  • No external power required - feed from Pocket PC

  • Design makes it "stick" out of the body of the Pocket PC

  • More information:

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