A USB-flash sized GSM/GPS tracker with a wide array of features
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Long time, no update. I have successfully verified that GPS, GSM, micro SD and the MPU9250 are all in working order. Mapping the pins to the correct Sercoms was a bit of a puzzle, but I'm excited it all works. Please contact me or leave a message if you'd be interested in a protoype to help with testing.
I have started working on the bootloader and testing a couple basic sketches.
So far, all routing and signals seem to be OK. Power (5V from USB) is not shorting anywhere and it seems that it should be safe to start working on programming the MCU.
All parts have finally come together and I was able to complete the first prototype. Everything came together very nicely and the height of parts and PCBs is exactly as I planned, which is very rewarding considering all challenges, especially since some parts weren't available earlier ans I had to depend only on datasheets for sizes and footprints.
Now to make sure all signals are correct and then I can do some test programming
The most challenging aspect of this project was fitting all parts into a very confined space. I chose a readily available ABS plastic enclosure designed for USB sticks. The available board space inside was meant for one PCB only, but two sides of one PCB weren't enough for all of the components. I knew I had to find a way to stack two PCBs inside.
After thoroughly measuring the available inner dimensions, I knew it could be done, but all components would have to be 2mm or less in height. Digging through many parts catalogs and with inspiration from smartphone board design, I was able to find the board-to-board connectors and the most important part - a micro-SD and nano-SIM two-in-one card holder.
Due to the constraints, some components are slightly more expensive than their bulkier counterparts, but no compromises could be made. I am extremely happy with the final design of the boards.
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Very nice. i was attempting a similar project but its far behind on the drawing board. Curious to know the reason you choose the Atmel ATSAM ?
do you have an info graphic at least or some of the design file pictures or something?
so we can see what you did?
or at least a video overview
good im interested
re you using this in the United States at all? I've had zero luck getting 2G/GPRS reception on Twilio/T-mobile's network in the US with an Ai-Thinker A20 module. What modem are you using? What network and signal strength?
Could stick in my car's trunk, hooked up to a big battery and an inverter? Then data logged to the cloud (could write to Google Sheet spreadsheet if Python is supported) would be a cloud-based GPS car tracker?
I love the concept!
Interesting. At first I thought there was a minimal LiPo mushed in there too, but I guess not. I think there's a built in charge controller in the hardware you already have...
Awesome. I am fantasizing to continue my ATTiny+GPS tracker for some time now, but it never left the breadboard. I would buy this!
- Is there any possibility to add GPIO pins?
- E.g. toggle line by GSM?
- Or log some I2C device?
- Do you think, 3G would be possible with the same size? (2G shutdown.. :( )
Hi! Unfortunately, no GPIOs will be broken out. Every pin on the ATSAM is taken up. The MPU9250 is using the I2C, this could theoretically be replaced by another device in future versions. 3G should be possible in the near future, once the modules are made slightly smaller (even the current module barely fits the tiny board size.
How small would it have to be? Afaik the
Telit xE866 with a footprint of 15x25x2.2mm - telit.com/cellular/3g-modules/xe866-family/
and ublox SARA-U201 (16x26x3mm) - u-blox.com/en/product/sara-u2-series
are the smallest 3G modules the moment.
Very nice, what GPS and GSM modules are you using?
Wow, this looks amazing Paul. Let me know if Hologram.io could help out with anything. We'd love to support a project like this.
Sounds awesome, glad to hear there will be another revision. Sadly the last iteration of your module was sold out before I could get it, so I'm really excited how this turns out. I really like this project, and can't wait to be able to buy the final board.
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I made this one. Check it out. But its based on a 2G module.