Using GoPro GPS Module on FPV Drones (Spare Parts from Naked GoPro)

by Oscar

If you made a Naked GoPro, you are probably left with a GPS module from the original GoPro. Don’t throw it away! You can use it on your quad, it works brilliantly with Betaflight and iNav.

It’s actually quite a sensitive GPS module, on par with the BN180 if not more. It get s a 3D fix within a minute or two for me (about the same as the BN180).

It’s very light weight, at only 2.7g! It’s almost half of the weight of the BN180 (5.1g), but heavier than the NamelessRC TinyGPS (1.6g).

Dimension: 15mm x 35mm x 3mm

It could be easily mounted on most micro FPV drones, like the Rekon3.

GoPro GPS Module Pinout

The wiring of the GoPro GPS module to the flight controller is very similar to other GPS modules, there are four connections: 3.3V, GND, TX and RX. The GoPro GPS module takes 3.3V as input voltage, and it connects to one of the spare UART on the FC (TX to RX, RX to TX).

Note that the pinouts of the GPS module from the Hero 6/7 and Hero 8 are different. The GoPro 6 and 7 have 8 pins while the Hero 8 has 10 pins.

Here’re a few more close up shots of the module, top and bottom. Make sure the ceramic antenna is facing upward when mounted on your quad.

Ceramic Antenna – this should be facing upward when mounted in your quad

Betaflight Settings

Betaflight Setup is exactly like using normal GPS module.

Take a look at my tutorial on how to setup GPS in Betaflight. Settings in Betaflight are:

  • In the ports tab, set baud rate to 9600
  • In Configuration tab, set GPS protocol to UBLOX, and the rest of the settings set to auto

There’s no LED indicator, so unfortunately you won’t know when the GPS is working or not, until it’s actually working.

Update (July 2021)

Thanks to Ujjwal Kumar, he’s able to get the LED indicator to work on the GPS module from Hero 6 and 7. Connect the LED left pin to ground, and short the purple pin to 3.3V as shown in the picture below.

Gopro Hero 6 7 Gps Module Pinout Enable Led Indicator

Credits

GPS Pin out for Hero 6/7 from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=araU2PpAMlg

And the Hero 8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZneZOIxjafg

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15 comments

Jason 17th March 2022 - 6:05 pm

are the hero 9 pcb pin outs floating around somewhere?

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Karan 4th April 2022 - 4:14 pm

Hey Oscar, can’t thank you enough for what you do. I can understand one person can only do so much while you seem to do the work of hundred people if not more. Regardless, I will go ahead and ask you for help. If you know the pin out of the GPS of a Hero 9. Please share it here :) Would really help and literally put a smile on my face. I never threw those and I came across your article today. And I was mindblown. Would love to use 2 GPS I have lying around from my naked GoPros. Thanks in advance

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Dominik 4th March 2022 - 11:28 am

Hi Oscar (and anyone who has done this mod), if you do the led mod will it light up whenever the unit has a satellite lock, or is it continuously on whenever the module has power? Also, the module I have has an Rf shield over the electronics at the bottom, is that necessary or are you removing that too? Mine was 2.96g…

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Oscar 5th March 2022 - 11:14 pm

“the LED mod” is just a power indicator, doesn’t indicate a lock unfortunately.

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Reed Noel 11th February 2022 - 5:13 am

“Thanks to Ujjwal Kumar, he’s able to get the LED indicator to work on the GPS module from Hero 6 and 7. Connect the LED left pin to ground, and short the purple pin to 3.3V as shown in the picture below”
How Using LED indicator to work on the GPS with Hero8?

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Dominik 4th March 2022 - 12:02 pm

I did some prodding around and you can get the led to light up if you short the same pad to 3.3v (the one next to 3.3v input). On the led side you need to bridge the *opposite* side to ground (opposite to the side of the gopro 6 GPS). This only lights up the led when the GPS has power though, doesn’t tell you if it has satellites. Not very useful imo

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Bob 24th December 2021 - 10:37 pm

My FC has no 3.3 output apparently. https://geprc.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/F722-45A-AIO-USER-MANUAL2.pdf Will it fry the GPS to use 5v?

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Oscar fans 29th November 2021 - 2:30 am

How should I use my gopro hero 5 to do the same things…

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Sahib FPV 4th July 2021 - 2:27 am

Didn’t work for me either, tried with a Hero 7 GPS, I swapped the RX and TX back and forth just in case, no success. Also I tried with UBLOX and NMEA protocols, no success. Checked the voltage on my FC and is 3.3v
The GPS gets a little warm tho, so I think it’s powered, but not communicating with the FC at all.

Anyone did make this work? Any advice?

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Oscar 4th July 2021 - 1:20 pm

Do you have a laptop? Try to do this outdoor, indoor might not have good enough signal.
Also you can try to monitor the GPS tab where you can see the actual locked satellites in real time even if you don’t have a fix yet.

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Roman Stukalin 1st July 2021 - 6:12 pm

THIS IS WRONG -“In Configuration tab, set GPS protocol to UBLOX”
RIGHT PROTOCOL IS NMEA

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Oscar 2nd July 2021 - 1:31 pm

I am just documenting what worked for me. Feel free to try both protocols.

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alan mccluskey 11th June 2021 - 1:37 pm

love this kinda repurposing,

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Juan Gallardo 30th May 2021 - 7:09 pm

Oscar,
Thanks for putting this together, very interesting.
Unfortunately it’s not working for me, and in order to troubleshoot my set-up I wanted to ask you:
1.-Is there a LED in the GPS module that turns on when the module is accessible?
I think I see a LED on the top, but mine is not turning on at any time. I’m feeding the module 3.3 v, and I have double check this. Even if TX/RX are wrong, it should still turn on, right?
2.-Is there any other signs of the unit been alive that I can check with a multimeter or something else?

Cheers

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Oscar 31st May 2021 - 9:32 pm

The LED does NOT light up even when it’s working (it only works when you connect the GoPro ribbon cable). Only other way to determine if the GPS is working is to put the TX pin on an oscilloscope and look for the serial signal.
Maybe can you try setting protocol to UBLOX?

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