Nikon D700 - DIY GPS Project - The Build

Parts list
1 x 2K2 Resistor
2 x 4K7 Resistor
1 x 10K Resistor
1 x 2N222A NPN transistor

1 x USGloblSat EM-406A GPS module
1 x USGloblSat header cable (Got both of these items from from Starlite-intl) otherwise you can get them here if you live in Australia.
1 x Hammond Miniature ABS enclosure P/N: 1551RFLBK or 1551RK
1 x Nikon 10 pin connector DIY cable (Got mine from Stellardesign on ebay)
1 x Hot shoe (pc sync port) adapter
1 x Veroboard
1 x length of ribbon cable. had some lying around.
1 x heat shrink tubing, small ones. had some lying around
1 x 40 way header pin

Tools Required

  • soldering iron
  • dremel
  • wire cutters
  • pliers
  • solder
  • voltmeter
  • Power supply

GPS circuit diagram - click for larger view

Testing on breadboard

I tested the circuit design on my breadboard and made sure that it was working correctly before building it on veroboard. Once the red LED starts blinking you are in business.

To simplify the build I laid it all out on graph paper before soldering anything. I worked out exactly where all the components, links and cuts had to be. I also measured and cut the veroboard to size so that it fits into the case. I also notched out on diagonal corners so that the veroboard fitted around the column where the top lid screwed into.

GPS module interface to Nikon D700 completed

Once I am happy that everything fitted correctly then I start soldering the components together. Double checked everything has been done correctly and when you are confident that all is 100%. You can plug the 10 pin connector into the D700 and you should start seeing the GPS symbol blinking on the top panel.

Top view of completed circuit

Veroboard with the level converter circuitry, Nikon 10 pin connector and the 2.5mm stereo jack all wired up. Ready to be mounted into the case.

2.5mm Stereo jack connection to Nikon 10 pin connector

Close up of the 2.5mm Stereo jack and Nikon 10 pin connector. I also made sure that all soldered wires were heat shrunk to eliminate any short circuits.

Connect the following wires on the 2.5mm stereo socket to the Nikon 10 pin connector.

  • Red wire - auto-focus - Pin 9
  • Orange wire - shutter release - Pin 4
  • Yellow wire - ground - Pin 6

Side view of circuit

Close-up of the level converter circuitry. It converts the 3.2V signal from the GPS to 5V for the Nikon D700.

Hole for 2.5mm stereo jack

Hole drilled for the 2.5mm stereo jack. Required for remote shutter release. Do the drilling at the lowest possible torque.

Top view of inside of case

Removed pcb support as it gives extra clearance (height) so the GPS module can fit in. I used the Hammond Miniature ABS enclosure P/N: 1551RFLBK, you should get the one without the flange 1551RBK!

Nice job

Cable relief

Cable strain relief for Nikon 10 pin connector. I used my dremel to ensure a snug fit. Take your time.

Tight fit!

All snugly packed into the case. This is where I plugged it into the D700 for the final test before screwing the lid on.

Hot shoe adapter - pc sync port.

I wanted to have the GPS unit mounted on top of D700. To achieve this I bought a hot shoe adapter off ebay.

Hot shoe pulled apart. Only held together with two screws.

We are only interested in the bottom half.

The plan is to cannibalise it just for the base. I made sure that it could be pulled apart before I bought it. It involves removing 2 screws which takes less than 10 seconds.

Top view of hot shoe

I cut a piece of scrap veroboard, using my dremel, and glued it onto the hot shoe to make a platform. I can now use glue, velcro or double-sided tape to attach the hot shoe base onto the GPS case.

The Finished Product

Check-out part 1 of DIY GPS Project.


diverter valve said...

may i ask what is this for??

lozzmann said...


When the GPS module is plugged into the Nikon D700 via the 10-pin connector it automatically embeds gps coordinates directly into your raw files every time you press the shutter. Basically it lets you know exactly where the photo was taken.

GPS data are supported in Lightroom, Picasaweb, etc.

Thanks for visiting..

Alex said...

Great guide. Ordered the same parts as you. Gona try to build this tomorrow for my D200.

Btw. Haven't you mounted the gps module upside down?

lozzmann said...

Hi Alex,

Thanks. I am glad the guide made enough sense for someone else to build one.

The reasons are purely aesthetic. The hot shoe is attached on the box's lid is to ensure that the screws are not showing. The 10-pin cable also looked better coming out at the bottom when mounted.

Are you the same Alex that posted on http://foto.no? I am getting lots of hits from Norway.

I would love to see a pic of your finished GPS. Don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have any questions


Alex said...

Yes, im the one who posted it on foto.no. Great guide u have, i hope others here also build one.

Thank god for you schematic. Helps alot. Im going to get the parts tomorrow. Im then going for a test build, haven't got the cable from ebay yet.

I'll post some pics on foto.no when i finished i think. I'll let u know. It will probably look the same as yours :)

lozzmann said...

Hi Alex,

I think I misunderstood your question about the GPS module being mounted upside down.

I had to used the lid as a clamp to create a cable relief for the 10-pin cable so that connections to the GPS module is not damage if the cable is accidentally pulled.

This was the best way I could figure out how to achieve this.

Make sure you get this cable from ebay:

Good luck with the build..


Antonio Feliziani said...

is possible get the VCC from the pin 3 of nikon connector ? beocose i see you get it from the flash connector, and not undestand ..thanks

lozzmann said...

Hi Antonio,

No. I do get my +5V off pin 3 on the Nikon 10-pin connector. That's how the circuit drawing diagram I used depicts the +5V rail. Do you mean the hotshoe when you say flash connector? I only use as a mount for the GPS module and nothing more.

Thanks for visiting.


John Knutsson said...

i just ordered the exact same gps module for my d3100. i will follow your build instructions, all part already laid out on the table waiting for the built, and the module to arrive.

lozzmann said...

Hi John,

That's awesome! I love to see a pic of it when it's completed. Let me know if you need any help.


Lawrence said...


I know this is going back a bit now, but...

Thanks for your guide! I'm having a problem though; I ordered the same cable but it appears to have no wire for pin 3! Any ideas??



lozzmann said...


If you are looking at their diagram for the pinouts (Male), they have it going clockwise which is incorrect. It should be anti-clockwise.

So start from pin 1, go clockwise instead. This means that what is pin 8 should be 2, pin 7 (Rx-Blue)should be pin 3, pin 4 should be pin 6 (Pgnd-Orange)and etc.

Hope this helps. Let me know how you go.