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Author Topic: gps car tracker that tets you it's location.  (Read 3488 times)
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hi folks,
so, i'm pretty new to arduino, and have no real idea what i'm doing. However a friend of mine has asked me if i could build a GPS tracke, which will text him the location of his scooter if it gets nicked.  I know that there are other thread about this kind of this and i've read them however i was hoping that i could get some feedback on my general thoughs about the project.

what i'm thinking about is either this:
gsm siemens TC35
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Skylab SKM53 Serial GPS Module  http://www.skylab.com.cn/SKM56.html
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arduino board (uno/mega/duemilanove) or a chip programmed with a board and then setup permanently on a separate pcb.

or this:
gsm siemens TC35
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uBlox LEA-5H Max 4Hz A-GPS GPS Shield UART USB  http://www.bizoner.com/arduino-ublox-lea5h-max-4hz-agps-gps-shield-uart-usb-p-310.html
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possibly an extra programmed chip, if necessary.

so, I was hoping that anyone who's used these products, or done a similar project could let me know if i've got the right idea. or there would be a better setup and i've missed something. As i said i'm pretty new to all this, so all and any help/advice will be more than welcome. keeping the cost down is very important, otherwise i know that there is a more expensive gsm/gps shield out there, but i'm trying to do this on the cheap.

thanks for all and any replies.
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Ft. Worth, Texas
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I know of 2 standard systems like this:

The one of interest to you, runs on a phone sim card, and you text it a code, it texts back it's GPS cords.
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KF5RVR

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thanks for your reply, i was thinking along the lines of a phone sim type of thing,  though am open to suggestion.  could you post the details of the projects you are referring to?? i would be very grateful for the info, thanks.
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My suggestion... buy a gps/gsm car trackers on Dealextreme

http://s.dealextreme.com/search/gps+gsm+car+track

And with Arduino create a something to make a sound or turn on a light, if the car moves.

The gps/gsm car trackers on Dealextreme send lat/lnt to a server. Configure your Arduino to read this data (WIFI Module).

When you park your car, you press a button on Arduino [button label="Arduino my car is parked, if it moves makes a sound"].
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If this device sounds an alarm or immobilises the car, it will be discovered and disconnected in short order. Even if it's completely silent and well hidden there's a good chance that it will be found since tracker type devices are now well known. I gather that thieves have taken to parking the car somewhere quiet for a few days to see whether anybody comes to retrieve it, before they take it away to be disposed of.

If you're doing this and don't fancy paying for a commercial system, I'd suggest tackling it with a smartphone.
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Since Ive been working on a similar device (http://dsscircuits.com/articles/tracking-device-update.html), let me point out some of the things to keep in mind when building your system:

  • POWER,POWER,POWER - find the lowest power devices you can find, you want to extend the battery life as much as possible
  • If you can, use a standalone Arduino and run it at 3.3v (reason being...see first bullet)
  • when choosing a GPS, pick the one with the highest sensitivity.  The higher the sensitivity the better reception you'll get if you put it in a case, or use it indoors, covered areas, etc...
  • if you are doing it GSM based, find the cheapest prepaid provider you can. In the US, T-Mobile seems to be the best choice.
  • If you have room, add an accelerometer. This gives you the option of shutting the unit almost completely down and waking it up when it senses movement.  This helps with battery life...see bullet one

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I2C GPS Shield

Checkout my Open Source GPS Tracker on Kickstarter

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I know this topic has not been touched since a long time, but I read this some time ago and actually ended up buying an open source arduino tracker.
Before I was driving to holiday this year I  installed it in my car to be sure I can find it when it gets stolen. (I went on a road trip into deep eastern europe smiley-grin )
Anyway the installation was easy, exept hiding the antenna. At the end i placed it in the empty rear speaker hole. smiley
Even though nothing special happened, it tracked the trip nicely! Also after the trip I am able to see in google maps webinterface where I have been and when which I find quite nice.
Its called OpenTracker and its using the ATMega2560 and I got it here:  http://www.tigal.com/category/241

Happy crafting!
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