Hackaday Prize Entry: USB GSM GPS 9DOF SD TinyTracker Has All the Acronyms

[Paul] has put together an insanely small yet powerful tracker for monitoring all the things. The USB TinyTracker is a device that packages a 48MHz processor, 2G modem, GPS receiver, 9DOF motion sensor, barometer, microphone, and micro-SD slot for data storage. He managed to get it all to fit into a USB thumb drive enclosure, meaning that you can program it however you want in the Arduino IDE, then plug it into any USB port and let it run. This enables things like remote monitoring, asset tracking, and all kinds of spy-like activity.

One of the most unusual aspects of his project, though, is this line: “Everything came together very nicely and the height of parts and PCBs is exactly as I planned.” [Paul] had picked out an enclosure that was only supposed to fit a single PCB, but with some careful calculations, and picky component selection, he managed to fit everything onto two 2-layer boards that snap together with a connector and fit inside the enclosure.

We’ve followed [Paul’s] progress on this project with an earlier iteration of his GSM GPS Tracker, which used a Teensy and fit snugly into a handlebar, but this one is much more versatile.

27 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: USB GSM GPS 9DOF SD TinyTracker Has All the Acronyms

    1. 2G is gone already on most of the planet. The US is about the only place it is still used. Everyone else is converting the bandwidth for LTE.

      So, consequently, 2G modules are dirt cheap right now. It’s cheaper to buy a 2G module than the cost of the UFL to SMA lead and 3.3V reg that is on them. I have heaps of now-redundant SIM800 and SIM900 modules.

        1. Its sane to keep 2g until LTE nb-iot and cat1/0 kicks in for real. But yea, 2g will be gone by 2030 ish. But in the short term its more sane to close 3G as its moot when 4G works better for the same application. 2G still have better range and lower power/data ratio for smaller ammount of data like IoT.

          1. My country has gone straight to LTE because Narrow Band LTE is just a software upgrade from there and no one really knows when the Narrow Band LTE specification will be completed.

            What is cat1/0?

          2. 2G has better range than 3G? Never heard that one before. One of the telcos in Australia went 3G 850 and had better range than 2G or the CDMA network it had which had better regional and rural coverage.

        2. @jehu: GSM has better range in congested situations, because of its dedicated timeslots for each caller, so there is less interference. Though that also means the capacity is very strictly defined. CDMA cells tend to ‘breathe’ (cover a smaller footprint but with more calls) when it gets busy.

          I’d say in rural Australia that advantage doesn’t really count because activity will be low.

          Also, in Europe most 3G networks used 2100 Mhz, whereas GSM was mostly on 900 Mhz, the lower frequency enters buildings better. But this point has become moot with 4G now being deployed on 800 and 900 Mhz.

  1. I have half a mind to report you to the AAAAA (American Association Against Acronym Abuse) over your title for this article, as none of the example initialisms are actually acronyms.

    (Yes, I know the AAAIA would be a more appropriate department for this kind of thing, but it doesn’t have anywhere near as cool a name)

    1. Quintuple A is a battery form factor. Can only be assembled by chinese workers: Most skilled people who stuff tents into these tiny bags and you’ll never get them back in by yourself.

    2. See, this how I know you’re fibbing – when they are capable of mangling even “IIC” to “I2C” (three letters compressed to… three letters), there’s no way in hell any American would ever use something like “AAAAA” instead of immediately abbreviating it to “A5”

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