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3 Posts authored by: cmelement14

In Part II: OS Configuration and Software Installation & Update, I showed how I configured the OS and installed software. In this part III, I will show the problem of SHIM and how I made it work.


To test the kit, I first tried cgps program a few times and each time the program timed out and quit in a couple of seconds. Basically there was no GPS fix at all.



Then I tried to print GPS message but still no luck. I issued poweroff command to brought down the kit and started trouble-shooting.



The first thing I did for trouble-shooting was remove the PiFace and still didn't get a fix.



Next, I directly plugged Microstack baseboard onto GPIO pins. And I got the first GPS fix after powering up the kit for a while.



At this point, I was convinced that I had the same SHIM issue like others had. To solve the problem but not touch the Pi2, I ordered a connector (ESW-120-14-G-D from Samtec) and soldered the connector on the SHIM board.



Put all things together and powered the kit up and got GPS fix in a few seconds.



Next, a quick test with the PiFace



Up to this point, I am confident my kit is ready for the fun of programming. If you have any question or comments about my step by step building process, please post below. Thanks for your reading.

In the first part Step by Step Building the Raspberry Pi 2 GPS Geocaching Kit - Part I: Put Hardware Together, I recorded how I put the hardware together step by step. In this part, I will show the basic OS configuration and software installation & update.


After the first time boot-up completes, the Pi 2 will automatically run raspi-config program (you can always run this program again after first time boot-up by typing command sudo raspi-config). In this configuration interface, you can customize the locale settings, password, enable/disable some peripherals, etc.


I think Raspbian has been installed on the MicroSD card came with the kit, so you don't need to expand file system. If you try to do it, it will give you a message like this


The default user name is "pi" and password is "raspberry" (without the quote signs). You can change the default password by typing new password twice as shown in the bottom left corner of the second picture below.

You can choose the OS boot into Desktop or Console interface. I chose Desktop option as shown below.


You can customize your locale, timezone and keyboard layout (entering items 4 in the first picture of this blog).


I did overclock to Pi 2 option.


I also customized a few advanced options. First, enable SSH


Next, I enabled kernel automatically load SPI module


I also enabled automatically load I2C module


The last OS configuration was disable login shell on serial port


After OS configuration, the program will ask for a reboot.


After reboot, the desktop showed up. If you chose boot into console mode, the desktop won't show up. Instead, a login console shows up.


Next, I opened a terminal window and started upgrading the OS by typing the following commands in sequence (some commands may take a long period of time to complete).

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

sudo rpi-update

sudo reboot



After reboot, I installed python3 and other GPS support software, etc. Then reboot again after the software installation completed.



Next, configure gpsd and reboot again.




Up to this point, all software installation and update is completed. In part III Step by Step Building the Raspberry Pi 2 GPS Geocaching Kit - Part III: Trouble-shooting and Get It Work, I will show how I test, trouble-shoot and get it work.

Thanks to the Geocaching community and Christopher Stanton. I am one of the Winners of  10 Raspberry Pi 2 GPS kit. The kit arrived at my front door on Aug. 7th, 2015. Since then, I followed Chris' blog Putting Together the Pieces - Raspberry Pi 2 GPS Geocaching Project and built up my kit. In general, it's a quite smooth process except like many others, I ran into the SHIM connection problem as well. In this blog, I will show my procedure step by step with lots of pictures and screen captures (I don't have a HDMI monitor, so I used my HDTV as the display).


The kit came in within a neat package.



A white 5V 2A output power adapter with changeable world-wide plugs is included. I changed the plug to North American version (push down the cutout section to release the plug from the adapter).



Raspberry Pi 2 has a printed manual in 16 different languages.



The kit includes a SHIM board which can be used to connect a Microstack GPS module (on top of a Microstack Baseboard) to the GPIO pins with a male-to-male connector.



I soldered the male-to-male connector on the SHIM board and plug the SHIM onto GPIO pins. Like other people reported, the connections between SHIM and GPIOs weren't reliable. Keep reading and I will provide a solution.



Plug the GPS module on top of Microstack baseboard and plug the baseboard into the male-to-male connector.



Plug the PiFace on top of Pi 2



Check the UFL to SMA RF cable - conductivity for both shield and center (I have seen factory problem on this type of cable) and carefully plug the UFL end (UFL connector is very fragile) to the GPS module. Then screw the SMA end to the GPS antenna cable. Please rotate the connectors instead of the wire when you screw two SMA together. Otherwise, too much tension on the wire may damage the UFL connector at the other end.



Plug USB adapter for wireless keyboard and mouse, HDMI cable, Ethernet cable and microUSB power plug. Then power it up.



Continue on Step by Step Building the Raspberry Pi 2 GPS Geocaching Kit - Part II: OS Configuration and Software Installation & Update