Servers by jDrones

Drone tracker with Lora radio

(Artem Skorsky) #1

I would like to share my recent project, that I started a few days ago, to make a low power super small size drone tracker.
Here is the first pcb look

as i had a bad experience with a cellular-based tracker, i experienced many sub-urban places doesn’t have cellular coverage. I decided to use Lora long-range radio module on this.
And i found very interesting GPS module which is super tinySIM33ELA with built-in antenna.
I connect them all to a small low power STM32 microcontroller.
by adding few more things, like battery charging from micro USB, buzzer, LED overall come in 17 mm x 32 mm size.

I will post more information after i got the PCBs on my hand. stay tune now

Cheers

8 Likes
(Asim) #2

Nice idea. Please share more details. Very interested. Thanks

(juvinski) #3

Amazing idea.
There some way trigger the device externally like the lost copter function use this buzzer?

(Artem Skorsky) #4

Rest is the software, :slight_smile:. I used high db buzzer for this to trigger when approacing to the drone to make it easier to find.

(David ) #5

Good day, will be interesting see the full project and a wiki.
how about the interferences of lora with the fc… gps and receiver?

(Artem Skorsky) #6

I am not sure if need a interface for FC. I am thinking stand allon super small long battery life device wil be better, not just for drones also to any equipment that you want to track. Even though, if there is no GPS coverage in the zone, still will get the signal strength to find the location

(David ) #7

Good to hear… do you have a scheme for this project

(Artem Skorsky) #8

Still i am on first stage of the project, will get the pcb next week. planning to make good wiki page for that

(Asim) #9

If you need any help with the design and ease of use, let me know. I am an electronics Engineer.

(Artem Skorsky) #10

Thank you very much, currently electronic side i have finished, not so complicated, i will update after finishing 1 st protoype) i am just worrying a little bit on GPS module, first time i will try this micro gps, hope its performance will be sufficient enough)

(Asim) #11

I think it should be ok. If it catches even one satellite, you are good.

The trick is to maintain the last satellite location stored inside the memory prior the plane/drone crash and being able to transmit that location not the 100% actual crash location, if and only if, if the tiny GPS still getting any GPS data after the crash.

So you have to have a dual system in place.

(Artem Skorsky) #12

nice idea, i will add many features, like, distance with radio signal, even though there is no GPS data i will be able to find the distance. Buzzer activate/ deactivate. Sleep mode for battery saving.

I so excited to get my hands on coding this device)

(Asim) #13

There was some guy in Russia who developed something similar but he failed miserably later on at least for me. I bought 4 of his units and couldn’t get them to work. The product name was tbeacon. His documentation sucks :slight_smile:

Here is the site https://tbeacon.org/?page=2&language=en

I am still not clear on few things about your solution.

  1. I am asusming your solution will have its own battery?

  2. What will trigger that the drone is lost and your drone will start to transmit?

    a) Don’t make it some Tx switch based as the drone might be out of TX range.
    b) The beacon Trigger function can be enabled based on few things;

      i) RSSI lost or went below X% (Same as TBeacon solution)
      ii) Power loss?
      iii) Motors stop spinning?
    
  3. Whats the max distance Lora radio can transmit at while on the ground? keeping in mind signal quality degrading due to trees, grass, hills etc.

  4. What receiver one should have?

Some food for thought :slight_smile:

(Artem Skorsky) #14
  1. small 120 mah battery enough for 3-4 weeks
  2. there will not be triggering , just a ON/OFF button on the module. as a small battery enough for weeks, i think triggering is not needed.
  3. it is a question for me too, it will be clear after i got my prototype working )
    but i believe will be +8km, Lora has very good penetration
  4. receiver i am planning a small Lora module with Bluetooth, and will be able to transmit gps data to smartphone and show the location on the map.

actually i used tbeacon as well, what i didnt like about it is the radio station, you need to call the beacon and listen the voice, and range isnt good .

(Artem Skorsky) #15

​few missing components, going to start testing ) it is really tiny)

GPS, Lora 2.4 Ghz, Buzzer, Led, charger , all ina very tiny size.)

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