Looking for help on building a GPS receiver (novice)

Discussion in 'GPS Technical Discussion' started by boeflex, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. boeflex

    boeflex

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    Hi there, I appreciate anybody viewing this and hope you all are doing well under these difficult times. I'm new to this community and found it through my research. I

    I'm trying to build an incredibly small GPS receiver for a project of mine. Again, as mentioned in the title, my knowledge is very limited on the subject. I'm somewhat tech-savvy and can build computers, but that's about it. No code knowledge, no electrical knowledge. I do have some help from friends and family, but I'd love to reach out to a community for advice.

    Alright, so my goal is to have this receiver on an object that I can track and find with my phone. I've thought of multiple options including RFID, Bluetooth and even thought Wi-Fi for a second. Bluetooth is still in the running. From my understanding, RFID is limited to the NFC of the smartphone. The best option would be GPS, as I would hope to also gain speed and flight data. A big component of this project is the aerodynamic profile, so I've already searched out power sources and batteries to meet these criteria (although recommendations are always welcome). My project is looking at the ranges of mm and decigrams for components. I can push to cm in width and length, but not depth. And the weight total of this project would be appreciated to be a couple of grams or under.

    So, that boils it down to my main question, what components do I need to accomplish this? I've found antenna patches and batteries that seem to be the perfect size and weight I'm looking for. My main request from you is help on the GPS component of this, but advice and recommendations in all fields would be great. Do I only need a power source, wiring, GPS antenna patch, and phone (with a GPS app)? Or is there more to it? Speed and flight data would be incredible, but are not necessary for the main goal of location molex.com/molex/products/family/gnssgps_antennas this is one of the companies I've been looking at. I've also looked at OriginGPS and Beitian, but can't find low prices.

    Also, to add, this project needs to have as low of a cost as possible. The power source, battery and GPS antenna that I've searched have all been very affordable. I'm looking to potentially produce hundreds (maybe more?) of these for a group of mine. That's what I'm aiming for. Any help would be fantastic!

    Thank you,
    -Boeman
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    boeflex, Jun 27, 2020
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  2. boeflex

    Nuvi-Nebie Moderator

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    There are several components missing from your list, an antenna is an aerial like the telescopic rod on the back of a radio, but you will also need the radio itself, I.e. a GPS receiver module that the antenna connects to, if you had an anntenna, GPS module power supply and some wiring to connect it all together, you would have a working GPS unit that knows where it is, BUT how is it going to tell you where it is?, a GPS is a receiver it is not a transmitter so you would also need a working cell phone module conected to the GPS module that can send it's location to you over the cell phone network

    The thing you are trying to build has already been built, it is called a tracker, it has a GPS antenna, a GPS receiver module, a cell phone with sim card and battery, I very much doubt that you will be able to build your own tracker that is either smaller or cheaper than buying a ready made device, my advice would be to look up on the internet 'GPS Tracker Watch', by the way, this forum does not allow advertising of products, so please don't post any trackers you find, posts containing inappropriate adverts for any product or service will be removed
     
    Nuvi-Nebie, Jun 27, 2020
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  3. boeflex

    boeflex

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    A smartphone would be the main tool included in this. I will be working with a couple of others on a locator app, or find a basic one, for the time being, to test. I was thinking in my head that the device would relay information back to the smartphone and GPS system.

    edit: I think I'm understanding what you mean. The receiver on the object would need a cell module to transmit back to the cell phone?
     
    boeflex, Jun 27, 2020
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  4. boeflex

    boeflex

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    Understood on the product links, my apologies. And as to the GPS tracking, I knew of them. I suppose I was thinking of my idea as a small-profile relay that could send information back to the smartphone, where the phone was sort of the "main hub".
     
    boeflex, Jun 27, 2020
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  5. boeflex

    Nuvi-Nebie Moderator

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    You would need to say how far away from you the GPS receiver will be in order to determin how it will communicate with you, RFID = a few Inches, Bluetooth = 30 feet or so, Wifi = 100 feet maybe, whereas somthing that can connect to a cell phone network can communicate anywhere in the world that can also connect to a cellphone network, in other words a tracker does not comunicate directly with a cell phone, it must connect to a cell phone network, that's why the tracker has a sim card
     
    Nuvi-Nebie, Jun 27, 2020
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  6. boeflex

    boeflex

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    Sorry, I wasn't very clear to the point. The object would travel through the air 100-600 feet. It's flight testing. The user would walk to the general vicinity of the landing and be able to find its location if it's hidden under heavy brush or whatnot. I have learned of the ranges of the different connections too, thank you! If speed and flight metrics can be tracked by adding GPS, that would be best. Could I instead use GPS for tracking, speed, and location? And Bluetooth to connect back to the phone once within the ~30-foot range to pinpoint location?

    ed: I guess I've found some Bluetooth/GPS tracking devices now. I just thought of that. If that's the answer, I apologize if I wasted your time! Your help was much appreciated, might not have gotten to that thought without this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    boeflex, Jun 27, 2020
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  7. boeflex

    Nuvi-Nebie Moderator

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    You may have found a logger rather than a tracker, the main difference is that logger stores a set of positions in its internal memory but doesn't transmit the data live, so you only get the data back once you recover the logger, you can also get Bluetooth GPS receivers that transmit 'live' date but it's hard to say how far away they can be used 'live', the ones I have seen are meant for close contact to a computer / laptop or smartphone, I would guess 600 feet would be too far
     
    Nuvi-Nebie, Jun 27, 2020
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  8. boeflex

    boeflex

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    Sorry, I finally had to get some sleep. I appreciate your help on this so far, truly.

    Now, I don't think I'll need "live" tracking. Would a logger be able to track distance, direction, and speed? Then you'd have to retrieve that data once within Bluetooth range of the object? I wouldn't need live results. Being able to acquire data after linking up with the GPS/BT object would be fine.

    Really, the main objective is locating the object if it veers off course. The secondary, but not necessary, objective would be flight data (speed and direction path), whether that's gained live or after recovery.

    Other main elements that are needed, if I can reiterate, is a low profile design, mm/cm and decimeters in dimensions. A total of under 3-5 grams is optimal.
     
    boeflex, Jun 27, 2020
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  9. boeflex

    Nuvi-Nebie Moderator

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    Trackers and Loggers usually have internal memory storage for a few 100,000 waypoints, they also usually have a USB socket for charging and downloading of waypoints, a waypoint will store time position and altitude, with time and position, speed can be calculated either in the device itself or in computer software such as Garmin Basecamp

    As far as locating your unit goes there are Bluetooth locators like Tile Pro (200 feet) or maybe a golf ball locator that users a radio beacon but for longer distances you would need a GPS tracker with cell phone access
     
    Nuvi-Nebie, Jun 28, 2020
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  10. boeflex

    boeflex

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    Understood. So a logger, which seems to be the less component-heavy option, can track data. I'm planning on having a solar cell charge to a battery. We're working on that, as well, but that might be beside the point. I'm thinking GPS logger for data, and then a simple Bluetooth chip for nearby location. We'll be able to walk to within 10-30 feet of the object. Let me spit-ball this out there.

    Device is launched
    GPS logs flight data
    Participants walk to close vicinity of object while scanning Bluetooth
    Location of object found through Bluetooth
    GPS data transferred to smartphone for assessment on an app

    That's essentially my vision. I mentioned earlier, flight data would be a HUGE plus, but is not necessary. If what I'm thinking isn't feasible/too complicated, I can resort back to a Bluetooth locator. I joined this forum though, because I added GPS to my idea for this project :) You've been great! Thank you! If and when I get this completed, I'll send you one!
     
    boeflex, Jul 1, 2020
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  11. boeflex

    Nuvi-Nebie Moderator

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    Yes sounds OK
     
    Nuvi-Nebie, Jul 1, 2020
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