Why is My PXI-668x Timing and Sync Module Blinking Amber During a GPS Self Survey?

Updated Aug 13, 2019

Reported In

Hardware

  • PXI-6683
  • PXI-6682

Driver

  • NI-Sync

Issue Details

I have a PXI-6682(H) or PXI-6683(H) timing and synchronization module installed in my PXI(e) chassis, and I have set the Time Reference as GPS. The Self Survey runs, but it never fully completes. I notice this either in the GPS tab of the NI MAX Test Panel, by reading the Percent Complete of Self Survey NI-Sync property, or having a blinking amber GPS light on the module. How can I troubleshoot this issue?

Solution

The first thing to verify is that the GPS antenna is detecting at least 4 satellites. You can determine this by looking at the Number of Satellites Available field in the MAX Test Panel or by querying the Satellites Available property with the NI-Sync Property Node. If you are not seeing at least 4 satellites, try moving your antenna to a different location.

Once at least four satellites have been found, the GPS receiver performs a Self Survey. The Self Survey is the process of performing measurements of the visible satellites once per second and averaging those measurements so that the current position can be determined as accurately as possible. Once an accurate position is determined, time data received from the GPS satellites can be precisely applied. 

If the Self Survey is not completing, the following are some things to check: 
  • The Self Survey may take 10-20 minutes to complete. Make sure you have waited at least this length of time.
  • If mobile mode is enabled, it is expected that the Self Survey will not complete because the Self Survey is only performed when mobile mode is disabled.
    Note: Using mobile mode with a stationary antenna will degrade the accuracy of the onboard GPS receiver. Only enable mobile mode if the antenna will be moving while the device has power.
  • Ensure that the antenna is connected properly.
  • Ensure that the cable length is not preventing an accurate signal from being acquired. Refer to the Maximum Cable Length section of the PXI-6682 or PXI-6683 user manual for more information on calculating the cable length requirements for your application.
Figure 1: GPS LED indicator colors and meaning

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