Get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Why should I join the Trimble EMPOWER Developer Program?

By joining the Trimble EMPOWER Developer Program, you'll get access to everything you need to create your own purpose-built rugged handheld computer. You'll gain access to APIs, help files, integration guides, design files and more to help you integrate your software with the Trimble Ranger 7 handheld paired with a Barcode, RFID and/or GNSS EMPOWER module. You'll also gain access to the Trimble EMPOWER Module Development Kit (MDK), a platform that enables you to prototype your module ideas and rapidly bring them to life. The Ranger 7 combined with the Trimble EMPOWER Modules and Developer Program EMPOWER you to create the rugged handheld computer you've been dreaming of.



  • Joining is easy and free, just visit the registration page here. Tell us your module or software idea and we'll be in touch!

  • Joining the program is free and gives access to all documentation, SDKs and APIs. The Module Development Kit (MDK) is a purchasable item.

  • Anyone who has a real commercial application for their hardware or software idea. If you're a hobbyist then this program isn't really for you. If you're a university or other educational institution get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

  • Trimble has a number of partners who are able to provide assistance with all aspects of module development, from design through to productization. If you would like a referral, please contact us or fill out the Contact form and we'll be in touch.

  • No, you are responsible for validating the suitability and quality of your application for your market. 

  • Trimble makes the Module Development Kit (MDK) case parts available for purchase in 15 packs and advises that, where possible, module developers utilize these parts. Where a developer has a specific requirement for a non-standard module case, they are free to develop this. 

  • Most of the APIs and SDKs available through the site are proprietary and are covered by the terms of the SDK license agreed to when logging on to the site. If there is any open source software made available through the site it will be clearly identified as so. 

  • At this time we are offering free access to standard technical support, and we will help in any way we can to ensure that your questions are answered. If there is demand for additional service levels we may add them at a later date. If you have specific needs or concerns please contact us.

  • After registering for the Trimble EMPOWER Developer Program, we will be in touch to discuss your module idea and make sure that it's acceptable. Once that's agreed upon, you are free to prototype your module using the Module Development Kit (MDK). You are not permitted to sell the module built using the MDK. Once you decide to productize your module, you will need to enter into a distribution agreement with Trimble.

  • Developers are free to create a top cap to satisfy the needs of their solution. If they will be selling their module they need to ensure that the material, texture, color and branding adhere to Trimble EMPOWER Enabled guidelines. 

  • After joining the Trimble EMPOWER Developer Program, you will get access to all the APIs needed to integrate your software with the platform and the modules. Note that some APIs, for example GNSS Direct, require further information prior to being able to integrate. Some APIs also have extended functionality available that may require additional agreements to be in place.

  • We want you as partners to be able to satisfy your markets as best you can. If you are targeting markets where IP rating is not important you are free to build your modules without. Similarly, if you only need, for example, IP54 then you are perfectly at will to build to that specification. If you intend to sell your module on the open market do consider that you will likely reach more customers if your module is built to higher IP ratings.

  • There is no specific requirement for ruggedness in third party modules. However,  we want you as partners to be able to satisfy your markets as best you can. If you are targeting markets where MIL-STD-810 rating is not important you are free to build your modules without. If you intend to sell your module on the open market do consider that you will likely reach more customers if your module is built to higher IP ratings, as our base EMPOWER platforms are all built to MIL-STD-810 ratings.

  • At this time Trimble does not provide sevices for the manufacture of third party modules or custom components. Trimble can provide details of partners who are able to provide these services.

  • Compliance isn't a simple one size fits all, you should get advice from a professional provider if there is no one in your organization who can help you. If you plan to sell a module you MUST ensure that you have addressed any compliance requirements for all countries the module will be sold into.
    Where do you want to sell your product?
    Each country has its own requirements for compliance which will determine how long testing and administrative tasks take as well as how much it will cost. Some countries have their own standards while others allow compliance based on another country's standards. For example, South Africa will accept EU compliance for most of their requirements. China has its own requirements that must be tested inside China. Some countries have agreements with others to allow testing outside their country (Japanese compliance testing can be done in the USA). 

    What is inside your product? Transmitter? Receiver? Battery? Laser?
    If a product uses electricity for power, it usually needs EMC testing. If a product transmits radio waves it will usually need RF testing to determine that it is operating within frequency and power limits. Some countries will require safety testing based on what the product contains as well. Batteries require a great deal of testing but may already be certified. Previous testing can sometimes negate the need for full testing (this applies to RF testing too). 

    How much will compliance cost?

    That depends on country requirements and components inside the product. Complex products will require RF, EMC, and safety testing. Medium complexity products may only need EMC and safety testing. Simple pass-through devices that provide a connector to a previously certified accessory (holder for a certified WiFi dongle) may not need any compliance (depending on the country). 

    This table shows some very rough indicative costs for compliance:
    Complexity   USA

    How long will compliance take?
    This also depends on the complexity of the product as well as the country desired. Some compliance certifications can take one month while others need more than three. Some compliance work can be done in parallel if more than one country is being tested. Others must be done after others are complete (for example, Russia can use completed EU certification). 

    *EU contains 33 countries (some aren't technically in the EU: http://2016.export.gov/cemark/eg_main_017269.asp)
  • There are a number of vendors worldwide capable of producing the plastic parts needed for the EMPOWER platform modules, as well as a number of vendors capable of producing the tools needed for the creation of these parts. If a module developer has no supplier in mind Trimble will be happy to provide details of suitable vendors.