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Old Jan 30, 2009, 08:02 PM
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New Hampshire (not the old one)
Joined Dec 2006
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Low cost XBee/GPS plane locator plans

I thought this might be of interest to those involved with UAV or FPV activities. Due to many email requests I've put together plans for a low cost XBee/GPS interconnect circuit that lets you know where your plane is even when it goes out of sight. Sometimes this is because it goes behind trees or altitude is too high for visual contact.

Parts only cost a couple bucks and take a few minutes to assemble. Four components are required: regulator, two caps, and a resistor. A wiring diagram is available in the DIY area:

The idea is to connect output from a low cost Globalsat GPS receiver to input of an XBee 2.4ghz radio module. GPS and RF modules can be had for as low as $20 each. A ground tracking station consists of any laptop with serial or USB ports and another XBee module. I found the best software to track position of the plane is Delorme Street Atlas but many prefer Google Earth.

The GPS receiver is used as-is but XBee must be configured so it has same baud rate. Attached is a picture of the assembled unit and Delorme screen capture of a test flight of my Solar UAV. Let me know if you see any errors or have questions.
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Last edited by rich smith; Jan 30, 2009 at 08:47 PM. Reason: typo
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