This GPS logger is so small…

small-gps-logger

How small is it? Two things should give you a good sense of scale, the SD card slot on the lower right, and the slide switch on the upper left. This minuscule module is an all-in-one GPS logger which [J3tstream] built.

Main system control is provided by a Teens 2.0 board. If you look really closely you’ll see the SD card slot is actually a breakout board which mounts on top of the Teensy’s pinheaders. Also on the board is a PA6B GPS module with a few passive components to support it. The back side of the board hosts a Lithium Ion battery from an old phone. Note the mangled pin header which works as connectors for the battery. [J3tstream] even built a charger into the project. He’s using an LTC4054 chip to handle the charging. We were a bit confused at first because we didn’t see a way to connect external power. But he goes on to explain that the USB port on the Teensy board is used for charging. Just plug in USB and press the button to get things started.

Comments

  1. RDasx says:

    I wonder why he chose the LTC4054 over the much much cheaper (and more capable) MCP73811. The 73811 even includes a charge enable pin that could be driven directly by the teensy instead of the mosfet he’s using. The only thing one loses in the 73811 is the charge indication pin.

  2. Dan says:

    Teenlogger, huh?

  3. Lloyd Atkinson says:

    I was about to ask why does it have an LCD screen with a blackberry wallpaper then…

  4. Howie says:

    micro-SD, no? (pedantry, but if you are going to use it to indicate scale, it makes a factor of 2 or so to the scale!)

    or is that a really chunky slide switch?

  5. j3tstream says:

    - because i was only LTC4054 in my stock, and its very small chip
    – its a micro SD 2Gb, yes
    – the slideswitch, http://www.electronique-diffusion.fr/product_info.php?products_id=10864

  6. Peter says:

    worthless post. small? I’ve bought an even smaller one on ebay.

  7. Jordan says:

    Anybody else curious to know how he etched a two-layer board?

    • Nope. It’s not hard. Toner transfer, fold it over lining up the layers, tape down onto 2 layer pcb, iron. Check with choice of measuring device if you like if you need vias or whatever. Etch. There’s probably a lot on google and youtube about it…

      • Trav says:

        I have done it too. Hardest part is alignment. I did it by drilling a couple of registration holes, and then putting pins in them to keep the transfer from moving while ironing.

        Second hardest thing is making sure both sides etch at the same rate. Definitely need to flip and agitate the board during the etch.

        Third hardest is making sure the through holes are vertical. Use a drill press to bore holes. Angled holes will miss the pad on the backside.

  8. rasz says:

    reading description I expected it to be small, but it is in fact BIGGER than commercial GPS loggers with bluetooth.

  9. j3tstream says:

    sorry, i build this for fun ^^

    • Elias says:

      Don’t worry, the article states “SD card”, so it fooled me to belive it is a full size one. Once I took a look at pictures it was clear that that is a microSD, which makes the size much better. Not commenting as the poster of the first comment but as the followup :)

  10. It’s decently small, but I can think of ways to make it smaller. I’m not sure, but I think that GPS might have built in logging functionality. A serial command can be sent to it and it will log time/coordinates for several hours (internal flash). Couple it with one of those tiny LiPo cells from sparkfun and you could have a rudimentary microtracker that would have a few hour range. Nice build though, I really like the charging circuit, and the PCB looks super cool.

    • Andrew says:

      Wow! You’re so smart. Except, if you read the datasheet (I did) you’ll find that this module does not have built in logging functionality. It needs external flash and a custom firmware option from the manufacturer. I am sure that the wonderful design *in your head* is *much better* than the thing *this guy actually built*.

      And HaD editors- for goodness sake read the comments and edit the story!! It’s a micro-SD card!

  11. Justin says:

    I’d like to know how the battery is held in place. Is it a shift and click mechanism or directly soldered?

    Looks smashing.

  12. RedR says:

    Great job, and thanks for the post on your logger!!

  13. Joseph A. Bonasses says:

    Does anyone know, is it possible now to get a higher resolution than 3 meters with GPS data? Or are we still at war with those commie bastards?

  14. krater says:

    shit is this big….my one is smaller ;D

  15. Kris says:

    What is the accuracy of this unit, and do you think it would be easy to add a compass to it also? i’m thinking it would be a fun diy geotagger for my camera. his site lists a 17 hour life logging every 10 seconds. To power it i could probably tap into my camera’s battery grip as well. perhaps even make it write the location every time i snap a photo.

  16. jpnorair says:

    Erm… this isn’t very small at all.

  17. effgee says:

    Nice work. Pity the comments are all skewed by the title foolishly focussing no size. If it was all about size, it’d be pictured alongside a ruler, or simply state that its 85x40x10mm or whatever.

  18. effgee says:

    Note the maker’s ‘feature’ list:

    – Better autonomy.
    – Be lightweight and portable.
    – Be rechargeable easily.
    – Got log directly from USB.
    – Upgrade code via IDE Arduino through USB.
    – Future options implemented for improvement.
    – Many more …

    Doesn’t say anything about size. It’s based on a teensy, it doesn’t claim to be teeny

  19. j3tstream says:

    Thx everybody for your comments, basically, my goals was not the size, but the autonomies, and got the data quickly via USB.
    In hiking, I dont like to take my smartphone for gps because is heavy, bigger, and power consumption is hight! this project is only a logger, not a gps, my first prototype give me around 17hours of logging (with usb function disable).
    Mostly of gpslogger with pic or arduino find on google has not usb.
    The final cost is not so high, mostly components are sample, excepted gps, teensy and switch.
    Also you can use another kind of batterie, like a small Nokia BL-4D.

    • oodain says:

      i was looking around for loggers and considering the price this can be done for it looks like an amazing alternative, definately added to my pile of must try’s.

  20. Nippey says:

    Elm-Chan was faster again :)

    http://elm-chan.org/works/glg2/report_e.html

  21. j3tstream says:

    it was a good inspiration, sadly the wiring is dirty, and the micro sd socket is fragile.

  22. Ren says:

    Okay Mike,
    I’ll play along.
    This GPS logger is SO small,..
    that many HaD commenters claimed to find one even smaller!

  23. NewCommentor1283 says:

    @anybody that wants to compare to whats available on ebay ect

    nobody (here) cares what you could buy!
    this is NOT ebay groupon or dealoftheday!
    in fact the maker of this “mini” GPS
    probably ALREADY OWNS A BETTER/smaller ONE!

    if you want to compare to what one COULD buy,
    then stop posting here on this site.
    because this is a website dedicated to homemade
    andor modified contraptions.

    go back to ebay.com where ANYBODY
    can find ANYTHING better then someone else’s search.
    we arent interested in buying a GPS logger.
    people here either already own a better/smaller one,
    or dont have the desire to own one.

    BUT WE ALL LIKE READING ABOUT HOMEMADE ONES!

    PS: what this guy did is he made the smallest
    HOMEMADE / DIY gps logger that made it to H.A.D. …

    MADE one better? post it! otherwise this IS
    the smallest HOMEMADE unit to make H.A.D.

    now all you ebay-trolls can
    whine and complain all you like.
    you will not make a dime off of ruinning/spamming
    this website

    signed, the defender of electronics-as-a-hobby

  24. Eirinn says:

    It’s a little frightening that people talking ill about this project can’t tell the difference between a micro SD and an SD just by looking at it.

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