Basic GPS tracker

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Lister
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby Lister » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:12 pm

What do you mean by wire another air module together.. wire that to the ground module or to the HC-06?

I had no problems with the HC-06 that OTT used on his eggfinder. Easy to setup and easy connection to android. Was that the unit you tried with these?
I will have a chat to Dean and see what I need to do to use his software.. that Bloke is brilliant with that stuff so hopefully he can explain it to a simpleton like me :)

vance2loud
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:20 pm

It was either a hc06 or hc05 that I had problems with, it would connect to my laptop fine but not my phone.
Instead of using a ground module, you can use an air module and connect the Bluetooth the same as how you connect the gps, saves having to find the wiring points on the usb ground module.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

Lister
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby Lister » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:38 pm

Now you mention it I recall you said it was the HC-05 you had used so maybe the 06 would be different. When you tried the bluetooth did you remove the USB completely or just add the bluetooth between the USB and Ground module? Im just looking at OTT's egg thingy tracker and it doesnt have any usb chipset but instead has pins that are connected to the wires from the HC-06. Could it be that the bluetooth is working with that due to no other output? (Sorry I know bugger all about these things)

How would I go about pairing two air modules together?

vance2loud
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:56 pm

They will connect together straight out of the bag. The only problem with using two air modules is that to program them you need a ftdi cable to connect them to your computer.

I used an air module when I tried the Bluetooth.
Basically it's like the radio, gps and Bluetooth speak French and the usb speaks German. The ftdi chip translates between them,
For the Bluetooth to connect to the usb unit it has to be connected to the radio side of the ftdi chip so it is speaking the same language. You should be able to connect directly to the radio modules Tx and Rx to bypass the ftdi.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

Lister
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby Lister » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:18 pm

Okay cool, So removal of the USB wont be necessary, just find a diagram that shows what the connections are and wore the bluetooth transmitter to them and should be good to go?

vance2loud
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:23 pm

http://www.hoperf.com/upload/docs/data_link/HM-TRP.pdf
If you look at the pinouts in that datasheet you should be able to find the Tx and Rx on the radio module on the ground radio.
Depending on what voltage the Bluetooth module you have requires will determine how you are best to connect vcc and ground.
If you are powering anything direct from a 1s lipo it has to be able to handle voltages from 3.0v to 4.4v as a 3.7v cell can cover that range depending on the charge.
The 3DR style telemetry radios will stop transmitting when the voltage gets down around 3.2-3.4v which is also around the point that you can start damaging the battery.

Also be very careful of your battery wiring as a lipo can quickly fry these electrics.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

vance2loud
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:36 am

Ok time for a basic guide on setting this up.

Once you solder your GPS module to your radio you might not receive anything due to parts of the system talking at different speeds.

First it's a lot easier if you know the baud rate of the GPS module you are using.
Usually it will be provided in the spec sheet when you purchase it,
Nearly all the units I have purchased have been 9600 bps with a 1Hz refresh rate.
Some GPS units for quadcopters and such run higher refresh rates and therefore require higher baud rates.
For tracking a rocket 1 location point per second is fine, for data logging higher rates can have their benefits.
If you wish to adjust for higher speed logging feel free, but for this I will explain setting up at the lower rate.

Hopefully if you are still reading you will have downloaded the software mentioned back in October 2015,
Here is the links again in case you haven't
3DR radio configuration tool http://ardupilot.com/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=89
U-blox u-center https://www.u-blox.com/sites/default/files/u-centersetup_v8.18.zip
you may also need some drivers which hopefully auto install on your system (they did on mine)
and google earth https://www.google.com/earth/

Hopefully they will stay available, If not a quick google search should be able to find current versions.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

vance2loud
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Posts: 283
Joined: Wed May 14, 2014 12:44 pm
Location: Devonport, Tasmania

Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:50 am

Now its time to set the radios up

Plug your battery into your GPS/radio combo, then plug your USB radio into your computer.
Both radios should now have their at least 1 LED lit,
if it is flashing it is searching for a similar programmed radio - once it is solid it is connected.
The other LED is generally to show that it is transmitting or receiving YMMV depending on radio unit.

From the downloaded files:
unzip the 3drradioconfig somewhere easy to find
open the 3drradio application
you should be greeted with a screen like so
Attachments
1.jpg
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TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

vance2loud
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Posts: 283
Joined: Wed May 14, 2014 12:44 pm
Location: Devonport, Tasmania

Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:48 am

Once you have the program up you will need to select the com port and baud rate of the radio
2.jpg
2.jpg (196.61 KiB) Viewed 1829 times

Most of these types of radio are set to 57600 by default,
To find your COM port unplug your radio and look at what options you have and then plug it back in and it will be the new one.
After setting your com port and baud rate press load settings.
you should now see the settings that are preloaded onto your radio, if not try different baud rates until you do.

Legalities

4.jpg
4.jpg (188.19 KiB) Viewed 1829 times


Check the frequency range is 915000 - 928000 to meet Australian law.
http://ardupilot.org/copter/docs/common-telemetry-radio-regional-regulations.html#common-telemetry-radio-regional-regulations
lists the required settings for different countries and the applicable laws/licences
You can narrow it a bit further to be safe but make sure both radios are set to within this range.
Australian law also states a minimum of 20 hopping channels, I leave them set at 50.
I then lower the air speed to 32 to enhance the range.
Click "copy required items to remote", then click "save settings".
So far I have never received a radio set that wasn't within the required range but it is worth checking to make sure.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

vance2loud
Rocket Crew
Rocket Crew
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed May 14, 2014 12:44 pm
Location: Devonport, Tasmania

Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:18 am

Time to make it your own

All of these radios come pre-configured with a netID of 25.
To avoid conflicting with other users now you need to select a new netID.
There is around 500 unique netID's available, I prefer to select one in the higher numbers but feel free to pick whichever you like.
Set the remote radio to the same netID and write it down or take a screenshot before clicking "save settings".
If you set the remote netID different to the local netID your radios will no longer be able to communicate with each other unless you reprogram them with a ftdi cable, so be careful here.
Once you are happy that it has saved click "load settings" to ensure your radios are still communicating

Set your required baud rate
Now I set the remote baud rate to 9600 to match the GPS unit (If your GPS is different set it to match and ensure that the air speed is higher than the baud rate).
Finally set your local baud rate to 9600 as well and click "save settings".
If you now click "load settings" you should get an error message.
Change your baud rate near your com port to 9600 and then click "load settings" and everything should reappear.

If all has gone well you will now have your radio link setup and should be ready to check your GPS setup.
Write down all your settings for future reference, mark the radio with it's netID (in case you do like me and get to a launch with a USB link which doesn't match the tracker in the rocket).
Then close the 3drradio program down.
If it's not working, pm me or post here with what has happened and I will try to help you out.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

Lister
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Location: Bendigo, Victoria

Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby Lister » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:35 am

Thank you very much for all that Vance. For $65 what a great way to track your rockets, and best of all they fit in a 24mm MD which will be very helpful for finding those little buggers.. ohh yeah, test flights :D

vance2loud
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:02 am

GPS time

If you now open up ucenter (my previous link no longer works, https://www.u-blox.com/en/search?keywords=ucenter should get you a current version)
Set your com port to the same as what your radio was and set the baud rate to automatic.
If your GPS module has a clear view of the sky you should start seeing satellites appearing in the signal strength window.
If not check your connections again between the radio and the GPS module as sometimes the Tx/Rx are marked incorrectly.
If you have satellites showing up you can now customise what information is shown in ucenter, most of what is there is not required for our use.
If you click "view", "google earth" you will get a google earth map showing the location of your tracker.
This window also allows you to record the points coming from the tracker so you can open them in google earth at a later date.
If you search online you will find heaps of tutorials on how to configure your GPS (only if it has flash memory otherwise it will forget when you disconnect power),
but this should get you started and to a point of being able to track your rocket on a laptop from around a Kilometer away with the included antennas.

A few notes;
I tend to avoid directional antennas as I prefer 'set and forget' operation where I can leave it to do it's thing until I need it.
If changing antennas, double check the connection RPSMA and SMA are easily mixed with bad results.

Now if someone can give me a tutorial on how to clean up .kml files I might be able to clean up a few and upload them as an example.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

vance2loud
Rocket Crew
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Posts: 283
Joined: Wed May 14, 2014 12:44 pm
Location: Devonport, Tasmania

Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:32 pm

Moving on,
If you prefer to support local Australian products you can get radio modules from here http://store.rfdesign.com.au/
All the radio programming is identical and you can mix and match between the RFDesign radios and the 3dr clone radios as they operate on the same protocols and firmware.
To wire the receiver side it requires a bit more wiring which I will explain soon.
For the rocket side,
The rf900u radio modem hooks up exactly the same as the previous mentioned radios
but the RF900+ requires a few extra components due to it's higher power requirements.
I will start with the RF900u.
DSC_0229a.JPG

Here it is shown with the antenna adapter lead from RFDesign on one side and a u.FL 1/4 wave antenna from mouser on the other side (bit hard to see in the picture but better than when I tried on a white background).
More to come.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

Lister
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby Lister » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:17 pm

Why does it have/need two antennas?

vance2loud
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Re: Basic GPS tracker

Postby vance2loud » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:32 pm

The RFDesign radios have diversity, meaning they can pick which antenna to use depending on signal strength.
It allows you to use 2 antennas with different transmission patterns for better coverage.
If using these on a ground unit you can connect a dipole like the 3dr style radios to cover all directions and then add a directional antenna like a yagi for more range in one direction.
Best of both worlds so to speak.
Apparently you can use them with only one antenna connected but I figure if it can take 2 then I might as well connect 2.
TRA #15165 AMRS #50
I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't. - Unknown
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison


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