After an overwhelming positive response to the Video Game Console Tracker project and several requests to incorporate the project into a single board, I’ve decided to move forward and design a complete tracking system on one board.
I wanted to make the device completely open source, both hardware and software, so people could have full control over the tracking device and have it do exactly what they want it to do. I’m just finishing up routing on the first revision of the board and hope to have it sent out to the fab house next week. So far the only problem I’ve run in to is coming up with a good name for the board. So I thought, why not let the people I’m making this for come up with the name? So here it is… whoever comes up with the best name for the board will get one for free! The free board will probably be one of the original revisions so there won’t be much in the way of silkscreen but it will be a fully functioning unit.
So what’s on the board?
The board includes everything necessary to implement a basic GSM based tracking device. The GSM is handled by SimCom’s SIM900 Quad Band GSM module with a SIM card holder mounted to the underside of the board. The board will need an external antenna to register to the GSM network and can be connected to the onboard U.FL connector. The GPS module is an ultrasensitive -165dBm 10 Hz GPS engine with an integrated patch antenna. An onboard BMA180 3 axis digital accelerometer can used to detect movement. The board is designed to be powered by a single cell LiPoly battery (not included) which connects to an onboard JST connector. Battery capacity is monitored by an onboard MAX17043 single cell LiPoly fuel gauge. An onboard battery charger connects through a mini-USB connector mounted on the side of the board to provide a 500mA charge rate to the battery from a USB port. Everything is controlled by an onboard 3.3v Atmega328 microcontroller running at 8MHz with the latest Arduino bootloader preinstalled. Custom sketches can be uploaded one of two ways either through the onboard ICSP connector using a standard ISP controller or with a separate external USB to Serial adapter. There are also several onboard header pins that allow access to the GSM’s speaker and microphone ports, external antenna for the GPS (antenna solder pads), access to A0-A3 pins on the microcontroller, external interrupt pin, I2C pins and a couple of extra 3.3v power pins. The onboard buck controller supplies 3.3 volts to the system and has enough supplemental current available to source an additional 450mA to external devices.