SparkFun Launches a Qwiic ZED-F9T GNSS Timing Breakout, Promises 5ns Pulse Accuracy

New Qwiic-connected board offers 5ns timing accuracy with a clear view of the sky — dropping to 2.5ns with correction data.

Gareth Halfacree
4 months agoClocks / HW101

SparkFun is continuing to broaden its high-accuracy Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) product range with the launch of a Qwiic breakout board for the u-blox ZED-F9T — offering five-nanosecond timing accuracy.

"This week, we finally get to show off a board that we have been working on for the past couple of months, the ZED-F9T GNSS Timing Breakout," says SparkFun's Chris McCarty of the new board. "This is a new piece of technology that we are excited to finally release and we eagerly await some of the new projects you make with it!"

Need nanosecond-level accuracy in your project? SparkFun may have just the thing. (📹: SparkFun)

SparkFun's previous GNSS products - like the GNSS Dead-Reckoning Navigation Board range, MicroMod Asset Tracker, or its most recent ZED-F9K breakout — have concentrated on accuracy of location, which is entirely reasonable for a device which leverages navigation satellites. The ZED-F9T GNSS Timing Breakout is different: Its focus is on providing a highly accurate timing source.

"Need an extremely accurate time reference to maximize the efficiency of your IoT network of 5G devices," SparkFun asks. "The ZED-F9T GNSS Timing Breakout could be the perfect solution."

Built around u-blox' ZED-F9T, the board supports L1/L2/E5b satellite bands and all four major GNSS constellations including GPS. In absolute timing mode and with a clear view of the sky, SparkFun promises a five nanosecond timing accuracy — dropping to just 2.5ns in differential timing mode, using correction data.

The board includes two Qwiic connectors for I2C communication, three SMA connectors for an external antenna plus timing pulse signals, and unpopulated plated through-hole pin headers for what the company describes as "most of the ZED-F9T's pinout." A rechargeable battery, meanwhile, feeds a real-time clock to drop time-to-first-fix from 24s on a true cold start to just two seconds.

The board is now available to buy on the SparkFun store, but nanosecond-level accuracy doesn't come cheap: It's priced at $299.95 before volume discounts. More information, meanwhile, can be found in the board hookup guide.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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