What devices generate a serial data stream w/o programming , eg, a GPS module?

It’s handy to have a device that generates a serial data stream without any programming effort. A GPS module does this, whether it has a fix or not.

What other sensors are there that would do this? Preferably lower cost than a GPS.

It provides a useful tool for exploring serial comms with say the IDE or bluetooth.

It would not be a lot of effort to program an Arduino to output serial data continuously - with the advantage that you could easily change the data and the baud rate.

...R

Indeed, a low cost Arduino Pro Mini would make a good test 'sensor'

Yes, a Nano could be programmed to do this task, but I'm thinking of something that needs no user programming for newcomers to use. If a newcomer to Arduino was advised to troubleshoot by taking some voltage readings of their design, you wouldn't make their first task to build a multimeter.

I've gotten into the habit of testing a design by taking a serial data stream straight off a GPS module. When powered the GPS pours data out of its TX pin. No programming required. Gives nice legible ascii text.

So, are there cheaper off the shelf sensors that do something similar? Doesn't matter what the text is, so long as it's human-readable.

jpom: Yes, a Nano could be programmed to do this task, but I'm thinking of something that needs no user programming for newcomers to use. If a newcomer to Arduino was advised to troubleshoot by taking some voltage readings of their design, you wouldn't make their first task to build a multimeter.

I find it hard to envisage a situation where a Newbie would have need of a serial data stream if s/he could not even upload a short program to a Nano.

...R

jpom: If a newcomer to Arduino was advised to troubleshoot by taking some voltage readings of their design, you wouldn't make their first task to build a multimeter.

But you would suggest to a newcomer that the first 'troubleshooting' step they take was to ensure that they could;

  1. Program an Arduino with the IDE that makes the LED Flash.
  2. Program an Arduino with the IDE that prints messages that they can read them in the serial monitor.

Now if 1 and 2 is the first step a newcomer should take, why not do that with a $1.50 Pro Mini ?

As an asside, a Pro Mini is a very handy substitute for a GPS if your testing a GPS application indoors, its easy enough to make it spew out NMEA compatible sentences.

jpom: So, are there cheaper off the shelf sensors that do something similar? Doesn't matter what the text is, so long as it's human-readable.

Cannot think of one, and no-one else can apparently.

Maybe there is not one.

GPSs are not expensive anyway.

a nano is half the price of a GPS worth having. a nano is chump change. only one person needs to write the program. after that, everybody gets to use it. use a BMP280 or MLX90615 the feed the nano, and send that data out on serial. you get continuous serial, and you know how hot it is. if you can't do that within a week, maybe Arduino is not for you.