So I've been toying with a number of devices that will act as a great low cost GPS Tracker that I could place on any UAV.  The key points for me were that it was lightweight, battery independent of the UAV, robust enough to survive a hard landing [read crash] and give you the location when you wanted it.

I started off modifying a smart phone that worked fine, but the repeatability and cost was an issue.  I was speaking to some friends of mine in China and they put me onto this - It's a GPS Tracker that is also a mobile phone.

As you can see, it's very small.  Dimensions are 80mm long by 30mm wide and a mere 5mm high. Total weight with battery is around 45g.  It did come as just the board, chip etc.

As someone so lovingly pointed out when I accidentally posted this earlier, it is the internals of a Chinese built mobile phone for kids, which was known, but who cares.  It's a perfect addition for any UAV.  At the moment I'm just using a electronics project box, but I just need to get a suitable 3d printed case made up and voila.

With regards to functionality, you can call or SMS the device and it will respond with it's location and even provide you with a link for Google maps.  Also when calling, you can listen to its' surrounds in case anyone is around so you can get in contact with them.  There are buttons on the front that can be pressed and the device will call a set 4 numbers, so if someone else finds it, they can get in contact with you.

I did some more testing with it today, using our largest national mobile carrier - screenshots of the testing are below:

So it does work a treat.  A quick test on my quad showed that there were no problems and everything functioned as it should.  It utilising the GSM network so as long as there is the slightest of signals, you should be able to send/receive SMSs.

Cost?  Very cheap considering what I was trying to protect.  At the local electronic stores here, a basic GPS tracker was going for around $149.  This (ex freight) and at sample pricing was under half of that.

Whilst I was thinking this would be primarily for non park flights, so FPV, Agri-auto flights and building up for the commercial arena, it's become something that I think I will be adding to any country flight where there is height and / or distance.

Would be interested in your thoughts and opinions.

Cheers,
David.

 

 

Views: 10549

Comment by Stefan Gofferje on June 1, 2013 at 2:00am

Where did you buy it from? Link?

Comment by Gisela & Joe Noci on June 1, 2013 at 2:07am

Except in the 'country' there is no GSM signal.....

The Nampilot


Moderator
Comment by David Anders on June 1, 2013 at 2:36am

Depends on what you mean by country. (:  In Namibia?  Probably not.  Where I will be flying and is considered 'country'?  Yes.  For remote outback locations I would look for something else, but then we're talking another level and on a mining scale.

Comment by c j g on June 1, 2013 at 2:56am

Thanks for sharing. I use an android smartphone for telemetry, video and tracking tool one my setup. I am still looking for a cheaper solution. And wow here it is: "phones for kids + gps"


http://www.chinavasion.com/china/wholesale/GPS-Sat_Nav_Devices/More...

... do somebody know a Kid-Phone with android 4.x?


Moderator
Comment by David Anders on June 1, 2013 at 3:24am

@ Stefan - I got them from Shenzhen Concox Information Technology Co Ltd.  Phone +86 755 2912 1200.  The link cjg posted would be what I have, but with a case.  Nothing wrong with a flying teddy bear. (:

Comment by Tissy on June 1, 2013 at 4:37am

I believe these are even smaller and offers the same functionaility as suggested, plus no need for the printed box.

 

This is what I use on mine as "asset recovery".

 

Either use the below link, or search eBay for TK102B.

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GPS-GPRS-GSM-TK102B-SMS-Car-Auto-Motorcyc...

 

 

Comment by HeliStorm on June 1, 2013 at 5:19am

I used to do something similar with an older android smartphone and an app called tasker. I could send an SMS to it and the app would auto-relay its position. I even set it up to snap a picture and send it to me. I didn't use it for UAS purposes though. Our dog used to go for long excursions whenever we we visit my parents farm, and after him being gone overnight a couple times, and my wife convinced he was gone forever, I built my solution. I put it in a Tupperware case and strapped to him with a chest harness. 

Comment by Austin Laws on June 1, 2013 at 5:22am
Got the same thing from ebay. Cost £30 and works fine.
Comment by foxkid on June 1, 2013 at 6:38am

I'm Chinese, That is the cheapest GPS tracking mobile phone I known.

It called 贝贝熊(baby bear),model D302b contain GPS module.others model can only Using GSM location.

1.here is the Taobao seach link :baby bear child GPS phone (D302b)

2.Here is the positioning  website : http://www.coomix.com/

have fun :)


Distributor
Comment by RC Tech.se on June 1, 2013 at 7:10am

Hi David,

i didn't mean to be blunt when i commented in you previous post. This is DIY Drones. People build stuff here and when you make a blogpost about a new finding you usually get 2 questions: 1. Where did you get it 2. How much does it cost.

I didn't find this so i added it.

Cheers!

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