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Thread: Interest Check: GPS Tracker Hardware

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate Rowan's Avatar
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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

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    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.
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    Low Bitrate Rowan's Avatar
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    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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    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?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    90% of scum type thieves, they won't have such tech.
    i agree
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    Low Bitrate Rowan's Avatar
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    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

  8. #8
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    Wow things have changes a lot. Aussie dollars used to be worth nothing compared to the US ones.

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    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.

  10. #10
    Low Bitrate Rowan's Avatar
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    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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