Recently, I started working on a project to track assets for my parent's company. We wanted to be able to monitor particular equipment in the field to know precisely where it may be at any given time.
Fortunately, I found Particle.io! They have an awesome pre-built prototype solution; the... AssetTracker. :D Basically, all the heavy lifting to get a functional prototype out has already been done so I can focus on the software side of things.
One thing we are working out is how to power the device. I picked up a Solar Panel and various other parts from Adafruit.
In this first post, I'm only going to go over the hardware I'm currently using to make this prototype work. Later, I'll go over how I put all these parts together and what
changes improvements we've made along the way.
Here's the Electron; the cell chip to transmit data. This particular version is 2G only. Perfectly acceptable for the time being though, to be able to quickly get something up.
Here's the Asset Tracker Shield with GPS. It also comes with the ability to add an extra power source. More on that later. It also came with a weather proof container which I promptly made not so weather proof within a couple hours of opening it up. Also, more on that later.
THE power source to run the whole shebang. Standard LiPo rechargeable battery.
I also picked up 2.1mm DC jacks to add power from outside my tracking unit.
Here's the external cell antenna. The AssetTracker came with one but, I wanted to minimize the amount of "stuff" inside the box and externalize as much as possible.
Here's the external active GPS antenna. It works extremely well and I'm able to get a GPS signal well away from anything outside.
Here are a couple adapters to use my external antennas with both the cell chip and the GPS chip.
The solar panel. It came with a 1.3mm jack and instructions to remove it and replace it with a 2.1mm jack. Not being one for ruining a perfectly good piece of electrical equipment with my shoddy soldering job, I decided just to pick up an adapter instead.
Here's that adapter.
And here's a sneak peak at it all put together.