MAX-M8Q GPS lock problem

Zack Clobes W0ZC

I'm looking for some ideas on troubleshooting some lock problems on a new board/capsule/camera design.  The board has worked well during testing up until I started integration testing with the actual capsule with the cameras under it.  

The capsule is about 6cm thick and is mostly two layers of foam.  There are two cameras sandwiched in the middle and there is an aluminum bar holding them in place.  The GPS antenna is as far away from that as I can get.  Lid open or lid closed doesn't seem to make any difference.

During testing I noticed that this board would take a lot longer to get a lock than it's identical sister.  Initially I thought it was a bad GPS or antenna, and eventually replaced both.  Then I noticed if I unplug an external (optics) sensor, the GPS would lock up almost immediately.

So I nixed the sensor at the 11th hour and went flying.  The GPS never locked on a single time during the whole flight.  There's about 2m of separation to the next capsule.

This morning I plugged everything back in just like it flew, and it immediately got a lock.  The only thing I noticed was that after powering up the cameras, the altitude was reading about 100 meters high.  But I still had 5-9 sats.

I'm running low on ideas on what to try to isolate this problem. 


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