Some of the Designs
Below are some of the designs I was involved in or personally did. I
was the engineering manager of GPS at Lowrance Electronics for over 20 years.
(Before that we were just called the Navigation Group because we did Loran C
products.) All in all I was at Lowrance (turned Navico) for just shy
of 31 years. I managed our Navigation Group / GPS Group for most all of
that time. I worked in the sonar group prior to forming the navigation
group in 1985.
Some of these designs below were done by people reporting to me. Even if I
didn’t do a design it was my job to work with my engineers and make sure that
they succeeded. I consulted in various forms on most all of them.
Sometimes I didn’t have to help too much because we had some very talented engineers at Lowrance in the GPS
I personally was responsible for the AccuNav Sport which was our first
handheld GPS. It was my idea to have the flip up antenna that folded down
to cover the LCD when in storage. I was the first individual to
layout the Rockwell International chipset outside of their company.
Everyone else they sold complete GPS engines to.
I also did our original iFinder and several version of it. The faceoffs
were an idea that I had. Unfortunately the public did not see value in
being able to change the look of their GPS as much as they did their cell
I was also responsible for the idea of putting MP3s into standalone GPS
products. We were the first company to actually go to market with an MP3
player in a standalone GPS product. I had to fight to get it in.
Marketing did not want it. Years later, MP3 players were everywhere in GPS
products. We did not take advantage of being first. Even to THIS DAY
the Lowrance iWay 600c is the ONLY GPS product that stores thousands of songs on
its internal harddrive and seamlessly plays them without having to switch modes.
It has an internal FM modulator that can broadcast to your car FM radio.
So you can listen to your favorite songs and when the turn to your waypoint
comes up you hear “Turn right at the next intersection” in your radio.
Pretty cool stuff.
Many years ago I envisioned GPS products, cell phones and PDAs all becoming
one device and wrote a white paper describing the capabilities of our GPS
products that we never implemented. I saw the capability to do PDA
functions with touchscreen, play games and so much more. Sometimes, I get
a little ahead of management philosophy.
We DID manage to produce some handheld GPS products that had high quality
stereo MP3 players, electronic compass built in and microphone to record your
voice. The iFinder PhD had all of these. The iFinder M & M stood for
“Map and Music” These units have SD card slots on them so put on as much
music as you can afford!
The designs below, honestly are not all of them we produced. It does
not include every model variation nor does it include what we called the White
Module, which was the external GPS for the marine units. The public might
call it a puck. Nor do I show the iGPS (internal GPS) products where either me or my team
designed GPS engines internal to marine products. The AM1000/2000c & iWay
series below is an example of of an iGPS, but we designed iGPS sonar products as well.
Again, I am not trying to say I did ALL of these units but that I had a hand
in almost all and personally designed several of them. The rest were all
done on my watch by a team of fine engineers.
The iWay250c and the XOG unit were ones that I worked with ODMs to produce in
China. We surveyed manufacturers on location chose one and worked with
talented design teams in Taiwan to produce the final design. It was my job
to keep the ODMs out of trouble. Some days that is easier than others.
My expertise is in system design, hardware design, PCB layout, EMC and
validation testing. I developed the original testing techniques for
Lowrance, many of which are used today to validate GPS products. Along the
way, others put in their ideas as well. A small team can very often
produce superior results to some of the largest companies.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures. You can click on any photo
to see a larger version.