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Aug 14, 2011, 08:44 AM
Registered User
Discussion

GPS tracker


I've had this in the slow burn bucket for a couple of weeks... I finally got all the parts, and needed something to test out my toaster oven controller... After finishing the controller interface, I solder pasted the pads, stuck on the parts and poof... out came a complete GPS tracker.... I'll explain what that is in a minute...

First pictures.

Top with Pro mini basic processor interface, gps connector, power, lm1117/5v regulator and associated LED's... (you can never have enough of those). Interfaces to a radiometrix FM transmitter stick. SMA connector to antenna



Bottom with radiometrix TX module



in this test case a 7.4v lipo was used for power.

GPS interface via GS406 connector and associated cables... using in this case a mediaTek 3329 GPS from DIYDRONES in NMEA mode...



So what is a gps tracker?

Well, I'm an Amateur Radio licensee, and we use something called APRS to tracking vehicle, objects, airplanes, just about anything. It's a one way RF based protocol that is broadcast over VHF FM radio (144.390mhz in the US). The software is from the trackuino project with some tweaks by yours truly.

Basically I wanted a way to track my quad incase of a flyaway, or just the fun of seeing where it might go when it's on an autonomous flight .

To see more aprs... you can go to www.aprs.fi and see what is going on in your local environment or if you know a ham callsign that might use aprs, put it in, it's used all over the world for all kinds of things...

Anyway, figured I'd share

Alan
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Aug 14, 2011, 08:56 AM
Z06 Tony's Avatar
WOW super cool
Aug 14, 2011, 08:56 AM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
Hi Alan,
Nice job! Can you share more build and setup info and code please?
Cheers,
Jim
Quadrocopter and Tricopter Mega Link Index
Aug 14, 2011, 09:10 AM
Registered User
very interessting!!
Aug 14, 2011, 12:35 PM
Registered User
I've seen this mentioned before, and it's an interesting idea....

Only thing is, presumably you are required to have an Amateur Radio License to use this ?
Aug 14, 2011, 02:11 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barton
I've seen this mentioned before, and it's an interesting idea....

Only thing is, presumably you are required to have an Amateur Radio License to use this ?
since when was that a problem... no more morse code requirement, technician license is all thats needed.

Really easy with the internet...
http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/

Alan
Aug 14, 2011, 02:13 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by jesolins
Hi Alan,
Nice job! Can you share more build and setup info and code please?
Cheers,
Jim
Quadrocopter and Tricopter Mega Link Index
Yeah, let me clean up a couple of things in the design files and the code and I'll publish... this will be v1... I've already figured out a v2 that will allow for a few more things... A buzzer that can be set to only go off at a lower altitude... should make finding one that is stuck in a tree, etc easier... Again, this is just an ELT for a quad basically... ...

Alan
Aug 14, 2011, 03:05 PM
MelihK's Avatar
I'm searching for similar APRS device since months for my ballooning projects.
Where can i find these boards? are you planning to sell 144.800Mhz version for Europe?

Thanks
Melih
Aug 14, 2011, 04:28 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelihK
I'm searching for similar APRS device since months for my ballooning projects.
Where can i find these boards? are you planning to sell 144.800Mhz version for Europe?

Thanks
Melih
I'm really not going to sell them, but this is exactly where it came from another balloon project... trackuino... google that for specifics.

I just wanted something smaller and more efficient, more like an ELT for a quad.

The radiometrix RF board is available on 144.800 for EU... and the company that makes the RF decks is actually an EU company.

If you want this small size, you can take my artwork and have them produced as needed... I've got a BOM of parts from Digikey that I'll publish as well... they are very easy to make.

Alan
Aug 14, 2011, 05:14 PM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
That would be great Alan. Thanks!
Cheers,
Jim
Quadrocopter and Tricopter Mega Link Index

Quote:
Originally Posted by aadamson
I'm really not going to sell them, but this is exactly where it came from another balloon project... trackuino... google that for specifics.

I just wanted something smaller and more efficient, more like an ELT for a quad.

The radiometrix RF board is available on 144.800 for EU... and the company that makes the RF decks is actually an EU company.

If you want this small size, you can take my artwork and have them produced as needed... I've got a BOM of parts from Digikey that I'll publish as well... they are very easy to make.

Alan
Aug 17, 2011, 12:20 PM
Registered User
What an awesome unit! A future flytron product perhaps (with permission of-course)? I too have been searching for an affordable, programmable aprs tracker
Quote:
Originally Posted by aadamson
I'm really not going to sell them, but this is exactly where it came from another balloon project... trackuino... google that for specifics.

I just wanted something smaller and more efficient, more like an ELT for a quad.

The radiometrix RF board is available on 144.800 for EU... and the company that makes the RF decks is actually an EU company.

If you want this small size, you can take my artwork and have them produced as needed... I've got a BOM of parts from Digikey that I'll publish as well... they are very easy to make.

Alan
Aug 17, 2011, 04:02 PM
NTX Helidillos
tonkajeep34's Avatar
Awesome! As i started reading i was hoping that it would be an APRS tracker! I've been looking for something similar to this for a little while. Best i've found is the tinytracks but they're not as good as this.

I'd be interested in your files when you publish them too.
Aug 17, 2011, 04:24 PM
Registered User
CheckSum's Avatar
Very cool! I have had almost the same on the burner for some time Here is are some photos of the unpopulated Rx board which will display the location (Lat/Long) on a LCD and the 433Mhz mods. What is your source for Radiometrix? I used Lemos and found there stuff spendy. Do you have any plans on making a Rx for your tracker?

Anyway, thanks for sharing and thanks for the trackuino link...never seen that before. Looks very interesting.
Last edited by CheckSum; Apr 05, 2013 at 10:38 PM.
Aug 17, 2011, 04:38 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by CheckSum
Very cool! I have had almost the same on the burner for some time Here is are some photos of the unpopulated Rx board which will display the location (Lat/Long) on a LCD and the 433Mhz mods. What is your source for Radiometrix? I used Lemos and found there stuff spendy. Do you have any plans on making a Rx for your tracker?

Anyway, thanks for sharing and thanks for the trackuino link...never seen that before. Looks very interesting.
yep Lemos, in the US, there are few choices... I'd be tempted to do my own, but before I do... wondered if there are any other options for a NFM VHF RX only module (besides the one from argentdata which is way too expensive).

Alan
Aug 17, 2011, 05:00 PM
Registered User
Ok, all, here you go...

With these schematics, and this code, it builds and runs just fine... I'll also provide the digikey BOM if I can figure out an easy way to do that...

Enjoy, use as you wish, I will be updating things and as I do I'll update my git...

https://github.com/akadamson/APRS-Mini-Tracker

Alan


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