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Interest Check: GPS Tracker Hardware

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  • Interest Check: GPS Tracker Hardware

    I'm looking at designing a device that will have built in GPS tracker, as well as GSM/3G module (also Australia's Telstra NextG compatible (850Mhz UMTS)) to track your vehicle without having to have the CarPC switched on.. It will also be able to provide your CarPC with GPS data via USB (virtual com port), and Internet over Ethernet (or also USB, depending on how we write the drivers)...

    The device will use a 200MHz Linux SOC (System On Chip) module, with 64Mb SDRAM, and 1GiB NAND flash. It will use a PCIE mini Sierra Wireless MC8790V, which does up to 7.2Mbps over 3G, and has built in GPS. Theoretically, it will be able to use any PCIE mini card, we'd just have to write drivers for it.

    Also 8 Digital Outputs, 8 Digital Inputs and 4 Analog In's (as well as internal input voltage monitoring), that is controllable over ethernet, so you could get steering wheel control input, temperature sensors, etc (just like all the other USB control devices out there).

    The theory is that this device can provide GPS and Internet connection to any CarPC whilst on, as well as when the CarPC is switched off, provide vehicle tracking in case of theft and the CarPC isn't switched on..

    The actual cost of the unit without the PCIEmini card will be around the $450(usd) mark, whilst the MC8790V will cost approx another $180(usd) (unless you can find any compatible PCIEmini device that does GPS and GSM). $630(usd) total for a tracking unit that doubles as a GPS and GSM connector, includes professionally machined aluminum case & conformal coating on PCB's to prevent corrosion etc. I'm still not sure if online tracking costs will be free or a small monthly fee, or if we work with other tracking websites to allow the product to be used with their website as well.

    Thoughts/comments/suggestions?
    Holden VY Calais 5.7lt LS1 V8

    Computer:
    MB896 Pentium M Mini-ITX Motherboard, Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz, 1Gb DDR2 Ram, 250GiB SATA, Xenarc 800TSV 8" VGA Monitor with touchscreen, GPS/Cellular/PCS/WiFi antenna, Bluetooth GPS, etc ,etc

  • #2
    Similar idea I have as part of my Carputer setup - although I was planning on using Siemens T35 GSM modem, which I already have.

    The one concern I have is hi-tech thieves will certainly use jamming equipment on GPS and GSM frequencies.
    F6 Tornado Project Log ; HP Blackbird Watercooled Server

    Beta Tester for Centrafuse and 3dConnexion (No business affiliation with either)

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    • #3
      Well in that case you've lost your car :P but for the 90% of scum type thieves, they won't have such tech. Also it saves cost of having to have both a GPS and a GSM device as the two are integrated and usable on the PC.
      Holden VY Calais 5.7lt LS1 V8

      Computer:
      MB896 Pentium M Mini-ITX Motherboard, Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz, 1Gb DDR2 Ram, 250GiB SATA, Xenarc 800TSV 8" VGA Monitor with touchscreen, GPS/Cellular/PCS/WiFi antenna, Bluetooth GPS, etc ,etc

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      • #4
        http://www.maxon.com.au/products_mod...ifications.php

        this may also be of use, although it doesnt seem to have GPS capability.

        also how do you intend on tracking the card? i assume it will1 require a Telstra or Bigpond account (possibly a Telstra sim car with a data pack?) to make a data connection for the tracking?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Rowan View Post
          90% of scum type thieves, they won't have such tech.
          i agree
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          • #7
            There's not much difference between the two atm, USD is $0.95 per AUD, or $5 less per $100. The prices above are estimates, and you guys might be able to source the MC8775V cheaper in the states i'm not sure. They're $250AU locally sourced. Everything else is ordered from digikey/mouser anyway (except the pcb's).

            I've started on a design which I could use for this, as well as many other projects but it's using an Atmel AT91SAM9260, with two 256Mbit SDRAM chips (64MiB RAM) and a 8Gbit (1GiB) NANDFlash chip (which just so happens to be cheaper than the 128Mbit chip we've used in the past).

            It could also have 2.5mm jacks for audio in/out, so you could make calls with it too (And, if stolen could call it, or SMS to get it to call you and you could have a chat with the theives :P, but then they'll look for the device and rip it out).

            At the moment i'm thinking of 8 DI, 8DO, and 4 AI (0-5v). It'll also be 12 or 24v compatible.
            Holden VY Calais 5.7lt LS1 V8

            Computer:
            MB896 Pentium M Mini-ITX Motherboard, Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz, 1Gb DDR2 Ram, 250GiB SATA, Xenarc 800TSV 8" VGA Monitor with touchscreen, GPS/Cellular/PCS/WiFi antenna, Bluetooth GPS, etc ,etc

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            • #9
              Good idea Rowan

              My 75% done prototype was actually built back around 2003.

              Unfortunately I lost interest and abandoned the project.

              My tracker is fully operated by the owner cellphone. You call the tracker cellphone number and you be greeted and prompted by an 8 digit PIN. You then type the PIN using the cellphone keypad, DTMF tones.

              Once verified, you then hear the menus.

              Press one for activate menu
              Press two for phone menu
              Press three for tracker menu
              and so on...

              If you press 1 you then hear :

              Press 1 to immobolize
              Press 2 to beep horn
              Press 3 to turn headlight on
              and so on...

              There are many option from listening, talking to the theif, hear the car location, change PIN. automatically call you when the alarm goes off.

              There is no tracking fees, the person tracking pay for the connection, track as much as you want.

              It was an add on that interface an old cellphone + GPS and you end up with a very sophistacated tracking device.

              The voice files are stored in an MMC card or SD card, so you can change the greeting, just upload the custom voice file using a card reader.

              Plenty of features that I cant even remember anymore.

              Based on a single PIC 18F, it handles everything, from decoding the DTMF, reading the memory card, and decoding the voice file. Its in raw format so it not much of a problem anyway. Everything was done in ASM, a pita to work with. It was originaly written for PIC 16F, was later found this chip is not fast enough to give a good result.

              The cost of this add on is so minimal, probably £10 to build it.

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              • #10
                That's really clever Chris, how you managed to do all that in ASM is amazing!

                The good thing about the MC8775V is that it has GPS built in, so you don't need to spend another ~$80 on a GPS for a device (tracker) that won't allow your computer to share it. The other good thing is that we can also have it share the internet (data) connection. Theoretically, 1 USB plug could provide GPS, Internet and GPIO by making three virtual COM ports for each device or to get full speed use Ethernet for data.
                Holden VY Calais 5.7lt LS1 V8

                Computer:
                MB896 Pentium M Mini-ITX Motherboard, Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz, 1Gb DDR2 Ram, 250GiB SATA, Xenarc 800TSV 8" VGA Monitor with touchscreen, GPS/Cellular/PCS/WiFi antenna, Bluetooth GPS, etc ,etc

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                • #11
                  Originally posted by Enforcer View Post
                  Aussie dollars used to be worth nothing compared to the US ones.
                  1 word, BUSH.
                  Holden VY Calais 5.7lt LS1 V8

                  Computer:
                  MB896 Pentium M Mini-ITX Motherboard, Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz, 1Gb DDR2 Ram, 250GiB SATA, Xenarc 800TSV 8" VGA Monitor with touchscreen, GPS/Cellular/PCS/WiFi antenna, Bluetooth GPS, etc ,etc

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by millers View Post
                    http://www.maxon.com.au/products_mod...ifications.php

                    this may also be of use, although it doesnt seem to have GPS capability.

                    also how do you intend on tracking the card? i assume it will1 require a Telstra or Bigpond account (possibly a Telstra sim car with a data pack?) to make a data connection for the tracking?
                    Hi Millers,
                    We have used the maxon modules in the past, that device is around $400AU and whilst it does WLAN, it doesn't do GPS. The Sierra Wireless card is Telstra NextG approved.

                    You will require any SIM card with a data plan, or prepaid with data allowance. You can get NextG compatible pre-paid cards with different allowances on them. If you are also going to allow your CarPC to share the data connection, you might want to get at least a few Mb, and disable automatic windows updates.

                    Cheers
                    Holden VY Calais 5.7lt LS1 V8

                    Computer:
                    MB896 Pentium M Mini-ITX Motherboard, Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz, 1Gb DDR2 Ram, 250GiB SATA, Xenarc 800TSV 8" VGA Monitor with touchscreen, GPS/Cellular/PCS/WiFi antenna, Bluetooth GPS, etc ,etc

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                    • #13
                      This is awesome! I am interested as well. Can it be optional to have one with WLAN since my phone is not GSM (CDMA) and I can take advantage of more available wi-fi.
                      CarPC: Mini-MAC Coming Soon!

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                      • #14
                        Well this doesn't actually use your phone for data access, it needs its own GSM/3G SIM card/account (which you may be able to get pre-paid?). Is this what you're asking about? Technically yes, you can use a PCIEmini WLAN card, but you wouldn't have GPS, and a PCI WLAN card is much cheaper.
                        Holden VY Calais 5.7lt LS1 V8

                        Computer:
                        MB896 Pentium M Mini-ITX Motherboard, Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz, 1Gb DDR2 Ram, 250GiB SATA, Xenarc 800TSV 8" VGA Monitor with touchscreen, GPS/Cellular/PCS/WiFi antenna, Bluetooth GPS, etc ,etc

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          would it be able to report position "on the fly", or just in periods of lets say 5s or more?

                          the option of having line in to hear in car conversation sounds great. in case you car gets stollen (or you are victim of carjack) you can hear the plans of the thieves inside the car. also a phone controled relay to connect to the ignition would be great, so you could disable the car once they are at a "safe" distance

                          if the car could report the info to a specified ip address (configurable through a phone call also) you could have it sending coordinates to your home pc whenever you wanted or to your laptop if you were on vacations.
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