u-center 2 user guide

User guide release date: March 08, 2023

u-center 2 version: v23.03.52230

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1 Overview

u-center 2 is u-blox's powerful tool for configuration, evaluation, and debugging of u-blox GNSS receivers and services.

It allows the end users to assess and test u-blox positioning chips, modules, evaluation kits, application boards and similar devices for navigation and positioning performance.

This document provides a guide for starting to use the features of this software and explains how to resolve common use cases.

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2 System requirements

u-center 2 has been tested on Windows 10 (64 bit) platform and runs on Windows 11 as is. It currently supports u-blox M10 devices.

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3 Getting started

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3.1 Installing u-center 2

u-center 2 can be downloaded from u-center website. The u-center 2 package comes with a setup file. Click the file and follow the steps to install the application (administration rights might be needed). Once the installation has completed successfully, you need to enter your u-blox support portal account credentials and log in with a browser. FireFox is the recommended browser for u-center 2.

Log in before application starts up

After login, having internet connectivity, u-center 2 will start and can also be used offline.

3.1.1 Updating u-center

After each start - or for continuously running software every 24 hours - the application will check for possible updates. If an update is available, then the application will download it in the background and will inform the user by a notification. User settings and login credentials are not affected or changed.

Update notification

If the user dismisses the update it will still be available from the "Help" menu in case the user intends to perform it later on.

Update in help

When the user starts the update process, the installer starts and asks the user to close the running application. After finishing the installation the software will be restarted.

u-center 2 running

3.1.2 User feedback

If you want to share your feedback to improve u-center 2 further, select User feedback option in help menu.

User feedback

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3.2 Connecting a device

To evaluate u-blox devices, make sure you have the appropriate USB driver installed in your system. To connect a device to the u-center 2:

  1. Click the Devices icon on the left menu bar.
Devices icon
  1. Click Add device.
  2. Select the COM port of the device. For connecting the device in safeboot mode, check safeboot in Device management.
Add device modal
Add device modal device list
  1. Select autobauding for automatic detection of the baud rate or deselect it to manually select the baud rate.

The connection switch turns green as a signal of a valid communication and an indicator will show if u-center 2 is receiving messages.

Device receiving data
Device not receiving data

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4 Device management

Once you have connected the device, you can view the device information by selecting the arrow pointing to the right in the device menu.

Open Device Info

The device information shows the hardware and firmware versions as well as a drop-down menu to change the baud rate from a list of predefined baud rates.

Device Info

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4.1 Configuration actions

To save, load and revert to default configuration, use the Save, Load and Revert buttons in Device info > Configuration actions.

  1. Save: Saves the current receiver configuration to battery backed RAM (BBR) and flash from read access memory (RAM) of the receiver

    Save configurations
  2. Load: Loads the last configuration that was saved to BBR and flash, ignoring what is configured in the RAM layer.

    Load last saved configuraiton from BBR and flash
  3. Revert: Reverts to the default firmware configuration and ignores all the configurations done in BBR, flash or the RAM layer of the receiver

    Revert to factory default and clear BBR and flash

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4.2 Restarting a device

When a device is connected and u-center 2 is receiving data, the Restart section gives the option to perform a Cold start or Hot start.

Restarting a device

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4.3 Enable debug messages

Selecting Debug will enable a range of messages best suited for debugging the device configuration.

Enable debug messages

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4.4 Access a device in safeboot mode

Sometimes receiver need to be in safeboot mode to be able to configure some specific configuration. To add a u-blox device that is in safeboot mode to u-center 2:

  1. Ensure that your device is in safeboot mode. For details check the device integration manual, which you can be found on u-blox.com.

  2. Click the Devices icon on the left menu bar.

    Devices icon
  3. Click Add device.

  4. Select the COM port of the device.

    Select COM port
    Select COM port device list
  5. Select the safeboot option for connecting to the device in safeboot mode. This will also send the training sequence in the background to be able to synchronize with the external clock.

    Access device in safeboot mode

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5 Device configuration

To access the device configuration menu:

  1. Open the Devices menu by selecting the Devices icon on the left menu bar.

  2. Select the Device configuration button.

    Device configuration

    This will display the Device configuration window.

    Note that you can pop out the Device configuration window and move it outside the u-center 2 application. It can remain open while you are working with the other windows in the u-center 2 application.

  3. Select Quick configuration for user-friendly configurations, or

  4. Select Advanced configuration for expert configuration options.

  5. Select one of the Saved configurations to apply a previously saved set of advanced configuration items.

Note that the configuration menu is also available even without connecting devices.

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5.1 Quick configuration

Quick configurations are an easy way to configure the device.

5.1.1 Constellation configuration

To enable or disable satellite constellations, select the Constellation configuration item.

Constellation configuraiton

5.1.2 Send hex string

This view allows sending a UBX protocol hex string to the device.

This is a powerful but a dangerous feature. You must confirm that you have read the warning text to make sure you are aware of the risk of breaking the receiver by sending a wrong configuration. Only after reading the text, the Send button will be activated.

Send hex string

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5.2 Advanced configuration

The Advanced configuration panel allows a device to be configured by sending individual configuration item key ID and value pairs to the device's random access memory (RAM), battery backed RAM (BBR) and flash configuration layers. In addition, the current configuration of the device can also be viewed by retrieving configuration items from the device's configuration layers.

5.2.1 Reading the device's configuration items

To read configuration items of the connected device, select the configuration item of interest from the Items panel. This sends a poll request to the device. If the device supports the selected configuration item, it will send back the corresponding value for each configuration layer, which will then be displayed.

Display configuration item value

5.2.2 Setting the device's configuration

A device is configured by sending individual configuration item key ID and value pairs to the device's RAM, BBR and flash configuration layers.

To do this:

  1. In the Items panel, select the configuration group to expand the item tree.

  2. Within this group, select the configuration item to show its current configuration on all layers, and its details in the right hand panel.

    Select configuration item
  3. Select the layer to write

    Select layers to write
  4. Enter/select an appropriate value.

  5. Select the Set button. This will add the item, its value and the layer to the Configuration changes list.

  6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 to build up your list of configuration item changes

  7. Review the list configuration item changes to send to the device. The order each configuration item is sent to the device is top down. To change the order, just drag an item in the Configuration changes list to the new position. To remove an item select Clear.

    Configuration changes list

    To change the value of an item or its layer, select Edit or double click on the item. In the top panel the item will appear allowing its value and/or layer to be changed. Select Update to add any changes to the item back to the Configuration changes list, or Cancel if any changes are not wanted.

    Configuration edit panel
  8. To review as hex codes the configuration items in the Configuration changes list, select the Message hex codes tab. You will see the configuration items grouped per layer.

    Hex representation of the messaage
  9. Click Send to send the changes to the device. The configuration messages successfully accepted by the receiver are indicated with a green check mark toggle button. A red alert triangle toggle button indicates the key is unknown to the receiver firmware or the configuration is not valid (the validity of a configuration is checked only if the message applies to the RAM configuration layer).

    Send result
  10. To save the Configuration changes list and add it to the list of Saved configurations, click Save as....

5.2.3 Quick preset examples

A list of use case-based quick preset examples was added to the Advanced configuration category in the configuration window.

By selecting one of the preset examples, the configurations will be loaded into the configuration changes list shown in the right panel. For the preset examples, a short description is shown in the right panel explaining the typical use case where this set of configurations is applicable.

Quick preset examples


5.2.4 Saved configurations


In the device configuration dialog, panel on the left shows a list of saved configuration. Saved configurations can be useful, if a set of configurations shall be applied for a certain use case, but the device is used for different use cases. It can be helpful to compare the performance of a device when applying different saved configurations. Saved configurations can also be imported and exported for an easy exchange between different users.

Saved configurations list

To load a configuration, just select it. The configuration changes defined in the file will appear in the configuration changes list on the right.