[Solved] GrovePi GPS doesn't work


I have a classroom full of students trying to use the GrovePi GPS unit. It doesn’t work for anyone. I sent half the room to a library with windows. I am now at home with the raspberry pi outside on my balcony. These are Raspberry Pi 3 Model B running the Dexter Industries image, 2017.02.19_Dexter_Industries_jessie.img and the dextergps.py script with GrovePi+ boards.

I’m now on my third day of troubleshooting. I’ve tried Raspbian Pixel latest build as well. What gives? I own 8 of these devices (that’s like $250 of sensors that don’t work).


What is t output error? Are you absolutely sure your GPS has a signal? Even if there are windows. Could be blocked still. Maybe try a different location?


How can I be sure there is a GPS signal? There is never any output. The script runs and this is what I get in IDLE:


Really, that is all I ever see, even after 20 minutes of waiting. My location is Kansas City, MO. The sky is partly cloudy. Does it really matter?

I really expect this to work out of the box without hacking on command line for days and imaging SD cards over and over again. I’m using only supplies bought from Dexter or SEEED Studio.


Sorry you’re having so much trouble.
I just got my GrovePi out and my GPS module to do a test run. With the latest Dexter image 2017.02.19_Dexter_Industries_jessie.img I can get my GPS to work.
I’m simply running dextergps.py from the command line
python dextergps.py

I have my GPS into the RPISER port (not the serial one)

the Seeed GPS is very picky about being near a window. Outside would be best of course. Cloud coverage should be fine. I’m in a snowstorm right now (well it just ended)

(obscuring my position for privacy…)


I bought a portable battery pack and hooked up all my equipment to my iOS hotspot and took it to the middle of my front yard with plenty of open sky. To my delight it worked. I’m going to be doing the same with my students as soon as these portable charges I ordered online arrive.

Thanks for your reply @cleoqc . I think Grove should call this sensor the “Open Sky GPS Sensor” as it is unclear to an amateur that GPS connectivity is so limited. Is the sensor not strong enough to work through walls and ceilings? Or, do Apple, Google, and others have access to better satellites? I assume it’s because they put stronger sensors in their mobile devices.

Any insight you have in that regard may be useful to future readers. Thanks again -


I’m glad you got it working. My first attempt with the gps, I was in a basement. I had so much trouble!!!
Now I can get it to work near a window but it has to be close. I’m not certain why it’s so sensitive to the presence of a ceiling. I do remember the very first GPS we got back in the 80s, it was very similar. Back then you had to be military to get a GPS but my dad managed to get one for his sailboat. Of course, on the sailboat it was fine, but not inside.