A drive test of the OpenLog logger collecting raw NMEA data in parallel with the TinyTrak (VHF) was conducted. To maximise the performance of APRS, a fill-in digi / iGate was run at my home. The tracker used a 65W transmitter with quarter wave vertical in the centre of the car roof.
defect ridden iGates that lose, duplicate and corrupt packets;
poorly configured mobiles;
network congestion and interference;
unpredictable equipment failures;
basic geographical coverage of the network; and
dependence on the ionosphere for HF APRS.
This article describes an enhancement to the popular TinyTrak (and its clones) to also capture the GPS stream to an inexpensive local data logger.
The logger does not interfere with normal radio APRS, it coexists with it and creates a properly timestamped fine detail log of positions over a very long time, a log that can be post processed into a range of graphic / map and tabular reports.
The datalogger used in an OpenLog. It is a simple logger that writes data to a micro SD card, costs about $A12 (inc post) for the logger and about A$10 (inc post) for a 16GB Class 10 micro SD card. (A slower card could be used, but they aren’t much cheaper.)
I bought a USBTiny AVR programmer on eBay for about A$8 posted.
Above, the seller’s pic of the package.
It is almost always the case that the ISP headers on the programmer use the standard pinout published by Atmel, and in that case the supplied ISP cables need to be pinned pin for pin, ie pin 1 to pin 1 etc.
If you look carefully at the pic, the key is towards the top of the pic which means pin 1 on the right hand plug is towards the viewer and pin 1 on the left hand plug is away from the viewer. The cable does not connect pin 1 to pin 1, and as a consequence the package did not work.
There is more than one way to connect these plugs, and above is one way that does connect pin 1 to pin 1, and the cable and USBTiny work. Though the seller has been told of this defect, he continues to sell the item with the pic of the defective cable.
One wonders how many thousands of these things are and will be sold with this defect.
There are a number of USB-RS232 adapters available, among them Silabs, FTDI, Prolific and WCH.
The Silabs CP series adapters have been reliable but not very widely used.
The Prolific adapters are, well, prolific… but given their major compatibility problems and poisoned drivers, they are not a good choice.
FTDI was a good choice until they distributed through Microsoft Windows Update their device poisoning trick to disable chips they thought counterfeit… though they seemed to have backed away from that action.
The new kid on the block is an adapter by Chinese company WCH, chips that appearing in lots of low cost devices, eg Arduino Nano clones with WCH adapters instead of FTDI selling for around A$3+ on eBay whereas the FTDI equipped Nanos are more like A$12.
This article compares the WCH CH340G and FTDI FT232RL.
The Fox flasher MkII is designed to run directly from a 1S LiPo battery at 3.8-4.3V. The battery can be charged by a simple voltage limited charger to 4.1V with a small loss in capacity. This article describes a simple solar charger for such a battery.
The regulator uses a TL431 precision programmable reference in a simple shunt regulator.