Super-low-power GNSS receiver chip for wearable designs

February 22, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
u-blox (Thalwil, Switzerland) has added its UBXM8230CT global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver chip that it says offers a balance of performance and ultra-low power use, termed Super-E mode.

Super-Efficient (Super-E) mode cuts the power consumption by two-thirds to 20 mW at one position update every second with hardly any loss in accuracy. It delivers continued speed and position accuracy even when tested in applications such as wearables and portable electronics, where the antenna is small and movement prevents a constant view of the sky.


The UBXM8230CT Super-E mode is suited for devices that require high levels of speed and position accuracy, but where power is limited. Along with smartwatches, sports wearables and fitness trackers, it can be used in trackers for assets, people, children and animals, to provide accurate and frequent location information with minimal impact on battery life. Constantly needing to know the user location in wearables places demands on the battery, which has traditionally limited GNSS adoption. Low power consumption combined with high positioning accuracy and the design footprint of < 30 mm ² makes it possible to add GNSS to virtually all wearables, u-blox adds.


The UBX-M8230-CT'€™s Super-E mode uses concurrent reception of GPS with either GLONASS or BeiDou. It allows batching location data temporarily on the chip, which helps to further reduce the system power consumption by avoiding the need to constantly run the main CPU.